VARs Iffy Over Google Apps for Businesses

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Despite some marquee business accounts, Google Apps Premier Edition has yet to win over VARs despite the rollout of a partner program in January.

VARs said their fears that Google Inc. is not set up for partners are being realized with inquiries from partners going unreturned. At a press event this week, Google said the program had many takers, however.

But that’s not the biggest issue standing in the way of their conversion. It’s that they are not seeing business adoption for Google Apps in the marketplace. This week the search engine giant put up execs from its top accounts to counter the notion. But VARs say they are not seeing it in the market, primarily because Google Apps doesn’t integration with Microsoft Exchange.

There may be a larger concern looming: disintermediation.

If Google Apps takes hold, customers can duplicate functions offered in Exchange, Office Communications Server and Office for a fraction of the cost and with no help from a VAR. But Google says the larger opportunity in professional services around its applications portfolio. VARs, however, say that’s a challenge, too, because there’s not much for them to do to support the hosted service.

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