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HP thumbs its nose at Microsoft by bringing Google Apps to its small business PCs

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HP is teaming up with Google to bring Google Apps (like the word processor Google Docs and Google Drive cloud storage), the company’s suite of online office tools, to its small business customers.

Announced at its Discover Conference in Las Vegas yesterday, HP will bundle Google Apps with its line of business computers, printers, and other office equipment starting this July, which will make it easy for HP customers to use the cloud-based office tools from Google. As an official Google Apps reseller, HP will be responsible for managing and supporting its users’ use of the office tools.

AllThingsD believes HP will also be providing some extra management software to make setting up Google Apps even easier, as well as server equipment to help run and deliver the service. Although Ron Coughlin, HP’s vice president for consumer PCs and solutions, would not go into the specifics of the partnership, he did suggest there will be more news to come from the two companies. “All I can say is, watch this space,” Coughlin said.

It’s not really a surprise that HP is getting all buddy-buddy with Google. HP has a hand in Google’s Chromebook category with its Pavilion 14 Chromebook, and HP is jumping back into tablet game with the Android-running HP Slate 7 tablet.

In HP, Google gets the support of the world’s largest computer maker to promote Google Apps so that it can become an even more legitimate competitor to Microsoft’s Office suite. Microsoft used to be able to count on business users to buy Office for work, but users are increasingly turning to cheaper (if not free) alternatives like Google Docs and Google Sheets that do most of what they need. In fact, Google claims over five million small businesses already use Google Apps. Meanwhile, users are divided on whether they like Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365, despite the fact that it reportedly gained more than one million users in just 2.5 months after launch.

Now that new HP computers and gear will soon come preloaded and optimized for Google Apps, business users who don’t already have access to Office 365 or a license to Office 2013 will probably be that much more inclined to give the Google software a try.

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