Will a Plan to Pay for Google Business Apps Users Disrupt Microsoft Office?

Want to make a fast $15? Recommend Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) business apps suite to a friend and help the search king disrupt Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Office. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the strategy's implications in the following video.

Specifically, the promo calls for paying $15 for every user who signs up for Google business apps, up to the first 100 who've paid for at least 120 days of access. Why the bribe? The problem may not be with the suite so much as what it offers beyond the free versions of Google's productivity software. Tim, an avid user of the search king's free services, says he doesn't yet see a difference worth paying for -- unless you own a business large enough to demand a standardized suite of productivity software.

No doubt ironic given the work-anywhere-and-however-you-want nature of cloud computing. And yet there's evidence that cloud-based productivity suites are catching on. Gartner's latest estimate put Google business apps at 33% to 50% of the market as of 2012.

Microsoft has taken notice of the threat and last month made it easier for users to navigate to and begin using the free versions of its productivity software at Office.com. An iPad version could arrive as early as next week, adding to Mr. Softy's existing Office 365 apps for iOS and Android.

In that sense, Google is paying to defend an emerging business (i.e., Google business apps) as Microsoft fights to keep its legacy business (i.e., Office). For investors, it's a fight to see who will own the future -- one that's worth watching. Now it's your turn to weigh in. Are you using Google business apps? Why or not? Sound off in the comments section below.

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