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British small businesses head for the clouds

Surprisingly strong support for web applications in general and especially Google Apps from a survey of UK small businesses.

  • 71% aware of Google Apps
  • 13% intend and 22% are considering switching to Google Apps – as many as have decided not to switch
  • 62% prefer to have business apps work through a browser
  • 32% use firefox as default browser
  • 8% intend to upgrade to W7

The survey covered 1400 Microsoft customers, so we have to assume it’s a representative sample of our small businesses. If so, these are astonishing numbers. Google Apps is immature and buggy (though sometimes impressive) and is far from a direct replacement for MS Office, but it’s clearly made itself widely known and seduced many (including Conosco – we use, resell and offer our IT support services for it).

The number preferring web apps suggests that the browser-based computing team has won already, and the high use of Firefox suggests a maturity in their users (MS’s Internet Explorer was awful for web apps until the very recent release of IE8).

These would be bad enough for MS – which is still pushing desktop apps, with browser apps for occasional light use – but the W7 uptake is dreadful. Ironically, upgrading to W7 is clearly the right course – it’s far better than its predecessors Vista and XP.