Google goes after Sharepoint

According to the New York Times Blog, Google is about to launch

a rival to Microsoft’s SharePoint, a program used for collaboration among teams of workers. Google’s program, called Google Sites, will become part of the company’s applications suite, which includes e-mail, calendar, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Like other elements of Google Apps, it will be free and require no installation, maintenance or upgrades.

With Google Sites, the company is taking on what Christopher Liddell, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, said has become a $1 billion a year product. That’s a relatively small, but far from insignificant, portion of Microsoft’s business division whose mainstay Office suite is the No. 1 target of Google Apps. Microsoft’s business division brought in $4.8 billion in the most recent quarter.

Google Sites was built on top of technology created by JotSpot, a startup co-founded by Joe Kraus, who also co-founded Excite, the now defunct Internet 1.0 portal. Google acquired JotSpot, which had developed a set of “wiki,” or collaboration, tools in October of 2006.