Google has introduced a paid-for version of its web applications it hopes will be popular with small firms.
The paid version adds more storage, phone help and guarantees of availability to the Gmail, calendar, word processing and messaging package.
Industry analysts suggest the move is aimed squarely at Microsoft and its Office suite of programs.
At the same time BT and Microsoft signed a deal to create a marketplace of web-based programs for small firms.
Google's new service costs $50 (Â£27 or 40 euros) for every account and for this customers get phone support, a guarantee that the online applications will work 99.9% of the time and 10 gigabytes of storage for each e-mail address.
View: BBC News