MADRID Google won its largest enterprise contract ever from Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria as the owner of the world’s most popular Web search engine tries to win business clients from Microsoft. About 110,000 employees in more than 26 countries at Spain’s secondlargest lender will start using the Google Apps offering which includes e-mail service Gmail, time-management tool Calendar, datastorage service Docs and Website-creation program Sites, the companies said. “We are confident we can have more and more larger companies from all over the world because of the benefits we are bringing,” Sebastien Marotte, Google Enterprise vice president for Europe, said in an interview in Madrid. BBVA picked Google over other systems because of a better price, security and experience in the market, said Carmen Lopez, director for BBVA’s Innovation Observatory.
Google, grappling with slowing growth from its traditional online advertising business, is stepping up competition with Microsoft by selling business software as an alternative to Office programs. Google’s programs are accessed through the Web, just as its search engine is. Spanish companies such as BBVA, based in the northern city of Bilbao, need to cut costs and improve productivity amid a weakening economy with the highest unemployment rate in the European Union.
‘Big Name’ “This is a very important deal for Google because BBVA is a big name and it’s a first step to get other contracts from the financial sector,” said Marco Guenther, a Hamburg-based analyst at Hamburger Sparkasse. “As advertising faces more competition, Enterprise is becoming more and more important as it widens prospects for the company.” Customers at average often save about 50 to 70% compared to their previous software solutions as Mountain View, California-based Google only charges for the specific programs used by a client, Marotte said. BBVA rose as much as 1% in Madrid trading and was up 0.8% at 6.34 euros as of 11:40 a.m. Google gained 0.5% to the equivalent of $624.84 in Frankfurt after rising 0.1% in New York on Tuesday. Google said the agreement is its biggest enterprise contract win so far based on the number of users. A BBVA spokesman said the contract initially runs for one year and will be automatically renewed until one of the partners wants to end it. Both companies declined to give a value for the deal. Google Enterprise, which was created seven years ago to deliver Google products to the enterprise world, has now 4 million companies as customers and 5,000 new clients adopt the technology every day, according to Marotte.