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Google adds 24-7 phone support for Google Apps

The Web giant says it's winning thousands of customers daily from Microsoft, while the software giant notes that Google is more interested in generating ads than providing productivity applications.

Continuing its push into the corporate software applications business, Google has added round-the-clock phone support for its Google Apps customers.

Google made that level of support available previously to only its biggest customers. At its annual Atmosphere conference today in Mountain View, Calif., attended by 350 chief information officers, Google said phone support would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for small and medium companies as well. It also disclosed the news on the Google Enterprise blog.

Google's Amit Singh at the company's Atmosphere 2011 conference. Google; screenshot by Jay Greene/CNET

The Web giant has continued to push into the business application world largely dominated by rival Microsoft. At Atmosphere, Google also announced that it has won several new clients for Google Apps including Burberry, Goodyear, Guardian Life Insurance, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. Amit Singh, Google's vice president of enterprise sales and operations, noted that "thousands" of businesses now switch from Microsoft to Google Apps every day. Google said that more than 4 million businesses, and more than 40 million customers, use Google Apps.

Just last month, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told the Web 2.0 conference that Microsoft was "winning, winning, winning, winning, winning" customers for its cloud computing services, such as Office 365, a Web-connected version of its familiar Office productivity suite.

"I think we're doing a bit of winning ourselves," Singh said at Atmosphere, viewed via Web stream by CNET.

Microsoft counter-programmed against the conference, posting a blog item saying that it should be called "Admosphere," and noting that Google is trying to "convince this audience that it cares about businesses as much as advertisers." Microsoft notes that productivity apps are core to its business, something at which the company has a long track record.