Web 2.0 Expo: Zoho To Launch App Store, Support For Offline E-Mail - InformationWeek

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9/19/2008
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Web 2.0 Expo: Zoho To Launch App Store, Support For Offline E-Mail

Developers will keep 100% of revenue from app sales, while Zoho will make its money by charging users to host large instantiations of the apps.

Zoho, which makes an online office suite of 18 apps including word processor, spreadsheet, e-mail, chat, CRM, and Web conferencing, plans a couple of upgrades in the next two weeks.

The company plans the week of Sept. 29 to introduce an online app store for its Creator service. Creator is a drag-and-drop Ajax-based, browser-based platform for database applications. Users can build apps such as customer record management, human resources, or tracking music collections, which are hosted on Zoho's Creator database services.

The application store will give developers an opportunity to sell the apps they build. Users will be able to post specific requests for applications, and connect with developers to build them.

Developers will keep 100% of revenue from app sales. Zoho will make its money by charging users to host large instantiations of the apps, although small users will be able to run the apps for free on Google's servers.

Zoho's runs a set of 10 personal-productivity and collaboration apps that compete with Google's offerings. These include Zoho Writer, a word processor; Zoho Sheet spreadsheets; Zoho Show for online presentations; and Zoho Chat. The company also offers a suite of business apps for project management, CRM, invoicing, and more.

"We are trying to be the IT department for SMBs," said Zoho evangelist Raju Vegesna, in an interview at Web 2.0 Expo in New York.

The personal apps are free to use for up to 10 users, and then $50 per user after that. The business apps are entirely fee-based.

Zoho Mail users will be able to take their e-mail offline starting next week, using Google Gears technology. Previously, Zoho built offline functionality into its Zoho Writer word processor using Gears.

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