Tudhope said Sprint's Google Apps for Business support will be restricted to Android and iOS devices, and will not include Windows Phone or Windows tablets and laptops. He said iOS can capably handle all the Google Apps and that Sprint will pre-load any Google Apps on iOS or Android devices that it sells. "Windows has to find its way in the marketplace," he said in explaining why Windows and its Windows Phone cousin were excluded.
Google Apps for Business actually started in 2006 under the name "Google Apps for your Domain" and has expanded to serve 5 million business customers, according to a Google spokeswoman.
There are 6,000 resellers of Google Apps for Business, according to Google's website, and Sprint will be joining that list as perhaps the largest wireless carrier in the group. Verizon Wireless created a partnership with Google Apps for Business about a year ago, but "it hasn't been a real focus of Verizon," Tudhope said. Nearly all the resellers in the U.S. are smaller companies, he said. "We're the first mobility partner to go hard, all-in, with Google in this announcement."
Tudhope said reselling Google Apps services won't necessarily push Sprint business customers toward Android devices, noting that Sprint will still sell iPads and iPhones. "Google Apps work extremely well across iOS, mainly because of the browser-based access," he said.
Also, he said Google's announcement at its I/O conference in June of broader business support in the next version of Android, called Android L, came well after Sprint was developing its partnership with Google. Sprint already has a beta customer, unnamed, for the service. "Android L's support for business was not an inducement for our decision, but is a benefit," he said.
Tudhope wouldn't comment on whether talks that Sprint might buy T-Mobile could influence business customers when deciding whether to use Sprint for Google Apps support and strategy. Asked whether Sprint was focused on the cloud service because of recent lower rankings in network performance than other carriers, Tudhope defended Sprint's network but said the Google partnership is "not necessarily forcing Sprint wireless connectivity ... You don't necessarily have to be a Sprint wireless customer."
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