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(Pocket-lint) - Google may have found a way to loosen Microsoft's grip on businesses and offices, by introducing a free tier of its Workspace suite, called Essentials Starter, that doesn't include Gmail.

You will be able to easily sign up with your existing work email, and although you won't get Gmail services, you will get to use Chat, Docs, Drive, Meet, Sheets, and Slides. Google is likely hoping teams will be able to use Essentials Starter to ditch their legacy productivity tools, such as Microsoft Office suite, when they want to improve team collaboration or start a new project. 

So, if your company is all-in on Microsoft 365, much to your chagrin, you can simply use Essentials Starter if you prefer. Of course, you might run into issues if your employer or other team members are more familiar with Excel and completely out on Google Sheets. The idea, though, is that some workers will be enticed to use Google's app, and if Google can start picking off a company's employees one by one, then maybe more businesses will consider supplementing their productivity offerings with Workspace or replacing them altogether.

According to Google’s blog post, users who sign up with their existing work email accounts can immediately begin inviting their co-workers to work on projects with them, with Google’s providing 15GB of Drive storage for each user. Employees can also talk to each other over Chat and Meet. And while teams are limited to 25, an unlimited number of teams in an organization can sign up. 

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Google said Workspace Essentials Starter is "rolling out over a multiple-week period and might not be available in some regions until mid-February 2022".

Writing by Maggie Tillman.