Rather obscured by the brouhaha over Intel's big EC fine earlier this week, Google announced another big win for its Apps suite of productivity tools and collaboration services.

The customer is Valeo, a maker of vehicle parts that will make Apps available to 30,000 users. It's a huge deal and exactly the type of win that Google needs to prove Apps is fit for purpose at large enterprises. It comes, of course, in the wake of other big wins such as those at Guardian News and Media, Telegraph Media Group and Taylor Woodrow.

It's also a sweet deal for Google's partner in the Valeo contract, Capgemini, which caused a stir in 2007 when it announced a tie-up to provide services alongside Apps.

I'm not quite sure where I stand with regard to Google Apps. On the one hand, it is the most potent threat yet to Microsoft's multibillion-dollar Office/Exchange franchise. On the other, progress -- at least on terms of large customers that have given the OK to publicise their deployments -- has been halting.

Many CIOs I speak to are bullish on Apps though and it may be that we are approaching a tipping point where more mainstream (and, generally, risk-averse) companies feel sufficiently part of the consensus of wisdom to go ahead and deploy. When it's seen as 'OK' to change, things could move very quickly indeed unless Microsoft and other rivals rooted in client/server computing makes major concessions on pricing, web functionality and terms and conditions.