Google's app war vs Microsoft: About to ramp?

Google's app war vs Microsoft: About to ramp?

Summary: The rumblings about Google's plans to give Microsoft a run for its money in the enterprise are revving up.Robert Scoble has a post kicking around an interesting idea.


The rumblings about Google's plans to give Microsoft a run for its money in the enterprise are revving up.

Robert Scoble has a post kicking around an interesting idea. Could Google do an offline version of Gmail that would compete with Exchange? It's quite possible. And it almost makes me wonder if Google is listening to Garett Rogers.

Garett noted a few days ago that a Google Apps Appliance could raise quite the ruckus among corporate customers. Let's face it--companies are into saving dough, but they may not be ready for that cloud thing just yet.

Enter a hardware-meets-software Google product. The blueprint is already there since Google already has a search appliance. Toss Google apps on it and you may find a few more customers.

So what's the big picture? Forrester has a few ideas about collaboration and how it plays into the Google-Microsoft battle. In a research report Tuesday Forrester analysts Rob Koplowitz and Kyle McNabb posited that Microsoft's bid for Yahoo is partly about fending off Google in the enterprise. Forrester's conclusion: Collaboration software is off to the cloud and a Microhoo deal will accelerate the shift. That's an interesting hook with the following takeaways:

  • "Google has moved tentatively into the enterprise software market, potentially threatening Lotus and Microsoft in a big way by continuing to add enterprise capabilities, such as the workspace offering Team Edition.
  • Google's move essentially signals a sea change in how enterprises license and distribute software. Although Yahoo! could help Microsoft get there faster, it's not just a Google-Microsoft race, and all bets are off with IBM/Lotus' Project Blue for cloud-based Social Computing as a clear finalist.
  • From an information and knowledge manager's perspective, putting productivity and collaboration software in a cloud-based model has clear benefits -- it's potentially much less expensive, easier to manage a single source of the truth, and is available anywhere, at any time."

The rub: For that collaboration in the cloud theory Google will need a bridge to woo CIOs. An apps appliance that melds the cloud with offline access could do some damage. Toss in an excuse to undercut Exchange and things may really get interesting.

It remains to be seen how all these Google parts add up, but Forrester notes the following:

IBM/Lotus and Microsoft have dominated collaboration in the traditional enterprise model, garnering far and away the greatest market share in enterprise email, calendaring, instant messaging, workspaces, and platforms. This dominant market position will serve both companies well as collaboration moves more to the cloud - as long as they don't cling to a licensing and distribution model that is changing to their disadvantage. Both have moved into services-based delivery: Lotus with its Project Bluehouse announcement, and Microsoft most notably with its recent announcements about SharePoint and Exchange being offered online. Meanwhile, other capabilities will come into play that could create new market dynamics that favor other vendors. Specifically, Google has the potential to leverage its strong positions in data center efficiency, and Cisco can exploit its networking position to create cloud-based collaboration, as well as enterprise Web 2.0 offerings that disrupt the incumbents. Pure plays, such as SpringCM in the ECM space, stand to gain significant traction by distributing its offerings from the cloud.

Right now, we're still mired in the hype cycle with Google Apps and the threat to Microsoft, but at some point it may be the end of software as we know it.

Topics: Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Software

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  • Google is trying to keep it all under wrap, but, sooner or later will come

    out swinging, with offline access, a Google Apps Appliance, etc. There will be a Java based run-time added to Gears to make it all work. Google is also being strangely silent on Gears. I would bet that they have teams working 24x7 on an improved Gears version with a Java run-time embedded in FireFox. It will be all open source and released at the last possible moment to give MS less time to react. Google will do for web applications what they are doing for web enabled phones (Android).
  • The Hype machine in action

    How many times does google think the public is going to fall for the Google Hype Machine? How many failed ideas have been launched and quietlly forgotten by Google over the past year? Quite a few, it turns out.

    Google Gears has been a non mover, Google apps have been a non mover, and now suddenlly they will spring into action with a "google app applience"? Another non mover that will be hyped for the press, but in the end, is it what people really want?

    It won't be open sourced in anyway that will benefit anyone other then Google, but it will get the hype that it is "Open Source"

    Like Office is to Microsoft, it will be controlled by Google: will companies be able to purchase the unit and use it as they see fit, or will google control the "off switch".

    Granted, with competition springing up, Microsoft/Yahoo deal, and slowing revenue, Google is desparate to do something before their twin cash cows stop producing at the levels they where accustomed to.

    This just does not sound like the way to do it.
    • Just like the vaporware hype machine from MS, only with MS, we are talking

      YEARS. Longhorn was how many years late???? And, Google has not announced all of this, what is here is other people speculating on Googles future moves.

      But, Google Apps is hot and it works extremely well. When they have offline abilities and Google Apps Apliances for the corportation, watch out.
      • That is the problem

        [i]what is here is other people speculating on Googles future moves[/i].

        Just like you speculate on Microsoft, IBM, Novell, Google, ect, I too am speculating on Microsoft, IBM, Novell, Google, ect.

        The difference is that I do not view Microsoft thru a veil of hatred nor Google thru rose colored glasses as you do; I do take a unbiased view of it all (as is a requirement of my occupation), and will critique both companies when I see that it is deserved.

        Unfortunately for Google, Google Apps is [i]not[/i] that hot.
        • Right, you DO view Google through a veil of hatred, and MS through rose

          colored glasses, that much is true.

          But, comparing Google and Microsoft, Google is not the one to make long term announcements, they just execute and let their products speak for themselves. They also make a lot more incremental enhancements to their products. MS on the other hand, announces products many years in advance, being typically years late, delivering huge changes at one time that are hard to digest. Now, Steve Balmer DID say they were going to change their ways, with more incremental upgrades. Let's wait and see.
          • Not at all

            I only put things in a perspective at a level that the poster will understand: using "their words"

            I am not the one who claimed he took a Google Bus Tour that didn't exist, nor was I the one to respond that I was visiting Microsoft and the employees where all sitting bored and lackluster (contrary to the articles that many, including a Linux security guru recently hired by Microsoft who said it was "a fun place with upbeat people who liked what they did)

            Nor did I make claims, (contrary to others here on the stability and features in Server 2003), in which "it kept crashing and rebooting, ect", the only person to have those issues in these boards when the subject arose... are you noticing a pattern?

            I do use non-Microsoft products everyday, even use a Mac for some things. We get on just fine on a daily basis using Microsoft products, even use Google to do some searching, when needed.

            I just do not worship at the feat of the founders of Google as you do, I can see the company for what it is, just another corporation, with their own agenda.

            Why you need to make excuses or exceptions for them is beyond anyone, to be sure.
          • Well, it was NOT vaporware, since Google was not anouncing anything.

            Those are the tactics that MS uses, that those rose colored glasses will not let you see. You have been worshiping at the feet of Bill and Steve for just a little too long.
        • Come off it GL

          A lot of NBM'ing (in general) is because people are defending what they have learned. People who learn beyond Microsoft stuff are dissatisfied with Microsoft. Microsoft are a marketing company, not a technology one, otherwise what the hell are they doing pushing Vista onto the public? They use the dumb consumers money to stifle competition and use their army of semi-educated monkeys as a TCO argument.

          Microsoft are typical nasty American corporation, all about themselves and "progress" must only be their "progress", which is to make more money, not actually have any genuine concern for the market which they flatten.
          • And, as you point out, MS makes all US companies look bad. Thought, I hope

            that others will realize that at least SOME US companies are honest and earn their money the old fashioned way.
          • And we all hope that's the model which will prevail

            Because the world can't go on living in fear so that Penelope and Rupert can say "look how ridiculously wealthy I am" ;-)
          • Really? Please explain this, then




          • Win an award, and then it is ok to break the law?? Also, GOOGLE is chosen

            by the vast majority for search, MS is a miserable distant third.
          • Thank you for the kind words, fr0thy

            I know full well what Microsoft is, and I know what they do for us in our company on a daily basis. Every thing works fine, and we use their software to run the company, which has never been a problem to date.

            And that seems to be a problem with many "ABMers", the fact that since they do not like Microsoft, anyone who does must be some lower life form as "they can not see the light that illuminates from us" attitude.

            Many have learned beyond Microsoft and still have no problem with them, while others have no need for anything else as what they have is doing quite a satisfactory job, why change? Becuase they can? Because they should?

            I have no quarrel with anyone who continues to purchase the same brand automobile, even as there are many other manufacturers to choose from. Apple has their issues, but yet I fault no one for continuing to purchase their products. I have not stood on any soapbox proclaiming all should switch to Microsoft products, have I?

            I merely wonder how is it someone thinks that insults and make believe is going to change the mind of someone to use something other then the Microsoft products they currently use, when those Microsoft products have served them quite well up to this point.

            as I have allways pointed out, it is quite easy for a person to say that this company or that company should switch to some other product when it is not that person's money or company that is at risk if they are wrong.

            As for Vista, I know a few people who are using it and like it so much better then XP, and (not to sound insulting,) but who are you to decide what is "good enough to push onto the general public"?

            [i]That[/i] is the ABMer attitude that I am talking about, the perception that since the [b]ABMer[/b] disapproves of Microsoft's current offering, that automaticlly anyone who likes the product is "too stupid" to understand they are being screwed.
          • You seem to have forgotten the unanimous conviction by a 7 judge panel, and

            the recent convictions in Europe and elsewhere around the globe.
          • You seem to have forgotten that

            Microsoft was never "convicted" of anything criminal, they where "ruled against", or "ruled as": it was never a criminal case.

            And to be honest, it just does not matter to me. And please, do not attempt to imply that it really is that much an issue with you, as I do not believe it.

            Many companies (Google included) use their market dominance to aquire that which they want, and whether it is "illegal" or not borders on the semantics of the person reviewing the issue.

            The EU's decision was not a has nothing to do with whether Microsoft was doing wrong, it has more to do with wanting to force Microsoft into giving companies in the EU the "keys to the castle", even up to the point of how much Microsoft could charge for their code and protocols. (read up on the EU's system of commerce and some history, and it will become clear)

            And where else in the globe where they "convicted"? Legal releases please, not someone's blog site.
          • Play with words all you want, a seven judge panel said they brok the law!!!

            And it was unanimous. Do not forget the law breaking in Europe, Japan, and Korea, and other places.
          • Who is the one "playing with words"?

            You or me?

            You repeatedly use the word "criminal" when the case was never a criminal case. You use the word "illegal monopoly" when they where never ruled as such.

            Plus you base everything on the anti-trust case against Microsoft, and yet you never make mention of another real issue with the case:

            [i]due to the embargoed interviews Judge Jackson had given to the news media while he was still hearing the case, [b]iin violation of the Code of Conduct for US Judges[/b].

            Judge Jackson did not attend the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing, [b]in which the appeals court judges accused him of unethical conduct[/b] and determined he should have recused himself from the case.[/i]

            I guess it is wrong for someone to act unethical, but perfectlly acceptable for those trying them to act that way?

            Notice I did not throw in the word "criminal" as it was not the case.
          • "must be some lower life form"

            Well, within the IT ecosystem they are just that. People who don't take their input and education seriously, unless of course it comes in the form of a Microsoft press release.

            So the proud business owner can say "Hey, I pay lots for my single vendor lock-in, but at least I only pay commodity people to click on things for me."
          • Works for me!

            "that automatically anyone who likes the product is "too stupid" to understand they are being screwed."

            You do understand that Microsoft has stifled this industry more so than they've contributed to it? If not, then your quote suits you.

    • I've just visited a couple of companies that

      are becoming leaders in their sectors, and have been building their businesses with internal apps - yup, believe it or not some of these companies can see the value of investing in software people in house these days. It's Rails based stuff, but then, because that's what I do that's only the ones I'll find out about.

      MS and Google will always operate in the one size fits all world (unless they try to become IT agencies too - and even IT agencies are the middlemen being cut out in this day and age).

      Modern software, with motivated people and forward looking businesses operating within their own sector seem to have a lot of potential ahead.