“Sometimes it takes a lot to wake a sleeping giant. But when he finally stirs, you’d better be ready for a fight.”
Microsoft enterprise search exec Jared Spataro warned just that, in outlining to me his Microsoft COO Kevin Johnson inspired mission to keep Google out of the rightful Microsoft enterprise house.
Is he right? Is Microsoft poised to not only win the Enterprise Search war, but ultimately stop Google in its online advertising domination tracks as well?
Does Google fear Microsoft, now more than ever?
Spataro shared with me the Microsoft vs. Google enterprise battle plan at the Enterprise Search Summit in New York City this week, only days before Kevin Johnson announced his latest, and costliest, Google battle to date: Microsoft $6 billion punch to Google: aQuantive trumps DoubleClick?
In heralding its $6 billion commitment to a "world class, Internet-wide advertising platform," Microsoft flaunted its ability and willingness to use its vast economic "firepower" as amunition against Google Manifest Destiny.
Google has acknoweldged to its shareholders the "formidable competition" it faces because Microsoft has more cash resources than it does, and more employees.
On the staffing front, Google, of course, will counter that Goolgers are better, much better, than Microsofties. Just yesterday, I heard Google CEO Eric Schmidt once again assert the superiority of Google's human capital.
In his keynote to the Personal Democratic Forum in New York City, Schmidt waxed poetic about how even he was a (not quite) victim of the (in)famous Google "employee screening" process, at the hands of his future young founder bosses.
High GPAs not withstanding, creative passion is the winning imprint of a Goolger, Schmidt proudly says; After all, at Google, anyone can be a "rocket scientist."
As one not so disinterested party has noted, however, "I don’t really know that anyone has proven that a random collection of people doing their own thing actually creates value," Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.
What about on the real capital front? Microsoft has more "economic firepower," but is cash really king in the Microsft vs. Google war?
YES, on both the R & D investment front and the strategic acqusitions front, Microsoft wins over Google.
Google CEO Schmidt's latest fanciful slogan is "Search, Ads & Apps," suggesting that Google is a serious contender in the enterprise software world. I debunk that wishful thinking: Is Google Enterprise Search a joke?
What is Google's key weapon in its Enterprise Search arsenal? Google Love, really!
In attempting to make a "serious" business case to serious IT professionals at the Enterprise Search Summit Wednesday, Keving Gough, the point man for Google Enterprise, offered the secret behind the "success" of Google Enterprise Search in the enterprise: If the Google name is on the result set, people are more likely to have confidence in the information!
Adding a "powered by Google logo" increases PERCEIVED relevance of results, Gough happily underscored. Gough not so jokingly noted: Licensing the Google logo would be a great business!
Enterprise search professionals though, as the Microsoft enterprise search team can attest to, are interested in real quality of search results, not a perceived notion of quality.
While Google continues to fiddle around with hopes of spurring a Googley "consumerization of the enterprise," Microsoft is busy making serious acqusitions aimed squarely at trumping Google at its advertising game.
Online Gaming: Microsoft Massive acquisition about $300 million; Google AdScape acquisition about $25 million. Massive has a solid track record with real business traction; AdScape has a start-up dream.
Directory Assistance: Microsoft TellMe acquisition about $1 billion; Google boot-strapped, in-house GOOG-411. TellMe is a (big) business; GOOG-411 is a lab project.
Microsoft aQuantive at $6 billion vs. Google DoubleClick at $3.1 billion?