Google I/O Conference: Set to Attract More Channel Partners
Two pieces of channel news from Google today: The search giant’s Google I/O Conference (May 10-11, 2011, San Francisco) could evolve to include more channel partner content, The VAR Guy has learned. Plus, Google says more than 2,000 channel partners have signed up to sell Google Apps — the company’s SaaS productivity suite. That milestone is an important morale-booster for Google’s base of solution providers ahead of the forthcoming channel battle with Microsoft for SMB cloud service supremacy. Here’s the scoop.
First, the Google I/O chatter. According to Google Apps Channel Program Manager, “Content for Google I/O 2011 hasn’t been determined yet but we certainly think that it is an event that channel partners should be watching closely as their role expands to include customized solutions.”
Hmmm… The VAR Guy poked around a bit more. Although Google I/O is mainly designed for software developers, multiple sources tell The VAR Guy to keep a close eye on the conference for channel messaging… Thanks to those tipsters, The VAR Guy is now trying to book his trip to Google I/O 2011…
Meanwhile, the Google Apps partner program seems to be gaining momentum. Eight months ago, Google was only reporting 1,000 partners in the Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program, which launched in early 2009. But now Google is past the 2,000 partner mark, which indicates a growing momentum in the channel. The company says in its celebratory blog entry that part of that growth has been going beyond the traditional VAR channel and adding systems integrators, managed services providers, web developers, hosting companies, and ISPs to their indirect sales force.
That same post highlights partners like SADA Systems and Cloud Sherpas, which have made names for themselves in the industry with complex customer deployments and tools designed to make Google Apps more useful.
And it’s good that Google has done so well to build its reseller base, because Microsoft Office 365 is going after Google Apps with a newfound focus on the small and medium business (while maintaining value to larger enterprises). Still, a recent conversation with Cloud Sherpas suggests that Google confidence remains high; after all, Microsoft wouldn’t have Google in its crosshairs if the search giant weren’t doing something right.