Google CEO Steps Down Just As Google Apps Attracts MSPs

Google CEO Steps Down Just As Google Apps Attracts MSPs

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is stepping down, but managed services providers are stepping up to Google Apps. Indeed, a a growing number of MSPs have embraced the Google Apps Reseller program. But will that trend continue when the CEO crown soon shifts from Schmidt to Google Co-Founder Larry Page (pictured)?

After 10 years as CEO, Schmidt announced the CEO transition in a blog post today. Schmidt will remain executive chairman. Larry Page will now lead product development and technology strategy, while taking on day-to-day CEO responsibilities on April 4. Also, Sergey Brin will retain his  co-founder title and focus on strategic product development.

The moves come as Google gains more channel partner momentum with managed services providers. Indeed, 29 of the world's top 100 MSPs now promote Google Apps to their end-customers, according to the fourth-annual MSPmentor 100 report, which will be unveiled February 16, 2011.

No doubt, some VARs and MSPs continue to fear cloud efforts from Google, Microsoft and other IT giants. But Google has mitigated some of the fear by allowing MSPs to manage cloud billing to end-customers. In start contrast, Microsoft still controls end-customer billing for cloud services -- though there are clues that Microsoft may ultimately change its policies.

Will Google's channel partner strategy change under new CEO Page? Admittedly, Schmidt had extensive experience with VARs and ISVs before coming to Google, having previously held top posts at Novell and Sun Microsystems. But I concede: I don't know if Page has similar partner experience.

I've sent a note off to Google PR and several MSPs that work closely with Google, hoping for more insights on Larry Page. I'm particularly curious to know if Page will speak at Google I/O 2011 -- a key conference for partners.

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