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December 1, 2011
office 365 vs google appsIt’s been a busy day at CloudBeat, and I got the opportunity to sit down with Google VP of Enterprise Amit Singh to talk Microsoft, the business value of Google+ and the future of the Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program. And his message was clear: Google is dedicated to helping its partners succeed, both by improving its technology and by refining its business initiatives.
Google’s had a pretty solid year, Singh said, and it’s not over yet. At the Google Atmosphere enterprise event, the search giant had the chance to promote its strong momentum: 5,000 customers are signing up for Google Apps every day (most paid, Singh affirmed), with 4 million businesses and 40 million individual users currently signed up for the cloud collaboration suite. And recent feature-adds such as 24/7 phone support speak to the emerging maturity of the platform.
And, Singh claimed, the customers who go Google never look back in Microsoft’s direction. Google gives these organizations the tools and technologies they need to succeed, and they take the lead in figuring out the best ways that Google Docs, Gmail and now Google+ can work for them. That goes double for the last one, as Singh spent plenty of time at CloudBeat promoting the business value of the Google+ social network and all the potential new use-cases for sharing information and resources it provides.
Speaking of Microsoft, Singh was very much dismissive of Steve Ballmer and Company’s continual trash-talking of Google. Office 365 is merely an extension of Microsoft’s existing desktop software infrastructure, Singh said, and Google is a true next-generation cloud offering. Microsoft can say what it wants, but all Google has to do to build its momentum is tell its story, he said, adding the competition is welcome, but they’re really selling two completely different products.
Which brings us back into Google’s partner strategy. The first thing Singh wanted to mention was Google is expanding its channel presence far beyond the Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program — both the Google Cloud Transformation Program and Google App Engine Premier, amongst other offerings, are designed to help ISVs and cloud integrators build complete, profitable service provider businesses on top of Google’s infrastructure. And that’s only the start.
In fact, Singh said even though his remit is overseeing Google’s enterprise strategy in its entirety, Google’s partner strategy is a “top-three” concern for 2012. After all, Google is relying on its partners to help scale their business going forward.
And part of that is staying out of the partner’s way. Singh said he’s heard the same concerns about deal registration raised at the Gsocial Google partner conference earlier in November, and his team is working on new ways to make sure that Google never competes directly with partners. In the meanwhile, Singh said Google’s internal sales team is instructed to let the partner take point whenever and wherever possible.
Obviously, this is a pretty one-sided view of the cloud collaboration market. But Singh’s criticisms of Microsoft Office 365 mirror my own, and I’m left wondering if Microsoft is fighting a battle it’s already lost.
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