Google Attacks Microsoft’s Cloud Initiatives
Google continues its public relations assault on Microsoft. The latest move: Dave Girouard, president of Google’s enterprise division, has some harsh words as he derides their Redmond rivals for being slow to adapt to the cloud. But is Girouard correct? Here’s some perspective.
First, a tip of the hat to Sharon Gaudin at Computerworld, who scored the interview with Girouard. Girouard opens up with a reiteration of the Google Docs philosophy and their dedication to improving the Apps suite. But it doesn’t take long for Girouard to start talking competition.
Referring to Microsoft as “the gorilla in the market,” Girouard recognized that companies like Cisco and IBM had been making moves into the cloud space, but they’re not competing nearly as directly as Microsoft. He makes the interesting analogy that IBM was the premiere mainframe manufacturer, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from growing as it did — and now there’s a similar opportunity for upstarts to lead the market without having to compete directly with the big boys.
Finally, and most telling, Girouard says that Microsoft is “[dragging] the past along with them,” meaning that users are only going to get hurt by their reluctance to move to new licensing and billing models — not to mention that cloud-based editing using Microsoft’s solutions is “ugly and complex.”
“To get the new Google Apps, what do you have to do? Refresh your browser. That fundamental difference is what will make Google successful against Microsoft,” Girouard told Computerworld.
I’m not going to take sides here. Office Web Apps, which launched as part of Office 2010, is a step in the right direction for Microsoft and it’s going to win over a lot of users. Also, Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson has been calling on partners to test Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and Microsoft Windows Azure.
Still, I wonder if Microsoft Office 2010 and Office Web can compete with the $50 per user per year cost (and zero digit infrastructure investment cost) of Google Apps, especially in small businesses. Whether that’s enough to put Google as far ahead as Girouard thinks, only time will tell.
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