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Monday, November 9, 2009

Another tactic in Google's bid to capture the enterprise - when will Microsoft start to sweat?

Much of the attention Monday was given to the announcement that Google was acquiring AdMob. This fits neatly and predictably into the search giant's strategy of dominating online advertising.

What was not discussed as loudly is Google's relentless push into Microsoft's turf. Google is serious about gaining access to enterprise computing and the company recognizes where improvements need to be made.

Google has been pushing a couple of initiatives targeted to the enterprise. One is their search appliance. The other is Google Apps. The Google Apps suite of applications includes Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites. These tools are meant to support individual work and communication as well as collaboration.

There has been some acceptance of these tools among corporations. At $50 per person per year, the Apps Premier product offering is clearly a cost effective alternative to the Microsoft Office suite of tools. The problem, however, has been security.

IT managers have been reluctant to accept Google Apps. With the applications living in the cloud, IT managers have little control over the administration and security associated with the users, the data and the applications. Google has sought to address those concerns today.

What's Postini?

Postini was a company and also the name of a security tool. Google acquired Postini back in 2007. The company's premier product was designed for establishing and enforcing usage policies, rules and parameters on email. After the acquisition, Google integrated the Postini code into Gmail. This now allows IT personnel to administer Gmail in an enterprise environment to enforce security policies.

Google has now announced that they are working to roll out the Postini functionality across the entire suite of Google Apps.This will eventually allow administrators to set up rules that, for example, would prevent users from sharing a document that includes financial information outside the domain. This will provide a new level of control over how end-users share and collaborate on documents within the Google Apps infrastructure.

This whole initiative is meant to make it easier for Google Apps to make inroads into the enterprise. By overcoming the reservations and objections of IT administrators, Google hopes to make the Apps suite more competitive with the traditional (and expensive) desktop applications sold by Microsoft. In general, that implies Microsoft loses each time Google gains.

One final note: Google claims to make 100s of millions of dollars in revenues from the Google Apps products. For most other companies, that would be a significant amount of money. For Google, which racked up roughly $22 billion in revenue in 2008, Google Apps is a drop in the bucket. It behooves Google, therefore, to do what it can to ramp up the product or pull the plug. It looks like Google is willing to invest to make the product competitive and go toe to toe with Microsoft. Nevertheless, it will be quite a while before Microsoft begins to sweat.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

this is probably the best thing to have happened to Yahoo in recent times. Microsoft acquired Hotmail, and look where it is today. Its been a long time since I've come across anybody with a hotmail id.

And imagine logging in to Microsoft (R) Windows (TM) Live (TM) Yahoo (R) email! Or using Microsoft (R) Windows (TM) Live (TM) Yahoo (R) messanger! Imagine Yahoo's server farms running Windows!

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