Google mounts a big WAC attack on Microsoft in the enterprise
Unlike Apple, Google is bridging the consumer/business functionality gap. Any foothold in the enterprise allows Google to upsell its other services. Microsoft may find itself squeezed in the mobile market and in the mobile device enterprise business sector without a quick, economical way to thwart Google. Microsoft’s phone initiatives have not become the success that Apple iPhone or even Android have achieved in terms of catching the interest of the young at heart and technically wise buyers.
C is for Chrome
C is a mnemonic for Chrome, which is installed on a computing device. It looks and feels like a browser, but it’s more like a digital air lock. Chrome can connect a computing device to the Google data center. Developers can use Chrome to deliver applications that run on the computing device so that the line between local and cloud-based services becomes irrelevant to the user. Once the device is connected, Chrome can support different virtual Google machines and make the operating system irrelevant. The user gets functionality. In the enterprise, Google-savvy developers can use Chrome to create applications that mimic fully the older, increasingly expensive, on-premises enterprise systems. Microsoft is working to move its enterprise applications to the cloud. The problem is that Google is cloud-ready and moving to the enterprise with an “as is” service; Microsoft is working in “to be” mode.
I see four thrusts taking place over the next four to five months. First, Google will allow developers, partners and early adopters to explore, test and provide services and applications based on all or some of the WAC components. There’s no charge for a programmer to develop with Google technology. Google partners are becoming increasingly aggressive in developing applications for its enterprise search products. My son, who owns Adhere Solutions in Chicago, sells a Google adapter that hooks a GSA into an enterprise’s proprietary content. A couple of clicks and the GSA gets a turbo boost. He’s not alone. BearingPoint, Onix Networking and dozens of other firms are pushing forward with Google enterprise products and services.
Second, startups and innovation centers in larger organizations are now looking at Google’s products and services as viable test beds for certain applications and services. One large firm known for its expertise in retail is shifting to Google products and services. When a brick-and-mortar firm goes Googley, it is clear that Google is in a position to find a way to pound pitons into the monoliths that Microsoft has put in place.
Third, Google’s Wave, Android and Chrome components play together well. Each can tap into other Google functions such as Checkout (back-office billing and payments) and Google Apps (word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, e-mail and calendar functions) without any additional coding. For clever technologists, WAC provides a playground with quite a few bright, shiny toys and a giant jungle gym. Innovation, therefore, is not Google’s responsibility. But when one of the developers or innovators hits a proverbial digital home run, Google will be quick to capitalize on that initiative.
Finally, organizations want to use Google. The top management hears that “search should be like Google” and “e-mail should work like Gmail.”
Google will let its users carry the battle to Microsoft in the enterprise. Microsoft has to be prepared to lower its license fees, work hard to keep its Certified Professionals in the fold, and deliver products that work and work well quickly. If the value is not immediately evident, Google will be waiting to whack a solid double, maybe a home run in the enterprise game.