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Google exec: Microsoft too far behind in cloud apps

Sharon Gaudin | May 12, 2010
Of the challenges that could keep Google from reaching its goal of using Google Docs to move into the enterprise, Microsoft may be one of the biggest barriers.

Who do you see as your biggest competitors? There's Microsoft and then there's Microsoft. Obviously, there are multiple competitors, but the one we see the most and talk about the most is Microsoft because they're the gorilla in the market. They tend to have competitive products to what we have. Cisco is kind of getting into this game. And IBM is in there. I would certainly characterize those as far less directly competitive.

How do you compete against a company that has such an enormously popular office application suite?When people thought mainframes, they thought IBM, but that didn't mean Microsoft couldn't become a big, successful company without building mainframes. Cloud computing is a new game. New leaders will emerge. Microsoft is a great company, but we think we're several years ahead in our ability to build and deliver cloud services that are reliable and useful and secure.

Microsoft is planning on coming out with its own cloud-based office applications. Don't you think a lot of companies will stick with Microsoft because they have a history of using the company's software? There will certainly be people who will stay with Microsoft because they know them, but those people will fall further and further behind. Microsoft will have to drag the past along with them. They have an enormous economic model to deal with, and that will hurt them. They have to find a way to go from the traditional software licensing model to a cloud computing model, and there has not been a company that has done that yet to date. It's not to say Microsoft can't do it, but they certainly have a lot of challenges to make that happen successfully.

Still, though, Microsoft has a big head start on you. How will you deal with that? We don't have enough time for me to list [all our advantages]. To use Microsoft and do some form of cloud-based editing, it 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.

 

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