Will Google Kill Its Enterprise Apps If The Business Doesn't Pan Out? - InformationWeek

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8/13/2007
02:58 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Will Google Kill Its Enterprise Apps If The Business Doesn't Pan Out?

Techdirt today commented on Google's decision to kill its paid video service. The move effectively eliminates access to content Google users paid for. Mike Masnick is spinning the move as another strike against DRM -- and I don't fault his argument there. But, I see another issue this decision reveals.

Techdirt today commented on Google's decision to kill its paid video service. The move effectively eliminates access to content Google users paid for. Mike Masnick is spinning the move as another strike against DRM -- and I don't fault his argument there. But, I see another issue this decision reveals.Google launched its video service to much fanfare at the beginning of 2006. After a hard fight with YouTube, Google stopped trying to beat the startup and just acquired the company. Since then, Google has focused on growing YouTube -- and fighting a never-ending stream of lawsuits designed to shut the online video service down. Google also took its attention away from its own homegrown video initiative. Now, as a result of this strategic realignment, Google has a bunch of paying customers who can no longer access video content they paid for.

I think there is a possibility that something similar could happen to Google Apps Premier Edition and Google's other paid enterprise products.

Technologist Mark Anderson argues that Google and Microsoft represent two different types of money. Google's cash comes from ad spending but Microsoft's is plumbing money. That is to say, Google's core revenue base is hitched to the growth of online ad spending (this business is cool and fun) while Microsoft's core revenue comes from products that enable the majority of the world's businesses to function (this is decidedly less cool).

At the end of the day, Microsoft's survival depends on the success of its enterprise IT products. Google's survival depends on online ad dollars. Which of these two companies has to make enterprise IT work or die trying and which one can just walk away if the market doesn't work out?

Many IT professionals have grown their careers using Microsoft's technology and services. While Microsoft's products are far from perfect, they work. And more important, Microsoft has stood the test of time. Google is still an upstart when it comes to enterprise IT. Any CIO or IT manager looking to switch from Microsoft to Google had better be aware that Google might just abandon its experiment with enterprise apps as quickly as it started it. As a result, few large organizations are likely to make this switch anytime soon.

What do you think? Is Anderson right? Does using Google's enterprise technology come with a big risk? Or is this nothing more than Microsoft-inspired FUD?

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