Google is a confusing beast when it comes to the cloud. It is, after all, the creator of a global infrastructure footprint that is almost unimaginable in its immensity. Google engineers are the best of the best, and the company has, since its inception, pushed the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to computing.
One would be forgiven for assuming that this real credibility would translate into Google being a credible vendor of enterprise cloud products. The reality, however, is somewhat different. Google has, to an extent, been its own worst enemy. So confident in its engineering-led approach to enterprise adoption, the company seems to have forgotten the overarching truism of enterprise IT - that it is all the non-engineering stuff that transforms a vendor form a bunch of smart technologies to a true player. Sales, support, and a bunch of activities that aren't actually connected with building technology are all required when selling technology into the enterprise.
As I said, Google has always struggled when it comes to these aspects, and its relative failure to really make a dent in the cloud computing world has been a direct result of this. In comparison, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has, in recent years, started to realize the importance of these non-engineering-related functions, and is starting to move the needle when it comes to enterprise penetration.
For all these reasons, there was much interest when Google announced a month or so ago that it was acquiring the early-stage company bebop. While bebop was still in stealth, and little was known of what it was doing, the fact that it was founded by none other than Diane Greene, co-founder and former CEO of VMware, raised eyebrows. No stranger to Google, Greene actually sits on its board, but appeared to have had little impact on Google's enterprise focus.
With the acquisition of bebop, Google got some technology, but more importantly got Greene to take on the role running all of Google's enterprise cloud offerings: Google for Work, Cloud Platform, and Google Apps will all come under her aegis.
A recent SEC release showed just how serious Google is about this opportunity - the company paid over $380 million for bebop. Sure, it was a stock-based transaction, but the sheer size of the deal shows that Google is, at last, starting to understand what it needs to do to catch up with AWS, Microsoft, and the other enterprise cloud players.
There is absolutely no doubt that Google can deliver enterprise-grade technology, and now with Greene on board, they should be able to deliver a real enterprise-grade business. 2016 is going to be very interesting to watch.
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