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Google exec: Microsoft too far behind in cloud apps

By Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld
May 11, 2010 12:13 PM ET

Computerworld - 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.

See a complete guide on Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office

Google and rival Microsoft are battling on several fronts: search, browsers, operating systems and office software. And the office software front is heating up as Google continues to push Google Docs to the forefront of cloud computing and Microsoft readies to move its ubiquitous Office suite into the cloud as well.

However, Dave Girouard, president of Google's enterprise division, tells Computerworld that when it comes to competition, there's Microsoft and then there's ... well, there's Microsoft. But he seems to be really looking forward to locking horns with his Redmond, Wash., counterparts.

In a one-on-one interview, Girouard talks about competing with a company known for its office apps, Google's own growth in the enterprise, and what he thinks Google's advantages are over Microsoft.

What's your strategy for Google Docs? Where are you going with it? Docs is part of a larger strategy. It's a component of the larger suite that's about to get radically bigger. Generally, we are absolutely focused on changing the way people work, providing them tools to work seamlessly across time and space.

We're doing that by leveraging what we refer to as the consumerization of IT. Focus on apps that are fast and easy to use, like the ones you'd use on your own.

How much larger is the suite going to get? We announced [last week] that Google Apps, which is comprised of about nine different apps, will later this year have more than 90 different applications, like Picasa, Google Reader. These will all become part of the Google Apps suite. We are adding a lot of capabilities to Google Apps this year. Users and IT administrators wanted access to more Google services. This has been in the works for more than a year because it's a pretty fundamental redesign of how our accounts are structured.

How is this going to affect Google Docs in particular? It will bring a lot of other capabilities to Google Docs. You can pick photos out of Picasa and put them in Google Docs. Buzz will become part of Google Apps and could be integrated into Google Docs, for sure.

What's your strategy for getting Google Docs into the enterprise? We launched Google Apps as business services in 2007. We have about 25 million unique users. It's not airtight data, but it's predominantly used in businesses. More than 2 million unique businesses are using it. More than 3,000 businesses sign up every day. Probably every few weeks a company that is in the tens of thousands of employees goes live on Google Apps. Those are Fortune 1,000 companies.

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.

Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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