There has been lots of discussion about Google going after Microsoft with a focus on collaborative office tools vs. siloed, desktop-oriented ones. I can definitely see a need for some of what Google has to offer particularly with the ease of use of unlocking data and analysis and sharing it with others. All that being said, I have a hard time viewing their offering as a replacement for Microsoft office. What I have always thought, however, is what Charlie Wood mentioned in his blog – that a partnership between Google and Salesforce.com could make sense . For more background, I suggest reading a recent Red Herring article and one of my posts from Oct 2004 about goffice and specifically about a Google/Salesforce partnership. My thinking has evolved over the last two years and while there may or may not be a partnership, I certainly envision a time in the future where Google offers an even lower end offering -think free, ad-supported hosted CRM and other simple ERP related apps for the SMB market. This would allow Google to leverage its strength – online distribution and a huge user community. Of course, customers and users will have to get over the data privacy issue but free and easy can be quite compelling. In addition as more users sign up, I could see Google offering APIs so that its own users could build custom templates for certain verticals ala Salesforce’s community approach. As the widgetization of the web happens, think how easy it could be for a SMB to have a hosted web portal that is password protected and a number of widgets like a sales pipeline, presence and one click communication for the employees, and certain financials embedded in the page with a few simple clicks. All of the enterprise portal infrastructure like Epicentric that used to cost boatloads of money and take months to integrate can now be used by many a SMB as we move towards a one-click world. I am not saying that free and ad-supported SAAS apps will take over the world but Google will eventually do it and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to it. Ok-enough said on that.
Published by Ed Sim
founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockeyView all posts by Ed Sim →