Google's dangerous bravado could help Microsoft

Google's cocky comments show an unearned confidence about its ability to beat Microsoft in the cloud

Google is taking potshots at Microsoft again over who gets the cloud better. As reported by Computerworld, a Google exec says, "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."

While it's true that Microsoft seems a bit late to office automation in the cloud space, the company has presented impressive Web-based Outlook apps for years, and moving to a complete cloud offering won't be as much of a reach as Google thinks. Indeed, when considered against the existing penetration of Google Docs and Gmail, which are a part of Google Apps, Microsoft still has a huge head start when it comes to understanding office automation.

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Microsoft is planning on coming out with its own cloud-based Office applications, and while Google argues that comes with a great deal of baggage, most people looking to use office automation software want to accomplish their tasks without a lot of relearning. They don't care how that happens, and for them, Microsoft clearly offers the path of least resistance within most enterprises.

This does not mean that Google won't have a compelling office automation story to tell; indeed, it has had great penetration into small business, as well as state and local government. However, the Global 2000 set of businesses is the prize in this space, and I don't see those firms moving toward Google Enterprise Apps unless Microsoft screws the pooch on its forthcoming cloud deployments (which could certainly happen).

Still, I don't view Microsoft as several years behind Google, and if Google is making those assumptions now, it won't out-innovate Microsoft enough to beat Microsoft.

There are other pressures to consider. New office automation applications, such as Evernote, and upstarts that are focusing on cloud-using mobile devices may find themselves collectively beating both Microsoft and Google as users carry out more tasks on, say, their iPads and iPhones -- I certainly am.

Now is not the time to be cocky, Google.

This article, "Google's dangerous bravado could help Microsoft," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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