Microsoft and Google Jostle Over Cloud-Based and Collaboration

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1 Research Publication Date: 24 March 2008 ID Number: G Microsoft and Google Jostle Over Cloud-Based and Collaboration Tom Austin Both Google and Microsoft come up short in terms of delivering the services we believe enterprises need. True economics, channel contention and a host of other issues are yet to be resolved, but, when they are, we expect a substantial number of enterprises to be sufficiently motivated by their own internal cost pressures to move to cloud-based communication and collaboration services from these two vendors or others. Key Findings Cloud-based and collaboration services are in a "pre-emergent" state. What is in the market doesn't meet all enterprise requirements, and what's being promised is too sketchy. Recommendations Clients with a strong interest in driving down the cost of provisioning their and collaboration users should consider exploiting the early stage of the market to drive minimum cost deals (get "early adopter discounts"), but they need to factor in their analyses a broad array of factors, including expected declines in the cost of these services (whether provisioned internally or externally). Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Beware of announcements of "beta services" (or "beta software") when the final price of the goods or services hasn't been determined or when key features that the enterprise needs are not part of the offer. Like IBM in January 2008 with its Bluehouse announcement (collaboration and social software as a service [SaaS] from IBM see "IBM Lotusphere 2008: Strategy, Issues and Opportunities" and "IBM Lotusphere 2008: Disruptive Products"), Microsoft has lobbed an incomplete announcement into the market to try to grab market position. Meanwhile, in an attempt to pre-empt Microsoft, Google launched its own "easy to use," low-feature portal (Google Sites) as yet another component of its continually expanding Google Apps suite. And although Google's offering is not a beta it can be ordered today all three vendors (and others still in the wings) have a long way to go. STRATEGIC PLANNING ASSUMPTION(S) Strategic Planning Assumption: By year-end 2008, Microsoft will publish online pricing so users can start comparing internal costs to Microsoft, Google, IBM and others' SaaS costs. Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2012, 20% of the enterprise market seats will be delivered via SaaS and similar models. ANALYSIS On 7 February 2008, Google announced Google Applications Team Edition and followed it up, on 28 February, with its announcement of Google Sites (see "Google Pressures Microsoft With Team Collaboration Tool"). On 3 March 2008, Microsoft announced SharePoint Online and Exchange Online (see "Microsoft Matches Google With SaaS for /SharePoint"). These announcements represent a new round of tactical stalking and strategic claim staking in what we expect will be a battle for the ages, a 15-round fight between these two for pre-eminence in e- mail, collaboration and related services delivered from the cloud. Google and Microsoft are not alone, but they are the most visible, particularly because they are going after business. IBM is also clearly in the hunt for SaaS business with its Bluehouse beta but, although it offers more and richer social-software features than Microsoft or Google, it lacks an component. There are also many other companies in the market with SaaS , collaboration and socialsoftware offerings, and we expect more to enter, but they lack the visibility and, at least for now, the market-moving potential of Microsoft and Google. This research is focused on the jostling between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft's SharePoint Online and Exchange Online announcements were smart tactical moves, aimed at freezing the market for cloud-based services conceptually comparable to what Google is offering with the new Google Sites component (and other components such as Gmail and Google Docs) in Google Apps. This freezes the market to the extent that Microsoft has delivered a message saying, "We will be in that segment too don't commit to anyone else." But there is far less beneath the surface than one would expect to see of a major strategic announcement. Pricing and channel compensation models were missing. All Microsoft offered was the promise of limited access to a beta and a promise that its channel partners would (somehow) be compensated for sales to their customers. Microsoft was firing a shot across Google's bow, without very clear: Pricing (and the opportunity to evaluate it versus internal and external competition) Channel compensation models Publication Date: 24 March 2008/ID Number: G Page 2 of 5

3 Methods for integrating third-party application content (tested in the real world) Published composite service-level agreement (SLA) models (indicating how much responsibility Microsoft will take for the composite of Microsoft Online services with "integrated" third-party applications online) Until we see how the channel reacts to this new opportunity (which it may view as an opportunity, a threat or something to ignore), we suggest that clients view the Microsoft Online announcements as an interesting signal to watch. (Google is likewise deficient in many areas for example, composite SLAs and channel compensation models but Google's strategy is less dependent on indirect distribution models.) Google's Team Edition and Sites announcements were also smart tactical moves, albeit in part hinting at possible problems Google is having in terms of penetrating the enterprise market with its enterprise Gmail product. Google Apps Team Edition contains all the (growing list of) applications contained in Google Apps Premier Edition except for Gmail at your domain. Google positions Google Sites as an alternative to SharePoint that is so easy to use that IT doesn't need to get involved. It was Google in this case that was firing a shot across Microsoft's bow, telling the market to not wait for SharePoint Online and hoping to soften the market impact of Microsoft's (very symbolic) announcement. With its announcements of Team Edition and Sites, Google is seeking new ways to get into enterprise accounts. Google is pursuing an entry path that doesn't require an enterprise-level commitment, offering to enable small teams to collaborate via Team Edition and, in particular, its Sites component (a relatively primitive, highly simplified portal facility that has evolved from technology acquired when Google bought JotSpot). Cloud Provisioning Both vendors are in an early stage in terms of going after this new cloud-provisioning model: Microsoft has a tremendous lead in personal productivity tool capability. Google leads in collaborative features available within its analogous suite (to which it adds features fortnightly). Microsoft leads in team collaboration richness, extensibility, content services and programmability. Google leads in simplicity, ease of purchase and "time to execution" (on the part of the users). Microsoft leads in understanding how to sell to and support enterprise IT organizations. Google appears to lead in building applications that exploit a global-class infrastructure, while Microsoft is likely scrambling to build its own global-class architecture and infrastructure and reimplement SharePoint, Exchange and Office to exploit that class of platform (see "Google's Million Servers Show Prominence in Global-Class Systems"). We anticipate an extended "dry period" for Microsoft and for Google in terms of sales of cloudbased services to enterprises. Most prospects will "wait and see." Both vendors are facing a "chicken and egg" type of problem without a base of large enterprise customers using their cloud-based services, few large enterprises are willing to commit to move to that model. Few want to take "bleeding edge" risks when the primary benefit is cost (capital and operating), because they can't assess the risk, based on the operating experience of others, to compare cost savings with observed risk. Publication Date: 24 March 2008/ID Number: G Page 3 of 5

4 Both vendors are struggling to generate enterprise sales for these initiatives, but Google more so than Microsoft. Google claims Genentech as the one big enterprise that has committed to move to Google Apps Premier Edition, while Microsoft touts Coca-Cola as committing to move to SharePoint and Exchange online by the end of May We have spoken to many clients about Google Apps but we suspect that most of their interest, thus far, is in using Google pricing to gain service agreement concessions from Microsoft. Part of the reason, we believe, that Microsoft has not announced pricing for SharePoint and Exchange Online is that it is looking to early adopters to determine what price model will work that is, how aggressive they have to be to "get the business" while still generating profits on their capital investment building out an infrastructure to support Microsoft Online services. Given that we believe the primary benefit most enterprises will respond to is substantial cost savings (if this benefit turns out to be real), and given that the risk profile of an investment by enterprises in Online Services is highest early on, we believe that Microsoft will have to minimize prices to maximize penetration and appear to be demonstrating a "steamroller" effect in the market. That's a tough decision for Microsoft to make, because it implies that it is moving into a new era, more of a race to the bottom (in pricing), to maximize market share. On the Google side, we believe that its incremental investment in going after the enterprise business is far lower than Microsoft's. A lot of the engineering (such as distributed operating systems, data center structure and operations, power and cooling custom design, and online application work) Google has done is already "sunk" (more so than Microsoft's), and much of Google's capital investment flexibly feeds both the consumer and the enterprise segments. We believe that, through 2012, both will continue to invest prodigious amounts of capital buttressing their enterprise cloud services capabilities, so many of today's objections against either vendor will disappear. We expect vendor capital spending on global computing infrastructure for these services to show at least a 25% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through Given that baseline capital expenditures for data centers for cloud-based services from these two alone will come close to $4 billion a year, this will be a long and interesting battle (and a few well-heeled others may join in as well). Action Item: Enterprises should carefully evaluate how much they are really spending on and collaboration and determine where and how to reduce operating costs without moving to cloud-based services. That exercise should prepare enterprises to compare their best-lowestinternal cost with the cost of buying these services from a cloud provider. (There are many other variables to consider, such as specific functional requirements, security, integration, service-level needs and regulatory constraints, to name a few.) RECOMMENDED READING "Predicts 2008: Disruptive Shifts in the High Performance Workplace" Publication Date: 24 March 2008/ID Number: G Page 4 of 5

5 REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT U.S.A European Headquarters Tamesis The Glanty Egham Surrey, TW20 9AW UNITED KINGDOM Asia/Pacific Headquarters Gartner Australasia Pty. Ltd. Level 9, 141 Walker Street North Sydney New South Wales 2060 AUSTRALIA Japan Headquarters Gartner Japan Ltd. Aobadai Hills, 6F 7-7, Aobadai, 4-chome Meguro-ku, Tokyo JAPAN Latin America Headquarters Gartner do Brazil Av. das Nações Unidas, andar World Trade Center São Paulo SP BRAZIL Publication Date: 24 March 2008/ID Number: G Page 5 of 5

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