Google Aims At Microsoft – Google Apps In the Enterprise – Google Sets Up Channel Partners

In an big move Google is taking the classic enterprise sales move – set up a channel.  Indirect channel marketing is great leverage and if pulled off is very disruptive. I’ve spend many years in the channel business with Hewlett-Packard and the channel model is based upon a simple formula – get thousands of people selling your product everywhere.  However, the key to success is money which Google has plenty of.  If Google can incent channel partners with good products and great margin, they will put a dent in the Microsoft dominance.

Here is more detail. Web search leader Google Inc took another step on Wednesday toward direct competition with Microsoft Corp by recruiting IT resellers to market its Web-based applications to business clients.

From the end of March, authorized resellers will be able to sell, customize and support premium versions of Google Apps, which includes word processing, spreadsheets, calendars and email.

Google Apps is broadly similar to Microsoft‘s top-selling Office package except that Apps is completely Web-based and is part of Google‘s push into so called ‘cloud computing‘ or software-as-a-service. Microsoft said in October it is also looking at adding Web-based features for its Office applications.

Since it launched Google Apps in February 2007, Google has only sold directly to business users over the Web. Analysts said the move to work with third parties is necessary if Google hopes to compete seriously with Microsoft or IBM.

Microsoft, which is the world’s largest software company, sells more than 95 percent of its software through more than 440,000 third party resellers, according to Gartner Research, and intends to spend around $3 billion on managing those sales channels in 2009.

Cloud Doesn’t Work Well With Infrastructure Improvements – Expect Cisco to Follow Microsoft

Steve Ballmer has been rabid about the cloud lately. Here is a detailed interview with Ballmer on the cloud direction.

Everyone is talking about applications and OSs and mobility and IP everywhere… yet everyone assumes that the infrastructure will continue to simply take on unprecedented scale, complexity and availability challenges without a rethink.

Come on people the cloud is real and it needs to develop more. It’s still unstable. Expect the traditional network infrastructure players to follow suit – mainly Cisco. This might be a problem for Cisco to go after these adjacent markets and deviate off their core business. Why? Because Cisco has to grow and this is an area that Cisco could do well in.

The pundits need to get their heads out of the clouds and on to the infrastructure that will support all of this. Cloud will have to drive a new integration of management into infrastructure… yet only Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc are really talking about this… the networking players have been relatively silent. This is collaboration and virtualization and about every other initiative over the last ten years on steroids.

Expect the big player on the infrastructure side to get into this big time. Word has it that Cisco is going to get into compute side. If Cisco jumps into the compute cloud expect them to alienate their OEMs – hello Juniper this is an opportunity for you.

Browser Judo – Google Chrome’s Secret Move

I like Chrome. Chrome is impressive. Chrome is about the future. However, it lacks the innovation on the video side, but that wasn’t expected in this first version. Bottom line: Chrome doesn’t suck. It’s good. I have been using Chrome since it launched and it hasn’t crashed once.

As I reflect on Chrome and what it means, I’m struck by two things: The immediate hit on Firefox and the strategic blow to Microsoft – I’m calling this Browser Judo. The inventor of the browser hints to some of the same things here.

The big tech story isn’t that Google in essence copied Firefox. It’s browser judo. The judo being put on Microsoft. The move is little old Javascript. On the surface Javascript is Javascript, but Google’s Judo move takes this little (major) element of the web and uses it against Microsoft. Why? Because Microsoft Internet Explorer is weak when it comes to Javascript. In talking to tech geeks over the past few days Chrome is 40x faster then Internet Explorer.

Little Javascript is the Judo move on Microsoft. Microsoft COM is actually very good but Internet Explorer treat Javascript as a separate silo even in how they develop the broswer – it’s a separate coding team. So this makes the hidden classes piece of V8 huge – especially against the big turtle now known as Internet Explorer.

Because of the relationship between COM and Javascript, Microsoft incurs a huge “overhead” penalty in managing pages and interactions – In the geek developer world this is called “taking out the trash” or garbage collecting. IE 8 doesn’t really solve this problem of overhead.

Google is taking a small but important element in Javascript and using to throw down IE in performance. As an end user I see immediate benefits on page loads especially if I use the web a lot – hello that’s what the browser is for. Google has it right in this version.

With Chrome Firefox in the short term is impacted, but the real loser will be Internet Explorer. Dean and his team better get busy and fast. I’m a big fan of Internet Explorer since it’s inception, but it’s time for Internet Explorer to compete and put out a faster product.

Better Microsoft better counter the Browser Judo with a move of their own.

Google Chrome What Does it Mean? – It’s Official – The Search Wars Just Turned into Operating System War

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SEARCH WARS now OPERATING SYSTEM WAR – It’s official the search war just turned into the Web 2.0 operating system war. Philip Lenssen just posted what looks like a early version of what Google will be announcing tomorrow – Google Chrome

Folks this is the operating system war in full action. One between Microsoft and Google. Google is coming out with their own browser called Chrome.

This browser is a direct maneuver to block Microsoft IE8 (and other msft moves) from cutting off Google’s ‘hooks’ in search and desktop environments. People (like me) who have been following Google since their inception know that they have infested the desktop with little ‘hooks’ into search which translated into adwords and adsense – e.g. toolbar, tracking, and other services. These little hooks provide the superior user experience in navigation and search as well as power the money printing machine at Google (their ad business).

Google’s dominance in search and user navigation experience is at risk with IE8. Why? Because Microsoft’s window of opportunity to leverage their current (and eroding) monopoly in their operating system and browser market share is closing. This Chrome product is a direct answer to that Microsoft push.

Google’s browser is just that – a competitive strategy to maintain their stronghold and defend their current search offering.

Chrome – Beyond Search

Chrome goes beyond search. Google having a browser (Chrome) is strategic. It’s just one piece of the user environment (aka the edge software) that Google needs to own to have a fully functional operating system. By making Chrome open source Google sends a message to the army of software developers that the Google platform is worthy to develop ontop of. Also Google garners the support from a growing and rabid community of developers while deflect any policy and antitrust discussions.

From a platform perspective Chrome as an open source development project increases the range of edge devices that the software can be ported to. I am talking about Android both phone and set top box environments. Open sourcing the project is good for developers and if played right great for Google. We will see which company is friendlier to developers – meaning how does each platform vendor incorporate new developer technology.

Impact on Startups

I am very bullish on Chrome as a good thing to push competition and innovation. It will be a good thing for startups to leverage this massive platform shift. For startups it’s an opportunity if you can see the vision of these platforms then intersect a business or technology deal into it.

Good Luck Google and I hope to see startups and 3rd party technology in the platform. For me success will be judged by the user experience and the amount of 3rd party participation. Google will fail if they can’t build a developer ecosystem around their platform.

From Phil Lenssen on the details on Google Chrome – Thanks Phil for breaking this story. This is a big deal.

Google gives the technical details into a project of theirs: an open source browser called Google Chrome. The book points to www.google.com/chrome, but I can’t see anything live there yet. In a nut-shell, here’s what the comic announces Google Chrome to be:

  • Google Chrome is Google’s open source browser project. As rumored before under the name of “Google Browser”, this will be based on the existing rendering engine Webkit. Furthermore, it will include Google’s Gears project.
  • The browser will include a JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8, built from scratch by a team in Denmark, and open-sourced as well so other browsers could include it. One aim of V8 was to speed up JavaScript performance in the browser, as it’s such an important component on the web today. Google also say they’re using a “multi-process design” which they say means “a bit more memory up front” but over time also “less memory bloat.” When web pages or plug-ins do use a lot of memory, you can spot them in Chrome’s task manager, “placing blame where blame belongs.”
  • Google Chrome will use special tabs. Instead of traditional tabs like those seen in Firefox, Chrome puts the tab buttons on the upper side of the window, not below the address bar.
  • The browser has an address bar with auto-completion features. Called ’omnibox’, Google says it offers search suggestions, top pages you’ve visited, pages you didn’t visit but which are popular amd more. The omnibox (“omni” is a prefix meaning “all”, as in “omniscient” – “all-knowing”) also lets you enter e.g. “digital camera” if the title of the page you visited was “Canon Digital Camera”. Additionally, the omnibox lets you search a website of which it captured the search box; you need to type the site’s name into the address bar, like “amazon”, and then hit the tab key and enter your search keywords.
  • As a default homepage Chrome presents you with a kind of “speed dial” feature, similar to the one of Opera. On that page you will see your most visited webpages as 9 screenshot thumbnails. To the side, you will also see a couple of your recent searches and your recently bookmarked pages, as well as recently closed tabs.
  • Chrome has a privacy mode; Google says you can create an “incognito” window “and nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer.” The latest version of Internet Explorer calls this InPrivate. Google’s use-case for when you might want to use the “incognito” feature is e.g. to keep a surprise gift a secret. As far as Microsoft’s InPrivate mode is concerned, people also speculated it was a “porn mode.”
  • Web apps can be launched in their own browser window without address bar and toolbar. Mozilla has a project called Prism that aims to do similar (though doing so may train users into accepting non-URL windows as safe or into ignoring the URL, which could increase the effectiveness of phishing attacks).
  • To fight malware and phishing attempts, Chrome is constantly downloading lists of harmful sites. Google also promises that whatever runs in a tab is sandboxed so that it won’t affect your machine and can be safely closed. Plugins the user installed may escape this security model, Google admits.

Update:

Kara Swisher has some insight. I like how she talks about the cold war moving to a frontal attack. Other notable posts – Mathew Ingram as always has laser focus post and Marshall at RWW – hints to what I called on BroadDev.com as the Modern Browser.

Facebook Manufactures Liquidity for Employees – Good Move

Eric (on a roll) Eldon is reporting that Facebook is going to announce that it will let employees “cash out” at an internal valuation of $4b.  This amount is well under the valuation that Microsoft placed on the company.

Facebook has an internal valuation of $4 billion, as Venturebeat previously reported. It will begin letting current employees sell 20 percent of their fully vested stock options at that valuation, starting this fall.

Ok I think that Facebook’s engineering of an liquidity event for their employees is a good thing.  I’ve said on this blog that Microsoft’s run at buying Facebook was their IPO.

My sources inside Facebook and at Microsoft both admitted that employees at Facebook were getting restless given that an IPO is not in sight.   The opportunity for employees to sell some of their vested shares in this deal is great for employees and good for the company.

Movin On – Thank God It’s Over – Lame Duck Ichan Yields to Yang and Yahoo

Cofounder of Yahoo Jerry Yang can now get down to business. The Carl Icahn takeover saga is finally over. Icahn joins Yahoo’s board. I guess Carl has a lot of shares but his ‘lame duck’ board seat is a consolation prize for technologies version of “The Price is Right”. He lost. Last week we saw a final knock out blow to Icahn had him down for the count. Now we have peace.

“While I continue to believe that the sale of the whole company or the sale of its search business in the right transaction must be given full consideration, I share the view that Yahoo’s valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders,” Mr. Icahn said in the statement. “I believe this is a good outcome and that we will have a strong working relationship going forward.”

Finally Yahoo can get down to business and get the legal bull from Wall Street off their back. Expect a fast resolution to a Microsoft deal or other transaction (hmm AOL..). Yahoo has to move on now and get back to competing.

The market is in the toilet and Yahoo’s cofounder Jerry Yang is in charge again. Lets hope cofounder Jerry has some magic left.

Hey Ballmer: Just Get the Ball in the End Zone Steve!

Microsoft sets the record straight on the Yahoo search only deal that has been covered over and over again here at Furrier.org and everywhere else in the blogosphere.

Microsoft makes it clear that they didn’t drop the hammer on Yahoo with a take and leave it deal. Microsoft is closing in and wants this deal so bad.

Come on Steve punch it home.! As they say in football Microsoft has been in the ‘red zone’ on this deal for a long time. It’s ugly one penalty after another. This is getting so bad we might need instant replay. Steve: Just get it in the endzone.

Here is text from their press release
Specifically, on Thursday afternoon, July 10, Mr. Bostock called Steve Ballmer’s office to arrange a call. On that subsequent call, Mr. Bostock told Mr. Ballmer that “with substantial guarantees on the table and an increase in the TAC (traffic acquisition cost) rate, there are the pillars of a search only deal to be done.” Mr. Bostock encouraged Mr. Ballmer to submit a new proposal to Yahoo! for a search-only deal reflecting these terms.

After considering Yahoo!’s request and taking into account Yahoo!’s previous feedback about our prior search proposal, Microsoft determined late Friday to propose an enhanced search transaction. This proposal included significant revenue guarantees, higher TAC rates, an equity investment and an option for Yahoo! to extend the agreement over a 10-year period.

Microsoft’s proposal did not include changes to Yahoo!’s governance.

At the time Microsoft submitted its enhanced proposal, Microsoft asked that Yahoo! confirm whether it would agree that the enhancements were sufficient to form the basis for the parties to engage in negotiations over the weekend on a letter of intent and more detailed term sheets. This discussion has been mischaracterized as a take it or leave it ultimatum, rather than a timetable in order to move forward to intensive negotiations. Yahoo! informed Microsoft on Saturday that it had rejected the proposal.