Sheth Says No Enterprise Apps Imminent
IBM and Microsoft have been battling in the on-premises collaboration space for years. The two have cultivated a great fear and loathing; they want to create the notion that having the other suite is a terrible choice. Are we going to have that same competitive dynamic in cloud computing? I think it's going to be different. I think it has to be different, honestly, because I don't think we're going to be in a situation where everyone is going to run everything in one cloud. Quite frankly, every vendor has a different take on things. For example, we're never going to be as good at CRM as Salesforce.com. A lot of their platform is oriented around how you build business applications centered around CRM. We need to interoperate with them. We're going to be much, much stronger at collaboration than a lot of other vendors that are out there.There are people out there doing great things around cloud infrastructure, for example, what Amazon is doing with EC2 [Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud]. We're not the only vendors that customers are looking at. Customers are looking at us for collaboration and hosting apps on App Engine, but they're also looking at using Amazon for hosting their database and other applications. These customers will also continue to use a significant [number] of apps behind the firewall. So all of those environments need to interoperate. We put [in] a lot of effort to make sure we can interoperate with other clouds and interoperate with behind-the-firewall environments.Interoperability is a good segue for a discussion about the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook tool, but I'll come back to that. I want to go back to where you said, "We're never going to be as good at CRM as Salesforce.com." Last time I checked with Google, Google had no plans to get into enterprise applications. Of course, Google Apps is now deeply integrated with Salesforce.com. Has Google definitely decided that it's not going to offer enterprise applications? Well, maybe "never" is stating it too strongly. Who can really tell what the future is going to bring? But I think there is definitely an aspect of the DNA of each of the corporations. Our strong suit is in wisely applicable, user-facing applications that manage information. It's not in particular business application areas. Never is a strong statement, but what is definitely true is you'll more likely see us innovate in the areas of collaboration and information management than you'll see us innovate in specialized business applications, which is Salesforce.com's DNA. You'll have a lot of customers using both platforms. Circling back, Google Apps recently embarked on an effort to create an interoperability bridge between Google Apps' Gmail, Calendar and contacts with the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook synchronization plug-in. It didn't go so well. I realize there are steps under way at both Google and Microsoft to improve the interoperability between Google and the Microsoft plug-ins. Where is Google at with that bridge? A: I actually think it's going very well. We talk to customers about it every day. Interoperability is something that is going to be really, really key for us. It is particularly tough to do. It is not easy to be 100 percent interoperable with everything within an enterprise environment. We've seen a lot of success with the Outlook plug-in we released a couple weeks ago, both in terms of testing with corporations before we released it, as well as people that have adopted it since we released it.