Why Microsoft Will Gouge Google in SAAS (or Not)

The emergence of Microsoft Windows Azure and its Online Services pose a real challenge to Google in enterprise applications, according to one analyst. Another expert argues that Google's native Web position makes it the stronger candidate to pursue business with SAAS and Web services. What cloud computing camp are you in?

The announcement alone of Microsoft's Windows Azure platform a month ago was enough to shift the mindshare in cloud computing from the Googleplex in Mountain View to the behemoth in Redmond, Wash.
That much is clear in talking to some software analysts after Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie dropped the Azure bomb on the audience at PDC in Los Angeles. The company then layered on the cloud theme with the broad launch of Microsoft Exchange Online and SharePoint Online Nov. 17 in San Francisco, essentially in Google's backyard.
Azure is essentially vaporware, a community technical preview that could change drastically when and if it arrives in 2009.

Yet Azure could give Microsoft the edge in cloud computing it needs over Google, which has wiped the floor with Microsoft in SAAS (software as a service) to this point, according to Enterprise Applications Consulting analyst Josh Greenbaum.
Greenbaum, who spoke to eWEEK recently to weigh in on Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, was impressed by Microsoft's holistic SAAS approach, from Azure to the Microsoft Online Services that will accompany it:

"In the long run, what they're doing with Azure and these online services is going to be much more interesting than anything Google can do today and that's primarily because Microsoft has a strong foothold in the enterprise and has an understanding of what it means to be enterprise class. Google doesn't understand that."

Why's that? Greenbaum said Google is a search company that lives on advertising and really hasn't been successful cracking the enterprise. From Microsoft Office to its Dynamics business applications, Microsoft has a greater quantity of genetic material with which to really conquer the enterprise space.
As Microsoft builds out Azure and its Online Services, "they're going to be much better positioned than Google could ever be."