Smartphones

Google's approach to software won't work for enterprise or mobile

Google is making a big run at new markets with business software and mobile phones. However, it will not succeed in either market unless it changes the way it builds its products. Both of these markets will reject Google's "continuous beta" philosophy.

Google is making a big run at new markets with business software and mobile phones. However, it will not succeed in either market unless it changes the way it builds its products. Both of these markets will reject Google's "continuous beta" philosophy.

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It's easy to argue that the primary reason Microsoft has become the world's largest software maker is that the company has repeatedly shown the ability to ship products. Even though the products may not be perfect and they may not meet the original ship date, Microsoft has proven that it almost always knows when the products are good enough to release to the market.

Google is emerging as one of Microsoft's key competitors in the software business - perhaps even its biggest competitor within a few years - but Google has not mastered the "good enough" principle. Google software engineers have arguably created only two highly-profitable hit products: the ubiquitous Google.com search engine and the Web-based email client Gmail.

However, Google's "continuous beta" approach that it used to build those two products will not satisfy the customers of two new market segments that Google wants to win: smartphone software and enterprise software.

Smartphones

Let me start by saying that Google's move to create its own smartphone platform (Android) was a mystery to me from the beginning. It was unnecessary. Google could have simply focused on creating great mobile software and search products for all of the main smartphone platforms and it would have accomplished its primary goal, which was to create a mobile platform for AdWords.

I also doubted whether Google would be good at building a new smartphone platform, even with all of the smart engineers that it employs. The problem isn't that Google doesn't have enough brilliant engineers. The problem is that Google doesn't have the focus and attention to detail needed to build a great smartphone.

Google's organization and corporate culture are radically decentralized. There's not a lot of structure, process, or bureaucracy. The focus is on innovation and freelance creativity. That can make it a great place to work if you're an engineer and it makes Google great at building Internet widgets and exciting new features for its search platform.

But, smartphones require something different. They demand meticulous attention to the end-to-end experience of the user. To accomplish that, a company needs tight collaboration among all of the engineers working on the project, plus a disciplined management process to coordinate all of the details. Those are not Google's strengths, and it shows in the Android phones that have hit the market.

The T-Mobile G1 was Google's first attempt and while the device featured strong integration with Google's online services and a respectable touch-based interface, it struck out in several important areas. The hardware-software integration was clunky, the battery life was among the worst of any smartphone, and the software apps were sluggish and malfunctioned way too often.

I recently got a peek at the Google Ion, the second generation Android smartphone, and while the hardware-software integration is better and the UI has improvements, the application performance is still poor and much of the software is simply too sluggish and buggy. It feels like beta software. In fact, Google would have been better off naming the platform "Beta" rather than "Android" since beta is such a regular part of Google products. Unfortunately, beta isn't "good enough" for smartphones.

The other big problem for Google in smartphones is the hardware/software split. This applies to Windows Mobile, too. Google only makes the smartphone software, while companies like HTC and Samsung build the actual phones. The result is software that is built for lowest common denominator of devices, and that makes those devices far less intuitive and usable than devices such as the Palm Pre, Apple iPhone, and the various BlackBerry models where the hardware and software are tightly integrated.

This hardware/software split grows out of the idea of creating the same kind of commoditization that we see in the PC business, with Microsoft making Windows and vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Acer supplying the computer hardware. The problem is that smartphones have far more variations in terms of interface (touchscreen, scroll wheel, stylus, etc.) and form factors. That means Android and Windows Mobile developers have to spend a lot of extra time building software that accounts for every possible hardware scenario or simply dumb-down the features of the software.

Enterprise

Another area where Google wants to make some noise in a new market is in enterprise business software, where the company peddles its Google Apps Premier as a way for businesses to save serious money over Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office and achieve a higher level of worker collaboration.

If Google can grab even a small chunk of this market it would mean big money because of how widespread these Microsoft apps are. And if a company can avoid hosting its own infrastructure and instead purchase this software via subscription from Google, then it can move a significant line item in the IT budget from CAPEX to OPEX.

However, when IT departments do mass deployments of applications for business-critical tasks, they expect a high level of service. They expect the software to be bug-free, and if they do run into problems then they expect to be able to quickly connect with a customer support representative to resolve any issues immediately, if not sooner.

In order to pull off this type of experience that corporate IT demands, a software maker needs excellent attention to detail, strong processes and systems in place, and software that is "good enough" to provide a seamless experience for users. Again, delivering fully-packaged, mostly-bullet-proof software is not part of Google's DNA.

Another major consideration for enterprise IT is data security. Google still typically thinks like an Internet company, spreading data across multiple servers and continents for redundancy and performance. But, many big companies are under regulatory scrutiny and so they have to be able to document where their data is at all times and they need that data segmented from the data of any other companies.

For more insights on Google, smartphones, and other tech topics, follow my Twitter stream at twitter.com/jasonhiner

Bottom line

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I'm not predicting Google's demise. Google's approach to innovation works well for building widgets and tools for the Internet and I expect Google to continue its dominance in those areas.

However, if Google wants to succeed in smartphones and business applications then it's going to have to create dedicated teams/departments within Google that are much more process-oriented and focused on product quality from end-to-end. The never-ending beta is not going to cut it in the smartphone world or the enterprise IT world

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

69 comments
sloan_jonathan
sloan_jonathan

What about other google apps - maps, calendar, docs, spreadsheet - these are all free, fast, highly-functional, web-based applications are a very, very impressive and very powerful. A list that was quite unconceivable even just a few years ago. While your observations are worth considering, things do take time. Google has done more in a few years, than Microsoft has done in 3 decades. Time will tell...

sevenex
sevenex

Google took over GrandCentral and paid lots of $$ for it a year or two ago. They continue with their "beta" on it and have removed quite a few of the cool bells and whistles that made GrandCentral at least interesting to use. In their defense, they've added some features but are still dragging their feet in hearing out users who already understand and are disappointed with some of the changes and continue to suggest things such as number changes or additional numbers that should be portable to Google Voice. I don't want Google to repeat the stupidity that Vonage continues to exercise to this day.

TechRepublic Reader
TechRepublic Reader

Keep looking at the past glories, the Microsoft's of the world, "good enough" buggy products with worst experience ever. That will let people looking at the future be better positioned for the new challenges. What you say about Android just proves that you have never touched an HTC Magic, for instance. Keep using your WinMob I will be waiting for you at the finish line. This article is giving so much credibility to Micrisoft that makes me laugh. Funny that every user around you is searching with Google Search, mailing with Google Mail, checking their location with Google Maps, watching their videos with Google?s YouTube and so on and so forth. You can obviate that every PC user in this world is spending a tremendous part of their time using a tool from the Google ecosystem. That will perhaps makes you feel better, but is far away from reality. By the way, for those who still think like the author that "The problem is that Google doesn?t have the focus and attention to detail needed to build a great smartphone." I recommend to do a basic research and investigate who is behind Android. It's not only about Google, this is just not true. I couldn't stop laughing with that one: "Google?s organization and corporate culture are radically decentralized. There?s not a lot of structure, process, or bureaucracy. The focus is on innovation and freelance creativity"....Mr. Hiner, welcome to planet Earth. Welcome to the future.

AhmedAba
AhmedAba

I knew now why Techrepublic is the best IT news/analysis site, because great minds like Jason managing it. Ahmed.

tuomo
tuomo

Or it may work? IMHO the current sw situation for enterprises is a little strange, they rather buy commodity products, change their business model based on sw, suffer from incompatibility, security, performance and of course the never ending "upgrade" and fix nightmare. The cost is huge, they have no control over sw, etc. It is totally different model than sw development for enterprises used to be and Google sw would be more suitable when / if the enterprises ever go back to profitable IT. Of course it will/would take years to get the knowledge back to enterprises once they gave the keys to software companies and smaller companies than real enterprises probably can never go back, they are too tightly bound to some vendors.

jo3fis
jo3fis

There are not enough facts or specific examples in this article. If you felt that way about the Google Ion then tell us why, present the facts. You have to show that you have dipped further than just the surface. Your comment about Microsoft' ability to ship products that are "good enough" Well which products because surely this cannot apply to all of them?? You have some good points in your article but you don't go into enough detail. Your article comes off more like a rant about Google rather than why you think their approach to software wont work for enterprise or mobile.

mitchellwrites
mitchellwrites

Um, our business, the second leading online retailer, has adopted Google docs with great success, and we see zero impact with their perpetual beta approach. In fact, we're adopting the same model for our own software releases internally. Let's not be so hidebound. Not all businesses are the same.

Sensei Humor
Sensei Humor

You said "Microsoft has proven that it almost always knows when the products are good enough to release to the market." I laughed. Seriously, tech people know you become an early adapter of Microsoft products to learn the platform and play with new toys. For production you wait for SP2. As for your other comments on Android, well there will be at least 10 new Android phones released in the next 12 months. Google has released 2 updates to Android, the 2nd of which had enough new features that it could be considered a release not an update. I think we're going to see the Android platform mature very quickly into a professional quality platform. WinMobile is always an attempt to put 10 lbs of stuff into a 5bl bag, and it shows. I can understand your concerns in this regard towards Android, but (despite my distaste for WinMo) this really is a preferred model IMO. Since (I believe) all mobile handset companies currently making Android handsets are part of the Open Handset Alliance (the Android OS developers group) this is not currently a problem. I might also add that all current and planned Android handsets with announced specs (with one exception that might be vaporware) are built on the same processor. My question (and it's a real question, not rhetorical) is "Does Windows Mobile have something like the OHSA?" I feel certain they must, Microsoft aren't a bunch of newbies in this business, but I really don't know. I do know that I hear a LOT of complaints from my co-workers regarding the cheap Windows Mobile handsets the get foisted off on them by the company. So I can't see the difference between a low end handset with Windows Mobile on it and a low end handset with Android on it from a hardware perspective.

'pling
'pling

I think you're right. More convincing than your words were some of the responses. It seems that many responders love the idea of innovation with applets giving great flexibility to their newly placed data in the cloud. And as at least one noted, they are not from the military therefore, presumably the security risks are low. I hope that attitude doesn't extend to any organization which has my credit card details. I recently read an excellent editorial/blog from Steve Jones of SQL Server Central who was musing over who ended up with the various servers after a company he worked with was wound up unexpectedly, and what data was passed onto third party entities (and if I remember correctly, some of the hardware resources appeared to be used as part of a severance package to individuals - without data removal). Now, I completely trust that he has handled this data with absolute integrity, but I wonder how many other situations would eventuate in servers winding up on eBay or similar without even a cursory removal of personal data? So do you know where the assets in ?the cloud? are, who owns them, and what happens should there be a ?situation?? So if we marry that concept with the starting idea of less than fully tested software at the front-end, then I for one will start on the conservative side.

dyett
dyett

Well, maybe! You may be right about enterprise software, but I'd like to point out that the product development philosophy described for Google (i.e., respect for individual brilliance and continuous product improvement) is precisely the one adopted by Honda in the 1960s. In the words of Soichiro Honda, "You stay ahead by staying ahead." It sure worked for Honda!

Izzmo
Izzmo

"Google?s organization and corporate culture are radically decentralized" .. that's not what I heard!

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

Never releasing 1.0 or never releasing good software?

miguel.villela
miguel.villela

The always Beta approach of Google is a quite some honest than Microsoft, that sends you a Beta saying that is a final product (a lot of times some features in the softwares only works after applying the first patch).

iwm21
iwm21

It is good that GOOGLE lead the way in open API however the frequent API infrastructure changes makes incredibly difficult to rely on it as something to build into a service.

bilgepipe
bilgepipe

I disagree with your core view Jason. I believe the modern business model and design process is more about rapid, chaotic delivery of solutions where you wait for the community to drive the final design and focus. Much like Twitter and the current google apps, you deliver product rapidly then adapt. I believe this will bring success in the smartphone world and on-line. The biggest barriers Google have at the moment is potential anti-competive trade restrictions which will block certain markets e.g. o2 in the UK. In Germany. o2 sell Android phones but I can't see the UK telephony market being given the same options because we are notorious for anti-competitive practice. I think googles open approach will make it the strongest player in this market by 2012 and Microsoft phones will be a thing of the past. Robin

rduncan
rduncan

It's yet another Modus operandi argument from Tech, Google apps on The Iphone such as gmail, google earth, maps, docs work perfectly and I'm sure was a huge selling point, these apps where conveived by Google with a smirk, who else would map the ocean, earth and stars and give the app away for free, I think they would be happy about the comparisons made to M$ who- quiet rightly know how to capture an audenice, they don't have the: take it or leave it approach because that does not sell software, but to argue that MS products are more fit for market because there not in BETA- Vista??

cerolog
cerolog

Jason, nice article, it makes you think, and I think any Google employee should read too. It's always important to evaluate feedback. Having said this, I agree completely on smart phones, design being the main factor that makes me avoid Google's phone. It's just not as beautiful as the iPhone or the PalmPre. I haven't actually used one, so I don't know about the sluggishness of it, but if that's so, of course it's a major let down, and I agree with your article. Now, onto the enterprise stuff, that's where at first my reflex was agreeing, but then, I realized something. When you introduce something new to the old ways of doing things, there is no foolproof prediction of what's going to happen. So it might very well be that enterprises will reject this fuzzy data location, but what comes to mind is that sometimes it's good to introduce new radical ideas because those are the ones that break paradigms. I know that security is paramount in certain firms and industries, but many businesses could and would use the cloud approach gladly, mostly if it represented as you said less upfront investment in hardware, software and personnel. So I think this may very well catapult a lot of businesses who are concerned with their info security to using Google's online products and services, because they aren't as concerned as, say, for lack of a better example, military firms. I thought about this because of what is happening to the music industry. There is a lot of tension right now, and of course the old paradigm is fighting with its claws to not let go of the old business model. But many artists are finding a way to not having to fight copyright infringements by making their music free, and having income from other sources like specially designed packages, merchandise, and live shows, which makes me think this will be the future of recorded music, since truly stopping piracy is a huge -if not impossible- task. So the analogy I want to bring here is that when faced with choices, when you have a different choice, and the technology and everything seems to point to another way of doing things, rather than be kept in the old past ways, many individuals come up with ingenious ways to overcome or completely let go of past requirements, and I think that by Google offering this option of cloud computing for the masses, innovations in handling sensitive info may arise thanks to the existence of that option, thanks to it being cheaper upfront, and not only that, but more cost effective. So, even if Google doesn't reap the benefits it's trying to sow, I believe it's a good thing they're putting the option out there, because that's what innovates business and technology, trying stuff out and not always trying to be perfect. As a last comment, I think that this is where these two elements are different: the smartphone has been in use for a while now, so it is something easier to study for a company to decide to compete, which is why I agree with you when you say Google is dropping the ball. But when it comes to cloud computing, the thing is that although it seems it's been a while with us, it's still new ground and technology is still developing to make everything faster and more reliable, so I think Google's step (or bet) on cloud computing is a good thing, even if they end up failing at that particular effort.

Jaqui
Jaqui

after all, Google Android is only a JVM on top of a Linux kernel. There is no way they will ever get good app performance from JJava apps on a handheld device. And the PISS POOR performance from start times on, of every smartphone app proves they have lost the concept of performance and are using either Java or some other bloated application framework.

threeways
threeways

Beta certainly worked fine for the first version of the iPhone: I know because I bought one. It wasn't so much that there were bugs, it was more that key features (how about cut-and-paste, for example!!) were missing. The 3rd party apps are now filling the gap, but there wasn't anything to start with.

edward.vassie
edward.vassie

This is not just a new model for delivering software, it is a new model for doing business. A small company trying to do what Google are doing would be largely ignored. It is very hard to ignore what a company the size of Google is doing. It is right to point out that the Google model does not sit well with the way people currently do buisiness, but we should not assume the current way is the best way. If Google's customers can find how to exploit the new model to grow their own businesses, Google will dominate the market for at least a few decades. If the new model does not work then Google will eventually abandon it, either before or after it destroys Google.

charles.homsy
charles.homsy

Google would be fine, if you are a convenience store or a greasy spoon restaurant and you want the kind of bookkeeping and inventory/menu software the chains have but can't afford. If you're into hi tech R&D, Health care or a field like emergency management, where you have highly sensitive information, you cannot afford to have prying eyes even near a server. Let alone have your IT department trying to work in an environment where they are scared to death of a leak or worse having a server go down unexpectedly and they can't do a thing about it. Posting a question in a forum and hoping you get an answer within a few days if you get one at all, is not my way of helping someone who's multi-billion dollar a year business relies on you're being able to correct a mistake you made in a piece of software.

tbanting
tbanting

you are assuming that Google actually want to make money in these areas in the short term. What better way to spin Microsoft's development wheels than releasing products that compete against them and are free? Google make 98% of their revenue through online ads- Microsoft make 70% of their revenue through windows client, Office and multi-year licensing agreements with Enterprise customers. The 50% Microsoft make through Windows client and office are through OEM software being pre-loaded on new PCs. These are two completely different business models. I see Google's developments as more of an asymetric war against Microsoft- challenging customers to think "Do I really want to spend all this money on Microsoft applications?" google wants success in Smart phone search, Android challenges the Windows Mobile platform, open sourcing it challenges the $15 Microsoft make on the operating system per device. Seeding a market with open source or free software still leaves room for profits from complementary, value added software, hardware and services. This is something alien to Microsoft but very familiar to Google.

AyreWolf
AyreWolf

Ever try to reach Google by phone? Not possible. When a Google app goes sour there is no recourse and you just sit it out until they fix it. Even if its Google's goof they never admit it. But if Google can bring back Clippy to a word processing app I'm for it. L*8*R AyreWolf AyreWolf Aviation

simon.child
simon.child

Every bit of software is always in constant beta. Google just have the guts to let you know there software isnt bug free as most if not all software is. I sure think if google want to have some sort of dominance or market share in the other avenues they wish to pursue they have more than enough money and resources to do what ever it takes. Im no google fan boy but i know they have got the stuff.

Dave Pusey
Dave Pusey

Another problem with Google Apps, is that you need a constand internet connection to be able to use them. If the company internet goes down, you have all your employess unable to do their jobs. At least we traditional software like MS Office, you can still work on your documents without an internet connection. This also applies to laptop users when they dont even have any means of internet access at a specific location.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

As I said in the article, there are things I like about Android. It has potential (and yes, I've seen the latest Android devices). However, the problem is not Android itself. The problem is that Google is trying to use the same approach it uses for the Web (with great success, as you mentioned) and apply it to smartphones and enterprise software. That won't work. Both of those markets will require a lot more discipline and attention to detail. Also, the only point I'm making about Microsoft is that they became the world's largest software company by knowing when products were "good enough" to be accepted by paying customers. That doesn't mean they created great products.

darpoke
darpoke

- just a bit - but I just loved the use of the word 'hidebound'. Great word, love it :-)

dale.r.thompson
dale.r.thompson

Have you ever heard the phrase, "eating your own dog food"? It was coined by a product manager at Microsoft back in the '80s and soon became a motto for using the products you make...and a challenge to live by their quality. Google needs to eat their own dog food and needs to get a better definition of done...one that meets the expectations of the customer. And I don't mean perfect software here, just look at Windows Vista and other products. Sure, they have issues, but the issues do not get in the product user's way in a manner that makes the product onerous to use or unusable. And Microsoft provides good support and generally fixes things quickly and effectively.

adornoe
adornoe

"Beta", to some companies is "lawyer speak" for, "you can't sue us if you encounter problems with our product or if any harm comes to your business because of your use of our product; after all, we did label it as "beta" and not a "final" and "dependable" product.

mattohare
mattohare

They all have good coverage, so they don't have to give a quality experience past that. Also, they're just going with an anti-microsoft culture to give choice. I don't see them dropping the MS platform completely.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

What I'm saying is that Microsoft succeeded in the past by knowing when products were "good enough" to be accepted by the market (consumers and businesses). Now, Google is trying to do the same thing but is misjudging the market for smartphones and enterprise software.

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

"but to argue that MS products are more fit for market because there not in BETA- Vista??" For the love of God, the horse is dead already! All the whipping left to do will just give you tennis elbow or carpal tunnel. The issue has less to do with software being constantly in "beta" and more about what's best for businesses. Unfortunately, I doubt there will be as clear victors in this arena as there were in the previous computer generations.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

just building mobile apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in webOS?

sleech
sleech

How long before we see a Google Docs appliance or Gmail appliance? The search engine appliance already exists. In the meantime, Google Docs, etc, is a credible threat to microsoft in SME or small business.

Krepenzis
Krepenzis

Mostly agree with the parent comment. Like Microsoft in its time has introduced (and still does) new ways of managing the business flows (decentralized applications etc.) Google is making a decent effort to impose their own vision of how it should work. And it is okay as long as it really works...

mckinnej
mckinnej

Google's process is honest. Remember the old axiom, don't buy anything that ends in ".0"? The industry has always relied on users to complete the testing. Google just admits it. Another point is continuing support across versions. If you're using Google Docs, they support you since there is only one version (whatever is in production). Does M$ still support Word 97?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

With Google Gears, you can work offline with Gmail and Google Docs, so that helps address this (very valid) concern.

TechRepublic Reader
TechRepublic Reader

I don't have a Surf board at home. That is not because I don't know how to surf, is just that there is no see/ocean where I live, so it's useless. Categorizing companies for the size of their help desk is a big mistake. Perhaps the fact is that: - Microsoft products are buggy and slow - Google products are not. Hence they don't need so much support as Microsoft does I use Microsoft products, not because I want, because I'm forced by my company. It's true that ITs prefer to use Microsoft products for business, but not because they are better. Just go and ask your IT, and also ask them what are they using for their private business and what would they use if they would be owning the company... it's going to be funny.

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Have you ever heard the phrase, "eating your own dog food"? It was coined by a product manager at Microsoft back in the '80s and soon became a motto for using the products you make...and a challenge to live by their quality. -------- No, that is not copied from Dale's post .. it is copied from a spam email I received this morning. Does Dale receive the same spam that I do .. or is it coincidence? Les.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

We are talking about the same Microsoft, right? Vista is still considered a failure, even after fixing most problems people had. Their support may be okay, but I have never called them directly. Thats why my bosses pay me. And the seven year patch isn't exactly quick.

Fionnmaccumhailus
Fionnmaccumhailus

and it says "we're not responsible" in any case, beta or production release.

Jaqui
Jaqui

than Google's screwup with Android. Until the reality of the fact that a hand held device is effectively nothing but embedded programming, meaning they should be looking at both performance and resource usage, not at which bloatware technology they can cram into an app, You are going to get poor performance.

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

But who still uses Word 97? There needs to be some kind of intelligent example made. There are situations where over-exaggeration just makes you look silly. I'm not trying to be mean, but the point, if I can get to it, is that when deciding what software to buy for a given purpose, people don't generally think about software version numbers. They want Office07, not Office07 ver. 1.0.2.

charles.homsy
charles.homsy

It made one of my employees laptop completely and irreversibly useless. I had to pull the hard drive and reimage it just to get it to boot, the laptop is only six months old. Because we use Groove at least he didn't have to spend the time to rebuild everything that was on it.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

he thought it was a really good quote? :)

SKDTech
SKDTech

It will still come down to whether or not the program adequately performs its designed function with acceptable levels of reliability. The EULA does not release the company from delivering on its promises regardless of what legalese is present.

darpoke
darpoke

Most people have moved on since Word 97, granted (I'm OO myself, but still). But anyone who had used it would naturally have a number of files created with it. If there's no ongoing support, then people become reliant on backwards compatibility for continued access to these files, that they themselves created, to which they have every right. Since Redmond themselves barely documented early versions of Word, let alone adopt backwards compatibility in their new Office suites (why, how else do you enforce an upgrade??) - what happens to this effectively orphaned data?

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

When I worked for a University we still had to support Windows95 machines (this was in 05). Granted, most students didn't use them, but the Professors would be damned before they gave up their computers.

zgedeon
zgedeon

The phrase "works for my org" sounds similar. Other orgs have different needs and requirements. I can not agree more with the author that some companies need to know where their data are at any given moment, and may need to be physically separated from other data and secure. But that does not mean that Google can not make a dent in the subset of organizations that do not have to follow such stringent regulations. What they may need for enterprise is to expand their idea of OneBox to other domains. OneBox mail/wave server? While they may not replace corporate software right now, they may get their fair share (and are already getting some) of revenue by augmenting the services of enterprise software by adding value providing their vast database access for corporate world.

LyleTaylor
LyleTaylor

did you manage to get paid to be a Google Apps customer? ;-)

soul1239
soul1239

We've been a paid Google Apps customer for about 6 months and we regularly use their in-browser offline mode via Google Gears (or use the new Outlook plugin).

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