Despite its huge investments in technology, leading position in the Web application, search and advertising businesses and as the role model for the current generation of tech-related businesses, Google is "failing," according to Tom Rizzo, senior director of online services.
At least, it's failing in the enterprise, where it hasn't attracted customers because it doesn't understand their priorities, need for privacy or need for reliability.
It's funny, but I seem to remember competitors, analysts and end users all accusing Microsoft of not understanding the needs of business, the needs of big business, the needs of data centers within big businesses, the need for services in addition to software within businesses of any size, the use or role of either cloud or SAAS, and the need for software not to crash, melt down and delete data while calling the user names.
To this day Microsoft's error messages are completely incomprehensible and its Help functions are useful only as a way to give false hope to an end users you really don't like.
My favorite line in the interview:
Q: Are you saying Google doesn't understand business?
Rizzo: Yeah, Google doesn't understand the commercial business...We understand those things because we grew up in the enterprise.
Steve Jobs usually gets more credit for inventing the reality distortion field, but Microsofties are the unquestioned masters of casting one's own sins onto others while claiming up is down, gravity is optional and dark is a standard.
(OK, there are two rivals: Tarik Aziz, who claimed Saddam Hussein's army would wipe out the Americans the moment they stepped across the border, despite the noise of U.S. troops joy-riding through downtown Baghdad. And Dick Cheney, who really did make the light dark, make up down and whom gravity would not touch -- because it found him revolting.)
So Rizzo is right, in Microsoft terms. Google is failing in the enterprise, because many Microsoft customers have chosen to continue using Microsoft products such as Office -- because few other options exist, licensing deals penalize switchers and the migration itself is difficult, especially for user populations of any real size.
As Rizzo points out, Google has been selling (or offering, mostly free) business-oriented products for about four or five years. With that much experience Microsoft's technology had developed far less than Google's has, and its business acumen had increased only to the point that it was able to put the screws to its own vendor partners (mainly IBM), not yet every vendor or end-user company with whom it came in contact.
That's Google. By comparison, a complete failure.