June 17, 2014, 4:50 PM — Google says it's in the enterprise cloud market to stay and and will continue to cut prices as it competes with Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and HP.
- Company: Google, Inc.
- Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
- Employees: 50,000
- 2013 Revenue: $60 billion
- CEO: Larry Page
- What They Do: Google's general mission is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and it's best known for search and online advertising technologies. But along the way it built up a stack of data center services that enterprises can rent for scalable IT infrastructure and applications.
In March, Google rebranded its infrastructure and platform hosted services as Google Cloud Platform and set about persuading enterprises to migrate their applications to Google's compute, storage and application services.
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IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard made similar marketing blitzes, as if they all realized the cloud might actually have legs. "I don't think anyone in 2014 believes that enterprise IT won't move to the cloud," says Brian Goldfarb, head of Google Cloud Platform marketing.
Google cut prices to beat those of chief rival Amazon Web Services (AWS); AWS and Microsoft immediately countered by slashing their own prices. But Google vowed to keep cutting prices to match the declining costs of the storage and processors that power the cloud. "We believe, fundamentally, it should never be cheaper to run IT yourself, ever," Goldfarb says. "We want customers to focus on their core business."
Until now, Google mostly let the security, reliability and speed of its technology do the talking.
"When it comes to the data center, we're able to out-invest, out-innovate and out-focus pretty much anyone else doing this," Goldfarb says. For example, it was a Google researcher who discovered the Heartbleed vulnerability.
"We're on top of [security] in a way no one else could be," he says.
But Google hasn't had much experience with corporate IT departments. "For the enterprise decision-maker, it's not just about the technology and pricing, but [also about] a partner ecosystem and road maps that show where the products will go," says Nucleus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann.
Plus, there have been a few disconcerting cases where Google abruptly discontinued products--Google Wave and Google Reader to name two. Would enterprises be left in the lurch should Google decide cloud isn't important to its bottom line after all?