A new bundle that could travel far indeed for both vendors
Microsoft always said the day would come when an innovative competitor would break its grip on the marketplace. That day may be here: Google has landed a whale of a partner in HP to bundle and deliver its Google Apps for Business to the market through the channel.
HP will create the new HP SMB IT in a Box based on its PCs and printers and cloud-based services provided by Google. Essentially, the deal makes HP a Google reseller - perhaps Google's largest reseller.
And HP is greatly expanding Google's total channel universe by allowing its thousands of channel partners around the world to take the bundle to market.
The HP deal is more than just a massive expansion of Google's channel and market potential; it's also about the potential expansion in capabilities and support.
HP plans to complement Google Apps by integrating it into its management console to ease administration and support.
Google Apps has challenged Microsoft's dominance in productivity applications for years and has scored major wins in government agencies and universities. More than five million businesses - mostly small - use Google Apps as their primary productivity suite.
For Microsoft, the HP-Google deal is a major blow. Sales of Windows 8 - the latest version of its flagship operating system - have been sluggish, while Google's Android mobile OS continues to grow its sales.
Microsoft once enjoyed a near-monopoly on the PC. Now manufacturers including Acer, Lenovo and Samsung are marketing PCs and ultrabooks running Google Chrome. And, as noted, Google has proven a formidable challenger to Microsoft in service sales, particularly in government.
While Google still trails behind Microsoft in most measures - product adoption, revenue and channel support - Google is showing its ambitions by tying up with HP.
And, with HP, Google gains access to a proven and reliable channel that could rapidly expand its sales and market share.
Chances are Microsoft will not take this challenge lightly. Expect to see Microsoft dismiss the value of Google Apps (as it always has) and draw partners tighter to maintain its market share in this lucrative segment.
Blog courtesy of CRN.