I couldn’t be more thrilled that Google is shining a light on Sharepoint. I expected this two months ago. Jive could nevergoogleceiling.jpg illuminate how broken Sharepoint is with the crazy resources and attention that Google has. So having them flash their wiki around as a “Sharepoint Killer” only helps validate that there will be heavy competition and real options for Enterprise-wide collaboration beyond Sharepoint.

It’s just that Google isn’t it and it won’t be a viable option for a long, long time.

They’ll need one hell of a strategy to break into the Enterprise. So far, that strategy is to copy simple, web-based versions of Microsoft applications and give them away for free. But that won’t work and neither nor will proudly touting that they plan to sneak around IT.

Google should take a hard look at Gateway computers. What, you forgot about Gateway? Well, in the 90s, when I worked in Dell’s consumer division, Gateway was rocking the house. Consumers and very small businesses loved Gateway. They were a media darling, too. But Gateway saw future growth from big Enterprise dollars and decided they’d go after Dell’s bread-and-butter. Conversely, Dell started in the Enterprise and was moving down-market. We all know what happened next. Gateway hit the glass ceiling. They spent lots of time and resources on trying to gain credibility and win in the Enterprise space and that distracted them for their core audience. Gateway lost. The Enterprise is just a different market with wholly different requirements.


How does Google plan to sneak around management? You know, the people who have spend billions of dollars on Enterprise software that has to integrate together? Perhaps they think they’ll side-door it like Blackberry and then IT will have to comply. But like I’ve said, Enterprises come looking for “real solutions” once viral wikis pop up. This is no different.

No one is going to look an exec at an Enterprise company in the face and recommend Google as the company’s Sharepoint. Microsoft is laughing at this. They even stole one of my lines and called Google a Frankensuite.

In the meantime, this opens the door for lots of conversation about what would be a good solution for Enterprise collaboration. And that’s a conversation worth having.

  • paisano

    I agree. I am so thrilled that the g-men have jumped into this pool (however ill-prepared they might be) because it will bring a great deal of much needed attention to the enterprise collaboration arena. I’ve been a SharePoint admin for a long time and I’ve blogged a great deal about it (WSS and MOSS) but I am always looking for evolutionary (and revolutionary) technology so you can imagine my constant disappointment with Microsoft regarding this incredible opportunity that they’ve squandered for many years. Products like Jive Software’s ClearSpace should’ve been Microsoft’s wakeup call but I guess Google’s presence (however weak and insufficient it is) in this space MIGHT just awaken the sleeping giant in Redmond. They’re trying to steal vmware’s thunder with their hypervisor but they will lose an incredible golden egg if (when) they lose the market that SharePoint has dominated for so many years. What a shame for them, but all this is great for businesses and for us IT admins.


  • Gary Walter

    Interesting thoughts Sam. I find it fascinating to listen and process the insights you have. Though I’m not in IT, I easily extrapolate lessons into the the real world. I completely see your logic here; however, one thing I tell my clients is “the future is not governed by the past.” If it was, then women should not try to break through the glass ceiling and ethnic minorities should just resign themselves to their present caste.

    One good thing about Google Sites, and other Google products, it lets small start-up users like myself break into the arena of advanced tools that allow us to advance our prospects.

  • Gordon Taylor

    When you have a lot of momentum, (and a lot of mass), it’s _crazy_ hard to change direction – no matter where you’re going.

    So, let the dinosaurs fight it out! I don’t see either of them getting it right anytime soon…Who wants to be the new sharepoint? ew…

  • sam

    @paisano A Sharepoint admin, eh? You’ll bring a lot of good insight to all this shakeup, then. Look forward to learning more.

    @Gary For sure the future isn’t governed by the past. Thats why no tech company has ever been #1 forever (though 20 years for MS is a long time).

    @Gordon I should have used Dino graphics. Next time. :)

  • Sarah


    You make some good points here. (And I love your images, too!)

  • Mundi

    I have been working with WSS and MOSS quite a bit – mainly customizing and writing addins, so I was very curious when Google Sites came out and naturally started testing it right away. It looks like a good start, but is still far far away from what Sharepoint has to offer, and no way I could recommend it to customers.

    Hopefully Google will put a massive effort into developing this further and listen to the comments made in google groups, then we would have a real alternative to MS Sharepoint.