Google's Enterprise Charge Sets Stage For Epic Battle With Microsoft

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"For established enterprise consumers who have lived their professional lives on Microsoft products, the user experience of switching to Google is quite painful," Bean told CRN. "I think the UI of Google's apps will need a dramatic improvement if they truly are going to compete."

Google tapped an 11-year Microsoft veteran in Shahla Aly to help drive the enterprise transformation. Aly is a one-time Microsoft CIO and former vice president of information technology sales and marketing for the software giant.

"Bringing talent into the organization is something we're always doing from anywhere we can find it. Smart people influencing the work we're doing, that's a testament to the culture," Goldfarbsaid.

Goldfarb himself is an ex-Microsoft executive, having served as director of product marketing for Windows Azure up until May 2012.

"We've been heavily investing in our teams, across the board from sales to engineering. We have thousands of employees in enterprise, and we're growing fast and hiring the best in the industry with decades of combined enterprise experience," Goldfarb said.

Chris Hertz, CEO Washington, D.C.-based New Signature, a Microsoft partner with strong enterprise customer relationships, said he is skeptical that a few hires will make a difference in transforming Google into an enterprise-strong software organization.

"Google is a long way from being enterprise-ready," he told CRN.

And it's got a long road ahead if it seeks to match Microsoft's enterprise prowess, he added.

"Talk is cheap when it comes to being enterprise, and actions speak louder than words," Hertz said.

Google's "behavior doesn't strike me as enterprise-ready, or even in alignment with most enterprise expectations on core areas like cloud privacy," Hertz said, pointing out it's only been a few months since Google incurred the wrath of education officials for scanning student Gmail accounts.

Hertz compared that embarrassing episode "to the maturity of Microsoft's stance on cloud privacy."

"Plenty of companies have tried to move from consumer to enterprise and not made enough money quickly enough, only to abandon enterprise goals and refocus on the consumer," Hertz said. "On the other hand, Microsoft is a sure thing that has demonstrated continued relevance by successfully transitioning to a cloud services business model."

This article originally appeared as an exclusive on the CRN Tech News App for iOS and Windows 8.

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