Google Cloud Hires Former Microsoft Exec With Open Source Pedigree

A former Microsoft exec with a broad range of professional expertise around open source technologies is headed to Google, the Internet giant confirmed on Thursday.

Google wouldn't elaborate on the role Sam Ramji will fill at the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant. A representative told CRN only he'd be taking a position at Google Cloud, the company's recently rebranded enterprise division.

After Ramji left Microsoft in 2009, he worked in some roles leading strategy around the development of open source projects, according to his LinkedIn profile, including his last position as CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which oversees development of the popular Platform-as-a-Service, initially built by Pivotal.

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At Microsoft, Ramji held the title of director of emerging business, working with startups and the venture capital community. Before that, he was senior director of platform strategy, where he drove the world's largest software company's open source and Linux strategy.

Simon Margolis, director of cloud platform at SADA Systems, a Google partner based in Los Angeles, said that while he doesn't know Ramji personally or much about his professional history, the hire makes sense as Cloud Foundry and Google Cloud Platform have a lot in common.

"Both are interested in furthering portability, scalability, and open standards within the growing PaaS ecosystem," Margolis told CRN. "We'd imagine the addition of Ramji to the team could only further those goals from Google's perspective.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based Google partner Cumulus Global, said Ramji's open source pedigree is in line with Google's push to drive greater enterprise adoption of its cloud since most SMBs go with Software-as-a-Service solutions. "This move is clearly targeting enterprise and upper mid-market companies, but may also signal an emphasis on the ISV partnerships," Falcon told CRN.

Ramji has sat on an advisory board for consulting giant Accenture since November 2013, and has a deep roster of positions on boards or in strategy roles for tech vendors like Apigee, an API services platform that Google acquired in September.