There's a big, fat growth market staring Google in the face and it looks like the search-engine giant is finally ready to grab it: enterprise software.
"Our goal is to get to the 90 percent of users who don’t need to have the most advanced features of Office," Amit Singh, a Google VP and head of its Enterprise unit told AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldahl, in a Q&A.
Google generates about $1 billion from five businesses that sell products and services to the enterprise. That's almost a rounding error for Google. 96% of its revenue come from ads, so its enterprise products account for a mere 4%.
But Google ramped up its enterprise business in several ways this year. It launched a full-on "infrastructure-as-a-service" cloud, Compute Engine, that competes head on with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. It introduced Drive, which let's Google App users store any type of document in the cloud. It eliminated the free version of its Google Apps, and is now charging companies with 10 employees or less. It launched the next-generation of Chromebooks and introduced its first ever PC-like device for businesses, the Chromebox.
All of this meant that Google gained credibility with enterprises and that let Google win deals with companies like Roche, BBVA, Dillards, Kohl’s and Office Depot.
That's significant. Until recently, Google wasn't prepared to take on really big companies. It couldn't deal with a major, multi-month bid process, Toyota's top IT guy told Business Insider. Before Toyota signed a huge deal for Microsoft's Office 365 cloud, Toyota had asked Google to bid but Google backed out.
That changed in 2012, Singh says, "This was the year where we broke the barrier and got large-scale customer adoption."
Now, Singh is aiming for total domination of the Office software market. "We know the gaps between our features and theirs. We’re improving them week by week. We’re going to get to the 90 percent."
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