Posted by: Rob Hof on July 9, 2007
When we wrote about the launch last February of Google Apps Premier Edition, some analysts I talked to questioned how serious the search giant was about its online office applications suite, beyond a poke in the eye to Microsoft (which always seemed like a silly assumption anyway—Google folks aren’t stupid, after all).
Today, they have their answer with Google’s $625 million purchase of Postini, which provides email security and compliance services (plus spam filtering, but that clearly isn’t the main reason Google did this deal). Basically, lack of security and compliance services has been perhaps the biggest obstacle to Google getting big companies to sign up for Google Apps. They have practical, legal, and regulatory requirements to secure and archive their emails, and Google’s assurance that its service was safer than hosting it themselves just didn’t cut it. Dave Girouard, general manager for Google Enterprise, said customers who want hosted services just don’t want to put the pieces together themselves, so Google needs to do that itself.
Plus, Postini’s 35,000 customers are a nice, readymade list for Google’s enterprise salespeople to mine. Google still has to overcome concerns about whether any hosted service will be acceptable to big enterprises. But no one can now mistake whether online office applications are one of the company’s key pushes beyond search.