Is Google a software company? And more precisely, is Google going after Microsoft’s Office, Exchange and other cash cows with its own suite of mostly-free online apps?
“Yes, we provide products and services to enterprises, but we are not a traditional enterprise software company,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations. With that and comments about how Google’s applications are all about online collaboration, Ms. Sandberg artfully skirted the questions posed by Fortune writer Adam Lashinsky during a panel at the magazine’s iMeme conference in San Francisco regarding the growing collision course between Google and Microsoft.
Next to Ms. Sandberg, was Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s senior vice president and chief advertising strategist, who also downplayed the competition between the two. “From our perspective, we look at all types of competitive products out there,” Mr. Mehdi said. “We feel very good about our set of products,” Mr. Mehdi said, noting that Office is used by some 500 million people worldwide. (Google said it has more than 100,000 businesses using its apps.)
And so the two companies keep trying to avoid a war of words – at least one involving software applications. But neither has called to complain when we’ve written about what seems to be increasingly obvious: Google is going after Microsoft’s applications cash cow. Whether Google will make dent in it remains to be seen.