SM: Yes. Your point is well taken that there are definitely some gaps in Google’s offering in Google Apps, but there is also a substantial amount of business going to Google, from what I gather, because of the incredible cost structure that they have created.
PR: It’s free, yes, it is free … for the most part.
SM: And there are solutions to the gaps. We have a company in One Million by One Million that actually works with Google Apps to plug some of the gaps of Google Apps to do exactly, you know, plug gaps that come up in the Lotus Notes migration process.
PR: Yes, I think the SMBs, more the small businesses and smaller side of medium businesses, probably are going to shift to that a lot more easily. But when it comes down to enterprise scale and what you want to do with usability and how large a user is, it’s kind of hard to use some of that stuff. Maybe I’m biased because I’m ex-Microsoft.
SM: You have good reason to be biased.
PR: No, it’s not that. I have some customers of ours that use that, and we’ve done some integration. It’s challenging. It is challenging.
SM: All right, Azure-specific trends, what are you seeing in Azure-specific trends?
PR: I think Azure is probably the most formidable platform to contend with and for customers to take a serious view of.
SM: That’s a big statement. Sell me on that versus the other SaaS platforms.
PR: The other SaaS platforms, to look at them from a PaaS platform perspective, the SaaS platforms are different. [With] Force.com, the centricity of that application is your CRM application, and then everything that emerges around it.
SM: Having said that, Force.com is the most widely adopted SaaS platform right now.
PR: It is because it is an application.
SM: Force.com is not an application; Salesforce.com is an application.
PR: Salesforce.com is an application, but I would say that if you look ahead at how the adoption took place, it took place around the CRM application.
SM: Yes, but they had a strong entry position into the market because of the deep penetration into the CRM system, no question about it. It was much easier for Force.com to establish itself as a platform because of that strong foothold in CRM, absolutely, no question about it.
PR: My view, the reason I say that is because number one, I have never seen so much openness from Microsoft in working with heterogenesis one, Ruby on Rails, a Python or other Unix platforms, and there’s this fundamental shift that’s come in the way they’ve thought about the emergence of Microsoft Azure in the heterogenesis one with them. So, a big part of making it enterprise ready was making sure that it works with other systems and other platforms so that integration would be easy.
The second piece is they started off with PaaS, right, but the significant investments that they’re making on the infrastructure-as-a-service side and the improvements that we’re going to see in those areas will make it comprehensive to actually have a hybrid scenario where a lot of the Windows and SQL Server and SharePoint and some of those workloads that are running could be leveraged using their infrastructure-as-a-service, and the apps that need specific portions of the cloud for scale, computation or integration, the PaaS platforms would serve very well.
This is an area where Microsoft is very well positioned. Amazon, obviously, has a head start as a platform from the infrastructure side; however, the channel, the eco-system and the adoption of all of the server products that Microsoft lends itself to execute well could do well in this space.