eWeek has a good summary today of the state of the cloud-based messaging and collaboration market...

Google finds itself in a daunting position on Feb. 22, the third birthday of Google Apps Premier Edition. The company is trying to dislodge legacy on-premises installations from Microsoft and IBM while fighting off SAAS solutions from those same companies. It also has to compete with new cloud offerings from Cisco Systems, as well as from a slew of startups such as Zoho, Mindtouch and others. But Google, Microsoft and IBM will be the main protagonists in the battle for pre-eminence in the market for cloud, or Web-based, collaboration software.

There's some interesting posturing from my competitors...
Markezich claimed Microsoft has an advantage over Google because customers who choose to migrate to Google Apps from Microsoft or IBM still can't get the migration "spend out."

Moreover, Markezich claimed three-quarters of Microsoft's cloud customers are coming from Lotus Notes, including pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, McDonald's and Pitney Bowes, he added: "The reason they are coming from Notes is they've always wanted to get off of Notes onto Microsoft, but they didn't want to invest in the hardware and skills in that transition. Microsoft Online gives them an easier, faster path to get to a higher caliber communications and collaboration platform."
Translation -- our software is too expensive, but we can buy the business this way.

Google, too, seems to have a weird view:
eWEEK asked Google's [Enterprise President Dave] Girouard how the company can compete with Microsoft and IBM, the incumbents in the enterprise collaboration market.

Girouard pointed to history for incumbents giving way to newfangled approaches in computing. Just as the evolution from mainframes to the client/server model gave birth to Microsoft, the client/server era is giving way to Google and its cloud, Girouard believes. ...  

Girouard argued that all collaboration apps will move to the cloud in the next five years.  He said: "Where are the new apps being built? What app that is not a cloud app has been launched in the last five years? There are none. The best non-cloud app I can think of is probably [Apple's]  iTunes."
It's an interesting story but I would turn it around and say, what innovation has Google demonstrated in this space at all?  We are focused on the future where email isn't the center of the universe, instant messages are a tool and not a wave, and bringing true business value to collaboration -- as we have for the entire history of this market.  Girouard's view won't help him sort out what's important in his inbox (I'm quite sure of this based on a single past attempted interaction), what is needed to make decisions, and to do more than drive commodity pressure in the market.

I'm spending a lot more time on LotusLive, specifically LotusLive Notes conversations with customers, but the conversation starter is often the siren song of cloud/SaaS or commodity price pressure. This article sums up how IBM offers a more comprehensive total solution to customers--on-premises, cloud, or hybrid--with the only real offerings focused on a complete collaboration solution.

Link: eWeek: Google Apps Turns 3 as It Fends Off Microsoft, IBM in the Cloud >

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