In a surprise move today, Google announced it was buying enterprise development platform startup bebop and making its founder, Diane Greene head of Google’s enterprise cloud business.
Greene boasts an impressive background as one one of the co-founders and former CEO at VMware. Her company had been operating in stealth up until today’s acquisition.
Google made the move official in a blog post by CEO Sundar Pichai. He said Greene will run a new integrated enterprise cloud businesses, that will combine Google for Work, Cloud Platform, and Google Apps with a new consolidated product, engineering, marketing and sales team that was missing before this, Pichai explained in the blog post.
While he cited 60 percent Google cloud penetration in the Fortune 500, the company seemed to lack a coherent enterprise cloud effort up until now.
R Ray Wang, founder at Constellation Research says Greene brings real enterprise chops to the table with her background at VMware. “They need someone [like her] who can deliver consumer-grade experiences but enterprise-class scale and platform thinking,” Wang told TechCrunch.
Steve Herrod, managing partner at venture capitalist General Catalyst and former CTO at VMware agreed. “She is awesome and immediately changes the game for Google’s cloud efforts,” Herrod wrote in an email. “The engineering team at bebop was outstanding as well and they’ll bring a ton of enterprise DNA to Google,” he added.
While Google is one of the earliest cloud companies, and has made great headway with consumers, it has struggled to keep pace with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and IBM in the enterprise.
It was clearly a sign that Google intends to put them all on notice that they are serious about platform, infrastructure and software in the enterprise.
When you think of cloud services, Google is a company that epitomizes the term. Whether Google Docs, Google Drive, GMail or Google Calendar; these are the types of core cloud services that many consumers (including myself) rely on, on a daily basis.
The Chromebook computer is cloud-driven, designed to run all of your apps from Google and others in the Chrome browser (and also run some Android apps outside the browser).
Google has tried to make headway in the enterprise with work versions of those tools packaged together as Google Apps for Work, but the company suffered a big blow in July when early Google Apps customer GE chose Microsoft Office 365 for its massive 300,000 employee deployment.
Perhaps feeling the sting of that loss, Google launched a promotion last month where it would let companies under enterprise agreement with a competing product, use Google Apps for Work for free.
While Google clearly has the cloud chops to compete strongly with Microsoft, Amazon and others, what it has been lacking up until today is leadership with a clear understanding of the enterprise. Greene gives them that.
What’s more, Pichai hinted strongly in the blog post that this much more than an acqui-hire, writing that “bebop is a new development platform that makes it easy to build and maintain enterprise applications.” He added, it could help aid in integration across the entire cloud platform.
Greene has been a member of the Google board of directors for the past three years and will remain in that role. She will report to Pichai. The entire bebop team will join Google as part of the acquisition as soon as it has been completed.