Google can equivocate and prevaricate all it wants, but there’s no question that it has territorial designs on Microsoft Office/Exchange enterprise dominance.
In announcing today that it intends to acquire messaging security-services specialist Postini for $625 million in cash — just a mere pittance drawn from Google’s enormous cash mountain — Google signaled undeniably that it is serious about turning its evolving suite of online business-productivity applications into an increasingly credible rival to Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office.
So far, the GoogleApps hosted suite of business applications — which includes email, instant messaging, calendaring, and word processing — has been adopted by a growing number of small businesses but made relatively minor headway with larger companies, which look askance at web-based software services that typically lack enterprise-class security, compliance, and archiving.
Hence, Google’s acquisition of Postini, which runs data centers that process and protect email traffic and instant messages. Postini counts more than 11 million users at 35,000 firms, and it was estimated to be on track for approximately $110 million in revenue this year.
The acquisition makes sense on multiple levels.
Google is a purveyor of service-based Internet software; Postini provides security services over the Internet. Both companies are in the business of providing cost-effective, easy-to-use enterprise solutions that enable customers to get up and running quickly. It’s conceivable that Google’s customers could become Postini’s customers and vice versa. Finally, since both companies are based in the Bay Area, it should be relatively easy for Google to assimilate Postini’s personnel and integrate its operations and infrastructure into the Google way.