How Google’s New App Store Impacts Microsoft, Amazon, and Startups

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store. Elena Donio, executive vice president and general manager of emerging business at Concur (NASDAQ: CNQR), says the company’s technology is used by 10,000 companies and millions of employees around the world. Meanwhile, CEO Steve Singh recently joined Seattle-based Voyager Capital’s advisory board, so he is well-connected to the startup scene and is sure to hear what developers like and dislike about the new Google store.

Skytap, a Seattle cloud-computing startup, is selling its service that helps companies manage their data, processing, and networking online (in the cloud), using their existing enterprise applications. Skytap as a Google App is particularly interesting because it is actually providing cloud infrastructure to small and medium-size businesses that could become a viable competitor to the offerings from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Smartsheet, a Bellevue, WA-based startup focused on software to help workers better collaborate and manage projects, is marketing its application alongside Google’s spreadsheet. So businesses can track things like sales pipelines, marketing events, and IT projects in one unified spreadsheet-like layout. Executive chairman and co-founder Brent Frei says it’s a “pretty momentous occasion” for Smartsheet, and that Google’s new marketplace “amps up their drag race with Microsoft in the business apps space.”

For all the other tech startups out there, Frei offered his early reviews of how Google is doing with its online app store.

He says Smartsheet needed a big distribution channel where it could be “visible and competitive,” and where the distributor would be “helpful and responsive.” Google provides all that, he says. What’s more, Frei says Smartsheet chose to integrate with Google Apps in part because it has lots of users—25 million people at 2 million companies—and because “their marketplace is new and relatively uncluttered.” That means his company doesn’t “have to compete with 30 other vendors in the same category.” (As compared to the 800 or so existing business apps in Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, for example.)

“There’s nearly always an advantage to being part of a market leader’s launch of something new and important,” Frei says. “They need the vendors participating with them to be successful as validation to others to join in.”

Interestingly, Frei once told me that he wanted to create “the Google for team-task management.” He seems a little closer to achieving that goal today.

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16 responses to “How Google’s New App Store Impacts Microsoft, Amazon, and Startups”

  1. David Chou says:

    Hi Gregory, it might be interesting to take a look at Microsoft Pinpoint – http://pinpoint.microsoft.com, which is actually Microsoft’s version of an enterprise app marketplace. Pinpoint was launched back in October 2009 so some may interpret that Google’s app marketplace is actually a response to Microsoft Pinpoint.

    And Pinpoint doesn’t include just cloud-based enterprise apps; it intends to be the app marketplace for all types of business apps. From the “about” page on the Pinpoint website:

    On Pinpoint you’ll find:
    – More than 7,000 software application listings.
    – More than 30,000 Microsoft-technology experts.
    – The largest, most diverse set of Microsoft business-platform offerings in the industry in a central location.

  2. Thanks, David — I’ve heard a bit about Microsoft Pinpoint and Dallas, but didn’t get a chance to include it in the story. Will look into it.

    Greg

  3. Shawn says:

    I think this is a great plan by Google, and a natural extension out from their other marketplace for Android. The overall goal is to make their products as successful as possible, so why not invite others to participate in a manner that increases the use and adoption of Google Apps (and thus takes away market share and revenue from Microsoft)? OnState ( http://www.onstate.com/google ) has integrated both our virtual call center and virtual PBX products into Google Apps, and both were launched in the Apps Marketplace last week. With these additions, now users can get the SaaS benefits of resiliency, scalability, and workforce virtualization along with the power of Google Apps; full customer collaboration from anywhere at any time!