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Google organizes hardware business for growth

Posted: May 02, 2016   /   By: Mark Bowker   /   Tags: Enterprise mobility

cloud_workspaces.jpgWith PC sales on the decline, Intel is eliminating thousands of jobs while Apple and IBM are doing their best to feed the enterprise appetite for mobile apps and devices. Meanwhile, Google recognizes how workstyles are rapidly changing and is regrouping its hardware business units to potentially capitalize on innovative business trends that are altering employee behavior and the way end-users connect, interact, and consume applications.

As an initial step, former Motorola chief, Rick Osterloh, is now back at Google as SVP, running Goggle’s new hardware product line. His responsibilities will include Nexus, Chromecast, Chromebooks, Pixel C, OnHub, ATAP, and Glass.

ESG has already observed a potential swing towards Google Chromebooks in the enterprise, as discussed in the recent ESG brief, “Is the Google Chromebook Business-ready?” What’s more, it’s a well-known fact that Chromebooks are outselling Apple products in the education market — and now Google is hoping to bring that momentum to the enterprise. How? By organizing additional hardware divisions within Google under a passionate leader who is going to potentially align go-to-market initiatives, synthesize roadmaps, and ideally deliver improved operational efficiency that will yield innovation and positive business results in the form of expanded or net new revenue streams. A tall order to be sure.

Compared to well-seated IT vendors, Google doesn’t have a whole lot of credibility inside of businesses, missing the mark when it comes to delivering trustworthiness and confidence to executive decision-makers. But then, some of this may be due to the fact that they don’t really have a good story to share.

Today, the mix of Google hardware looks a lot like a few loosely-coupled, consumer-grade solutions sprinkled with business-focused potential — but I would suspect that this is an initial move to tear into businesses, and disrupt their existing solutions. If Google can leverage this reorganization (with their new leader at the hardware helm) as a way to begin conditioning businesses to look more closely at Google solutions and begin to address the pain points of business leaders, I think we will start to see some real momentum build. Expect Google to seek ways to catalyze business initiatives with hardware, apps, and cloud-based consumption models that will rattle the market further in 2016.

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Mark Bowker

Senior Analyst Mark Bowker focuses on all things related to virtualization and cloud computing. Mark researches cloud and virtualization technologies and evaluates the impact the solutions have (or will have) on IT strategy and the broader marketplace. His other research areas include data center management, application workload deployment in next-generation data centers, and the external influences driving adoption of data center technologies.

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