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Do You Think Google's Apps Marketplace Will Eclipse Salesforce.com's AppExchange?

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As Phil Wainewright noted in this blog, last week Google launched their Google Apps Marketplace.  And as Phil writes, "The territory had been a quiet backwater, dominated for the past few years by Salesforce.com's AppExchange." So do you think Google's App Marketplace will eclipse Salesforce.com's AppExchange?

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  • Peter, good question and good timing since I just did post on this on Friday. I will include the link at the bottom, but will paraphrase my points first.

    To me, the Apps Marketplace is more likely another gambit to try to strengthen Google’s position in the Cloud/PaaS market than it is to try to destroy Microsoft’s in the productivity app space…although I don’t doubt it’s an objective. I think that the Google App Marketplace is in direct challenge to SFDC’s AppExchange and SFDC’s attempt to become a Cloud platform company with Force.com. Now I suppose there could be technical coexistence, but as each is trying to build their own app portal and become a PaaS play (Force.com v. AppEngine), there seems to be too many competitive obstacles for me to see them playing together.

    For sure SFDC has a huge lead in terms of apps available on AppExchange (~1,000) versus Google also has several advantages in this battle (if it’s indeed taking place):

    * Openness: It’s true that to connect with either the Apps Marketplace or AppExchange you don’t need to leverage their PaaS platforms, but that’s clearly the direction both Google and SFDC would like you to go. Google by far has a more open PaaS platform where you have much more flexibility in the code choices that you use. Force.com on the otherhand requires you to use their proprietary APEX code which is much more painful to migrate to and, while similar to Java and doesn’t have a terribly steep learning curve, requires your developers to learn a new language and development environment.

    * Rabid Developer Base: You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone who wants to develop on Google these days. As Don Dodge notes in his post about the Apps Marketplace “Building a vibrant ecosystem on a business platform is all about developers. Giving developers an easy way to sell their products to millions of customers is a big plus.? And there is no question that Google is committed to growing it’s developer base.

    * Larger User Base: There’s no question that Salesforce is an giant in the CRM industry with over a billion dollars in revenue and surpassing the million user mark and about 72,500 customers. Compare that with Google’s Apps user base: 25 million people are using Google Apps in more than two million businesses. Add on top of that the 150M users of GMail.

    * Search: Oh yeah, that’s right. Google does search too. Now I’m not saying that somehow Google will automatically bump up Marketplace participants in their search results, but I can see opportunities in the future where companies can enhance the functionality of their products by integrating Google’s search technology directly into their products and that can’t be bad.

    Anyway, if I’m Benioff I’m concerned. But so far it looks like everyone’s playing nice or at least deflecting any discussion. Gundotra only focused on Google’s apps and recently Benioff has been talking about why enterprise software companies aren’t more like Facebook (who Google also seems to have in their sites, although Buzz and Wave have been less than inspiring so far). So I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

    Here's the link to the full post: http://www.softwareindustryinsights.com/2010/03/i-wonder-what-benioff-is-thinking-about-google%E2%80%99s-apps-marketplace/

  • Apps marketplace for a PaaS vendor is a natural evolution of its business model to improve sales and adoption of its technology. We will see even more of those PaaS marketplace poping up in the near future. The challenge for the end user remains the same: how do i avoid vendor locking ? where can i find trustful and unbiased source of information to chose between all those Apps ? how do i interconnect them to run my business ? A vendor neutral enterprise App store like http://www.getapp.com can help.

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