Home Key Moment For Web Office: Google Acquires Postini, Hosted Security and Compliance Provider

Key Moment For Web Office: Google Acquires Postini, Hosted Security and Compliance Provider

Just a week after acquiring online telephony service GrandCentral, Google has announced
the $625M purchase of Postini – a company that offers “on-demand communications security
and compliance solutions serving more than 35,000 businesses and 10 million users
worldwide.” The press release noted:

“Postini’s services — which include message security, archiving, encryption, and
policy enforcement — can be used to protect a company’s email, instant messaging, and
other web-based communications.”

Google’s Web Office ambitions are being well and truly fleshed out in 2007. CEO Eric
Schmidt says that “with this transaction, we’re reinforcing our commitment to delivering
compelling hosted applications to businesses of all sizes.” In other words, Google Apps
isn’t just for small and medium sized businesses anymore.

This Postini acquisition, more than any other previous development or acquisition,
marks Google’s entry into Web Office for enterprises (of course we already knew they were competing with Microsoft in office software, but now there’s no denying it). As Rajen Sheth, Product Manager,
Google Apps,
noted on the Official Google Enterprise Blog
, “larger organizations are frequently
forced to choose between taking advantage of the latest innovations that will make
employees more productive and ensuring security and corporate compliance.” The
implication being that enterprises have thus far been reluctant to use Google Apps due to
security and compliance reasons – preferring the more robust, desktop-based solutions
offered by the likes of Microsoft and IBM. Sheth also mentioned Google’s recent release of
email migration tools, which “have already been used to migrate millions of email
messages from legacy systems over to Google Apps.” See also the blog post of
Dave Girouard
, Vice President & General Manager, Google Enterprise; who extends the theme of servicing enterprises.

Finally, I thought the NY Times had a good
take on this
– summarizing how Google’s Web Office is evolving. Concluded Saul

“…if Google does succeed in convincing companies to accept advertising on their
internal systems, it may become the replacement for trade journalism. Instead of
advertising your widget maker in Widgets Today, you could simply buy an ad on Google that
will appear every time someone reads an e-mail or writes a presentation about making

That’s several steps down the road, of course, but Google is playing this game
for the long term.”

Google is of course already experimenting with this, as there are ads in Gmail now. But I
agree with Hansell, Google is in this Web Office game for the long haul – and right now
they are buying all the right companies and slowly piecing the jigsaw together. I think we’ll look back on the Postini acquisition as the day when Google officially jumped into the Web Office for Enterprise space, even though they’d been building up to it for some time.

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