Microsoft: We Will Steal Google's Lunch

A Microsoft corporate vice president talked about the company's business prospects, including competition with Google, at a Barclays event on Tuesday.

Robert Youngjohns, Microsoft's president of North American sales and marketing, fielded questions at the Barclays Capital Technology Conference in San Francisco. As might be expected of a marketing executive, Youngjohns was fairly bullish about Microsoft's prospects, particularly with regard to cloud computing and the enterprise software markets.

Youngjohns also played up Microsoft flagging efforts to catch up with Google's search market share. With regard to search, some people say that Microsoft should just concede to Google, Youngjohns said. However, Microsoft isn't giving up because it needs to "attack someone who is attacking us," he explained.

"We think we can change the rules around search and that's why we're charging so hard with Bing," Youngjohns said. He added that Microsoft wants to "steal [Google's] lunch on search" and that "we clearly are concerned about [Google's] Android and Chrome." Microsoft will leverage its ecosystem of products to compete with Google, he explained.

Microsoft is also going strong after releasing a number of 2010 products. Last month, the company released Exchange 2010 as a final product, as well as betas of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, among others. Microsoft's challenge now is "to get customers excited about deploying our recent releases," Youngjohns said, noting that many customers still see Microsoft through its older products, like Office 2003.

The two key applications that businesses typically need are collaboration and workplace management tools, Youngjohns said. Microsoft addresses those needs with its SharePoint and Dynamics products, respectively, as well as Microsoft Office, he explained.

While CIOs in the past have said that Microsoft's enterprise software "wasn't ready for prime time," that perception is changing with the new releases of Windows Server and SQL Server, Youngjohns said. He added that Microsoft has cases studies showing that Windows Server 2008 R2 is ready for mission-critical, tier-1 application support.

On the server virtualization front, Microsoft has been achieving market differentiation through its System Center management products, Youngjohns said. Desktop virtualization is an area where there's been a lot of interest, but companies have not realized infrastructure cost savings by deploying that technology, he added.

Youngjohns touted Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing initiative as "fundamentally different from other cloud computing structures." Microsoft offers its customers the ability to deploy on premises, in the cloud or use a hybrid approach. In particular, Microsoft has been seeing "very heavy interest in hosted Exchange," he said. He expected to see applications that require scale, like e-mail, increasingly moving into the cloud. Microsoft's transition to serving customers through the cloud hasn't been difficult to do because it already sells long-term annuity agreements to businesses, he added.

Finally, Youngjohns presented Windows 7's release in October as a positive note for Microsoft, especially among consumers. The netbooks market was initially seen as problematic for Microsoft, but "we've done really well" there, he said.

Enterprise sales of PCs with Windows 7 represent a different case because it takes between six months to 18 months to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7, he said. He added that IT departments also have to do user training, which can seem like a limiting prospect if you have 20,000 to 30,000 users.

An audio recording of Youngjohns' talk can be accessed at Microsoft's investor relations Web page here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Fri, Jul 22, 2011 Trevon I can't believe you're not playing with me--that was so helpufl.

I can't believe you're not playing with me--that was so helpufl.

Mon, Dec 14, 2009 jarjar

LOL "Google's inconsistent stance on privacy..." Would you mind enlightening us as to how microsoft's stance on protecting user anonymity is any better than google's? Looks to me google's policy is better than microsoft's (google clears out IP search association after 9 months while Bing's is 18months.

Mon, Dec 14, 2009 Ayan India

I think the claim is supportive to the nature of business, MS currently engaged to. They always try to repackage things with lucrative wrappers. Users like MS for their usability not sa they embark for new technologies. Yes Microsoft can steal Google's lunch but unfortunately only when the Google people have set for a dinner.

Sat, Dec 12, 2009 Fed Up

I am just terrifically fed up with Microsoft's arrogance. And there is one of their managers on our city council, also. He has the arrogant attitude too: city residents don't have a clue and should not speak up. As to SW, Sharepoint "for everything" is crippling my large company's enterprise. The ditched a lot of beautiful and fast web apps in favor of sluggish ugly Sharepoint.

Sat, Dec 12, 2009 Alberto Miami, FL

Microsoft owns the PC, and Google owns the internet. As we slowly transcend towards having PCs who's applications are powered on the internet, Microsoft will slowly lose it's dominance in the PC world. It's like looking into a crystal ball, Google will eventually keep it's lunch, and instead eat Microsoft's.

Fri, Dec 11, 2009 Fred

I use both Google and Bing. But what it comes to which one should be my default search engine, I definitely choose Google. When I used Bing as my default search engine, I had considerable down time. Thus, I use Google as my default engine, and when I need to see some other alternatives to my search, I try Bing.

Fri, Dec 11, 2009 Henri de Feraudy Laval France

Every time I have tried Bing I have been so disappointed by the result that I told myself I wont be trying that again.

Fri, Dec 11, 2009 Eiren London

Bing has replaced Google as our preferred search tool, and Office will continue to be our preffered platform as Google's inconsistent stance on privacy has shown their true colours. We've been very pleased with the 2010 platforms - they are an excellent update to 2007 and, coupled with Windows 7, show that Microsoft has definitely NOT lost their way. Glad to see they're finally taking the gloves off!

Thu, Dec 10, 2009

tested 2010 products of Microsoft.. utter waste.. Don't know what they do after researching for so many years..

Wed, Dec 9, 2009 jeff

I wish someone could have asked about the horrible (almost non existent) marketing job on Zune HD. Almost no advertising, no brand awareness, no shelf space, no retail support, no promotions, no marketing basically. A product that has been received as the best pmp by critics and the few who actually own it. Product satisfaction 90%+, brand awareness 10% or less, something is wrong with marketing. Another interesting question would have been on windows mobile, with a product satisfaction of less tha 10% and awful critic reviews, I wonder what is the marketing strategy.

Wed, Dec 9, 2009 Mr. X

To say that Microsoft *will* steal Google's lunch and to say it *wants* to steal Google's lunch are two different points. Which position did Youngsjohns really take?

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