Google Just Added A Board Member From A Big Microsoft Rival


Diane Greene

[credit provider=”Mark Aronica” url=””]

has just added a 10th board member: Diane B. Greene, a cofounder and former CEO of VMWare, a leading enterprise computing player.It’s interesting that of all the areas Google is in — consumer Internet services, mobile phones, consumer electronics — they picked a board member frm the enterprise computing world. Particularly, from a company that Microsoft views as one of its top competitors.

That could mean that Google is going to take our advice and begin paying more attention to its Google Apps enterprise business. Apps is already notching up some big wins, but a lot of its parts are still missing key features that they’d need to act as a complete replacement for Microsoft Office and other traditional business software.

VMWare, the company where Greene made her name, makes virtualization software, which basically allows multiple “virtual computers” to run on a single piece of hardware, saving hardware costs. It can also allow multiple different operating systems to run, which lessens the pressure to standardize on Microsoft Windows.

Larry Page did not name Google Apps among his top priorities when he took the CEO job last year, it’s not one of the seven main product groups, and Google does not usually mention it on its earnings calls. It still accounts for less than $1 billion in annual revenue despite being six years old.

But there’s a lot of money suddenly flowing into cloud-based enterprise disruptors again — companies like Box, Workday, and Cloudra are raising big rounds, Jive had a successful IPO, and SAP bought SuccessFactors for more than $3 billion.

Maybe Google figured it was time to start paying more attention to this trend.

Or maybe they just wanted another technical outsider on the board.

Google’s board currently consists of nine people, but three are company execs and one –John Doerr — is a VC from Google’s original big investor. So having more outside blood could make the board stronger, and more able to stand up to questionable decisions by its executive leadership.

Google did not make Greene available for comment.

Here’s the full list, not including Greene.

  • Larry Page
  • Eric E. Schmidt
  • Sergey Brin
  • L. John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • John L. Hennessy, Stanford University
  • Ann Mather
  • Paul S. Otellini, Intel Corporation
  • K. Ram Shriram, Sherpalo Ventures
  • Shirley M. Tilghman, Princeton University