New Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian says he's borrowing from the Oracle playbook to help catch up to Amazon and Microsoft

Flickr/Oracle PRGoogle Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.
  • Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told The Wall Street Journal that he planned to borrow some strategies from Oracle to help the search giant catch up to its peers Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in the cloud wars.
  • Kurian said Google Cloud would work on serving specific markets, expand the sales force, and invest in technology that would allow it to serve customers on those other clouds too.
  • Kurian estimated that Google Cloud’s sales team was one-tenth to one-fifteenth the size of those at AWS and Microsoft Azure, but he plans to get that ratio up to half.
  • Kurian spent over two decades at Oracle before joining Google early this year.
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Right now, Google is widely considered to be lagging far behind Amazon and Microsoft when it comes to the cloud. But the new Google Cloud CEO, Thomas Kurian, plans to change that with some strategies he learned from the more than two decades he spent at Oracle.

Kurian told The Wall Street Journal that he planned to have Google Cloud massively expand its sales team and develop new technology that allows programmers to develop applications that run on all three clouds – the same way that Java, the Oracle-owned programming language, has become an industry standard.

And, like at Oracle, he plans to have Google Cloud home in on and provide products for specific industries like healthcare, retail, finance, or the automotive industry. In general, he said, he wants to take inspiration from Oracle’s expertise in working with (and selling to) large enterprise customers.

“There are certain things that you learn having dealt with enterprise customers for 22 years,” Kurian told The Journal.

Kurian estimated that Google Cloud’s sales team was one-tenth to one-fifteenth the size of those at Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. But he said his goal is making Google Cloud’s sales teams half the size of its peers. Though this may be a high bar to reach, Kurian told The Journal that Oracle showed it’s possible by adding as many as 4,000 employees to its sales team in a year.

But some customers told The Journal that they hoped Kurian would not bring Oracle’s hardball sales tactics to Google Cloud along with these tactics.

Kurian’s comments to The Journal echoed his previous public statements. In February, Kurian said he planned to expand Google Cloud’s customer-support team, addressing one of the most regular complaints about the company, while also pledging to go after specific industries.


Read more:
The new CEO of Google Cloud explains the updated master plan for taking on Amazon Web Services

“Historically, people have thought Google has a strong presence in the digital-native community,” Kurian said in February. “Over the last 12 months, we’ve shifted our strategy to go after more traditional industries … We’re going to specialize our sales team to talk to specific industries in the language of the industry.”

Kurian became Google Cloud’s CEO in January, replacing Diane Greene.

Read the full Wall Street Journal story ยป

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