Nick Carr hears that Microsoft (MSFT) has begun briefing corporations on its forthcoming Google App killer (a.k.a., web-based Office). We’ll believe this product when we see it. Microsoft should have launched a cloud-based Office three years ago, and the baby-steps it has taken since then haven’t persuaded us that it will ever really be able to respond.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Microsoft didn’t launch a Google app killer. It just extended hosted Exchange and Sharepoint to all customers. Another baby-step.
In any event, TechCrunch jumps from this news to the thesis that Microsoft or Google (GOOG) will soon up the corporate cloud-computing ante by making a bid for Salesforce.com (CRM), at which point the other will make a counter-offer, driving Salesforce’s stock to the moon.
Buying Salesforce would be a great move for Microsoft, but it’s hard to see the company making that play while already trying to swallow Yahoo. (Microsoft should have made a bid for Salesforce instead of Yahoo, but never mind…).
Would Google counter? We guess that’s possible. Salesforce seems a bit far afield for Google right now, even if Microsoft does try to grab it. But in addition to a software-as-a-service app platform (operating system), Salesforce would quickly provide Google with a large corporate sales and service organisation–which Google currently lacks, and which it will need if it ever really wants to go after Microsoft in the enterprise.
Mike Arrington also tosses in another interesting nugget, which is that Google’s App revenue is currently $400 million a year, up 10X from last year. That’s peanuts relative to Office ($18 billion) and Google ($17 billion), but it’s very meaningful. A stand-alone company offering Google Apps with $400 million in revenue would be valued at at least $4 billion, based on Salesforce.com’s 10X revenue multiple. Not bad for a product that many people still consider irrelevant.*
*UPDATE: SAI reader consensus is that the TechCrunch’s source who provided the $400 million figure is hallucinating.