Google already sells their "Yellow Box" search appliance which is essentially Google Search packaged up into a hardware solution that you simply drop onto your network. The software crawls your intranet and indexes your content using Google’s search, indexing, and ranking algorithms. Very cool.
When does this same offering happen for all the Microsoft Office web-based competitors that Google has bought or released in the past year?
I heard recently that Microsoft expects 25% of its revenue within the next 5 years to come from advertising. If you know how much money Microsoft pulls in per-year, plus the growth they are shooting for year-over-year, this number should be 6-8+ billion dollars just from advertising. I would actually expect it to be higher than that since this is probably all going to be new revenue with no reductions in sales goals for Office and Windows.
I wonder if the push for advertising revenue has to do with any competitive pressure or threat from Google’s rapid acquisition of web based office tools? It seems like Google is positioning itself to enter into Microsoft’s Office market and I wonder if part of the plan is a hardware solution similar to the Yellow Box. The scary part is that Google could offer this corporate solution for free and simply sell text ads.
Web based office competitors obviously have a long way to go before they would be a real threat. For example, Google’s web based spreadsheets are neat, but neat as in "wow this is cool" not "I’ll use this to manage a P&L or budget". Same with the document editor Google acquired (which by the way was an ASP.NET solution). Nevertheless, I think these tools will get there given Google’s current track record. I think they would get adopted more quickly if you didn’t have to trust Google with the data too.
Of course all of this is completely speculative (but I have been buying Google stock just in case <g>).