With its recently inked deal with Ingram Micro to sell its Google Mini and Google Search Appliance to SMBs, governments and schools, Google may be finally discovering what other tech vendors have long known: You can't overestimate the importance of sales partners.
These two products represent Google's strongest effort to date to leave its consumer comfort zone and win the favor of businesses. Yet Google faces competition from a number of companies, including an IBM/Yahoo partnership, Oracle and even Xerox -- all of whom are itching to fill companies' growing need for effective search tools.
Google isn't exactly setting the business world on fire with a combined 9,000 customers for the two products. In addition to its deal with Ingram Micro, a CIO Today article reports that it is turning over manufacturing of the devices to Dell.
We wonder if this is simply a case of Google wanting to focus on the software side of the business (which is its "real value add," writes a Google executive in a company blog), or whether it's another sign of Google's oft-criticized lack of focus.
While a Gartner analyst interviewed in the CIO Today piece says Google has "made some inroads" with business, she says it's "questionable" whether its products meet business needs.