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Google's Nexus Means Business
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Microsoft.  Remember them?  Of course you do.  They're everywhere.  You couldn't care less about their phones.  Windows 8 makes you yawn.  Surface sounds vaguely cool, but you just can't see the point.  It doesn't matter: you still use their stuff.  Of course you do.  Even if you actively avoid them.  In fact if you work or go to school almost anywhere, you're probably using Microsoft all the time.

Microsoft's rivals covet the deep roots they've grown in business, education, and government and wish to uproot them and replace them.  No one is trying harder to do that than Google.  Google Apps for Business, Education, Nonprofits, and Government grew up on the web, sneaking in the back door so to speak.  Its primary appeal was being good enough, and at a better cost (if not free).

For all of their success in this area, Google has never owned the stack.  Even the many businesses, schools, and government agencies who chose Google over Microsoft generally still use Windows devices and Microsoft software.  Microsoft, on the other hand, can offer nose-to-toes solutions with nothing Googley involved.  This puts Google at a potential disadvantage if Microsoft closes the gap, and the back door.

The smartphone and tablet markets opened a new door and Google took it with Android.  They could, perhaps, have used this to free themselves from Microsoft, by building their own productivity platform.  Instead they have focused on the Chrome Operating System and Google Docs while letting Android run wild.  Whether that was foolish or brilliant is debatable, but the story isn't over yet.

Many businesses are deploying Microsoft and even Apple devices and snubbing Google.  Others are deploying Chromebooks, or Chromeboxes, but snubbing Android.  Who can blame them?  Platform consistency just makes life easier for an I.T. Department, and Android doesn't have that.  It varies by device, by OEM, even by carrier, and has a poor update cycle even for critical updates.

Except, of course for the Nexus series, which until now has been little more than a yearly developer experiment in creating a pure Android device.  This year's Nexus 7 changed everything.  At a starting price of $199 with surprisingly good hardware and the latest version of Android (with timely updates), the Nexus 7 was the first consumer hit among Google-branded devices.

This was followed by the Nexus 10, which raised the bar for screen resolution, and the Nexus 4, whose sales exceeded expectations.  Thanks to the success of this lineup, it's easy to imagine Google will sell even more Nexus devices in 2013 than this year, and Nexus will finally become a consumer force.  Can it also be an enterprise force?  I believe it can, and suspect it will be.

Android already rules the roost in many government agencies, but now the education world has taken notice of the Nexus 7, as well.  The Lunarline School of Cyber Security is giving new enrollees free Nexus 7's.  A Nexus 7 Grant Program is offering free tablets for classrooms.  Many other schools, especially in districts that have "gone Google" for Education, are at least looking at the possibility of Nexus 7's in the classroom.

The business world is slowly noticing, as well.  Enterprise mobile app company DoubleDutch's CEO bought his staff Nexux 7's for Christmas to inspire his developers, for example.  Meanwhile, British Daily The Times is offering a discount Nexus 7 for digital subscribers, and The Financial Times is giving one away for free.

These are hardly mainstream enterprise clients, but Google has a plan to win those as well.  Before their Nexus refresh, Google acquired an office suite, Quickoffice, for Android and iOS.  Quickoffice, unlike Google Docs, is a native application and can work directly with Microsoft Office file formats.

Then about a week ago, Google dropped a bomb: Quickoffice would be free for Google Apps customers, who already pay less (if they pay anything) than for Microsoft's business apps.  Quickoffice may not have all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Office, but free is always tempting, and it's available for the growing number of workplace mobile devices.

In the future it may be possible to imagine a business, school, or government agency using Google Apps while exclusively deploying Chrome and Android devices for productivity, or at least embracing Android as part of their I.T. and BYOD strategies.

Nexus and Chrome devices are competitively priced to position them for this market.  Quickoffice and Google Docs (now Drive) could prove to be the one-two punch that knocks the Microsoft Office behemoth off its pedestal.  Google's not quite there yet, however.

If they really want to put the knife to their competition, they still have work to do on polishing Google Apps and their Chrome and Android software, ensuring the build quality and supply chain of devices, and fleshing out Google Play and the Chrome Web Store with a wider selection and higher quality of software.

They also need to convince their hardware partners to focus on building a platform, with more consistency and a lot less pointless differentiation.  And they'll need to build more Android tablets with productivity in mind.  At  the very least, all Nexus tablets should have an official keyboard dock available at launch, and Google should seriously consider doing a Nexus PC.

And they will need to lay out a vision for the future of Google Apps that involves their more experimental efforts like Google Now, Project Glass, and Driverless Cars, which have a lot of potential in these areas but are either very new or not available yet.  They should position Google Apps as not only the better deal now, but the stronger choice for the future.

The race is on, and Microsoft won't take this challenge to their core business lying down.  If Google is to start tying up these loose ends, look for 2013 to bring big changes, with an expanded Nexus lineup, preinstalled with Quickoffice for Google Apps customers, to be part of this.  One 7-inch wonder tablet, a 10-inch tablet with a pretty screen, and a phone almost no one can get their hands on won't topple Windows, iOS, or even Macintosh for business and education.  Nor will a few Chromebooks.

Together, though, and with a coat of polish, an aggressive strategy, and help from their OEM partners, 2013 could be the year Chrome and Android become the go-to productivity platforms and when Google, perhaps, snatches the enterprise crown from Microsoft.  Stranger things have happened.


School of Cyber Security Students to Receive Nexus 7 Tablets :
EdTechTeam Donating Nexus 7 Tablets to Teachers! :
Nexus 7 Android Tablets for Christmas At DoubleDutch :
Get a Nexus 7 for just £50 when you subscribe to The Times :
Google Launches Free Quickoffice iPad App For Google Apps For Business Customers, iPhone And Android Coming Soon :
Free to FT Subscribers, Nexus 7 will be a Content Trojan Horse :

#Nexus   #AndroidforWork   #GoogleforWork
Mayank Patel's profile photoBen Liebrand's profile photoEli Fennell's profile photoJake White's profile photo
I think Google and Android needs more 'quality' apps and need to secure a little bit before pushing out to businesses/consumers. Nexus products = beta. 
+Vinoth Ragunathan I don't think Nexus are betas anymore.  But yes, Google needs more quality apps (part of the polish) for Android and they've still got some security issues and issues with compatibility with existing enterprise systems.  And they need to deal with the build quality issues that have affected a surprisingly number of their new Nexus devices.
They need an enterprise back end. Like exchange or bes or apples enterprise version of iTunes. Both allow those companies to get into enterprise easier. Android has nothing like it that they are letting on.

Oh and I am tired of articles like this that treat consumers like dummies. We are not all apple drones that need to be spoon fed. The tech community researches everything and most of us probably know more about the subject than you even dream to
Its a 2 way street.... Apps will come, if even more people buy into the Android ecosystem. As for security, I've never had a problem (anecdotal data of 1, hardly statistically relevant), but instead of waiting for Google to control what it sells to the consumer (sounds familiar?), take advantage of the openness of the Android platform, and be smart about what you install on your device.

I see a huge potential for Google to get involved in healthcare, in term of providing the hardware and software for data storage, as well as mobile monitoring of patients... And that is just the start, who knows where it will go?
+Alex Murphy yes and no. Enterprise wants to control those devices they don't have that like the others do
+Kaile J Johansen 

Oh and I am tired of articles like this that treat consumers like dummies. We are not all apple drones that need to be spoon fed.

Not to start an argument, but... could you please show me where I did what you're describing?
Enterprise Android app channels are already available for the play store. 
Well considered and written piece +Eli Fennell .
I wonder if 2013 will also see some merging of ChromeOS and Android? This may also support the trend you discuss (a more substantive docked large screen multitasking / windowing experience for enterprise).

Regarding Google Docs and Quickoffice...for me, they are just not ready for critical use (eg thesis, research, documentation, reports, etc). Meeting such needs & trust in enterprise is a tough hill to climb. Hopefully there is some progress here.

+Andrew Davis They're not a solution for everyone, but if you're leaning going Google, knowing you can still work with a native office suite with support for MS Office file formats could be the final piece of the puzzle, and now that Google Apps aren't free for small business I expect rapid iteration of Docs and Quickoffice.

I for one have been living largely Office-free for a while thanks to Google Drive.
i've gotta ask this ....,. how does a ps3 controller help with n7 gaming? i haven't kept up to date on the finer details of android apps as i haven't had the time
+Eli Fennell I don't doubt that Google can not succeed in that, In fact I believe Google is the only company which can topple Microsoft from Enterprise/Productivity Suite King crown but problem with Google is that they always think of data (due to their core Ad business), so sometime their decision to include or exclude features on their products is solely by the data rather than the user experience, and second Google operates on "Iterate and fail fast" principal which I don't think is bad and works most of the time but sometime users are not interested in beta feature or product but want a complete features rich and polish product rather than something which is not complete and lacks some of the basic features with complex UI, which is changing though if their new mobile apps for their products on both +Android and iOS is any indication, they are trying hard.
Google is still end user friendly company and it is taking long to change that though they have done enough on that area like their AWS competitor, office productivity suite and +Chrome OS, they work but still +Google needs to work hard.
Great post. I have long been saying that Google needs to work on bringing the Chrome OS and the Android platform closer together. I am assuming they tried to keep the two differentiated in the beginning in case one failed it wouldn't topple both systems but I think both have proven successful by now and it is time to "merge" the two. Imagine Android running the mobile side and Chrome running the PC side, but such seamless integration that you don't even notice when you put your tablet down and hop on your PC.
+Shaker Cherukuri I'm seeing less and less purpose in having a Windows PC.  I don't use native Windows software much beyond the web browser and what it requires.
i use my windows laptop for gaming but except for the windows os im running as much google as i can
I would love to abandon my windows machine but at the moment it doesn't seem possible. I work in media production, video and audio, and alomst every program requires either windows or mac to run. I am in the process of trying out Ubuntu Studio to do these tasks, and if possible I will migrate that way, but Chrome OS doesn't offer the functionality that I need at this stage. Maybe in the future they will produce a more complete Chrome OS that could meet my resource intensive needs.
+Ryan Pond Yeah, your needs are probably a ways away from being fulfilled by anyone but MS.
I hope Google integrates QuickOffice into Google Docs so users can edit Microsoft Office documents right inside.  That will be a huge plus!
And they need to do some major polishing of Google Drive.  Some of my frustrations are multiple windows that pop up when opening a large pdf, which does not open in a browser but you rather have to download it to your desktop; a pdf viewer for Google Drive is not the same as the one used for opening Gmail pdf attachments;  you can't easily go through multiple photos saved in a folder; and lack of controls to resize files and folders icons in a window.
I have been using Google for quite a while now and find for example, there is no way of printing an envelope directly in Drive. Or even doing a mail merge. I think these are some of the areas that shy users away from switching to the Google products. I have been told Microsoft Office is the preferred option because it can do everything you want to do. It does not need to be like this.

In general, I find Microsoft Office gives a lot more than most users need. With closing this gap and making Google more attractive as an option, this needs to be addressed. Google has the ability to do this, and can win this. 
I'm not sure if I was to read this as a google is going to beat Microsoft article or an Android (I do consider android to be Googles but I believe the users are making it into what it should be, not them) is going to beat Microsoft article. Either way, google has some serious work to do, they have ALOT going on and I still see their main focus being search since they've seen decline in the market since Bing started getting better. I do believe a lot of googles problems are coming from Microsoft Office though, google should be better in that type of service by now but I'm glad to know they're starting to use new resources and companies.

Microsoft, like Apple aren't worried about google taking Personal computers from them, it's a challenge I don't believe google is ready for... Stepping into that territory is a very dangerous thing for them to do, I'm really happy with where google stands for now even though I'd love to see more of them. The personal computer operating system business is not as simple or understood as we'd all like to think. I'd much rather see them make search easier, make Android smoother and, chrome books a little less basic. I like where they're investing/donating their money (almost $1 billion to wind energy farms) and I'd like to see more of that before jumping head on into ANOTHER market. 
+Jake White Google wants to do better than take MS's crown away... they want to render the Windows PC a specialist device, something most people won't need anymore.  Disruption usually proceeds by nibbling away, not by wholesale replacement.
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