According to Re/code, the tech giant has amassed a short-list of various start-ups and niche service providers including automated app services start-up Metavine, e-commerce public company Shopify, and payroll and health benefits services business Namely. Re/code sources have stressed that the approaches are preliminary, and none of the companies involved have commented on the rumours.
The moves seem to address two challenges currently facing the Google team. Firstly, there is a notable gap of ‘middle range’ customers for Google Apps. The company traditionally does well with small and large companies, but has struggled with the lucrative market in between. Last year, Google attempted to lure the middle market onto Google Apps for Work by offering the service for free while seeing out their current enterprise agreement, and then $25 per user after that point.
Secondly, the acquisitions would enable Google to move its internal systems to its cloud platform, potentially creating a more solid offering to challenge AWS and Microsoft Azure.
The reports back-up recent moves in the market which indicated Google’s intentions of increasing its stake in the cloud market. While AWS and Microsoft have been firmly planted as the number one and number two players in the public and private cloud space, Google is closing the gap, making a number of company and talent acquisitions to improve its proposition.
Aside from the recent hire of VMware founder Diane Greene to lead its cloud business, last year SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle highlighted that Google cloud platform revenues could surpass Google’s advertising revenue within five years.
“The goal is for us to talk about Google as a cloud company by 2020,” said Hölzle in October. “Our cloud growth rate is probably industry-leading…and we have lots of enterprise customers, happy enterprise customers.”
The rumours shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Hölzle also said that there would be a number of announcements which would “remove any doubt” from Google’s future plans.
While the approaches are rumours, GCP Next 2016, the company’s cloud developer user conference taking place this week, may provide some clarity to Google’s aspirations.