Google Steps Up Its “Cloud” Game

What's going on here?

Google just hired a Silicon Valley titan, Diane Greene (co-founder of VMWare), to lead its cloud business. This news shows how important the business of cloud computing has become and how badly Google wants to compete with market leaders Amazon and Microsoft.

What does this mean?

Greene’s VMWare is a company that provides cloud software services and was acquired by EMC (a major software company) in 2004. While it didn’t invent the cloud, it was a pioneer in developing it (and associated technologies like virtualization). After leaving VMWare, she started a new cloud startup (bebop Technologies) that Google has acquired as part of the deal to hire her (for an undisclosed but presumably significant amount of money). Interestingly, she was already a Google board member.

Why should I care?

  1. The bigger picture: The cloud is (really) important! While most people have no idea how it works or why it matters, “the cloud” is revolutionizing our lives. Most simply, it’s moving computing power off of hardware that you (or your company) possess to an infrastructure that exists “virtually.” You can imagine how much companies are saving by, for example, not having to actually buy computer hardware (or much less of it anyway). And you can imagine how much data is being uploaded to the cloud as they do - meaning lots of potential business opportunities.
  2. For stocks: The winner(s) of the cloud battle will (probably) make a ton of money. Already, Amazon’s cloud business makes up almost 10% of its revenue. As the vast majority of computer storage space is moved onto “the cloud,” the companies that provide the service will profit considerably - and not just from “storing the data.” Access to all that data will lead to numerous other business opportunities (think big data analytics). And that’s probably why Google, which has been late to the cloud game, is making such a big push with this high profile hire.
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