Google may be the bigger threat, but their lead is fragile
excellent article Ashlee.
5-10 years ago, when Microsoft rose to prominence, the name of the game to "winning" in the software business was erecting high and strong barriers to entry. Microsoft mastered this.
Today, at least 3 forces have eroded the ability for any software company to successfully erect and defend barriers to entry. These are hardware commoditization, open source and ubiquitous broadband access. Put together, these enable anone to quickly and cheaply become a SaaS provider. These forces have enabled Google to become the powerhouse that they are. But they also allow ANY company to become an equal powerhouse. Nothing prevents me or any other Google user from dropping them for another provider, and as soon as I find a service that offers me more goodness, I will. Just like eBay did.
Google knows that the only true competitive advantage they have in today's hyper-competitive software/IT market is their people, which is why they treat them like kings. It won't take long for other companies to figure this out, and once they do, Google's lead will go away.
NetDirector Project Lead