Google admits it can’t take corporate customers from Microsoft. Yet.

Not quite Exxon.
Not quite Exxon.
Image: Google
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There’s just no beating Microsoft when it comes to getting business from business. Enterprise customers have been using Microsoft’s Windows-Intel machines for decades, and their computers are encrusted with custom-built software that works only on those systems. Besides, Microsoft will fight any newcomers tooth and nail. Some 85% of its business comes from this part of the market, says James Gautrey, a technology and telecom analyst at Schroders, a large asset manager.

Now Google is finally acknowledging that there’s no point trying to get slow-moving firms to change their IT infrastructure, and is setting its growth sights elsewhere. Yesterday, the company changed the name of its business-to-business offerings from the stodgy, corporate-sounding “Google Enterprise” to the more straightforward, and less pretentious, ”Google for Work.”

The video the company put out makes clear where its focus lies.

Note the t-shirt-wearing employees (screengrab above), the required investment of half a million dollars, and the idea of “fresh starts, kickstarts, restarts.” It’s an enterprise offering for start-ups, not for full-fledged enterprises.

The strategy reset indicates where Google sees growth coming: from a slice of the market that already is relatively receptive to the company’s offerings. Here are the findings of a recent Quartz analysis of the email providers for the 50 biggest companies in the US, 50 medium-size tech and media firms, and 50 recent Silicon Valley startups incubated at Y-Combinator:

Image for article titled Google admits it can’t take corporate customers from Microsoft. Yet.

The change in name is just a way of signaling what the trend already shows: If Google can’t steal away today’s customers, it can at least fight for tomorrow’s.