07 August 2014

Quartz: “Google is stealing away Microsoft’s future corporate customers”

Among the Fortune 50, only one company—Google—had its mail records pointed at Google’s servers. Among the mid-size companies, almost 60% host their email with Google, including corporations like Twitter, Dropbox, Box, Airbnb, Square, Uber, and Etsy. And among the Y Combinator startups—mostly very small companies with some funding, but often tight budgets—92% host their email with Google.

This says two things. First, Microsoft and other vendors like IBM still have a tight grip on the largest companies. Gartner analyst Tom Eid—who predicts that enterprise email alone will be a $5 billion global industry this year, growing about 10% from last year—confirms this. He estimates that Microsoft still commands 75% of the market’s spending, versus about 3% to 5% for Google.

But Google is capturing Microsoft’s future customer base. Perhaps this doesn’t hurt as much now, but as today’s smaller companies grow into tomorrow’s leaders, will they eventually switch to Microsoft products? Or will they stick with Google? (Or, also possible—but less dramatic—both?)

Dan Frommer

Here’s a perfect example of misleading chart, of manipulating data to sustain a conclusion chosen beforehand:

  • first of all the sample is too small and there’s no mention of how the companies were selected, of the methodology.
  • secondly, this is just a snapshot of the current situation, and you cannot draw any valid conclusion about future trends from a single data point. Also, without methodology, even a longer time series would be questionable, since we can’t know if the samples have changed over time, thus influencing the collected data.
  • last, comparing Fortune 50 companies with startups is hardly relevant; a single corporation from the left side of the graph is likely employing more people than all 50 startups on the right combined.
Quartz - Where 150 companies host their email
Where 150 companies host their email

This isolated chart can alternatively interpreted like this:

  • among Fortune 50 companies, nobody else trusts to host their email;
  • mid-size companies are mostly using Google’s services, but the survey doesn’t offer any indication of trends or if the companies plan to switch in the future, as their business needs grow;
  • startups prefer Google because it’s cheaper, but their future is uncertain, as the failure rate of American companies is increasing.

But that would make for a poor headline I guess.

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