Now that Google has announced its gameplan for an online Office suite targeting businesses, what does it mean for Zoho? As a TechCrunch commenter remarked “looks like poor old Zoho just got thrown a curveball”. Well, it is not like we were not facing an “insurmountable” force already (does the name Microsoft ring a bell?). Our business plan is not based on us beating Microsoft or Google, it is based on serving customers well enough to earn a profitable share of the market. Business is not superbowl, though it often appears that way in a 24×7 news cycle. It is perfectly possible for a smaller company to offer a compelling product to customers and earn a perfectly good living, without “winning” the market. And having a profitable business helps us invest in R&D to bring more innovations to market, keeping the pot boiling so to speak. After all, building a profitable business in AdventNet is what allowed us to invest in the R&D to create Zoho – and made this conversation possible! And if you look at the markets AdventNet serves, we have tens of thousands of happy business customers, but we also face companies much larger than us.
As of today, it is Zoho that has a broader, more polished suite of offerings than anyone else in the market – as the overwhelming response to Zoho Notebook demonstrated. We are sure Google’s offerings will get better over time, but we are sure we will keep moving too. And services like Zoho CRM, Zoho Projects and Zoho Creator help us differentiate our offerings even more, helping us in the crucial task of earning a profitable share of the market. We are by no means finished – in March we have a significant new offering coming, and even more in the months ahead.
Let’s not forget that Google can and does really expand the market for all of us in the online productivity applications space. This is the famous “anchor tenant” effect in shopping malls – having the presence of a large, recognized retail player helps attract the crowd to help the smaller players. We have already seen how our busiest days are when Google makes an announcement.
One assurance we can give customers: we have a strong, profitable business, focused on delivering real value to our users. We have a ten year track record to prove it. And we try harder.