Betting on XMPP
I am not much of a betting man, but I recently made a wager. I got caught-up in a conversation with some other analysts about Google’s bone-head move killing-off XMPP.
I contend it was a mistake, and bet that Google will undo it. By October (on Apps, not Gmail). The other folks agreed on the first part, but disagreed that Google would reverse its course. That’s my position; the other two feel the story is over and XMPP and Google have parted ways indefinitely.
It is going to take some time for this to play out – and I can honestly see both ways. But here’s my logic on why the reversal is imminent. Google Apps customers include large organizations – universities and government – that implemented/accepted Google Apps possibly and partly because it did support XMPP. XMPP would enable, for example, a customer with Cisco Jabber to integrate IM/Presence between Jabber and Google Talk. When Google killed XMPP, it killed off any third-party integration with IM. My take is that these large customers are very upset.
But Google doesn’t always care what customers think, but they do always care what Microsoft thinks. Microsoft is doing well with Federation. Lync servers federate nicely, and now Lync/Skype are also integrated. Inter-site IM is becoming very important. Many partners including Esna, AVST, and Mitel were integrating presence with Google. The entire UC ecosystem seems very interested in integrating presence with Google Apps, yet Google slammed the door. That’s no way to build an ecosystem.
The primary reason Google killed XMPP was likely a knee-jerk reaction to Microsoft’s one way integration. Google must have figured that it is no fun being open if competitors take advantage of it. That is indeed the risk of being open. Amazon did a similar stunt by taking Android for its OS on the Kindle Fire without integrating to the Play store. Google is mesmerized with driving Google+ and building the Google ecosystem. That’s ok with free Gmail.
However, Google Apps is different – it isn’t as much about Google+ as it is attacking Microsoft’s strength with Office. Google Apps is the only viable Office competitor to get much traction. The impacts of Google Apps are significant, it even caused Microsoft to create Office 365.
I figure between the pressure from customers, partners, and fear of MS having the upper hand, Google will reverse its decision on Google Apps.