UPDATED 23:33 EDT / AUGUST 08 2016


Google acquires cloud commerce provider Orbitera

It’s quite rare for a company like Google, with more than 58,000 employees, to look outside its fiefdom for innovation. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday, when the Web giant acquired cloud services provider Orbitera Inc., which operates a next-generation platform for buying and selling cloud software.

Google’s new buy provides software vendors with a suite of tools for deploying and managing cloud applications, and for billing the companies that use them.

Interestingly, Orbitera’s platform only supports application deployment on Google’s rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, not Google Cloud Platform (GCP) platforms, somewhat similar to the way its cloud monitoring tool Stackdriver works with AWS, as well as GCP.

Google didn’t disclose a price for the acquisition, but TechCrunch reported a figure of just over $100 million.

The deal should allow Google to better compete with AWS, Microsoft and also Salesforce.com Inc. when it comes to delivering enterprise cloud services.

“Orbitera has built a strong ecosystem of enterprise software vendors delivering software to multiple clouds,” said Google’s Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners, in a blog post announcing the deal. “This acquisition will not only improve the support of software vendors on Google Cloud Platform, but reinforces Google’s support for the multi-cloud world. We’re providing customers with more choice and flexibility when it comes to running their cloud environment.”

One of the nicest features in Orbitera is that businesses are able to test out enterprise software in the cloud before they buy. Vendors can create profiles for proof-of-concept tests which are automatically deployed on the user’s cloud platform of choice when they request a trial.

In its announcement, Google said it’s aiming to support businesses with multi-cloud environments, which is fairly typical among large enterprises today. The approach itself is somewhat different to AWS and Microsoft however. While they both support multi-clouds, they also try to push their customers to standardize on their own products and services.

It could be that through Orbitera, Google is hoping to build up its credibility among enterprise customers.

“Google is aggressively building its enterprise credibility in the cloud, so perhaps they believe that this will allow them to build on the ecosystem side, which is always a great area to increase community engagement and adoption,” said IDC analyst Al Hilwa in a statement to Infoworld.

Orbitera looks like it might fit well with another recent Google acquisition, Bebop, which it bought out in order to poach VMware Inc. co-founder Diane Greene to lead its cloud division. Bebop was developing tools that would allow businesses to build their own apps more easily, and Orbitera would give those businesses a platform to turn them into commercial products.

Image credit: Stevebidmead via pixabay

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