Zoho quietly builds Google competitor

by Mathew on September 30, 2008 · 10 comments

I often think that Zoho doesn’t get enough credit for the work it has done building a Web-based, Office-style suite of apps. As TechCrunch is reporting (and others have mentioned in the past), the company has launched an application marketplace where developers can host apps that they create with Zoho Creator, an Ajax-driven platform that makes it easy to put together small Web applications. The launch is just the latest in a steady series of releases from Zoho over the past year or so.

Developers who sell applications through the marketplace get 100 per cent of the revenue from anything they sell, which is a nice change from many similar Web stores, and hosting apps on Zoho’s database service will be free for small applications (those that draw a larger crowd will pay a fee, the company says). “We are trying to be the IT department for small and medium-sized businesses,” a Zoho evangelist told InformationWeek. The marketplace joins the Zoho family of Web services, which includes a mail application, word processor, spreadsheets, a presentation creator, a CRM app, a chat service and several other services.

One of the things that I keep being impressed by is how quickly Zoho moves to add new features. With the addition of offline access for its Web-mail service — which is powered by Google Gears — the company now has offline functionality for mail and its word processing and spreadsheet apps, which makes them even more useful for individuals or small businesses. And it has added both of these features before Google, even though it is using Google’s own Gears service to do so. According to at least one report, General Electric has chosen to go with Zoho’s app suite instead of Google Apps.

But won’t Google and/or Microsoft, both of whom are going after the “cloud computing” market, inevitably crush Zoho? Not necessarily. Founder Sridhar Zembu has said that he believes there is room for another player in the Web app sphere, one that caters to smaller businesses than either Google or Microsoft would be interested in. I think he’s right, and I think that Zoho stands a good chance of providing that alternative.

  • Pingback: Zoho Launches Application Marketplace | CloudAve

  • http://zoho.com Sridhar Vembu

    We have always believed there is room in the market for a smaller, focused player. Witness the success and durability of companies such as Intuit and Adobe in the PC software industry, despite the frontal assault from Microsoft repeatedly through their existence. Witness the resurgence of Apple through innovation, when almost anyone “rational” would have written them off as gone a long time ago. Witness the phoenix-like emergence of Firefox, not just as a strong browser, but also as a strong business, from the ashes of Netscape.

    And in an adjacent industry, witness how companies like Juniper Networks and Foundry have thrived in the IP networking business, despite their being a fraction of the size of Cisco – and in both cases, the companies got founded after Cisco's market domination was already an established fact.

    That's why we have the strong conviction that if we do our jobs right, there is room for us. And I am happy to report customers seem to agree!

    Thank you for your encouraging words!

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks for the comment, Sridhar.

  • nulls102

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  • http://www.dstudiobali.com/webdesign/busby-seo-test-page/ Busby SEO Test Contest

    Go go go Zoho. I like this company. Great competitors against Google.

  • http://anyinput.com thewebpromoter

    Zoho Creator is a awesome robust tool. However, I don't need all of those features. So, I opted to use anyInput.com to store my lists, it's simple and more easier to use. It is between a full featured database and a simple list maker. My 50 cents.

  • http://www.48hourmasters.com/ Audio Mastering

    You were kididn when you said its a competitor of Google? right? Google core business is based on its advertising network and nobody can beat it int hat field. Even when one seems potential enough, Google buy it. :)

  • http://modestadventurer.com Traveller_Adventure

    What a useful post here. Very informative for me..TQ friends…
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  • jonmbutler111

    Another thing to note that’s just plain jawdropping is Firef.ly. It’s community browsing and commenting – without a browser plugin. Very cool. It’s a Betaworks company – one of many cool things http://www.geonlineservice.com coming from there. Very happy to be advising and spending time with John Borthwick, Andy Weissman and the crew.

  • jonmbutler111

    Another thing to note that’s just plain jawdropping is Firef.ly. It’s community browsing and commenting – without a browser plugin. Very cool. It’s a Betaworks company – one of many cool things http://www.geonlineservice.com coming from there. Very happy to be advising and spending time with John Borthwick, Andy Weissman and the crew.

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