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VMware cofounder and CEO Diane Greene to run Google's cloud

She's already on the Board, but Google's slurping her latest startup anyway

VMware cofounder and CEO Diane Greene is to head all of Google's cloud efforts.

Alphabet's ads-and-cloud subsidiary announced Greene's new gig today, anointing her leader of “... a new team combining all our cloud businesses, including Google for Work, Cloud Platform, and Google Apps.”

She's already on Google's Board, and has been for three years. She'll stay there and Google will also acquire her enterprise application development startup Bebop.

Greene's role is a new one: Google CEO Sundar Pichai has decided the company needs a different approach to managing its cloud efforts.

The announcement is full of shiny-happy and doesn't explain why, so we shan't pay it any more attention if only because a rather good interview with Greene appeared online yesterday that explores some of her business philosophy and along the way shows why she's a fine candidate to lead Google's cloud efforts.

The transcript says Google leaked people to VMware, which was unusual in Google's early days. Greene explained how VMware pulled that off, as follows:

Our main pitch to candidates was, if you wanted a 24/7 experience at work — you should join Google. If you had a hobby, family, or wanted to do things besides work — you should join VMware. We didn’t have nearly as long hours as Google given our customers worked normal business hours.

The interview also details Greene's preferred management style, which involves weekly reports from project owners containing information management and other project teams might need to know.

Those reports are apparently VMware practice to this day. Greene's also very keen on energising sales teams and channels. Greene also says that at VMware “we would ask for the release schedules and we would intentionally put some extra time into the schedule. It was our philosophy to give people extra time for people to play around with the product before it was launched — we never scheduled to the max.”

Google will be hoping that Greene's methods work because, as we noted yesterday, the company's IaaS efforts are a distant fourth in terms of market share. Google's also recently started offering its apps for free to those tied to Microsoft enterprise agreements, the latest in a series of tactics designed to lure users with lower prices.

Greene's therefore got quite a job ahead of her, because Google's cloud products aren't category leaders, never mind market leaders. Yet as the interview we've linked to above illustrates, Greene has the very experience of having led the emergence of a multi-billion-dollar enterprise software business. There's no reason she can't steer Google to similar success. ®

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