Do you know about The Osborne Effect?

In the early 1980s the Osborne was the Number 1 computer that everyone wanted to buy, and every computer company wished they were. The CEO (Adam Osborne) famously started bragging in public that the sequel is going to be even better!

Oops! Suddenly all sales stopped.

Why buy an Osborne I when the Osborne II was just a short way away?

With little to no revenue, the company tanked. KayPro took over that entire market segment.

Google Cloud just had their Osborne moment. However it wasn’t the CEO bragging, it was a leaked strategy.

Someone just leaked that Google Brass Set 2023 as Deadline to Beat Amazon, Microsoft in Cloud.

If you were concerned that GCP was not a safe bet to move to, your worry just grew three sizes that day.

Looking at it optimistically, the decision point is allegedly 2023 but GCP contracts include a 2-year notice period for deprecations. That makes potential shutdown more like 2025.

Personally I think the mistake they made was to have any kind of deadline at all. That’s big-bang thinking instead of thinking in terms of iterations. Something I learned in Mik Kersten’s Project to Product is how to move away from deadlines and towards iterations.

Personally I think the problem is that Google doesn’t understand enterprise sales. It isn’t just about hiring sales people. It is about changing your development process so that it meets enterprise customers needs. That’s something that Microsoft is very good at, and Amazon learned 10 years ago.

I still think Google Cloud has the best technology. I hope they can figure out how to sell it.

Update: Someone who I respect pointed out: A company deciding to dump $20B into a 5 year plan to overtake the competition is not a signal that they are planning to deprecate said service.