The Enterprise Crunchie

One of the awards at the Crunchies this coming January 9th in San Francisco is for the best of the enterprise. In this Year of the Cloud, the rush of entrants in the on-demand race is showing no signs of letting up. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Rackspace, and Apple are just a few of the clouds already in place, and scores of development and management tools from Adobe, Sun, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Mozilla, and others add up to a vigorous new arena for competition and innovation.

We haven’t quite figured out how to squeeze this group into just one award, but the nominees will give us some room for honoring the trend. And the rapid growth of micromessaging applications like Twitter, FriendFeed, and Facebook, new disruptions like Gmail’s video conferencing tool, and competition between next gen smart phones like iPhone and G1 suggest a morphing of consumer features into powerful API-accessible elements of cross-application services.

Whether it’s viewed from 50,000 feet as a battle for the new Web OS or down in the open standards trenches as a struggle between open and closed, cloud computing is a genie that will not be stuffed back in the bottle by IT or proprietary platform vendors. Nominations for companies and products can be made through midnight PDT Wednesday, December 10, and voting will run from Monday December 15 to Monday January 5 midnight PDT. Make your vote count.