[Here is a further update based on input from other people on what is surely a timely topic. Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse as The (Geo) Internet of Things, it's posted there for a wider audience.]
Here is my take on this sleeper news, that Google will deprecate its Map Engine and Esri offers significant help for Google Geo customers to transition over. If the shoe fits....
First I noticed that my Google Earth Pro subscription did not lapse, then I hear it is now free, finally come the news that Google Maps Engine (GME) will be deprecated. I'm still looking for a buzz in the Googlesphere on this change that cannot be insignificant.
Then Esri offers on it landing page Google & Esri significant help and resources to welcome Google Enterprise customers into their fold. Less spectacular is CartoDB's invitation touting their common existing backbone on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Safe Software and Spatial IQ had excellent treatments of this topic, and they're well placed as they're tech agnostic. They note like in any geo project, transitions will never be smooth, and there are many levels to consider, not the least of which underlying data.
I asked Google Geo BDM what this meant, and here are the salient points (note this is his personal not an official statement): they focus on their generic Cloud platform rather than bespoke Geo platform, and they'll work with anyone to help customers transition.
Aside from Google 5 year ago and Esri since 2000, I've also used AWS the last 5 years as a server stack for both Mapcentia and giscloud.com. While the latter two offer good web offerings on the freemium model, they're quite new & have a long way to go.
I therefore have a slightly different view on the Google - Esri buzz that has yet to manifest itself. By shifting focus on their Cloud offering, I see Google as really tackling their main competitor Amazon. Quartz among others wrote about it earlier on and later on last year.
Business follows the money, meaning it moves toward sweet spots - Google Geo was born on the web 10 years ago, and Esri has been all about geo for almost 50 - our geocommunity follows our stake holders needs, meaning we move toward what works, don't we?