“Google is more like us than anything that we have ever competed before.”
This famous quote about Google is by none other than Bill Gates himself. Microsoft is one of the biggest and fastest growing giant, the world has ever seen. The reach of Microsoft in various fields is inspiring. With a steady product range and effective marketing strategy, Microsoft is poised to become bigger and better by the day. Google is a relative new comer and often underestimated in comparison to Microsoft. True Google has an entirely different revenue model and ideology but that ideology to organize the world’s information is the key to success of Google in the fields where Microsoft has been unable to leave a footprint.
Everybody knows that Web is growing at a rapid rate. Over 5.4 million new sites are put up monthly and the success of Google in monetizing this exponential growth has made Google the fastest growing company in the history of the world. . The growth of internet will inevitably have far reaching consequences than earlier predicted. It has already started pushing more and more desktop functionality to the internet making all our information available everywhere. Google has anticipated this trend and has started developing applications to mimic the desktop functionality. No spreadsheet in the world will provide you with infinite rows and columns like Google spreadsheet, and no hard disk can provide potentially infinite video storage space like the way YouTube does. The consequences don’t stop there. Ads were well known to the real world till Google came along with state of the art Adsense. Now the traditional video ads that we are so familiar with on television are being replicated in Adsense. Your friend circle has migrated on the web, your college facebook, your mails, your calendar, even you yourself can now have a second life.
There are no two ways about it. Google has not only pioneered the IT revolution it is leading it with an online revenue generation of over 16.59 billion dollars, if that’s not enough then check this out; Google owns about 5% sites in the world that’s 77 million sites worldwide. Only those companies will continue to succeed which are backed by effective research and the best employees. Microsoft is renowned for its efforts in research and work culture. Microsoft has come up with products which have ensured its continued capture on existing market. Google is not far behind with its unique way of promoting research among its employees. I am of course talking about the 20% free time, which is an integral part of Google’s company policy. Using this Google has targeted the researcher in its employees. This free time has lead to numerous products which are in main stream for Google like Orkut, Gmail and even the popular Adsense. This unique work culture also has been the key to attract the best employees around the globe. Not only this, If you are wish to know in depth about any field the best lecture you can find is probably Google tech talks. Google tech talks are available on Google videos on almost all fields (Bio fuel, Second life to begin with). People who talk are from variety of backgrounds and are generally the forerunners in their field.
Those who claim that Google is not the next Microsoft have perhaps not observed the striking similarity between the acquisitions undertaken by Google in the recent years and that of Microsoft in the early 90s. Microsoft undertook major acquisitions in process of its growth targeting a vast array of companies. The companies’ skill set ranged from Business Intelligence to server virtualization.
Microsoft’s aggressive takeovers were the backbone of its strong and innovative lineup of software. Google also is actively acquiring companies with a wide agenda in mind. It has acquired companies like Double click to improve its existing ad services and it has also acquired companies like Android to expand into mobile devices thereby diversifying its target market.
Anybody who has observed the growth of Microsoft knows that acquisitions were not the only way Microsoft grew. It undertook major alliances with companies such as Dell, IBM. A prime alliance methodology was the OEM alliance, this alliance helped Microsoft to capture the desktop market. Google has also learned from this and started alliances with a wide array of companies. For example the alliance with Airtel in India, Apple iPhone in US and the major alliance with Firefox which ships Google as a default search in over 150 million browsers worldwide. This shows that it has the business acumen to compete with Microsoft and even outsmart it.
A major speculation made on Google is that its state in the market is fragile, owing to the one-dimensional success that it has established till now. However I would like to point out that Google is not as fragile as they think. There are several reasons for it.
- Google shows interest in competing startups and acquire them if they show promising talent, for example YouTube.
- Google has always stimulated diversification by keeping its employees in small groups imitating the research groups kept in the best universities in the world.
- A typical misconception about Google is that it leads the market solely because of its powerful search. Very few people know about its Map Reduce. What is this Map Reduce? Imagine the power to organize millions of bytes of information in a matter of seconds. The power that enables Google to process over 20 Peta bytes of information daily. This magic sauce allows Google to quickly test out its innovative ideas in matter of days faster than anybody else in the world. Taking this amazing algorithm in account, who’s to say that Google won’t venture into as many dimensions as Microsoft if not more?
Reaching the heights to which Microsoft has reached is an ambitious target. There are very few companies in the world that can achieve what Microsoft has done in the software market. There is always the chance that Google may also fail to do so, but I think that it does have the right mix of ingredients to become a Microsoft or even topple it.
PS: I could talk about how Microsoft and Google both are being sued for antitrust or how both have shown monopolist tendencies, but I believe that this point of view would not weaken my cause but would also not be credible. Just because Google has made the same mistake as Microsoft in a juncture of its corporate lifetime does not prove or disprove that Google will become the next Microsoft.