Dirk Knemeyer

Microsoft’s decline and Google’s Rise III

Microsoft’s decline and Google’s Rise III, March 3, 2010

A short comment contextualizing the prediction could go right here

Where does Google go from here? Unlike Apple and Microsoft, whose apexes are almost certainly in the past, Google’s peak has yet to come. While they may still face as many failures as they do successes – can they truly become the dominant player in mobile computing hardware? Highly unlikely! – they are well-positioned to be the industry’s sacred cow in the decade ahead. This may be traced to a number of reasons that speak to the very heart of why businesses succeed and fail:

1. Brand.
Apple may still reek cool, but the cold, hard truth is Steve Jobs is getting older and so is Apple’s core group of brand passionates. […] On the other hand, Google’s core fan base is made up of people who came of age during the Internet Era. […]

2. Product.
Google is the Internet; the Internet is Google. Beneath the many devices that rule our lives is the software that collectively comprises the Internet. Thanks to it’s dominance in search – which is how most people decide what is important to them – Google is the primary driver of that software. To be clear, search will become less and less important as the other software gets smarter. In fact one could argue that the peak of search has already passed. Yet in the process of dominating search Google has smartly embedded themselves into what seems like every possible nook and cranny of Internet services. […] Their well-publicized forays into advertising, publishing, remote hosting, network connectivity and more speak to the ambition and creativity of a winner. In fact, as mocked as their ambitions to conduct space exploration might be, it speaks to the verve and panache a company needs to beat an industry as tough and progressive as digital technology. In shooting for the stars they are ensuring they at least reach the moon. The explicit industries that Google infiltrates in the decade ahead may be a guessing game, but the volume and breadth of their ambition is without question.

3. Legal and political infrastructure.
[…] they have been building up the sort of legal and political infrastructure necessary to outflank both the entrenched and upstart companies in computing and continue to force their halo ever-wider. […]

4. Financial
[…] Google has achieved their financial position while only being in business for about 1/3 the amount of time as Microsoft and Apple. […]

5. Culture.
Love it or hate it, Google’s “Borg-like” monoculture is different and unique from other companies, which makes it necessarily special. […] Google’s culture begins with their infamous rule, “Don’t be evil.” These three words immediately framed Google as a progressive and thoughtful company. This sound bite is all that most people know of Google as a corporate culture, and implicitly reinforces they are the kind of company worth supporting, a strong contrast to the popular perception of Microsoft. […] In ways both explicit and implicit, Google creates their physical workspaces to make their employees “captive” and get more and better hours from them. Examples of perks and services to support this strategy run the gamut and touch most of the minutiae that directs people’s non-professional lives: from high-end day care, to free delivered dry cleaning, to free gourmet made-to-order meals, to their most recent plan of trying to build massive housing on their main campus. Some of these ideas succeeded, others failed, still others succeeded but proved to be unsustainable. The point is that Google is trying to create a Utopian vision of how their employees can live, in the process squeezing as much as possible out of them. Whether one sees this as a win-win or dressed-up exploitation depends on your filters, but it certainly contributes to their ability to attract and retain the best and brightest talent, a pre-requisite to staying ahead of the competition.