Cloud Computing: Google Feeling Crowded by Enemies Including Microsoft, Facebook, Apple
Microsoft and Google have never been BFFs. That's putting it mildly. Longtime Microsoft executives I've spoken with hate how Google goes around with a Don't Be Evil veil even as it stands accused of many of the same things Microsoft itself was vilified for a decade ago-namely shutting out competitors from key markets. Of course, none of this has been proven in any court, so it's just hearsay from Microsoft, which was convicted of building a desktop monopoly. These companies chiefly compete in search and ads, cloud computing, desktop computing and online collaboration. Google hopes to be able to compete with Chrome OS, but that is a long shot given Windows entrenched market position.
Consumers by and large love Google. The proof is in the fact that more than 1 billion users visit Google.com regularly to search the Web, giving the company a 65 percent search share in the United States and more in many countries around the world. More than 200 million people reportedly use Gmail for their Webmail and chat conversations. Google Maps is easily the most popular Web mapping application the world has seen, even if Google Street View cars sniffed some users' email messages, passwords and other content via WiFi for a few years. Yet for all of the love consumers are showing Google, competitors in the mobile and Internet sectors hate it. The crux of complaints boils down to one thing: greed. Google over the last handful of years has decided that it can monetize most online services through search and ads. The company moved into mobile software with Android to serve mobile ads and moved to supplant Microsoft in desktop operating systems with its Chrome Web operating system and browser. There is a host of other niche areas, such as DNS, local deals, Website hosting and even broadcast entertainment via YouTube where Google has made enemies. Google's activities, most of which are geared to funnel more traffic to search and therefore more money from advertising, have attracted so much attention that the Federal Trade Commission has hitched up its britches and decided it is time to investigate the company. Here is a relatively short list of Google's main adversaries, most of whom contend their businesses have been threatened and constrained by Google's quest to extend its business tendrils into all facets of the Web. This isn't the definitive list of Google's enemies, but a concise sampling of some major opponents. No doubt many readers know of, or can find, more rivals that aren't so obvious. But here are the top ones, most of which have initiated litigation against Google for unfair and/or anticompetitive business practices.