Apple's and Google's CEO shakeups are unlikely to benefit rival Microsoft as the latter attempts to push further into the smartphone and search-engine markets.
Steve Jobs elected to take a leave of absence from his company Jan. 17,
reportedly for health reasons. Three days later, Google CEO Eric Schmidt
announced he would hand over the reins to the company's co-founder Larry Page.
seismic events have pundits and analysts questioning the future of the two
companies. But it also remains to be seen how those CEO transitions will play
into the hands of Microsoft, which competes fiercely against both companies in
the mobile and search arenas.
declined to offer any specifics about Jobs' condition, although the CEO wrote in a Jan. 17 e-mail
employees that he would continue to hold the CEO title, in addition to remaining
"involved in major strategic decisions for the company."
almost certainly implemented a long-term strategy for Apple, and company COO
Tim Cook-widely considered a top candidate for eventually taking the CEO slot-has
demonstrated his ability to keep the company running despite Jobs' periodic
products are not created overnight," Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative
Strategies, told the Los Angeles Times Jan. 20
that will come out this year were designed two years ago. Products coming out
in 2012 were worked on and put in motion last year. And the products for 2013
were already on the drawing board this fall and all have Jobs' stamp of
approval on them."
words, Apple is not exactly about to collapse overnight due to Jobs' medical
issues, which means that Microsoft-currently seeking all possible advantages in
the smartphone and tablet markets-is unlikely to gain any advantage from its
rival CEO's twist of fate.
It's a similar
situation with Google, whose most recent quarterly earnings report included
$8.44 billion in revenues, earnings per share of $7.81 and a net profit of
$2.54 billion. The search-engine giant also announced that Google co-founder
Page will take the reins from Schmidt as CEO, and will oversee day-to-day
operations such as product and technology development.
tenure, Google introduced an array of products that had varying effects, from
the successful Gmail to the crash-and-burn Google Wave collaboration tool. This
past quarter, the company launched its eBooks initiative, meant to compete
against both Amazon.com's Kindle franchise and Apple's e-bookstore, along with
the Samsung Nexus S smartphone. The company's Google Android operating system
has appeared on a rapidly growing number of devices in the past several
quarters, threatening Apple and eclipsing Microsoft in the mobile arena.
transformed from a scrappy little underdog search engine into a massive
advertising and technological powerhouse," Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land
wrote Jan. 20
. "The start-up culture seemingly
has been largely swallowed by the inevitable bureaucracy that comes with
getting bigger. Meanwhile, it has faced challenges in convincing new and key
employees that it remains the place to be, versus rivals like Facebook."
of the inevitable pundit commentary seemed to focus on Facebook as Google's
biggest rival, as opposed to Microsoft. Despite Microsoft's investing hundreds
of millions of dollars in its online efforts, and Bing's steady market-share
climb since its summer 2009 release, the company has yet to seriously threaten
Google's long-standing lead in that arena.
research firm comScore, Google held a 66 percent share of the search-engine
market through November 2010, compared with Yahoo at 16.4 percent and Bing at
11.5 percent. Both Yahoo and Google lost incremental share that month to
Microsoft. However, given how Yahoo's search is powered by Bing in the United
States, the matchup in that scenario is pretty much Google vs. Microsoft.
recently released Windows Phone 7, a total revamp of the company's previously
moribund smartphone franchise, is likewise designed to take on both Apple's iOS
and Google Android for the right to feed the Web and applications to people's
handsets. Apple's iPhone and Android devices such as the Droid X currently
dominate the consumer market, and are making substantial inroads into the
enterprise against Research In Motion's longstanding BlackBerry
January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft executives claimed
approximately 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices had been sold to retailers by
manufacturers in the platform's first few weeks of release. However, the
company has remained reluctant to reveal how many of those devices may have
found their way into consumers' hands, and one LG Electronics executive recently termed the rollout
"less than we expected."
words, despite the shakeups at both Apple and Google, chances are the
short-term advantages for Microsoft will likely be negligible.