Google Hardware, Anyone?

By David Coursey  |  Posted 2006-01-04 Print this article Print

Opinion: The search giant getting into the hardware business seems dangerous, and Google would be wise to enter the hardware fray through acquisitions, not ownership.

If I were a competitor and had just heard that Google was "getting into the hardware business," Id be ecstatic.

What better way for an advertising-supported media company, like Google, to wash through a few billion dollars and see the attention of executives diverted away from the companys main play—whatever that turns out to be.

Id imagine this is the same way Lenovo must have felt when its executives heard that HP and Compaq were merging, or perhaps eMachines and Gateway.
Not that those mergers closely parallel Google, its that they illustrate how tough the PC hardware business has become. Click here to read more about Googles potential move into consumer hardware. Can you imagine another multibillion dollar company announcing they are getting into the PC hardware business and not seeing its stock price fall through the floor? Yet, somehow, if thats what Google announces at the Consumer Electronics Show, its stock will rise to a new high, regardless. General consumer electronics is, if anything, more competitive than the PC hardware business and is an industry where tremendous technical smarts—which Google certainly has—dont always translate into a winner at Best Buy. That isnt to say there might not be a place for the Google name on hardware, or that the company shouldnt be selling its search appliances to corporate customers. In the case of the appliances, they are just a way for Google to deliver search technology to enterprise customers. Next Page: Acquisitions make the most sense.

One of technology's most recognized bylines, David Coursey is Special Correspondent for, where he writes a daily Blog ( and twice-weekly column. He is also Editor/Publisher of the Technology Insights newsletter and President of DCC, Inc., a professional services and consulting firm.

Former Executive Editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk, Coursey has also been Executive Producer of a number of industry conferences, including DEMO, Showcase, and Digital Living Room. Coursey's columns have been quoted by both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and he has appeared on ABC News Nightline, CNN, CBS News, and other broadcasts as an expert on computing and the Internet. He has also written for InfoWorld, USA Today, PC World, Computerworld, and a number of other publications. His Web site is

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