eWEEK at 30: Google's Wealth Brings Diversification, Public Scrutiny

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-02-22 Print this article Print

"It doesn't seem that random when you consider cars, Glasses and more, because it all results in information about people and that's why they are going into all of those diverse businesses," he said.

Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, said the two things that stand out to him about Google's first 15 years are its corporate ambition and its smart business sense for finding and nurturing just the right partnerships with other companies.

"It seems clear to me that I can't think of another IT company or vendor out there that is more ambitious than Google is, and I mean that in the best sense of the word," said King. "They seem to be in a constant state of pushing the market, competitors and themselves."

At the same time, the smart, effective and often creative partnerships that it creates have been huge for the company, he added. "The success with Android is a good example of that," said King. "There was a time when Android was nascent—when the idea that it would ever surpass Apple and iOS was laughable. Here we are a few years later, and Android rules in market share. I think the company recognizes that it can't do everything by itself."

But it's not all been rosy and successful for the company. There have also been notable and serious pitfalls for Google in its first 15 years, including antitrust probes in Europe and in the United States regarding its search and advertising practices, as well as growing privacy concerns from people and nations around the world about what information Google collects from users and how that data is then used by the company.

Those antitrust probes, argued Enderle, have portrayed Google as sloppy at times. "Because they are doing so much stuff at once, they're tying products together and they shouldn't be doing that" due to antitrust concerns, he said. "It's the same thing that got Microsoft into trouble" in its own antitrust cases in the past. "[Google is] reaching a level of dominance where that same thing that could happen to them. It's like they are going down the road of the 'greatest hits of technology antitrust.' I think that's going to eventually catch up with them."

The biggest challenge for Google's future then, he said, is government intervention and potential regulation. "They've reached a level where nobody else can touch them. What makes Google very different [from other antitrust targets in the past] is that they seem to be hitting on all points at once," involving multiple products, business units and issues. "The corrective action on them [by governments] is going to be legendary. They're just [angering] too many people, too much of the time and they are scaring governments. That's when Standard Oil and Microsoft got hit."



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