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Avi Rosenthal

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Will Google Survive until 2021? Revisited - part 1

Three years ago I wrote one of my Vendors Survival posts. The post was titled: Vendors Survival: Will Google Survive until 2018?
The Vendors Survival posts analyze the probability that vendors will survive for at least ten years. Most of them are about leading vendors such as Apple, Microsoft, HP, EMC etc. The previous post was on Zapthink, a small SOA and Cloud Analysts and Consultants company acquired by Dovel Systems.

Ten years predictions are usually inaccurate. However,
The only leading vendor I predicted that will not survive was SUN Microsystems, who was shortly afterwards an acquisition target for IBM and acquired by Oracle.

I recently read Google's announcement about shutting down some of its products and a similar announcement  about other products.
Shutting down products and services looks like a sign of weakening.

Some people argue that Google Social Software initiatives like Buzz, Jaiko and Google+ fails to compete with Facebook or Twitter.

Others focus on limitations of current Google Search Engine. Two examples: Why we desperately need  a New (and Better) Google, Trouble in the House of Google

Few months ago Larry Page replaced Eric Schmidt as Google's CEO. Was that change a sign that Google is no longer as successful as it was?  
So will Google preserve its position as a leader? Will it Survive for Long Term?

Google 2008 vs. Google 2011
Google of 2011 is very different from Google of 2008.
It is competing with Apple in the Smart Phone Operating Systems market with its Android (The market share of each of them is approximately 40%). 

After acquiring Motorola Mobility division it is no more Software only company but also a Smart Phones Hardware vendor. 

On the one hand Google become a successful player in the browsers market with Chrome and Gmail is a de-facto standard in the Consumer market and competing with Microsoft's Exchange in Enterprises.

On the other hand its attempts to compete with Facebook and Twitter in the Electronic Social Networking Services market are still unsuccessful.    

In order to conclude if Google will survive until 2021 we have to examine threats that could change Google's position for the Long Term. 
I do think that the threats mentioned in the post I wrote about Google Survival in 2008 are relevant. In this post I discuss or mention them briefly. 

Threat 1: Significantly better Search Engine developed by another company
The issue of Web Search Engines will be discussed in part 2 of the post.

Threat 2: Loosing its innovative spirit
The section titles: Google 2008 vs. Google 2011 indicates that probably Google is still an innovative company.

Threat 3: Expanding its business domains wrongly
Google is expanding its business domains and its business services. I do not identify indicators of wrong expansion.
Stopping business services is the other side of the coin. I do not think that Google announcement of shutting services cited in the beginning of that post is an indication of wrong strategy.

An old proverb says: The only people who never make mistakes are those who are doing nothing.
Shutting an unsuccessful service is an indication of Agile and Adapting company. Its a lot better than supporting it for years. 

Shutting a bunch of strategic services could imply a wrong strategy. However, as far as Google is concerned, it is not the case. 

Threat 4: Legal issues
This issue continues to be a relevant issue.

Threat 5: Web X.0 (X > 2)
This issue of Web Content will be discussed in a part 2 of the post, which will be published soon. 

Threat 6: failure of the simple and effective Google 
Business model
I do not observe indicators supporting failure of Google's business model.
There is a growing anxiety concerning Privacy because Google hosts more and more private data in order to select adequate advertisement.

Searching the Web 
Search Engine is Google's most strategic product. Some of its other products are using it as component of the services they provide. 

Limitation or failure of it, as described in Why we desperately need a New (and Better) Google cited in the beginning of this post, could negatively affect Google's market position.

This is the major challenge facing Google. Google has no Control of some of the factors limiting its effectiveness. 

Because addressing this challenge is so important for Google, I will dedicate a post to it. The post which will be titled same as the current post with the suffix part 2  will be published until next weekend.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.