Everyone wants to hate them for any number of reasons. They are evil. They are anti-competitive. They are this. They are that.
That’s fine because people still have a right to express their opinions freely (for now). But what the real story is about Google is that they keep chugging along and leading in categories that do one thing really well: they make money.
The search dominance we know. The mobile dominance is a matter of opinion (iOS is the premier platform but Google owns over 90% of the mobile search market. You decide which one is more important.). But the one area that we often overlook is their leadership in display advertising.
eMarketer is reporting that the display lead which they say belonged to Facebook last year, is now Google’s AND the future is looking like that lead will only grow.
The trouble with Google is that it has become the least sexy of all the online options. It’s almost starting to feel like the IBM of old where it is there, it’s huge, it does good work and it’s just accepted. The trouble with that is that we all know what happened to the IBM of old. It fell apart and had to reinvent itself. Every company, including Google, is prone to this fate. HP, Dell and others were workhorse brands of another age who have now taken a back seat to their Internet competitors. While the barriers to entry are quite high, Google is still susceptible to the same fate born of arrogance and complacency.
So today they dominate in many areas. If they ‘stay the course’ it looks like this could continue for some time. This prediction of a clear leadership position in display advertising paints a pretty daunting picture for many in the online space because going head-to-head with Google is a true challenge. That may be why Apple is trying to shift the balance of power in their efforts to make the Apple experience even more walled off with regard to services in addition to the traditional hardware and operating system separation from the rest of the world.
So while this prediction of Google being the dominant player in display for the foreseeable future is interesting, what do you think is the bigger picture for the company? Is having the lead enough or is it just setting them up for what seems the stumble or fall that most huge companies take?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.