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Google's Six-Front War 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the beware-the-russian-winter dept.
wasimkadak writes "While the tech world is buzzing about the launch and implications of Google's new social network, Google+, it's worth noting that Google isn't just in a war with Facebook, it's at war with multiple companies across multiple industries. In fact, Google is fighting a multi-front war with a host of tech giants for control over some of the most valuable pieces of real estate in technology."
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Google's Six-Front War

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  • Patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:11PM (#36648862)

    The tech industry is basically building up the greatest case ever to be made for why patents, software patents especially, have transitioned away from their original intention and become far more a hindrance and obstruction rather than a means of getting useful knowledge out from closed circles.

    • Re:Patents (Score:4, Insightful)

      by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:19PM (#36648910) Journal

      ...their original intention...

      That's the part that everybody has gotten wrong so far.. Patents and copyrights are designed from the beginning to restrict the transfer and sharing of knowledge. If people are going to continue to claim property rights, they should pay a property tax. They should not be permitted to deny a license to use the property, and the government should be allowed to determine a reasonable price. Divulged knowledge is public property, exclusive privileges over it should come with a cost.

      • Re:Patents (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:27PM (#36648962)

        Patents were made to ensure that in exchange for making information public, the inventor would get temporary exclusivity. The purpose was to get information that would have been held as a trade secret, or in past ages by trade guilds, and potentially lost. Now, of course, patents are useless as they rarely describe HOW to make the item in question, and are instead a vague concept grab and used not to protect the inventor but as clubs to beat others down with.

        Copyright is similar, though it was meant to give creators some incentive to create.

        If people are going to continue to claim property rights, they should pay a property tax.

        They don't claim property rights. They confuse the issue with the poor phrase "intellectual property" even though it isn't.

        Divulged knowledge is public property, exclusive privileges over it should come with a cost.

        They do come with a cost. Eventually they will lose the exclusive privilege to the information. The problems lie around the laws that make up copyright and patents.

        • by zill (1690130)

          Copyright is similar, though it was meant to give creators some incentive to create.

          If people are going to continue to claim property rights, they should pay a property tax.

          They don't claim property rights. They confuse the issue with the poor phrase "intellectual property" even though it isn't.

          Patents is a type of intellectual property by definition. Maybe this isn't true in your local jurisdiction, but it's certainly the case in the US, where Google is located.

        • I read so many stories about what is wrong with the patent system. And yet, nobody seems to come up with good ideas about reforming the patent system. Yes, people mention that the duration of patents should be at most X years and obvious software patents should not be allowed. But how to get these ideas generally accepted and implemented as laws is where the problem lies.

          We have heard all the arguments against the patent system. So please, let's shift the focus of the discussion.

      • As their name suggests, patents are designed to encourage otherwise secret matters to be made publicly available in exchange for a limited monopoly on their use. It would take a face much straighter than mine to claim, at least with respect to matters anywhere near software, that they are other than a mess today; but that was in fact the theory.
        • ...but that was in fact the spin

          :-) Sorry, had to do it.

          Actually I could see the the point of these laws to minimize plagiarism, but beyond that they are an anathema to progress.

        • Re:Patents (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jc42 (318812) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:13PM (#36649176) Homepage Journal

          ... patents are designed to encourage otherwise secret matters to be made publicly available in exchange for a limited monopoly on their use. It would take a face much straighter than mine to claim, at least with respect to matters anywhere near software, that they are other than a mess today; but that was in fact the theory.

          Actually, if you consult various histories of the concept of patent, you'll find that restricting patents to new inventions is a rather recent (17th C?) development. Historically, it has long been common to (as the the US Patent Office now does) give a patent to anyone willing to pay the appropriate registration fee.

          As usual, wikipedia has an article that describes this [wikipedia.org], and mentions that it was James I who added the requirement to English law that a patent had to be for something new. He did this in response to some extreme abuse of the patent system to award common commodities (salt is mentioned) as a monopoly to a specific manufacturer, which effectively prevented previous manufacturers from continuing their business.

          But this isn't the first documented case of such things. There are a number of descriptions of an ancient Greek cooking contest, in which the winner was awarded a patent for one year, during which nobody else could produce the same dish. There's no hint that the winning entry had to be new; it just had to be the one preferred by the panel of judges, exactly like modern cooking contests.

          It's likely that the current US scheme of rewarding a patent for things well known in the industry isn't a corruption, but rather a return to the original use of patent law. It was designed to give a monopoly in exchange for paying whatever fee the local ruler(s) demanded.

          (This may seem cynical to modern readers, but it doesn't take much reading of the relevant ancient histories for it to pass from cynicism to understanding that this is one way that rulers have always enriched themselves.)

      • The cost was the R&D that went into it.

        You are correct in saying that "Patents and copyrights are designed from the beginning to restrict the transfer and sharing of knowledge", in so far as to let the holder recoup R&D costs and turn a profit before the information becomes public.

        Who would spend R&D resources just to have others duplicate the finished product with no investment? Patents ensure that creators will have time to recoup costs.

        Now, there is a good argument that the le
        • Re:Patents (Score:5, Insightful)

          by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:39PM (#36649014)

          Who would spend R&D resources just to have others duplicate the finished product with no investment? Patents ensure that creators will have time to recoup costs.

          OMG! How on earth did the human race survive for millenia before patents? You're so right, without patents nobody would ever invent anything and we'd all still be living in damp caves arguing about who was going to be the dumbass to pay the development costs of inventing fire...

          • Re:Patents (Score:4, Informative)

            by ChatHuant (801522) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:53PM (#36649386)

            OMG! How on earth did the human race survive for millenia before patents? You're so right, without patents nobody would ever invent anything

            This is really disingenuous. The issue of what we call now intelectual property is not new, and has existed long before patents and copyrights were introduced. Because there was no good mechanism for establishing and enforcing ownership of new inventions and discoveries, many creators refused to make them public, to the disadvantage of everybody else. Many skills and processes were passed only within a family, or a guild, or from master to apprentice, and their secret was jealously guarded. Look at the Venetian Republic, which ensured the monopoly of Murano glass for centuries, by forbidding glassmakers to leave the city; look at many scientists, like Galileo: in order to claim priority for his discoveries, he used to send encrypted descriptions to other scientists (see here [rice.edu] for details), and only make the discoveries public later. It's possible he had even discovered Neptune, back in 1613 (see here [spacedaily.com] for details) but he did not disclose it, fearing somebody else may claim it. As a result, the existence of Neptune remained unknown until 1846, that is more than two hundred years later.

            Or check the thoughts of actual writers living in a period of weak or inexistent copyrights; look at Dickens here [moreintelligentlife.com] or Twain here [nytimes.com].

            • Re:Patents (Score:5, Interesting)

              by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @11:08PM (#36649860)

              This is really disingenuous. The issue of what we call now intelectual property is not new, and has existed long before patents and copyrights were introduced. Because there was no good mechanism for establishing and enforcing ownership of new inventions and discoveries, many creators refused to make them public, to the disadvantage of everybody else. Many skills and processes were passed only within a family, or a guild, or from master to apprentice, and their secret was jealously guarded.

              That's debatable. Guilds were government granted monopolies. They were able to keep their secrets for generations because the local king granted them the privilege of exclusive rights to their trade.

              That's the reason why inventions and discoveries were closely guarded: because the guild members *could* - it was their right as guild members, and non-guild members were hunted down with the authorities' blessing.

              Real progress did not come from the introduction of the patent system, and never will. Real progress has come from the liberalization of trade, and the breakup of the rigid feudal society. That's what has allowed more people than ever to devote time to inventions and discoveries, without worrying that some existing stakeholder will prevent them from doing so.

              People are naturally inventive. They will improve systems and invent better ways of doing the things that matter to them, if we let them. Among the people, there are a small number with science backgrounds, and if we let them, they will invent and discover a lot more than now.

          • Re:Patents (Score:4, Insightful)

            by vijayiyer (728590) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:58PM (#36649410)

            Maybe because in the millennia before patents the costs of development were low and the reward was high? There was little cost to inventing fire, but the benefit of survival on a cold night sure would have been nice.
            You can argue that possibly high cost development is a waste and that we're not better off as a society with that sort of R&D, but it seems a stretch to think that it would continue without the promise of financial compensation.

            • Re:Patents (Score:5, Insightful)

              by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @11:39PM (#36649966)

              You can argue that possibly high cost development is a waste and that we're not better off as a society with that sort of R&D, but it seems a stretch to think that it would continue without the promise of financial compensation.

              Then why is it that the vast majority of inventors, scientists and artists who create the new inventions, discoveries and works of art, are employed for average salaries?

              If your idea was right, then nobody would go to work for Sony, GM, IBM, Monsanto or any corporation that produces patentable tech: those corps can make millions in licensing new technology, yet their employees get 100K odd a year. That's a huge disconnect, that can only be explained by the opposite of your idea: people do in fact invent and create without the promise of monopolistic rights to their inventions.

              Those rights mainly matter to sustain an entirely different class of people: not the inventors, scientists and artists, but the managers and investors whose sole concern is maximizing returns. If patents were abolished, they would suffer, but inventors would continue to invent at an increased pace.

          • OMG! How on earth did the human race survive for millenia before patents?

            Without global communication, running water, food that was safe to eat, and an epically large pile of medicine.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by 0123456 (636235)

              Without global communication, running water, food that was safe to eat, and an epically large pile of medicine.

              Because none of those things would have happened without patents.

              • Because none of those things would have happened without patents.

                In the same time frame?

                • The time frame is a function of the number of people working on the problem. The number of people working on a given problem is a function of the world population. Progress is faster today because there are a lot more people on Earth with relevant skills, and it will keep getting faster as the population of people with skills grows.
                  • Right, so how does motivation factor into this equation?

                    • Re:Patents (Score:4, Interesting)

                      by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday July 04, 2011 @12:21AM (#36650076)
                      Same as it always has. Survival, improvement, curiosity.

                      What I'm saying is that there's no evidence that patents cause an increase in the natural rate of invention. We have seen an explosion in the number of inventions over the last two centuries, but we have also seen an explosion in the number of skilled people over that period.

                    • Same as it always has. Survival, improvement, curiosity.

                      Okay, now in this case money is an added motivator.

                      We have seen an explosion in the number of inventions over the last two centuries, but we have also seen an explosion in the number of skilled people over that period.

                      That's easy enough to prove. Let's see a graph that shows the rate of inventions running parallel to the birth rate.

                    • Re:Patents (Score:5, Informative)

                      by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday July 04, 2011 @01:12AM (#36650246)
                      All right, here's a little experiment I just did, I'll give you the steps so you can repeat it.

                      Quick google search for patent applications [uspto.gov]

                      Quick google search for world population [npg.org]

                      Now cut and paste the data for years 1963-2010. I've used the 5th column (total utility patent applications) as this seems like it might be relevant. Clean up the data a bit:

                      cat patents.txt | awk '{print $5}' | sed s/,// | grep -v '*' | tac > pat.txt

                      cat population.txt | egrep '(^19|^20|^21)' | sed s/,//g > pop.txt

                      Now if you load this in octave, you can make a quick graph:

                      plot(pop(:,1), pat ./ pop(:,2)) [tinypic.com]

                      As you can see from the graph, the proportion of patent applications from around the world is roughly constant until about 1990, then it suddenly jumps up.

                      Obviously, this only represents US patents for a rather short time period compared to human existence, it would be interesting to find data to extend back two centuries if possible.

                      Does anyone know what happened in 1990 in the US to change the patent application rate?

                    • That's really interesting, man.

                      Does anyone know what happened in 1990 in the US to change the patent application rate?

                      Isn't that about the time LCD displays and 16-bit processors were starting to become ubiquitous?

                    • Re:Patents (Score:5, Informative)

                      by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Monday July 04, 2011 @05:11AM (#36650902)

                      Does anyone know what happened in 1990 in the US to change the patent application rate?

                      That's a rhetorical question, right? Beginning 1990's the US courts, in a couple of landmark cases, decided that software patents were legal. What you're seeing is the ensuing land-grab.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            The same way they did prior to copyrights. There would be a wealthy land owner who would basically sponsor the work. That owner would by virtue of controlling the creation be in control of it.

            If anything the version of patents up until relatively recently that was in place democratized the area as it allowed somebody to get some sort of payment without having to have a long list of inventions. There have been generous folks over the millenia that have given their inventions away, but there'd be fewer invent

          • Re:Patents (Score:4, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:04AM (#36650398) Journal

            Uhhh...we lost a shitload of tech? look up "Greek Fire" or Damascus Steel to see two techs that were lost because they were kept as secrets.

            The problem isn't so much the original idea of the system, it is that douchebags like the late Jack Valenti figured out how to bribe and game the system so they could have "forever minus a single day" which is the current copyrights system, or "patent the most vaguest idea I pull out of my ass crack and sue the shit out of anything even close to my ass crack idea" which is the current patent system.

            Make patents and copyrights 7-10 years with the ability to pay for yearly extensions, starting at $1 and quickly jumping to over $1 million after a decade past the original term and $100 million after 2 decades. that way if some supermega corp thinks they have something REALLY that valuable, let them pay for it. Everyone else will have made their money and moved on, thus freeing huge amount of our culture from being lost.

            For an example of being lost look at the non big name DOS games of the 80s through early 90s. Many of these companies are gone, many of these programs have NO chance of running on a modern machine, and good luck finding who owns the rights. I had a great little idea a few years back, to get together with a programming friend of mine and offer "DOSBox...in a box" which would have been a preconfigured DOSBox with the old DOS games preloaded and a nice GUI, all on a flash stick. That way those that didn't know how to set up DOSBox would have an easy way to try the funky and the rare just plug and play. So what happened?

            Copyrights happened. Most of the games we tried to find info for have passed through so damned many hands nobody knows who owns shit, and the few that we did find wanted frankly more per unit than the things sold for new because "they might want to monetize the IP some day" so all those games will eventually be lost and the public will be poorer for it. Kinda like how there are tons of movies disappearing every year because the major studios can't figure out how to monetize the IP from some grade C movie from the 30s or 40s with no AAA stars anybody has heard of.

            So if they want to keep it? Make them pay. Hoist them by their own petard because if I quit paying property taxes my property gets taken by the state, the same should happen to intellectual property. If you don't pay to keep it up? Into the Public Domain it goes. Just imagine how much richer our lives would be if all the music of the 50s through 70s, all the games of the DOS era, and all those classic movies, were free to be mashed up and remade and to be enjoyed.

            I know that in my case we were planning on making donations of 10% of any money we made on our DOSBox in a box idea to DOSBox with the hopes of helping as well as sharing any changes and configs we came up with. After all it wasn't for the geeks on the DOSBox forums, it was for the kids and folks that wanted to try these classic games and have them as easy as we had those old shareware CDs back in the day. Sadly after 3 months of trying to deal with the legal minefield we just decided it wasn't worth doing all that hard work when in the end no matter what we did we would have gotten a C&D or sued by a company that hadn't sold the thing in 20 years or had ended up with the "IP" in some merger of a merger of a buyout so nobody knew they had it until they hit us with the suit.

      • Patents were specifically designed from the beginning to not restrict the transfer and sharing of knowledge; there's a reason why patents granted are public and accessible to you. The person(s) applying for the patent share the details in order to claim exclusive right to exploiting their invention or innovation for a specific period of time, with the laws protecting them from someone copying their process. After the period of protection runs out, anyone can use the details posted to create & sell produ

        • by hedwards (940851)

          One of the very serious problems right now is punishing companies for trying to avoid infringing on anybody's patents. Get caught infringing you'll pay damages, be stupid enough to have conducted a patent search prior to being sued and you'll be looking at treble damages typically.

      • by ATMAvatar (648864)

        That's the part that everybody has gotten wrong so far.. Patents and copyrights are designed from the beginning to restrict the transfer and sharing of knowledge.

        False.

        Patents and copyrights were designed to encourage the transfer and sharing of knowledge. In return, the inventor/writer is granted a limited monopoly to distribute the work in the case of copyright or license the use of the work in the case of patents. The underlying goal in the case of patents is to increase innovation both by providing greater access to the ideas of others (on which new inventions can build) and by providing an incentive to create via the monopoly grant.

      • Patents and copyrights are designed from the beginning to restrict the transfer and sharing of knowledge.

        Yeah, that's why they're very specific, detailed, and published for all to see.

  • Google has a tendancy to create awesome stuff and has the money to back it up.

    Hopefully it'll wake up a few competitors who might just want to try something better.

    Or they could end up squabbling over patents. Whatever works.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      Viva la guerre!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As long as they don't get involved in a land war in Asia.

  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:26PM (#36648948)
    Not only is Google taking on more than just the listed fronts (author neglected libraries, cloud computing, email, etc), but every major tech company is fighting the same fights on its fronts as well. In total, it is a thousand-front war, with only a handful of select winners at the end of the day.
  • Google has a slight advantage in that none of their services other than advertising are really making money, and not many have to be as long as adverting can keep them afloat as well as it has.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ijakings (982830)
      Many of their services are built around advertising, which is a point that many seem to miss. At the end of the day google want eyeballs on their ads, and if offering x service at break even or a loss gets enough eyeballs to those ads to make a profit, they are doing well.

      Obviously they can offer paid side services on top of this, like gmail for enterprise and google earth pro. Even android is about getting users on their platform, having their eyeballs where they want them.
      • Even android is about getting users on their platform, having their eyeballs where they want them.

        I disagree, Android is about preventing a single actor (apple) to be too dominant and be able to leverage this dominance to be the sole vector of ads on a platform (as apple is planning/doing) therefore potentially preventing google to display ads on said platform.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Does anyone else notice that Google has a lot of failed products and services?

      I'm not applying a value judgement to that just yet, as it may be a byproduct of a high innovation rate and willingness to take risks. However Google has this great reputation as a winning company and yet I'm struck by how many of their products have cratered.

      Recent examples would have to include Google Wave and Google Buzz. Google Books seems to have become bogged down in endless bickering.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      There are basically two ways to make money on the Internet: advertising, and having users pay for the service. This not counting "e-commerce" sites, which are basically not different from a traditional mail-order service with an online instead of a paper catalogue.

      These days, many services are free, they are of high quality, users have come to expect such services to be free, and most are not willing to pay for it.

      E-mail service: hotmal/gmail/yahoo/etc are all free, have always been, will always be. Can't

    • This reminds me of an article I read a while ago. All the stuff Google creates seem less to do with monetizing those services directly and more to do with protecting their search business. I believed the author described it as a moat. Google is more than willing to give you billions of dollars of free stuff if they can continue to make tens of billions on search advertising. Truthfully, I'm not sure why they haven't been investigated for tying already. While they don't specifically require you to use their

  • by slasho81 (455509)
    How is Google's situation any different than any other giant tech company? It isn't. If you're big, you're everywhere.
  • by fermion (181285) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:41PM (#36649036) Homepage Journal
    Business is not war. War by definition is a zero sum game. That is, war is used to distribute a resource that for all intents and purposes is fixed in quantity. For instance, war is often used to redistribute land. Now it is used to redistribute petroleum. The war on drugs redistributes drugs to the rich and powerful, leaving the poor with nothing.

    Business is different. Business is about creating value where none exists. It is about taking a junk mushroom and turning it into a premium product. It is about taking a piece of land no one wants and turning it into a resort. In the process inefficient companies die, but they are not causalities of war. They are simply relics of a bad past that we are happy to see left behind.

    So why is this important? If it is war then we fight to maintain market share, a perceived limited resource, which is what the American automakers diid, which is why MS is doing, which is what all those insurance companies and banks are doing. However if it is not a war then we are in a situation of an expanding and fruitful economy that will grow as we innovate. This si the world in which we have jobs and new toys. This is IBM. This is Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corporation.

    If we are at war, we do not innovate, we copy. It is the difference between Google using graph theory to create a index method different from Yahoo and Alta Vista and Google creating an phone not unlike the iPhone. It is the difference between Alta Vista that stood on market share and did not innovate, and Yahoo who understood there was room in search for more than one way to serve the customer.

    • by jemmyw (624065)

      But your examples of copying are not zero sum. Android is valuable despite copying the iPhone, it's different enough, and more importantly it grows the market in a way that Apple wasn't going to. And if companies fight for market share by making their products more valuable then this is not zero sum either, it's zero sum for the competing companies, but extra value is created for their customers.

      War doesn't have to be zero sum either. If it's a war over land and resources then yes, but if it's a war over po

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        But your examples of copying are not zero sum. Android is valuable despite copying the iPhone, it's different enough, and more importantly it grows the market in a way that Apple wasn't going to.

        That was a new market. Banks, insurances, Microsoft all operate in a more-or-less saturated market. Big difference. Android can grow alongside iPhone. Linux can only grow by taking market share from other companies like Microsoft, and thus threatening Microsoft directly.

        War doesn't have to be zero sum either. If it's a war over land and resources then yes, but if it's a war over political ideals then no.

        War tends to be a negative-sum business. Remember: war has no winners, only losers. The "winner" is just the one that lost less.

    • by epine (68316)

      War by definition is a zero sum game.

      In the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, "Lucy, you've got some defining to do!" This never occurred to me, but now that you mention it, I can see how it equates to zero. One guy gets shot in the trenches, lies groaning in the mud and feces holding his intestines inside his belly with a tin dinner plate. The guy who shot him survives the firefight, goes off to the nearest Asian brothel so shoot up with a grade of heroine you can only obtain in the Asian jungle. Mise

    • by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Sunday July 03, 2011 @09:38PM (#36649584)
      War by definition is a zero sum game.

      By what definition? I would consider war to be a negative-sum game.
      • by Gorath99 (746654)

        War by definition is a zero sum game.

        By what definition? I would consider war to be a negative-sum game.

        Only if you don't consider the consequences of not going to war. For instance, I'm very glad that France and Britain declared war on the Axis. I have little doubt that the world would have been a worse place now if they hadn't.

    • it's supposed to be "for all intensive purposes"

    • by gfody (514448)
      with these social products it's more like a war over land than doing business. think of social community as a place that's currently occupied by facebook. the fixed quantity resource are all the eyeballs using the product and the data they generate.
  • Here are the six fronts listed in the article:

    The Browser Front - chrome/IE/Firefox etc
    The Mobile Front - Android vs iPhone vs all others
    The Search Front - Duh
    The Local Front - Groupon, Daily Deals, Foursquare, etc. The Social Front - trying to kill Facebook
    The Enterprise Front - Google apps vs Office, Google mail vs Exchange, etc.

    Add some filler text and you have the article.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by obarthelemy (160321)

      The interesting thing is that is almost all cases, Google are invading, not defending. They are one the few companies to have the skills, the vision and the money to try and shake up markets. I wish them well, and with others would be as active/aggressive. Also, because they are active on so many fronts, they can fail at one without catastrophic consequences - except Search !

      Looking at the list of the biggest tech companies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_global_technology_companies):
      There

      • by bonch (38532) * on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:34PM (#36649302)

        Slashdot in 2001: "Microsoft is evil. They're trying to leverage their success with Windows to take everybody down. They want to conquer everything and have you using Microsoft-branded operating systems, browsers, phones, webjournals, email, and more."

        Slashdot in 2011: "Google is awesome. They're leveraging the success of their search engine to enter these markets with their fantastic vision. I can't wait to use Google-branded operating systems, browsers, phones, blogs, email, and more."

        • by laffer1 (701823)

          Google and Microsoft are quite similar. No matter what I do, there are one or two products that I end up using or needing anyway. It just takes one event for people to change their mind about tech companies. For most people, Google hasn't done anything wrong yet. That's the difference between Microsoft and Google. I think in most people's eyes, Microsoft's pricing and activation as well as failures with vista have been more of a reputation fail than the antitrust trial or IE ever were. Young people don

  • Don't worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:11PM (#36649162) Journal

    As long as Google doesn't invade Russia in the winter everything will be allright.

  • Am I the one one here who thinks it's time to start reigning in this use of "war" for situations in which nobody is dying?

    We should be demanding that the authors of such propaganda be required to document instances of rape, pillage and/or murder by the participants in such purported "wars". If they can't document google's bombing raids, etc., then they should be required to edit their reports to use more accurate terms for what google is actually doing to their victims.

    (Actually, a lot of us would like

  • Gibber (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:54PM (#36649396) Homepage

    The first two fronts are misunderstood by the author. I didn't bother reading further.

    Front 1) Chrome
    He implies that Google is in the browser battle to control the browser and get everybody over to chrome. In fact - google is in the browser battle to raise the game. They're totally happy if ie maintains market share as long as ie does a better job at javascript and html5 so that users can use gmail, google docs, etc.

    Google are clearly winning here - all the browsers have significantly improved their javascript performance and standards compliance since Chrome made them start competing again.

    Front 2) Android
    He implies the reason Android doesn't have the developer support is due to fragmentation of devices. Completely wrong - the reason Android doesn't have developer support is that Google haven't trained everyone to buy apps, and so the financial rewards for developers are way lower.

    Apple gets your payment method on day 1, and makes it easy for you to buy stuff with successful instant fulfilment. Google has a crappy dysfunctional checkout system and make no attempts to collect your payment details until you decide to bite the bullet and buy an app. At that point, they make the process painful and unsatisfying so that you are put off from ever trying again.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Google are clearly winning here - all the browsers have significantly improved their javascript performance and standards compliance since Chrome made them start competing again.

      I'd say browser competition was quite hot already with Firefox taking over a huge chunk of IE's market, and Safari being released for Windows. Chrome just heated it up a bit more.

      And anyway that's a great thing I'd say. I'd love to see a world with 3, 4 major browsers, each having at least some 15-20% market share, no more than 50% for any single one. That forces them to follow standards as it's too much to expect web developers to develop browser-specific. Actually considering the latest browser usage sta

    • by kobaz (107760)

      Google has a crappy dysfunctional checkout system and make no attempts to collect your payment details until you decide to bite the bullet and buy an app. At that point, they make the process painful and unsatisfying so that you are put off from ever trying again.

      Huh? Are you referring to the app market or something else? The google mobile market is painless and easy to buy apps. You hit buy and it charges your card on file. You get the app. Done and done. What could be easier?

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @09:06PM (#36649444)
    A large, global company has competition. What a surprise. Oh, what will Google do? Whatever will they do?

    .
    It looks like far too many people are accustomed to the days when Microsoft's monopoly ruled and crippled the tech industry. Fortunately, those days seem as distant as a Windows mobile device with a 50% marketshare.....

    I, for one, welcome competition for google, and any other company that becomes a global powerhouse.

    • by antdude (79039)

      I just hope Google doesn't become a monopoly in these areas. Compeition is good! Let the war continue. ;)

  • If Google was a pocket knife, it would still fit in my pocket. Turning this upside down, searching and locating is common in browsers, advertising, networking, search, and crosses over multiple devices. The article makes it sound like people ten years from now will still treat all of these as different fields. Tech companies will be more like Wal-Mart, and less like drug stores, soda shops, butchers and cheese shops.
  • Only search matters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday July 04, 2011 @01:53AM (#36650362) Homepage

    Google revenue: 94% ads. Ad revenue: 70% ads on search pages, 30% ads elsewhere (Adsense, YouTube, etc.). That's what matters.

    If Google does anything for which they charge customers money, the customers will expect support. Google hates providing support. They gave up selling Android handsets when they discovered that unhappy customers would call them. Even the rare Google business-to-business products, like the Google Search Appliance, were unsupported. (If it broke during warranty, they shipped you a new one.) This limits Google to ad-supported business lines. Since they already dominate the one really profitable ad-supported business line, search, any area into which they expand is less profitable than the one they're in. So expansion reduces ROI and stock price.

    Getting into "social" doesn't help much. Facebook is dinky compared to Google. Facebook has hit its peak size, and it still generates an order of magnitude less revenue than Google.

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