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Google's Six-Front War 249

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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  • Re:Buzzing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @07:25PM (#36648944) Journal
    Yeah, I'm not too excited about anything "Google" that's personalized anymore. I mean I still like Google and they have some great ideas and products and Google is still my home page and my pretty much the only place I search from.

    That said I don't trust them to keep anything going long term. Every time I find something useful, it gets taken away, Google Health the most recent on the chopping block. And I'm sure we can make a list of other that have fallen to the wayside. Wave of course. I even dialed 800-Goog-411 the other day to get a phone # and it was gone.

    It's hard to want to invest in personalizing anything Google these days. I use to feel secure thinking my "Gmail" account would be around a while. These days I'm not so sure.
  • 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 obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Sunday July 03, 2011 @08:20PM (#36649210)

    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's a lot of heavily hardware-oriented companies. Some of them are kinda trying, but that's rather outside of their purview.
    MS: I'm assuming they lack vision more than skills or money.
    Sony: lack all of the above
    SAP and Oracle are purely "entreprise"
    Apple are trying, and rather successful

  • 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 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.

  • 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, 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Patents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT 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.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas