Google is a winning company and we understand why. A little more than two years ago, in January 2011, Larry Page took over the title CEO after Eric Schmidt. This was a time when Google had to fight towards brands such as Facebook, which stole both employees and users.
Google’s Android grew but Apple kept stubbornly its leading position in mobile devices and market share. Google’s biggest problem was not linked to any individual, but rather a lack of focus. When Schmidt led the company they did too many things at the same time, few of them very well. They risked being like the company they hated most: Microsoft
Google’s consistency provides benefits
Today it is hard to remember that Google has had a rough time. Compared to the other tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google dominates.
They are not leaders on all KPI’s. Amazon have more shoppers, Apple makes larger profits on their hardware and Facebook have a larger social network.
But. Google has one thing its competitors haven’t – a consistent long-term strategy to fight the tech war on all fronts. And above all, Google has a clear plan how they are going to win today, next year and in the future. Even if they do not win every battle the strategy puts Google in a leading position.
Android keep Apple in check
Google’s dominance starts with Android and, according to IDC, the operating system was in nearly 70% of smartphones sold in 2012. The operating system is free and many phones are sold very cheap so the dominance is not calculated in relation to the profit. Iphone still makes the biggest profits and the profits Android makes goes to Samsung, not Google.
It is however in their strategy, their interest in mobile devices is something else. They are the only true competitors to iOS and Android has hampered Apple. On tablets Android competed with price and forced Apple to release iPad Mini that squeezed the margins. A cheaper iPhone will also reduce the profitability for Apple and Android has managed another defensive move against Apple. Meanwhile, Android has helped Google
Google averts potential threats
Meanwhile, Android has helped Google even if the transition to mobile ads were crooked. While Facebook is struggling with its tough IPO and trying to convince investors that they understand the mobile world Google can do the transition well. During each quarter since 2011, Google’s total “paid clicks”, the total number of times users click on ads, increased by at least 20% for the same period last year. This is mainly due to its ability to show many ads on mobile devices. In January this year, Larry Page told shareholders that they would soon be able to charge advertisers more for mobile ads and averts potential threats.
10 years head start
In time, competitors will start noticing the effects of Google’s data-driven ecosystem “cloud”. After years of chasing Apple in terms of design, they now have the opportunity to master their phones with new features linked to the enormous amounts of personal information. Think Voice Control, Google Maps, Google Now, a predictive personal assistant that gives you the relevant information during the day such as your boarding pass at the airport. Competitors could imitate but would require much work. Although it mocked social network Google+, the company can collect data from multiple platforms with a total of more users than Facebook. Google is just over 10 years before in terms of expertise when it comes to data mining.
Google is now known to have a well thought-out interface design and their hardware looks more promising than before. Their products are still stupidly placed on the market, such as their expensive Chrome book that has only the operating system Chrome connected to Google Cloud. They are giving signals that exciting products are in the pipeline from the subsidiary Motorola.
Google is getting better at what Apple does best, faster than Apple is getting better at what Google does best.
Google in the future
Within the next five years, Google might develop cars that drive themselves, web-connected glasses, a fiber optic network and a search engine morphing into an omniscient, omnipresent digital assistant. All of these projects may not succeed, maybe none of them, but on the other hand can some of them transformative. Any of these can do so that Google becomes a central part of our lives.
Their recent successes are not making them immune to competitors, nor start-up companies, but what is remarkable is how well they defend themselves. They expect to be attacked by other companies where these companies are strongest, and Amazon has become the Internet’s primary search location related to shopping.
By combining all of their projects into a single user experience by bridging search, Android, Chrome, data access and hardware, Google cope against companies that do not have the same width.
Amazon, Apple and Facebook all have strengths but Google is stealing business from all three of them.
(Source: Fast Company, June 2013. Google. Wikipedia. Business Insider)