• Google’s biggest strength is its ad-serving platforms of Adsense and Adword, which are considered state of the art and neither Microsoft nor Yahoo, two of Google’s biggest competitors, have been able to match Google technologically (Charny, 2008). Google’s advertisement platform is the main source of revenue for the company and in 2007, it sold US$16. 4 billion in ad, which is more than 40% of the worldwide online ad sales. Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick will also help the firm nullify threats from its major competitors like Yahoo.
• Google is the best search engine available since it gives the most relevant search results compared to any other search engine (Evans, 2003). This is acknowledged even by Google’s competitors who believe that in order to break Google’s stranglehold on the market, they would have to come up with a really path breaking technology. Weaknesses • While Google is trying to expand its business in every field, it does not have a significant presence in the mobile telephony field, where its applications are limited to mobile-based search.
Although it has become a major player in the mobile web industry, it is relatively weak in several areas such as “voice and messaging, billing and payment and customer knowledge” (Karpinski, 2008). In this field, Google would be better off partnering with mobile operators rather than trying to go alone. • Google apps has a long way to go before it can become a viable alternative to Microsoft Office. As reported by Brodkin (2007), Google apps suite is very rudimentary and does not offer some of the routine features offered by Microsoft. It also does not have a presentation application.
In this regard, Microsoft is still way ahead of Google and it will be a long time before Google can pose any serious challenge to Microsoft Office. Opportunities • Google has invested billion in “data farms”, which are buildings crammed with computers that are linked together to become a massive data-processing system or a supercomputer on a massive scale (Turnbull, 2006). Google can use these “data farms” to host a web-based operating system which competes with Microsoft Windows. The one problem with this system is that being online it is dependent on internet connection which is neither very reliable nor available everywhere.
• Apparently, Google is already working on creating online apps with offline functionality (Ingram, 2006, Helft, 2007). If Google is able to provide its services offline it could be a viable alternative to Microsoft, and Google would add an operating system to its already successful search engine. The opportunities here are endless. • Google has made deals with Universal Music Group and Disney to create professionally produced music and short-form videos. These deals provide Google with an opportunity to make money from hundreds of millions of videos watched everyday at the youtube website.
EMI, Sony Music and Warner Music Group could also join in the deal (Lauria, 2009). Thus youtube, which has so far been a losing proposition could turn into a huge money making opportunity for Google. • Google has a huge online library of books. Following a recent settlement with copyright holders, Google can now sell these books online and split the revenue with publishers (Tossell, 2009). This is another opportunity for Google to make money. Threats • One of the biggest threats to Google is the potential merger of Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. , two of Google’s biggest competitors.
In recent years, both Yahoo and Microsoft have upgraded their ad-serving platforms resulting in increased advertising business (Charny, 2008). Even after the upgrade, both the systems are inferior to Google and analysts believe that combining the two system will not necessarily result in a better system. But the threat to Google from such a merger is real and cannot be ignored. Such a merger would be “a much more formidable challenge, largely given yahoo’s strength in serving up display ads on Web pages, which is a weak spot for Google” (Charny, 2008).
• The microblogging service offered by San Francisco based Twitter could prove to be a surprise threat to Google’s search engine. Twitter allows its users to search a live event or breaking news in real time which makes Google’s search results which are minutes, hours or even days old suddenly seem outdated (O’Brien, 2009). Although Twitter is yet to generate any revenue, this real time search capability of twitter could prove to be a serious threat to Google search. • Last year, Microsoft had started a “Live Search cashback” program which offered people rebates for using their search engine to buy some products (Helft, 2008).
Such aggressive marketing from Google’s biggest competitor can be a huge threat to Google. Section 4 – Evidence Charny, B. (2008, February 2). New tandem still not in Google’s class. Financial Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Turnbull, G. (2006, December 12). Google are swift to adapt while Yahootake a radical rethink. Birmingham Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Evans, M. (2003, March 13). Google’s rivals face daunting challenge: Only really good technology may break stranglehold. Financial Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic.
Karpinski, R. (2008, March 31). Google remains mobile question mark. Telephony. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Ingram, M. (2006, November 23). Google’s next goal: rule offline world. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Brodkin, J. (2007, August 22). Could deploying Google Apps be a career-limiting move? : Before using Google, understand its strengths and weaknesses, says Burton Group. Network World. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. O’Brien, C. (2009, February 24). How Twitter could be a threat to Google.
Mercury News. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Lauria, P. (2009, April 10). Youtube sets business model to music. The New York Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Helft, M. (2007, May 31). Moving Web-based Software Offline. The New York Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Tossell, I. (2009, March 27). Content you pay for – what a concept. He Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic. Helft, M. (2008, May 26). Payback as Gates targets Google. Canberra Times. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from LexisNexis Academic.