Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) envy should be sweeping across the technology world. Fourteen years after it was founded, the $38 billion Web search engine giant and online advertising company is still acting like a startup, and although rival Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is the world's biggest enterprise by market value, Google is actually the one that's pushing what I call real vs. incremental innovation.
Apple's iPhone 5 built on the company's legacy of highly successful smartphones and sold out in its first weekend. That was not really surprising; it's become a pattern with Apple and the mystique is wearing thin. Plus, few people see the iPhone 5 as revolutionary. The company's more recent products have mostly been very successful, but not one of them can be said to have indeed broken any new grounds -- from the iPod to the iPhone and the iPad, they've all been evolutionary developments on existing products.
Google's strategy has been somewhat similar (for example, the Android operating system and the purchase of Motorola Mobility) but the company has stuff in the works that point to its willingness to devote significant R&D resources to next-generation products and ideas. There are parallels to the Google story at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which is also in online advertising, operating systems, tablets, and via its partnership with Nokia, in mobile handsets. Their business models are almost similar, but more on this below.
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," according to a statement on its Website, but in reality it recognizes no investment boundaries and has financed projects far removed from its core Web search business. It funded the driverless car, which has now received legislative support in three US states, including California, where governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill authorizing the use of the vehicles following the establishment of specific rules and regulations. Naturally, Brown signed the legislation at Google's headquarters.
Google has even niftier products in development. The company's "smart glasses," featuring a head-mounted camera and display have wowed celebrities and fascinated ordinary consumers attracted by the idea of using voice command to take pictures, record video, pull up information, and display and control all these simply by tilting the head up or down. The Google smart glasses are not in production yet but prototypes have been seen in public and a few lucky folks have been able to test them.
If Google rolls out commercial versions of the smart glasses in 2014 as promised, many consumers will want them. The queue at retail outlets on its debut might be even longer than any of the extraordinarily long ones we've seen each time Apple launched an iPhone. That's why I believe Google is one of the companies best positioned to take on Apple, because it has clearly shown willingness and ability to compete strongly for market share in its traditional online advertising, mobile operating system and handset markets even while breaking away from the pack by investing in non-traditional markets. Watch the video below for a demonstration of Google smart glasses.
So, here's my prediction for 2013 and beyond. Apple will continue to rule in the tablet PC market but it will be less dominant in smartphones and may even lose market share here. Its story is also getting stale: revenue, profits, and stock price soared again this year and it released a ho hum iPhone, which everybody naturally wants, but what else is new and exciting about Apple? Unless it does something extraordinary -- introduce a completely new product or surprise us with a major improvement on an existing device -- the more exciting story of 2013 won't be about Apple. I suspect we'll all be more interested in the growing rivalry between two software-giants-turned hardware manufacturers: Google and Microsoft.
Google and Microsoft started out as software companies before branching into hardware. They are direct rivals seeking unorthodox ways to diversify operations and remain vibrant. They've also got legacy products spinning off huge cash they can tap for acquisitions and R&D, and have been willing to step outside their immediate markets to try new things. Inevitably, they have clashed in online advertising and operating systems, and will butt heads in tablets, mobile, and other futuristic products. That's a story worth watching.
Mfbertozzi, you are right. Google is known for many of internet application and search engines. But recently they had started diversification through mobile market and unmanned automobiles. We know that they had stepped in to mobile market by acquiring Motorola.
Are users with more than 1 account counted to the 1billion figure? I think is better to diversify those money into hardware rather than rely on per click ads. That would probably give it a valued based assets.
@t.alex: well, in my opinion, major plus is in the fact you don't need any subscription (pre-paid or post-paid); basically, you need only to get it inside your mobile phone and it works. That's all. Of course, it allows a real time connection with FB, then as of today, it doesn't allow voice traffic, as far as I know. I will try to investage more, I'll get back to the community once news are available.
Flyingscot, That's the story all around for people all across the globe about Apple. A friend in Africa recently asked me to help him buy the iPad 3. I didn't try to convince him there are viable alternatives that are a lot cheaper and as functional. People talk about the "Apple ecosystem," which is really nonsense because Apple doesn't offer content. It has apps, most of which are not directly developed by Apple and its online music and video stores don't feature content from Apple either.
Things like this change slowly but they eventually change. People don't realize it until the change is upon them. We are in the midst of a cultural revolution involving Apple but there are already indications that as some people t want to be a part of the Apple crowd so are there some that are bucking that trend. They don't want to be a part of the crowd. One or two other companies are exploiting that but we can't right now see their dent on the Apple world.
It is totally perplexing. I took my daughter to the mall today to buy a notebook. We visited the Sony and Microsoft stores and I was wowed by their interactive demos of cool new innovative technologies. Both stores were surprisingly quiet though. We then went to a packed out Apple store which was basically an order taking machine with no real demos to speak of. We bought a MacBook Pro. There was no convincing my daughter otherwise that she had to get a Mac. Apple has the "coolness" market completely cornered for now and it will need something very special in terms of marketing and technical prowess to really compete.
Interesting analysis, and a more valid comparison than Facebook vs....well, anyone. Google has moved beyond its roots as a nifty search tool into OS and now hardware...not a conventional path but when we talk about "thinking outside the box" Google should be top of mind. It also seems to be using the capital raised as a public company to expand its marketplace and add shareholder value, whereas Facebook doesn't seem to have any idea where to go beyond an IPO. It used to be a company's success was determined once it went public: (baby billionaires cashing out) that's no longer the end point. It's just the beginning. Google seems to realize this.
Speaking for myself, Google has limited experience in making; their mission, since the beginning, their focus is mainly in managing infos, it doesn't matter from where and from who. There is a long run to go before collecting success in the area of hw "makers".
By moving to the core of the industry and offerings services that keep the system humming, a group within the electronics market has rendered irrelevant the question of ownership and control of the supply chain.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.