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.
Security is a serious defect of Google Android system, especially for the female who are likely being traced. But the new launed iPhone 5 realy lacks revolutionary innovation。 It seems the newly launched products including ipad mini are following the trend, larger or smaller screen size, high resolution; in recent few years, Apple may will keep leading advantage, but if still without big innovation, competing with Google free Android system and huge market shares as well as the innovation in various industries, Apple is dangerous.
@Jacob: well, more than welcome ! As of today, it appears other players in the area of "social" are evaluating same approach for increasing their footprint in the market. After all, it should be also a tool for providing digital identity services or for cross connect your individual profile to an electronic portfolio for allowing e-payments. Also in this area Google looks strong, its e-wallet has started the services a couple of years ago at least...
@Jacob: well, I am really catching what you are meaning; believe it or not, the service is already available and depending you local agreement involving Facebook and your local mobile providers, you can easily use it, here is the link that describers how it works.
@t.alex: well...this case wasn't a matter of performance; it seems the hole was/is related to security and MS suggested to adopt their mitigation tool; hereinfafter the case; the discussion, right now, opens a new horizon concerning G vs MS and it is about browser: G vs MS means Chrome vs IE.
Security is for all players, including G and MS, a strong area. You have told about Android as weakness in charge of G not completely addessed or solved, but I can tell you about the recent statement from Germany Gov, with regard to IE 8; only a few days ago, they have "banned" the browser, due to criticial vulnerability discovered, event IE 8 is one of a recent asset within MS portfolio.
This is probably one if the weak points of google as they are too easy with android market. I think Microsoft does have some proper review process to filter out bad apps before it can be available on the store
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.