Killing Google: PR and Legal Eagles Shoot Puff Balls

January 20, 2009

If you are worried about Google, you are a bit like the person standing at the elevated stop in Chicago’s Loop when it is cold and snowing. The person missed the train. You know another train will be coming, but in the winter, who knows when? The person could be mugged that fine snowy morn. The person says sub voce, “If only I had left earlier.”The person vows to avoid missing the next train. The person falls back on the “if only” approach to being late to the party.

If this example resonates, you will enjoy the Wired Magazine article “The Plot to Kill Google” here. Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein recount the exciting tale of Google versus lawyers. We know how the story turns out. Google alters its approach. The lawyers send hefty bills to their clients. And the competitors congratulate themselves on slowing the what the authors call the “may not be evil” Google.

After reading the Wired narrative, I thought about arriving late and missing the train. “Killing Google” is an activity in which some companies are actively engaged. There’s Microsoft, Verizon, Viacom, and assorted search engines. There are online ad systems. There are annoyed integrators rejected by the GOOG for no apparent reason.

I think it is almost too late to “kill Google”. The Google has been building its system for a decade. Now after years of dismissals, inattention, and pooh poohing Google’s technology, competitors is using lawyers to hobble Googzilla.

What are the weapons of choice? New business models? No. Leap frog technology? No. Consortia with a better bundle of services? No. Marketing campaigns that snag middle school kids? No.

The weapon of choice?


In my opinion, I don’t think legal eagles have what it takes to distract Google. As for killing Google? Not likely in the near to mid term. I suggest taking some of the money pumped into legal fees and investing in research to find ways to leap frog Googzilla. But time is definitely running out for some outfits which have now realized that the GOOG is a serious challenge to certain incumbents’ revenue. Unless these outfits get organized, the “if only” rationalization will be little comfort in 2009.

Stephen Arnold, January 20, 2009


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