TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: Googles Intent (Part 5)

Robert Cringely differed from many and wrote that Google is raising money because it is there. He added:

What Google WILL do is roll-out incremental products at a blinding pace. Not long ago, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin explained to me that rapid development is an important key to market dominance.

“What you want to do,” he said, “is listen to your customers and bring out every two weeks improved versions that would each take your competitor two months to complete. That’s when you are on a rocket — they can’t keep up so they can’t compete. They lose hope and pretty soon you have the market pretty much to yourself.”

What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google’s corporate apex. Most companies would be content with that, but Google isn’t supposed to be like most companies. But what if they are? I hear a lot of talk about Google doing deals for video and music distribution, but where are those deals? So far it is all just talk.

I think Microsoft’s clearest threat still comes from Apple, though not the way most people expect. Yes, Apple is about to take Microsoft to the woodshed when it comes to Internet movie distribution. Yes, Apple already super-dominates the music player market where Microsoft doesn’t even really exist. But the real jewel is one Microsoft has to lose, not gain — the PC platform, itself.

What could Apple do to take down Windows, with or without the help of Intel? What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version — OS 10.4 — on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

So, one company, one month, four actions, and plenty of opinions. In fact, amongst all this, the New York Times even had an article suggesting that Google was starting to replace Microsoft as the new evil empire. One thing, though, is clear. Just as Microsoft shaped the desktop era and then Netscape, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon shaped the first part of the consumer Internet era, Google is now in a dominant position to shape the next phase of the Internet.

Rather than focusing only on Googles actions and wondering about its motives, we need to understand the opportunities that the new Internet is opening up. This New Internet will also be somewhat different in the worlds emerging markets from that in the developed markets. By looking at how this Internet is different, entrepreneurs can create innovative solutions and successful companies Google or no Google!

We will start next week by considering what this New Internet is shaping up to be. Googles actions have only made the tea leaves that much clearer to read. Acting on what the August tea leaves foretell and working to build the future is what we need to focus on.

Next Week: Internet Tea Leaves (continued)

TECH TALK Internet Tea Leaves+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.