Apple is Taking the Fight to Google’s Turf

Jan 27, 2010
Finance

The Launch of the Tablet Is the First Significant Threat to Google’s Core Franchise We’ve heard for the several years how a) Google owns search b) their market share is going to continue to increase to pretty close to 100%  c) it’s therefore game over for any potential competitor and d) every web publisher and […]

The Launch of the Tablet Is the First Significant Threat to Google’s Core Franchise

We’ve heard for the several years how a) Google owns search b) their market share is going to continue to increase to pretty close to 100%  c) it’s therefore game over for any potential competitor and d) every web publisher and content company has to come to terms with these facts and deal with the Google.

The genius of the Apple Tablet is to build on the success of the iPhone by changing the fundamental paradigm of how we seek and consume content from a search->find->click to a find the right app–>immerse yourself in the content creators experience.  This is a fundamentally different way to find and experience content, a one that, if successful, will shift a massive amount of marketing dollars and ultimately equity market capitalization from Google to Apple.

Back on December 16th, I wrote a blog post on Apple’s Threat to Google via the iPhone. My post focused on the ability of Apple to dominate marketing dollars on the mobile platform as businesses would shift to the app model and driving app adoption, a model that Google could not monetize unless they could dominate the mobile OS.   The post talked about how Apple was therefore Google’s largest threat and Google HAD to come out with their own device.

What’s happening now with the launch of the Tablet is taking the App concept into the heart of the Web itself.  As Josh Bernoff wrote in his recent post, The Splinternet means the end of the Web’s Golden Age,

As we all gird for the launch of the Apple Tablet, take a moment to step back and realize what all these new devices are doing. The whole framework of the Web (and Web marketing) is based around the idea that everything is in a compatible format. Any browser, any computer, any connection, you see pretty much the same thing.

Now with iPhones, Androids, Kindles, Tablets, and TVs connecting to the Web, that’s not true.

Think about it. As more and more businesses move to an app-based model, the web as we know it is going to change significantly.  The genius of Apple – rather than trying to beat Google to the punch (Yahoo back in the day), out innovate them (Ask.com), or brute-force them (Microsoft/Bing) – they are Changing The Game. Sound familiar?

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And some very important stakeholders in this battle are ready to move with them: the content creators.  Content creators are realizing that free only works if you’ve got massive reach (why I was so excited to join Yahoo News), they’re not happy with being beholden to Google, and they are looking for a way to easily monetize their content and acquire paying customers.  Apple, not Google, has cracked the code on that.

Obviously, the billions of searches that happen every month are not going to disappear overnight.  But I expect to see Apple very strategically, in a Crossing the Chasm/Bowling Pin strategy, knock off segments of content creators who see significant advantage in this model.  And as more and more content is available via apps vs. the web, the marketing dollars will follow – companies will be paying Apple, not Google, to market their wares.

What else has to happen here is that the apps themselves need to provide experiences significantly better than the web.  It’s easy to understand how that can happen on a mobile device.  It’s less easy to understand how that happens on a Tablet computer.  That’s why I think we’ll see a segment by segment approach that emphasizes the built-in link to the home, to the cloud, to the couch and tablet.

What do you think?

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