Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How do you compete in a Google world?

How does a company compete in a Google World? We know how companies compete in a Microsoft world: they sue Microsoft.

But what do you do in a Google world where all of a company's products are online? There is no bundled software to complain about when it takes over your computer. And there is no antitrust anything to report to anyone.

So what happens when a single company bundles all those useful products online? What if one company owned all of your favorites? You're not forced to use any of them: you access each product as you need it. But even so, how does that affect competition for online products?

Yes, it's convenient to have everything in one place. And they might even be great products. But when Microsoft made everything convenient by bundling every product known to man with its operating system, we complained that Microsoft was unfairly blocking competition. So what happens when this occurs online? Is it still unfair? And unfair to whom? Does each country still get to complain about the business practices of companies who only exist online and don't distribute products within their borders?

No one is complaining about Google and its multitude of online products. But what happens if Microsoft makes its products available in online versions? Microsoft has already been stung with anti-competitive rulings around the world, so it seems like they would be wary of doing anything, even online, that might reinvite similar proceedings.

When I see a company get as big as Google I start to wonder if Microsoft was ever really that evil. Maybe the appearance of evil just comes with the territory.