Google at this phase in their business and technology life cycle reminds me of Microsoft, as the trailblazers, when Microsoft was building all their products, and continually trying to own the shelf space of product sets in their desktop platform. Now that the tides have turned, it seems their cloud platform is growing, and Google’s growth is dominant. Not only are they building out the architecture platform, but they are filling out their shelf space, building out their platform with their products, the mantra, building out the products that fit in their platform, with a preference to build verses buy, acquiring when necessary. The parallelism with Microsoft, and the desktop in the 80s and 90s scary in it’s cyclical nature.
Although Microsoft ‘virtually’ owned, and arguably continues to dominate the desktop, thick client, although loosing ground to a diversity of platforms ever since Red Hat brought Unix popularity, and Macintosh continued to grow in it’s popularity. Look what happened at Microsoft, lots of stock options, lots of cashing in, and eventually becoming unpopular associated with a passion for their oligopoly, or as the antitrust put it, monopoly in the market of the desktop, owning the desktop platform. Could that now happen with Google, and will we see the stock split, and other competitive offerings occur, forced by an anti-trust case by the government? Ouch. Well, there is no doubt, Google’s cloud platform and product set is growing. Good for them, and good for us as consumers. The difference, APIs, and expandability with the Google platform. Has Google learned the harsh lessons of Microsoft, allowing the extensibility. Will they run into barriers with partners, upgrades to the APIs, greed, and a movement to own the shelf space.
We will see. Google, keep your cloud APIs extendable, expose as many APIs as possible, allowing third parties to easily compete and dominate the products within your architecture, even create open source code to your own products within the cloud platform, and promote as many third party products as possible leveraging all of the APIs.
The one thing I have seen so far, which is not a great sign, is trying to incorporate 3rd party products into your cloud where you have competitive offering. I’d like to see Google step up, for example, and create widgets to WordPress to compete with their blogging platform. Actively look to plug in third party products into your cloud architecture, avoiding the animosity third parties might have, and there won’t be a need for anti-trust down the road. Europe is already jumping on that train with anti-trust. I’d devise a group within Google that looks to integrate, and partner with small to mid size companies, and proactively include them into your platform. Don’t give anyone a reason to target Google as a monopoly.
See also the article, THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: Google’s FTC Interrogation Not Analogous To Microsoft’s Antitrust History