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  • Google: In Danger of Becoming “Microsoft”

    The company is spreading itself too thin by trying to do everything.

    Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once warned Google co-founder Larry Page that the search giant was dangerously close to becoming another Microsoft — that is, a company that was spreading itself too thin by trying to do everything. In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, the late Apple leader recounted his advice to Page, who became Google’s CEO last April: “Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft.”

    Is Google becoming too bloated? In recent years, the company has grown from being simply a search engine company to having a hand in a range of sectors including mobile, social media, cloud computing, digital music sales and more. Like Jobs, some analysts are beginning to speculate that Google’s expansion will make it more difficult for innovative ideas to come to the surface.

    How can Google avoid some of the missteps made by Microsoft during its rapid expansion? And what can the search company learn from Microsoft — which, after all, continues to be a profitable company despite charges that its size has made it less nimble in reacting to market changes and introducing game-changing products.

    “Microsoft’s great fear was always that it would turn into IBM, which it viewed as a bureaucratic organization living off of past glories,” says Kevin Werbach, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton. “Google’s fear is that it will become Microsoft, which it views as a company that wins through bullying rather than technical prowess. Microsoft became what it feared. Google’s challenge is to remain open and innovative after achieving Microsoft-like domination of its core market.”

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    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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