January 11, 2010
When did Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) become the enemy?
Vitriol and resources once aimed at taking inches from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) are increasingly being aimed at the search king. Consider:
- Last week, well-heeled French influencers produced a report that asks their government to tax Google's ad revenue and shift the proceeds to suffering content producers in the music, film, and publishing industries. At issue, apparently, is Google's "enrichment without end and compensation."
- Then, earlier today, Europe's Sophos, a digital security company whose software competes with Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC ) and McAfee (NYSE: MFE ) , identified a piece of malicious software in the Android Market called "Droid09." The program represents itself as a mobile banking app even as it steals passwords, the UK's PC Advisor reports.
Microsoft investors will recognize these as old themes. The French join News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS ) CEO Rupert Murdoch in accusing Google of using technology to exert an unfair market advantage (read: monopolist), all while hackers exert retribution by targeting The Big G's increasingly popular smartphone platform (read: target).
Color me both worried and thrilled. Worried, because Microsoft has experienced a slow and steady decline since it was first identified as a target by hackers and authorities in the '90s. Thrilled, because Mr. Softy is still one of the world's most important businesses.
But I'd also argue that Google hasn't reached its apex. The search king is barely 10 years old. Android is still new. Search advertising is proven, but mobile advertising is still nascent. And old advertising models, for as much as they are under assault, remain the go-to for CBS (NYSE: CBS ) , Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) , and other media conglomerates. Here, regulators and hackers are files on the back of the bull, and the bull's horns are still sharp.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do these attacks on Google signal the beginning of the end for The Big G, or are they evidence of a market monster on an eating binge? Share your perspective using the comments box below.