Today is a good day to code

Google Should Voluntarily Break Itself Up AT&T Style

Posted: January 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: AT&T, Companies, Facebook, Google, Management, Microsoft, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The Bell Telephone system courtesy of thephonebooth.com

When Google added world plus social, at first I didn’t think there was much of a problem. I understood that since Twitter and Facebook limit the ways in which Google interacted with them, it wasn’t really possible for Google to offer truly social search. This cabal between Facebook and Twitter is quite obviously hugely damaging to Google’s future interests as a company. So I also supported the need for Google Plus.

However, as I have been thinking about it, most companies in the past have gotten into trouble, become anti-competitive, or foes of the free market under the banner of simply looking out for their business interests in responding to a threat. Inside most potential monopolies, the issue that crops up after smashing a formidable challenge is when to stop.

Google is promoting G+ as the bulk of its social search, G+ is completely unavoidable as you are using the search engine. This puts Facebook and Twitter at something of a disadvantage. They also promote YouTube in a similar in-your-face manner, putting Vimeo and other web video companies at a disadvantage.

It isn’t hard to imagine a world in which startups don’t even look at web video because YouTube is un-assailable. Similarly one could imagine, though it is more of a stretch, that eventually Facebook and Twitter would whither and die at the hands of Google Plus since there is really only one search engine, and the entire world uses it. That world would be ridiculously anti-competitive, and no one, including Google really wants to see that.

I believe that if Google had had its just desserts, Facebook and twitter would have given it unfettered access to their data, and Google Plus would have been unnecessary. But since they didn’t G+ is more than beneficial for Google’s survival, it is essential. The same thing could be said about YouTube and Google Music in the face of iTunes.

One could argue as well that Google hasn’t been very effective of late at controlling what is going on within the company. Clearly there is a massive amount of resource contention, and a general challenge in keeping everyone on the same page, and playing for the same team. In addition, there is the kind of limited thinking that prevents the company from disrupting its own business units. Microsoft had(has) this problem, so did IBM, and so did AT&T.

AT&T, however operated like a well oiled machine, they had no problem crushing all competition and effectively responding to all challengers. Google is just as innovative as AT&T used to be, they will similarly get through their management issues, in fact I think they are very near this point. Google getting through their effectiveness issues however, is exactly what bothers me; Once they become as effective as AT&T used to be, isn’t that where the government steps in?

So what I propose instead is that Google break itself into separate businesses voluntarily. One of the main rules of business today is never to let a competitor, or government, disrupt you. It is better, and more profitable to disrupt yourself. I would suggest to Google, for this reason, that now is a good time to do it.

I would imagine that Google would become 5 corporations, split along the lines of social, media, search, mobile, and advertising. This would see Google Plus, Reader, Gmail, Google Talk and Google Docs become the Google Social business. Google docs may initially seem like a strange product to call social, but the purpose of Google Docs is to collaborate on work. That is pretty social as far as I’m concerned, in fact, it is probably the most social that people are in general.

The media business would consist of YouTube, Google Music, Google TV, and the nascent Google Games. The search business is self explanatory. Mobile would be Android, but also Motorola with the new purchase. And Google advertising would be their display, print, and television advertising business. Each company could retain a small portion of ownership of the other company that it was dependent upon. For example, Google media might maintain a 5% to 10% stake in Google social such that they can be sure that their requests are heard and honored. All of the business would have a small share of the advertising business, but the total should not add up to more than 40% so that the advertising business could remain autonomous.

The resulting companies would end up becoming far more competitive and profitable than their corresponding business units, due primarily to the need for providing open APIs to the other businesses that need their services. In the process, these businesses would make these APIs available to other startups who could build off of Google’s services as a platform, driving further profitability and end user lock in.

This would in turn surround their competitors, who are still just a simple silo, and who would begin to run into anti-trust concerns themselves. The now ridiculously nimble Google, which could be known as the Googles, would have them surrounded.

As a single entity Google is vulnerable to the same diseases which have, in the past, felled their erstwhile competitors. As multiple independent profitable companies, the Googles could remain dominant for decades. This would be better for the industry as a whole because each Google business with public APIs would provide a platform for numerous job creating profitable startups. C’mon Google, do what is right for the market, and for your business. Don’t wait for the DOJ to hold a gun to your head like AT&T. Even with the government forcing the issue with AT&T, being broken into the baby bells seems to have worked out pretty well for them.


NBC Still Doesn’t Get It

Posted: February 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Hulu, Media, NBC | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I was wondering how long it would be before NBC started to bite the hand that feeds it with Hulu.  I still think that eventually NBC will completely kill it, with help from Comcast.

First of all, I was amazed that Hulu was allowed to exist, and once it did, I started to count the days until it was killed.  Not that I don’t love Hulu, I do.  I think that Hulu, Joost, and other sites that blend big media programs with net content are awesome.  It allows me to watch television again.

For several years, I didn’t care what was on TV, I didn’t really watch TV.  All I did was watch Netflix and YouTube, when I wanted to consume video.  I know that I am not the only one that doesn’t have time to sit down and watch my favorite TV shows in primetime.  Not to mention that I don’t even know when most of  the shows I like air.  Before Hulu, and Joost, I didn’t even care, I just stopped watching.

What I can’t understand is why NBC seems to not understand that no one wants to watch TV at preset times anymore.  Not to mention that if I am going to be advertised to, I don’t want to pay for the “privilege” to watch shows at a time of my own choosing.

As far as Comcast is concerned, I can’t believe that it is a mistake that everytime I watch a show on Hulu, now that Comcast has run my local ISP out of business and bought it at bargain basement prices, all I see are US Military and Comcast ads.  Comcast, I am not going to pay more for your cable package, I am not going to pay for your “on demand,” and as soon as there is an alternative that can provide some semblance of decent speed, I am not going to pay for your compromised internet.  They claim that they are packet prioritizing to ensure network integrity, but Hulu is much slower than it used to be, even while doing speed test show something like 14MB burst downloads.  That doesn’t make sense.  I went from 4.5 MB down to 6 with 14 burst and it is slower?  I have all this speed, but I can’t use it for anything… Fail…

By removing its content from Hulu affiliate sites, NBC is proving that they don’t get that consumers want to consume video in the way they want to consume it.  I am seriously considering just buying this stuff from iTunes and being done with it.  CBS gets it, and are doing a good job, the only problem is that they just don’t have the content.

I think they must believe that if people can’t get the NBC content anywhere except for the TV, that they will just sit in front of the Boob Tube and watch it, but they are wrong.  People will stop knowing about the shows, and will begin to look for alternatives like video games, or short, indie programs that will be readily available on online only networks link ON Networks, Revision 3, etc…  I already consume way more video podcasts than TV shows anyway, it wouldn’t take much for me to just drop TV entirely.  What would that do to NBC’s ad revenues?  Comcast needs to get a clue and realize that they are a dumb pipe, and they need to forget about the Coax business and get with the TV over IP business.  If they want to compete, how about creating their own quality content to get the ad business instead of crapifying my internet connection, and spamming me to try to get me to embrace their dying business model.

NBC will never get it.  They need to just go away.  I like a few of their programs, like Battlestar and Heroes, but I am not sure that it is worth the effort, especially with iTunes and Netflix around.  If they take that away, well I just don’t know, perhaps I’ll have to write and produce my own Sci-Fi stories.

NBC (Hulu) Removes content from Boxee