It’s a Google World. Are they becoming too dominant ?

by Jeff Wiener on December 21, 2009

google-monopolyIf the number of apps in the app store are a barometer of the success of the Operating System itself, then Google’s Android is on fire ! The AndroidLib web site keeps track of this data and has reported that the number of apps in the Google App store has passed 20,000 ! And this is only 3 months after they reached 10,000 in their app store.

This data obviously speaks to the number of providers who have confidence in Android’s potential for success moving forward, and a pent up demand for the applications themselves. Google is trailing Apple which has recently passed 100,000. But, the fact is – it’s a new operating system introduced only 1 year ago (October 2008).

Google is certainly a formidable force in the IT space, and will continue their dominance in the handheld space as manufacturers adopt the Android OS in increasing numbers.

In many respects it seems that Google ’s dominance across the web and IT space, and the consumer reliance on a single brand will position them in the similar anti-competitive spot that Microsoft found themselves in not that long ago. I am a big Google fan – I am an avid user of GMAIL, Google Calendar, Picasa, YouTube, Chrome, Maps, Adsense and certainly their search tools. I am growing increasingly less comfortable with their dominance in the Technology field. Google has surpassed or certainly rivals Microsoft in Technology mind share and brand awareness, and more importantly, they are headed in an upward trajectory where Microsoft’s brand and product influence has flattened. I’m not sure at what point their influence needs to be questioned; Not by the end user like myself, but by the regulatory bodies that assess anti-competitive and monopolistic influence in the marketplace.

In case you haven’t heard, Google is coming out with their own privately branded cell phone, the Nexus One. Rumour suggests January 5th, 2010 as the launch date, and I suspect that the Nexus One will be a technology game changer. Yes, it’s just another SmartPhone made by HTC with a Google label. But moving forward I suspect that Google will begin to partner with some cell and data companies on perhaps an exclusive arrangement where they will provide the voice & data service at no charge in exchange for advertising services. Too a great extent that is already happening, and the model is working.

It wouldn’t shock me if they were negotiating with some data providers (Wind Mobile for example) for no fee data access with an advertising revenue sharing arrangement that more then subsidized the cost of the plan. This would effectively wipe out the competition – really quickly. It’s a complete paradigm shift, and one I am growing less comfortable with.

Google is approaching Fibonacci growth rates making it extremely difficult for any other web or tech player to catch up. So effectively what we have is a tech world with Google in the middle and all other tech providers building business models around Google’s.

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