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In my May Biznology newsletter, I took issue with those who believe Google is too powerful. I don’t think Google controls as much as what Microsoft does and nowhere near what IBM did back in the 1970s. Marshall Sponder disagrees.

Marshall believes that Google might be even more powerful than Microsoft and IBM were because “most of the world is involved now.” If I understand his argument, he’s saying that because technology is more pervasive than ever, the leading technology company is more powerful than ever.
It sounds sensible (and Marshall is nothing if not sensible), but I still don’t agree (curmudgeon that I am). To me, the more players involved in technology, the less power they each have. IBM invented new industries, such as software. Microsoft controlled the operating system and extended that power into Office applications, with 90% share in each. Google has, by even the most charitable estimate, 65% of search. While search is an important technical area, it hardly seems as important as all of software, or even operating systems and office applications.
I read Marshall’s blog each day—you should, too—but I still think that Google’s power pales in comparison with the first two all-powerful technical companies. Google is a very important company, but it controls less than what Microsoft and IBM did in their hey-days.

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Mike Moran

About Mike Moran

Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research.

2 replies to this post
  1. I think the key to this debate is your definition of power… Sure Microsoft and IBM more or less monopolised their markets but their ability to monitor and regulate what consumers did with their products was limited. Google however, basically oversees a huge proportion of the information that is exchanged over the internet everyday. They can establish peoples likes, interests, friends, social habits oe even where they might be going later that day and they show no signs of abating, every day there seems to be a new tool on the homepage. Knowledge is power and Google knows everything!
    Now, I’m not one for conspiracy theories but how’s this for one…
    Google gains control of the internet search market and has access to what everyone does online…
    People who would be very interested in this information have access to high definition satellite imaging…
    Google introduce high definition satellite imaging…. HMMM!

  2. The difference between Microsoft and Google is that you really don’t have a choice. If you want to use most software out there today, you have to go with Microsoft. With Google you choose to use their search engine and products. There is nothing forcing you to do so. Try and buy a computer without Windows on it and see what choice really means…

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