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Google’s power debated

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

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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