Microsoft vs. Apple vs. Google: Differing Visions: Page 4

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However, they have yet to really face a trial by fire. And while they have, so far, succeeded at being unconventional there are indications that they may be too attached to doing everything different than is prudent. Also the excessive wealth that their founders have gained over a very short period of time may, itself, be becoming a distraction and creating internal strife in the company.

One of the outcomes of this strife is likely to be employees taking unfair advantage of the company’s very liberal working policies which, historically, can lead to a cascading reduction of these privileges, increasing moral problems, and an inability to execute. All avoidable, but the skill set needed to avoid it is not common and does not, to my knowledge, exist within Google. (It is sad but, to a large extent, HR in general lost the ability to deal with this class of problem in the ‘80s, and managers are simply not trained to pick up that slack).

That’s only a possible future and there is nothing to say this future has been set. Still it would be wise to look for the symptoms: increasing employee turnover, severe product failures, employee lawsuits, any signs of employee violence, or any sudden pull back in entitlements or employee benefits – all would be likely early indicators of problems. Until then, Google (despite some doubts) actually appears to be in good shape.

Comparing the Visions: New vs. Old

In many ways Google’s new vision that advertising can pay for most anything mirrors the history of media where advertising largely did pay for everything. Granted there is a limit to this because someone actually has to buy something so that the related company can afford to advertise. Their future is a world where they aggregate the advertising dollars and provide largely free or subsidized products to end users. Not too dissimilar to network TV and only at risk if the products are inadequate or the advertisers move to another medium (much like they are with the web today). A hybrid of this model may work with enterprise IT buyers, who would like to spread the cost for software acquisitions to other departments. But this has not been demonstrated successfully yet, and until it is, Google’s enterprise future is uncertain.

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