Time For Google Layoffs – Starting With Eric

by Robin Harris on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006

In a recent column Tom Foremski ponders The limits of Google’s limitless business model.

He compares Google to Microsoft for its penchant of entering markets with, evidently, no intention of monetizing them, thus sqeezing out competitors.

Google, You’re No Microsoft
Yet there is a vast difference between Microsoft’s and Google’s impact on their markets: once Microsoft incorporated a feature, it owned the market. Google has no such power. Look at their rank and marketshare for some key products.

Property Rank Market Share %
Search 1 47.4
Gmail 4 2.5
Google News 5 1.9
Google Finance 40 0.29%
Google Maps 3 7.5

Which points out Google’s real problem: monumentally bad marketing. Not just promotion, but product planning, product rollout, tweaking, partnering: all the hard work that goes into understanding the hydraulics of a market and changing them to favor your company and products. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere academics create academies, not companies. A great place to work. Not always such a great place to invest.

Google Is A One-Trick Pony
Eric Schmidt is a smart man and a talented babysitter of Sergey and Larry. But for some reason Eric and his team have been unable to extend the Google brand beyond search. Superior products [IMHO]. MUCH lower costs, especially storage. Great brand momentum and recognition. Lousy market traction.

Google has a bad case of “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” syndrome. Sometimes, yes, as with PageRank. Mostly – like 98% of the time – no.

It is time for some layoffs at Google – starting with Schmidt and going down through everyone with responsibility for developing market share. You are young, rich, and [currently] perceived as successful. There is no better time to go.

I finger Eric, because despite the corporate bio touting his entrepreneurship, the man couldn’t sell beer on a troopship. Technology is not Google’s weakness. The folks coming after Google are doing it with marketing. Once the perception grows that Google is a one trick pony, all the other wonderful stuff, like the stock price, will head south. A great opportunity to build a company and bring huge benefits to billions of people is blown.

Of course, this won’t happen. Eric, Sergey and Larry control a majority of shareholder votes. So a monumentally poor piece of corporate governance will help crash what could have been the Valley’s greatest success story of the new millenium. Google has, at most, 18 months to get its marketing in order. After that, fini.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Foremski May 30, 2006 at 8:42 am

It is true that GOOG is no MSFT yet…. However, its products and marketing will get better and better especially when it figures out how to sell advertising around its products. Its online products have real-time feedback that lets GOOG know exactly how and which features of its products are being used. MSFT has to run focus groups to figure out its software useage. That’s a poor way to develop products.

Pcaa May 30, 2006 at 1:44 pm

Let us also not forget that Eric had a turn running the show at Novell…a company which by many accounts had superior products to its competitors but couldn’t market or sell them.

florian June 28, 2006 at 10:49 pm

ah, yes that’s true they only have 2,5 % of the email market.
But email is not an open market, it is very difficult to get somebody to change his email adress. Guessing from my friends they are the fastest growing email service provider and they are making tons more money of every gmail user than yahoo.

Gmail ads have become very very on spot in the last months, I started to look for them because I could find new interesting software this way ( i.e. email about CRM ).

Siri January 24, 2008 at 5:44 pm


I agree with you. However, the street doesn’t. GOOG is up 55% since your post. Now the 18 months is up, is the end here?


eric July 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: