From the day it went public, Wall Street's fascination with Google, which is trading near $200 today, continues to stymie me. Back in July, I opined
I've yet to see any proof that Google's dominant position in the [search find, and obtain]
market is something it can protect. Netscape was trumped by Yahoo.
Yahoo was trumped by Google. Is Google really that invincible? I think
not. Especially with competitors like Microsoft turning their attention
to the category.
It was an expansion on an earlier post made in my personal blog
(which I don't update very often) where I said:
Google doesn't strike me as having a protectable business that will
grow according to some other index. Google has a technology advantage
that can be taken away. Other than the quality of the company's
technology, what else "sticky" is there about Google. On the other
hand, eBay is a company that's sticky.
Now comes the proof. News.com's Dinesh Sharma reports
that Yahoo! and Microsoft are gaining ground on Google. Said Bonny Brown, director of the research outfit whose survey of 2,000 consumers revealed that Yahoo! and Microsoft were closing the gap:
"Google is the king of customer experience in the search engine
industry, but Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves are improving....Given the open nature of the Web, as these sites continue
to improve the user experience, they will undoubtedly begin to attract
more users and improve user loyalty. Obviously this will impact the
advertising side of the business."
At least the folks on Wall Street are consistent in their assessments. Some of them are apparently discounting
the blogging phenomenon as insignificant. Asked one ZDNet reader in response to that posting, "Since when are the financial analysts all that prescient to begin with?" I agree.