Evidence that competition breeds innovation

Evidence that competition breeds innovation

Summary: Look no further than what's going on in the search arena. There is clear evidence that having multiple players competing aggressively is an optimal state.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Look no further than what's going on in the search arena. There is clear evidence that having multiple players competing aggressively is an optimal state. Everyday, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and a host of other large and small players are leapfrogging one another with new features and even some significant innovations. Of course, the leapfrogging is predicated on the fact that there's lots of money at stake for the vendors and pride that motivates the engineers to stay up all night solving difficult problems. Search is a fundamental technology, like the network itself, but it's not a commodity just because its free and ubiquitous. In fact, while there is much improvement in search--local search, personalized search, metasearch, video search, desktop search, etc.--it is still primitive, and not very capable at Trivial Pursuit. Google has a 52-percent search referral rate, according to Websidestory, but I doubt that gives the Googlers much comfort. As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put it recently: "Well, if anyone thinks innovation is done in search, you're wrong. Does anyone here really believe search is going to look like it does now in 10 years?" He claimed that Microsoft would catch Google in terms of relevancy in results in the next six months. That's just the kind of challenge needed to incite the search vendors to do their best work and keep their collective feet on the accelerator...

Topic: Browser

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7 comments
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  • Now you're in for it

    All of the usual monopolies-are-good-for-us crowd will be flaming you momentarily.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Even the most staunch capitalist...

      would be hard pressed to argue a monopoly exists in the internet search industry. The field is WIDE open, and no firm seems to have been denied access or discriminated against because of a market leader's use (or abuse) of their position. In fact, I'd argue the internet searching is a textbook example of how a free market is supposed to work. From a quasi-outsider's point of view, the playing field appears level, and the stars appear to be shining. Take, as evidence, how Yahoo has been reinventing themselves of late, and has beat Google to the table, so to speak, on things like video search. Also note that Microsoft, and all the resources in their warchest, haven't been able to 'buy' a segment in this market, despite what Ballmer (who is just doing his job by talking this up) says.
      Real World
  • Another example

    An obvious example would be web browsers. Internet Explorer has
    been static for years and years now, no improvements other than
    fixing security flaws. Then along comes Firefox, which provides at
    least the notion of competition, and then MS starts investing in
    developing and improving IE.
    tic swayback
  • IF

    M$, Yahoo and Google are all equal - I will continue to use Google. Someone would have to REALLY beat down Google for me to switch.
    Roger Ramjet
    • I think Yahoo

      has come leaps and bounds of late, and I prefer them to Google for many things now. Google's strength is things like Google Earth and Gmail.
      Real World
  • Good Points all

    It's absolutely necessary to have competition in every product segment from operating systems to internet services (search, etc..). Once 1 technology becomes the ONLY technology, the entire IT infrastructure will stagnate (IMHO).

    Microsoft needs to be pushed, therefore the open source movement CANNOT fail. Microsoft/IBM needs to exist (I know that's an unpopular statement but I'm sorry... It's a fact of life. You can pretend the world is a utopia, and all software will be free, but that is like saying "We have fought the war to end all wars". Yeah, right Woodrow!!) As long as all large vendors keep pushing each other, and the open source movement keeps threatening, we (the end user) will benefit. If one wins, we pay the price.
    Dantemo0823
  • RE: Evidence that competition breeds innovation

    <a href="http://www.dvdtoiphonemac.net"><b>DVD to iPhone Converter Mac</b></a> open source software and any other derivative works.
    mariahlian