Honestly, I don’t think I agree here. Let’s have a look at Google’s recent actions – they’ve created a mobile phone operating system, taking on all the incumbents, which they’ve released for free. They’ve released their own phone, again taking on the whole phone industry, but particularly Apple. They’ve released the Chrome OS for netbooks, which is an open attack on Microsoft. SImilarly all of Google’s free productivity apps are an assault on Microsoft’s future. And then you have the browser, which is aiming to take share from Microsoft, but will also take on Firefox and Mozilla directly, while putting their funding in doubt.
It’s no wonder that the major technology companies feel nervous. Google somehow have moved from this geek-founded, good of the world company into turning all of their huge money from search into a systematic attack on every last one of the major players in the industry – taking the bottom out of all of their markets by releasing stuff essentially for free. While you could argue that this is about survival, or about making the web better, the other way to look at it is that it’s an incredibly aggressive anti-competitive move, along the lines of Microsoft installing IE on every computer, only not on one front, but on all of them.
You say that competition is good for the industry, and I would agree – that’s precisely why I find Google’s more recent moves a bit troubling. Doing this in one or two areas would be one thing, but OS’s, productivity apps, mobile phones, mobile phone OS’s and browsers on top of your core business of search and search advertising? I mean, that’s half the industry destabilised in the course of a year…
Google are not that far away from giving away phones to lock people into to using their search on mobile devices. Almost no one can compete with Google when they turn their eyes your way, because no one can compete with someone who doesn’t have to make any immediate money from their actions. Honestly, I’m sort of with Jobs here.