Growth5 Blog

Monday, December 20, 2010

Google TV Delayed

From today's NY Times: "Google TV has just enacted its first programming cancellation." Next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, Google was to unveil its tv software inside Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp tv systems (Sony has already shipped its earlier version). Google has asked for more time to refine their software, "which has received a lukewarm reception."

Google is known for launching all sorts of different projects online and then refining them as they go. This strategy works well for them, however with Google TV, now that they have partners who "place big, well-timed bets to attract holiday buyers, say, or back-to-school shoppers," these partnerships are off to a rocky start.

It reminds me of the Microsoft strategy of partnering with anyone and everyone that would put their operating system in their boxes and having mixed results which ultimately damaged their brand. Who would've ever guessed that with operating software running on 83.8 percent of the world's computers vs. Apple's 8.3 percent - TEN TIMES MORE - Microsoft's value today ($238.72 billion) would trail Apple's ($294.1 billion).

There are a lot of reasons for Apple's higher value than Microsoft, but what Google should take away from this is that owning search (like Microsoft owns the OS space) does not a great retail electronics expert make. Google knows they can't sit still and just be a search giant, but it's surprising that one of the features that Google TV isn't ready to launch is the search functionality. How can that be possible?

Apple is not by any means perfect, but one of the strategies that's worked really well for them is getting into spaces/products they can dominate and control on their own (mostly). Even though the iPhone has dominated the mobile space for the past several years, the one big problem with it has been that they chose to partner with the worst network, AT&T. But I guess if you make the products fantastic enough, people like me won't care that I can't use the iPhone as a phone everywhere because of AT&T. It works so well with everything else it does, I don't stop using it as a result.

I doubt Google will be afforded the same "slack for greatness" with their Google TV software, so holding off until it's great is probably a good idea.

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