Excerpt from a timely Charles Fitzgerald Google reality check
Google is stuck between two Pony problems. The One Trick Pony problem and their need to find another material revenue stream beyond search looks more pressing as both their search share and their revenue growth flatten out. Their heyday window to make hay by building additional businesses while on top of the world seems to be coming to a close (life at the top is getting shorter and shorter – we’ll see how long Facebook lasts in that position. They could peak even before they become a $10 billion revenue company. Deferring the IPO for as long as possible makes a lot of sense for them to maximize their window). Android is one of Google’s better candidates for a revenue stream with lots of zeroes after it, but we are already seeing multiple examples where Google’s revenue link to Android is being severed. This could be described as the My Little Pony problem (a Sun Microsystems reference for those too lazy to click through and parse the obscure video), wherein your free software doesn’t drive significant revenue directly or indirectly, even as others go to the bank on top of your efforts. As Google’s core business matures, they’ll have less and less ability to make grand philanthropic efforts. I suspect we’ll see free become less free and Google dare phone manufacturers to shift platforms once they have started down the Android path.