Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 and, in a few short years, has developed a competitive strategy that has placed it at the top of its industry. Its core competencies can be broken into categories that include web searching, development and engineering, extended services, and island services. Within each category are one or more services that allow Google to remain competitive. Its web search services include web searches, product searches, news searches, image searches, and translation services. Grouped within its development and engineering category are labs and application program interfaces. Its extended services include the new G-Mail and Blogger services for consumers. Finally, its island services include consulting and its search box that is made available for use on other web sites. One of Google’s major competitive advantages is the fact that their platform allows them to build web-scale applications for much less money and more easily than any other company in the industry. Google also has its own Google Filesystemâ which allows Google to store user data in three locations, reducing downtime and the possibility that data will be lost. In addition, Google uses inexpensive hardware that reduces operating costs (Ulanoff, 2005).
With respect to SWOT analysis activities, Google has many strengths and opportunities when compared with its weaknesses and any industry threats. Google’s strengths include a strong brand image, a strong advertising program incorporating Google AdWordsâ, innovative technology, a strong talent pool, and innovation. Google’s weaknesses include high costs related to a highly skilled workforce, a long-term revenue stream that is not ensured, nervous users due to tracking cookies and other technology, and reliance on its popularity to continue to generate a profit stream. Opportunities for Google’s advancement include OpenSource software development, the development of a Google operating system, entry into the media and entertainment industries, the development of a personal web portal that would develop customer relationships, and e-commerce and business to business products. Threats to Google’s success include new technology being developed by other corporations, legal issues, privacy issues, lack of a long-term relationship with customers, and competition from firms such as Teoma, Wisenut, and Microsoft. Google’s business strategy is slightly more difficult to determine. Google remains dedicated to generating large profits based on small steps. This strategy has allowed it to produce competitive products and reap generous benefits (Ulanoff, 2005).
Microsoft was founded in 1975. Since that time, it has made rapid advances in technology and has dominated a rapidly evolving industry. Among its core competencies are advanced infrastructure solutions, business intelligence solutions, information worker solutions, integrated e-business solutions, network infrastructure solutions, and security solutions. One of its biggest competitive advantages is its Microsoft Office suite of products that includes Word, Access, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Visio, and Project, depending on the edition of the software. With its capabilities and ability to be used by teams, Office is one of the top software suites. Microsoft also remains competitive by constantly responding to other competitors with new technologies and product offerings (Foley, 2005).
With respect to SWOT analysis, Microsoft has many strengths and opportunities, but also has organizational weaknesses and threats from competitors. Its strengths include innovation, a high degree of employee ownership, dynamic momentum, and quick response to other technology developments. Weaknesses include glitches in software, legal issues, high development costs, and image issues. Opportunities for growth include new web-based applications, further development of pre-existing software products, and further integration of its existing products with new products. Microsoft has many threats to its success. Google is now a major competitor due to its development of a personal web portal for consumer use. In addition, Google offers electronic mail service with more storage and less loss of data than Microsoft’s MSN Hotmail. Google is also working on developing OpenSource office applications that could rival Microsoft Office. Yahoo continues to be a Microsoft competitor and remains a threat due to its search engine and directory listings (Foley, 2005).