It must have been a bit tough-going last week in the offices of Google:
- Monday dawns with the news that Silicon Valley rival, Apple, has climbed up to knock the search giant from its four-year perch as the world’s most valuable brand.
- On Tuesday, Microsoft announces that it has outbid Google (and Facebook) to snap up the perennial money loser, Skype, for a cool $8.5B in an apparent attempt to become a serious player in the mobile market.
- Thursday brings news that Facebook, in a rather ham-fisted blunder, had hired PR agency, Burson-Marsteller, to push negative stories to the media about Google’s approach to privacy with its use of personal information from Facebook and other social networks.
- And on Friday we learn that Google is close to settling a U.S. criminal investigation (for $500M) into allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws.
Wowsa. Not a fun week at all.
Or was it?
After all, the ”world’s most valuable brand” moniker belonged to Google for four years before Apple took it on — and being the reigning #1 for four years is no small feat — particularly considering the hyper-competitive crowd Google runs with.
With the Microsoft deal, it seems that what’s got the attention of the folks in Redmond is not just what Apple has done with the iPhone, but that Google’s Android now outsells all other mobile operating systems – combined.
Oh, and investors hate, hate, hate the deal.
As for Facebook’s attempt at mud-slinging, since both companies are under fire from privacy campaigners for the amount of personal data they collect and retain online, it’s hardly surprising that there’d be a bit of dirty fighting when one considers the stakes in this battle of the behemoths for user traffic and ad dollars.
Finally, regarding the DOJ settlement — well, it’s just plain ugly and it’s probably best to just admit that and move on.
All that said, there was particular reason for the captains of search to smile last week. And, plenty of reason for Netflix to be nervous.
On Monday, YouTube head, Salar Kamangar, posted on the YouTube blog “Welcome to the future of video. Please stay a while” thereby making it official that YouTube has entered the iVOD business (interactive video on demand) with YouTube Movies.
According to YouTube, we’re already “spending 15 minutes a day on YouTube and spending five hours a day watching TV.” Launching with over 6000 titles including full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios, Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros, they’re clearly making a move to change that equation.
And a smart move it is.
With an average of 137M people making 1.4M visits per month (U.S.), YouTube is already a beast. Adding full-length feature films available for rent on demand, on any device and any operating system makes them unstoppable.
Entertainment wherever, whenever and however we want it – isn’t that what the world wide web is for?