NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the 1993 made-for-HBO movie "Barbarians at the Gate" there is a scene in which Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.'s Henry Kravis is being asked by his business partner George Roberts what to do about being rebuffed by RJR Nabisco's CEO Ross Johnson regarding taking part in the largest leveraged buyout to date. Kravis responds chillingly in one word: "Napalm."
That aggressive declaration of war may just as well have applied to
Google's (GOOG) declaration of war on Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) delivered
at its annual i/o conference last week. Google has as vast an
array products and services as any of its main competitors, and it is
now gunning aggressively in almost all directions -- simultaneously.
It is too much to go into detail here about all of Google's competitive offensives, so this will be an overview soon to be followed by considerably more detail on each point. The laundry list of Google's announcements had its hidden gems, whoppers as well as the inevitable distractions.
I bet that, most likely, the two things you heard about Google last week were (1) the skydiving stunt and (2) the new small 7-inch tablet. So let's start with those.
I wrote about these Google glasses before, on April 9 and I was very positive about one particular killer app I had in mind. As much as I enjoyed the skydiving stunt from a live entertainment perspective -- who wouldn't? -- it wasn't necessary. But it got the whole world talking about it.
With Google having so many other things to introduce, focusing on the skydiving stunt was a little bit like following General Patton around near Dover, England, in the late Spring of 1944: Entertaining, but you'd be barking up the wrong tree. D-Day is happening somewhere else.
That's not to say that the Asus Nexus 7 covers all the bases. At 7 inches, it's obviously not a direct competitor to the iPad, but rather primarily to Samsung, Amazon and the BlackBerry PlayBook. It only comes with one camera, dedicated to videoconferencing, and it lacks cellular data connectivity.
Fear not, however, as we surely will soon see many other Android 4.1 tablets from multiple hardware vendors sporting larger screen sizes, more cameras, and cellular data connectivity. Lest I fail to mention the obvious, but how about Google-owned Motorola releasing multiple tablets ranging from 7 to 12 inches later this year?
Speaking of Motorola, it was as absent from Google's presentations as a 1930s version of a picture of Lenin containing a nearby Trotsky. Google closed its largest acquisition to date by far, whether measured by price, sales or number of employees -- and not a single word mentioning even the name Motorola. This worries me as a shareholder.
Suffice it to say that I don't see that it offers any meaningful advantage over the competition that makes me want to pay $300 for it. Unless it obtains a software upgrade that dramatically improves the value proposition, it will fail.
I can't emphasize Google's cloud computing efforts enough. Many companies including Microsoft, Apple and Amazon should be running scared. They may try to match Google in this area, but they risk punctuating their own profit models in the process.
As just one example, Google showed how to map DNA in a fraction of a second using 600,000 CPU cores. Who knows how many years such a calculation used to take in the past? We tend to be impressed when the incumbent computing companies expand from one core, to two, four and six. This demo was 600,000 cores.
The phrase "orders of magnitude" is often over-used, but not in this case: How about 100,000 times? Over the next couple of years, this dramatic Google capability is likely to change the computing landscape more than any other factor in the history of technology.
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