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Why Google Seems Wired and IBM Seems Tired

IBM's Watson supercomputer, which is designed around cloud analytics, can profit from Google's growth, but that's just a niche. Google itself is the main stream.

All this dominance comes at a price. Google's motives are under constant suspicion, much like those of the U.S. government. It's the same treatment given Coca-Cola (KO) two generations ago and, later, to IBM itself. Google's "Don't be evil" mantra, detailed on its company philosophy page, turns out to be impossible to put into practice.

Thus, nations such as France keep trying to enforce local laws on Google's global presence. Thus, China continues to discourage its people from using Google, supporting home-grown alternatives. Thus, Google regularly faces law suits over things its users do, such as the suit from an Iowa executive over what someone did on Google's Blogger service recently.

But these are the problems of leadership, problems IBM would dearly love to have. Step into a new model car and the amount of electronics in it will boggle the mind. Google wants to own that, too.

It's the kind of audacious move IBM can't even dream of making, because its field of dominance is smaller, and shrinking, while that of Google is enormous, and growing. Which is why Google earnings are worth more than twice what IBM's are, and the gap should continue to widen in 2014.

At the time of publication the author owned shares of GOOG and KO.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.


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