Why Google Blows Apple, Yahoo! and Microsoft Away

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Amid all the takes on Google's ( GOOG) earnings and $1,000 stock price, Jeff Reeves over at Marketwatch had one of the best:

This is my favorite Google number to watch. When you look back at the last four annual reports, the "other revenues" segment is soaring -- and last year, it proved it's becoming an even bigger piece of the pie.
"Other" revenue in 2009: $762 million, or 3.2% of $23.65 billion in total revenue
"Other" revenue in 2010: $1.09 billion, or 3.7% of $29.32 billion in total revenue
"Other" revenue in 2011: $1.37 billion, or 3.6% of $37.9 billion in total revenue
"Other" revenue in 2012: $2.35 billion, or 4.7% of $50.18 billion in total revenue

His focus on "other" revenue helps us understand the two most important parts of Google's story as well as the notion that it's better positioned for the long-term than Apple ( AAPL), Yahoo! ( YHOO) and Microsoft ( MSFT) combined. In fact, Apple could satisfy the wildest urges of blogger and commenter critics, buy out both Yahoo! and Microsoft and this would still be the case.

And it's not directly because of Google's Android mobile market share or the Chromebooks it gets suckers such as Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) to produce for two-, three-hundred dollars a pop. It's not directly about search either.

It's about content. Google has a content advantage on so many levels. More smoothly than any other ecosystem, Google platforms funnel users to Google content which leads to advertising dollars. Google does content discovery -- experienced via search, YouTube and other channels -- better than anybody else.

Google does not let the massive opportunities it has for "other" revenue growth distract it from its bread and butter.

You absolutely cannot say the same, from practically any standpoint imaginable, about Apple, Yahoo!, Microsoft and certainly not Hewlett-Packard.

As discussed Friday afternoon on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper", Google has the content that translates into engaged eyeballs attached to brains and fingertips that click on more than their fair share of ads and watch loads of 15-30 spots prior to a YouTube video or some such.

Large scale stuff like movies and live streams of concerts all the way to the niche content that put YouTube on the map. The stuff cable television can't afford to touch. Cat videos. Backyard brawls. Zits popping. You name it.

Heck, my daughter watches tutorials on how to make items such as wallets out of duct tape. She has learned to play several Taylor Swift and One Direction songs by watching YouTube videos.

Google can effectively monetize these and other subcultures; traditional television cannot.

I wouldn't merely argue -- I know -- that if anybody's disrupting traditional models, it's Google, not Netflix ( NFLX) or any of the other straightforward third-party streamers.

This targeted content -- something for everybody -- spreads across platforms. When you use Google to search, you not only receive the top search experience, Google bots serve appropriate related content culled from one of the company's many offshoots such as YouTube or Google Plus.

Google's content and its focus on advertising brought it past $1,000. As an ecosystem, nobody else does it better. Some of Yahoo!'s, Microsoft's and, most certainly, Apple's moving parts beat Google -- and serve those companies (namely Apple) quite well -- but they just don't bring it all together as, how you say, built for the long term.

I couldn't disagree more with my colleague, TheStreet contributor, Robert Weinstein's take on Google's present-day dominance:
Google's revenue driver is its advertising network. It's right there in front of everyone, including the executives at Yahoo! and Microsoft. While it may have taken Bing and Yahoo! years to notice the sun rising every day, they have noticed and they are now making it as easy to buy ads as Google has for a long time.

Weinstein's one of the best traders I know. And he taught me everything I know about options and playing poker, but he absolutely misses the point on this trio's ability -- or lack thereof -- to sell digital advertising.

It's not about how easy you make it to buy ads. Practically anybody can create a self-serve network or what have you. Rather, it's about the dynamism of your platforms.

First and foremost, does the content not only attract, but engage users at scale consistently and for long periods of time. Google wins from this standpoint by miles. Yahoo! and Microsoft haven't even begun to figure out how to come close. They provide hit-and-run user experiences (do a quick search, check junk email, find out a score, view the weather forecast) whereas the Google experience sustains.

To this end, Google absolutely dominates online video viewing. According to comScore, between home and work, Americans spent about 1,294 minutes watching online video (per viewer) in August. Google sites accounted for nearly 522 minutes, whereas Microsoft and Yahoo! properties came in at 33 and 79.2 minutes, respectively.

And, of equal import, is how it takes the experience it provides and packages it from a sales standpoint. Again, clearly no contest. The numbers, illustrated, in part, in Google's earnings report last week speak for themselves.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.