If you’ve been paying attention to Google over the past few years, you would be hard pressed to convince anyone they haven’t played a brilliant game of strategy. While they’re typically a “search” and “ad’ company, Google has pressed into many new markets and become the defacto leader.
GMail, Google Maps, YouTube and Android Phones are just four. While Chrome takes a somewhat quiet back seat the numbers are impressive (11% market share), but more importantly, Chrome is a key piece to Google’s overall business strategy moving forward. With Chrome, Google has a key stake in how the web is viewed in general, has a say in what standards are and are not adopted, and can position Google to influence the future direction of the web – eliminating the surprise of competition and other pitfalls. BusinessInsider explains this strategy perfectly.
Chrome is so important to Google that they paid tens of millions of dollars to the Chrome leader to prevent him from going to Twitter. That’s a LOT of money – is it worth it? Does Google value their knowledge that much or do they not want secrets of the trade slipping into the hands of the competition?
I imagine that folks in such high positions are so intimately involved in the Chrome project that replacing them would mean a ton of lost time. But couldn’t they promote internally? Something is definitely going on over at Google. Sure, execs going from company to company is common – these guys want new challenges and more money – but TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS for nothing more than to stay put?
Regardless of how you spin it, Chrome is not just software or a product to Google. Chrome is a competitive advantage, leverage, barrier to entry for competitors, and automatic influence. Moving forward, HTML5 will even challenge native mobile apps… do you think Chrome could play a role in how, if, and when that shift takes place? I think that might be an advantage worth spending tens of millions of dollars on investing.