Can Google become a truly mobile company?

Is Google safe from the disruptive nature of mobile? I know this sounds like a crazy question to ask given their dominance on the web and in the mobile OS game but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe. There was a time when Microsoft “owned” the mobile OS world as well and look what happened to them.

Conversations have been floating around about the ability for so-called “web 2.0” companies being able to transition into the age of mobile. It is telling when a company like Facebook hits the public markets with a valuation of $102 billion on revenues 1/33rd of that number and the single greatest fear analysts (and Facebook themselves) have is their ability to fully embrace and monetize the mobile opportunity. We saw this happen to companies in the early days of the web – web 1.0 – where seemingly infallible companies couldn’t turn the corner and were left behind. Is that repeating itself today? If so, what are the symptoms of the companies that can’t keep up?

Google is an interesting company. Most of what they do are research projects that haven’t – and perhaps never will – generate substantial revenue. They are reliant on display ads for most of their revenue and the industry, because of mobile, is going to move steadily away from desktop display ads and put that revenue stream in jeopardy.

Tomi Ahonen is famous in the mobile world for predicting the long-term impact that the devices we carry will have on traditional industry. This time around with Tomi it is about those companies – in particular Google – that are in jeopardy of not being able to turn the corner on mobile.

Tomi is more bullish than I am on Google’s ability to turn revenue on in the short term and he lays his reasoning out here. It is reliant on Android’s ability to sustain a majority ownership of the mobile OS game and consumers acceptance of ads but, make no mistake, the numbers are big and going to get bigger before they fall.

Before you judge either side, watch the video and remember that the fall of the mighty happens when they can’t shift their business and mindset to the new reality. Think Microsoft (in mobile), think RIM, think Nokia and think Motorola just to name a few.

Can Google make the transition?

To watch the entire episode right now, subscribe to iTunes: Audio or Video

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

/* ]]> */