Google – What’s Google?

Google has grown within just a few years from a garage based search engine to the biggest and most successful search engine in the world. The one with the most revenue off all. On the way to become that big, they kicked a few other engines out of business and brought others on the edge of going out of business. But, is that all?

John Dvorak, a very well recognized writer, wrote on Marketwatch.com: “Google Inc. does two things well. Search for things and sell ads by the boatloads. Everything else is ancillary and at best a loss leader. This includes Google Voice, Gmail, Google maps and navigation, YouTube and probably the entire online “cloud” services as well as the Android OS along with Chrome”. He further writes, “Did I leave anything out? Probably. But nothing that makes scads of cash for the firm”.

Well, one wonders what made John such an exceptional writer and expert. So, let’s take a look at Google and what they do? I asked my girlfriend. She stated, without thinking for long, “Google is an Oracle for many people”. Boing, there you have it! She is right, when people search for stuff, they use Google, first. But is that really all? Is the entire advertising money just coming from search? No, it is not! Everyone that has a Gmail account finds advertising in the inbox. Everyone that uses Maps finds advertising around the results. That is revenue from properties other than the search box, isn’t it? There are some other revenue sources, Google Docs. While free for consumers, Google sells the Doc program to businesses. Not only small businesses, big corporations, municipalities and other that pay some nice change for it. Well, they haven’t reached Microsoft yet, but still…. .

I use a lot of other Google services and appreciate them very much. Besides the above mentioned, I use calendar, navigation, notebook, translation, dictionary, voice, finance, photos, sites, talk and quite a few others. Are they money machines like search? No! They are not, but they keep me around and when I have to do a search I don’t switch around, I can search right there. While these are not a direct revenue creator, they help make that revenue a re-occurring thing. As a shareholder, I would like that.

Yes, Google burned a few properties on the way to the top. Orkut and a few others. So what? As a technology company that is what you do. You invent new stuff and try it out. Because others didn’t do it, Yahoo! Microsoft and others, now they have to chase Google, or watch completely from the outside. Oh,  Android! I almost forgot. That system has caught up to Apple in a very short time. While they are not selling it, it is used as an investment in mobile search. John, have you heard of that? Smart phones? Tablets? Loss leader? What?

Let’s talk about what Google not is, and what could possibly bring them down from their leading position, at least in my opinion. Call me John, if I am wrong. Greed! Google was/is called the best search engine around. Yes, we can argue about that. That has made them an Oracle for many, many people. In order to increase revenue and satisfy those that always cry and scream for more money, Google has “adjusted” their algorithms in their search engine. That means that competitor directed sites, blogs and other don’t appear at the place they would appear, if they wouldn’t be directed by a competitor. In other words, if you write a research report based on Google results, and a lot of people do, you might not get first hand information! That’s bad! And that is something that would make a loyal user “jump ship” and try something else. I am a living example for that and I consider it. Will that kill Google? Of course not, but if it happens in bigger numbers, it will count at the end of the quarter. In fairness, I am not saying that all the others are honest. I just don’t know.

What Google does in products to create and secure revenue, is top notch and will not make them fail. The way how they apply these products and technology, is a different story. It is what will make Facebook fail, and it will hurt Google as well, if not changed.

The importance of having a World Class Goalkeeper!

>It is still normal in soccer reporting that the scorer gets the headlines. However, this weekend we saw how important it is to have a World Class Goalkeeper. Look at Arsenal, lost the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City because of a mistake of their “still green behind the ears” keeper Szczesny. Admitted, his defender had his share in that, however, Peter Cech or Iker Casillas would have shown more determination in securing the ball.

In contrast, on Saturday, Manchester United’s Edwin van der Sar kept them in the game, while they sorted out the game against Wigan.

For Arsenal it is important to solve that problem that goes on for almost decades. Wenger loves to put a team on the pitch that plays their opponents into the ground, the goalkeeper position has been neglected for years. Compared to the rest of the squad, the goalie is limping. Soon they face Barca in Barcelona for the second leg in the Champions League, that will not be a game in which the gunners will play out the competition. It will be a game in which a strong presence between the sticks will make the difference. The Gunners don’t have that! After the Carling Cup final, it would be no surprise, if the Gunners end up with nothing again.

Carling Cup: Arsenal’s drought goes on! Birmingham City: Europe, here we come!

>Birmingham FC will play in Europe in the 2011/12 season. While lucky, the 2-1 win was deserved and earned with determination and passion. Martins’ 88th min. goal decided the Carling Cup final in favor of Birmingham City. For Birmingham it is the first titel since 1963 and will serve as a boost in their fight in the Barclay’s Premier League.

Arsenal’s titel drought goes on. While competing in all national and international competitions for 6 years and having another titel up for crab, the loss today leaves the Gunners starving. Arsenal has three more opportunities to end the drought, but today’s Carling Cup final seemed to be the easiest opportunity for a letterhead change.

West Ham – Liverpool 3-1, The New Hammers secure win

In a very exciting and in parts dramatic game West Ham beat Liverpool 3-1 and demonstrated their willingness, and ability, to fight relegation from the Premier League. With their new acquisitions Demba Ba, Wayne Bridge and Thomas Hitzelsperger coming back from injury, Avram Grant and the Hammers displayed much more resistance and possibility in their fight for survival in the English top flight. Liverpool didn’t go down with a bad performance, it was the Hammers that did it on their own by not only fighting but demonstrate ability to play.

While the first half went for West Ham, and a 2-0 lead at halftime was deserved, in the second half,  Liverpool put the game into the Hammers half. The Hammers fought for their life and run some dangerous attacks to keep the Kops honest. It took Liverpool 84 minutes to score and increase heart attack risk on the West Ham side. Carlton Cole then scored the much celebrated winner when Liverpool tried to follow up and save a point.

With the birth of “The New Hammers”, fight for relegation just became much more interesting. From place 10 to 20, everything is possible. Even Newcastle on 9th with 36 points must secure points in order to not get caught in a fierce and nerve racking battle to avoid relegation. Liverpool gave up an opportunity to further close the gap for 5th place, however, with today’s performance (not the result) they are still in.

In the second Sunday game, Fulham visited Manchester City and surprised with a 1-1. The $100 million trio, Balotelli, Tevez and Dzeko stood for a 1-0 lead (Balotelli) after 45 minutes. Duff tied the game and Fulham saved the valubale point. Manchester City lost two points in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Manchester United is the winner of round 28 in the Barclay’s English Premier League

Manchester United was the winner of round 28 in the Barclay’s English premier League. The trip to Wigan turned out to be more difficult than past results and,more, the result of this game display. After a though first half, at the end Sir Alex’ boys won 4-0. It didn’t look that clear for a long time. Only Edwin van der Sar saved United from going down in the first half. The 40 year old dutch played an outstanding game and with 3 first class saves held United in the game before Hernandez (2), Rooney and Fabio put the lid on the game for United. The game was the warm up for the “week of truth” for Manchester United. On Tuesday, 03/01/ they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the following Sunday Liverpool at Anfield Road.

In their fight to avoid relegation Wolves landed an important and strong looking 4-0 win against Blackpool. Sunderland lost ground for the battle for 6th spot and possible Europe League qualification with a 2-0 loss against Everton FC.

Aston Villa secured a 4-1 win against Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers tied 1-1 on Saturday.

On Sunday, Liverpool is trying to close the gap to Spurs with a win at West Ham while Manchester City and Fulham meet in Manchester. Round 28 will be closed on Monday with West Brom visiting Stoke. The games Chelsea – Birmingham and Spurs – Arsenal take place at a later date.

Bundesliga won another Starter in the UEFA Champions League over Seria A!

>As of yesterday, the German Bundesliga has secured another UEFA Champions League starter place. With Bayern’s win against Inter Milan and Leverkusen’s advance in to the next round in the Europe League, the German Bundesliga took a starter place away from Italy. From the season 2012/13 the Bundesliga is starting with 3 teams in the Champions League and one in the qualifier. The Italians lost one and will start with two teams in Champions League and one in the qualifier.

What lured around for a while became reality. The improved quality of German soccer paid off for the German clubs and league. This is clearly a win for the Champions League and soccer. It also raises hopes from an economical standpoint, since the event will attract more German “big business” for advertising and sponsorship, not only in Germany, but globally.

If you take a look at the Bundesliga, it could easily be possible that a third of the league is playing on an international level. The Bundesliga has only 18 teams and starting in 2012 five of them will play international, guaranteed. With a favorable outcome in the German “DFB Pokal”, the number of international starters could go up to six. This is an outstanding achievement of the German league.

The Germans decided in the past to leave the Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga with 18 clubs each, betting that quality will improve. The other leagues in Europe play the season with 20 teams. The decision left the Germans with the advantage of a winter break. While the German soccer fans’ delight for the break is limited, the players and clubs appreciate the break to rest and re-charge batteries. Now the supporters suffering pays off, they can now watch more Champions League.

Champions League, Olympique Marseille – Manchester United 0-0

>Manchester United made the trip to Marseille without a few important players. In defense the young Smalling had to take position for the injured Ferdinand and Evans. Not in the starting line up also, Giggs, Park, Rafael or Scholes. The first half didn’t bring a lot of excitement. While in the opening 10 minutes it looked like there will be a game, the rest of the second half was more or less pushing the ball back and forth. The goalies, with minimal exceptions, didn’t really need their hands for 35 minutes.

The second half showed significantly more action than the first and Marseille took control of the game. While more possession and mainly in United’s half, more than a mild “harassment” couldn’t be achieved. Sir Alex reacted after 72 min and sent Paul Scholes for Gibson, who couldn’t be found for 70 minutes. That, and a change in system gave United control back, which they kept until the last three minutes. Marseille tried one more time, but couldn’t force a result change.

With a good result as a goal, for United, the game served the purpose.  For Marseille, the Champions League dream seems to be over. The game in Manchester should not cause the English major problems, if they keep their form and don’t slide into a major crisis within the next three weeks.

Apple and succession – Or, the Apple World after Steve Jobs

>A lot of talk currently about Apple and Steve Jobs. Rather than talking about the good news, investors, analysts and everyone else seems to focus on Jobs’ health and Apple’s succession plans. Some institutional investors turn up the heat and demand a detailed plan for the time after Jobs.

One can look at this from different views. If you are a pessimistic nature and your tendency is to boil down all success to one person, you will probably have sleepless nights over Steve Jobs’ illness and Apple’s future. You will demand a succession plan. If that will help you to get more sleep remains questionable. One can also focus on a more detailed view and give the company’s past handling of this kind of scenario a little more credit and focus on a few other upcoming things. With the second view, one can avoid dealing with trouble twice.

There are a lot of smart people at work at Apple. If you want to credit Steve Jobs alone for the successes of the past years, you are on the wrong boat, clearly. Sure, if you want to create a hype and earn some credits on the expense of Apple,  than this is a good chance to do so. How else can you do it in Apple’s case? The company is running smoothly and successful. The products have been absolute crackers and are, still, considered “must-haves”. With looking at the upcoming challenges for the products, you can’t make a name for yourself. Focusing concerns on one person of the caliber of Steve Jobs on the other hand, that creates more attention.

I can’t help myself, I just can’t believe that Apple hasn’t taken a look at the future. It is not that Jobs just got sick, serious issues are around for years. Honestly, would you believe that they haven’t given that scenario a serious look? Come on!

So, what would a published succession plan do for everyone? It would spit out a few names and the entire world would jump on it and would either be delighted, or would focus on a campaign to discredit possible candidates. Such incredible nonsense would shift the company’s focus from core business to fighting and justifying every move they make. It would just open an unnecessary battle field. There are other major things cooking that need attention.

Take a look at the competition. Everyone and their grandma is coming up with a tablet, or in some cases more then one. The smart phone market is crowded like no other. iTunes, like the Apple phones and tablets, experience a different infrastructure in the field of competition. For Apple, there is no time to open up another window of concern. These are valid issues and those should be treated as such.  With all due respect, who knows on whether Steve Jobs would be the man to solve all these topics or not? Besides of inventing new products, it is now the time to compete and defend terrain, rather than selling a product no one else has. A new game has developed. Focus!

Champions League, FC Copenhagen – FC Chelsea 0-2

While Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti traveled to Copenhagen with some “stomach issues”, the game displayed an absolute professional game with not many flaws. Sure, Copenhagen didn’t do anything to trouble the Blues, but Chelsea’s performance is already promising the quarterfinal.

Copenhagen acted to careful and was to busy trying to avoid mistakes in order to create difficult situations for the English. Due to the lax attitude of the Danish, Chelsea took over command from the beginning and never gave control away. Anelka, with fierce support of the Copenhagen goalie, scored twice. The second during a time when Copenhagen started to move a little faster then they did in the first half. With the second goal the game was over. While the Danish pretended to try,they couldn’t come up with more than catching practice for Peter Cech.

Also good news for Chelsea, Fernando Torres, while without luck, played a decent game. He got himself a few chances, but the last punch wasn’t strong enough, yet. It was at least a performance to build on.

The second leg should not be a problem for Chelsea, unless Copenhagen will wake up from hibernation, the Danish season is still on winter break, with new power and a lot more determination. They can do better, ask Barca.

State of the top 5 (6) in the Barclay’s English Premier League

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The top 5 in the Barclay’s English premier league have actually turned into a top 6. Due to the fact that Liverpool is finding its old strength, we now have another competitor for one of the top 5 spots. Let’s take a look for the next three weeks and see what’s in the cards for these clubs:

Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool have turned the curve and have delivered some good results over the past 5 games. Fernando Torres has left the club and with Suarez from Ajax Amsterdam it seems they found more than an adequate scorer. If they can keep up the momentum, there is a good chance for at least 5th place. Of course that would require a break down in performance of at least one of the other clubs in the top 6.
Current trend: up

Chelsea is the team with the most problems, so it seems for the moment. With the loss in the 4th round FA-cup game at home against Everton, the issues have certainly become more dramatic. The upcoming Champions League game against FC Copenhagen will be of major importance to Chelsea. In my opinion, and I repeat that, the transfer of Fernando Torres to Chelsea did not do any good for the Blues. Didier Drogba’s and Nicolas Anelka’s mood and form has not improved since Torres arrived. Both are of major importance in the upcoming Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen. Manager Carlo Ancelotti had the idea of rotating his players, especially the strikers, in all competitions. In the league cup they were already kicked out, yesterday they excused themselves from the FA Cup and if they are not careful, the same will happen in the Champions League. Chelsea in the current form is certainly not a sure bet for the next round. Then, there is nothing left for rotation and the faces of some players will get longer and longer as the opportunities to play shrink away. Not necessarily of help in the remaining games in the league. There will be a lot of pressure on the team and coaches, since Champions League participation is mandatory for the club. Can you imagine Chelsea is not going to make it?
Current trend: down

Spurs! For me, Harry Redknapp is the coach of the year. He has formed a team of depth at Whitehard Lane. Up until two weeks ago it seemed that Spurs only have “one first eleven” and that any injuries (such as Bales’s) could bring the team down. Well, Harry is now able to rotate players and still has a winning team on the field. The win in Milan this week was the last proof for that. With the win against Milan and the resulting confidence boost, Spurs are flying high, for at least 3 more weeks. There is a good chance that they win the game in Blackpool on Tuesday and take 3rd place from  Man City and further distance Chelsea.
Current trend: up

It is difficult to talk about Manchester City. Looking at the roster, they should look much better in the table than they actually do. They spent so much money to get this roster quality, but it seems there is a struggle to form a team that can go the distance and play constantly on a high level. It appears that the efforts to get results and win something (silverware) become more and more desperate. Looking at the team, I can’t help thinking about a group of mercenaries going to work, including the coach. There is no identification with the club. Yes, they are in the race to win the premier league, FA cup and Europe league, but let’s be honest: The Barclay’s Premier League and Champions League qualification is what they really want and it doesn’t look like they can deliver that.
Current trend: sideways or down

Arsenal has just made their task to catch Manchester United a little harder. With a disappointing 1:1 at Leyton-Orient they got themselves another unpopular distraction on the way to win silverware. There are really games enough for them in the next weeks, they didn’t need that one. However, they are currently the only one that have the means to catch United on the last stretch in the Premier league. For them, the mix of Champions League, FA-cup, Carling cup and League is a good one. With the win over Barca this week, they got a pretty nice boost for the next three weeks and the upcoming games. This sounds crazy, but if they don’t make it into the next round in the Champions League, it is not a neck breaking event. If you look at Chelsea on the other hand, outsch.
Current trend: up

Manchester United is the team to beat. In the Premier League there is only one team that can catch them, in the FA Cup they have another home game,  and as they represent themselves currently, they are a top team in the Champions League and they are the favorite in the games against Olympique Marseille. Besides of a super Manager with Alex Ferguson, they have a roster of experienced guys and they have a run, still. It is very difficult to find a “hair in the Manchester United soup”, for now. It is, however, the only team without a crisis during this season. Even though it is Manchester United, going all the way without a hang-up is the most difficult thing to do
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Current trend: up

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