Google and telcos

Tony Cripps/Ovum
16 Jun 2010

Google is perhaps the company that inspires the greatest amount of paranoia and fear among telecom industry players. This fear is well-placed.

Google's ability and willingness to invest in whatever is necessary to achieve its aims - to place advertising in front of as many people as possible, wherever and whenever it can - is placing a growing strain on traditional telcos' ability to roll out novel and profitable services. Constant innovation, free at the point of consumption, is Google's mantra. By targeting users of connected devices other than PCs, Google is also competing with telecom players for the attention and loyalty of subscribers.

To date, this has been a particular problem for mobile operators. Google has taken the mobile screen opportunity very seriously, with the release of products such as the Android OS, and its efforts to own the location and navigation services spaces through constant updates. It is also the dominant search provider in the mobile arena.

But the Google phenomenon also looks set to impact those whose primary point of customer contact is their living room - namely IPTV, cable, satellite and other broadcasters.

Google's ability to leverage its cloud services core to infiltrate new screens marks it out as a competitive threat to even the most converged of today's service providers. One of Google's main weapons of attack on converged service providers - YouTube - is also demonstrating the potential for telecom and media value system players to seek new forms of partnership with the Internet giant, by leveraging YouTube's infrastructure to deliver their own content to consumers.


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