The Google juggernaut's revenue growth has slowed steadily in the last five years, causing the Wall Street Journal to caution investors about buying Google stock. While much of the slow-down in Google's revenue may be attributed to the recession, the WSJ cautions that:
- Microsoft is offering stiffer competition in search, which will only intensify once antitrust regulators approve its partnership with Yahoo! and the two companies actually implement their partnership (which could take another year);
- YouTube's promise as an ad platform remains uncertain;
- Google lags behind Apple and Research in Motion in developing mobile phone operating systems, with Android still unproven;
- It remains unclear how successful the company will be in expanding beyond its existing lead in small text ads into the potentially lucrative realm of banner ads.
Somehow I doubt Google's fall to Earth will do much to allay the concerns of those who see Google as the kind of evil monopolist Microsoft was made out to be in the 90s.
As the Journal concludes, "It would be foolish to predict that Google won't have another business success, of course... Google may itself discover the next Google-like business." As long as someone's out there working to turn today's idle fantasies into tomorrow's multi-billion dollar businesses, consumers win--whoever that bold innovator might be.