Every company has the same disease. Few companies find the cure. The disease? Success. The cure? More success. Or, put another way, every company that becomes a success wants more success, so, they try to diversify.
Apple is a good example. The Mac was, until early in the 21st century, the company’s most successful hardware product. Then, along came the iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store, and Apple had diversified the product line. At one point, the iPod was greater than the Mac.
Success breeds attempts to protect successful products and the desire to expand success into other products. Apple did that with the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Beats headphones, plus rapid growth into Services.
Google is successful as an advertising company and still, nearly 90-percent of all the company’s profits are tied up in ad revenue. Success breeds attempts at diversification and that’s what you see with Google’s hardware efforts.
This week brought updates to Google’s Pixel smartphones, Pixelbook Chromebook, and other pieces of somewhat integrated hardware. Does Google make much money selling hardware? Nope. Google is and remains mostly about advertising, but that hasn’t stopped the company from trying to find a cure for success (more success).
Here’s an example that doesn’t make much sense. Nest WiFi. It’s a mesh router. They’re all the rage these days, better than Google WiFi (not much of a success; know anybody that has one?). Google got into the router business about the time Apple left the router business.
Does Apple see something in the future that Google does not see?
How about ubiquitous 5G?
No, 5G won’t kill Wi-Fi routers, but already ubiquitous high-speed internet access via smartphone and tablet means we use wired and Wi-Fi connections less. It’s an industry that is fading away, so why is Google propping it up?
Google’s Nest brand is a thing these days. Nest WiFi, Nest Mini (Google’s Assistant and speaker to compete with Amazon’s Echo and Alexa), and Google Pixel Buds (to compete with AirPods and other wearable gadgets.
What is Google doing in hardware?
Looking for the typical cure to success. More success. So far, Google’s foray into hardware has been a big blunder.