As Google faces an antitrust probe from European regulators, some analysts are questioning whether the California tech giant’s dominance has already peaked.
While Google remains one of the world’s biggest companies with overwhelming dominance of internet searches, its prospects are less rosy in a tech landscape rapidly shifting to mobile devices and social media, say some industry watchers.
Debate heated up last year after a blog post titled ‘Peak Google’ from technology analyst and consultant Ben Thompson, who argued that Google is losing momentum.
Thompson said Google may be in the same boat as IBM in the 1980s and Microsoft around 2000 – ‘a hugely profitable company bestride the tech industry that at the moment seems infallible but that history will show to have peaked in dominance and relevancy.’
Google has for years been the leader in internet search and has turned advertising linked to those searches into a highly lucrative business.
But its shares have struggled since hitting an all-time high in early 2014 and it has little to show for ventures in other areas: self-driving cars, Google Glass, internet balloons, health care, Google TV mobile payments, home automation and its Google+ social network, among others.
Investors have poured more than $100 million into venture-backed mobile search competitor startups over the past three years, according to the research firm CB Insights.
Some of these new firms such as Quixey, Swiftype, Wildcard and Vurb aim to help people search through the app world where Google lacks a presence.
Any effort by the EU to impose new business methods on Google could accelerate the trend which is eroding its dominance, similar to what happened with Microsoft during its antitrust battles.