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Why doesn't Google copy successful startup ideas?

  sonic0002      2013-09-11 07:03:02      9,805    4    3

Google is definitely one of the largest players in Internet world. It owns the most popular search engine, mobile operating system and mapping service. It not only has huge user base but also is extremely rich. It can copy and create any product that is proven to be successful with its talent pool and money. But why doesn't Google copy those successful startup ideas?

Based on the current status quo and culture gene of Google, there are several reasons Google doesn't copy startup ideas.

First, Google has challenges that startups don't necessarily have early on. For example, Google must launch its products in a scalable way from the very beginning, this process is a non-functional factor that startups usually don't put too much effort on at the initial stage. Additionally, Google will need to integrate with other Google services.

Second, once a startup has proven an idea successful, it already has traction. Just because they're Google doesn't mean they must win. One example is Google Drive and Dropbox. But the weird thing is this same story in China has a different result, if a startup proves to be successful, then it has a big chance being copied by IT giants.

Thrid, while a startup can make money through revenue or an acquisition, Google must make money through revenue. Some ideas might not have a high chance of making much revenue, but might be good acquisition targets for one of many companies for another reason.

Fourth, although many people have a hard time believing this, Google really does want to be ethical. This is important to employees AND important to them as a business. If Google started pulling a Zynga and ripping off other people's ideas, it would tarnish its reputation, resulting in losing current employees and recruits.

Actually Google did copy some products such as web mail, calendar etc...But Google tries to make these products much better so that users can forget those pioneers.This is where Google is excellent at. Maybe some other IT giants can learn something from Google.



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Tiger [Reply]@ 2013-09-11 22:12:50

But, Android?

joy [Reply]@ 2013-09-11 22:28:27

Android is earlier than ios(android 1.0 appearing in 2005) and you also could see many good designing in ios 6,7 copyed from android.

tian [Reply]@ 2013-09-12 02:58:04
may be
Tom [Reply]@ 2013-09-16 00:23:49

Much more complicated than you point out.

1) Google "thinks" it should only build new products that will quickly attractive a very large number of users (50-100M) minimum. So it will miss out on ideas like the next twitter, groupon,etc because initially those products take long time to catch on. Not a big deal because those ideas are very unlikely to compete with google's core products.

2) Google prefers to solve hard problems that it is good at (i.e. search, advertisement). As a result, Google was very late in creating Google+ and giving up on Orkut because those sites are not like the ideas it was previously good at. BTW, Android is more about search/advertisement than about competing with the iphone. Android is actually a product they acquired (and rebuilt outside of its core people and resources).

3) Google doesn't have to "make money" on new ideas. 99% of its revenues comes from search/advertisement. Google just wants to be cool (i.e. loved by its employees and customers). If Google can create a new idea that generates revenue like search/ads that would be great but it is not remotely necessary. I think 10% of the company's resources (people, machines,etc) generate 99% of the profit.

4) Google is constantly changing. It is really hard to define what its limits are because it is trying so hard to be best. 



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By sonic0002