Google Recap: Schmidt Talks Siri, General Motors on Tap
GOOG (NASDAQ:GOOG) Dives With Markets
Markets are erasing morning gains after Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi won a procedural budget vote but without an absolute majority (this could be the beginning of the end of the Berlusconi government.) Shares of GOOG dipped in the negative with the rest of the tech tape. Catalysts include Stephanie Tilenius, Vice President, Commerce, participation at the Citigroup Financial Technology Conference TODAY at 1:05pm ET; continued Android momentum in the smartphone and tablet markets worldwide; Motorola acquisition approval and integration; regaining ground in China; any signs of life for Google TV (including Motorola); the roll-out of Google Music, social network Google+ and Google Wallet; and progress in other newer initiatives (location-based services, mapping, gaming, daily deals, etc.). The stock trades at approximately 12.3x Enterprise Value / EBIT.
Google+ Opens To Businesses And Brands (various via techDygest)
Google social networking service, Google+, has opened its doors to businesses, brands and any non-human entity to create special web pages. The new feature closely resembles Facebook’s pages feature, giving businesses a reason to care more about Google’s 1 billion monthly unique visitors. And these pages are going to be tied to Google’s search engine through a feature called Direct Connect. This could Google+ Pages a must for businesses.
Schmidt Calls Siri A Competitive Threat (ZDNet)
Whether that was to appease regulators or he actually believes it is another story; likely the former as I would have to agree. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, in another round with U.S. senators over Google’s alleged anti-competitiveness, says that Google is threatened by Apple’s Siri. While other challenges include Facebook’s integration of Bing and lose of real-time Twitter search, Siri appears to make Google worry the most as it is a “significant development” in mobile search. Schmidt also says that Google’s market share is actually lower than you think.
Disney Teams With YouTube To Bring Original Content (The New York Times)
Disney’s interactive arm and YouTube have reached an agreement to produce new Disney-branded content for the web. This is a win for Google as it stands to benefit by gaining an influx of premium original content, something the company has been keenly focused on. The company recently put up $100 for original programming. That said, this deal is quite small valued at $10-$15 million of new Disney-produced videos.
Google Apps Close To Signing General Motors (The Wall Street Journal)
General Motors (NYSE:GM) is close to signing a deal with Google to move more than 100,000 employees to Gmail and Google Apps. GM is particularly cost conscious, and Google is probably willing to cut aggressive deals on Gmail because it’s not a core part of the company’s business. If Google gets the deal, it would be one of the biggest and highest profile companies to deploy Google Apps in its more than five years on the market. It would also be a big blow to Microsoft.
Is Google Going To Launch A Pay TV Service? (Business Insider)
Google is considering rolling out a pay TV service that would distribute stations directly over high-speed fiber optic lines. Google hired a former cable TV exec, Jeremy Stern, to head up talks with content companies like Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery. The company certainly has all the pieces in place: Motorola could provide the TV set-top box hardware, Google TV the software, and YouTube is a huge drove of exclusive online content that could be delivered right alongside traditional TV content.
Android Continues To Dominate The Mobile Smartphone Platform In The U.S. (comScore)
For the third quarter, Android once again proved its continuing dominance in the U.S. mobile market with 44.8% of all U.S. smartphones, up 4.6 percentage points from the June period, according to comScore. Apple secured the number 2 position, growing 0.8 percentage points to account for 27.4% of the smartphone market. RIM ranked third with 18.9% share, followed by Microsoft at 5.6% and Symbian at 1.8%.
Google Bringing AdMob Inventory To DoubleClick (mocoNews)
Google has been making strong inroads into consolidating its hold on the PC-based display marketplace through its DoubleClick Ad Exchange. So much so that it is ready to bring in-app ad formats via AdMob to its exchange platform. While mobile advertising in general is expected to hit $1 billion by the end of this year, it’s still a fraction of the $30 billion spent on web ads annually. And in-app ads will certainly begin to show some movement against more established mobile formats (messaging, mobile web, etc.).
Google Blasts Microsoft’s Patent Agenda (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Google’s patent counsel, Tim Porter, argues that the patent system itself is broken. The perpetual wrangling is sucking up time and resources that would otherwise go toward pushing technology forward and developing the next disruptive inventions. In terms of Microsoft, Porter says, “This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past…When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they’ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies’ products.”
Google’s Head Of Policy, Lobbying Leaving (The Washington Post)
Alan Davidson, who has long served as director of public policy and government affairs for Google, is leaving the company. It comes at a time when federal lawmakers and regulators have focused on the search giant for potential antitrust and privacy violations. In an internal memo to employees, Davidson says that he will take a “sabbatical” later in the month to “explore other opportunities”. No successor has been named.
Heather Leonard is the Google analyst at Business Insider.