Google's Case Study Plan

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Discuss competition in the search industry. Which of the five competitive forces seem strongest? Weakest? What is your assessment of overall industry attractiveness?

Google has been very successful in becoming the dominant search engine platform in the US and Western countries. In contrast to its success in the US and Western countries, Google does not have much luck in some Asian countries such as China and Korea. Google is far behind in terms of search market share in China and Korea. In this paper, we model the search engine market as a two-sided markets model and analyze the industry structure and competition of the search engine market. First, we present a mathematical model for a general search engine two-sided market. Then we use the model to analyze the search engine history and explain why multiple search engines could co-exist in the early days of the search engine history. We also explain how Google, a latecomer in the search market, could become the leading search engine, and how Google has strengthened its leading position. Next we apply the model to China and Korea's search markets and analyze how Google could lose the game to local search companies. In the end, we propose some strategies on how search engine market leaders could maintain and strengthen their leading positions.

Introduction

The World Wide Web has experienced exponential growth since its inception in early 1990s, and it continues growing rapidly (W3C, 2000). Today, it is used in almost every aspect of our everyday life, such as searching for online shopping sites, company and product information sites, online social networking sites and online news sites. Google was estimated to index around 20 billion web pages in Oct. 2010 (Kunder, 2010). Netscraft reported that the total number of websites reached 232 million in Oct. 2010 (Netcraft, 2010). These data indicate that there are huge amount of information out there on the Internet, with millions of websites and billions of web...
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