The company’s hardly on its uppers of course with about $30bn available to spend but Google, like other tech giants before it including Microsoft and Yahoo, is hitting problems trying to diversify out of its core area of search.
Its one big success is the Android, or, increasingly Droid, phone which is attracting many new smartphone customers. But this still lags Apple’s phenomenal iPhone (and now iPad) which have also stolen a significant march on Google in the mobile ad market.
So Google is spending some of its cash pile on acquisitions but at the numbing rate of one every fortnight. Its AdMob mobile ads service being just one of them.
This acquisition rate poses various problems. How can Google assess them all properly? They can’t all turn out to be winners surely? And Google will be uncomfortably aware that Apple, its main rival, generally develops its own products and launches far fewer of them than Google does – but they’re nearly all phenomenal successes.
In the meantime the flops mount up including its social network offering Orkut (named after a Google employee in case you were wondering) which has just 50 million users compared to Facebook’s 500m.
Earlier this week it acquired San Francisco-based Jambool for $70m to add to Orkut or, possibly, another stab at a big social network.
Perhaps Google would be better off doing more with less.