Google has money, servers, network infrastructure, leadership, brand power and everything else.
20 Oct, 2017FORBES.COM
In 2004, Google was already a goliath when it came to data. It had money, servers, network infrastructure, leadership, brand power and everything else. However, over the next decade and more, they desperately watched the upstarts Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and others compete happily among themselves not even noticing Google’s presence.
Google desperately tried Google videos and then had to concede defeat and buy Youtube. They failed at Orkut, Google+, Buzz. They tried with billions in pocket, but failed to even be considered a viable competitor in that category. They had an answers tool that was the ugly, unused cousin of Quora. They had the Knol to compete with Wikipedia and you would just laugh it out. They had Wave in a clueless way that Slack just perfected. They had location tools and so many other categories where they were pushed out.
Instagram came with a photo app and in months made Picasa look like a ugly dinosaur. Most importantly, Whatsapp came in the category - messenger - that was the heart of all the major tech companies. Google had its chat and same with Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. However, Whatsapp treated these existing messengers like flies squatting on a wall just shooed away by the majestic WhatsApp. Their competitor is Telegram and the traditional Silicon Valley majors all looked totally incompetent and out of the picture.
Dropbox, Box and plenty of examples to fill a whole book.
Dozens of companies have successfully competed and not just won, but made Google look like a dinosaur that could not be even considered a player.
And these are in areas where Google considered them their core competence.
Then there are plenty of areas like robotics, wearables, AR/VR or something as simple as RSS readers - where Google played reluctantly and was quite easy to beat.
I have worked both in large companies like Microsoft in teams competing with startups [and with all our money we played like distant, losing cousins]. And I have worked in successful mid sized startups in gaps that big companies could have played. And in smaller startups competing.
Big companies often fail against determined startups because:
Tips to compete with large companies:
All said, it is statistically unlikely for anyone to win Google in any product category. But, where is glory if you are not doing statistically unlikely things?