What's NOT New Hallmarks Google's Plan for Long-Term Market Domination
New products and services are the media darlings of the tech industry. Established technology giants like Microsoft, Apple and Google routinely see their stock prices rise and fall in direct relation to new product announcements. Microsoft's Surface, Apple's iPad and Google's Nexus lines of tablets are all examples of products that compete for this growing market. Each company's offering tries to define itself from the competition based upon their latest features, performance and value-to-price proposition. But, as every technology company can attest, even truly great technology offerings can lose their place in the spotlight when a new contender comes along.
The key to long-term profitability, especially in the ever-changing tech field, is to find a way to establish a secure niche in a market that can outlast the temporary hype of being "new." In fact, sometimes the least likely and least promoted products have a way of sneaking themselves into our lives and making themselves memorable and essentially indispensable. Google is an excellent example of how a company can weave itself into the fabric of everyday life by their offering software services like Google Maps and Google Search, which have become the standard for internet-based navigation and search.
Google is again making waves but it’s not with a new product. Google is marketing one of their "older" products to a distinct market and it’s very likely that this campaign will have a major impact on the purchasing decisions of the next generation. The product I am referring to is Google Chromebook – an affordable laptop computer launched in May 2011. A Chromebook runs on the Google Chrome Operating System; most of its applications use cloud computing.
Recent reports have shown that the number of Chromebook laptops shipping to U.S. schools has, for the first time, outpaced the number of iPads. In just two years, Chromebooks have gone from 0% to 25% of the educational market share. Apple and Microsoft are no doubt taking notice of Google's exceptionally fast-paced charge into their territory.
For schools, the Chromebook offers two key benefits: lower hardware cost (priced at $199) and Google’s free complimentary software Apps for Education Suite. Microsoft is sure to compete with their own online suite of software Office 365 (which is free for students but at a cost for the schools), and the new Stream Netbook, which is positioned at the same price as the Chromebook.
Only time will tell if one brand will dominate or another competitor will come along to change the game entirely. In the meantime, the takeaway for any technology company (or company in general) is to always look for new marketing opportunities – even for products that are successful but no longer considered "new."