Eventually, every tech company will be delving into the niches of every other tech company. This, I firmly believe, especially after watching e-retailer Amazon launch an e-reader, then a tablet, not to mention Apple merrily zinging its way through computers, smartphones, web-enabled set-top boxes, tablets and — at least if you believe the rumors — potentially televisions. But there’s one player known for crossing the borders between products and services, and that’s Google.
Hard to believe this company was only known for search at one time, isn’t it? Now, it’s everywhere — in cars mapping our roads (and even interiors), in the cloud dishing up our docs and media, in our work and personal social relationships, and of course, inside our Android phones, tablets, Chromebooks and more. So what digital offensive will this tech marauder take on next? Seems it has its sights set on a duel with none other than the epic aforementioned competitor.
No, not Apple — it’s AMAZON. Google’s hitting the retailer-cum-tech maker where it lives, right in the retail cajones. Word has it that Google is pursuing relationships that would allow it to create a new retail service, one that lets shoppers find goods, purchase them and have affordable delivery in as fast as one day. If successful, that would hit the Amazon Prime service squarely between the eyes. After all, two-day shipping for $79 per year is great, but overnight shipping for even less could be a game changer.
The move is both shocking and completely logical. After all, Google’s once and future success still hinges on search, yet consumers are increasingly bypassing Google to hunt for products directly on Amazon’s site. (Plus, you could argue that the e-retailer “started it” by launching Android tablets that grabbed the attention of consumers and critics in a way that few other Android tablets have managed. Launching a high profile hardware product that keys directly into Amazon’s retail eco-system sort of begs for attention, no?)
This doesn’t mean that Google’s becoming a big box retailer — no, it’s more a matter of bringing existing retailers into the fold. Toward that end, Google has apparently hit the streets, trying to strike deals with the likes of Macy’s Inc., Gap Inc. and OfficeMax Inc., say sources familiar with the matter. A Macy’s spokesperson even went so far as to say, “They’ve approached us with the idea, but we haven’t made any decisions.”
Indeed, it can be a hard sell. Google’s huge, no doubt, and it has quite an extensive reach. Thing is, the company has also gained a rep for starting up new initiatives and dropping them like a hot potato. It will be super interesting to see how all this plays out.
What do you think? Does Google have a chance at knocking Amazon off its retail pedestal? Or is the service just too huge at this point to be taken down like that? Share your theories in the comments below.
[via Wall Street Journal]