When Google developed the Nexus One, they might not have figured on one huge unintended consequence. They pissed off Steve Jobs big time.
"We didn't get into the search business," he reportedly barked, at a Town Hall style meeting, following the iPad announcement last weekend. "They got in the phone business! Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them."
Alrighty then--Steve is, a bit, ahem, passionate about this subject, touchy even. Sounds like Google made itself a very powerful enemy when it decided to get into the phone business, one that has run into the waiting arms of Microsoft.
Consider the Possibilities
One estimate I read pegged Bing grabbing half of all iPhone search traffic. That's only one phone of course, but it's a VERY popular phone and it will have at least some impact. Suppose half of all searchers on the iPhone started using Bing and they liked it, so they decided to use it on the desktop too. Suddenly you could start seeing Bing make some progress in its seemingly Sisyphean task of trying to overtake Google in Search.
What if Others Follow
Let's not forget that Google has some other powerful enemies too. There are lots of publishers, who rightly or not, believe Google has stolen their content. Some like Rupert Murdoch, have suggested they will leave the Google index. I've written in Mark Cuban's Plan to Kill Google, that Cuban has suggested Microsoft actually bribe publishers to follow Murdoch's lead. You start pissing off enough powerful people, and you lose a few people here and another few there, and pretty soon you're talking real market share numbers.
Don't Forget the Yahoo! Deal
On top of all this is the deal between Bing and Yahoo!, which will have Yahoo! running Bing under the hood. If you throw in Yahoo's 15 to 20 percent market share on top of the 10 percent that Bing already owns, and you start to chip away at some of the other numbers, suddenly you could be talking a bit of competition. And when the sharks smell blood, it could spell trouble for Google.
Now, let's not forget, right now, Bing has around 10 percent market share and Google has upwards of 60 percent, so the gap is huge. But Google has clearly hit a nerve with some powerful people, and suddenly the company that claims no evil, has built some serious animosity in the marketplace. You can't help but feel it's going to have at least some impact on their business at some point, and that maybe Google will rue the day it built the Nexus One.