Back when GigaOm was just a side project for then-Business 2.0 writer Om Malik, I used to edit the man, and let me tell you, the guy is wicked smart — but he has a tendency to go on. In a post about why Google continues to dominate search, he even realizes this, ending the post before he digresses: "This one is already 750 words." Want to know why Malik thinks Google is winning? His theory: Google's like Dell, because business is all about speed. And if you buy that theory, you'll like this 100-word version of his post. This edit's on me, Om.
Michael Dell figured out that he could do an end run around PC makers: get components from factories in Asia to the U.S. as fast as possible, but only after he had charged for the machine. Google is following a similar strategy. Instead of trucks and assembly plants, Google's supply chain is made up of fiber networks and datacenters.
The company spent nearly $3.8 billion over the past seven quarters on capital expenditures. Google's infrastructure is the barrier to entry. It delivers search results fast — between 0.06 to 0.12 seconds. If they're wrong, we can just start over. The faster results show up on our browsers, the less inclined we'll be to switch. Google, according to Hitwise, now has 64 percent of the search market.
That said, there's another thing Google could learn from Dell: Maintain the quality of your search results — customers will only put up with shoddiness for so long.