Grok's favorite theory, which others are sick of hearing, is Google's moment in the sun has past. Actually, that happened some time ago. This is not to say it isn't a brilliant company or the most wonderful invention ever, but rather, that it has jumped the shark. Just like Microsoft before it and IBM before them both.
Normally, the cocktail party moves on to another corner of the room when your humble Grokker tries to enlist others in support of this contrarian notion. So it's a rare treat to find a fellow traveller, in the <i>Business Insider</i> no less. The author's argument is that Google, reliant as it is upon search revenues to fund everything else it does, faces growing difficulties in the world of internet enclosure where spider-bots go increasingly hungry. The article notes how mobile apps in particular are degrading the utility of universal search. But in truth, the trend started long ago with Facebook's decision to keep Google's prying eyes out of your personal space. After all, there's only room in this world for Mark Zuckerberg's prying eyes. All. Hail. The Zuck.
But, this is the last Grok of the year, and frankly your mind is most likely elsewhere, probably on a banana lounge somewhere, sipping a daiquiri. So instead, let's end with a selection of easy to digest vignettes.
Run a mile
First up, another BI story and this time JP Morgan has two tech stocks on its toxic meltdown list (our description, not theirs) Citrix Systems (that surprised us) and Red Hat (that didn't). JPM suggests the former is overvalued by 28 per cent and the later by 38 per cent. That ought to get the Slashdot army riled.
Next, it would be churlish not to acknowledge that Grok's favourite un-favoured internet stock, Groupon, has put its head above water again after dropping as low as $14.85 from its IPO price of $20. And at least they avoided JPM's attention. Of course that price recovery needs to be tempered with the fact that when Grok checked last night at about 9.45pm (AEST) it was already off over 5 per cent for the day (later to rebound 7.1 per cent during the same day).
Apple is spending part of that vast $70 billion cash hoard buying an Israeli semi conductor company — Anobit — for between $400 and $500 million, according to Techcrunch. That price basically represents about a month's worth of interest payments on its huge Loot Mountain.
Okay, this is cool
Looking to waste sometime in this final week while you pretend you are still earning your salary and not simply buying Christmas gifts on Amazon or getting your Facebook profile up to date? (Hey, whatever happened to Timeline BTW?) Check out Bottlenose, which <i>Mashable</i> describes as a game changer. According to the report, "Bottlenose fights social media overload with flexible, granular feed customisation options." That's geek speak for "makes stuff easy". A warning though, you need a Klout score of more than 40 to qualify for the beta. For everyone else, (which is anyone with a day job, a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a life) there's a video on the home page. <i>ReadWriteWeb</i> also gives them a big tick.
Think of how hard you work every day. Think of the team, the meetings, the drama, the budgets, the strategy — all the effort required all of the time just to push those sales figures up by a few extra percentage points every year. And then know this. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 smashed through the billion dollar mark in just 16 days, even faster than Avatar, as the Guardian points out. It is now officially the most successful product launch in the History. Of. The .World.
Thoora just simply forgot to launch at all
And finally, a cautionary little tale for all those hungry startups out there. News aggregator, Thoora, is shutting its doors at the end of the year after spending two years and bucket loads of other people's money not releasing its news aggregation service. As <i>Techcrunch</i> notes, "The shuttering should serve as a lesson to entrepreneurs, you can't spend forever perfecting your product."
The customer is always right, but investors always get it wrong 50 per cent of the time.
Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on Twitter at @ag_birmingham. Or don't. Merry Christmas.