Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2010 (Revised April 2011)

Google Inc.

by Benjamin Edelman and Thomas R. Eisenmann

Abstract

Describes Google's history, business model, governance structure, corporate culture, and processes for managing innovation. Reviews Google's recent strategic initiatives and the threats they pose to Yahoo, Microsoft, and others. Asks what Google should do next. One option is to stay focused on the company's core competence, i.e., developing superior search solutions and monetizing them through targeted advertising. Another option is to branch into new arenas, for example, build Google into a portal like Yahoo or MSN; extend Google's role in e-commerce beyond search, to encompass a more active role as an intermediary (like eBay) facilitating transactions; or challenge Microsoft's position on the PC desktop by developing software to compete with Office and Windows.

Keywords: Online Advertising; Business Model; Growth and Development Strategy; Network Effects; Mission and Purpose; Expansion; Search Technology; Information Technology Industry;

Citation:

Edelman, Benjamin, and Thomas R. Eisenmann. "Google Inc." Harvard Business School Case 910-036, January 2010. (Revised April 2011.) (Winner of ECCH 2011 Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method - Strategy and General Management.)