Sunday, October 03, 2004

Now Amazon gets into Search...

I find it amazing that the equivalent of the OS battles of the past, and the browser wars is now being played out as search wars.

The undisputed king of search of course is Google, but now that they are public - the real question in management's mind would be how do you make this profitable?

One approach that they seem to be taking to become the operating system of the Internet. Which means that they solve the fundamental problem of providing the connectivity and plumbing to retrieve information - become a platform of some sort. All the other companies like Amazon with their latest spinoff A9 is planning to wrap content around the search OS.

And thus starts the grand convergence. Yahoo! Search takes on Google, Microsoft takes on Google and Yahoo!, and content again threatens to be king. Yahoo! has a great headstart from a Portal perspective ( is it just search in a different way?) and is what A9 trying to do here similar to Yahoo! ?

What is the competitive entry barrier for A9 ? In my mind - it will be access to content. Amazon has the proprietary technology that lets you search "Inside the Book" that Yahoo! does not have currently. Comparing apples-to-apples, the winner in this case would be determined by whether you are interested in searching for public domain (a.k.a free) information that is aggregated in a single place with some value added relevancy checks, or copyrighted content (such as books) where there is an e-commerce aspect to the right to view/consume it.

We'll be watching!

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