How Google’s “One-Trick Pony” Grew to Become a Dominant Global Enterprise

How has Google avoided the pitfalls of the early dot-com economy to achieve long-lasting success?

Len Sherman  | Spring 2021
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As Google incorporated in 1998, in the midst of dot-com mania, it faced the need to raise growth capital after the 2000 dot-com crash, when VC investments and IPOs had considerably slowed. Yet despite the crash’s lingering chill, which crushed thousands of new ventures, Google survived and ultimately prospered. This case reviews the early history of search engines and discusses the four key components of Google’s success: strategy pivots to protect its search dominance; horizontal integration to expand information capture and revenue growth; vertical integration to extend digital-ad-industry penetration; and “moonshots” to exploit its technology and financial depth. In making the case for Google’s industry leadership, the case also enumerates the key threats to Google’s dominance in its field—including rivalry with major competitors Amazon, Facebook and Apple—while suggesting that the company’s past successful strategic pivots bode well for its future nimbleness

Case ID: 210417
Supplemental Materials: Teaching Note

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