Synthetic Monitoring

Simulate visitor interaction with your site to monitor the end user experience.

View Product Info

FEATURES

Simulate visitor interaction

Identify bottlenecks and speed up your website.

Learn More

Real User Monitoring

Enhance your site performance with data from actual site visitors

View Product Info

FEATURES

Real user insights in real time

Know how your site or web app is performing with real user insights

Learn More

Infrastructure Monitoring Powered by SolarWinds AppOptics

Instant visibility into servers, virtual hosts, and containerized environments

View Infrastructure Monitoring Info
Comprehensive set of turnkey infrastructure integrations

Including dozens of AWS and Azure services, container orchestrations like Docker and Kubernetes, and more 

Learn More

Application Performance Monitoring Powered by SolarWinds AppOptics

Comprehensive, full-stack visibility, and troubleshooting

View Application Performance Monitoring Info
Complete visibility into application issues

Pinpoint the root cause down to a poor-performing line of code

Learn More

Log Management and Analytics Powered by SolarWinds Loggly

Integrated, cost-effective, hosted, and scalable full-stack, multi-source log management

 View Log Management and Analytics Info
Collect, search, and analyze log data

Quickly jump into the relevant logs to accelerate troubleshooting

Learn More

When software giants trample the little guys

Godzilla“What if Google does it?”

That has to be a pretty common question among startups when they discuss their business plans. Gaining Google as a sudden competitor is usually not good news.

The problem is, no matter how brilliant your software or service may be, there’s always a cloud on the horizon. There are elephants out there, the likes of Google, Microsoft, Apple, and now also Facebook, and those elephants can come crashing into your glass house at any time. All they need to do is release a similar product.

It happens all the time.

A history of giants trampling smaller guys

When one of the giants enter your field, death doesn’t always come swiftly, or at all, but the glory days tend to be over when you gain such a big competitor.

Here are a few examples of when giants have stepped in and taken over entire market segments:

  • Microsoft’s Internet Explorer vs. Netscape Navigator. In the 90s, Netscape Navigator was the king of web browsers. Then Microsoft launched its free Internet Explorer and developed it at a rapid pace, crowding out Netscape from the browser market in just a few years. It was the first browser war. Microsoft went on to claim more than 90% of the browser market, and stayed that way until Firefox launched.
  • Google Maps vs. Mapquest. Remember Mapquest? It used to be the go-to place for online maps. That was before Google launched Google Maps and threw its weight into the fray. Google Maps quickly became the dominant map application on the Web.
  • Apple Dashboard vs. Konfabulator. When Apple launched its Dashboard, giving Mac OS X native support for Widgets, they effectively pushed out Konfabulator, a third-party Widget platform now owned by Yahoo.
  • Google Analytics vs. web stats companies. When Google purchased Urchin, one of the leading web stats services, that whole industry probably started sweating. And they had reason to. Google soon launched a free, rebranded version of Urchin (Google Analytics) with features that rivaled the paid options at the time. Google Analytics is now the most-used web stats service by far.
  • Apple iTunes vs. podcasting companies. There were a number of companies trying to ride on the podcasting wave, including companies like Odeo (run by the team that would create Twitter). Then came Apple and built podcasting support directly into iTunes, which almost immediately became the dominant podcast client.

You can probably think of a number of other similar examples. There are plenty of them, so please feel free to share your examples in the comments.

Future tramplings?

Some of the below cases might eventually join the above examples. History will tell.

  • Goo.gl vs. Bit.ly. Google’s launch of its public Goo.gl URL shortener probably didn’t come as good news to Bit.ly, although admittedly Bit.ly doesn’t seem to have suffered from it so far. We’ll see what happens in the long run. Bit.ly also has to contend with the fact that Twitter is increasingly using its own URL shortener, t.co.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials vs. anti-virus companies. The main market for anti-virus products is on Windows PCs, and for a while now, Microsoft has been offering a free anti-virus package for Windows users. The anti-virus makes must be starting to notice the effect of this, because they have started to publicly complain about Microsoft’s entry into the field.
  • Facebook vs. Foursquare & Gowalla. Facebook recently started adding location-based services, and with a user base of more than half a billion, this means that upstarts Foursquare and Gowalla will have to work very hard to not be made irrelevant in the long run.
  • Mac App Store vs. MacUpdate Desktop & co. Apple will soon launch the Mac App Store. It will feature an auto-update feature for apps bought through the store. If Apple’s alternative becomes prevalent, it could be bad for MacUpdate Desktop and any other app designed to keep Mac software up to date.
  • Microsoft & Google & Apple vs. Mozilla Firefox. Right now the browser wars are heating up again, and although right now Mozilla’s Firefox is the second-largest browser in the world, fact remains that it’s competing with browsers from not one, not two, but three of the giants we’ve mentioned in this article. Will they be able to hold out?

It doesn’t have to be bad news

When one of the giants step into your territory, it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad news. Sometimes it’ll raise awareness about your product. Sometimes the giants simply can’t compete, no matter how strange that sounds. A small company can be totally focused on one service, while a big company will often have a wide roster of products, given various levels of attention.

For example, Google’s decision to provide consumers with a free DNS service doesn’t seem to have affected services like OpenDNS at all, perhaps because they also have free options. They even argue that it’s been good for them, largely because it’s raised awareness among consumers.

The big problem seems to be when companies provide a paid product and a big player comes in and offers the same functionality for free.

Try to predict the future, or just stop worrying and do your thing

If you’re about to launch a new product, you may well want to take a very close look at what the big companies might be working on right now and where they are likely to be headed. Heading on a collision course with Google, or Apple, or Microsoft (or Facebook for that matter) might not be the best thing for your startup.

On the other hand, always second-guessing what others might be up to can easily get out of hand and paralyze you.

Perhaps the best way forward is simply to follow your passion and not worry too much about what others are doing. There will always be risk, and considering how wide the product portfolios of the giants tend to be, they will be dabbling in so many fields that no one is safe.

So perhaps there’s no use worrying. Embrace the challenge instead and just make the best product you can regardless of what else is out there, or may come down the line. It can pay off in a big way.

Exit Rate vs Bounce Rate – Which One You Should Improve and Why

Tracking your website’s exit and bounce rates will give you insight into how [...]

Introduction to Observability

These days, systems and applications evolve at a rapid pace. This makes analyzi [...]

Webpages Are Getting Larger Every Year, and Here’s Why it Matters

Last updated: February 29, 2024 Average size of a webpage matters because it [...]

A Beginner’s Guide to Using CDNs

Last updated: February 28, 2024 Websites have become larger and more complex [...]

The Five Most Common HTTP Errors According to Google

Last updated: February 28, 2024 Sometimes when you try to visit a web page, [...]

Monitor your website’s uptime and performance

With Pingdom's website monitoring you are always the first to know when your site is in trouble, and as a result you are making the Internet faster and more reliable. Nice, huh?

START YOUR FREE 30-DAY TRIAL

MONITOR YOUR WEB APPLICATION PERFORMANCE

Gain availability and performance insights with Pingdom – a comprehensive web application performance and digital experience monitoring tool.

START YOUR FREE 30-DAY TRIAL
Start monitoring for free