Google Chromebook: Business Model By Ideology

CEOs must assiduously guard against ideology. They should avoid choosing a path for their business based on a rigid worldview. Ideology has killed many great industries, from railroads to word processors to fax machines. It interferes with logical, market-sensitive thinking, leading CEOs to ignore, and ultimately offend, their customers.

Google's announcement of its Chromebook constitutes a real-time case study. Chromebook hinges on the idea that we no longer need local storage or applications on our computers -- that the Web can handle most tasks.

Without the Web, Google's business model fails. Every time we search, Google gets a chance to make money based on advertising. That's why the company wants us to ditch our powerful laptops and trade them in for Web-centric workstations that won't work unless they are linked to Google's servers.

There's only one problem. While networks get cheaper and faster every year, processors and storage devices improve at even faster rates. That's why the iPad 2 has the power of a 1990s-era supercomputer. This means that the dominant future architecture will leverage powerful local devices and services available in the Internet cloud. Forrester calls this App Internet, and we believe that it will push the Web (and Google's current advertising model) into the background. 

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Tech On A Roll

As shown on the left, Forrester expects the global tech economy to continue growing at fast rates. This is another signal to CEOs of all stripes that they should push to make their businesses increasingly digital and aligned with technology markets. Yes, Jeff Bezos sells books and Tony Hsieh sells shoes, but their advanced technologies give them enhanced growth and higher capitalization values for their companies...
 
Why is tech so healthy? It's a different story depending on where you sit. In the "Tech Twelve" (Canada, the US, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Israel, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand),  the early adoption of fourth wave systems like smart computing,  app Internet, and cloud computing is fueling growth. In these countries, tech is driving GDP. But in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) the reverse story holds. Strong GDP growth is stimulating and necessitating higher tech spending.
 
CIOs tell us that both hardware and software spend is driving this growth. 35% of technology decision-makers will spend more on hardware this year than they did in 2010, while 34% will spend more on software. Our forecasts predict that computer equipment and IT consulting and systems integration services will be the leading categories of tech growth. Close behind are software and IT outsourcing services.
 
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