Thomas Edison once said, "To have a great idea, have a lot of them". The same mantra seems to be resonating within Google as they are always coming out of visionary and innovative ventures. Diversifying from their search engine, Google is now venturing to Self-Driven Cars and space balloons that act as internet routers for hard to reach. One of their revolutionary ventures at the time is a smartphone operating system (OS), the Android.
With this, the report shall investigate the role of corporate venturing in keeping Google relevant in today’s volatile business environment, focusing on the Android OS venture. It will also look into how a large global organization such as Google, manage risks to ensure success of its ventures, acquire the human capital to run things, and how to formulate innovative solutions during times of uncertainty. The following cases from the book “Making Waves: Understanding Innovation for Business Success - Global Case Studies” by Richard J. Pech and Mike Turner (2014) were compared for similarities to the Android OS venture:
• Little Swan Group Company’s realization that innovation can be externally acquired and the importance of co-option in gaining a late-comer’s advantage.
• Seaworks showcasing the importance of hiring competent individuals to manage the growth of the venture and trusting them by providing them a sense of control over the project.
• The success of VinCom Joint Stock Company due to its capital resource advantage and the drive to pursue the project even in the face of uncertainty.
Taking into account the comparison of these cases, the report shall recommend alternative strategies for Google to continue the growth of the Android OS despite the industry’s intense competitive dynamics.
Google was founded in 1998 with a mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The company started with the Google Search service and over the years expanded aggressively in to web-based products and services, advertising, media, productivity tools, smart home appliances, broadband service, green energy, venture capital and healthcare.
In 2005, the smartphone market reached 34.7 million in units sold ("Smart-phone market booming", 2006) and is projected to reach 1.5 billion units by 2017 ("Smart-Phone Market To Double By 2017", 2013, p. 17-18). Recognizing this opportunity and with the motivation to enhance its strategic technological capabilities, Google acquired the start-up company Android Inc. which was designing a smartphone OS to kick-start its venture to the smartphone industry. This same strategy of innovation can be likened to how the Little Swan Group Company acquired technology from Matsushita to propel them to produce high-tech products (Pech, Pech, Wei, & Shi, 2005, p. 108-109). Corporate Venturing through acquisition happens when a company takes over ownership of another company with an intent of making the acquired firm a...