The more things change, the more they remain the same.
I had written about it on my blog a long time ago. The news of Google and Barnes & Noble tie-up to take on Amazon is making me write it again. This move is a non-starter. Google has the cash to keep such non-starters running for a long time. But it won’t do anything for Barnes and Noble. And it will pose no credible threat to Amazon.
To understand why let’s start by talking of Google’s core business – Search. Most website owners are unhappy with Google. Why? Because Google keeps changing algorithms and “punishes” websites in search results. They don’t make the “rules of the game” known. They are “undemocratic” and “opaque”.
Too bad! Let’s come up with a search engine that will be nice to webmasters. Brilliant idea, right? Except, it won’t work. Consumers will continue searching on Google because Google works for them. Webmasters’ troubles do not concern them.
Similarly, the frustration of “industry” folks – the publishers, the booksellers, the distributors, and others looking to subdue Amazon – won’t translate into an opportunity to build an Amazon competitor. The customer mostly does not care about these frustrations. By customer, I don’t mean the loud voices on industry blogs, but the real customer who reflects in those sales numbers which Amazon has aplenty. Amazon is a business entity shrewd enough to know when a customer cares and will cater to his needs. They are not idiots or egomaniacs; they will do whatever it takes to advance their business interests.