I wrote this article last month, but decided most people wouldn’t get my historical references, but Google’s acquisition of Zagat yesterday makes it timely, so I will resurrect it from the unused blog basement.
While as a general rule I am more interested in the political and social aspects of history, every once in a while a battle draws my attention. I just cannot help but admire the cunning and careful planning of a great military leader: one who carefully plots, out smarts, and well… just out-strategizes his opponent.
Two great battles come to mind; the three pronged strategy in the Battle of Princeton, where George Washington and his commanders used Mother Nature, a bit of tomfoolery and opportunity (Christmas Eve revelry) to defeat Cornwallis and the British. The other is Napoleon and his most celebrated strategic victory at the Battle of Austerlitz
where, with a bit of planning, careful “negotiation” and cunning, Napoleon’s army was able to crush the Russian-Austrian Army commanded by Tsar Alexander I by faking an armistice and forcing retreat through an impassable swamp.
Now that the history lesson is over (or is it?), I present to you a piece of tactical masterpiece that rivals those battles, and all other great battles that have come before or will come after.
In what appears to be yet another example of Google wanting to expand its Internet Empire, they announced the acquisition of Dealmap; a 15-month old company that compiles discounts from businesses across the nation.
Is this an attempt to bring down the mighty Groupon, a company they offered to purchase for 6 billion dollars and who politely refused the offer (instead hoping for a public offering)? Or just part of a master plan of some sort!
So ,Google: if even only in my self-indulgent mind you might read this, please realize that I am not being critical or even skeptical, quite the contrary. I love a good battle and I look forward to watching your on-going strategy, as I would a good game of chess or a carefully planned out battle lead by a commander that is patient, diligent, and calculated.
Like Napoleon, who began negotiating an armistice before destroying the enemy; Google’s strategy is fascinating. Perhaps Google is taking the strategy of Washington; leaving a few “troops” behind to confuse the opponent, who undoubtedly had been reveling in the rebuttal of an amazing offer and the creation of “Offers” as a red herring of sorts. Google you are brilliant in your purchase of Dealmaps!
Google is certainly sending very clear messages: The first is if they want your business, they will get it one way or another. The other is that e-coupons, daily deal sites, and other bargain sites are here to stay.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Google did it again! Despite a supposed Offer from Google to purchase Yelp for $550 million, Yelp walked away from the deal. Google smiled, licked their wounds, seemed to placate the mighty Yelp by giving preference to businesses with Yelp reviews in both their Google Places and Natural Search Results and then ……… Bought Zagat! Ahhhh, Napoleon would be proud!