Wired on Google's Microsoft Moment

If you liked my post on Google’s Microsoft Moment last week, you may well enjoy Fred Vogelstein’s detailed piece in this month’s Wired.

I think no small part of the reason so many people enjoyed my post and responded to it was that I deliberately chose an evocative title by referencing Microsoft. Microsoft is shorthand for a whole, complicated set of emotions and responses in the tech and business world, and the brand itself is very effective at communicating a complicated idea very efficiently. Wired’s made a few interesting choices in their own headlines:

  • The online story is titled “Why Is Obama’s Top Antitrust Cop Gunning for Google?”
  • The print magazine’s teaser line on the cover says “Is Google a Monopoly?”
  • The story itself is headlined in the table of contents and on the page as “Keyword: Monopoly”.

Now, “monopoly” in a context like this is intimately associated with Microsoft, but “Keyword” actually feels like AOL speak, not something particular to Google. And the Obama reference (as opposed to, say, the DOJ or the administration as a whole or Eric Holder as Attoryney General) seems a little off. But I think it’s no accident that the story itself opens with the quote “I think you are going to see a repeat of Microsoft.”

Clearly, this perspective on Google’s current dominance and cultural shift has reached its moment in the zeitgeist. But aside from the fact that this is an idea (or at least a meme) whose time has come, I think it’s interesting to see exactly which way of articulating the idea is most effective in getting people to talk about Google’s moment of reckoning.