Home > Thoughts > Google: The Prince of Search Engines?

Google: The Prince of Search Engines?

“But the difficulties are in the new principality… men willingly change their lord if they believe they will be better off,” translated from Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince.  Machiavelli has long been revered as a business, strategy, and management genius centuries before his time.  Previously hated for what many judged as the advocating of ruthless tactics, it is interesting to see how this century has embraced many of his concepts.  Companies and individuals alike have recognized the value of his thoughts in the pursuit of market takeovers and economic success respectively.  As I delve into the first few chapters of Machiavelli, the book is beginning to read like a manual for Google’s struggle operating in China.

Last month, Google claimed, “Free expression and security are important issues for governments everywhere, and at Google we are obviously great believers in the value to society of unfettered access to information. We’re excited about continuing our work with governments, human rights organizations, and bloggers, to promote free expression and increased access to information in the years ahead.”  The statement reads like a perfect political platform to start winning over a nation with.  Falling in line with Machiavelli’s basic recommendations, the company has attempted to win over the populous so the search engine is welcomed into the market rather than resisted.

But the execs at Google need a refresh on their realist friend, Machiavelli.  The company went so far as to threaten to shut down all Google operations in the country if they were not granted the free expression takeover they insisted on.  With a backlash from China matching Google’s doggedness,  a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Google’s actions are ”harmful to China-U.S. relations.”  China’s opposition could have been predicted by Machiavelli.  The opening quote of this blog goes on to say, “[The same belief] makes them take up arms against [the prince].”  Google may have over-stepped and now the country is fighting back against Google’s bullying.

Google executives should be careful because Machiavelli was clear that taking over an area, while not living in the area, is bound to be met with challenges that may not be overcome.  Google should recognize the need to be on good terms with China so the company can make sure they continue operating in the country.   This will help to secure the market they are focused on because as Machiavelli wrote, “if the lord lives there he can lose it only with very great difficulty.”

  1. John
    02/24/2010 at 1:51 am

    nice, well thought out post. Seems like you have a good, early start towards writing in a similar style to Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power and 33 strategies of war, focusing on historical lessons as applied to current day business models

  2. 02/26/2010 at 12:27 am

    Nice post…I totally agree with you. Nowadays all big corporations are monopolizing their markets through Machiavellian principles.

    We saw the same thing with Microsoft many years ago .

    As John said above, Robert Greene ( the modern approach to Machiavelli ) talks about this in his 48 laws of power.

    p.s. : nice new wordpress theme..keep up the good work !

  3. workingreekgirl
    02/26/2010 at 2:50 am

    Hamoudi– Thanks for tuning in! I appreciate the support, but more than that, the more people that tell me over and over to read something, the more likely I am to pick it up. I am a product of my society–a creature of persuasion. 🙂

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