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We face significant competition from Microsoft and Yahoo.
We face formidable competition in every aspect of our business, and particularly from other companies that seek to connect people with information on the web and provide them with relevant advertising. Currently, we consider our primary competitors to be Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc. Microsoft recently introduced a new search engine and has announced plans to develop features that make web search a more integrated part of its Windows operating system or other desktop software products. We expect that Microsoft will increasingly use its financial and engineering resources to compete with us. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have more employees than we do (in Microsoft’s case, currently nearly 14 times as many). Microsoft also has significantly more cash resources than we do. Both of these companies also have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers and end users. They can use their experience and resources against us in a variety of competitive ways, including by making acquisitions, investing more aggressively in research and development and competing more aggressively for advertisers and web sites. Microsoft and Yahoo also may have a greater ability to attract and retain users than we do because they operate Internet portals with a broad range of content products and services. If Microsoft or Yahoo are successful in providing similar or better web search results compared to ours or leverage their platforms to make their web search services easier to access than ours, we could experience a significant decline in user traffic. Any such decline in traffic could negatively affect our revenues.
We expect our revenue growth rate to decline and anticipate downward pressure on our operating margin in the future.
We expect that our revenue growth rate will decline over time and anticipate that there will be downward pressure on our operating margin. We experienced both of these trends in the three months ended June 30, 2005. We believe our revenue growth rate will generally decline as a result of increasing competition and the inevitable decline in growth rates as our revenues increase to higher levels. We believe our operating margin will experience downward pressure as a result of increasing competition and increased expenditures for many aspects of our business as a percentage of our revenues. Our operating margin will also experience downward pressure to the extent the proportion of our revenues generated from our Google Network members increases. The margin on revenue we generate from our Google Network members is significantly less than the margin on revenue we generate from advertising on our web sites. Additionally, the margin we earn on revenue generated from our Google Network could decrease in the future if our Google Network members demand a greater portion of the advertising fees, which could be the result of increased competition for these members.
We rely on our Google Network members for a significant portion of our revenues, and we benefit from our association with them. The loss of these members could adversely affect our business.
We provide advertising, web search and other services to members of our Google Network. The revenues generated from the fees advertisers pay us when users click on ads that we have delivered to our Google Network members’ web sites represented 49% of our revenues in 2004 and 46% of our revenues in the six months ended June 30, 2005. We consider this network to be critical to the future growth of our revenues. However, some of the participants in this network may compete with us in one or more areas. Therefore, they may decide in the future to terminate their agreements with us. If our Google Network members decide to use a competitor’s or their own web search or advertising services, our revenues would decline.
Our agreements with a few of the largest Google Network members account for a significant portion of revenues derived from our AdSense program. In addition, advertising and other fees generated from one Google Network member, America Online, Inc., primarily through our AdSense program, accounted for approximately 12% and 11% of our revenues in 2004 and in the six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively. Also, certain of our key network members operate high-profile web sites, and we derive tangible and intangible benefits from these affiliations. If one or more of these key relationships is terminated or not renewed, and is not replaced with a comparable relationship, our business would be adversely affected.
New technologies could block our ads, which would harm our business.
Technologies may be developed that can block the display of our ads. Most of our revenues are derived from fees paid to us by advertisers in connection with the display of ads on web pages. As a result, ad-blocking technology could, in the future, adversely affect our operating results.
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