Every generation of the tech industry faces a company that is "too powerful" -- except that none of those companies turn out to be so powerful that it can't be knocked off the summit.
These days, of course, the uber-power is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). And it seems to be gaining strength. Searchblog shows that Google's share of searches has passed 67%, dwarfing every other player. Frankly, I don't know how the other search players get ANY traffic. Google has become the web's de facto search engine.
Now Google is stretching toward business users, where it has had less success. The news Monday was that it teamed with Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) to help Google get its web-based applications like Google Docs into the enterprise market.
And then, yesterday, a top Google exec, Marissa Mayer, caused a stir with her comments that suggest Google has some wiggle room in its "Don't be evil" motto. The motto has long served as an assurance that (a) Google does not have Lex Luther-like plans to somehow take over the world and (b) Google would behave better than its predecessor tech uber-power, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Hearing that there's wiggle room might give some in the industry the shakes.
All of that said, the reality is that it's unlikely that any company can rule the tech world for long. At least not anymore. IBM (NYSE:IBM) managed to completely dominate tech from the 1930s to the early-1980s, but by the late-1980s was brought to its knees by the PC. In the 1990s, the U.S. felt Microsoft was so powerful it had to be brought to trial on antitrust grounds and perhaps broken up. Now Microsoft has its back to the wall and wants to buy Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) to help keep its momentum going.
Now we have Google. And just as it was during the IBM and Microsoft reigns, we can't see how anyone could challenge the current king. In fact, the uber-power of the 2010s might be a company that's not even born yet. But technology moves so swiftly, and Google at some point is going to miss an important tech development -- just as Microsoft missed the internet and IBM missed the PC. Then we'll have somebody new to complain about.