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The January 2005 edition of the Technology Review contains a detailed article by Charles Ferguson called What's Next For Google? Ferguson argues that Google's competitive position is tenuous. In his words:

...Microsoft’s control of Windows, Internet
Explorer, and Office is a real advantage...  ...recent search
innovations are really enhancements to the Web browser. Google, Ask
Jeeves, A9, Blinkx, Yahoo, and Microsoft are all providing search
toolbars that can be downloaded into the browser, and independent
developers have created many search-related enhancements to the
open-source Firefox browser.

But we know who really owns the browser. Ramez Naam, group program
manager for MSN Search, declined to say whether or not search functions
would be integrated directly into Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. But a
Microsoft executive, who asked to remain unnamed, told me that his
company had recently reconstituted its browser development
organization. “Microsoft effectively disbanded the Internet Explorer
group after killing Netscape,

Source: Technology Review highlights fragility of Google's competitive position