Google: On a Collision Course with MySpace and Facebook

Sep. 16, 2008 8:25 AM ETAlphabet Inc. (GOOG)
Joel West profile picture
Joel West

On Thursday, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) bought Korean blogging software company TNC (Tatter and Company). Along with an improvement to its earlier Blogger software, it’s one of two developments this week that puts Google on a collision course with MySpace and Facebook.

One of the most interesting reports comes from the Korea Times, the notoriously nationalistic Seoul business publication.

Google said the takeover will help it expand localized products, as well as provide advanced services to Korean users. …

The current Web search market is almost completely dominated by local firms, with atop and its rivals, including and, following closely behind.

Portal Web sites in Korea have been deeply engaged in the business. The service has now become the biggest meal ticket for them in combination with advertising.

Google, the world's biggest search engine, has failed to flex its muscle here, as it has a relatively small base of user-produced contents compared to its Korean competitors.

Since the success of Jishik-iN, a Q&A database service, it was contributions from active users, which lifted Naver to the no.1 spot.

Industry officials said that is the reason for the acquisition. Google will spur development of user-oriented contents using the blogging tool, which will contribute to strengthening its search ability as well, they said.

Chang-Won Kim, the acquired CEO also argues that TNC will help Google overcome a fundamental difference of the Korean market:

Speaking of Google in Asia, one piece of fact that my American friends have [a] really hard time perceiving is that Google is an underdog in this part of the globe. Korea is the world's sixth largest market in terms of internet users, and yet Google has a market share that can only be described as "minor" in Korea.

Why? Korean web users mostly use Yahoo-like "portal" services and never

This article was written by

Joel West profile picture
Dr. Joel West is professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Keck Graduate Institute, one of the seven Claremont Colleges in Los Angeles County. He was co-editor of the book Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm (Oxford, 2006). His consulting focuses on IP strategies and business models for software and Internet service companies. Before KGI, he spent nine years as a faculty member at the San Jose State College of Business, was president and co-founder of Palomar Software and also a columnist for MacWEEK. For more information, see Joel’s website ( and the home page for his blogs (

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