Reportase.one, Jakarta – Shares of internet search giant Alphabet Google plunged 3.5 percent as of 11:30 a.m. ET Monday, April 17, 2023, incurring a nearly $50 billion market cap loss after publication of a New York Times story suggested Alphabet may not be a giant Internet search even longer.
As the Times reported over the weekend, Alphabet’s main partner Samsung, which built its smartphone franchise on the back of Google software, is considering ditching Google and replacing it with Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing as the default search engine on its new smartphones.
And that’s not even the worst news for Alphabet.
If Samsung cancels or reduces its contract with Google, it will jeopardize the $3 billion annual revenue stream for Alphabet. But a little further afield, Alphabet is gearing up to renew an even bigger, $20 billion contract with Apple for Google’s use of iPhones.
Apple has a history of breaking up with major suppliers to go its own way, so this appears to be an even bigger risk for Alphabet.
The Times described Alphabet’s reaction to the possibility as almost “panic”, as its 80 percent market share in internet search was attacked.
But is “panic” really the right reaction to this news? Indeed, US$3 billion — and of course US$20 billion is a big number. But Google’s search business is many times larger than either at an estimated $162 billion per year.
And just because smartphone makers don’t make Google their default search engine doesn’t prevent users from installing Google independently. In short, the revenue Google achieves here is hypothetical and potentially not as large as it could be.
The bigger risk is that Google has passed the initiative to Microsoft in this new artificial intelligence race. Google is now forced to catch up with Microsoft. Alphabet made changes to Google quickly, introducing chatbot Bard, and is now working feverishly to prepare a new search engine project called Magi.
THE MOTLEY FOOL
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