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Why Is Google So Bad At Hardware?


Microsoft might well be winning the battle to be exciting, but the flipside of the coin is that Google is incredibly bad at hardware and as a result is losing the 'exciting' race by miles. How bad, well just take a look at all the skeletons in Google's hardware closet... Glass, Nexus Player, Nexus 10, Pixel C and, very probably, the Pixel.

That's not to say the hardware itself is any worse than the competition, far from it. However Google just doesn't seem to be able to bring together the three legs of any product strategy - building a great product, marketing it well and then distributing it to customers.

For any given Google product, whether its good or bad, Google splits the world in two: the smaller portion is deemed worthy of receiving the latest Google toy, whilst the latter is left wanting. Nobody ever built a successful hardware business by excluding the majority of potential customers from that product.

Then, irony of ironies, when Google has delivered product and made it available to customers, it has done a particularly good job of telling people its out there. A company reliant upon advertising revenue being poor at marketing? Not a good look.

Right now I can think of one Google hardware product which has been an unqualified success, the Chromecast.

For the rest - some notable third-party Nexus products aside - Google has never managed to get the whole package right.

Whilst Microsoft is producing some breathtaking hardware and Apple is iterating its own hardware in small but creative ways, Google appears to be thrashing about blindly looking for something that will work with consumers. And in the end that seems to be part of the problem. In the same way that Google will throw up and tear down services to see if they work, it throws out hardware in the same way.

The difference being that consumers of Google services don't need to invest their hard-earned in getting onboard.

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