Google’s dilemma

“With ‘Don’t be evil,’ Google set itself up for accusations of hypocrisy anytime they got near the line. Now they are on the defensive, with their business undermined especially by Apple. When people are defensive they can do things that are emotional, not reasonable, and bad behavior starts.”

Roger McNamee, a longtime Silicon Valley investor whose investments include Facebook in  The New York Times.

When companies get defensive, they do unnatural things, they lose their way. This deviation from tactics comes when companies find themselves facing market saturation at a time when consumer behaviors change. It is something I have learned from observing Silicon Valley giants closely for many years. Google (s GOOG) is but the latest example.

As the amount of information grew exponentially, Google benefitted from the move away from the directory web that was represented by Yahoo (s YHOO). Now the web has moved on to being more social (Facebook) and more mobile (Apple, others) and as a result our behaviors are changing. That has caused Google to go after new markets – mobile with Android and social with Google+. These moves are making companies take actions that are, well — unnatural.

The New York Times in an article ponders Google’s dilemma: the company whose corporate mantra is “don’t be evil” and one who faces a competitive landscape filled with aggressive, well-funded and equally big competitors. At the same time, the company is facing more regulatory scrutiny.

Related: Don’t be evil is not a slogan or a browser extension.