Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has always been one of those rare companies that would never post advertising on its homepage. The page was always clean and straightforward – with an occasional Google Doodle for color and entertainment – inviting visitors to type in search keywords. But finally, Tuesday morning, Google had placed an ad right under its iconic search bar.
At least it wasn’t for some other company’s product. It was for its own – Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is selling up is Nexus 7 tablet, which it is planning to sell for $199. It is the first time that Google has posted an advertisement on its home page, except for the occasional link to the company’s proprietary Chrome browser. Considering that Google has resisted the temptation to place advertising in the past and now is doing so for its own product, it seems pretty apparent that Google is determined to make some inroads in the burgeoning – nee, exploding – tablet market, of which the Nexus tablet has yet to really take hold. The market has been dominated by the iPad from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and several manufacturers are trying to get into the market – including Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) with its proprietary Surface tablet.
Nexus 7 is actually manufactured by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) partner Asus, but it is the first tablet to run the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. The Nexus 7 is now in a wider market, as the company launched its tablet into the marketplace in France, Spain and Germany, joining the roster of countries alongside the U.S. and United Kingdom. While the Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has gotten some acclaim, it hasn’t yet gotten a foothold. And it has had some stiff competition, with more coming – Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) made an impact last year with its Kindle Fire, and it is due to release a new model next week; and of course there is the Surface tablet from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) coming out in October, and an expected release of an iPad Mini from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Could the Nexus be the nexus of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and its impact on the tablet market? If so, then unless the Nexus dramatically improves its market share, Google might have to rethink it’s strategy going forward. The next six to nine months will likely be critical. That makes it critical for investors in Google stock, as well – including hedge-fund managers like Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management LLC.