There are many reasons Google would want to purchase Nest and many are perfectly valid. But for Google, the real issue is not that they bought the company. It’s the reaction to their buying the company. Their reputation as a lively upstart with gumption and purity and not even a dusting of evil has corroded.
Nilay Patel says it well enough:
It’s a strange set of affairs: an innovative young company led by some of the best engineers and executives in the business being acquired and validated by one of the great American businesses of the past 20 years should be a slam dunk of good PR. Instead, there’s a chorus of concern — some sincere, some contrived, but all of it grounded in fear of an unchecked Google.
Here’s some hypothetical and simplified reactions if other tech titans made the same purchase.
Nice pick-up, Meyers! Now I’ll start the countdown clock to when this gets shuttered or stagnated.
Of course. I thought just having a thermostat was important, what with heating my home and such, but never realized how much I really wanted to have friends like my temperature statistics. It feels amazing.
Sure, it’s something that sticks to my wall for months without interaction, but this really shows Microsoft are taking mobile seriously. 2014 is proving to be Microsoft’s year.
Apple need this to thwart their rapid decline—Apple buying a promising upstart to expand their family of products. You have to wonder how the Nest will become an iWatch.
Google are losing goodwill among real consumers. There will always be a Mountain View version of Redmond, but they need to be smart about the next few years. Aggressively—very aggressively—pushing Google+ to catch up to a perceived threat of Facebook is only reasonable through Google Glass. From the outside, Google are starting to mirror those of a rich, petulant child.
That’s not good for Google. Or us.