Sure, he won’t admit it. But he is. We’re taking a workout class together — it’s a combination of Pilates, sweat yoga, meditation and karmic journeywork — and last night, when we were in the locker room, he was talking a bit about Google missing its numbers in this recent quarter. He was saying that it’s all overblown and everybody is looking for some significance that isn’t there. Tells me he had some really rough call with some obnoxious sell-side analyst who covers Google. The guy kept saying that this was the first sign of Microsoft gaining some traction in online advertising, encroaching on Google’s turf. Eric told the analyst flat out that this simply isn’t true, but the analyst just kept on drilling him, saying the new competition is forcing Google to lower some of its prices and work a little harder. Guy keeps saying to Eric that this is how it goes with Microsoft, that at first you laugh at them, and deservedly so, since they’re so clumsy and stupid and rough around the edges. But the one thing about the Borg is they don’t give up. They’ve got a lot of money, and they’re very patient and very persistent. They keep pushing and pushing and pushing. They study you. They copy you. They wait for you to make a mistake. They look for your weak spots, and when they find one, they start pressing and pressing. Eventually they get their hooks into you, and it starts to wear you down. Not in a big way. Just a little tear at first, way out at the edge of your fabric, so slight you almost don’t notice it.
I don’t know if this is true or not. But I don’t think this matters. As I told Eric, the significant thing is that this is what the Wall Street guys are saying. This is the perception that Google will need to counter. Squirrel Boy says the Wall Street guys are all smoking crack and that Google is invincible and no way is Microsoft gaining any traction. But there was something about the way he said it — this weird look in his eyes, as if maybe he didn’t really believe it. Or maybe he was just wiped from the yoga. This new instructor, Aimee, really works us hard.