Telstra CEO: “Google Schmoogle”

ROFL! Mark made the brilliant observation on the recent Sensis post that Telstra’s American CEO, Sol Trujillo, in a November 2005 article on the ABC said:

SOL TRUJILLO: Google Schmoogle.

PETER RYAN: Speaking at yesterday’s release of Telstra’s strategic review, Mr Trujillo said Sensis was the answer, at least for Telstra, and that Google could be feeling some heat, at least locally.

SOL TRUJILLO: We’re outgrowing Google in Australia. We’re doing more, we’re growing faster and we have more capability, because we’re more relevant.

Well here’s the Alexa charts for Google’s Australian site versus Sensis versus YellowPages.com.au:

Google v Sensis

You may not be able to see the Sensis or YellowPages lines on the chart. That’s because they are wayyyyy down the bottom. Sensis has been a terrific asset for Telstra over the last few years but it’s time to face the facts – they are losing the battle for online search which, by all rights, was theirs to lose.

They aren’t the only ones that should be kicking themselves.

Back in 2003 I suggested to Steve Vamos, who had recently left Ninemsn to run Microsoft Australia, that we could take Hotmail and turn it into a White Pages killer. At the time I think Ninemsn were saying they had 7 million registered Hotmail accounts in Australia. My idea was that if we could create an incentive for people to put REAL contact information into Hotmail, instead of the dubious information usually in there, it could have become a serious online threat to Telstra’s WhitePages. Steve just laughed at me.

That’s why he and Sol get paid the big bucks I guess.

Of course, the Hotmail site is now a usability disaster of Iraq proportions. Not that I ever go into it anymore, but Belinda checks her old Hotmail account from time to time and I look over her shoulder… and shudder.

Speaking of shuddering.. I was just in Officeworks and saw that “Microsoft Windows(TM) Vista Home Premium Oh My God Can We Fit More Words Into This Title How Much Room Is Left Of The Box You Would Think We Are Charging By The Word Oh Hang On We Are Edition” is selling for $500! $300 for the upgrade! Wow. I nearly got excited about it yesterday when a mate of mine from MSFT told me that it can take a USB hard drive and turn it into RAM. Why isn’t THAT in the advertising?? But at those prices, I’ll have to wait until someone gifts me a copy. And just forget about paying $800 for the new version of Microsoft Office. I know that ribbon is kind of pretty but it ain’t $800 pretty.

10 thoughts on “Telstra CEO: “Google Schmoogle”

  1. With the Google online equivalents to their Office suite Microsoft should be very scared. Much handier having all your working documents tied to one online account.

  2. I’m sure Steve Vamos will still tell you today that hotmail rules, Just ask anyone at MSN.
    If Fat Bastard uses hotmail then it has to be good!

  3. USB as RAM is indeed a grand trick. Makes you wonder why they spent so much time at the launch banging on about the boring music, photo and movie services.
    $49 for 2G of effective RAM is dynamite compared to $49 a month for a music subscription service, IMHO.
    And yeah it is also very odd that a copy of Office can cost more than a whole fraggin’ PC and whopping big screen that gets built to order and flown here from Malaysia!

  4. Simon – I’ve been worried that Microsoft’s Windows and Office marketing folks have forgotten how to market their product a long time ago. And in some ways, I guess they don’t need to know. It still sells itself. I don’t know how much longer that will be the case though.

  5. $49 for 2GB of RAM seems cheap but it won’t be quick. It’s way slower than RAM, and if you need more memory for something, would a memory stick over USB 2.0 outperform assigning another 2GB of hard disk space as virtual memory? I honestly don’t know, but I don’t think so.

  6. I think that the problem here is you’re not comparing apples with apples. The Alexa data spits out ALL of google (so that includes all those people searching for http://www.hotttsexxxxybabes.com) and then compares it to Sensis, which AFAIK doesn’t offer generalised search.

    Or maybe it does.

    In anycase, it would be more appropriate to compare the TrueLocal / googlemaps mashup with the yellowpages / whereis stuff. And Alexa can’t do it. I suspect, however, that if you were able to run that comparison you’d find that Yellowpages is dominant and maps.google.com.au + truelocal is a minnow.

    won’t always be that way, but at the moment searching for a plumber in petersham is much easier in the yellowpages or in truelocal than it is simply typing plumber petersham into the Hive Mind.

    Where this will eventually become powerful is when the mashups link with content and recommendations in a mobile format. And that will happen sooner rather than later. And when it does, sensis will lose some of its marketshare. As one person I spoke to this morning said “there’s an awful lot of market to share out there”.

  7. Yeah good point Josh. But Sol’s whole suggestion that Google Au isn’t a threat to the Sensis business has to be a complete joke. For many, many people, Google is now synonymous with search. And searching for a business isn’t any empirically different from searching for anything else online. For new entrants to search, like dLook and TrueLocal, it’s all upside. For Sensis, they can only go down.

    Kind of how I see TPN versus the traditional radio networks.

    By the way, I mentioned you to a journalist this morning who I was trying to talk into writing a cover story on me. I said “Josh Gliddon did one for the Bulletin and then he got snapped up by the AFR!”

    Their response was “Wow, what a backward step.”

    Which blew my pitch. Thanks very much.

    Next time you write a story on me, can you jump UP and not DOWN? For my sake? 🙂

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