Market Leader or Copycat?

Consider competing businesses in every category: B2B, B2C, product and service industries alike. What competitors are market leaders and who are the copycats? It may surprise you.

Take for instance Google and Bing. Welt has noticed that nearly every time Bing innovates and differentiates itself from Google, we also see Google sweep in, replicate, and steal Bing’s thunder. And so, we’ve finally asked: is Google a market leader…or just a copycat?

There is no denying that Google totally outnumbers its competitor in both size and users. Even in social media: @google has 4,763,949+ followers in Twitter, while @bing only has 239,607+.

But in terms of innovation, who copies more?

In February 2011, Google accused Bing of copying their search results after setting up a random test with controlled variables on Bing’s search algorithms. Bing denied any copycatting and claimed that Google’s test manipulated Bing’s results with click fraud – aka spamming. More so, Bing explained that looking at anonymous click stream data is inevitable as they learn from their consumers traverse on the web.

Ok – fair.

Now, Google on the other hand, has blatantly copied Bing’s innovations including, local weather and clock search page functions, and most recently, with the Google Knowledge Graph. As Google clearly has much more market share than Bing, they also clearly are… inspired… by a lot of what Bing does.

So, who is the market leader? Depends how you define it. If a market leader is based on size – Google, hands down. But if it were based on leading the market in innovation and overall growth (yes, the market – not just their company) then we’d argue – Bing. Who copycats more? Google. However, to Google’s defense, in business terms – we also call this being a “fast follower.” It is beneficial and can be very successful for a market leader because it is used as a less risky way to gain innovation.

What do you think?

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