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Google Runs Into BMW Auto Company Pissed

Google Runs Into BMW Auto Company Pissed

Alphabet is the name that Mr. Larry Page and Mr. Serge Brin, Google’s founders, have given the newly created parent entity that will house the Google search business and several smaller holdings like Nest, a maker of smart thermostats, and Calico, a company focused on longevity.

On Wall Street, there is an Alphabet Funds. Lots of midsize and small companies also use the name Alphabet. In Australia there is an Alphabet Fleet and an Alphabet Media Company. 

At BMW, Alphabet is the name of a subsidiary that provides services to corporations with vehicle fleets. A BMW spokeswoman said overnight that the automaker was not informed ahead of time of plans by Mr. Page and Mr. Brin to create a company called Alphabet and had not received any offers to buy the Internet domain or the trademark.

“We are not planning to sell the domain,” said Micaela Sandstede, a BMW spokeswoman in Munich. She described the website as a “very active” part of Alphabet’s business.

BMW is examining whether any trademark infringement has taken place, Ms. Sandstede said.

Google has declined to comment. But Alphabet – the Silicon Valley entity – already has its own website using the domain name abc.xyz.

“Don’t worry,” Mr. Page wrote on that home page. “We’re still getting used to the name too!”

Ovum Research said that the core Internet, search, and Android businesses will continue to operate under the Google name, managed by Sundar Pichai the recently appointed CEO of Google who had previously managed a range of products including the Chrome browser and Android operating system. 

Google’s Capital and Venture businesses will be organized under their own CEOs, as will Google X, the “moonshot lab” responsible for new projects like the driverless car.

Francesco Radicati, Senior Analyst, at Ovum said Google’s rebranding as Alphabet spells a tighter focus for core businesses.

“While the move is primarily intended to make the company’s operations more transparent, it has implications for each of the core businesses. First is the core Google brand, which will retain control of Android, YouTube, search, and maps, among other businesses. Removing the moonshots and connected home activities from Google’s portfolio should enable it to focus on increasing its penetration in key markets such as India and China – the latter is a large market for so-called “forked” versions of Android, which don’t connect to the wider universe of Google services, effectively putting the company in competition with itself”.

“What’s less clear is the implication for Google’s IoT-related businesses. Projects such as Thread and Nest weren’t mentioned in CEO Larry Page’s letter announcing the restructuring. However, these businesses, like Google X, will benefit from the tighter focus on their respective areas of interest by being separated from the search and YouTube businesses.”

Radicati claimed that another benefit is that less successful products won’t necessarily tarnish the main brand as severely – examples include the Google+ social network, which was recently decoupled from YouTube and other Google products, and Google Glass, which has been placed under the responsibility of Tony Fadell at Nest. Unsuccessful ventures won’t be associated with the Google name, while successful ones will be more easily tied into the overall brand once they’re established.