Friday File Part 1: Fire, Tech, and “Too Big to Grow”

A few minor updates and three add-on buys in the Real Money Portfolio

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, October 8, 2021

Your Friday File is in two parts today, this piece includes updates on half a dozen or so of the companies in the Real Money Portfolio, including a few add-on buys and some other little tidbits of note… and part two is a teaser solution, which also happened to lead in to a new purchase in the portfolio (that being Magic Software (MGIC), you can see that second piece here).

My favorite update from the world of regulatory crackdown on big tech? The news last week that part of Alphabet’s (GOOG) defense against an antitrust case about the dominance of Google search, was that their product is just better, and is obviously preferred by consumers as a search engine. They don’t dominate because they bought or wrested control of the market through nefarious means, they dominate because their product is much better.

Which is at least partially true, I’d argue, even if they do pay billions to get “default” placement in a lot of places, but that’s not the good part — what caught my eye was the best piece of evidence: The revelation that the number one search term on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bing, the world’s second-most-popular search engine, is… “Google.” That’s global, in the US the top three search terms on Bing are “Facebook,” “YouTube,” and, in third place, “Google.” Even when Microsoft has somehow convinced people to use Bing as their default search engine, which I can’t imagine being intentional on any user’s part unless they work for Mr. Softy, the first impulse when you want to search for something is still to type in “Google” in the search bar. (And that’s been the case for almost 20 years now, since Google shot out of the gate with a search engine that was so much better than the predecessors in AltaVista and Yahoo and so many others that the world adopted it with alarming speed — in retrospect, it was the fact that Yahoo chose to use Google as its search engine provider that probably sealed the fate of the competition, and that was way back in 2000, just four years after Sergey and Larry came up with the idea of using links and interrelationships between websites to weight search results.)

There are plenty of ways to spin that information, but it’s obviously a reminder of the overwhelming power of the Google search engine, ...

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