Dec 6, 2011

Facing a competitive landscape for its expanding menu of products, as well as antitrust investigations, privacy blowups and other PR problems that have dinged its once-spotless image, Google (GOOG) is spending more money on sales and marketing than ever before.

That effort is intended to help Google recast its image with consumers as its products broaden far beyond search. Google now sells and rents music and movies online like Amazon and Netflix (NFLX), competes with Facebook -- and soon will be competing head to head with Apple (AAPL) to sell smartphones and tablet computers, if its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility is approved by regulators.

"They want to get away from just being a hardscrabble engineering company to being a consumer brand," said Karsten Weide, an analyst with research firm IDC. "They realize they cannot win the war against Apple if they don't do that."

Perhaps the most surprising piece of what is likely to be a $4 billion sales and marketing ... Mercurynews
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