Sorrell says Google is becoming friendlier 'frenemy'

NEW YORK - Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP Group, has said that Google has become a much friendlier "frenemy" than it has previously been.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Sorrell, who has used the phrase "frenemy" to describe the search engine, said WPP's relations with Google have become warmer.

Sorrell said: "If you take Google, they are a much friendlier frenemy than they were six to nine months ago. Google is focusing more on its mobile search and classical search business.

"We have partnerships with Google, and we are working with them in many areas. We are still their biggest purchaser of search ads. We spend about $850m to $900m annually with them."

Elsewhere in the interviewed asked to compare the disparity between a quarter of WPP's revenues coming from digital while clients only spend a fraction of their budgets online Sorrell said that the difference was down to the speed at which clients adapt.

He said currently companies are spending up to 12% to 13% of their budgets on digital compared to up to 20% of WPP's efforts online.

Sorrell said: "In theory spending should be up at 20%. It's just natural conservatism, resistance to change and inability to adapt to change.

"I believe when digital budgets get to 20%, which will be in four or five years, we will be spending 30% of our time online," he said.

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