Tech Titans Shift And Change: Worrying About Dominance Is A Fool's Game
from the this-time-it's-different! dept
Just a few years ago, it was decided that the battle for the internet was between the "big three" of Google, Yahoo & Microsoft -- better known as GYM. Those three dominated the tech space and there was nobody else "big" worth mentioning.
So, it's a bit funny to see a new report declaring that, today, there's a "Gang of Four" who are fighting to dominate the tech world: Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. GAAF? AGAF? As in the past, the article seems to think that this battle is the permanent state of the world, with those four being the only players. It talks about how this battle is raising antitrust concerns and worries about less openness.
However, I'm with Adam Thierer in thinking this is totally overhyped "chicken little-ism."
Isn’t it funny how all the recent hand-wringing about the supposed dominance of today’s big four fails to mention Microsoft, Intel, AltaVista, AOL, Yahoo!, BlackBerry, or the old telcos? It would have been impossible to pen anything about technology “dominance” in past years and not mention those companies. Today, they rarely get a mention, except perhaps to highlight their rapid fall from the upper echelons of Tech Titan-dom.Five years from now, you can pretty much bet we'll be discussing a very different set of companies aiming for tech dominance. Their may be some crossovers, but it's likely that at least one company on the list is one that you've either barely heard of today or you haven't heard of at all. The tech industry is ruthless and ever changing. It's tough to stay on top for very long, and any effort to totally close things off will be seen by smart entrepreneurs as an opportunity to jump in and compete, with openness.
This week’s big news was Google’s bid for Motorola, which positions the search giant better for battle in the smartphone and tablet wars with Apple. Think about it: A company that didn’t even exist 15 years ago and got started in a garage is now making telecom giants sweat. Meanwhile, Facebook, a company started in a college dorm, made News Corporation’s $580 million bet on MySpace turn out to be a mega-turkey. Meanwhile, Apple had what former CEO John Sculley called a “near-death experience” just 15 years ago only to experience a Lazarus-like rebirth and revolutionize the computing, online music, and mobile device sectors. Finally, Amazon.com, along with Apple, has upended media distribution methods and forced mass media giants to rethink how content is priced, bringing prices down in the process.
This is capitalism at its finest, not the catastrophe the tech pessimists preach about.