Owning The Chasms

INTERFACES


​Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft etc. – Insights about recent industry developments

The devices and equipment we own are only interfaces and user experience devices that are connected to one another through (dumb) pipes, and all together to the cloud and to the internet. That is where the real service providers sit, watching us, analyzing us, entertaining us, facilitating transactions with us, between us, and practically run our digital life. They want to make it all ubiquitous and seamless, and this is exactly what they are doing. They are not going to leave any component of the value chain beyond their control or their influence because if unexpected disruptions happen, things may collapse.

We all followed recent announcements in the media: Google entering the wireless world, Apple making electric cars, speculations about Apple buying Tesla, Smart watches that can connect to the cloud, enable analytics of our body signals and recommendations accordingly, control our other devices, and on the other announcements from Mobile World Congress about new devices with features that some of us are in favor of and some of us don’t really understand what value they add… In the same week there was media coverage regarding Microsoft increasing market share with more cloud productivity tools, Uber buying a map services company and providing tablets to its passengers, Google becoming an MVNO, and Amazon planning to as well. I have most likely missed some other important news, but that’s enough to start building the puzzle and understand what’s next.

How is it all related? What is the big picture that is uncovered here? Let’s try connecting the dots.

Several trends started to emerge at the same time during the last decade. Some of the trends’ elements are more advanced than the others and some still have a long way to go:

Services

The rise of the Digital Service Providers – The digital service providers own the digital consumption platforms: Google (through owning the search and advertising market), Apple (through owning the iTunes), Facebook (through owning social networks), Amazon (through leading the ecommerce and cloud services), Microsoft who is always there with various services and other giants (sorry for not mentioning more). All of them continuously add new services, and the borders between them can unsurprisingly get blurry from time to time. Some of which have ambitious plans looking forward: Google with the Loons project and $1B investment in SpaceX, and Facebook with the internet.org project aiming to connect the rest of the world to the internet, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

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