I love articles that reference Game of Thrones. That show is so complex and really shows the politics, delicateness and finesse that comes with war and trying to be on top. So when Mark sent us this article to read on the major tech moguls being compared to my favorite tv show, I already knew it was going to be a good read.I highly suggest listening to the theme song as you read it.
Before I even finished this article, I already had mapped out who was who in GoT terms:
Microsoft: Targaryen family
Google: Stark family
Amazon: Tyrell family
Apple: Baratheon/Lannister family
Facebook: Dothraki (hey I thought it was funny…)
But in all seriousness, the battle of digital dominance has been raging for many years, especially after Steve Jobs (our iron king) died.
The article lays out a world at war, where land is replaced with market share, and battles are fought with advertising.
The article mentions that just like R.R. Martin’s novel, these top companies have there own corner of the market that they are desperately defending while venturing out to conquer more. Google has been doing well, protecting their search engine market share , being the largest search engine provider in the world. But that isn’t stopping Apple from trying to create their own type of search engine in order to become “Google-independent”. It’s hard to believe that these two used to be best buddies…kind of reminds you of a certain two.
The Iron Phone
I think the most visible part of the war that we have seen is over the phone market. Everyone wants to have the perfect phone, the strongest rivalry being Google’s Android over Apple’s iOS system. Microsoft has been desperately trying to join in on this game by means of the Windows phone, but currently it is no where near the capacity of fans the first two have. Facebook and Amazon both are cruising along with these two, having apps on both systems, but that may change with the rumors floating around about Amazon creating it’s own phone. I don’t think Amazon would do well in that market; why try to establish yourself in an over-saturated market? Especially when they are being pretty successful with their e-reader, the Kindle.
There are a couple parts of this war that need to be addressed.
The article mentions that the biggest competitors in the content war has been e-books. Amazon and Apple both have separate ways of getting content out to it’s customers thanks to cloud services, but Amazon, being known as an electronic marketplace, is dominating the industry, with Apple only taking in 5% of the market share. Apple has been trying to coax publishers over to their side however, by making fees smaller, and giving more freedom to rights as opposed to Amazon.
Next there is content-sharing. Here I believe Google has a bit of an advantage, since they own Youtube, the biggest provider of video content in America. Thanks to their YouTube partnership program, and various advertisement affiliates, they were projected to make $4 billion in revenue in 2012, and grow 20% each year from there. However there difficulties in monetizing their users has been Apple’s strength, with their I-tunes.
Now you are probably thinking, “Why is Facebook included in this war?” Dothraki guys. They are the largest social network in the world, so once they find a stable way to monetize their users, they will be one of the biggest threats to these companies. They have been doing pretty well too, coming back from a disappointing 3rd quarter and monetizing their users in 2012 with $64 million revenue. My Dothraki comparison doesn’t seem that far off now, does it?
It seems as if this battle’s main issue is finding the best way to monetize audiences and pulling them to their side. It feels a bit like high school elections actually, only with a lot more advertisements in your face. So will we see an end to this war, and finally have a new King? The article doesn’t believe it will have an end soon, and I agree. There are too many factors that play into pulling ahead as the leader, and with so many ‘third party’ options, people will stay divided on who they want to do their business with for a long time.
As the battle for the iron throne continues, I will be sitting back, waiting for Khaleesi to come riding in on her dragons to take everybody out. Who that is has yet to be seen, however I feel that it may be Yahoo, they just acquired Tumblr, and we all know how massive that army is.
So, do you agree with my family assignments? Have a different idea on the tech wars? Do me a favor; read the full article here, and comment back here on what you think.