Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
I agree with your points.
Stepping back a bit... It seems to me, what Microsoft, Google and now Amazon (and to some extent Samsung) are doing -- is jockying for control of the [non-laptop] mobile market.
If we take it as a given, today, Apple has control of the mp3 player, high-end smart phone and tablet markets, as well as the digital content delivery ecosystem... Then:
- Had Microsoft devoted the time and effort, they, likely, would have a first-class mobile Office suite running on smart phones and tablets and integrating with the Microsoft Office suites running on Windows and OS X computers.
- Had Google been satisfied with their lot in life in 2008, dominating search, maps and advertising -- they, arguably, might be in a better position serving searches, maps and ads to the mobile market.
- Had Amazon been satisfied with integrating the best 'hard-goods" ecosystem into the dominant mobile digital content ecosystem -- they too, arguably, would be better off than they are today.
- Then, there's Sammy... ahh, what can I say.
When Apple disrupted the mp3, smart phone, and tablet markets -- there were a few under-performers -- addressing, but not satisfying, a limited market. There were no markets (by today's standards) until Apple created them.
Now, these outliers (Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Samsung) are trying to control already established markets that are being successfully served. There really isn't anything to disrupt. There are only a few niches that can be served -- but no low-hanging fruit.
IMO, these will fail!
In general I'm in alignment with these thoughts. I do however, disagree with the underlying issue.
I also think the 'non-laptop mobile market' is morphing into the 'personal device' market. You will have a home 'computer' and everyone your household will have a 'personal device' (or 5). That device is 'your interface' to the general consumer world. it's your menu, your newspaper, your radio, your gameboy, your TV, your movie theater, your pizza delivery device.
It's not about mobility, it's about ease of transaction.
Apple is building a near lock in the 'personal device' for people with 'disposable income' Amazon sees this a potential disintermediator for its digital content and well as hard goods delivery system (Those 400Million credit cards attached to AppleIDs). Books, MP3s, Videos are one thing, but with those 400Million AppleIDs with active credit cards, Apple can pretty much walk into any consumer market and say, "we can do the same as Amazon does." That's gotta scare Amazon.
Under the same circumstances, Google, needs eyeballs to survive. Even building great maps and searches, they got to be able to sell impressions on those pages to advertisers, and in a non-pageview world, how does that work? Even if you get some demographic info from your services, Apple could negotiate a greater premium on those eyeball impressions, cutting your viability even more.
Microsoft, well, they are idiots. But suffice it, they make money by corporations buying their corporate productivity, and hope universities, colleges and schools 'prepare' people to into using their ecosystem and 'knowledge lockin' (I only want to use one type of page editor) becomes their model to sell consumer grade OSes, to consumer through OEMs. Also, as personal devices become both personal/professional (the BYOD dilemma where corps cut costs by driving their employees to supply phones/laptops for their own convenience), MS loses even more traction.
(Microsoft has a fundemental issue with *aaS too, hence their reason that AD and Outlook will pretty much be cloud products in 5 years, and MS will charge to manage them for you).
In that future, the more you control that 'end device' the greater control of the back end profits you have, let alone the front end. Apple's model, is an elegant device with a great dev environment and just enough privacy and security to be trusted, has a up front premium.
Amazon needs transactions, and Google needs eyeballs, and Microsoft, well Microsoft needs a lot of things.
Hence you're seeing all of them trying to get a piece of the end device market, and the differentiators will be quality of build, quality of SW, Quality of performance, and integration to your core ecosystem, while support of other ecosystems via app integration (you pay for your app to be put on someone else's device) or HTML5. (and we saw how that worked for Facebook).
Hence the reason why all of these corporations are racing to compete with Apple, and will burn any bridge needed to get there, as the long term viability of their business models depend on being that 'personal device.'