Everyone is chasing the next big thing. It’s the world of technology, after all. Unfortunately, the entrenched players all seem to be making their plays with their existing strengths. It’s the classic, ‘law of the instrument’ adage; “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
Google is saying search and AI is the future.
Apple is saying round rectangles and iOS are the future.
Microsoft is saying the future is services and phones that act like desktops.
Facebook believes the future of technology is communication and connectedness.
Amazon believes the future of technology is in commerce and services.
I’m not saying any one company is wrong or right, but I do find it interesting that of all the players above, only two can do all of the above competently.
Facebook can do search, but it cannot do hardware (yet).
Apple might be able to do 1:1 communication (iMessage, FaceTime), but it absolutely fails at search and social media.
Amazon has a rock-solid reputation in services, but a shaky record in hardware.
With the exception of social media, Google and Microsoft are the only two companies that seem positioned to satisfy the next wave of computing. AI? Cortana and Google Now are leading the pack. Hardware? Both have largely good track records and continue to get better (Nexus 6p & Surface Book). Both have media services to satisfy the consumer and both are executing on the next wave of office-related software for the enterprise. Both are taking steps to solidify their place in the VR/AR world, but taking very different approaches. Both have OSes that serve at least hundreds of millions of customers.
They are the two companies that have diversified their portfolio enough to be ready for the next wave of computing. Whether we want to believe it or not, the future will likely be a combination of all of the above, and aluminum trinkets with walled gardens won’t cut it any more.