The Big Three

When it comes to technology, the big three are Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While IBM is still huge, if you ask most people, it will not be the first technology company they think of.

Google just had a large conference in California called Google IO 2017. A while back Microsoft had their show and next month Apple will have their developer’s conference.

I watched both Microsoft’s and Google’s events and will watch Apple’s next month (June 5th).

I thought I would share my thoughts about what I see happening.

First, lets consider the genetics of the three companies.

Microsoft has always been a software company. It started out as a provider of DOS, the operating system that IBM chose as the system of choice on its initial desktop.

Next Microsoft moved into the office software and dominated with word, excel and powerpoint.

Then it started resting on it success.

Apple started out as a hardware company. It basically began the personal computer market with the Apple II. It has continued to focus on hardware and has only provided software to facilitate selling its hardware. Under Jobs, if broadened it hardware offerings to the iPod, iPhone, iPad and new generations of the desktop products.

With Steve Jobs’ death, Apple seems to have lost a lot of its MOJO doesn’t seem to be doing much.

Google has always been an information company. It started out as a search engine and continues to be the best search engine on the market. When Apple came out with the iPhone, Google moved into the cell market with the Android operating system.

Google Maps is the best known GPS maps in use. If you have a smart phone, it will most likely have Google Maps.

In the last few years, Google has moved into the hardware market using its Android system with Google Glass (now abandoned), Google Wifi, Google Pixel, and Google Home.

Now going back to the recent technology conventions that have been held by Microsoft and Google and will be held by Apple next month.

Again, starting with Microsoft, it has regained its own MOJO and is trying to make itself a player in the new movement. Its presentations are polished and remind me of the flair Jobs gave Apple. Their new OS (Windows 10S), was just released and is trying to corral its users into its infrastructure.

If you choose to go with Windows 10S, you will have to use the Microsoft browser, BING as your search engine, and only applications from the Microsoft Store. This is very limiting and would keep me from ever using Windows 10S.

It does add a level of security management that is greatly needed in the current world of malware.

Google’s conference showed a subtle change in direction for Google. It is now focusing on Artificial Intelligence. This fits right in with Google’s DNA. Since Google has captured more information than any other company as a result of it search business, it will now leverage this knowledge in all future products.

Google’s Google Assistant is superior to Apples Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortina.

At the point, maybe I should mention a fourth player in the technology market, Amazon.

Amazon, has made its mark by being the internet retail virtual store. Its impact can be seen by the number of Sears, Target, bookstores and other brick and mortar store front businesses that are closing.

Why go to a mall and buy something if you can buy it cheaper and have it delivered directly to your doorstep.

Amazon has also entered the hardware market. First selling the Kindle readers making physical books obsolete. Its smartest device has been the Amazon Echo, which is a voice activated product that can deliver music, answer questions and order Amazon products. This product has really awakened the IOT (Internet of Things) smart home market.

It is this product that brings me back to Google and its new direction of AI, which fits right in with IOT. Google’s Home is a direct competitor with Amazon’s Echo. While Google started out behind Amazon, it is catching up extremely fast.

Thee is no question that the two major player in IOT (i.e. Smart Home is Google and Amazon.

Microsoft would like to be a player, but has nothing to show of substance at the moment.

Apple’s event next month needs to show substance, and I am not going to hold my breath. I think it will show updated hardware next month, but I am not expecting new innovation. Apple has really dropped the ball. It was the first to come out with the Apple TV streaming device, but it hasn’t done much with it. If Apple Home Kit doesn’t make a significant announcement, Apple will continue to loose its technology leadership role.

I will mention that Apple is rumored to announce its competitor to the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. It is about two yeas behind, so it has quite a hill to climb.

We are living in exciting times. While IOT will greatly automate our lives, it is in its infancy. It has a lot that needs to be done to ensure a secure environment and currently it is not secure. In the next 5 years we are going to see many changes.

In conclusion if I were to rank these three (ok four) companies based on the impact I think they will have on our lives in the next five years, I would rank them in the following order.

Google – information is power and Google has information than the other three companies combined. Its moment into its own hardware is opening new markets.
Microsoft – A huge company, under new leadership, that seems to be charting new directions with a renewed marketing team. It had fallen behind Apple and is now in front again.
Amazon – While a retail company for the most part, it is putting more technology into the home than any other company and a lot of the products are its own brand.
Apple – Still a major player, but it needs to find its Next Big Thing and I am not sure it can do it without Jobs.

That is how I see things. Being a geek at heart, I am happy to be living in this era. I hope I live long enough to see this technology mature. Look out Jetsons. Here we come.

6 thoughts on “The Big Three

  1. The loss of Jobs was almost a death knell for innovation at Apple. There does not seem to be anyone capable of “NEW” thinking anymore. Just a rehash of old products.
    I will not update my Windows 10 if I am limited to using Bing, not by any means.

  2. Nice recap/articale Don. As an AAPL fan, and heavy user, as well as stock owner……RE: them ‘not doing much’ recently….Might want to note their stock price is UP 64% this past year according to reports. Easy enough to confirm.
    They are moving into their NEW OFFICES, the ‘flying dish’ circular building south of San Francisco. If you haven’t seen it, the ‘Mothership’ is beginning to be occupied. Immense and impressive. Should be an amazing work atmosphere and incentive for productivity. Looking forward to that.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/05/apple-park-new-silicon-valley-campus/

    And a stop in at the Mac store in Terronal Mall might be worthwhile. Not a commercial for them. Just an occasional customer because of my equipment.

  3. Couple of quick comments that your readers may not know…

    Windows 10 S is not an upgrade or replacement for Windows 10. It is a competitor to Google’s Chrome OS that runs on very low powered equipment. Both of these operating systems require the Internet in order to run, unlike a conventional desktop or laptop.

    I enjoyed the history recap but there is an important point missing or not understood by the public at large. That is that in October 2015, Google split and spun off a parent company called Alphabet Inc. Much of what the public says Google is doing, is actually Alphabet and its’ various companies, of which Google is only one of many. A fine point, to be sure, but one that will become important in the years to come as the other various companies under the Alphabet Inc umbrella develop new and innovative technologies.

    I would not be surprised to see an Alphabet I/O event in the future as the Google I/O event pertains just to Google and not the various other technologies being developed by Alphabet.

    In conclusion, I agree with your rankings of the four companies but my personal prediction is that you may see that top position split in two, with Google taking the top two position, followed the the other three.

  4. Good article. I did not mention Google Photos, but in my opinion it blows Apple Photos out of the water and unlimited cloud storage, which is where Apple gets you.

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