It’s a great thought exercise. When it comes to the most substantial innovators in media today, what’s store for the future? I was struck by a question asking me to rank order Microsoft, Apple, and Google, and in doing so, couldn’t help but factor in Amazon and Facebook. I’m curious what you think, here’s my take:
Number One: Microsoft.
In case you missed the news, Microsoft recently landed the half billion dollarwith the U.S. Department of Defense.
And the list doesn’t end there; most aren’t terribly familiar with the diversified portfolio of Bill Gates’ little Redmond, Washington company has diversified.
The brand in which your perspective is likely familiar with Windows, Office, or Xbox, is putting $500,000,000 toward putting Augmented Reality in the hands of the military. They own the only dominant and respected social network not getting skewered by governments (LinkedIn), they own one of the 3 dominant gaming platforms (the entertainment industry which dwarfs all others), they own GitHub meaning they’re right at the epicenter of development, they’re investing heavily in bringing their Office suite back to its place on top, and their Surface work suggests they’re looking to the next iteration of the computing experience. Plus, their potential might be Azure and the cloud.; they are on track to match or exceed AWS in cloud and data services.
Numero Dos: Amazon.
The godfather of eCommerce makes a fortune from their IT investments in services such as AWS and they clearly know where the market is headed such that we’ll control everything from our homes. Amazon Echo and the related product lines are ahead of the curve in what it means to finally bring SmartHome to the consumer. Hopefully you haven’t overlooked the fact that Amazon Prime has put Amazon in the video and music streaming space; I stopped playing Pandora or listening to Spotify some time ago, “Hey Alexa, play Train Company.”
Honestly, placing Amazon in the mix was a tough one for me, among the my three that will define the future. They’re up toward Microsoft because they keep investing in things that work. But closer to Google, my number 3, because they’re fundamentally known as Amazon.com in the same sense that most think of Google as a Search Engine – it’s not accurate, of course, but having that one trick brand awareness causes most to overlook all the incredible work they’re actually doing.
Numéro Trois: Google.
Mostly though because they aren’t going anywhere. They are the Advertising industry today and with Facebook getting torpedoed left and right about privacy and data, the only big online media threat to that ad empire has other things to worry about.
Their investment in smarthome/car reinforces that they know they need to own the pipeline of our lives, Fiber was an indicator of that but that progress is iffy.
Lastly they’re over Apple when it comes to mobile because despite the Apple fan club, we can’t overlook the fact that Android is what? 70% of the market?? Data is King and Google wears that crown… but… everyone knows that and our global and desire-for-more-transparent world has people throwing everything at the data economy; that will chip away at Google, which is essentially a monopoly of it today.
Let’s be honest too, middlish of our list because Google invests in a lot of misses; and those misses, frankly, are often in services that they shouldn’t even be trying to compete in.
Numero Quattro: Facebook.
Hang on, I’ll work out why I have them here…
Okay, privacy and security issues aside, major brands ($$$) still look to Facebook second to Google as the ad platform of choice online. Money moves people and fuels innovation. I’m hesitantly placing them here, yes above Apple, because they’re investing in video, photography, and advertising in ways that I don’t think will lose (as soon as society gets over its hate-affair with Facebook).
Numerus Quinque: Apple.
The heart and soul are gone. iPhone is a luxury good in a commodity space. iTunes just can’t compete with Amazon and Google, plusand more, establishing how we’ll consume and pay for music. Apple TV… sure, Roku and Fire are where cord cutters go; no one cutting the cable model really wants to be stuck in Apple’s constraints instead.
So, there you have it. Go ahead, call me crazy. The point of this is to spurn the discussion, to learn from what we all know they’re doing, and to discern where opportunities lies in the future.