In today’s day and age, there is a new big four recognized around the world: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
These technology giants have changed the way we do business and ultimately shaped the world, as we know it today. When was the last time you ordered something from Amazon after reading rave reviews from your friends on Facebook? How about downloading that new hit song on Apple iTunes after “googling” the lyrics for the title and artist?
The idea of Amazon.com was created in 1994, in the garage of its founder, Jeff Bezos. The first product sold in 1995 was a book titled, “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies”. Success soon followed and Bezos had an even bigger vision: to become the top internet retailer in the world. This is evident with the emergence of Amazon Prime, making it faster to order products and even groceries online.
What’s next when you have it all? Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing platform. Their biggest competitor is Google Cloud, which also provides a cloud computing platform. Given Amazon’s experience in the internet retail industry, Amazon has a good chance at being the leader in cloud computing services.
Apple was founded in 1976 by a pair of legendary college dropouts. Can anyone name this famous pair? If you guessed Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, you are correct! This duo had a vision to change the way people viewed computers. Their first product was built and sold straight from Steve Jobs’ garage: The Apple I computer.
Their goal was to create computers small enough to keep in homes and offices. By the looks of it, that goal has since been achieved. How many of you are reading this post from an apple iPhone or MacBook? [raises hand]. Apple’s strongest competitor is the Android, made by Google. Due to Apple’s success story & “diehard” apple fans, Apple has a greater chance in leading the mobile device market.
Remember when Facebook was a social networking platform for college students? Or even before then, when it was a platform strictly for Harvard students? Launched back in 2004 in the dorm room of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has grown to be an internet phenomenon. Competing against Google+, Facebook is a social media force here to stay with over 2.2 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Another success story built from a dorm room – Google was founded in 1998 by a pair of Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Their mission was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google thrives on Ad dollars from one of their products, AdWords, and have also built products for Youtube, Android, and SmartBox. Competing against Facebook’s social networking platform, Google has an opportunity to come out on top with their own platform, Google+.
Research indicates that content is key to maintaining social networks. With the emergence of “fake news” on Facebook and other sites, there may be a shift of users to the Google+ platform. Historically, people on the internet have migrated from other social media platforms like MySpace and it would be interesting to see how this all plays out in the growing digital economy.
Firms, retailers, and manufacturers are also present in the online economy with regards to the these big four players. Let’s examine one of my favorite online retailers, Vat19.com. In addition to selling products on their website, they also sell products on Amazon.com. When searching for Vat19 on Google’s search engine, the first result is a paid ad from Vat19 along with organic search results. Vat19 also creates original video content that can be found on both their website and youtube. They also have a facebook & Google+ page where they post content and interact with customers. If there was a transition of users from Facebook to Google+, could Vat19 hedge this risk? The answer in this case is yes, since they have also built a following on their Google+ page.
There is also concern that certain skills may be under-supplied in this growing digital economy, such as communications and customer service. In my opinion, the growing digital economy can help facilitate these functions by offering a more effective and efficient experience. Instead of waiting on hold for hours, some companies, like Apple, have created a more efficient process by enabling “call back times” where a customer leaves questions/feedback on an email or website and schedules a call back during a certain time of day/week. There is still lots of improvements that can be made and I am confident that the growing digital economy can make it easier for customers to interact with brands.
Thanks for reading! Share your thoughts on these big four players in the comments section below.