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INSIGHT: Amazon, Apple, Facebook or Google - who will win?

INSIGHT: Amazon, Apple, Facebook or Google - who will win?

What is going to happen in the digital landscape and who will win?

Google

“Google Glass is not a wearable, it’s a prophylactic ensuring you will not conceive a child because no one will get near you.”

Unfortunately this looks accurate - just too cumbersome and unnatural to be widely accepted or trusted. Even if they were the size of normal glasses, I think there would be significant trust issues - and anyone who catches you wearing them would be unlikely to want to date you.

But this is just one of many innovations that Google has been pouring money into; and they only really need one big success out of 10 of these kinds of ventures.

Galloway also paints some grim pictures about Google's current direction; losing search revenue and profit by not being as compelling a platform when a mobile app experience can perform that function.

It's pretty clear that Google had some great foresight to create Android and stake a claim for the mobility market - but it is going to be interesting to see how they continue to compete as the market changes.

Google recently announced at Mobile World Congress that they are looking to become a mobile operator.

They look likely to be just dipping a toe in the water at this stage; but it complements what they are already doing with Google Fibre and Project Loon (hot air balloons to spread internet connectivity in remote areas).

Apple

”There are only 3 things we do in business. Appeal to the consumers need to survive (food, housing, warmth, clothing), the need to feel love (if you love your family you will buy this) and the need to procreate (luxury items help you attract a mate).”

Ok - I paraphrased that last quote quite a bit - it's worth listening to the whole thing as it's quite funny. But the point is that "Apple has moved from the best computer with the Apple Mac, then sang to your heart with songs, now it's the ultimate self-expressive brand (show you are worth mating with).”

Apple's profit margins have increased over time rather than decreased, because they have created sought after, luxury product. The desire for rich people to express themselves with luxury items opens up a global market.

While I agree with that - and hadn't thought about it in that way before - I'm still a little concerned that Apple might need to re-invent itself again soon.

I'm not sold on the idea that smart watches are going to be the next big thing - I think they need a killer app, which is still missing.

I also think there is an ecosystem play that Google is going for with Android; customer numbers matter as well as profit. Their market share has been steadily growing to the detriment of all of the other providers - including Apple.

If Google keep gaining the majority of end users, then they will get the app developers, the marketing potential and long-stream revenue from the masses.

As Android is so pervasive on the entry and mid tier devices, this makes it likely that first time phone buyers will start with an Android device.

Once you have been on one eco-system for a period of time, it can be quite hard to change.

Every time you purchase an application, for example, adds more cost (and frustration) that might prevent you from moving. It would be a much simpler prospect to upgrade to a luxury phone based on Android.

Of course, the build quality of the iPhones has been so good that the second hand market of the Apple devices makes them a viable first phone. This maintains their luxury appeal and lets them retain their high margins; but they are losing market share.

I've only touched on a few points Galloway raises - there is plenty more thought provoking stuff in there, so if you have the time I suggest you play the clip above.

By David Reiss - Business technology specialist, Spark Digital

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