Remember Windows Everywhere? Back in the last century Microsoft wasn’t just content with 95-percent market share among PC makers. The company wanted more. You see the same thing in Samsung, Google, Intel, and many large technology companies. They want to rule the world. What about Apple?
Think about Apple’s status just 20 years ago in early 1998. Steve Jobs had returned to Apple and ousted the previous and mostly incompetent leadership, installed his own team from NeXT, and started working on the next great thing. When asked what he would do if he were running Apple, Jobs said:
If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth – and get busy on the next great thing.
Jobs went on to run Apple, milk the Mac for all it was worth (almost; the Mac is doing better after Jobs died), and delivered on a number of next great things at Apple. That was back when Apple and the Mac were one and the same. To think of Apple was to think of the Mac.
Did Jobs’ next great thing include world domination?
Yes. And, No. Let me explain.
From my perch as an inveterate Apple customer and long time certified Apple watcher it should be apparent that such technology companies– Google, Samsung, Microsoft, et al– want to expand their horizons. New products and services is how they grow, and a growing company usually commands a higher stock price.
Google is an advertising company. About 90-percent of revenue and profits come from ads, and despite forays here and there into hardware, Google remains what it always was. An ad company.
Look at Microsoft. The riches came from software; specifically Windows and Office, and despite forays here and there into hardware, Microsoft remains what it has been forever. A software company.
Samsung is different. The company, by nature, is a conglomerate made of other companies, either grown at home or bought elsewhere. Samsung makes smartphones, TVs, washers and dryers, computer components, copiers, and a list so long I don’t even have enough digital paper to describe them all.
Apple once was the Mac. Then Apple Stores. Then iPod and iTunes. Then the iTunes Music Store. Then the iPhone and iPad and App Stores. Then Beats headphones, Apple Pay, Apple Watch, Apple Music, AirPods, and, well, you see the direction, right? Apple is expanding the hardware line far beyond what Steve Jobs built and perhaps beyond what Jobs envisioned.
The objective for all these tech companies, Apple included, may not be a formal declaration of world domination, but it sure seems as if that’s the direction they’re headed, so it’s natural for them to clash with one another in the marketplace.
Who is winning?
That depends on how you define winning and how you score the game. If it’s stock valuation, revenue, profits, mindshare, and customer and brand loyalty, Apple is a clear winner, but the games these technology companies play are not exactly the same.
World domination may not be the objective, it might be the direction each company takes, but it won’t be the end result.
And that’s a good thing.