It’s something that’s happened plenty of times in the past. Religions. Nations. Idealogies. Systems of government. All of these have been catalysts for massive division on a global scale. Unfortunately, the age of empires hasn’t passed. It’s simply shifted from kings, queens, religions and lines in the sand to a whole bunch of tech companies.
Apple is one. Google is another. Yahoo is trying. Samsung and Microsoft are trying harder.
Now this particular division has been happening for some time now – for over a decade, in fact – but it’s only now that critical mass is being reached and the cat’s starting to peek out of the bag.
To truly comprehend what’s happening today, we need to look back to the personal computer market of the early 80’s.
It was a time of great change. IBM has just released the IBM-PC, throwing their personal computer into a battleground of many companies. Each manufacturer produced its own computer with its own chip design. Northstar, Hewlett-Packard, Tandy, Olivetti, Commodore – each of these computers were fundamental different. Software had to be written differently for each of them. There was little to no compatibility between the platforms. Each company, in short, ran its own pseudo-ecosystem.
IBM destroyed this structure. They were large and powerful enough to make their IBM-PC an open standard rather than a closed system. Anyone could make an IBM-compatible PC: the design was out there.
That prompted software people to write more software for IBM-PCs, hardware people to build more hardware for IBM-PCs, and users to buy IBM-compatible-PCs – because suddenly, there was the guarantee that you’d have software and hardware to work with and that anything that ran on your system could also run on your friends’. It helped that the ever-popular DOS was available for the IBM-PC.
The spread of the IBM-PC contributed to the rise of a new juggernaut – Microsoft. Microsoft successfully built one of the most successful software platforms of all time and backed it up with a range of massively successful software like Office – but they stayed out of hardware.
One company survived: Apple.*
Everybody knows the story of Apple: they went through a furnace mostly comprised of Steve Jobs and emerged with beautiful products that worked well. For ages, they refused to buy into the PC, as people were now calling it. They insisted on producing their own hardware, their own software and, in essence, their own user experience.
They not only replicated this success with the iPod and the iPhone, they capitalized on it. By marrying both software and hardware, they created a more or less unified experience across their entire platform (the App Store and Airdrop are excellent examples). Their products inspired a cult-like following that many people ridiculed.
Apple did not lock people entirely out of the ecosystem – there’s nothing to stop a Windows user owning an iPhone – but by and large, they made sure Apple products provided a much better experience when used with other Apple products. The iPhone’s success was followed by that of the Macbook Air, which spawned an entire category of laptops all on its own.
They did it with Android – to the point where an Android device that doesn’t sync to Google’s Play services feels like a lobotomized dumbphone.
Now they’re tightening the noose. The most used browser in the world, Chromebooks, the utter dominance of search, Maps, even an iffy foray into social networking, an increased pressure on smartphone manufacturers to confirm to certain Google-defined user experience standards, a rabid fan following, a whole ton of cross-platform integration – yup, they’re getting there.
While neither of these companies are fully closed, the quality of the services that they offer high enough, and the resources they bring to bear, are so massive that most competitors simply fall off the train. Take Google Search, which was so successful the word “Google” is now a dictionary entry meaning “to search the Internet”. Take Gmail, which every Tom, Dick and Kotalawala uses. Take the smartwatches rolling in, all tied to the Android ecosystem.
Then of course, there’s Microsoft. Microsoft has gone from OSes to a very successful console (the Xbox, anyone) cloud services to consumer-focused FOC cloud services to – er, their own tightly controlled smartphone ecosystem to tablet-laptop hybrids to most of Google’s most visible services. Mind you, they’re not succeeding as dynamically as Google or Apple, because Microsoft tends to get hooked on the wrong thing – Bing, IE and the disastrous Metro interface are good examples. Nevertheless, as often as they fall flat, I can’t help but notice that the world still runs on Microsoft products.
Take my work, for example. I write this on a custom-built rig using Microsoft Word running on a Microsoft operating system. I’m a heavy user of Google products and services – I carry my Chromebook everywhere, our team collaborates largely through Google Drive, and even our work email resides on Gmail. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, most of us head back to our Windows-based PCs and laptops.
These are the religions of our times. For most of us who are connected to their tech-heavy world, the old gods are almost gone. In their place are these new, even more pervasive gods. They decide how the information we want is presented to us. They connect us to other people. They live in our pockets, homes, offices. They redefine how we approach our personal lives and our work. They’re everywhere and they are everything.
In our frenzy to acknowledge the visible, though, we’re overlooking some other players around. Take Amazon. Amazon went from e-commerce to creating the Kindle (spawning the most successful eBook market in the process) …and didn’t stop. They have a massive cloud operation running. They did a tab (the Kindle HDX). They did their own version of Android. They did a smartphone.
Then there’s Samsung, who tried once to establish a mobile ecosystem in addition to the massive hardware presence they have on the global market (remember the Wave and Bada?). That failed, but now they’re trying to come back with the likes of Tizen and Galaxy Gear. Heck, take Valve: a company that makes games also operates the world’s largest digital game distribution platform (making millions in the process) and is building their own Steam OS entertainment machines for the living room.
All of these companies have a few things in common. They’re large. When they can’t do something, they acquire someone who can. Apple acquired Beats. Google’s snapping up Silicon Valley tech at a massive rate – including aerospace companies. They operate in a space that spends millions to make billions. They’re effectively running their own religions – with missionaries that speak not of salvation but of gigahertz, the number of apps available and what’s hot in the latest update.
The current ecosystems intersect and bleed into each other at places where their offerings are below the standard – and given how diverse they are, this happens a lot. But what happens if Google Docs becomes as good as MS Word, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform becomes as viable as an Android smartphone and Apple’s newest phones start sporting custom Apple sockets for headphones and connectivity?
Then it’s a matter of choosing your faith.
*Acorn also survived, popularizing the ARM architecture that would come to dominate the smartphone space.
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Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event, during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event, during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening
Click here for more info.
14 (Friday) 5:00 pm - 16 (Sunday) 8:00 pm
Mannar, Sri Lanka
Startup Weekend University Edition at the University of Rajarata will be unleashing the entrepreneurial skills in the students over the course of 54 hours!!
14 (Friday) 6:00 pm - 16 (Sunday) 6:00 pm
Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start.
Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start. A caravan stop consists of different sessions about creating unique ideas for startup ventures and strategies for financing those ideas.
Come join the sessions on the 19th of December, starting with 2 pm at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.
The event is free of charge! REGISTRATION is mandatory for this event
(Wednesday) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
SLIIT, New Kandy Road, Malabe
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount Likuid Members: 20% discount Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount
Likuid Members: 20% discount
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount
Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity to help each other having a more productive digital nomad new year and build better cooperations for teamwork.
During this peer to peer learning session you can share your experiences to help others and learn from other practitioners. Together, dive into the most painful problems and brainstorm on solutions. It’s for you if you resonate with some of these questions:
How do I integrate work, life and travel?
How do I keep motivated to achieve?
How do I keep engaged with a client?
How do I manage my time and energy?
How do I get clients?
How do I find people to collaborate with?
How to deal with time differences?
How can I make human interactions with slack profiles?
How to set realistic goals in constantly changing environment?
What are the best tools & methods for productivity?
What’s the secret of aligned teams?
What are the best skills for a digital nomad?
ABOUT THE METHOD:
“We create space for meaningful conversations, experimental and peer to peer learning. Nothing frontal, no preaching. But space for your very unique questions.”
+ Full-day mentored learning program
+ Breakfast on the roof
+ BBQ lunch on the roof
+ Goodie bags & Take-home handbooks
+ Post-event networking
ABOUT THE HOST:
Kitti is a digital nomad herself and a marketing consultant for innovative companies and early stage startups. She is a conversation ambassador for tedxdanubia, hosted meaningful conversations on ideas worth spreading. In the past years she worked in self organized teams, practiced facilitation, joined peer to peer networks, decentralized teams and cocreated a collective of freelancers. She is a cofounder of a sustainability startup that just secured its first round of investment. Worked as a mentor for many startups, and in the meantime she visited more than 15 countries.
Are you a Sri Lankan female entrepreneur or a local social business? Reach out for your discounted tickets!
PRICE IN SRI LANKAN RUPEES:
Regular: LKR 5000
Early Bird till 16th of Dec: LKR 4000
Likuid Members: LKR 4000
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): LKR 2500
(Saturday) 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
5 Charles Place 00300 Colombo, Sri Lanka
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup. He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup.
He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain technologies.
1. Work with Hyperledger Fabric and Explorer.
2. Business use case with Hyperledger Blockchain Framework
3. Q&A session
This is a Free session. Register here
(Friday) 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Startup X Foundry
07, Charles Place, Colombo 03, Colombo
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