Apple, Google, Microsoft and all that – fighting the technology wars?

People sometimes like to see the development of technology not just in terms of what works best, or even what looks best, but also in terms of dramatic (and maybe romantic) struggles between various forces of good and evil. The received wisdom about computing, for example, has been that the more boring but commercially smart Microsoft defeated the more exciting and noble but commercially out-gunned Apple, establishing the dominance of Windows-driven PCs in the process. Steve Jobs was driven into exile in Elba (or maybe it was NeXT).

But hey, Jobs escaped and gathered his troops – or maybe I mean he created the iPod and then the iPhone – and before you could blink Apple had become a super-company defeating the purveyors of uniformity. And now with the iPad Apple may even be re-defining the concept of computing, and the whole idea of the PC (and with it its previously all-pervasive operating system) may be on its way out. Steve Jobs may be about to become the master of all he surveys.

Or hang on a minute, do I hear the distant sounds of battle, is Jobs heading towards his Waterloo? And who will be the winner there? Could it be Google with its Android operating system for mobile devices? Could it be that the Jobs restoration was only temporary, that history is about to repeat itself, and that the hardware-with-propietory-software model that Apple employes could lose out once again to the more flexible but also more boring model, this time offered by Google?

That, at any rate, is what some of the technology commentators are now beginning to suggest, as in this Newsweek article. Others agree that the battle is imminent, but may be less sure as to who is going to win it. For myself, I rather doubt the compelling force of the analysis. Apple’s position in the market now is very different from what it was in the late 1980s in personal computers. While Android-run devices may indeed be proliferating, their standing in public awareness does not match that of Apple. The iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad have re-defined not just technological preferences but a whole fashion sense. I doubt that this is going to go away. The power of design and fashion within consumer technology is much greater now than it was then, and Apple has mastered this more than any other company.

Apple may not have everything to itself – surely a good thing – but I don’t see it losing another technology war. At least not yet.

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7 Comments on “Apple, Google, Microsoft and all that – fighting the technology wars?”

  1. Vincent Says:

    I’ve developed quite a level of annoyance with google products for the last number of years now. I think that there is an opening. And whatever about your University Pres’ on FB, your mother is a very different matter.
    Nor I do see now I’ve broadband why I cannot view US tv or anything put up on the web.


    • I agree with you Vincent. Limiting access to web content to people in particular geographies is a bad strategy. People will work around these silly restrictions and they only serve to annoy people.

  2. John Says:

    My computer sometimes on a busy morning can sort of turn around and say to you like now is not a good time. I’d just got up and had Julie Christie’s Something Cool sort of spinning round in my head and wanted to see who else had recorded it. And Windows Task Manager is like avp.exe 95% then MsMpEng.exe 35% and I’m like what’s happening and WTM is like you don’t want to know. You think you own your computer but sometimes – on mornings like these – it makes it quite clear it has more important things on its mind than running your trivial application.

    So I’m sort of looking round. For a little laptop I can run to when my desktop has its own issues – perfectly legitimate I know – too much going on in its life – to attend to my trivial, self-centred and egoistic YouTube requests.


    • John, I think it’s an iPad for you…

      • wendymr Says:

        I’d recommend a netbook – or wait for a decent tablet PC with real functionality. iPad? Far too limited, and who on earth wants a device that will only run one application at a time?

    • John Says:

      The thing is – my desktop mustn’t know about it. So I’m looking for something I can turn on – instantly – about twice a week, do the business, and switch off at the mains.


  3. >do I hear the distant sounds of battle
    The vuvuzelas must be damaging your hearing if it sounds like the distant sounds of a battle brewing. The battle is underway and the din is deafening đŸ™‚


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