Ecosystem battle intensifies

G.A.F.A.M. Say it with me.

Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft– yes, Microsoft. A year ago I didn’t have much hope that Microsoft would be a viable contender in the ecosystem war. Maybe I underestimated their potential- and their luck. What happened to bring attention to this? Google. Google’s recent serious move into Gaming legitimizes the category as another essential block in an ecosystem foundation. And Microsoft just happens to ‘check the x-box’ as a gaming entity. Right place, right time.

Haven’t been following the ‘ecosystem strategy’ wars? It’s based on these realities:

Technology is an inevitable and growing part of individual existence.

Humans can’t handle too much complexity.

It’s more desirable to have 1 all-encompassing #tech partner, than many.

It’s efficient for us to have 1 tech partner at a time (‘Digital monogamy’?)

Personal #Data is now so revealing & all-encompassing that many people want to consolidate/reduce the number of players with access to it.

If a GAFAM firm has no viable service/item in an ecosystem-relevant subcategory, they’re vulnerable! A customer may yield their data (+ trust + loyalty) to another ecosystem player who does provide it.

The ‘fronts’ for the ecosystem war include: calendar management, file storage & sharing, photo storage & sharing, social media sharing, home security & home device monitoring, interactive voice recognition queries & trivia, home audio speakers, mobile shopping, customer reviews, personal banking, mobile payments, chat apps, mobile phone, film viewing, amateur video production & sharing, communities for ‘sharing’ resources,…

I published this ‘subcategory’ list a year ago; as of March 2019, I’d add two: Gaming (Microsoft, Google are already established); and Personal Health Monitoring (Amazon has made huge strides as a personal health data tracker)

To whom is this relevant? If you’re a firm in one of these 2 new categories, but NOT YET affiliated with 1 of the G.A.F.A.M. group, your stock may soar! You may be faced with: being bought, or buried. If it hasn’t happened yet, a rep from one of the GAFAM group may soon come calling, to kick the tires. (Attention: Nintendo, FitBit, etc!)

NEXT UP: GOOGLE U? I predict that the next brick in the ‘2020 & Beyond’ ecosystem foundation is: online education. My rationale: (i) a constantly changing work world means everyone ‘retrains repeatedly’ throughout a career; and (ii) even traditional post-secondary education (let alone Continuing Education!) increasingly includes digital from/on increasingly capable education & assessment platforms. I expect your GAFAM ecosystem partner will play an increasingly explicit role in: staying atop new skills, updating your skills, taking courses, winning certifications. In 2015, was bought by LinkedIn (years ago, I suggested Microsoft buy LinkedIn- pity they didn’t- they’d be ahead on this front). The combined entity ‘LinkedIn Learning’ has already penetrated many post-secondary institutions; before long, I expect that LinkedIn Learning will “become self-aware, and ….”

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