Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Reflecting on the Scorecards on Multiple Wars Underway

Just reflections on the scorecards on multiple wars underway--not in Iraq or Afghanistan or Georgia. I mean the wars relating to (1) search; (2) browser and (3) mobile apps.  These three wars (and related ones) will define--in the short term--who will dictate and specify the rules for winning in the network era. 
The Search Wars: Advantage, Google.  Yahoo and Microsoft are behind but hardly threatening Google for now.  But as search morphs and evolves with social networks, Google may face competition from Facebook, MySpace and others. 
The Browser Wars: Advantage, Microsoft. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the leader, by far. Firefox is catching up and Apple's Safari is a distant third. Apple is trying to get Safari into Windows through iTunes but that is not gaining much traction.  Now, Google has launched Chrome, which redefines the battle.
The Mobile Apps War: Advantage Apple. Apple led the way with third-part applications on the mobile phone with its App Store. This is the strategy that Microsoft has followed successfully with Windows and Office but has not somehow followed it in the mobile arena till now.  Google has followed suit with Android Market and Microsoft has SkyMarket to support the Windows Mobile 7 platform.  Will RIM--makers of Blackberry be far behind?  
The three wars are all connected to the broader shift about how we search, access, consume, transact, share and store things on the network.  Moves by these companies and others are worth tracking and watching to understand the pattern of evolution and shifts in competitive positions.


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