Everything to Everyone is the New Black

There’s a lot going on lately in the tech news arena. What’s interesting to me is that several major consumer players are converging to become all things to their users. Good old soup to nuts makes a triumphant return.

Apple pioneered this model. They control every aspect of the user experience from the hardware all the way to the content display, and it’s becoming increasingly easy to get every piece of technology you want or need from Apple, just visit an Apple Store. They’ve been rumored to be developing a TV for years, and that makes more sense now than it did years ago.

For now, Apple is missing a social piece; iOS 5 includes deep Twitter integration, which could foreshadow future collaboration between the two.

Google looks to be getting into the hardware game with its proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Yeah, maybe this is just a patent purchase, but it seems like a lot to spend (in cash no less) for patents. The cash bit is interesting; given how low interest rates are currently, a solid company like Google can borrow at unheard of rates and keep its coffers flush with cash. Must be important to deplete the war chest.

Google Plus quietly added Games last week, further pushing its social layer into Facebook’s wheelhouse. Google also wants to replace your wallet, drive your car for you, provide virtual tours of exotic locations. What don’t they do?

Aside from a real hardware play, Google lacks polish. Most of its offerings are in beta, which translates to rough, but mostly working. Tough to compete with Apple when your stuff is constantly in beta and looks it.

Facebook just added movies from Miramax to the titles it offers from Warner Brothers. They’ve also recently added Top Gear episodes, and other content, like UFC preliminary bouts, are regularly streamed to Facebook viewers. Like it or not, people watch video on Facebook, and Facebook makes it easy to charge (with Facebook Credits) and analyze the viewers. Facebook has a goldmine of marketing data, and they know it.

Facebook doesn’t sport much outside their web presence, but their push into mobile, including Facebook phones, shows they want to become an integral part of people’s lives. Remember, that’s a lot of people (like 700 million) in nearly every country in the World.

Here’s an interesting thought from Nicholas Carlson, why not buy webOS from HP?

Facebook lacks key pieces, but they definitely seem to be willing to expand aggressively outside their sweet spot.

Amazon and Microsoft are also moving to capture more of the consumer’s experience.

So I guess the future holds more soup to nuts. Thoughts?




  1. When I look at Google’s acquisitions, I always compare Google to Oracle. Perhaps it’s different on the inside, but to those of us on the outside it appears that Oracle is better than average at incorporating acquisitions into a “one Oracle vision.” I know our sales rep picked up the Weblogic messaging VERY quickly…

    With Google, it appears to be a different story. While some of the Google properties are integrating, others (like YouTube) seem to be off in their own worlds. Assuming that all the regulatory approvals take place, what will it take to get the Motorolans to work in lockstep with the Android folks? Or will there be warring fiefdoms?

    It’s interesting that Friend of the ‘Lab Louis Gray has chosen this moment to join Google. Gray’s working experience has primarily been in small firms, and I’m sure that he’s experiencing a lot of new things as he deals with the Google bureaucracy from the inside.

  2. Funny that you’re comparing the two. Oracle has more than 100,000 employees; Google has 29,000. Google is a much flatter organization too, with no sales or consulting force. They’re pretty much all development.

    I guess YouTube stays its own entity bc of its brand recognition. Google Video never really took off, so why integrate and rebrand a known property.

    They do seem to handle acquisitions differently, and it will be interesting to see how Motorola is treated. Given the patent portfolio, Google may run it business as usual and take the losses in stride.

  3. Fascinating read. I wonder if this will get him canned, although his prospects look pretty bright. Might be the best thing.

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