Believe it or not, weâ€™re in the midst of another massive paradigm shift in technology - and once again, itâ€™s because of Apple.
Relax haters, this isnâ€™t some fanboy rant about the latest cool features that Apple is adding to its devices which competitors have already had for years. This has more to do with the change in business models that the iPhone maker is ushering in.
Historically, technology has gone through rotating periods of proprietary-ness versus openness. What has usually happened is that one company has come to dominate a particular field with its products, then had its monopoly smashed either by authorities or by co-operating competitors that stressed openness and interoperable standards. It happened with IBM and computers and with Microsoft and software.
With the ascension of Apple, the king of proprietary-ness, into the worldâ€™s biggest and most influential technology operation, other companies are now starting to emulate how it does things, especially in the realm of vertical integration.
In the space of a week, both of Appleâ€™s biggest competitors - Microsoft and Google - announced their own custom-built branded tablets. Microsoft last week unveiled the Surface while Google on Wednesday announced the Nexus 7, a seven-inch tablet that is manufactured by Taiwanâ€™s Asus but which is otherwise a Google device through and through.
In both cases, there is a touch of desperation. Apple continues to dominate tablets with more than 65% of the market, with only Amazonâ€™s Kindle Fire managing to breach double digits. Itâ€™s no coincidence that Amazon is an American company - but more on that in a second. Read the rest of this entry »