Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Apple, Google & Microsoft: The Technology Wars

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In light of the upcoming announcement from Apple about the tablet I thought I would take a look at the big players in tech. There have been several commentaries on who is actually competing with whom as the tech giants start to encroach on each other’s space.

The three key players in this space today are Apple, Microsoft and Google, who don’t actually compete with each other as directly as many think. Conveniently, each of these brands has carved out their own space in which they enjoy a lucrative business.

Microsoft may be seen as the lumbering giant who can’t keep up with their hipper rivals, but you can’t deny their dominance in the corporate arena. Unless you work at a creative agency, odds are that you are using Windows. No matter how ‘cool’ Apple’s products are, they don’t stand a chance in the business environment and while Google Docs is a helpful service, it is years away from the sophistication of the MS Office Suite.

Google, with their vast array of data centers and online services controls the ‘cloud’. Microsoft has seen the appeal of this market and is trying to move in this direction, but stealing market share from Google has proven a tricky task.

Finally, Apple has come to dominate the home. In a world where all media is becoming digital, Apple’s media friendly devices are becoming the standard. Today’s announcement of the new tablet will only reinforce this positioning.

Despite their entrenched positions, Apple, Google and Microsoft are all trying to move into each other’s turf. Google is chasing Microsoft with Google Docs and going after Apple in the smart phone arena. Microsoft is chasing Google online, pouring millions of dollars into Bing in an effort to win greater market share there. Apple is the only one who is staying focused, but may be tempted to start targeting corporations (with either laptops or smart phones) as people get used to their products.

It will be difficult for any of these three to make inroads in a new space as their brands are strongly rooted in their existing products. People don’t need Apple’s ‘sleek creativity’ to make a spreadsheet at work. But making a move into your competitor’s backyard will serve to help keep each other honest. Toyota moved into the US with small cars and the big three ignored them. They could have retaliated in Japan, but instead they let Toyota gain a foothold on their home turf (and we can all see how that worked out for them). So don’t expect big changes between these three giants, but don’t expect them to drop their expansion efforts either.

What do you think? Can any of these brands expand into new areas? Should Facebook be included in the list of tech giants?

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Written by benwisebranding

January 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Tech

Tagged with , , ,

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