Latest posts - Benedict Evans

The first phase of the platform wars are over - Apple and Google both won,
more or less. But nothing is remotely settled - it's just that all the
questions have changed. What will Android be? How will Google or
Xiaomi change it? How will

Latest articles

What comes after Zoom?

We had video calls in science fiction, and we had video conferencing in the 1990s, just as the web was taking off, as a very expensive and impractical tool for big companies. It was proposed as a use case for 3G, which didn’t happen at all, and with the growth of consumer broadband we got all sorts of tools that could do it, but it never really became...

News by the ton: 75 years of US advertising

There are two ways you can talk about newspapers. You can talk about the ‘fourth estate’, and newspapers’ role in culture, politics, governance, the exchange of ideas and civil society. But you can also talk about newspapers as a specialised light manufacturing industry, that aggregated attention to sell advertising. There’s a common line about Google...

Solving online events

Online events remind me a lot of ecommerce in about 1996. The software is raw and rough around the edges, and often doesn’t work very well, though that can get fixed. But more importantly, no-one quite knows what they should be building. A conference, or an ‘event’, is a bundle. There is content from a stage, with people talking or presenting or doing...

The future of work: social, pop culture and wood stain

This classic ad from 1994 is now part of British pop culture. ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’ is a great catch phrase, and it’s also a great way to describe a whole class of product and a whole class of startup. It’s really easy to explain what Rigup, Everlaw, Onshape, Figma or Frame.io are trying to do. They might not succeed (just as the...

Not even wrong: ways to predict tech

"That is not only not right; it is not even wrong" - Wolfgang PauliA lot of really important technologies started out looking like expensive, impractical toys. The engineering wasn't finished, the building blocks didn’t fit together, the volumes were too low and the manufacturing process was new and imperfect. In parallel, many or even most important...

The VR winter

“Our vision is that VR / AR will be the next major computing platform after mobile in about 10 years. It can be even more ubiquitous than mobile - especially once we reach AR - since you can have it always on… Once you have a good VR / AR system, you no longer need to buy phones or TVs or many other physical objects - they can just become apps in a...

COVID and cascading collapses

I’ve been looking at this chart a lot over the past few weeks. It shows us that print ad budgets were doing just fine all the way though the first decade or more of the consumer internet. There was even a little spike upward for the Dotcom bubble. Then the...

COVID and forced experiments

At the beginning of this year (which now feels like 100 years ago), I gave a presentation on macro trends in tech, at an event in Davos. There were lots of charts, but I think this one matters most. In 2017, 40% of new relationships in the USA began in a smartphone app. By 2019 that was probably closer to 50%.   ...

How to lose a monopoly: Microsoft, IBM and anti-trust

A big rich company, a company that dominates the market for its product, and a company that dominates the broader tech industry are three quite different things. Market cap isn’t power. IBM ruled mainframes and Microsoft ruled PCs, and when those things were the centre of tech, that gave them dominance of the broader tech industry. When the focus of...

What's Amazon's market share? 35% or 5%?

Amazon is a big company, but what does that mean? How big is ‘big’? What does ‘dominant’ or ‘scale’ or ‘huge’ mean when US retail is $6 trillion every year?Running the numbers, Amazon has about 35% of US ecommerce. But, it competes with physical retailers as well - it competes with Macy’s, Walmart and Barnes & Noble. On that basis, Amazon’s real...

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