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

Paying for news

Newspaper revenue really started to collapse well over a decade ago, and we've been discussing what to do about it for almost as long. ...

Shopify

Shopify’s 2020 results came out today, and much as expected, it reported that consumers spent a total of $120bn on its platform, almost exactly double the figure from 2019. Amazon’s rather different Marketplace business, which started back in 1999, probably had $275bn of third party GMV in 2020. That means Shopify’s merchant sales were over 40% of Amazon’s....

Retail, rent and things that don't scale

Morioka Shoten I generally think about retail as sitting on a spectrum from logistics to experience. At the logistics end, you know exactly what you want and retail’s job is to provide the most efficient way to get it. At the experience end, you don’t know, and retail’s job is...

Online speech and publishing

Facebook has close to 2bn users, posting over 100bn things each day. The global SMS system, at its peak, had 20-25bn messages a day. This is not a ‘publisher’, in the sense that a newspaper or radio station are publishers - or if it is, then we’ve stretched the word ‘publisher’ so far as to become meaningless. A human editor chooses ten stories for...

Platforms, bundling and kill zones

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What comes after smartphones?

For as long as most people can remember, the tech industry has had a new centre roughly every fifteen years. A model of computing sets the agenda, and the company or companies that win that model dominate the industry, and everyone is scared of them, and then a new model comes along, forms a new centre, and the old model stops mattering.  Mainframes...

The regulator's puzzle

All industries are subject to general legislation - to criminal law, securities law, workplace safety law and so on. But some industries are important enough and complicated enough to get their own specific laws, and their own regulatory agency to manage and enforce that - hence food, aircraft, banks or oil refining are 'regulated industries'. It’s...

Finding a new level for ecommerce

The growth of ecommerce has always fit the old line about a frog in boiling water. Every year ecommerce’s share of retail got a little higher, and physical retailers got a little more uncomfortable (and recently have started failing), but the growth in any given year was never dramatic enough to make headlines - just inexorable. That was until 2020,...

Are you a seal?

There is a theory that when a shark bites a surfer, this is because they look like a seal, especially from 50 feet underwater. The shark circles, comes close, and sometimes it takes a bite out of a leg, and sometimes it takes a bite out of the surfboard and gets a mouthful of fibreglass. Generally, it realises the mistake and leaves, though this may...

Market definitions and tech monopolies

One of the basic building blocks of any competition case is market definition. If you’re claiming that a company has market dominance, and that it’s abusing that dominance, what market are we talking about? Very obviously, the company being prosecuted tries to draw the definition as widely as possible - ‘we compete with the entire planet!’ - and the...

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