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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

ChatGPT and the Imagenet moment

A decade or so ago, systems based on something called ‘machine learning’ started producing really good results in Imagenet, a contest for computer vision researchers. Those researchers were excited, and then everyone else in AI was excited, and then, very quickly, so was everyone else in tech, as it became clear that this was a step change in what we...

Ways to think about a metaverse

Sometimes it seems like every big company CEO has read the same article about the same tech trend, and sent the same email to their team, asking “What’s our strategy for this?!“ A couple of years ago there were a lot of emails asking for a 5G strategy, and now there are a lot of emails asking about metaverse. ...

Rocket ships and tractors

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery" - Mr Micawber“If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat” - Eric SchmidtIn the early years of Facebook, a common criticism we heard over...

Within and tech M&A

Lina Khan, the head of the FTC, first became known for a law school paper arguing that US antitrust policy in recent decades has become far too narrowly focused on low consumer prices as the only test for harm, ignoring choice, competition and innovation, and that Amazon was an exemplar of this, since it uses its market power in ecommerce to push prices...

Back to the trend line?

Back in 2020, as we were all locked down and forced to do everything online, we got very excited about ecommerce penetration. All sorts of charts went viral showing that we’d jumped forward anything from three to five years in a couple of months. This was a big part of the ‘Covid Rotation’, and now we’re on the other side of that rotation - people went...

There's no such thing as data

Technology is full of narratives, but one of the loudest is around something called ‘data’. AI is the future, and it’s all about data, and data is the future, and we should own it and maybe be paid for it, and countries need data strategies and data sovereignty. Data is the new oil! This is mostly nonsense. There is no such thing as ‘data’, it isn’t...

TV, merchant media and the unbundling of advertising

About five years ago, a revenue line buried in the back of Amazon's accounts started to get quite big. ‘Other revenue’ was over $4bn by the end of 2017, and if you looked at the notes to the notes, you discovered that this was ‘predominately advertising’. By 2019 this had grown to $14bn, and I wrote about it here, pointing out that ‘Amazon’ was no longer...

Tech questions for 2022

Sometimes the centre of gravity in tech is very clear - everything is about PCs, or the web, or smartphones. But at other times, there are lots of things going on and none of them are The Thing, and all of them are full of questions. Of course, for some crypto people crypto is the only question and the only answer, but as we enter 2022 there are lots...

Notes on newsletters

Email newsletters are older than the web, and paid newsletters are older than the internet. Fred Hickey has been writing the High Tech Strategist since 1987, when he sent it by fax, and ‘newsletters’ themselves are almost as old as print. Meanwhile, there’s been a steady flow of people scaling personal email newsletters and blogs into media companies...

When big tech buys small tech

A big part of the discussion around competition in tech today is how to think about acquisitions. It’s easy to say that we wouldn’t let Amazon buy Zappos or Google buy DoubleClick, but everyone’s favourite puzzle is Instagram. Facebook bought a pre-revenue startup with 13 staff, and it’s now commonplace to say that this was anti-competitive, and a failure...

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