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

Amazon's profits, AWS and advertising

People argue about Amazon a lot, and one of the most common and long-running arguments is about profits. The sales keep going up, and it takes a larger and larger share of US retail every year (7-8% in 2019), but it never seems to make any money. What’s going on? ...

The ecommerce surge

Both the UK and (today) the USA have given official statistics on how ecommerce and retail have changed during lockdown. The headline numbers are pretty dramatic. The UK went from 20% ecommerce penetration to over 30% in two months, and the USA from 17% to 22%. ...

App stores, trust and anti-trust

We all, I think, understand that the iPhone was a generational change in computing, but that change came in two parts. The multitouch interface is obvious, but the change in the software model was just as important. Apple changed how software development worked, and by doing so expanded the number of people who could comfortable, safely use a computer...

Would breaking up 'big tech' work? What would?

We’re clearly going to be arguing about the size, power and market share of large technology companies a great deal in the next couple of years. Many of the underlying concerns we have around technology are complicated, and involve deep-seated trade-offs where we actually have to make choices, and not everything is a competition problem anyway ( I wrote...

Regulating technology

Technology was a small industry until very recently. It was exciting and interesting, and it was on lots of magazine covers, but it wasn‘t actually an important part of most people’s lives. When Bill Gates was on every magazine cover, Microsoft was a small company that sold accounting tools to big companies. When Netscape kicked off the consumer internet...

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...

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