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

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...

Resetting online commerce

“Aunt Agatha's demeanour now was rather like that of one who, picking daisies on the railway, has just caught the down express in the small of the back.” - P.G. WodehouseI’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years looking at ecommerce and discovery - how do people decide what to buy online, when a shop can’t show it to them? It seems to me that pretty...

The end of the American internet

When Netscape launched in 1994 and kicked off the consumer internet, there were maybe 100m PCs on earth, and over half of them were in the USA. The web was invented in Switzerland, and computers were invented in the UK, but the internet was American. American companies set the agenda and created most of the important products and services, and American...

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...

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