Apple is the new Sony, Google is the new Microsoft, and; Facebook is the new AOL

“Google has been the new Microsoft for so long that this shouldn’t surprise anyone: nearly everything that happens on the internet touches Google in some way, giving the company nearly incomprehensible power,” Nilay Patel writes for The Verge. “It’s way beyond obvious things like search and YouTube, each of which are behemoths in their own right — it’s all the way down to Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers ad server and Google Analytics, which sit behind almost every major website. Google knows so much about how people spend their time and money on the web that it can easily make or break any new businesses it wants. This power is so huge that European countries keep threatening to break Google up, just as Microsoft was constantly under regulatory threat at home and abroad.”

“Facebook is the new AOL. Just think about it for a minute. Of course Facebook is the new AOL. Facebook is the beginning and the end of the internet for a huge number of normal people, a combination of primary service provider (user profiles, messaging, photo sharing) and ’90s-style portal to the wider web. Facebook has its own IM platform, Messenger, just like AOL had AOL Instant Messenger. Then it went and bought WhatsApp, the messaging platform more popular internationally, just like AOL bought ICQ. Facebook groups are just AOL chat rooms; Facebook’s permanently doomed commerce plays are AOL’s permanently doomed commerce plays,” Patel writes. “And Facebook’s core business of selling ads into the News Feed is the same combination of incredibly vulnerable and apocalypse-proof as AOL’s dial-up business: it will continue minting money for as long as the parents and grandparents of the world start their day with Facebook, and it will stop growing the second all of their kids move on to something better.”

“Apple is the new Sony,” Patel writes. “Sony was a hardware juggernaut in the ’90s — it made the most beautiful gadgets, had the most iconic product lines, and commanded premium prices even when the products were mostly similar to other competitors… While Sony’s failure to understand software allowed Apple and then Samsung to overtake its core businesses, it’s Apple’s failure to understand services that remains its critical weakness… Apple still hasn’t figured out how to expand its platforms onto the wider internet in a way that makes them feel as safe and broadly available as Google; the best-known thing iCloud’s ever done is leak nude photos. Solving this problem is where Apple needs to spend the most of its energy.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: First off, it’s no secret that we believe that Apple needs to focus on quality software and services. But, even if Apple doesn’t get their act together and again start releasing the type of intuitive, rock solid software that their longtime users expect, they have much more money than Sony ever had and their hardware quality is so good that the risk of them declining as precipitously as Sony is remote. Cook’s top focus should be identifying bugs and squashing them while getting Apple’s myriad services to work as advertised.

Secondly, not mentioning Google’s iOS knockoff in relation to Microsoft’s Mac OS knockoff when describing Google as the new Microsoft is inexplicable/delusional.

And, in closing, Facebook is for moms™.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]


  1. To be fair, this is a discussion of the companies as *businesses.* Windows was the knockoff that made Microsoft the dominant power–and world’s richest company–it was. The Android knockoff is almost completely irrelevant to Google’s business model. Without search and the search-related advertising, Google doesn’t have a business model. Android has never made Google any money and probably never will. Despite all the efforts of analysts to draw Windows/Android parallels, the two cases are utterly dissimilar.

  2. I wish Apple didn’t drop iWeb. Itwas the easiest, quickest way to set up a very decent web site. I particularity liked how easy it was to set up a blog. Than I bought Aperture, and two months later, Apple drops it. Now I’m a die hard Lightroom guy and have no interest in Photo’s or whatever Apple is calling their new photo management/editing suite. I’ll end up spending a ton of time and effort learning, only to have Apple change course again. Does Apple ever survey to see what people want and need, or what they think of past and present software offerings? One thing I’ve learned is to not get too attached to any Apple software because there’s a good chance they’ll either drop it, or radically change it. Does anyone else see this, and agree?

    1. I think that’s the problem, Apple leaves their software “unattended” for so long, it becomes outdated. So changes have to be radical to match the tech of the time. Their iWork suite could really be something if they just would put the time and resource toward it. All of Apple’s Apps, IPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie, as well as the Pro-sumer stuff just seems so unfinished, like they had a great idea and then got pulled away to do something else. FOCUS Apple!! a lot of us are depending on it!!!

      1. Sounds like Paul McCartney when he was with Wings the music started well and then he just seemed to lose interest before developing the theme and went on to something else.

        Apple really can’t afford to drop any more (paid) software threads if it is to gain serious commitment from its software users. I still use iWeb but have due to its stagnation mostly got out of web work altogether though gradually EverWeb is beginning to match and exceed its capabilities thankfully so I use that these days more and more for my own stuff but moving old iWeb sites across would be a nightmare so Apple is not in my best books as a result.

  3. “Apple still hasn’t figured out how to expand its platforms onto the wider internet in a way that makes them feel as safe and broadly available as Google”

    Safe? That’s never a word I would associate with Google’s services. People have no idea how their information is being used. Unless “safe” and “ignorant” mean the same thing, the word has no business in the sentence.

    1. Makes them sound even more like Microsoft with the press totally immune to their failures and inability to monetize or develop things. Meanwhile every minute problem of Apple is bannered as a failure or embarrassment. Funny old World.

    1. Google+? Does that still exist? I signed up to it, and all I saw there were tumbleweeds.
      I don’t know a single person who uses G+, but there are a huge number of people and online-communities who I follow and communicate with on Fb, actual friends, photographers, UrbEx people, musicians and bands, science and climate, technology, motoring, natural history.
      Oddly enough, an awful lot of those people are young and male, as well as female, married, single, middle-aged, old…
      The whiney teens have all pissed off elsewhere, and good riddance.

    2. I don’t think it’ll be a case of another player taking over, it’ll be social media being a passing fad, like blogging. There’ll still be a hard core who do it but the majority will have oversharing fatigue.

    3. This has been my recent observations regarding social media in the U.S.

      Under 20 –

      1. Instagram (owned by FB)
      2. Snapchat
      3. Kik
      4. Twitter

      20-30 –

      1. Twitter
      2. Facebook
      3. Snapchat
      4. Instagram

      30-40 –

      1. Facebook
      2. Twitter
      3. YouTube (owned by Google)
      4. Tinny amount of other Google social media

      Over 40 –

      1. Facebook
      2. Tinny amount of YouTube and other Google social media

      There are many options out there and I think Google would be the last option if FB failed.

  4. YEAH Yeah yeah. It’s fun to sit around and play at being as UNimaginative as Hollywood. But the fact is that each of these companies is themselves. Shoving them into someone else’s box is silly and pointless. The symbol is not the thing. The category is not the object. Etc. Let’s get over the comparison stuff and get back to what’s real, actual, factual. Apple is incredibly unique and great at it. Apple ≠ Sony except in a few comparative ways from a very limited perspective.

  5. What Apple needs to do is announce a “Snow Leopard” project . . . . If you recall, Apple basically said at the time of SL’s development that very few features would be added but that a lot of under the hood stuff was going to change. It was by far the most stable of all Mac OS X releases and a lot of people loved it for that reason.
    I say Apple should push forward with hardware design but announce stability upgrades for iOS and OS X . . . If the marketing team needs something to call it, they call it a “core technology update” or something like that. Spend a year just getting things solid again. I don’t recall anyone bitching about a lack of features in SL (in fact, most people were kind of blown away by how rock solid it was and I would be willing to bet there are still a ton of people running it on older kit).

  6. Apple work to a different agenda and this has ramifications, positive and negative, for its software offerings.

    Pages got dumbed down in order to bring equivalence to the iOS and iCloud versions. I have had to switch back to Word until Apple restore the missing features.

    Numbers has always been missing some key features, and it remains pretty but basic – no pagination makes it unusable for bank account reconciliations, or any other long list of data, and charting is woeful. I use Excel now.

    iCloud is hampered by Apple’s focus on security where apps are sandboxed to prevent malicious code gaining access to other data. I am using MS OneDrive for my Indesign and Dreamweaver CS4 files which don’t work with iCloud.

    Corporate types won’t put up with this. Hopefully the IBM relationship will bring some focus here and Apple will add enough functionality to allow me to ditch all these non-apple solutions.

    Heaven knows why they don’t support MAMP properly – the ragtag versions of Open source tools they bundle with OS/X are unusable, undocumented and a waste of space.

    IWork may be free, but the apps are so unfunctional that they can’t be used in a work environment.

    As for the new integration features – I still haven’t managed to turn off the phone ringing function which sends both macs and iPad into a frenzy every time my phone rings. Handoff just doesn’t work and why would anyone with a Mac want to create or amend documents and spreadsheets via a web interface?

    When Apple’s finance department use Numbers and ditch Excel and Apple execs create their structured documents in Pages, IWork will probably be usable for the rest of us.

    1. I prefer MS Outlook to Apple Mail. Having worked in corporate, Mail just doesn’t have the features needed that are provided in Outlook. I also like the way the address book and contacts are integrated into Outlook. Mailbox sharing is a breeze in Outlook. Apple software is aimed at the consumer, not the enterprise user.

      IBM has Lotus, it will be interesting to see them create something together with Apple. Apple has a lot of work cut out if they’re serious about enterprise business.

      Time will tell, but I’m not holding my breath.

    2. I’ve been using Microsoft products like Word, Excel, Access, MS SQL, Visual Studio, etc, etc. starting in the early 1990’s. Over the last couple on months I have been using the Numbers app on the iPhone 6 Plus and it is not that bad. There are some built-in snippets like conditional statements which are very easy to understand and use. In the past, I never used Excel to write these statements. What surprises me the most about Numbers is the learning curve to understand the application took only two days and that these advanced features are built into a mobile “phone” app.

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