NYU Business Professor: Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook will all go out of business, all disappear within 50 years

“Scott Galloway, a professor and former entrepreneur, sees an uncertain future for Amazon.com, Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google in his new book on the powerful tech giants,” Therese Poletti writes for MarketWatch. “Galloway, who now teaches marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, dissects the success of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google in ‘The Four,’ a book released this month by Portfolio. Galloway was a serial entrepreneur before teaching at NYU, founding nine companies including L2, a research company, and Red Envelope, an online gift-giving site that was one of the e-commerce busts of the first dot-com era.”

MarketWatch: In your book you talk a bit about companies that once dominated tech and how they no longer are kings anymore. Do you think that is inevitable for the Four Horsemen of your book?

Galloway: Of the Dow 100 from 100 years ago, only 11 have survived. With the business life cycle getting faster and faster, a child born today will outlive all of these firms. Do I see them getting more and more powerful? Yes. Do I see all of them dying within our lifetimes? Yes. The fatality rate among our species, and firms, is 100%.

MacDailyNews Take: A math professor Galloway is not. If 11 of the Dow 100 from 100 years ago have survived, the fatality rate is 89%.

MarketWatch: Do you think that will be in the next few decades or too hard to predict?

Galloway: Too hard to predict. Ten years ago, we were all talking about Myspace. It’s very hard to tell. The only thing I am comfortable saying is they will all go out of business, all disappear within 50 years.

MacDailyNews Take: Even though, again, 11 companies from the Dow 100 from 100 years ago have survived.

MarketWatch: Is there one company that could outlast the others in this group?

Galloway: If you are trying to pick the one, the good money right now is on Amazon. Out of the other three, Amazon is winning… Where it butts up against Apple in computer hardware, the most innovative tech hardware of 2016, it wasn’t the Apple Watch or it wasn’t the Apple Pods, it was the Amazon Echo. If you look at where they are competing against Apple in voice, Siri versus Alexa, Alexa is putting a serious beat on Siri. So in any area where these guys overlap, Amazon is winning.

MacDailyNews Take: Myopic. Smart speakers are but a molecule within a drop in Apple’s and Amazon’s oceans.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iCal’ed.

Of course, we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of Galloway’s four disappear ASAP. God forbid something worse than Google or Facebook arises to replace them.

26 Comments

  1. A book promotion. A MarketWatch interview. Vague guestimations about The Future.

    I conclude that Prof. Galloway is not an economy prophet. His choice of Amazon as the survivor of ‘The Four’ fits MDN’s term ‘Myopic’ very well, IMHO.

    But I do enjoy bringing competition between all of these companies to the fore. ‘Get Ready To Rumble!’ That’s exactly what we need in these days of corrupting consolidation of corroding companies. 😉

    1. The great part about predicting things that will happen 100 years from now is that if they come true, you’ll look like a posthumous genius, and if they don’t you’ll be dead anyhow. Nostradamus knew this well and just made as many predictions as he could.

    2. One of my NYU business school professors told me I was stupid buying a few thousand dollars of Apple stock in 1997 after Jobs returned. Told me they would be out of business before 2000 (yes I know, even Jobs has said they were only a few months from bankruptcy when he returned, hence the settlement with MS). I had faith that SJ would right the ship.

      1. Insightful people: Thank you.

        As for the settlement with Microsoft: I have a lovely long lecture on that subject which points out that saving Apple was NOT the topic of discussion between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Apple not suing Microsoft for blatant and unrepentant robbery of QuickTime code was the subject. It’s one of the best no-lawyers settlements in business history.

  2. The problem is that 3 of the 4 have near-monopoly positions in their respective areas, which makes govt regulation the most likely reason for their demise. That is, they could be broken up, etc. Guess which 3.

    1. So did Sears and Roebuck, Bell Telephone Company, and Tower Music, among others. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all of these companies as we know them cease to exist, eventually. It’s just the nature of things, nothing remains static, and profit cannot increase into infinity. Someday people will think Apple and iPhones were ‘quaint’. enjoy the good times and shape of things while they last, because the will not last forever.

  3. In the 80’s a business professor said that there will only be 3 car companies in year 2000. The three lucky companies were to be GM, Ford, Chrysler. All the German, Japanese and European companies were going to be gobbled up by the US competition apparently.

  4. Business names change, products get sold off or split off as new corporations, and mergers occur.

    Hundreds of companies no longer exist because General Electric under Jack Welch bought them. Apple has done the same.

    I think the Professor doth read too many of his own estimates without seeing the diversity in the business world.

    Real useful, affordable products survive, no matter which company makes them and that is the result of progress in society.,

  5. I would agree if he had said, “none of them will be the same company that they are now in fifty years.” There are constant upswings, death spirals, acquisitions and mergers. Facebook seems the least diverse, and I would expect to be the first casualty. Apple and, especially, Google are coming under a great deal of legislative scrutiny; government likes deep pockets to “penalize”. Amazon is fairly diverse, and continues to become more so. It also flies just barely at “radar level”, so while not completely invisible, they are not at the forefront of legislators’ minds. And why no Microsoft? Is he convinced it will rise again to outlast all others? Perhaps, but I suspect it will continue to slide until consumed by another entity within the next fifty years to become another corporate footnote.

  6. He has already made one macro and one micro error here. The major fall of the companies in the Dow 100 years ago is the massive revolution in the mechanical world falling to the electrical world somewhat akin to the Industrial Revolution. While a third industrial revolution may occur there is no indication of anything that is going to replace electrical technology in the way it replaced the mechanical technology. The changes indeed will in this time period and likely well beyond, be within the technology sectors these companies dominate do the comparison falls down immediately as while it is possible others will out manoeuvre them it is more likely that as in the case of the examples he uses competitors will gain advantages and then decline as others overtake again. Only those that have a narrow base ie MySpace would likely fail altogether in this scenario. The only ones who could fail completely otherwise will be due to massive complacency and bad luck combined in a perfect storm of failure. But even then Microsoft and IBM still exist having gone close to that scenario.

    The micro error is simply his failure to remember just how soundly Amazon was beaten on the phone front. That was its plan A to dominate in hardware and failed abysmally. Meanwhile plan B, physical speaker assistants are far more a way to get us to accept the concept than an end in itself. Eventually assistants will be invisible till you need them which was actually how Apple saw it, but unusually failed to see the temporary process needed to get to that end quicker. Fact is its deficiencies in the present Siri can and will be addressed eventually even if it should never have been neglected in the first place and it like Google has the growing platform to fully exploit it. Remember Apple prefers big leaps and we heard all the same rubbish about falling behind in AR until in one stroke they become the biggest platform around while leaping past Google’s efforts without all the over engineering. Amazon will have a serious problem pushing Alexa outside of its narrow a nd temporary speaker platform so I would rather be Google or Apple in that regard for that narrow MySpace problem will likely hit them hard in Echo/Alexa competitiveness in the most predictable future where it becomes a dead end. That’s why they wanted plan A to broaden its horizons.

    1. All the more reason to get Siri consistent across the entire Apple line. It cannot be seen to be deficient on one device over another. Amazon and Google are leading Apple in this respect with their assistants.

    2. “there is no indication of anything that is going to replace electrical technology”

      If biological process can be made to think like brains then maybe traditional electronics will be replaced. For example, why have electronics like an iPhone or a MacBook when the human mind will be able to interface with the global brain? If cells/organs can be modified to function like modems, processors, etc. then no “electronics” will be needed.

      If this does happen then Apple’s current business model will falter because the cell modifications in humans might occur only one time. This is in contrast to multiple iPhone, MacBook, etc. upgrades over a person’s lifetime.

      This means Apple and others will need to modify their business plans into other catagories. So, what should be the opportunities in 50 years? Curing all disease, extending life spans, traveling the universe in spaceships that can achieve faster than light-speed travel, colonizing other planets, and materializing any product with replicators are some areas of tech which should thrive within 50 years.

      Out of all the tech leaders currently living I think Musk, Bezos and some at Google have a longterm vision for the future. Up to this point, I have yet to see anybody at Apple articulate a grand vision, but, then again, Apple holds their cards close to the vest.

  7. Amazon seems at risk because it doesn’t make anything. Ali Baba or some other retailer could easily replace them. Would anyone miss them if they disappeared tomorrow?

    A few years back an article in the Economist argued that Apple, like IBM, could survive a very long time. The reason is that their business model is a process, not a thing. Apple merges design talent and engineering talent to produce high tech goods for consumers. They easily transitioned from the Apple II to the Mac to the iPod to the iPhone and are ready for reliance on iPads, Watches or whatever comes next. Dell sells cheap PCs and suffers as that business wanes.

    Fifty years from now our avatars may not be standing in a virtual line for the iPhone LX, but Apple will likely be offering us something cool.

    1. Amazon seem the most diverse of the group IMO with retailing being only one component. Logistics (both physical and software assets), and Cloud provider being two other major components supported by the large customer base dependent on Amazon’s systems.

  8. In 50 years the aged dear leader Kim Jong Un will be in charge and phones, the internet and free enterprise will be banned. How prescient of the professor to recognize this.

  9. Three things are certain here:

    1. Nobody will bother to check his claim 50 years from now so it’s an easy claim to make.
    2. In the unlikely event somebody does check his claim, professor Galloway himself won’t be around anymore. That’s a 100% fatality rate.
    3. In the meantime plenty of morons will buy his book.

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