Ever seen the film “Pirates of Silicon Valley“? It’s a very entertaining film about the birth of the modern computer industry through the eyes of tech giants Apple and Microsoft. A few myths in the story has since been debunked but you’ll get the message. Apple and Microsoft had been at it for a long time. Basically the war was actually between Apple and Wintel (Windows/Intel) but as time passed, the lines have since been blurred. Apple now also uses Intel and is currently the top technology company and several new players have come out as well to challenge both Apple and Microsoft. Currently on the top spot is Google, former search engine slash advertising company, now number three tech giant or number two depending on who you ask.
2015 is practically anyone’s year. The top two players when it comes to operating platforms are still Apple and Microsoft. Apple recently released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and is enjoying tremendous iPhone sales. They are now poised to release the Apple watch, a supposedly game-changing wearable. Microsoft has also bounded back from several fiascos with its operating systems. Microsoft’s setbacks include the long-awaited but much lambasted resource hog and security nag Windows Vista. Then there’s the fresh, yet schizophrenic, confusing app-challenged Windows 8 and Windows Phone platforms. Windows 8 had the unfortunate privilege of having no Start Menu, screen wasting full-screen apps as well as the lack of them, in its bid to enter the world of tablets. Despite these setbacks, they’re still going strong in the business market yet because of those same setbacks, other operating platforms have taken hold. Foremost is Google’s Android operating system which is the most prevalent or most used operating systems for mobile phones. Second is Linux, the free and secure operating system that sired Android and the up-and-coming Chrome OS. Microsoft aims to bounce back with its new Windows 10 operating system and the possibly revolutionary Windows Holographic technology.
But technology continues to grow amongst other players in the industry. Apple is struggling to come up with something new and Microsoft still has some time to go before its new technologies get released giving other players time to release something new and revolutionary. Apple and Microsoft may buy into some of these players but some players stand their ground and aim to take their own place at the top.
Existing players include Google, creator of the Android platform. Google, with Android partner Samsung continue to catch up with fierce opponent Apple and sometimes get ahead in terms of mobile technologies. In the news, it’s often described as the battle between Samsung’s Galaxy S line using Android versus Apple’s iPhones using iOS. But Apple, Google and Samsung make computers too and it’s in this field that they go head-to-head with Microsoft. It’s Apple’s MacOS versus Microsoft Windows versus Google Chrome. Samsung does seek to create its own mobile platform to oppose Android and iOS through its Tizen operating system which has yet to take off. 2015 may just be the year. Google meanwhile is experiencing some growth in the hardware market through its Chromebooks which is steadily getting popular with the younger, cloud-oriented demographic.
Several new players have come out to challenge Apple and Microsoft. Chinese company Xiaomi has openly challenged Apple when it comes to phone sales. Xiaomi is currently the world’s third mobile phone distributor through three years of active marketing. The company’s Mi smart phones use Google’s Android and is ten times less expensive than Apple’s iPhones but have very impressive specs.
2015 can also be the year of Lenovo. The world’s current largest personal computer manufacturer. Now that Microsoft’s operating systems fell out of Beijing’s favor, Lenovo stands to challenge Microsoft on the PC platform by either promoting Linux on its systems in the Asian market or crafting their own operating platform. Lenovo would still retain Windows on other foreign distributions. Lenovo also has no way to go but up after purchasing IBM’s server business. It’s mobile offerings continue to be popular. If Lenovo does create a new compelling operating platform, it could unseat Microsoft or Apple from their spots.
Amazon is another major company that can afford to spend on R&D. Amazon, though mainly an online shopping company already has its own hardware line made up of the Kindle e-readers, Kindle Fire tablets and its ill-fated Fire phones. Amazon continues to be on top of e-commerce and is even contemplating on using drones for delivery. Who’s to say Amazon won’t try again in the computer and phone fields?
Microsoft has also made inroads in communications through Skype, which it intends to revolutionize with its Holographic technology. One new company has openly challenged Skype and is currently selling what many people want in an overly-connected world—privacy. MEGA, based on New Zealand, run by the infamous Kim Dotcom of the defunct MegaUpload file-sharing service is another cloud-based file hosting company. It’s recent offering MegaChat claims that Skype is under observation by the NSA and that MegaChat‘s end-to-end encryption technology will prevent anyone snooping on conversations making it the ideal chat program. There is also no overhead since Megachat is designed to run on browsers. With MEGA, it’s a bit early to say but it does have potential.
Speaking of communication, Facebook is at the top of social media. It runs on all platforms, desktop or mobile. It has enough resources to create its own platform and released its own phone with the help of HTC last 2013. Like Amazon, Facebook could try again.
Whether these companies can go head-to-head or overtake Apple and Microsoft remains to be seen. But when it comes to technology, it’s not always the name that matters, it’s where the users will be.