Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Jockey for Dominance

A significant portion of the digital experience now rests in the hands of four companies—Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. “Other than content creation, it’s difficult to imagine any aspect of today’s digital landscape where at least one of the Big Four fails to play a prominent, if not defining, role,” said eMarketer in the new report “The Changing Digital Landscape: Key Trends Marketers Need to Know.” “Their clashes are reshaping the digital landscape, affecting hardware, software, services, the delivery and sale of content, advertising, and commerce.”

All four companies are not competing equally in all of these realms, of course. But by a combination of necessity and design, “all have expanded far beyond their core competencies in an effort to strengthen their appeal to users, solidify their standing with marketers and maintain their easily eroded relevance in the fast-moving digital economy,” said eMarketer.

For example, with Android, Google initially took on Apple in the smartphone arena. Google introduced its own Nexus One smartphone at the beginning of 2009. Although the device itself was a commercial failure, it accomplished Google’s larger goal of jumpstarting the Android platform. And now Google is moving into device manufacturing, introducing its own Nexus 7 tablet.

By comparison, Facebook, as a platform that sits across every device and operating system, finds itself at a competitive disadvantage. The persistent rumors of a Facebook-developed phone reflect this current liability.

“Expansionary moves on the part of the Big Four reflect a corresponding evolution in the digital world: Tight, increasingly verticalized integration of hardware, software, content, services, advertising and commerce has become table stakes,” said eMarketer. “Competing effectively now requires direct control over many, if not most of these assets, and enough leverage in areas of strength to compensate for areas of weakness.”

Overall, the influence the Big Four wield over the digital experience is broad-reaching. “In many ways, it is their world; everyone else—consumers and marketers alike—simply play (or work) in it.”

Source:eMarketer

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