In 1971, 44 years ago, Intel introduced the first 'computer on a chip'.
In 1981, 34 Years ago, the operating system DOS 1.0 was fired up.
In 1991, 24 years ago, the world wide web was opened up to the general public. Amazon was launched 3 years later.
In 1997, 18 years ago, IBM released Deep Blue (which beat Gary Kasparov in chess) which had the 32-bit copper chip that also powered the Sojourner Rover/Pathfinder mission to Mars. Also in 1997/1998 Google (essentially the gateway to the world wide web that was publicly released 5 years prior) was born.
In 2007, 8 years ago, Apple released the iPhone.
One looks at this timeline and three things pop into mind pretty quickly. 3 things that give us a sense for where technology or (more precisely) technology companies are going.
- Every one of these major technology releases was the beginning of a 'platform' business. One or a few companies were the 'platform' providers of that technology. These platform providers are still some of the biggest companies in the world right now.
- Each release of a technology led to an ecosystem of businesses built around that platform. Many of the best companies around the platform also became huge businesses.
- The platform defining technologies have benefited greatly from Moore's Law which explains the exponential accelerating rate of the reducing cost and increasing capacity of computing power over the last 5 decades.
We are getting closer to 5th decade of said Moore's Law (even though some thinkMoore's Law is stalling/no longer applies) i.e. computing power will exponentially increase and get cheaper over the next few years. Even cheaper than it currently is. This is why we are hearing more about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Virtual Reality (VR), The Internet of Things etc. all technological advancements that are benefitting fundamentally from exponential reductions in processing power at cheaper costs.
Apple (with cars), Google (with cars/robots and AI), Facebook (with AI and VR) and Amazon (with Alexa and Voice Control) are all banking on the increased predicted capacity and have all picked a platform to 'own'. Of course IBM (with Watson), Microsoft (with Hololens) and Intel (with Skylake, their new processor) are also banking on becoming the next platform business.
What's odd about that list up there (save Facebook) is that it's the same companies in that timeline I've drawn above.
And it is truly odd that as things change (at the platform level), things seem to stay the same in the technology industry...Not sure how I feel about this... what do you think?