It’s funny how everyone keeps thinking about the technology industry in terms of cars. Steve Jobs talked a lot about cars and trucks. Just this week, Ben Thompson wrote about the technology industry in general and his theory that it is similar to the formative years of the car industry.
The argument goes that while there were a lot of companies started with the idea of building cars at the inception of the automobile industry when the dust settled, there were only a few left. By that time, those companies had such an extreme advantage that there simply was no room for new start-up car manufacturers to get any traction. Thompson then applies this to technology, arguing that the platforms and integrations built by Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon represent that same extreme advantage. How could someone that wants to make their own mobile phone platform (or whatever gizmo follows the mobile phone) get any traction without all the back end pieces the big four have spent ten years (and billions of dollars) creating? The more I think about it, the more I agree.
The reason this is important is because a lot of us (myself included) had always assumed that at some point, this phase of technology would come to an end by a brand new disrupter completely displacing the current leaders. Now I’m not so sure. Ben Thompson is one of the smartest people writing about the technology industry. If you don’t have Stratechery on your RSS feed, you should.