From the economist, a cute map...
...and a summary of the players and conflicts of the GAFA (Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon) Wars:
There are a few interesting nuggets amidst the cutesiness, most generally known, a few less so.
(An actual estimate for Apple's ebook market share! 5%
IT IS an epic story of warring factions in a strange and changing landscape, a tale of incursions and sieges, of plots and betrayals, of battlefield brilliance and of cunning with coin.
While Apple fights Google on one border, it fights Amazon on another, where the battle is to be the best provider of online content. After it launched the iPod, Apple mounted an unexpected raid into the realm of content with its iTunes digital music store. The content sold the hardware, and vice versa—a successful strategy that started a new rivalry with Amazon, which began as a bookstore in the mid-1990s but soon diversified, first into selling compact discs and DVDs, now into clothes, kitchenware and everything else. But last year 37% of Amazon’s $48 billion revenue still came from media, both physical and digital.
The most hard-fought battle between them so far has been in the e-book market. Amazon accounted for some two-thirds of all digital-book downloads in America last year. Apple accounted for just 5%, but it has been trying to woo publishers away from Amazon with an aggressive strategy that gives them more freedom to determine e-book prices than under Amazon’s terms. In digital music, the tables are reversed, with Amazon’s Cloud Player music service struggling to make a dent in iTunes’ huge market share. In video both firms are trying to make headway against Netflix, which has been turning itself from a DVD renter to a video streamer.
Not discussed: none of the four has much of a presence in the living room, though Amazon is nominally a player on the service side. But without a credible platform of their own they're about as relevant as Google and Apple are there: not very. I guess it doesn't fit the GOT narrative that the living room is the next big battleground and none of the four are getting any penetration against Microsoft, Sony, and now Nintendo. I expect somebody to scarf up Roku real soon.
They get carried away at times but the do offer up a general context for all the little (and not so little) skirmishes that pop up regularly in the news.
Their lordships Page, Cook, Zuckerberg and Bezos thus need to map a course for their respective firms through dangerous legal and regulatory territory. At the same time they have to avoid being distracted from fighting their rivals; the mad emperors of Microsoft lost a lot of ground by taking on the inhuman might of the Department of Justice. And the shareholders, hungry for returns in a moribund global economy, need to be kept happy.
A king who pulled all this off might claim the throne by right; but his chances of being more than first among equals, or of a lengthy reign, would be slim. As in Westeros, these battles and plots promise many more sequels and series.
Food for thought, perhaps?