Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Platform Warriors, Come Out And Play-Ayy

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My daddy always told me, never bring a knife to a gun fight.

Actually, he didn’t tell me that, but it sounds like something he would say.But what happens when everyone brings a knife to the knife fight??

That sounds a little something like what’s happening with the emerging Platform Wars of 2011.

Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are lining up in the back alley, emotions are heating up, and somebody’s about to get hurt…the only question is, who?

Are the platform war stalwarts ready to rough and tumble it in the virtual streets? WAR-YERs, come out and PLAY-AYY!

The most recent tidings that suggest evidence of this: A machination that allegedly keeps Google+ invite links from appearing on Facebook user news feeds.

CNET’s Josh Lowensohn filed about this recently, and it just sent me cracking up.  No matter its origin or even veracity, it’s the kind of Silicon Alley back alley knife fight we’re going to see a lot more of.

No, Johnny, you can’t play on our side of the playground…you’re not one of the cool kids!

I’m having flashbacks to the OS/2 and Windows wars of the early 1990s (although we in OS/2 land lost that one pretty soundly – although I still miss my beloved Warp toolbar!)

Only this time around, the knives are much bigger and much sharper, and the stakes are that much higher. This time around, it’s not only the ruling consumer IT platform at stake: It’s also the mobile, publishing, and entertainment industry hubs.

Another analogy: This is three dimensional chess with moving pieces, and Deep Blue is nowhere to be found to help figure out what the next move should be.

This all kinda reminds me of that infamous 1979 cult classic, “The Warriors.”

If you know the movie, you remember that siren call: “WAR-YERS, come out and PLAY-AYY!!!”

But instead of the Gramercy Riffs and the Turnbull ACs, we’ve got the Googlers and the Facebookers and the Amazonians and the Applers.  Although imagining Mark Zuckerberg holding a Bowie knife kinda makes me laugh.

Get out your baseball bats, boys and girls, there’s gonna be a rumble!!

In any good rumble, though, you have to keep an eye out for the alliances that are forming –- they could be critical in the coming clash.

Facebook and Microsoft, which put in an early $150M stake, then FB’s acquisition of ConnectU, FriendFeed, Beluga, and a host of others.

Google, first with dMarc, Postini, DoubleClick, YouTube, and now their Motorola Mobility acquisition, which gives them an aggressive mobile and ITV set-top play (someone had to do something to revive the Google TV patient, who was dead on arrival at the Beverly Hills ER).

Amazon, with their acquisition spree of Zappos, Audible, Woot, Lovefilm, the Book Depository, and a host of other vertical commerce and entertainment plays and formidable portfolio of credit-card carrying members (including me) who are loyal to a fault.

Apple, with their vertical integration and fortress-like wall around their hardware and software, not to mention their PR office and social media team and brilliant business development in music and entertainment (maybe Steve Jobs could go teach the President a thing or two about negotiating?)

Apple’s competitive differentiation is the Great Wall of Apple. Steve Jobs doesn’t have  to get along with the other kids in the sandbox — his is only big enough for one genius!

Me, I’ve never been an operating system one-trick pony, and so I figure I’ll play the same quadfecta for the looming platform knife fight.

I’m on Google+ and use Google search every day; I use Facebook to keep in touch with people from high school I hoped I’d never hear from again; I have several Macs, 4 iPods, an iPad, and an Apple TV, and I still don’t know how to get my music from one machine over to another; and Amazon…well, I wouldn’t short that stock anytime soon, as I’m sure I’ve probably given them more sheckels than any of the other platform warriors over the years.

Yes, it’s gonna be a wild ride out to Coney Island.  Director Tony Scott in 2008 suggested he was going to make a remake of “The Warriors,” only this time he said the movie would take place in Los Angeles and would feature thousands of gangs.

Methinks he might want to consider moving the setting up to Silicon Valley and settle for four Goliaths instead of a few thousand Davids.

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Written by turbotodd

August 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

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