The big four; Google Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple are in tough competition to create the next best thing, so who will come out ahead? It is not enough to keep perfecting what already exists, and one needs to keep coming up with the “next best thing” to remain leaders in the industry. The four big guns; Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple need to keep ahead of the game when it comes to new ideas. That means acquiring up-and-coming startups, establishing development departments, and hiring the best of the best to make it all happen.
Larry Page, one of the founding members of Google, follows a “moon-shot” mentality. Page created a department within the company called Google X specifically to develop ground-breaking ideas, such as self-driving cars and Google Glass. Page does not want to be the company that spends its time making incremental changes on existing products. The turnover in technology is quick, and development time with minor changes on technology that will be obsolete in a short period leads to the slow demise of the company, according to Page.
Google is in the process of acquiring Skybox Imaging for an estimated $500 million. Skybox builds satellites that view daily global activity. What does this mean for Google? The company believes Skybox will give Google the opportunity to launch their own satellites for the purpose of taking aerial pictures, giving the internet company more access to remote areas in the world. Initially, the acquisition will improve Google’s digital maps.
Facebook has made 23 acquisitions within the past two years which include; WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and Instagram. The company shelled out a total for $22 billion for all three companies. Facebook seems to be showing a lot of interest in companies that are heavy into translation, gaming, mobile advertising, and face recognition technology. They have also had been exploring the world of drones that allow people to have a more user-friendly experience and easier access. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a new project called Internet.org. MediaTek, Opera, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Samsung have partnered with Facebook on the project and hope the big name companies will have an impact on the industry who will embrace the project. The idea is to give people around the globe internet access, including developing countries. Zuckerberg’s ultimate goal is for five billion people around the world to connect online via mobile access.
2014 is a big year for Apple with the long-awaited launch of the Apple Television and the iWatch. The two items are a departure from the computer/music driven company. The company has been stuck in an incremental upgrade phase for a few years with the iPhone, iPad and laptops, but with companies such as; Google, Yahoo, and Facebook gaining speed, Apple needs to pick up the pace with innovative ideas. Apple Brands are doing just fine as their stock split for the first time in more than nine years as well as the recent acquisition of Beats Music and Electronics for $3 billion.
CEO Marissa Mayer business approach is to think like a start-up company, and if you can’t think like one then purchase them. Since taking over the reigns in 2012, Mayer has been involved in the acquisition of a few companies. Shortly after she started, the company purchased Summly, a mobile news reading app developed by a British 17-year-old, and a mobile recommendation service called Stamped.
Before Marissa’s hire at Yahoo, the company was earning the reputation of acquiring companies and neglecting them. Mayer, a former executive at Google, was known for her hands-on approach at her former company, so startups were willing to take a chance on Yahoo again. The purchase Flickr pre-Mayer was one of the alleged neglected acquisitions but has now been redesigned and is about to lose its third-party sign-in through Facebook and Google due to its stand alone success.
Whether the next big thing comes from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Apple, the outcome will be innovative and groundbreaking. All four companies have brought unique and original designs to the world of technology and social media. The next big thing may not even be from the big four, but could very well be from the kid who is sitting in his dorm room bored with school work, dreaming about an app that could do the work for him.
Opinion By Christina Thompson