In my 30 years of playing with computers these three companies have been the ones that nearly always have been around me, in one way or the other. In a personal way with my old-days MS- DOS PC, my Google searches, my Gmail email at work, my IPhone, my Power Point or my Mac.
It may be in the industrial space where they have less influence, but they are still there. ERPs are dominated by SAP, Oracle is The database, DELL seems to be one of the corporate brands for workspace PCs, Cisco is clearly on the communication side. But still, the three big ones have still presence in our day-to-day lives, at home and at work.
If this Internet of Things evolution, or revolution, is going to be with us for another couple of years, are Apple. Google and Microsoft still be present with us? Will these big companies be leaders in the Internet of Things?
Many big companies, besides this ones, are getting into this space: Oracle, Honewell, GE, Zebra, Cisco, Ayla, PTC… and many startups and small companies are playing hard and well to be IoT references. I will change my previous statement to this one: all the IT companies seem to playing around with IoT, the evolution. Now its time to see if during the next 10 years we will have the bog names leading the Internet of Things space.
Apple, clearly focused to consumers will deliver cool IoT gadgets
The biggest of the companies, measured by cash and stock value, has enough founds to invest and accomplish any project they can imagine. They have decided, though to focus to the consumer market with the Home Kit for developers, and some how with the Smart Watch. If they don’t abandon the line that has made them so wealthy, it will not be rare that many Apple users will start incorporating to their lives products of the Internet of Apple Things. It will be done slowly and at a steady pace, creating cool products that anyone will want to have, and they will be part of the ecosystem that every multi-device Apple user has adopted silently.
It will be interesting to see how Apple monetizes these gadgets beyond their selling point. It seems obvious that their core strategy is to add value to the ecosystem having the user to pay small amounts for apps. If this is possible in their portfolio, then it will be an interesting strategy to follow.
Google, the innovative multi-focused approach
I don’t know if the Google glasses are Internet of Things gadgets, but since they are connected, and they are a thing, they fall into this category. Thermostats, meters, self-driving car… and of course all the X projects that may be going around. All the gadgets that they are inventing are focused to many different markets, because they have a big innovative lab where ideas come to life and, if they see market for it, they will launch it. They are not afraid of making a mistake, or at least this is the impression they give, and have many ideas and people working in many areas and surely will bring lots of connected device that will improve the digital life and business.
Beyond the IoT device, one aspect very interesting of Google is Android. The platform that allows creating any application, open for everyone, well know, stable software, capable on running on low-powered devices…. and with a very very big base of developers and hardware partners. This creates an enormous opportunity for Google to be present in the Internet of Things massively, just as they are in the mobile phones. Whether they are capable of monetizing this market penetration, enough as to make it worthy, time will tell.
Microsoft, oriented to the Industrial Internet of Things
Although Microsoft is loosing pace lately, with changing and adapting strategies, they have at the moment a clear focus on the Internet of Things: Windows 10 and the Azure platform. They are orienting the messages to the end users in the industry, the final companies that will make use of hardware components and business processes, hopefully running Windows 10 as the OS, and Azure as the platform that will connected and enable automated processes. I believe that there will be mushroom for professional services behind this strategy, and maybe some good opportunities to create a Microsoft environment in the companies where the brand penetrates.
Microsoft’s way will lead to important customers that will provide them with a decent amount of incomes per each of them, in many cases in recurrent basis. I still don’t see a massive, Internet-wide adoption of Microsoft’s products, but there is fit there where big numbers are, that is, in the big companies. But the Azure platform will face a hard competition with many other IoT platform that are looking for their space.
The list of big ones may be different with so much innovation going on
Apple and Google were small when they began the Internet race, and now they are leading. In this new IoT era newcomers may rise from zero and become the new leaders, or one the new big-ones. Apple has taught us that good margins are important, maybe more than market penetration. Google that there’s room for making money without having end-users pay directly for something. Microsoft that a dominating position creates a comfort zone that may result in danger in a couple of years. I’m sure that everyone has learn this and many other interesting things and will try to make a difference with these learnings. I’m also convinced that innovation is always happening everywhere, whatever the size of the company, and there is room for surprises.
Do you think Apple, Google, Microsoft will be leaders the Internet of Things or new companies will dominate the Internet of Things market?