The sky is falling!!!
Such klaxon warnings have been sounding for decades. I am not for a moment suggesting we resist change. It is the only constant. All our efforts to stop the tide will only have us swept away in the undertow. Change is necessary. It disturbs complacency and challenges us to get more out of ourselves and our communication.
Our article headline New and Improved was a grammatically challenging expression in hundreds of ads. In our media buffet today, we have truly some New platforms to showcase products. Happily, many of the incumbent platforms have elevated their game to become Improved.
Perhaps, instead of the Chicken Little panic button, we acknowledge the evolution of media. The changes in technology, the proliferation of Social Media channels, and the changes in consumer tastes, demands, and capabilities. But – interestingly, not in human behaviour.
A brief timeline:
Do not confine yourself to a silo of ‘Traditional’ or ‘Digital’ thinking.
About the Author
Dennis Kelly is President of First Impressions Media provding media buying and planning services.
Now we just had a look at how Google built a tech empire with $250 billion in revenue where they gave away their product for free. Now Microsoft built their $168 billion empire by making people pay for it. It all started with an operating system called MSDosc that was the first operating system created for the IBM PC in 1980. This was beginning of the paid software model that has transformed the industry and spawn countless new ecosystems for the desktop PC. Microsoft got $40 for their software on each unit.
In those days computers were $700 and used a floppy disc drive storage and was only in the reach of business users. I remember working on one at JWT in 1986 and there was only one for the whole media department. (During this time email and smartphones did not exist, fax was the way people communicated digitally)
During these days office software was Lotus 123 for spreadsheets, Harvard Graphics for presentation software and Word Perfect for word processing. There was even a drawing program called Corel, a Canadian company. Through acquisition Microsoft created Office 365 (Launched in 1990) and leveraged their operating system as a competitive advantage during its marketing. Through the years Microsoft, used textbook predator capitalist strategies and acquired an interest in over 350 companies to fend off rivals and buy hot growth high tech companies. Microsoft is now one of the biggest gaming publishers through this strategy.
High Profile Acquisitions
Email: Hotmail/Outlook: 1997 ($500M) - 400 M users
Video Chat: SKYPE: 2011 ($8.5B) - 200 M users
Mobile Phones: Nokia Mobile Phones: 2013 ($7.2B)
Gaming: Mojang (Minecraft): 2014 (42.5B)
Social Media: Linkedin: 2016 ($26.2B) (830M users)
Gaming: Activision Blizzard: 2021 ($68.7B)
Today the Windows OS is on close to 70% of computers in Canada and it's primarily in the business market where companies like HP and Lenovo provide the latest hardware. The company produces a wide range of consumer and enterprise software for desktops, laptops, tablets and servers. The ubiquitous Office 365 is the business software of choice for office applications even though Google docs is gaining ground as the free choice. Students can get a license for Office 365 for free though.
Microsoft is the Biggest Gaming Publisher in the World.
The video game industry is another child of the Microsoft ecosystem and all the best games were written for Windows machines. This is a $37B market in the USA. There are 23 game developers and some of the best sellers of all time are Minecraft, Halo, Gears of War that are now owned by Microsoft. Global video game revenue was $179.7 billion in 2020, according to IDC data, making the video game industry a bigger moneymaker than the global movie and North American sports industries combined.
HP has a line of consumer computers just for gamers to cater to this market called Omen, these are high performance computers with CPUs clocking in 3GHZ or up with graphics cards. In this world response time is key, as things as keyboard and mouse lag response times may be the difference in winning and losing.
The Computer Hacker is Born as a new Life form
As with all ecosystems new life like bacteria was spawned as cyber criminals became a new art form and they targeted Windows users. New terms like malware, viruses, phishing and computer hi-jacking became everyday cyber threats and security software was born.
Microsoft's market dominance also spawned the growth of the Open Source Movement as Linux a free to use operating system that was invented in 1991 by Linus Torvalds got widespread use and offered better security that Windows. This OS was used primarily for servers and data centers like the New York Stock exchange and NASA. I got to see this first hand as I worked with the Linux Journal during the Dot Com boom and knew all the players.
The Surface Hardware Line is Microsoft’s Signature Statement
As with all good capitalists, sometimes they will eat their own with their venture into hardware with the Surface line, even though they are partners with all the major computer companies in the world. The Surface line today from its humble beginnings as an OS for their first smartphone when they bought Nokia in 2013.
The Surface line today can be best described as their signature statement of their commitment in creating high quality leading edge products. The Surface line is not just a tablet anymore, it has ultra thin laptops that come with a 13 inch screen and a desktop (Studio 2) all in one with a 28 inch touch screen. They are still playing around with smartphones as they have unveiled a two screen model (Duo), that looks pretty cool and uses the Android OS.
Microsoft’s Carbon Free Strategy
Microsoft is planning to be Carbon free by 2030 to meet the Global 2050 goal of a carbon fee society. They have over 200 data centers worldwide and are being powered in part by wind and solar farms. Microsoft has a virtual tour of the data centre that you can check out. CLICK HERE
The identity of Microsoft can get a little confusing as they have their hands in many pies like business software, hardware (games consoles, tablets and phones), publishing (MSN News) and video game publishers. This is all built on their ubiquitous Windows OS that is now on version 11 and businesses run on Windows and will forever be a core part of the digital infrastructure in Canada.
"Humans have evolved with an inherent desire for and sensitivity to compelling stories."
How important is it to include brand storytelling elements in your website? It seems like a lot more work than a website with good, clean design and a user-friendly interface.
The hero of your story isn’t you. It’s your customer. While tempting, your website shouldn’t be painting a picture of yourself as the hero who saves the day. Your potential customer wants to see themself in your story as the main character or the hero in the brand narrative your website is depicting.
The most compelling story you tell about yourself can’t compare to a real experience shared by one of your previous visitors. Use testimonials, case studies and reviews as part of your storytelling arsenal to significantly enhance your website's impact on potential customers.
What can you say about Google? It has become a key component of the digital infrastructure for everyone to the point the word “Google” has become a verb. Google has provided the tools for just in time learning for just about anything for home, cars, etc through YouTube how to videos. If you don't know something, just Google your question and you will find the answer. Tech guys have been using this technique to troubleshoot for years.
Google is the classic university school idea that became a very successful product and has become an intricate part of today’s digital ecosystem.It all started in 1998 during the dotcom boom by Larry Page and Sergy Brin students at Stanford University in California as a web based search algorithm called “Back Rub” and has now morphed into Google. The name “Google” is derived from the mathematical term “googol.”
“The internet is one of the world’s most powerful equalizers; it propels ideas, people and business large and small. Our mission is to organize the World’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. We aspire to give everyone the tools they need to increase knowledge, health, happiness and success.” Quote from the Google 2022 Annual Report
I believe Google has achieved that goal and we will be entering an interesting phase in the next generation of technologies that will incorporate AI learning . If we take inventory of what Google offers to users it is pretty impressive and it is free to use for everyone if you are part of the Google digital ecosystem and it all starts with a Gmail account.
The Google Digital Ecosystem
Today the world’s population is 7.8 Billion and if you take out China’s 1.4 Billion you have 6.4 billion people with access to Google and the numbers are staggering. Then you factor in that 20% of the population is under 15 years you are left with 5.1 billion adults 16+
How Big is Google?
1. Google Search Engine - 3.8 million searches per minute
2. Chrome Web Browser - 2.65 billion users
3. Gmail Email - 1.5 billion users
4. YouTube Videos - 2.65 billion users per month
5. Android OS for mobile phones - 3 billion phones
6. Google Photos Cloud Storage - 1 billion user
7. Google Maps with advance features - 1 billion users/mo
8. Google G Suite (Sheets, Slides, Docs) - 2 billion users
9. Google AdSense Network - 38.3 million websites
10. Google Classroom - Jan 2022 - 600,000 downloads - largest ever
11. Chromebook OS for computers - 30 million sold a year
12 Google Play Store - Store has over 3.5 million apps
13. Google Drive - 1 billion users
Unintended Side Effects of the Google Invention - “ Gamers” and “BlackHat’s”
One of the unintended consequences of this invention as with any live ecosystem were the actions of the “Gamers” who try to rig the outcome of Google's search engine for better rankings, which lead to a new ecosystem called search engine optimization. This led to a wave of tools such as click bots that click on ads and links for better results, link farms that had links just for SEO results and the best of all were ad farms that were fake websites that linked to ads to scam the pay per click market that Google invented. Today, content marketing is being used as a SEO tool to improve Google rankings. As we know the better the rankings the more exposure you get. On top of this were all Black Hat Hacker threats that Google has had to deal with too.(Some critics said that Google took a blind eye to this activity in the early years of their existence)
When you are number 1, everybody is after you.
Google has survived criticism, stealth attacks and USA style competition, but credit is due to the Google team to be the last company standing. The Google search engine can be considered today as part of the public domain and should not be owned by one company, but it is. It has evolved to become a day to day necessity for everyday life and will eventually be regulated in various countries in some form around the world. Yeah, Google has become a victim of their own success unfortunately, just ask the folks at Microsoft how it feels. When you are number 1, everybody is after you.
Google’s risk taking nature is evident in some of their misses and they include Google+, their response to Facebook and Google Glass that came with a lot of hype and has faded away. Google has entered the hardware market with an Android Phone (Google PIxel) and Home Automation with Google Nest so they are branching out in other markets.
In the 2022 Annual Report Google (Now Alphabet) reported revenues of $257.6 billion. Google Advertising revenue was 209.7B or 81% of total revenue. Search Ads were $148.9B, YouTube $ 28.8B that was 85% of advertising revenue combined. The USA market contributed 46% of Google revenue. This is a big powerful company now and has gone through an incredible journey of innovation to get where they are today.
What Powers the Google Internet?
For the uniformed Google has 23 Data centers worldwide that provides their services with 14 in the USA, 1 in Chile, 6 in Europe and 2 in Asia. These are big facilities with lots of security and can range in size from 200,000 sq ft (4 BIg Box Stores) to 980,000 sq. ft.
The electricity demand of these types of facilities is enormous; it is estimated that all the Google data centers combined require the same amount of electricity 2 times the needs of the City of San Francisco and cost $10-$25 million a year to operate per data center. Google has become carbon neutral in their energy consumption through a 5 year sustainability strategy and in 2020 Google became carbon neutral for the first time and kudos should be given out for that achievement also.
Google’s success will face another chapter as they deal with their market dominance and the possible intervention from the USA government for Sherman Act (1890) anti-competitive measures. History has shown that when companies get too big they will intervene and this has happened in Telecom (AT&T 1984), Energy (Standard Oil 1909) and Tobacco (American Tobacco 1908). Google's Search Ads and Ad Sense network has driven local publishers to the brink of bankruptcy and this is a global issue.
The digital transformation of our economy is now complete, the pandemic drove online engagement to the top of the corporate funnel for all companies. Schools are the best example of this digital transformation as online learning became the staple in both post-secondary and K-12 institutions. A zoom meeting became the new norm.
As we move slowly back to life as normal as possible, we are still facing the inflationary after effects of supply shortages as production ramps up again. Cars for example have gone up 30% during this period. I would not want to buy a car now. During this time there has been a leap in processing power of personal computers.
I have been doing a gig as an HP Brand Ambassador in a Best Buy store (this is my version of going undercover) and this has allowed me a front line perspective of the changes in technology and I get to chat with some of the tech wizards at Best Buy.
We are at the beginning of a 5G World - The World of Super fast Computing and Internet
This is what I have learned the latest computer chips are experiencing Moore’s Law of processing, where it will double every two years. This is happening now in the I7 chips from Intel and AMD’s Ryzen 7 that enable 5 Ghz CPU processing speed, which borders on super computer fast according to press releases. Previous generation chips (I5, I3) offer speeds in the 2-2.5GHZ range.
“Moore's law is a term used to refer to the observation made by Gordon Moore (Founder of Intel) in 1965 that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years.”
Other changes in technology is that Bluetooth technologies now allow multiple devices to be connected at once as it can connect multiple headphones to listen together for example. All printers today are all wifi enabled and the cost of laser printers is at an all-time low as some are now cheaper than ink-jet. Ink-jet printers now have a refillable ink tank option so you don’t have to pay a lot for ink anymore.
Apple not to be out done has released the M1 Chip in their lineup that offers superior speed too. While Apple does not publicly release CPU speeds the latest chip is rated at 3.6Ghz speeds, which is snap at your finger speed btw. If you are gamer/graphic designer a CPU speed of 3Ghz or higher is ideal to give you an idea how fast these speeds are.
What is emerging in the latest generation of Windows laptops are 2 in1 versions that have a touchscreen as part of its configuration. The HP Spectra 2-1 Laptop, has 5 GHz CPU speed using the Intel I7 chip, it comes with 16GB ram, ITB storage and Nividia Graphics card. This is the TOP of the line laptop computer and retails for $2,229. It also comes with a backlight and very responsive keyboard for those speed typers. Windows 11 going foward will need 16GB of ram to operate fast as it take up to 5GB of ram.
The Canadian Digital Ecosystem Fast Facts
The digital ecosystem in Canada primarily consists of Apple, Google/Android, Microsoft and Facebook. I pulled some stats off the internet to get a snapshot of the size digital ecosystem and to see how they are all interconnected.
- Canada’s Population 38.1 million
- 33 million mobile subscribers (86% of pop)
- Social media users 33.3 million
- 10.5 million households (94% with cable internet)
Canada is about fully connected to the internet as it going to get, we just need everybody’s grandma now to get a computer, but they already have a tablet and smartphone in most cases. LOL
Mobile Vendor Market Share
Apple: 57% Android 43% - Samsung 29%, Google 3%, LG 2%, Huawei 2%, Motorola 2%
This is not surprising this ecosystem is dominated by two players Apple and Android Devices. Expect this to be a two horse race going forward, but with changes in the mix from Android vendors.
Desktop OS Market Share
Windows OS 68%, Mac 24%, Chrome 4%, Linux 2%
This is no surprise, but Apple’s almost 25% share in Canada suggests Apple is very popular as Apple as only a 7.6% share of global computer shipments. The Chrome OS is used in Chromebooks.
Global Market Share of Computers 2021
Windows: Lenovo 24.7%, HP 21.8%, Dell 17.6%, Acer 7.2%, Asus 6.4%, Apple 7.6%
Windows machines still dominate computer shipments worldwide and this will not will change anytime soon. (Note all Windows vendors provide chromebooks)
What is a Chromebook? This is the Chromebase 21.5” desktop version of the Chromebook from HP, it is the sexiest machine on the sales floor. It has a rotating touch screen so you can go vertical (90 degreee rotation). Chromebooks are a web/cloud computer as everything is done through the chrome browser, there is no internal storage. The laptop versions are $200- $500 in price so are very affordable for schools, who use Google Classroom. The desktop version goes for $800. It looks like Google is playing the long game with this machine.
Browser Market Share
Chrome 50.6%, Safari 31.2%, Other: Edge 6.9% Firefox 5.12% Samsung Internet 3.3% Android .42%
This is very interesting stat to look at as Windows has a 68% OS share but Chrome is #1 in how people access the internet then Apple in second and Edge a distant third.
As you can see the digital ecosystem is very much interconnected. For office productivity software it is a two horse race between Microsoft Office 48% share and Google Office 45% (Global) so this interconnection goes deeper in the digital ecosystem.
Social Media Apps
Facebook 76.9%, Instagram 58.2%, Twitter 36.8%, Pinterest 34.5%, Tik To 32.2%, Linkedin 31.4%, Reddit, 26.7%, Skype 19.8%, Tumblr 7.5%
FP Messenger 64.4%, Whatsapp 38.5%, I Message 38.2%, Snapchat 30.3%, Discord 15.1%, Telegram 8.2%
Social Media and Messaging apps are very turbulent ecosystems as changes happen frequently to the players. Tik Tok for example has become a dominant player. Same can be said for WhatsApp.
As you can see the digital ecosystem in Canada is controlled by a handful of players which means money is leaving the publishing industry in Canada in the form of advertising revenue, control over audiences and audience destinations.
The free to pay crusade for digital subs is a starting part, but there is too much free content out there to be successful except for a handful of brands perhaps like the Globe and Mail. For example the CBC and CTV news will alway be free online. Governments are now trying to fix this problem through regulation, taxation and fines, but are slow to act for some reason unless we shout out loud.
We will be publishing a series of posts on the various digital ecosystems from Apple, Google/Android, Windows and Facebook that are part of the State of Digital postings for the 2022 COPAS.
Sources: gs.statcounter.com Statcounter Global Stats - April 2022, Stats Canada, Wikipedia, Statista, Global Statistics