[OPINION] Not too big to fail: How the biggest tech giants could collapse

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Editor’s Note: The following is a repurposing of a random conversation that started in Techpoint Africa’s team WhatsApp group.


Oghenekaro Obrutu (Techpoint Product Lead) asked:

Of the tech giants (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook). Who do you think is most likely to collapse first? (Think like Yahoo, BlackBerry, Kodak etc).

P.S: I know there isn’t a huge chance of this, but just rank them in order of likely to unlikely (to collapse). Just to get an idea of how solid they really are.

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Team responses ensue…

Then comes Oghenekaro’s answer, increasing order of unlikelihood:

Facebook

Facebook
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckgerberg

Facebook has the weakest business model in my opinion. If there’s a mass exodus from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp today due to cancel culture or something (and there are several competing products rising in their space right now), I don’t think they’ll survive.

They basically have only Oculus to rely on for revenue, and even then, that won’t cut it as profit margins there are quite slim.

But that’s not even counting what’s more likely to kill them — government regulations.

Verdict: Probably a very quick death for these ones

Google (Alphabet)

logo google sign trademark trademark image
Photo on Photostockeditor

More than 80% of Google’s revenue is still stuck in Ads. With regulations on cookies and tracking constantly biting at them, and the fact that they have offered too much stuff for free, it’ll be hard to make up that 80% in any reasonable time if for some reason they can’t advertise.

Verdict: Most likely a slow death

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Apple

Apple iPhone 6 iOS 8 UHD

They have been desperately trying to diversify incomes recently but almost everything they offer is still closed in their ecosystem. Their major attractions are quite fickle if you think about it.

First one is their ecosystem, which is pretty great because all their stuff works well together.

But if one of their products fails or is out innovated by someone else, they could lose many users across all their products, because their other products won’t play nice.

Second attraction is their social allure and brand, but a brand can go from 100 to 0 pretty quickly (remember BlackBerry was king of social proof before they went down).

If for some reason their devices stop being trendy or there’s a new trendy thing, then they lose almost all they have.

Verdict: Slow or quick death, it depends.

Amazon

Amazon
Photo by Rich Bamford
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/29934487872

I consider Amazon to be tied with Microsoft for least likely to collapse for similar reasons; their money primary comes from governments, institutions and massive enterprises (including Apple).

What’s common with huge organisations is that they are extremely resistant to change, so even if a better technology comes along it’ll take a while before Amazon Web Services (AWS) starts losing business.

Running nearly half of the entire internet is quite a feat.

Oh, and there’s still their mainstream Amazon.com, where they have every other person’s business (hardware, ads, software, even on demand streaming and more).

Verdict: I don’t know how these ones can die.

Microsoft

Microsoft Nigeria

Similar to Amazon in the enterprise space. Add that to their Surface line, Windows, Xbox, Office and whatever else they’ve got running.

Verdict: Like Amazon, I can’t predict how they can die

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