Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft: The New Four Horsemen of Wall Street
While this is not to be mistaken as praise for the emulating companies, it should not be considered an indictment either. In fact, I will argue that had Research in Motion(RIMM) set aside its pride and copied Apple, as many had suggested, it would still be relevant today.
As in sports, and in particular football, the world of business has become a "copy-cat league." Winning formulas are not considered intellectual property. In other words, where Super Bowl championships were once dominated by the best running teams, that has now shifted to those that are better at passing the ball. Essentially every team now wants to do what last year's Super Bowl winner did.
In similar fashion, Wall Street has no shame in mimicking successful formulas, which I think makes sense.
For many years Apple was the only company that was able to successfully be its own hardware and software supplier -- essentially creating the ecosystem of a unified platform. Today, Microsoft and Google are looking for a similar benefits.
In announcing the Nexus 7 Google is looking at two possible outcomes.
First, it sought to design a device specifically for its online store in order to sell music, movies, books and other content. However, with its pricing point set firmly at $199, Google is also looking to steal market share from Amazon -- except it forgets that it licenses its Android OS to Amazon to power its Kindle Fire tablet. Essentially Google has now become an Amazon partner as well as rival.
On the other hand, Amazon, which launched its highly successful Kindle Fire last year, has become an immediate threat to Apple's iPad. While the Fire lacks several of the features of the iPad, its $199 price has proven to be not only a very attractive trade-off, but a formidable opponent.
As a response, the word is that Apple will unveil a 7-inch iPad later this fall to apply pressure to not only Amazon, but also Google and Microsoft. But it doesn't end there, as Amazon might soon confirm its plans to not only release a 7-inch Kindle Fire later this month, but also a 10-inch version later in the fall.