There seems to be an unlimited growth of social services and tools. As the major social and tech companies, like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple continue to fill out their suites of social tools using internal and external armies of developers, they inevitably encounter one constant: there are 24 hours, sleeping included, in a given day in which to socialize.
This simple reality may be the underlying motivation behind the new wave of vertical integration that seems to rule these days. Similar to the corporate giants of old (when, for example, Standard Oil owned every step of product production), the current cluster of tech giants are in a race to offer the most complete, but not necessarily innovative tech lifestyle products, services, and hardware.
The formula for success seems to be not innovation, but instead commoditization of your competitor’s cash cow, while protecting your own with a buffer of social apps to keep users engaged with your brand. Google Buzz is just the latest example of this strategy but the list is lengthy: Facebook webmail, Bing/Bing Maps, Google Docs, Nexus One, etc…
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The ultimate goal seems even simpler: provide enough social and communications tools and apps to keep users occupied for 24 hours a day and there will be no time left to use competitor.
image: MoMA Store