VoIP Business and Virtual PBX

It's a gargantuan war among industry titans and the winners will control everything

Let's recap. First, we saw a spate of exciting new Ultrabook announcements, along with some x86- and ARM-based Windows 8 tablets at Computex. At that time Apple introduced new spins of iOS and OS X for tablets and PCs, respectively, at its developer gathering. Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8 at the Windows Phone Summit -- and let's not forget the Surface tablet. And this week, Google rolled out new products and concepts buckshot-style at Google I/O, showcasing its first branded tablet, the Nexus 7, and Android 4.1, just to name a few.

There have been battles for control of distribution channels previously. Like Coke and Pepsi's war for control over restaurant soda machines. Or like Wal-Mart and downtown America. Or, more recently, like Apple's iTunes and the record labels.

Battle like this previously

But there has never been a battle like this previously. It's an possibility afforded by the Internet as so then as an increasingly concentrated set of options for tapping the Internet. The cable TV folks, the phone companies and the wireless carriers are trying valiantly to maintain relevance. Nevertheless as video-on-demand gives way to streaming services like NetFlix, as home phone lines are supplanted by VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and as wireless services like AT&T Navigator are cannibalized by free stuff from Google, the role for those players is being relegated to conduit. Increasingly, we find ourselves selecting the platform and device we want.

So it should come as no surprise that the war pits Apple, Google and, increasingly, Microsoft. However there are others in the mix, as so then. And each of them is trying to protect and extend its turf. Like Amazon, which controls a growing number of distribution channels. And like Facebook, which has helped expand and solidify our social networks to include long-lost classmates we might if not have the possibility to chat with only once a decade. And hardware giants like Intel, Nvidia, QualComm, Samsung and TI, which have the power to tip the balance in the platform wars with superior solutions.

Proprietary Features. They are implementing proprietary features, which is a double-edged sword. It does tend to create brand loyalty. Nevertheless it can as well isolate your clients. FaceTime is a good example. The downside for Apple is limited in such a case, still, provided it as well makes competing apps like Skype and Google Voice available to its clients. Apple's halfway there...

Partnerships. As the old adage goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That explains why Apple joined forces with Tom Tom. And why it sidled up to Microsoft's Skype.

Pretty heady stuff, I know. So keep an eye out. The longer the war goes on, the better it will be for our businesses and for our wallets. And we can play a role in maintaining the balance of power.

More information: Betanews