Apple versus Google, Facebook, and Amazon in virtual reality


These are the quiet times.

From April to June, tech’s biggest companies all held their
annual mega-events, laying out their grand visions for the next
12 months or so. 

Facebook kicked it off in late April with its
F8 conference
, followed by
Microsoft Build
, then the
Google I/O conference
, and Apple’s
Worldwide Developers Conference
finished things off. Amazon
doesn’t really hold events, but it unveiled two new Amazon Echo
smart speakers during that period for good measure.

And things will get exciting again, sooner than you know it. This
Fall, Apple is expected to reveal a
10th-anniversary iPhone
, Google will likely reveal a
revamped Pixel smartphone
, and Microsoft is expected to hold
another one of its regular late-October Surface computer press

In the meantime, there’s not much to do but reflect on what we’ve
learned so far this year about the future of tech. And beyond the
hype and the hyperbole, we’re starting to see the very earliest
stages of a battle for the next phase of computing.

Because while Apple and Google may dominate the smartphone market
today, technologies like augmented reality present whole-new
platforms where there’s no clear winner. So Amazon, Microsoft,
and Facebook, having missed out on owning a mobile platform, are
doing their damndest to
hasten the end of the smartphone
— and the end of Apple and
Google’s duopoly, while they’re at it.

Skin in the game

Every major technological shift has created big opportunities for
the few entrepreneurs who see it coming early — in the
seventies, Apple and Microsoft made big bets that the PC would be
a much bigger market than gigantic room-sized mainframes, while
mainframe industry decried the PC itself as a fad
. We see who
won that one.

Similarly, Microsoft didn’t fully realize the potential of
smartphones, until well…

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