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Don’t be evil

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Crowd of People

In this day and age of technology, most people are well aware of who the players on the field are. Some folks are quite passionate about their favourite player/players. Most of us probably know someone who is in love with everything Apple related. Every device he/she owns has an Apple logo on it and if Apple made a shopping trolley, you know he/she would buy it without thinking about its purpose. Don’t be evil

Now this fandom is not limited to just the Apple supporters. There are folks who are in love with Google, Microsoft, BlackBerry and numerous other companies and their products. Things get ugly when supporters of these companies meet, much like an English football match, where Chelsea play Manchester United. Reviews by reporters are scrutinised and the authoring reporter is undoubtedly accused of being biased.

I’m going to suggest that this is all trivial in light of the bigger picture. Does that sound arrogant and self-assured? Probably, and I don’t fully mean that previous statement because tech companies need success to be constant in order to grow. But a single device is not the key to the future, actually devices and operating systems in general aren’t the key. The key is something else completely.

When you buy a device, say an iPhone, that is not the last purchase you make with that company. Apple has content to sell you that is provided to you through the device. They sell you songs, apps, games, books, movies and more. The device is just the beginning.

The key to Apple’s success with you the consumer, once you own their device, is the content with which they provide you and suggest to you. People get tired of thinking and this is where companies like Apple step in for you. They suggest content to you based on what they understand about you from their databases.

The key to selling digital content to users requires two things. Firstly, a history or profile of an individual and secondly, a way of interpreting that history, done in the form of algorithms. Now, while Apple’s goal is to sell digital content to the consumer, Google has a different motive.

The bulk of Google’s revenues do not come out of the sale of digital content to consumers, but out of advertising revenue. Google’s success grew out of two seeds. The first seed is its ability to do search, and do search well. The second, is it’s ability to sell ads, but not just sell ads in any fashion. It has mastered the art of selling ads that are relevant to their market.

Search is not the cash cow for Google. Advertising is. If this is the case then the product Google sells is people and the ability to target those people and it sells this product to advertisers. Google’s target market is not the consumer, it’s the advertiser.

Feature image property of Greg Ferguson

Writer and editor for Tech Net Africa.

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