Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA) between them pretty much rule consumer tech world. (You can find a good analysis of the GAFA ecosystem–in audio–at the Economist‘s Babbage blog.) They began in different niches. Increasingly, though, they’re thieving from each other’s patch. (Google is doing books–half-heartedly. It’s doing social media–unexcitingly. It’s doing mobile–but without profit in the form of the free, open-source Android. Facebook is muscling in on advertising revenue. Apple… Eh, but you’ve all read all the news.)
Amazon changed the game, moved it up a gear, by bursting into the mobile hardware/portal scene with their inexpensive Kindle Fire tablet. And now, according to reports like this one from GalleyCat, Apple is rumoured to be planning a move onto Amazon’s publishing turf with an announcement of an epublishing platform.
I’m guessing this is just the beginning of fun-filled invasion games. If I had to bet a sandwich, it would be that, next up, Facebook will do something interesting with content publishing. If I were them, I’d buy Goodreads, put out a cheap tablet, and build my own self-publishing set-up for both books and music. A poke in the eye for both As in the GAFA and another step towards reducing Google’s relevance except as the provider of an open-source mobile platform.
So that’s my (only partly joking) prediction for 2012. What’s yours?