NYMag poses the question if Facebook and Google be disrupted? The writer argues that both have self-enforcing network-of-networks which makes it much harder up to impossible to disrupt them – harder than Facebook overtaking MySpace and Google overtaking AltaVista.
The answer is yes and no. Google and Facebook are best in class in their respective product categories. They won because they have superior products to anyone else. As long as they keep executing as they are doing today they probably won’t be disrupted.
But the real disruption comes when a major platform shift happens. Microsoft and Intel still exist today but they have become irrelevant because of the shift to mobile. Both completely missed the boat.
The same thing happened to IBM which missed the boat on desktop computers. IBM is still around today and like many companies became a mostly consultancy company (like HP and Oracle). Some say it is the destiny of every great tech company to become a consultancy company in the end.
The new titans in tech will come out of a new shift in platforms. This could be machine learning or block chain or AR/VR. And maybe a platform which doesn’t exist yet.
For now, they are the titans and as long they keep executing well they’ll be here to stay. But history guarantees us they’ll be replaced with new titans and they’ll be the titans of yesteryear. It’s inevitable.1