August 11, 2009

Welcome to the Code War

google-qr-code1Bing vs. Google, Facebook vs. Twitter, Microsoft vs. Apple… the tension is increasing on a daily basis these days. It feels awfully similar to the Cold War of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Wikipedia describes it this way. “The Cold War (1945-91) was the continuing state of political conflict, military tension, and economic competition existing after World War II (1939-45), between the USSR and its satellite states, and the powers of the Western world, led by the United States. Although the primary participants’ military forces never officially clashed directly, they expressed the conflict through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, a nuclear arms race, espionage, proxy wars, propaganda, and technological competition, e.g. the space race”.

The Code War involves search engine algorithms, copycat functionalities, tit for tat increases in storage space for webmail and big guns swallowing up the little guys. So we’re seeing Facebook buying Friendfeed since they couldn’t get Twitter. Microsoft couldn’t nab Yahoo! so they wait their time then screw them with what will no doubt turn into a shitty deal (it already has made Carol Bartz look dumb). Apple blocks Google Voice from the iPhone. Retaliation? Their CEO steps down from the Apple board and they put Voice on the Palm Pre.

But what does this all mean for the advertising industry. Well they seem to applaud the deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! All this innovation is creating great opportunities for clever marketing. As soon as a new technology is announced the advertising and marketing folk seek new ways to exploit it. Social networks, HD online video, apps… these may all be weapons of mass consumption to attract the internet public – but for agency strategists, creatives and technologists they are shiny new toys for them to play with. Keep them coming!

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