Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet

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Overview


 The first time that Apple, Google and Microsoft found themselves sharing the same digital space was 1998. They were radically different companies that would subsequently fight a series of battles for control of different parts of the digital landscape that would be world-changing.

Arthur looks at what are now the three best-known tech companies and through the voices of former and current staff examines their different strategies to try to win the battle to control the exploding network connecting the ...

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Overview


 The first time that Apple, Google and Microsoft found themselves sharing the same digital space was 1998. They were radically different companies that would subsequently fight a series of battles for control of different parts of the digital landscape that would be world-changing.

Arthur looks at what are now the three best-known tech companies and through the voices of former and current staff examines their different strategies to try to win the battle to control the exploding network connecting the world.  To win their battles: Apple used design and a relentless focus on the customer to the exclusion of others; Microsoft depended on the high quality of its employees' programming skills and its monopolies in software to move into new markets; Google focused on being quick, efficient and using the power of data analysis to make decisions and get ahead of would-be rivals.  Accessible and comprehensive, Digital Wars analyzes the very different cultures of the three companies and assesses exactly who are the victors on each front.

The new edition is completely up-to-date to take into account receent developments such as the growth of Android, mini-tablets and Microsoft's Surface. It also includes a new chapter looking at how China moved from being the assembly plant for iPods and other music players, and smartphones, to becoming the world's biggest smartphone business -- while shutting out Google both as a search engine and smartphone provider.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Journal of Books

"It's rare to say that a business book is a page-turner. But Charles Arthur's book, Digital Wars, is just that. ...[Arthur] does something unexpected in his book: He breathes life into these billion-dollar companies and makes them...human. … Digital Wars does more than rehash familiar stories of these industry giants, instead focusing on overarching narratives complete with an accounting of the victories and losses of each. … If you enjoyed Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Apple CEO as a personal glimpse into the man, Digital Wars is a must-read for a view of Jobs' doppelganger, Apple, and the other companies that waxed and waned in no small part due to his genius."
CHOICE - K. D. Winward

"Science and technology journalist Arthur (Guardian, UK) provides a summary of the big three Internet-era companies, focusing on search platforms, digital music, smartphones, and tablets. …Where many similar works such as John Battelle's The Search and Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs focus primarily on personalities and management approaches, this work focuses more on various aspects of market economics and strategies, as well as competitive patent practices. Valuable for all readers, and a suitable addition for history of technology and business collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."
Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation - Tim Unwin

"[R]arely do I enjoy books as much as Charles Arthur's new Digital Wars. …Not only is this highly informative, but it is extremely well written. …He somehow manages to craft an exciting thriller out of what could have been written in a very arid and boring way. …This book is a "must read" for anyone who really wants to understand some of the changes that have taken place in the ICT industry over the last 15 years. …There is much to be learnt about the past from Digital Wars to help us shape the future."
ITWriting - Tim Anderson

"[A] great read, written in a concise, clear and engaging style."
Liberate Media

"[A] definitive history of the battle for internet dominance between Microsoft, Apple and Google. … What distinguishes his book from the many volumes written about the Big Three is a passion for detail, checked and referenced facts, laced with anecdotes collected over decades of his professional writing career. There is a forensic quality to his writing that is as impressive as it is much welcomed. …There are so many lessons to be learnt from this book."
Open Gardens Blog - A. Jaokar

"I believe that history shapes the future even in the fast moving world of technology. So, if you share the same beliefs, then this this is indeed an interesting read. …I recommend it."
Ertblog - Robert Skinner

"[A] revealing account of Apple, Google and Microsoft’s battles for dominance in search, digital music and smartphones."
Inc. - getAbstract

"getAbstract recommends it to students of history, technology and corporate success. And if you are reading this abstract on a tablet or phone, you will soon learn more about the myriad decisions that led to the device in your hand."
Midwest Book Review

"[A] fine survey documenting battles over search technology, mobile music, smartphones and more, and considers how these companies embarked on campaigns that not only changed their business structures, but the nature of information as a whole."
ForeWord Reviews - Barry Silverstein

"[A] journalistic tale of competitive intrigue… For anyone with an interest in how our digital world has evolved, Charles Arthur's Digital Wars is required reading."
Inc. - Book News

"[T]races the digital wars between Apple, Google, and Microsoft since 1998 related to antitrust, search engines, digital music, smartphones, and tablets. This edition incorporates information on recent developments and competitors like Samsung and a new chapter on how China has become one of the world's biggest smartphone producers."
Inside the Mind of a Bibliophile blog

"[E]asy to read and extremely interesting."
ForeWord Reviews - Barry Silverstein

Praise for the previous edition:

"[A] journalistic tale of competitive intrigue… For anyone with an interest in how our digital world has evolved, Charles Arthur's Digital Wars is required reading."

Publishers Weekly
Arthur, a longtime tech editor (currently for the Guardian), relates an in-depth history of the worlds of Apple, Microsoft, and relative newcomer Google (founded in 1998—over 20 years after its titular forebears). The author focuses primarily on the personalities of the two big players—Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs—and positions Google inventors Larry Page and Sergey Brin as being at the helm of a different generation of digital entrepreneurs who "had come of age in a world where the Internet was already a background hum" and Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) was a familiar name to folks in the know. Arthur traces the ups-and-downs of the companies over time and the cutthroat competition that persists today to create the next state of the art server, music device, smartphone, tablet, or something entirely new. He also maps the changing landscape of Internet companies and relates plenty of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, some of which do little to contradict the popular image of Steve Jobs as genius/tyrant. Lively and informative, even non-geeks will find this story riveting. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"[A] journalistic tale of competitive intrigue… For anyone with an interest in how our digital world has evolved, Charles Arthur's Digital Wars is required reading." --ForeWord Reviews 

"Arthur traces the ups-and-downs of the companies over time and the cutthroat competition that persists today to create the next state of the art server, music device, smartphone, tablet, or something entirely new. ...Lively and informative, even non-geeks will find this story riveting." --Publishers Weekly

"It's rare to say that a business book is a page-turner. But Charles Arthur's book, Digital Wars, is just that. ...[Arthur] does something unexpected in his book: He breathes life into these billion-dollar companies and makes them...human. … Digital Wars does more than rehash familiar stories of these industry giants, instead focusing on overarching narratives complete with an accounting of the victories and losses of each. … If you enjoyed Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Apple CEO as a personal glimpse into the man, Digital Wars is a must-read for a view of Jobs' doppelganger, Apple, and the other companies that waxed and waned in no small part due to his genius." --New York Journal of Books  

"Science and technology journalist Arthur (Guardian, UK) provides a summary of the big three Internet-era companies, focusing on search platforms, digital music, smartphones, and tablets. …Where many similar works such as John Battelle's The Search and Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs focus primarily on personalities and management approaches, this work focuses more on various aspects of market economics and strategies, as well as competitive patent practices. Valuable for all readers, and a suitable addition for history of technology and business collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --CHOICE, K. D. Winward, Central College

"[R]arely do I enjoy books as much as Charles Arthur's new Digital Wars. …Not only is this highly informative, but it is extremely well written. …He somehow manages to craft an exciting thriller out of what could have been written in a very arid and boring way. …This book is a "must read" for anyone who really wants to understand some of the changes that have taken place in the ICT industry over the last 15 years. …There is much to be learnt about the past from Digital Wars to help us shape the future." --Tim Unwin, CEO, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation  

"[A] great read, written in a concise, clear and engaging style." --Tim Anderson, ITWriting

"[A] definitive history of the battle for internet dominance between Microsoft, Apple and Google. … What distinguishes his book from the many volumes written about the Big Three is a passion for detail, checked and referenced facts, laced with anecdotes collected over decades of his professional writing career. There is a forensic quality to his writing that is as impressive as it is much welcomed. …There are so many lessons to be learnt from this book." --Liberate Media

"…I believe that history shapes the future even in the fast moving world of technology. So, if you share the same beliefs, then this this is indeed an interesting read. …I recommend it." --A. Jaokar, Open Gardens Blog  

"[A] revealing account of Apple, Google and Microsoft’s battles for dominance in search, digital music and smartphones." --Robert Skinner, Ertblog

"getAbstract recommends it to students of history, technology and corporate success. And if you are reading this abstract on a tablet or phone, you will soon learn more about the myriad decisions that led to the device in your hand." --getAbstract

"[A] fine survey documenting battles over search technology, mobile music, smartphones and more, and considers how these companies embarked on campaigns that not only changed their business structures, but the nature of information as a whole." --Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749472030
  • Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd
  • Publication date: 5/28/2014
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 815,653
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Charles Arthur is the technology editor at the Guardian newspaper. An experienced journalist, he has over 25 years' experience in technology and science journalism. He has met many of the senior figures in the technology industry and has extensive experience of reporting on the activities of Apple, Google and Microsoft. He has interviewed Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on numerous occasions, and he has a large following and regularly speaks, writes and blogs on all topics relating to technology. 
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Table of Contents


Introduction

01 1998
Bill Gates and Microsoft
Steve Jobs and Apple
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Google
Internet search
Capital thinking

02 Microsoft antitrust
Steve Ballmer
The antitrust trial
The outcome of the trial

03 Search: Google versus Microsoft
The beginnings of search
Google
Search and Microsoft
Bust
Link to money
Boom
Random access
Google and the public consciousness
Project Underdog
Preparing for battle
Do it yourself
Going public
Competition
Cultural differences
Microsoft’s relaunched search engine
Friends
Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo
Google’s identity
The shadow of antitrust
Still underdog

04 Digital music: Apple versus Microsoft
The beginning of iTunes
Gizmo, Tokyo
iPod design
Marketing the new product
Meanwhile, in Redmond: Microsoft
iPods and Windows
Music, stored
Celebrity marketing
iTunes on Windows
iPod mini
The growth of iTunes Music Store
Apple and the mobile phone
Stolen!
Two-faced
iPod in the ascendant
Ecosystem: hardware and apps
Scratched!
Silence from Apple
Apple’s best results
Zune
Tying the Zune to the Xbox
White Christmas
Twilight
Rout or strategy?

05 Smartphones
Mobiles and Microsoft
Android
ROKR and a hard place
iPhone, that’s what
Just walk in
Disrupted
Free as in data
The drawer of broken dreams
Developers and the iPhone
Free as in lunch
Apps for all
Money in apps
Flash? Ah
Envy
The losers
Android rising
Patently
App patents
Tipping
Got lost
The revolution will be handheld
The downward spiral

06 Tablets
‘Within five years’
Third category
Apple dominant
Always on
Post-PC
Grand unified theory

07 China
Microsoft
Google: ethical challenge
The reset
Biting a chunk from Apple’s reputation
Killer fact
Smartphones and tablets
The definition of ‘open’
Don’t Dalai

08 2011

Notes
References and further reading
Acknowledgements
Trademarks
Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The last couple of decades, and the more recent years in particu

    The last couple of decades, and the more recent years in particular, have seen a remarkable advances and achievements in all fields of consumer technology. Hardly a day passes without a news article about some new breakout gadget, website, or software being launched. The struggle in the market for the hearts and minds of the increasingly tech-savvy and interconnected users is assuming, with only a slight exaggeration, epic proportions. At stake are not only new markets and new product opportunities, but the very nature of how we live, work and interact with each other. And yet, at the core of these “digital wars” are just a handful of companies that exert an oversize influence on the rest of the tech sector. Three of these – Apple, Google, and Microsoft – have by now become the defining and dominant players, and this book explores their rise over the past fifteen years (or in the case of Microsoft a gradual decline and struggle for relevance). 




    There have been many books written about each one of these three tech giants, but this is the first one that I know of which explores their interactions and strategic maneuvers with the respect to the others. The book is written in a very accessible journalistic style, but it still manages to go in depth when needed explaining certain relevant technological terms and concepts. The author clearly understands the relevant technological trends and the ways that these companies have managed to capitalize on those – or not. Although I am a huge fan of technology and follow these companies and their products much more closely than the average person, this book was still able to provide me with a lot of new information and insights. 




    I would have liked, thought, that in addition to the three giants this book covered a few more “minor” players in the tech arena. Amazon and Facebook in particular come to mind, as well as a host of other interesting companies whose products and services are having a major impact on the way I work, interact and amuse myself – Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Netflix, etc. I would have also liked that instead of focusing on companies this book dealt more with the tech trends in their own right. Granted, many of these trends are single-handedly defined (or used to be defined) by the three profiled companies (search and Google, smartphone and Apple), but I think that the broader approach would have been more informative and provided us with an idea of what we can expect in the next decade or so of high-tech innovation. 




    Weather you are a seasoned tech-aficionado or just someone who is interested in learning more about the most prominent tech giants of today, this book will have a lot to offer. But you might want to hurry and read it very soon – many of the trends and insights from this book may become dated already a year form now, if not sooner. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Charles Arthur, an experienced technology writer and editor at t

    Charles Arthur, an experienced technology writer and editor at the Guardian, draws on his experience covering the IT industry to report on the highs and lows of Apple, Google and Microsoft as they battled for dominance in consumer computing. By examining their struggles for supremacy in search engines, digital music, smartphones and tablets, Arthur demonstrates that the first company to market is not the one that ultimately reigns; instead, the race goes to the one that can provide an irresistible customer experience and still make a profit. As with all histories capturing events still in progress, each story by necessity ends with a “to be continued” feel that may quickly render the book out of date. However, getAbstract recommends it to students of history, technology and corporate success. And if you are reading this abstract on a tablet or phone, you will soon learn more about the myriad decisions that led to the device in your hand.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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