The Death Stars of our modern economy can obliterate planets. A single reactor fire has hit Spotify from Apple, as they control the distribution (app store) and are neutering the Swedish firm. Planet Spotify has been rendered sterile and now needs to find other business models — original content, podcasts, or controlled distribution via its own device.
The shocker for me in the recent launch of Apple TV+ was that in 2018, the estimated spend on original content from Apple was pegged at a cool $1 billion. But last month they announced $6 billion for original content. So, a tech hardware firm is devoting the same capital to shows with Reese Witherspoon and Jason Mamoa as the state of California allocates to the 23 campuses that make up the California State University system. If it sounds as if we’re living in a dystopia, trust your instincts.
Galloway uses Spotify and Slack as examples, both of which are under attack by cheaper, bundled solutions from Apple and Microsoft respectively. But my favorite example of this by far is that Microsoft now gives away not one, but two text editors, effectively killing1 what has been a popular indie app category for decades.
Not only are both of Microsoft’s text editors free, but also, based on the evidence I’ve seen by looking at Atom’s GitHub contributor data (the top ten contributors are GitHub employees) and quotes from members of the Visual Studio Code team, both are maintained by teams an order of magnitude larger than any indie text editor (Sublime Text and TextMate are both maintained by just two developers). ↩︎