The time travel from the early 2000s and the list of the most respected brands in the world can be surprising.
Tobacco company Marlboro is still one of the world's 15 largest brands worth 22 billion dollars, while companies such as Nokia and AT & T also help round the group.
Besides Microsoft, technology companies at the time were mostly focused on hardware and services. At the time, HP was considered the world's leading brand, and even IBM was still doing computers until 2005.
The revolution in the platform
How long have they changed?
In today's TheRankings animation you can see how the list of the 15 largest world brands has developed over the past two decades.
The visible change: as soon as Google reaches the 2008 ranking (2:21 in video), it is clear that money is on the software side – especially in coding software that ends as a dominating consumer platform.
Soon after, companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are bending, quickly climbing to the top. These are the final figures for 2018 in terms of brand value, with data coming from Interbrand:
The hardware problem
What is the difference between the big hardware companies from the old and the successful ones that are on the list today?
From a business point of view, hardware companies need to have a bold and accurate vision of the future by continuously taking innovative steps to defeat the competitors of this vision. If they can only make gradual improvements, the reality is that their competitors can get into the folder to create cheaper, similar hardware.
Samsung, which finished 2018 as the sixth most valuable brand in the world, is a good example of this in practice. The company has the best-selling smartphone for every year between 2012 and 2018 – an impressive achievement in the stay of consumer trends and technologies.
Despite the success of Samsung, it remains behind four other technology brands in the list – all companies focus almost exclusively on platforms: Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple.
Why are platforms so dominant?
Permanent innovations are a good entry barrier if you can continue to do so – but platforms have an even more armored strategy: be everywhere at once.
Facebook uses the powerful network effect of billions of people like a ditch, then buys up and up (Instagram, WhatsApp) to cover even more land. As a result, competing with Facebook is a nightmare – even if you could theoretically acquire new users of $ 1 per user on an absurd scale, this will require a billions of dollars worth of marketing to penetrate the audience of the company.
Microsoft has different platforms (Windows, Xbox, LinkedIn, Azure, etc.) that help isolate the competition, while Google's strategy is to be anywhere you need to search even in your living room.
As platforms are scale-wise and ubiquitous with consumers, it gives them the ultimate power of prices. In turn, they at least managed to create the world's most powerful consumer brands.
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