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Becky: Hello everyone and welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. I’m Becky, and this is Culture Class, Season 3, Lesson 2 - Top 5 Biggest Duels in Information Technology.
Eric: Hi there, Eric here! It's great to have you back, and you're in for an interesting lesson.
Becky: That's right! We're going to talk about big IT duels between companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Eric: Well, let’s get to it!
Becky: Okay! So, Number 5 in our Top 5 Biggest Duels in Information Technology is Apple Vs. Google.
Eric: This is a high-profile duel of two of the most visible companies in the world. In fact, both Apple and Google are among the most valuable brands and richest companies in the world.
Becky: You would think that because the two companies are in such different areas – Apple makes hardware and Google provides search services – that there wouldn’t be any kind of real competition.
Eric: However, the duel here is because of ideologies, or the principles that each of these two companies follow. For example, Google believes and hopes that all computing will move towards an online computing model.
Becky: In Google’s vision of the future, most of our documents, videos, music, emails, and anything digital will be stored online. In Google’s vision, the actual computer is not that important.
Eric: Apple’s vision of the future is very different. Apple believes that the computer or device is a central part of your digital life and that the Internet serves as a way of connecting those devices.
Becky: So the duel between Apple and Google is constant. Google is trying to get more and more data online while Apple is trying to get more and more data onto people’s computers or devices.
Eric: And the duel continues. Most recently, there was a major shift in one of Apple’s devices. In 2012, the iPhone removed the Google maps feature to replace it with its own Apple maps feature. Apple believes that it can make maps better than Google can and built its own map application.
Becky: This means that many people who use the maps application on the iPhone will no longer be using Google maps. This is very significant to Google because it represents millions of people all around the world that are no longer using their service.
Eric: It was a huge "demotion" for Google, but they responded by releasing their Maps app as a standalone app in the iTunes App Store. This is just one example of how Apple created a new point of rivalry using its power in the mobile phone industry to influence Google, which is in the information industry.
Becky: Which brings us to our next topic.
Eric: Number 4 is Intel versus AMD.
Becky: You've probably heard of Intel. Intel makes computer processors. Processors are the “brains” of every computer in the world. Intel is the largest producer of computer processors in the world.
Eric: That’s right. The numbers vary depending on whether you include computers, cell phones, or MP3 players, but Intel chips are in roughly 90% of all computers in the world.
Becky: So it’s a virtual monopoly. However, there has been one company over the past 10 years that has consistently and constantly innovated and created processors that could not only compete with Intel’s processors, but in some cases were actually better.
Eric: That company is called AMD. AMD builds a slightly different type of chip but it’s still compatible with computers using Intel. So, your Windows machine could easily have the processor switched to an AMD chip.
Becky: AMD has been steadily growing and improving on its products but, with less than 10% of the market, there is still a long way to go. However, they do have one major claim to fame.
Eric: That’s right. There are many supercomputers in the world and they're all tremendously fast, however, the supercomputer that is currently the “fastest” is powered by AMD technology, not Intel.
Becky: It’s called the “Titan” in case you were wondering, but this isn't the first time AMD has been involved in building the fastest supercomputers. Over the past five years, six different supercomputers have been number one at different times. And AMD processors have powered all six.
Eric: The reality is that Intel is a much larger company and much more wealthy than AMD. It's a very intense rivalry and Intel has been accused of using its monopoly illegally to suppress AMD.
Becky: Which brings us to our next topic! Number 3 in our Top 5 Biggest Duels in Information Technology is Oracle Vs. HP.
Eric: HP stands for Hewlett Packard and is a computer company. Oracle is a database management company. However, it’s not that simple.
Becky: No, it isn’t. Like most large IT companies, both HP and Oracle make hardware and software and often compete in many different areas.
Eric: The major competition is among their enterprise products. Both Oracle and HP make database software and hardware. Both Oracle and HP also make Customer Management Software.
Becky: HP is a much larger company, however. In 2012, HP earned a total yearly revenue of $120 billion. However, they spent $132 billion in 2012. So that year, HP lost nearly $12 billion.
Eric: Oracle made $37 billion in 2012. That’s less than a third of what HP made. However, they made nearly $10 billion in profit in 2012.
Becky: In other words, HP is nearly 3 times larger than Oracle, but Oracle made around $20 billion more than HP in profit.
Eric: And that’s how they compete. Some years HP makes more profit than Oracle, and other years, Oracle is on top.
Becky: And it’s all a matter of who has the best products! Which, currently, seems to be Oracle. But HP won’t be far behind and they will certainly fight back soon.
Eric: Speaking of fighting, our next duel has quite a bit of that.
Becky: Yes it does, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. Number 2 is Google vs. Facebook.
Eric: This is a rivalry over information. For many years, Google has been the world’s leader in search engines, and most people either use Google or some similar service to find information.
Becky: However, Facebook has cornered the market on a particular type of information that is very valuable - personal information.
Eric: There are very few companies that can compete with Google at finding what people want when they want to find it. Google rules the world in that sense.
Becky: However, the vast majority of information that Google has access to is facts and data. There’s very little about personal preferences for restaurants or all of that knowledge that your friends have about you.
Eric: That’s where our duel comes in. For years, Google was THE place to go if you wanted to find a new restaurant or brand, or if you were trying to find a long-lost friend. You would get on Google and search for them.
Becky: But ever since Facebook came about, people are able to contact their old friends, get their addresses, ask their friends about new restaurants, and even for directions, without Google.
Eric: That kind of information in very valuable to businesses, especially to Google. Google’s main income is from advertising. Since not as many people are using Google for those things, Google is making less money.
Becky: And Facebook is making more money because advertising is how Facebook makes money as well. Google has repeatedly built different services to compete with Facebook, but none have been anywhere near as successful as Facebook.
Eric: This rivalry will continue on for years and only become more fierce.
Becky: That’s right! Those are young companies, but let’s talk about an older duel.
Eric: Good idea. Number 1 in our Top 5 Biggest Duels in Information Technology is Apple vs. Microsoft.
Becky: It’s difficult to find rivalries in information technology that last longer than a few years. Information technology changes so quickly that often companies that were rivals one year no longer exist the next year.
Eric: This is not the case with Apple or Microsoft. Both are giants in the information technology industry. Their duel goes all the way back to the 1980s.
Becky: Apple was the first company to develop a graphical user interface for consumer computers. The graphical user interface, which used a mouse to click on images represented on a screen, was very popular.
Eric: Only a few years later a new company called Microsoft launched a new operating system that it called Windows. The operating system was strikingly similar to the graphical user interface developed by Apple just a few years before.
Becky: Apple immediately sued Microsoft for copyright infringement. The case spent years in court and was appealed many times by both sides. During those years, Microsoft became the largest software company in the world and Apple became less and less important.
Eric: In the end, Apple lost the suit against Microsoft and nearly went bankrupt. Meanwhile, Microsoft had become one of the most influential information technology companies in the world. And Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, became the richest man in the world.
Becky: However, Apple recovered and went on to become even more valuable as a brand and as a company than Microsoft. Currently, Microsoft makes their own operating system - Windows - and Apple makes their own operating system - OS X.
Eric: Apple makes the iPhone, and Microsoft makes Windows phones. Apple makes the iPod and Microsoft makes the Zune.
Becky: These two companies compete in almost every single way possible. And they'll continue to dominate the landscape and compete with each other for many years to come.
Eric: It’s all very interesting! Okay, that’s all for this lesson.
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Eric: See you!