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Becky: Hello everyone, and welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. This is Culture Class, Season 3, Lesson 3 - The Top 5 Most Powerful Companies in Information Technology. I’m Becky.
Eric: And I’m Eric. It's great to have you here, and you're in for an interesting lesson.
Becky: That's right! We're going to talk about big IT companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Not in that order.
Eric: So, it's about how they compete?
Becky: Not really! It's a more detailed look at what each of these companies do.
Eric: Oh, okay! Well, Let’s get to it!
Becky: So, who are we going to start with in this lesson?
Eric: Well, number 5 in our top five most powerful IT companies is Yahoo.
Becky: That’s right. As many of you know, Yahoo is a huge company. Currently, around 700 million people visit and use Yahoo’s many web services.
Eric: That’s right. My brother likes to use Yahoo more often than Google, so his email is Yahoo and he gets his news from Yahoo news.
Becky: Their services are very similar to what Microsoft and Google offer. However, Yahoo just seems to implement their services in a way that many people like.
Eric: Yahoo is also a very rich company and is valued at about $20 billion. As far as its history goes, Yahoo has had internet services for longer than Google or Microsoft, or really any of the current major search websites.
Becky: That could be part of why so many people use Yahoo. They're an experienced company. That makes people feel more confident, especially in information technology, where companies appear and disappear almost every day.
Eric: I can understand that. And it brings us to our next company, Microsoft.
Becky: Number 4 of our top 5 Most Powerful Companies in Information Technology is Microsoft.
Eric: Microsoft is an IT giant and for many years, it was THE IT giant. Microsoft is a software company and its main two products are Microsoft Windows, which is probably running your computer right now, and Microsoft Office, which is probably where you write most of your letters and/or school papers.
Becky: For that matter, many businesses only use Microsoft Office for creating documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. It’s so universal that all other word-processing software has to be compatible with Microsoft Office or they will simply die.
Eric: For example, OpenOffice.org offers a free document, presentation, and spreadsheet suite of applications. OpenOffice is becoming very popular because it has most of the functions that Microsoft Office does, but it's about $200 cheaper.
Becky: One of the major features that makes OpenOffice so popular, though, is that it has an export feature that allows users to export to Microsoft Office. For OpenOffice and other Microsoft Office competitors, an export feature like this is ALWAYS touted as a major feature.
Eric: It's also important to point out that this is not easy. An export feature like this certainly takes a lot of time, first to build and then to maintain, since Microsoft is constantly altering the code behind their Office programs.
Becky: Microsoft Office is also one of Microsoft’s major sources of income. To keep their “edge,” Microsoft created a “trial” version of Office and has it installed on most new computers, like Samsung laptops. Which brings us to our next company, Samsung.
Eric: Yes, number 3 in our top 5 most Powerful Companies in Information Technology is Samsung.
Becky: However, the ranking isn't for their laptops.
Eric: No, certainly not. We think it's important to point out that Samsung is actually a Korean company, but its largest subsidiary is Samsung USA, which is why it's on this list.
Becky: That's right. Samsung is one of those companies that is in almost every electronic device even if their brand name isn’t on it. For example, my phone is a Samsung phone but my Apple laptop has a Samsung display.
Eric: And my desktop computer has a Samsung hard drive and the TV in my front room is a Samsung.
Becky: They’re everywhere. And part of the reason they're everywhere is because they make great products. Because of the quality of their products, Samsung is one of the most respected brands in the world.
Eric: Samsung is also different from our previous two companies because it builds physical things, whereas Microsoft builds mostly software and Yahoo is only an online company.
Becky: Speaking of online companies, next on our list is Google.
Eric: That’s right. Number 2 in our top 5 Most Powerful Companies in Information Technology is Google.
Becky: Most of you know Google already. The #1 way in which new students find our site is though Google search. In fact, that’s probably how you found EnglishClass101.com.
Eric: However, even if you use Google search every day, you may not know about all the other things Google does.
Becky: That’s right. Much like Microsoft and Yahoo, Google offers many online services from remote data storage, to photo sharing, to social networking, to translation services.
Eric: And some of you might even have a Nexus phone, which is made by Google.
Becky: Exactly! The Nexus phone is a smartphone that runs the Android operating system, which is also made by Google.
Eric: That’s right. For many, the Android platform is the only real alternative to Apple’s iOS iPhone platform.
Becky: Speaking of iOS, our number 1 Most Powerful Company in Information Technology is Apple.
Eric: That’s right. Some of you will think that Apple at number 1 makes perfect sense. For others, it might seem strange.
Becky: So, let’s explain why Apple is number 1 here. First is the iPod. While you may not own one personally, chances are that you know many people who do have iPods.
Eric: That’s right. Apple did many things, like invent the personal computer, that are immensely useful to us today. However, that was a long time ago and power in the information technology realm doesn’t stay for long.
Becky: That’s right. For that reason we’re going to look at things which are a bit newer, starting with the iMac.
Eric: Apple released the first iMac in 1998 and created the industry of all-in-one computers. All-in-one computers have the entire computer built-in behind the screen. Today, there are many companies that have all-in-one computers, but the iMac started it all.
Becky: Then, in 2001, Apple released the iPod and with it changed how music is sold, distributed, and listened to around the world. To date, over 350 million iPods have been sold worldwide. There are many other portable music devices, but the iPod is, by far, the most popular.
Eric: Then Apple released the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone changed how we use phones and created a bigger market for smartphones around the world.
Becky: That’s right. Cell phones were useful long before the iPhone, but after the iPhone they became indispensable. The iPhone, and other smartphones like it, are more like portable personal computers that can take pictures and make phone calls.
Eric: For many people, the iPhone is a digital point-and-shoot camera, a PDA, a gaming machine, a presentation device, an iPod, and – of course – a phone.
Becky: And last, Apple introduced the iPad in 2010. Many companies had built tablet-like computers before but none were or have been as successful as the iPad.
Eric: The success of these products is what made Apple so powerful. Selling these things has not only made Apple rich, but it has also created a sense of loyalty with the people who buy them.
Becky: That’s right. And that loyalty is one of the things that keeps Apple on top. Even when Apple releases a product that isn’t successful, like its MobileMe service, people still stay loyal to the brand.
Eric: It’s a phenomenon that psychologists are studying even as we record this. Okay, that’s all for this lesson.
Becky: See you next time!
Eric: Bye everyone!