Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 18th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2013 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
Please visit the sponsor!
Once upon a time, "the" computer company was IBM.
Although there were a number of other players in the field, some of them very big, nobody could really challenge IBM's claim to the title of most significant computer company in the world.
These days, things are a whole lot different.
The arrival of the microcomputer (at first dismissed by IBM as being unimportant) and then the myriad of PC clones was one of the first things to really shake the foundations of "big blue".
Despite its own attempts to compete in the personal computer marketplace, IBM really dropped the ball and lost the war when it released its PS/2 line of machines.
These days it's pretty much given up on the microcomputer market, having sold most of its low-end business to Lenovo.
Although it still has a pretty good foothold in the mainframe and minicomputer marketplace, IBM is far from the undisputed "king" it once was.
Which brings us to Yahoo and Microsoft...
Yahoo was once the undisputed "hub" of all things internet, acting as a portal, web directory and search engine for a huge percentage of Net users. It was hard to imagine that anyone could steal its business and relinquish it to second-division.
Yet it has happened - and now Yahoo are struggling to come up with ways of restoring its profits and former glory.
Even the once indisputable king of microcomputer software: Microsoft, has started to feel the winds of change on its balance sheet.
Despite reasonably good sales of Windows 7, the boys at Redmond have just announced their first ever loss - some $492m of red ink having been bled in the last quarter alone.
This is a huge contrast with the $6bn it made in the previous year.
Of course this dramatic turn-around wasn't without reason -- the writing off of some $6.2bn in relation to Microsoft's acquisition of advertising company Aquantive being the main factor.
However, with the jury still out in respect to the potential of Windows 8 and a general shift towards cloud computing -- Microsoft might well be facing the loss of its crown in the not-too-distant future.
In fact, "the cloud" could be the very thing that alternative OSes such as Linux have been waiting for in order to dethrone Windows as "the" operating system for desktop systems -- in the way that Android has made massive inroads into the smartphone market -- effectively knocking Microsoft's offerings out of the park.
In a world where the only constant is change, even the almighty Google isn't safe. Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel has recently suggested that Google is flush with cash but all out of ideas when it comes to spending that money.
"Google also has $50 billion in cash... It has no idea how to invest that money in technology effectively" Thiel was quoted as saying.
So where to from here?
Will the rise in tablet computing mean that Microsoft faces losing a huge swathe of its OS business to Android?
Will Google find itself in a technological dead-end -- having become so big that it can no longer innovate at the pace required to maintain its present position in the market?
Will Yahoo ever recover sufficiently to survive -- let alone prosper again?
And is there life after Facebook?
Let's hear some crystal-ball gazing from Aardvark readers.
Please visit the sponsor!
Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines
Remember, this is purely a gift, you'll get nothing other than a warm fuzzy feeling in return.