When Technology Companies Rip Each Other Off

It is common place knowledge that many companies copy innovations from each other.  For example, when talking in class, it is shown that the fashion industry commonly copies innovations and new ideas from each other, shown by Zara being able to copy major fashion lines ideas and making them cheaper and easily.

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This is the same concept as with technology companies, such as Google, Apple and others.  Each company copies ideas from the others, and claims them as their own, such as all the tablets being created, specifically Kindle Fire and I-Pad, or with the Google Play store, a complete and rip off of Apple’s App Store.  While many, including Apple, Google and Facebook, denounce copycats, a string of experts argue that imitation and innovation feed off of each other and create better products.

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Essentially, these “copy cats” provide a better experience for customers, as there are more apps and and products to chose from, and the “copy cats” provide a better environment for the producers.  This is due to the fact that producers have to come up with greater innovations and ideas before others in order to beat their competitors.  It also allows tech start ups to have an easier time building their companies, and making a name for themselves in the industry.

This is also explained in the article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-bosker/google-evernote-copy-keep_b_2927693.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

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6 thoughts on “When Technology Companies Rip Each Other Off

  1. This reminds me of an article I read in Portico. The article commented on how Japan lost its technological crown because it focused a lot on hardware instead of design and sleekness. Sony, I believe, made a product called the Librie far earlier than the B&N nook or the Amazon Kindle, however it never made profit because it wasn’t user-friendly. The article also talked about how Samsung usually copied the hardware of the Japanese products, and focused more on the design and software. They made a lot more profit that the Japanese products, while also spending less money of research and development. Japanese companies like Sony and Sharp constantly have a target on their back because many companies copy and upgrade their technology. Entrant competitions are also huge players in industries now too, technology can be easily copied now and many bootleg shops have made phones much more advanced than the ones on the market. However, like you said, although copying technology is bad for the companies, it drives competition and innovation, and as a result consumers can get a wide variety of top quality products.

  2. This is commonly known as the second-mover advantage. Just like Zara, many companies wait on others to make the first move so that they can learn from their research, development, and mistakes. A good example is Amazon, which started out as an online bookstore. What is unknown to many is that it was not the first online bookstore in the world wide web. Bookstacks was the first, launched online in 1992. Bezos, the creator of Amazon, worked in Wall Street and quickly learned that web usage was increasing very rapidly. Thus, he researched to create a web-based business. Seeing the smart idea of Mr. Stacks, Bezos, in 1994, decided to set up an online bookstore too. The advantage that Bezos had was that he learned that the only way to make his business profitable was to invest thousands of dollars in advertisement, something that Mr. Stacks had not done. Bezos greatly benefitted from being a second-mover, up to the point that now, Amazon is America’s largest online retailer, selling everything ranging from books to groceries.

  3. This article greatly emphasizes the idea of the double-edged sword of technology. On one hand, companies are constantly competing with one another to one up the other’s latest product. On the other hand, this type of competition makes it more difficult for companies to generate a profit. This relates to the discussion in class about how businesses must not only focus on what they make, but how they make it. The ideas of this post are very interesting. My one suggestion would be to reduce the size of the photos and embed them more into the text so that the content of the post flows more and people can see how each picture relates more specifically to your comments. I agree with Mei’s comment about how this type of competition allows for a profitable bootleg industry as well. This demonstrates how society will have to work to make sure the law keeps up with the rapidly advancing technology of today.

  4. I totally agree with meifancui’s comment on this blog. Competition inspires developers to produce the best work with the expectation of earning the highest reward. The important thing that I draw out of this topic is that one company, say Apple, will never be the best at creating EVERY possible new app or bit of technology as it evolves. It is interesting to see how competitors spend time developing their applications, say Google Maps (my favorite), with a focus on compatibility, distributing them through Apple’s App Store, for example. This increasing competition to be the ‘best’ at everything allows underdogs to come in and have a chance to make it big by specializing in an area where a major company hasn’t had much success, and then selling their service off and reaping the benefits. Take the story of Nick D’Aloisio, for example, who at the age of 15, created a news-reading app called Summly that is said to have been sold to Yahoo for tens of millions of dollars (http://nyti.ms/X8cTc8). It is opportunities like these that inspire entrepreneurs and innovators to continue to develop new, stellar technologies that will continue to drive our economy, and indeed our society, forward.

  5. Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle are both tablet devices, but the advantage they offer to their respective companies depends on the business models for these companies. Both models are built around digital ecosystems that offer a unique value to the end-user. For example, Apple’s ecosystem, once coined by Steve Jobs as the “Digital Hub”, consists of an array of devices (phones, tablets, mp3 players) supported by a data management system / online marketplace: iTunes. Amazon’s ecosystem consists of one device type, tablets, supporting a much more complex online marketplace. Which company’s tablet do you think provides greater value to their company?

  6. Although the notion of merely imitating and ripping off rivals sounds bad, it really does drive competition and allows consumers to reap the benefits of better products at lower costs. This “copy cat” environment discussed in your post really emphasizes the importance of gaining a sustainable competitive advantage over one’s rivals, which we read about in our textbook. Since technology can be copied so quickly and easily today, then only those companies that can find an inimitable method of differentiating themselves from their rivals will succeed going forward. Companies that seek to merely do the same thing as their rivals more efficiently will likely struggle due to all the copy cats out there. At any rate, this post did a good job of providing real-life examples to the topics of copying technology and sustainable competitive advantages which were covered in our text.

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