CNET News Video
Are leading tech companies vulnerable?At an Ad:Tech Conference event titled "The New Power Brokers: Amazon, Apple, Facebook & Google," panelists, including CNET's Molly Wood, Andreessen Horowitz's Margit Wennmachers, and Fortune's Adam Lashinsky tackle that question.
When you mentioned vulnerabilities, and I'm just wondering if you take a look at this list of four companies who do you all think is the most vulnerable, or whose the first one that might be bumped off the list in the future. I think that's hard to tell, I would say Amazon E-Commerce, there's something interesting that's happening in E-Commerce that I think none of us expected say nine months ago. I'd say everyone though E-Commerce was done and there were two major players, Amazon and E-Bay. But really it was done for I would say nerves. It's a ginormous product catalog and the inter-phase isn't all that beautiful but if you want of look at all the cameras and know that you're fine. Well now you look at fab, guilt, (pen-tress?), you know there's cure in it. Better experience more curated. Well there's (curation?), looks like you're shopping on Philmore Street much more than you're shopping... Geek Street. You know on Geek Street. Adam, you, we had something to say about whose vulnerable on those list? Well every company is vulnerable on the list. That's one of the beautiful things about the technology industry. I'll offer two observations. Apple absolutely is vulnerable because Apple has bet the company model. Apple bets big makes huge investments and if it fails which it hasn't for 15 years it will be really bad not have a $100 billion which they're gonna try to widdle down but they won't be successful even in widdling that down. And they also have the Mac business which is an annuity for Apple right now. So they have a lot of cushion but they do have plenty of vulnerabilities which is getting the next product right and I've been saying this for years and I've been wrong every time but I just wanna offer an observation about Facebook. I do not think that Facebook has changed the world. I do not think that Facebook has re-ordered the way everybody lives their lives. I think it's a very successful and very interesting publishing company that has created a new model for advertising and that's fantastic. But I don't think it's changing human existence. Are you on Facebook? Am I? Yes. Okay. I don't think you're on Facebook like I'm on Facebook. Well I'm sure I'm not, but I am. I get it another words. I would argue though that Facebook is in a precarious position. I think that Facebook changed behavior on the web. So the internet is what changed our society fundamentally and that's the greatest thing we probably done as you know as species. The Facebook change the way we interact with, that was high per volume to ignore. There's people who believe that you know. Not sure, well you know it's pretty good. I'm not gonna go through the whole list but the internet is pretty good. I think that Facebook probably change fundamentally the way that we interact with the internet. Right it created a close system that we were okay with. It created you know safe space. It created this idea of connection where I think that-that hadn't existed as concretely before. It created identity. But I think Facebook, it created identity exactly. That is huge. Which is huge, I think though that Facebook is a little vulnerable right now. I think that their in a precarious position especially as they go into an IPO without the growth potential that they had when they were maybe only 400,000 million users. And I think that-that part of creating that identity, part of creating those connections is creating a little bit of back clash Facebook. You know unlike actually a computer, a search engine, or a commerce engine, Facebook has udderly optional and easily replaceable.