Google (goog, -1.31%) started out as a search company, Facebook (fb, -1.76%) a social media company, Amazon (amzn, -2.20%) an e-commerce company, and Tencent a messaging company. But these distinctions are becoming less relevant every day.
Facebook’s announcement Wednesday of a new video service called Watch to compete with YouTube and Netflix (nflx, -2.99%) did not come as a surprise to many. The company has been building up its video offerings and capabilities for some time.
In fact, over the past few years, we have seen wave after wave of new product and service announcements, not just from Facebook, but from all of the digital giants. The days of being able to clearly differentiate one giant from another by what they offer are fast disappearing.
Digital giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple (aapl, -2.09%), and Microsoft (msft, -0.77%) now compete against each other in up to 11 business areas, including content development, artificial intelligence, e-commerce marketplaces, hardware devices, messaging, financial services, and advertising. There isn’t a single business area left where they are on their own.
The same situation is happening is China. Alibaba (baba, -2.84%) was traditionally focused on e-commerce, and Tencent on gaming and messaging. Both companies grew massively, but for a while in parallel, rarely intersecting. Today, however, they are competing across many categories.