The Triumvirate

gmaWe might like to admit it, but there are basically three big tech companies we will have to deal with for the foreseeable future because they will influence our personal tech choices. You know the three – Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The truth is they have been around for a while and it is more than likely you have one or more pieces of their technology on your computer or in your home.

Google is getting involved in everything from driverless cars to trying to reintroduce an improved Google Glass for the general public. I think they will have to reconsider the price tag though. Apple has their Apple Watch along with a continuing steam of smartphones people line up to get. Microsoft seems to be lagging behind these two, the biggest reason being that they were late to get into the mobile device game.

You should notice that all three companies are more invested in the hardware side of technology than the software or apps. One of the reasons is that many apps require being connected to the Internet, and that is an essential feature of any consumer technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that is making connectivity essential even for the maintenance of home appliances. From a business viewpoint, hardware is where the money is.

The good news in all this is even though these three get most of our attention (and money) the prices we pay for technology have gone down over the years. Smartphones pack in more features with each new upgrade, and storage of our data can be done outside of our computing device to be accessed anywhere in the world. We don’t think much of all of this but at the same time our lives are built around having the technology. It is more than a little weird.

Should we thank the Triumvirate? I’m not so sure about that just yet. Here’s the thing. Their technology has benefitted our personal lives in so many ways. Just considering Google’s search engine, how many times do you use it in a single day and what would you do without it? I think I made my point. We have become dependent on these three companies and in the process have lost something as well.

Do we really know what is being stored on our computers with all their updates? None of the Triumvirate can seem to solve the problem of making our computers secure from hackers and viruses. It’s interesting that these issues are mostly about the software, not the hardware that is their cash cow.

That seems to leave us with the problem of getting quality stuff for cheap, but having to feel less secure about using the devices whether it is a laptop or smartphone. There aren’t a lot of choices for a smartphone operating system, the most popular provided by the Triumvirate. The same with Internet search engines. Then there is the cost, where before our old phones begin to show signs of wear, there is a newer model out that offers greater promise.

As much as I appreciate what they have done for us, I would feel more secure if they focused more on getting things right than moving faster. I realize the profit motive here, but I think most people prefer that their technology serve them rather than the other way around. Maybe it is just me.