Book Review: Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the battle for the internet

Posted on: 2012-08-07 in Resources   |   Tagged: america charles arthur usa

The three American companies that have shaped the technology industry - as part of our series on the US of A. By @TopLineFounder

Anyone working agency side no doubt regularly comes across briefs in which prospective clients describe their software as ‘beautiful’, excitedly explain the product demonstration video they are after using a phrase that includes ‘clean and sharp in front of a white infinity screen’, insist you sign a a 20-page NDA before any information can be shared about the business, or are seeking an agency to gather the tech editors of all the nationals to the grand launch of their start-up.

Such briefs might make use smile, but they are small illustrations of the profound impact that three West Coast American companies and four brilliant entrepreneurs have had on business in general and technology business in particular. In Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the battle for the internet, the Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur (known in this industry for not suffering unprepared PRs!) charts the history of these tech behemoths and the people behind them.

The book covers the companies’ scramble for the top spot on the NASDAQ from the late 1990s to the death of Steve Jobs in October 2011, as they energetically defended territory that was becoming obsolete, while simultaneously going on the hardware design and software development offensive,  hoovering up Silicon-Valley start-ups in the process. If Napoleon had been around to watch, he would probably have done so on an iPad and he would no doubt have been riveted.

If you’re serious about tech communications, there are five reasons you should read this book:

  1. There’s no better way to understand Google’s search algorithm than by understanding Google’s history, founding principles and its continuous struggle to stay ahead of spammers. Any comms strategy you run no doubt includes an SEO programme (if not, why not?) and if you’re ever going to really 'get' SEO, you need to start at the beginning and understand why 9 out of 10 searches in the UK are conducted on Google.  
  2. Any founder or CEO you work with will want their company to emulate Google, Apple or Microsoft in some way, whether through rapid growth, disruptive innovation or celebrity leadership. If you’re going to be able to deliver the level of service these organisations require, you need to get on their level, which means understanding their objectives. This book will help you do that.
  3. The concept of ‘disruptive technology’ is what makes the tech industry such an exciting one to work in. Apple, Google and Microsoft are the ultimate disruptors, making it important to understand these three organisations that repeatedly changed the course of tech history in just over a decade.
  4. If you ever need to pitch Charles Arthur, you’d be wise to understand his core priorities – the businesses of Apple, Google and Microsoft - and tailor your approach accordingly. Granted, you probably don’t need to read the whole book for that.
  5. Finally, if you are or ever intend to be an entrepreneur, you almost certainly have a lot to learn from four of the great entrepreneurs of our era, from their biggest achievements to some of their mammoth screw-ups.

Digital Wars can be bought on Amazon.

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About this blog

The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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