There was a time when it was okay to have one consumer electronics company specialize in building one product and another company building another, with both businesses working together-yet apart-to keep the technology sector humming along. Thanks to Apple's unbridled success-the company's stock passed $500 this week and it is worth more than Google and Microsoft combined
-it has become fashionable for high-tech giants to develop and nurture a whole ecosystem. Take Apple's approach to mobile. The company builds its own hardware and software, and controls the supply chain and component pipeline for its iPhones, iPads and other devices like no other tech company in the history of the industry. Increasingly, Amazon and now Google are following in Apple's footsteps. Amazon, once solely an e-commerce and Web services provider, has spent the last several years building Kindle e-readers. Then, Amazon added the Kindle Fire tablet to bite off a chunk of the consumer Web market Apple triggered with the iPad. Not to be outdone, Google is building a home entertainment system, and the company is borrowing heavily from the ideas that Apple and Amazon have already set in motion.
What is Google up to in its quest to control the living room? eWEEK explores the possibilities.