An ecosystem is more like a coral reef than a super market. All sorts of aquatic life depend on a coral reef for their existence and if that coral reef is destroyed most of the aquatic life that depends on it would also die. While I need a super market to buy food, if the super market down the street closes I can always find another one.

I see constant references to "ecosystems" in the context to shopping. The Apple ecosystem is based on the iTunes store where one can buy music and movies, and Apple's retail stores where one can get support and buy products that work with Apple's hardware. The Amazon ecosystem is its web site where one can buy books, music, and movies that can be played on personal computing devices.

In my opinion an ecosystem is more than just the ability to buy stuff, to me an ecosystem is about sustainability. Putting personal computing in context of ecosystems, can a user continually benefit from using a computer that improves their life? For me ecosystems aren't just whether I can buy books, music or movies, but also whether the information I need to grow and be productive is available to me.

Google is an information company that makes money by selling ads associated with information. Apple is a hardware company that makes money by selling the best hardware. Amazon is an online retailer that makes money by making it easy for users to buy stuff.

A coral reef doesn't exist to form an ecosystem, the ecosystem that forms around it is a consequence of its existence. In my opinion, Google is the only company of the three that has as a result of its primary purpose the formation of an ecosystem. It not only provides music and movies, but it also provides access to a wide range of information, from email to maps, to information on Google Now, to web searches.

I have many reasons to go back to the "coral reef Google" because my life involves more than just buying stuff. I need answers to the questions I have as I go about my life, and each time I go back to the "coral reef Google" to nibble on more information, "coral reef Google" benefits from my presence.

When I need to buy something, I usually go to the "supermarket Amazon" because I trust it to have the product I need at an affordable price and the company ships the product to my front door. Frankly, no device whether it is sold by Apple, Samsung, Motorola, or HTC is going to prevent me from shopping at Amazon.

Now we come to the challenge that Amazon has to over come in selling their Fire smartphone. The questions I need answers to occur much more frequently and at many more locations than my need to shop. If I am lost and need directions to the nearest store, I need those directions right now and I know I will find those directions by asking Google on my smartphone.

On the occasions when I need to shop, while it might be convenient for me to do so on my smartphone, I am most likely capable of waiting until I have access to a notebook computer. I most likely don't need to shop right now, and if I do need a product right now, I am going to the store for which I need directions to and not to Amazon's web site.

For most people the need for answers and information is more important than the need to shop. Android phones that have full access to Google's services are best suited for providing answers and information. Unfortunately for Amazon, it is also very easy for me to shop from Amazon on those same Android phones.

06/20/14; 09:52:22 AM

Last built: Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 10:43 PM

By Frank McPherson, Friday, June 20, 2014 at 10:08 AM.