I think AMD/nv and MS/Apple are not good because they just keep recycling the same old stuff (all of these "me too" products), they're behind the times, and their apps want too much control over other applications. Intel isn't much better either. However, I think it's the fault of patents and subsidies in the form of govt contracts. I think it will be hard for AMD/nv to fail soon because they each got $12.5Bn govt contracts this fiscal year. Of course, that doesn't mean that they'll make the best use of the subsidies... the market is more powerful than anything the State can do, fortunately.
The crash of the American video game industry in the 80s allowed for future innovation and I'd like the IP system and the subsidies to be abolished so the current giants would have to get innovative. I don't know how long the more recyclical institutions, especially those like EA and Activision, would've survived with trade treaties and patents.
Your thoughts on this please.
Past experience has shown us one thing: hi tech companies, especially those involved in consumer products, need to maintain a steady flow of products on the market, otherwise investors will start losing faith in them and then it's a slippery slope into oblivion. So far only one company managed to come back from the abyss: Apple, but it was due to Steve Jobs being called back and given almost dictatorial powers to turn the company around. It remains to be seen how the company will fare without his strong guiding hand.
The beautiful thing about the high tech market is it's mobile, so volatile, so tied to human action companies have to satisfy customers or the face the consequences. If Apple doesn't produce a mobile phone that reflects the potential customers' desires, Samsung or Motorola or HTC or Garmin or NEC or LG will step in. Mobile phones are one of the great success history of our times: the market triumphing despite government intervention (like the EU forcing manufacturers to adopt a single USB/charger port format).
Video games are a market where we'll see much change over the next few years. Right now it's mostly owned by a few giant companies like EA. To safeguard their hold on the market these giant companies, lacking a fully sanctioned government monopoly, had to resort to all kinds of tricks: raising the bar on graphics (which often doubles to cover the low overall product quality), creating massive expectations through well engineered advertising campaigns, massive multiplayer modes etc. Yet the lack of government sanctioned monopoly means they cannot employ force to enforce this near monopoly: they are not safe from competition. Competition is starting to appear in form of small developers and publishers putting out free or low cost online games and mobile phone apps. Since they cannot outspend the giants they have to be clever. Sooner or later one or more of them will become a giant in its own right.
Finally a word about government contracts. ATI originally started out as a small outfit working on "black" government programs: they developed the sensor suite used on the U2 spy plane and the Wild Weasel/Iron Hand SEAD aircraft. Yet they became a giant once they started to cater for the "civilian" market. Government contracts are fat but there are many strings attached.
Thanks Kakugo: ) Everything you said makes sense to me. I guess the men in the big institutions will have to leave and be replaced with better ones if those institutions are to remain competitive with smaller nearly non-profit devs. Fortunately, the small business owner is more naturally more creative and ingeniune than the big business for various reasons.
A problem is that the leviathan is only get bigger so that means more companies, large and small, will be tempted to govt patents (and half of America lives in a pro-business culture so these companies will be perpetuated by their brand name alone), new benefits that haven't been widely thought of yet, and less liberty.
I'm unhappy that Japan has lost any of the share it once had in the gaming industry. It's not the fault of Japan though... they were and still are among the biggest victims of the u.s. govt and central banking.
There are independants that became very big: notch (minecraft) for example. Valve is making some of their games free to play (tf2, dota2 both cosmetic items only) and very successful.