Can We Live in World Where Microsoft, Google & Amazon Don’t Exist?
It just struck me one morning how our urban lives in general revolve around these five companies: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple. From the moment you wake up you begin to use some app or device that’s related to one of the five companies.
That got me thinking: Is it possible to live without these five companies and their products? What smartphone would you use if not an Android or an iPhone? What computer would you use if it wasn’t running Windows or a Mac OS? How would you communicate if it wasn’t for Whatsapp or Gmail?
Heck, even withdrawing money from an ATM would be a challenge because, fun fact, many ATMs run on versions of Windows operating systems.
And what about digital voice assistants at home - if not for Amazon’s Echo with Alexa, Google Home or Siri on the Apple HomePod?
Let’s face it. Life would be very difficult, but not impossible. There are alternatives.
Slide the images below to see what alternatives there are to each of the ecosystems of these five companies.
Google Ecosystem Alternatives
It is almost impossible these days to imagine not using a single bit of the Google ecosystem. Whether it's for communication through email or using an Android phone or looking for directions or watching videos, Google is everywhere.
If you wanted to completely get off the Google ecosystem, without touching the other four mentioned in this story, you only have KaiOS phones as an alternative. The Reliance Jiophone runs on KaiOS, as do phones from Alcatel and a low-end Nokia phone. You can use browsers from Mozilla, navigation from TomTom or MapmyIndia and such. But it won’t be seamless and would need separate devices.
Microsoft Ecosystem Alternatives
It may be a tad easier getting off the Microsoft ecosystem altogether, if you use Google. Otherwise, it’s tough. Some ATMs also use Windows operating systems, so you won’t be able to withdraw money everywhere, unless you go to the bank itself.
Want to get a PC that’s not a Mac or a Windows machine? Well, you’ve got to try using one that runs on Ubuntu or Linux, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Similarly, good luck trying to get around using Word, Excel and Powerpoint like apps without cozying up to Apple or Google for that.
Facebook Universe Alternatives
Have a bone to pick with Facebook? It may be easier getting off this ecosystem if you can do without Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger, besides the main Facebook app. There are other social media apps you can look at.
In fact, of late Telegram is emerging as an alternative to Whatsapp. In China, WeChat is popular and it’s now trickling to other parts of the world. However, there’s no app with all the features of Instagram yet.
Don’t want to be a part of the Apple universe? Sure, you’ve got Microsoft and Google to fall back on. But if you don’t want to latch on to these ecosystems too, then you pretty much are left high and dry.
When it comes to phones, Apple and Android have the market covered, with KaiOS and others getting a minority market share. When it comes to computers, one can only look at Ubuntu or Linux based machines. Yet, there’s no direct rival to Apple yet besides Google & Microsoft.
Amazon, which started out as an online retailer selling books, has grown into a huge marketplace. It also has got into the voice assistant space with Alexa, which competes with Google’s assistant and Apple’s Siri.
If you wanted an alternative to Amazon’s marketplace, you have sites like Flipkart, Aliexpress, Paytm and others to shop from. However, if you wanted to choose a voice assistant that wasn’t part of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Google, there’s hardly anything to pick from. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Yes, life is a lot more convenient with these five around. You could probably live without subscribing to one or the other ecosystem, but not all five at the same time.
It’s not easy getting out of this web. Not yet.
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