If you think about it, what's shocking isn't the size of Microsoft or Apple, companies that are decades old, established titans of industry (even if they have stumbled in the past)—it's Google. In just over 10 years, Google's become arguably the most important company on the web, spreading to anything the internet touches with astonishing speed, almost like a virus: From the web and search to books, video, mobile phones, operating systems, and soon, your TV. Friends have become enemies, enemies more paranoid. And you know, it's only a matter of time before Google's remaining gaps on this map are filled out.
What's at stake? Nothing less than the future. Microsoft wants computing to continue to be tied to the desktop—three screens and a cloud, as Ballmer is fond of saying. For Apple, it's all about closed information appliances with lots of third-party apps, computers anybody can use. And for Google, all roads lead to the internet, and the internet is synonymous with Google.Gizmodo