Last year I wrote this post on the changing structure of technology companies and return to vertically integrated corporate structures as well as the return to on-shore supply chains. I wrote that post in the pre-Covid-19 world, but this trend has been accelerated by Covid-19. It will have broad ramifications. The global power structures, chains of commerce and confrontation points are shifting. To understand this post, I think it will be helpful to understand how we got here and how it is being altered, which was the subject of that post from June 2019. We are transitioning way from 30 years of issue-based coalitions to moving back to a world of bi-polar coalitions. Game on.
The temperature felt like 106 degrees Fahrenheit. The dew point was in the upper 70s, a brutal end to a long hot day. In the early evening I was sitting on the lawn of the deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln Massachusetts. We were there to see Doug Aiken’s New Horizon Balloon Project. As we waited in the mind numbing heat and humidity for sunset and the balloon light show to begin, there were a series of speakers and musicians and the theme for the event that night was “The Future of Information: Conversation with Gideon Lichfield, editor-in-chief of MIT Technology Review. Confronted with fake news and information bubbles, how do traditional media companies become platforms for communities to address the challenges society faces in a more equitable and inclusive manner?”
It seems with each passing week, more examples of the changing structure of technology companies emerge. Just before the workday closed on the east coast of the US, the following headline was splashed across the Wall Street Journal “Apple in Advanced Talks to Buy Intel’s Smartphone-Modem Chip Business.” The ultimate “Platform Company” from the 2000s is adding to their arsenal of chip IP and chip development teams.
My wife would tell you that for some reason I own far too many books on First World War Naval History. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the history of Europe post the German wars of Unification (>1871) through the outbreak of the First World War. Some of my favorite college courses covered the treaty system of Bismarck and debates as to who was to blame for the outbreak of the First World War. Over time, I have become familiar with the naval history of the First World War. I think it might have started when I read Robert Massie’s book Dreadnaught. My fascination with this period of history is both tactical and strategic in nature.
This morning’s news brought a couple of headlines that are relevant to the last post on The Changing Structure of Technology Companies. The first article is from the Nikkei Asia Review which states that “…Global consumer electronics makers HP, Dell, Microsoft and Amazon are all looking to shift substantial production capacity out of China, joining a growing exodus that threatens to undermine the country’s position as the world’s powerhouse for tech gadgets.”