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Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet Paperback – April 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"[A] journalistic tale of competitive intrigue… For anyone with an interest in how our digital world has evolved, Charles Arthur's Digital Wars is required reading." --ForeWord Reviews 

"Arthur traces the ups-and-downs of the companies over time and the cutthroat competition that persists today to create the next state of the art server, music device, smartphone, tablet, or something entirely new. ...Lively and informative, even non-geeks will find this story riveting." --Publishers Weekly

"It's rare to say that a business book is a page-turner. But Charles Arthur's book, Digital Wars, is just that. ...[Arthur] does something unexpected in his book: He breathes life into these billion-dollar companies and makes them...human. … Digital Wars does more than rehash familiar stories of these industry giants, instead focusing on overarching narratives complete with an accounting of the victories and losses of each. … If you enjoyed Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Apple CEO as a personal glimpse into the man, Digital Wars is a must-read for a view of Jobs' doppelganger, Apple, and the other companies that waxed and waned in no small part due to his genius." --New York Journal of Books  

"Science and technology journalist Arthur (Guardian, UK) provides a summary of the big three Internet-era companies, focusing on search platforms, digital music, smartphones, and tablets. …Where many similar works such as John Battelle's The Search and Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs focus primarily on personalities and management approaches, this work focuses more on various aspects of market economics and strategies, as well as competitive patent practices. Valuable for all readers, and a suitable addition for history of technology and business collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --CHOICE, K. D. Winward, Central College

"…[R]arely do I enjoy books as much as Charles Arthur's new Digital Wars. …Not only is this highly informative, but it is extremely well written. …He somehow manages to craft an exciting thriller out of what could have been written in a very arid and boring way. …This book is a "must read" for anyone who really wants to understand some of the changes that have taken place in the ICT industry over the last 15 years. …There is much to be learnt about the past from Digital Wars to help us shape the future." --Tim Unwin, CEO, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation  

"…[A] great read, written in a concise, clear and engaging style." --Tim Anderson, ITWriting

"…[A] definitive history of the battle for internet dominance between Microsoft, Apple and Google. … What distinguishes his book from the many volumes written about the Big Three is a passion for detail, checked and referenced facts, laced with anecdotes collected over decades of his professional writing career. There is a forensic quality to his writing that is as impressive as it is much welcomed. …There are so many lessons to be learnt from this book." --Liberate Media

"…I believe that history shapes the future even in the fast moving world of technology. So, if you share the same beliefs, then this this is indeed an interesting read. …I recommend it." --A. Jaokar, Open Gardens Blog  

"...[A] revealing account of Apple, Google and Microsoft’s battles for dominance in search, digital music and smartphones." --Robert Skinner, Ertblog

"...getAbstract recommends it to students of history, technology and corporate success. And if you are reading this abstract on a tablet or phone, you will soon learn more about the myriad decisions that led to the device in your hand." --getAbstract

"[A] fine survey documenting battles over search technology, mobile music, smartphones and more, and considers how these companies embarked on campaigns that not only changed their business structures, but the nature of information as a whole." --Midwest Book Review

Book Description

A technology expert forecasts the next 5 years in mobile internet

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kogan Page; Original edition (April 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749464135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749464134
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Greg Cox on April 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Charles Arthur's column in the Guardian from time to time so I was interested to see his take on the competition between these three behemoths. It is also nice to see some attention given to Microsoft at a time when most other tech observers are so caught up with Apple, Google, Facebook and the startup story du jour.

I worked at Microsoft during some of the years that Arthur covers, and I was close enough to the events and the people to know that the detail is mostly accurate. Like any story, the truth is quite a bit more complex than he could convey in a book of this nature, but I think the overall impressions taken away by readers will be correct.

Despite covering a lot of ground, the book reads quite easily. And I appreciated that Arthur focused on telling the story rather than indulging in too much speculation and theorizing of his own. He lets the events speak for themselves. At a very high level the book seems to take the position that Apple has won, Microsoft has lost, and Google is somewhere in between. Of course, this is a point in time thing and the outcomes might look different a decade from now.

My criticisms of the book are that Arthur doesn't have the depth of insight about Apple and Google that he has about Microsoft. I have the impression that his Microsoft sources were quite a lot better. And I kept wishing that Facebook was also in the picture.

The book is a very worthwhile read for people interested in this industry. The Microsoft detail is solid, the comparisons between the three companies are interesting, and it is an entertaining read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By An Avid Reader on June 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is much more than a book about a few big companies. Who cares about that? Rather, it is a fascinating account of some of the greatest technology changes to affect our every day lives since the car and the telephone. The book makes fast reading, mostly because it is so well written, but also that so much big news has happened over the past years in computers and phones. The author takes you in to the feel of intense competition between the companies, and how each tries to get the advantage (and thereby benefiting us immensely) in their own particular way. The stakes are high, and the figures dazzling. I never thought that I would read such a book. I just "stumbled upon it", and I am glad I did. It will not disappoint.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Hays on November 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Well written and full of detail. The only reason I give it four stars is because the book's conclusion does nothing but praise Steve Jobs and Apple. Prior to that point it is pretty unbiased though. Definitely worth reading if you are interested in how computer technology evolves.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael J on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This was one of the most fun books to read. I have been a computer guy for over 23 years, I am not an IT or programmer, I am just a computer guy. This book has so much information about little things from these giants, even before they were giants. It gives you the background from former employees that know first hand what was and probably still is going on. This book was hard to put down, even having bronchitis at the time I was reading this, so I was trying to read and cough at the same time, but I did not want to stop. This is really a great book and has to be one of my favorite reads. I found myself saying, "they did that, that's crazy," a lot of times. Even if you are not a computer guru, this book would be a fun read for you. It gives you a lot of insight into the 3 big corporations that have really made the world what it is socially and how we all connect together in these times. Definitely recommend this book to anyone.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sergio on September 3, 2013
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The sort of book you need to read to get serious about understanding the moves of the big companies. It's like a history book with valuable info and insights and not falling in the trap on predicting what will happen.

The book fails to mention in the Music section players like Spotify. I would have also loved a deeper analysis on the patents war and more examples of how it might hurt the digital industry.
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