Economist Analyzes “Three Internet Survivors”

This isn’t strictly mobile content-related, but The Economist has a sharply written report about the diverging fate of three of the Internet’s earliest icon companies: Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon.

“For many years eBay and Yahoo! made more money than Amazon, which, as a capital-intensive retailer, struggled longer with losses and then made profits at lower margins,” the report said. And yet, said Pip Coburn of Coburn Ventures, an investment adviser, Yahoo! is now drifting and eBay is a washed-up quasi-monopoly, whereas Amazon finds itself at the Internet’s cutting edge.

The report goes into detail about how Yahoo basically threw away its early lead when Terry Semel, with his “backward-looking idea of the media business,” took over the reins in 2001. eBay became a “de facto monopoly” as everyone flocked to listing their items on the most popular auction site, but now many users are vaguely disenchanted with the company and are increasingly using Google and other means to find buyers.

Meanwhile, Amazon endured early failures in its online auction-related attempt to keep pace with eBay, but eventually “backed into cloud computing,” opened its infrastructure to third-party retailers, and found its groove.