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Monday was something of a red-letter day for the tech industry. When the stock market closed, the five most valuable companies on the planet were, for the first time, technology concerns. And they all hailed from the West coast of the US, whether the San Francisco Bay Area (Apple, Alphabet and Facebook) or in and around Seattle (Microsoft and Amazon).对科技行业来说,上周一(8月1日)是个铭记的日子。股市收盘时,全球市值最低的5家企业头一次全部是科技企业。并且,它们全部来自美国西海岸,还包括旧金山湾区的苹果(Apple)、Alphabet和Facebook,以及西雅图一带的微软公司(Microsoft)和亚马逊(Amazon)。

In subsequent days, ExxonMobil — which held the title of world’s most valuable company until it was overhauled by Apple — edged back above Facebook and Amazon. But it may only be a temporary reprieve. A seemingly inexorable shift in business and stock market momentum is under way, as today’s technology leaders assume a more central place in personal and business life.随后几天,埃克森美孚(ExxonMobil)——曾是全球市值最低的企业,后来被苹果领先于——市值新的多达Facebook和亚马逊。但是,这有可能只是昙花一现。


随着科技领军企业在个人生活和商业事务中占有着更为核心的方位,商业和股市中也经常出现了一种或许势不可挡的改变。Ten years ago, at the height of the PC era, Microsoft was the only tech company in the top 20. Now, though, the big five control a much wider array of digital platforms around which life and work revolve — from smartphones and cloud computing data centres to mobile messaging apps.10年前,在个人电脑(PC)时代的巅峰时期,微软公司是当时市值最低的20家企业中唯一一家科技公司。

然而,如今五巨头掌控着在人们生活和工作中占有最重要方位、更为多种多样的数字化平台——从智能手机到云计算数据中心,再行到移动通讯应用于(App)。They are also racing each other to build the next platforms, from virtual reality headsets to driverless cars and digital assistants powered by artificial intelligence.它们还在竞相打造出下一个平台,从虚拟现实头盔到无人驾驶汽车,再行到由人工智能驱动的数字化助理。Only China, thanks to a domestic market that is hard for outsiders to penetrate, can lay claim to tech companies with the scale and ambition to compete.只有中国——造就外来者无法渗透到的国内市场——需要享有在规模和野心上可以与之一较高下的科技企业。

That has been underlined by this week’s detente in the ride-hailing wars, which has seen Uber’s global expansion halted and a new Chinese digital champion crowned, in the shape of Didi Chuxing.上周叫车软件之战有所恶化就凸显了这一点:优步(Uber)落下了全球扩展的脚步,而一家新的中国数字化冠军企业顺利登基,即滴滴上下班(Didi Chuxing)。Today, the key question is: which markets are next in the big five’s sights, as they cast around more widely for growth?如今,关键问题在于:在五巨头在更大范围内找寻增长点之际,它们的下一个目标市场在哪?There is still plenty of room for them to expand in their core markets. Although Google and Facebook are already the world’s biggest advertising-based businesses, only about 30 per cent of global advertising spend is digital. Two percentage points of this spend shifts from analogue to digital every year, leaving room for plenty of expansion.目前它们的核心市场依然有充足空间可供它们扩展。




However, in other markets, such as smartphones, growth is harder to come by. For a company as big as Apple, the only hope for material expansion comes from breaking into a huge new business, like automobiles. Giant bets like this, or Google’s “moonshot” projects, are hard to assess. Closer to home, there are two areas that seem more likely to support growth in the short and medium term.然而,在智能手机等其他市场,要获得快速增长艰难得多。对于像苹果这么大的企业,构建大规模扩展的唯一期望是进占一项市场可观的新业务,例如汽车领域。


One is building and running the infrastructure on which the digital economy runs. Companies that make hardware and software, or sell IT services, are facing disruption as their customers spend more on cloud services rather than extending their own IT systems.其中一个是为数字化经济打造出和运营基础设施。由于用户自由选择减少在云服务方面的开支更加不是升级IT系统,生产硬件和软件、或者获取IT服务的企业于是以面对分崩离析的局面。

Much of Amazon’s recent stock market advance reflects the huge opportunity that its cloud platform business, AWS, now has. Microsoft’s renewed relevance in the tech world, following the sidelining of the PC, reflects a similar shift to the cloud, where it is now Amazon’s closest competitor.亚马逊最近的股价升势在相当大程度上体现出有其云平台业务AWS眼下坐拥的极大机遇。在PC业务边缘化后,微软公司调整了在科技领域的定位,某种程度改向云服务。如今微软公司是亚马逊在云服务领域实力最相似的输掉。And the second promising growth area is in applications for the pervasive new platform emerging from developments in cloud and mobile computing. In the past, Microsoft, with Office, cornered the market for the main applications that ran on its PC operating system. But the next big digital applications will reach into many more corners of life and touch many more businesses.第二个前景不俗的快速增长领域是App,也就是为那些随着云服务和移动计算出来的发展而经常出现的无处不在的新平台打造出App。


过去,凭借Office软件,微软公司独占了在其PC操作系统中运营的主要应用于的市场。但是下一个最重要的数字化App将更为深入生活的方方面面,看清更加多领域。Uber’s use of a mobile app to invade the taxi business is the blueprint for this. It is now angling to become a new transport and logistics platform itself. Now, the big five — with their large user bases and control of their own platforms — should have an advantage when it comes to developing new applications like this. But it does not guarantee they will be the ones to grab the opportunities first.优步利用一款手机App入侵出租车业务,之后体现了这一点。


但是这并无法确保它们不会年所抓住机遇。Facebook’s unveiling of a virtual clone of the rival Snapchat app is a sign of the justifiable paranoia that even the biggest digital companies can feel. While the social network has shown itself to be an effective fast-follower, it will struggle to outrun all the innovation unleashed by the new open digital platforms. Facebook公布了一款实质上拷贝竞争对手Snapchat的App,指出了即便是仅次于的数字化公司也不会罪的无可非议的病态。尽管这家社交网站已证明自己是一个高效的较慢模仿者,但是它将无法打破各种开放型的新数字平台带给的所有创意。

Indeed, the history of other seemingly unstoppable tech companies, such as IBM and Microsoft, should give others hope. Competition regulations, as well as the increasing difficulty of staying on the cutting edge as they become giant companies, are among the factors that eventually weigh them down.IBM、微软公司等一些曾多次看起来势不可挡的科技企业的历史,应当不会给其他企业带给期望。与竞争涉及的法规,以及随着它们沦为巨头后要维持在行业最前沿的可玩性日益增大,这些都是最后压制它们的因素。But for the other companies battling against their current stock market dominance, that may be cold comfort.但是对于其他于是以与当前在股市占到主导地位的巨头互为抗衡的企业来说,这也许起将近恳求起到。