Disruption is over, and Facebook won
BBC: On Friday, another one bit the dust. As Snap's shares plunged following disappointing results, it became clear that the myth that a feisty young challenger to Facebook could topple the social media giant from its perch was just that - a myth.
Of course, the company behind Snapchat is still a very impressive young business, building an audience of 173 million mostly young daily users in just five years and changing the way they communicate, in fun and inventive ways.
But its future as an independent company looks uncertain, with talk of it being swallowed up by Google or another web giant.
The deep pockets of Facebook, which bought Instagram and WhatsApp, and has relentlessly copied any challenger it couldn't buy, meant that Snap was always going to struggle to deliver on the vision of rapid growth it outlined when marketing its shares earlier this year.
And that just adds to the growing sense that the days of creative destruction in the technology industry may be over, and that we are looking at a world where the big winners of the past decade - Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, or "Gafa" as this four-headed beast is sometimes described - will rule unchallenged.
In its young life, Facebook has constantly been seen as under threat - and indeed it has fostered that view whenever there has been talk of curbing its power.
Just as it had left Bebo, MySpace and Friends reunited in the dust, the story went, it too could soon be heading for obsolescence as fickle users turned to the new, new thing.
But the truth is the social media war is over and Facebook is the winner.
A few smaller players such as LinkedIn and Twitter and, yes, Snapchat will have substantial audiences but struggle to make much money.
But, apart from in China, the company that is now worth nearly $500bn (£385bn) will continue to be the biggest force in the way we communicate for the foreseeable future.
The other members of the Gafa quadrumvirate also look secure in their dominance.
Google won the battle for search on the desktop long ago, and has now become equally powerful on the mobile internet.
Amazon is the undisputed champion of online retailing and logistics and has built a lead in cloud computing. And while Apple has a relatively small share of the global smartphone market, it has gobbled up most of the industry's profits for the past seven years.
Now, key trends in technology mean the giants are poised to grow immeasurably richer.
As advertising spending is aimed increasingly at phones, Google and Facebook already have most of the mobile ad revenue.
But it is in the use of artificial intelligence that the technology giants aim to cement their technological lead.
I was told recently that an AI researcher emerging from a top US university can command a salary of $500,000 a year in a first job.
It is not start-ups paying that kind of money but Facebook and Amazon.
Of course. you can find lots of brilliant artificial intelligence researchers in the UK - but many of them now work for American companies, with start-ups such as DeepMind and Swiftkey snapped up by Google and Microsoft respectively.
So, should we worry about the huge and growing power of these businesses?
Unsurprisingly, the companies still insist that at any moment they could be disrupted out of existence by a smart new start-up.
But, so far, American competition regulators have also been pretty relaxed, because they tend to focus mainly on whether consumers are paying excessive prices because of a lack of competition.
With social media and search giants offering excellent services for nothing, they see few causes for concern right now.
In Europe, regulators tend to be somewhat more sceptical about whether companies with monopoly powers deliver for consumers in the long run.
That is why we have seen the EU take action against first Microsoft and now Google, where American regulators have mostly left them alone.
And while Europe's competition authorities insist that any action they take is based on law, not politics, there is undoubted concern among the continent's politicians about so much power over our lives being concentrated in the hands of a handful of companies based on America's West Coast.
So far, however, Facebook has been relatively untouched by this tougher regulatory approach, even if politicians complain about issues such as fake news and the presence of extremist content.
In the past year, we have seen it, arguably, play a key role in electing an American president, its global audience has risen above two billion, and it has now moved into video content, taking on YouTube and Netflix.
In an interview this weekend with the New York Times, the former Downing Street strategist turned Silicon Valley guru Steve Hilton said: "A lot of the foundational philosophical approaches of tech leaders are actually all about decentralisation of power."
Mark Zuckerberg may tell us that Facebook - where, incidentally, Mr Hilton's wife is now a senior executive - is all about giving power back to communities.
But increasingly it seems that wealth, influence and control of the key technology of our age, artificial intelligence, are being centralised at addresses in Menlo Park, Mountain View, Cupertino and Seattle.
Ministry Secretaries should be appointed on Best interest of Public not Minister Lethargy blocking change
- Action against COPE MPs caught talking to Aloysius Speaker to meet party leaders this week
- UNP furious over phone tapping CID, AG’s Dept blamed for ‘media show’
- Treasury Bonds Probe AG to question PM
- Gintota clashes 19 remanded Govt on desperate mission to arrest extremists
- ‘A prisoner in Indian jail on Eelam soil’
- Sagala vows to crush Aava group Police deployed in full strength
- Politico’s son-in-law in school frock drama Teacher threatened after student is reprimanded
- Lanka alarmed over increased smuggling of ‘KG’
- SC to hear Tangalle ASP assault case
- 656 kg Glyphosate nabbed
- FPTP opens gate for undesirables, warns Amunugama
- EC to issue nomination notice on 27th
- NPC Education Minister shuns national flag Sarveshwaran was Chief Guest at school event
- Geological changes in Jaffna – Academics
- Violence against children World Vision launches campaign
- Females from soldier families on SLPP list
- JO goes to CIABOC against five COPE members
- Warrant issued on Jaliya Wickramasuriya For failure to appear in court
- Appuhamy admits to communicating with Aloysius Denies wrongdoing
- Gota’s objections thrown out Avant Garde case to go ahead
- JVP to team up with the devil! Vows to defeat LG polls gazette case
- UNP and JO in ‘secret deal’ to tarnish SLFP – Dayasiri
- CID evidence on COPE members and Aloysius JO urges Speaker to investigate
- An Inconsistent US Assertive China and Asia’s Hobbesian Order
- Jorge Sharp and Citizen Movements:New Momentum for Chilean Left?
- Angelo, Lahiru prop Sri Lanka
- Ritzbury Sir John Tarbat Junior School Athletic Championship 2017 Janadhipathi BV and St. Joseph’s emerge champions
- Air Force, Police look for first win
- Navy defeat lethargic Havies
- CEB emerge Super League Champs
- Rambukwella scores ton
- ‘Singer Cup’ Under-19 Schools Cricket Buddila steers St. Aloysius
- Pelican SC win
- HNB clinch two titles
- Nadal wins defamation case
- One-legged footballer melts hearts
- Paine handed shock recall for Australia
- Italy's stars fall back to earth in Serie A
- 20th Army Para Athletic Meet 700 Servicemen and 5 Koreans in the fray 2 Korean Olympians provide international flavour
- 47 successful at AASL Technical Officers exam
- England’s May up to speed for Wallabies
- MCA Premier League 2018 MAS and DIMO into Semis
- 34th MBA Inter-Firm Team Badminton Championships 2017 McLarens Group are overall champions
- Fourteen teams for beach tag rugby
- CH in vigorous win over CR
- Aviation sector to be liberalized
- Telcos to lobby against levy
- How 5 massive Trade Deals Have Fared under Trump
- Securing the social licence to operate
- China stealthily pouring money into India
- Managing taxpayer money: Targets, promises and real achievements
- LB Finance reports solid 1H results
- HNB Group posts Rs 16.8 B PBT
- Study on the Non-Banking Financial Industry
- People’s Bank installs ATM at Ella Railway Station
- World’s fastest car redefining education
- Abans Homes Instyle: Furniture of the future
- Transforming Sri Lanka’s real estate landscape
- Access Engineering lays new road along Beira
- Should Sri Lanka become a Tea Hub?
- Amãna Takaful wins at SLIM NASCO 2017
- Glow Skincare aids flood victims through ‘Purple Fashionista’
- Seylan rewards monthly draw winners
- Turkish Airlines to offer stopover in Istanbul
- taxpayer revolt if Republicans kill deduction?
- Best Wishes
- Remembering ‘Dictionary Johnson’
- Budgetary design of blue green enterprise
- A Time of Gifts Different Perspectives
- We were forced to work like animals
- Concretes and abstracts Two comics at the Savoy in London
- Row over beer tax
- Illegal mining Muttur’s sandy secret Hundreds of tons of sand taken away at night
- PM before Bond Commission tomorrow
- BREXIT Impact on free movement of people
- Wigneswaran’s claim Devanampiya Tissa was a Tamil king An academically naïve proposition Prof Raj Somadeva
- There is no journey with the UNP
- Core values of the UNP are eroding - Pradeep Jayewardene
- UN compensation for Kuwait workers Rs 3.2 B on migrant worker welfare
- Professor Matteo Legrenzi says: Gulf States are not keen on all-out war
- An argument for a new Constitution
- ‘Otriachchi’, ‘Orumiththa Nadu’, ‘Aekeeya Rajya’ and unitary state
- A Constitutional Framework for Sri Lanka
- PAST LIFE AND RULING PLANETS IN KRISHNAMURTHI PADHDHATHI
- Build before onset of Kona Masa
- Palms of road accident victims
- Want to get rid of malefic Saturn ?
- Installing doors and windows according to Vastu
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Vibrancy of classical Sinhala poetry
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Conquering Fashion
- Gavin Ryan’s Salon Professionalism to the next level
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENETTE THE CRANBERRY ADVENTURES
- Calamitous Earthquake in Iran
- Scientists warn of ‘giant leap backward’ at climate talks
- Death of Ananda Senaratne