The Wordperfect Axiom

When the platform changes, the leaders change.

Wordperfect had a virtual monopoly on word processing in big firms that used DOS. Then Windows arrived and the folks at Wordperfect didn't feel the need to hurry in porting themselves to the new platform. They had achieved lock-in after all, and why support Microsoft?

In less than a year, they were toast.

When the game machine platform of choice switches from Sony to xBox to Nintendo, etc., the list of bestelling games change and new companies become dominant.

When the platform for music shifted from record stores to iTunes, the power shifted too, and many labels were crushed.

Again and again the same rules apply. In fact, they always do. When the platform changes, the deck gets shuffled.

Think this only applies to software?

The platform for healthcare changed from independent doctor's offices and small practices to hospitals and hmos.

The platform for TV changed from airwaves to wires (so HBO and ESPN win, NBC loses).

The platform for cars is changing from gas engines to alternatives.

And the platform for books is changing (fast!) to e-books and readers. Just published today: the Vook multimedia production of Unleashing the Ideavirus. The price will increase to $5 in two weeks, but right now it's 99 cents. It runs on the web and on your iphone [try this link too] (and the iPad on April 3rd.)

Here's the thing: Vook abridged it, built it, filmed it and distributed it in less than ninety days. They have a software application that they can use again and again for other titles. They've organized themselves to be profitable at a profit margin that few big book publishers can match.

Once again, the platform changes. Insiders become outsiders and new opportunities abound.