Points of Control: The Web 2.0 Summit Map

Internet companies are jockeying for positions that will benefit them for years to come.

In my blog post State of the Internet Operating System a few months ago (and the followup Handicapping the Internet Platform Wars), I used the analogy of “the Great Game” played out between England and Russia in the late Victorian era for control of access to India through what is now Afghanistan. In our planning for this year’s Web 2.0 Summit, John Battelle and I have expanded on this metaphor, exploring the many ways that Internet companies at all levels of the stack are looking for points of control that will give them competitive advantage in the years to come.

Now, John has developed that idea even further, with a super-cool interactive map that shows the Internet platform wars in a kind of fantasy landscape, highlighting each of the players and some of the moves they might make against each other. Click on the link at the top of the image below to get to the full interactive version. You might also want to read John Battelle’s description of the points of control map and how to use it.

Some of the battlegrounds are already clear, as Google has entered the phone hardware market to match Apple’s early lead, while Apple is ramping up its presence in advertising and location-based services to try to catch up to Google. Meanwhile, Facebook adds features to compete with Twitter and Foursquare, Google (and everyone else) keeps trying to find the magic bullet for social networking, and tries to eat Yelp’s lunch with Place Pages, Microsoft gains share in search and tries again to become a player in the phone market. Areas like social gaming, payment, speech and image recognition, location services, advertising, tablets and other new form factors for connected devices, are all rife with new startups, potential acquisition plays, and straight-up competition.

In the map, we’ve tried to highlight some of the possible competitive vectors. I’m sure you’ll have other ideas about companies, possible lines of attack, and possible alliances. We hope to hear your feedback, and we hope to see you at the Web 2.0 Summit, where we’ll be talking with many of the key players, and handicapping the next stage of the Great Game.


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  • Alex Tolley

    I’m not so sure about the map being “cool”. It is eye candy, but very anti-Tufte in design concept for extracting useful information.

    However my main critique is the use of a geographic metaphor for this new “great game”. I think it is being bent to conform to an idea that doesn’t map well to the real game that is going on. It obscures rather than enlightens.

  • Marty Perlmutter

    Cliffs of media access, indeed. Very clever!
    I love geographic metaphors, precise or not.
    I think we’re in Web 3.0 now. If interested, I’ll send my piece on this.

    Good on ya

  • Berceanu Cristian


    I must say that map is what kids should learn in geography these days, not some country they never heard of it, and probably never visit.

  • Google seems to be competing in so many markets these days. I’m sure they will be taking over even more markets in the future.

  • Gooberment 2.FAIL

    “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.”

    Joe Biden

    October 25 2010

  • The map is quite good…But make it more realistic type or better to say to give it a 3D shape so people are gonna like it and quite informative.