But this cannot last. Sooner or later--no, strike that, sooner--we're going to reach some kind of stasis, and then we find out what the meaning of the word "inventory" really is.
In a first draft of this squib, I tried write about how we are in a death-struggle cage match and that one (only one) of the big three can possibly survive. One slips on a banana peel, one trips on his own shoelace, and we re left with--one. But then almost by accident, I described the big three as "networks." Yes, that's a pretty good name for them: "networks," social and otherwise. And you remember networks? We used to have networks. And we had three of them. Except we didn't: we had one with three heads, engaged in a perfunctory exercise of faux "competition," while they all cooperated in working out the same agenda on the same platform. Networks, as in "the networks," and for most purposes, we didn't need to differentiate.
So at the moment, I'm not so sure. We might end up just one indigestible behemoth called AppGoBook. Or we might end up with a network of networks, and it'll come down to the same thing.
One consequence of the inevitable coalescence is that it will serve to redefine other issues that we think of as unrelated today. Consider the IP thugs: SOPA PIPA ACTA and whatever is gestating in the acronymic incubator. Up to now, we think of "the entertainment industry" as the villains of the IP story, while the net giants stand for "freedom" (the ghost of Steve Jobs emits a maniacal cackle). But once the positioning is over, the networks and the IP goons will discover that they are natural allies, as they morph from "online piracy" into "stop anything on the internet that the animals don't pay for." Drones? Hey, Zuckerberg would love drones...
To repeat: this "pretend we are all co-venturers" phase can last only a little longer and then we are all back in the dutifully receptive role where, apparently since the end of the Pleistocene, we were all meant to be. So enjoy the sweet spot while you can, bunkies and remember: the pony express lasted just 18 months.