David Kirkpatrick writes in Fortune:
In the first phase of the Internet era, the worry was that brick-and-mortar retailers were in peril. Because most have survived, even as the Internet has burgeoned, the idea that large swaths of the economy are endangered is out of fashion. But this time its not just retailers who face daunting challenges, but service companies too, and in some of the biggestand most lucrativeindustries. We are seeing the first signs of the emergence of a small group of e-commerce service companies of a new typeessentially they’re integrated online commerce conglomerates. They aim not only to replace shopping malls, but also TV networks, telecommunications, and the banking system, among other services. And they want to do so globally.
these companies are converging in even more ways. Yahoo and Google, for example, are moving quickly to add video news and entertainment to their offerings. Each is coming at this set of combined opportunities from its own strengthAmazon and eBay from shopping and commerce, Google from search and advertising, MSN from communications and news, AOL from instant messaging and entertainment content, and Yahoo from personalization, communications, and shopping. Probably theyll never all offer exactly the same variety of services. Perhaps severalAmazon and AOL, for examplemight combine in order to better compete with Google, which, of the group, seems to have the most momentum.