As several writers have pointed out, yesterday's keynote session at Google's I/O Conference was an Apple bashfest. It's increasingly looking like Apple, Google and Microsoft are three scorpions in a bottle, focusing all their attention on each other, with Adobe and Yahoo acting like smaller bugs in the bottle, desperately looking for a ride on one of the scorpions' backs to avoid getting stung.
This represents a great opportunity for startups. The big guys are focusing on each other, rather than customers. They're reacting to each other's moves, and that means that they're even less sensitive than usual to the activities of companies outside the bottle. As Bill Gates said years ago, his biggest fear was two guys in a garage doing something that Microsoft hadn't anticipated. He was right; the two guys were Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and although they were at Stanford, not in a garage, they thoroughly blindsided Microsoft. Now, Brin and Page, along with Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer, need to watch out for the next "two guys in a garage", who are likely already working on the next big thing.