It was a tweet that stopped almost everyone at GeekWire and started a conversation in our Slack channel: “What’s the order in which you would drop Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook from your life, if forced to — from first to last.”
That was the question posed by New York Times writer Farhad Manjoo on Tuesday afternoon. In less than 30 minutes, the replies on his tweet were coming in hot and approaching 200. He’d clearly hit a tech nerve.
What’s the order in which you would drop Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook from your life, if forced to — from first to last.
— Farhad Manjoo ? (@fmanjoo) May 2, 2017
As dedicated followers of all of those companies and users of many of the products that they make, several of us couldn’t help but debate which ones would be easier to give up, which could be more seamlessly replaced by other services or gadgets and which ones were too much of a part of our daily digital lives.
It seems like a simple enough “game,” to drop the names of four companies and say pick your favorites. But these are four of the biggest companies in the world (sorry, Microsoft, you didn’t make the tweet) and billions of users interact with their products all day, every day.
So how do they rate for GeekWire staffers? And how do they rate for you? Make sure you share your list in the comments below.
Todd Bishop, GeekWire co-founder: Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon
“Apple and Google make great products, but they are largely replaceable in the digital world, thanks to Windows PCs and Microsoft Bing. Facebook less so. But you’ll have to pry my Amazon Prime from my cold, digital hands.”
John Cook, GeekWire co-founder: Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google
“I would ditch Amazon first. I try hard not to buy new things, and when I do, I’d rather support local shops. I have other reasons why I don’t shop on Amazon, but that’s a story for another day. Next up, I’d say goodbye to Facebook. I barely use it for personal use — I think my Twitter feed is still auto-populating my page. (Sorry followers!) The business case of Facebook is a bit more interesting to me, since it is a strong referral source of readers to GeekWire, so that would be hard to give up. The final two are really tough. Can there be a tie between Google and Apple? Probably not. If I had to choose, I think I’d eliminate Apple next. I can always ditch my iPhone and learn the Android ecosystem, including picking up a Google Pixel phone. My Android friends have been telling me to make the switch for years. Also, Microsoft just came out with a new $999 Surface notebook that would replace my MacBook Pro. I’d probably regret that decision on day one. My last MacBook I used so hard, that I wore off the varnish on the space bar. It would be tough to say goodbye to Apple and my MacBook and iPhone, but I just can’t live without Google, from Gmail to Google Docs to Google analytics.”
Nat Levy, reporter: Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google
“Apple is completely replaceable for me, and that’s true of Facebook to a point as well. Amazon is pretty unparalleled in what it does, and I use a lot of its services outside of e-commerce (Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Photos). Google not only is my life, but it also runs my life with my email, calendar and cell phone all under that same umbrella.”
Tom Krazit, cloud tech editor: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google
“Facebook is pretty dumb, even the kids are ditching it. I like Amazon as a store, but I can buy things local pretty easy if I have to. (Boycotting AWS would be practically impossible so I’m not counting that). I love my iPhone and would hate to part with it, but I could get an Android (theoretically). I’m not quite sure what I’d do without Google search and email, both personally and professionally.”
Alan Boyle, space and science editor: Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google
“First to go would be Apple, assuming I would get an Android phone (see below). I’m not invested at all in iTunes or other Apple services. The only link I have is through the iPhone. Then Facebook goes. For me, it’s mostly work-related rather than part of my personal life. Then it gets tougher. I would have to pry the Amazon.com URL away from my wife’s clawing fingers, but I mostly use it for Amazon Prime video rather than shopping per se. I’d also have to give up my Kindle and Echo, which would hurt. But I think I’d rather do that than forgo Google search, maps, email, etc., etc. Unless … I switched fully over to the Microsoft/Bing/Hotmail realm. For what it’s worth, if they added Microsoft to the list, I would definitely have to throw Google out the Windows.”
Taylor Soper, reporter: Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google
“Google is my email and smartphone — too crucial to drop. It’s a cool question because, what is replaceable and what isn’t?”
Monica Nickelsburg, reporter: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google
“I hold onto Facebook for just a small fraction of the services it offers and it doesn’t bring me much joy. I like my iPhone but I could live without it. I don’t really use other Apple products and I have a lot of gripes (ahem, charger port) with the company. I use Amazon almost every day but I wish it supported more small businesses. Getting rid of it would be a moral play. Google is my life.”
Kurt Schlosser, reporter: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple
“As much as I like Prime, I still do most of my shopping in person. I’m addicted to Facebook, but ditching it would be a nice life change. There are other search engines and email providers, but there is only one iPhone.”
Clare McGrane, reporter: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, (Microsoft), Google
“I’ve literally never owned an Apple device or used any of their products (maybe iTunes once upon a time). I also rarely use Amazon, because I prefer in-person shopping and even when I order things online I prefer to get them directly from small local businesses. I could drop both of those from my life and it really wouldn’t be too different. I mostly use Facebook to keep in touch with family overseas. But I am pretty tied in to Windows. I would be pretty lost without Google, because I have an Android phone and Gmail, and a lot of my work life is organized on Chrome.”
Cara Kuhlman, advertising and marketing coordinator: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google
“If I didn’t need it for work I would ditch Facebook and not miss it. It creeps me out. I use a MacBook but would be happy with a new PC, they’ve come a long way and are much more affordable. I use Amazon for video services but really only shop online for items that I can’t easily source locally (there are a lot of stores in an urban area) and I use Gmail, have an Android device and probably use Google in many other ways I don’t realize. It also creeps me out.”
Tim Ellis, contributor: Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google
“For me the first two are easy. I literally don’t use Apple today already, and I barely use FB. Between Amazon and Google it’s a tough call but like Taylor, Google is pretty integrated into my phone (and smart home) so that’s gotta go last.”
And, because it’s the internet and because the possibilities are endless, this is already happening: