Regular readers know I obsess over platforms – the ones that are built on APIs and accessible services for other developers, that lead to business ecosystems with multiple revenue streams and build off network effects and lock-in. You know, those kind of platforms. So when Farhad Manjoo writes this long news analysis piece in Fast Company about the coming showdown between Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook – a platform war if ever there was one – I was surprised to see him stay away from the concept. Maybe he’s bored with it? Regardless, it’s a fun read, and I don’t disagree with the competitive set-up. (Manjoo underplays Microsoft, but not by much.) He highlights the TV as the main battlefield, consumer data as an arms race and the players’ tendencies to compete with each other even when they don’t need to. He casts telcos (!), credit card companies and patent suits as their potential barriers to world domination.