In the modern computing era, the following products/systems have been recognized as operating systems: Windows, Android and iOS. These products are operating systems because they largely abstract away the hardware, which power them, making it possible that the focus is on the software, upon which end-user applications, made by outside developers, are built. They also have network effects which means that the more people that use them, the more valuable they become. Besides, they provide a way for users to access applications running on them. This creates a virtuoso circle since as they become popular, more people like to adopt them. (iOS, being a closed system, may not have the hardware abstraction since it is only Apple that makes the hardware. Nevertheless, it is an operating system, as it brings users and application creators together).
But besides these operating systems, we can include companies/products like Google (for search where all websites are users to Google algorithm), Alexa (Amazon voice assistant), and Facebook (where it has its own “continent” with excess of 2 billion people). In each of these entities, the four attributes are met.
Facebook is an operating system which abstracts away the hardware we use to access it. Also, Facebook has the network effect. More applications are built upon it and users have access to those applications. As it expands and integrates more features, Facebook could become so dominant that few will have to venture out of Facebook operating systems (including Instagram or Messenger which has payment, booking etc integration). What Google enjoys through search would be diminished if companies move more information into Facebook Pages and Messenger bots. It is also possible that Facebook can build a search engine for a section of its site to aggregate outside websites.
In Nigeria, we predict in five years, as it expands its services, it will become the digital operating system for the country. From publishing, payment, booking, etc, Facebook will increasingly gain over Google. Microsoft has since lost the consumer touch and is largely an enterprise facing firm in Nigeria. Facebook understands how to connect young Nigerians and is doing a better job than either Microsoft or Google. Africa is Facebook Nation and Nigeria is the capital. It has the best team that understands how to engage and bring people into its platform. It is becoming that firm through which young Nigerians getting to the web understand first. They do Facebook first before they have to search with Google. Facebook has since reduced the appetite to Youtube with its video product. Microsoft is totally off the radar, as many of them can stay weeks, without touching any of its products.
In this videocast, I explain how Facebook has become Nigeria’s operating system. And why the firm is strategically positioned to lock young Nigerians in its platform, just getting into the web.