What is it about Groupon, Skype, Facebook, and Amazon.com that make them all “tech” companies? None of these companies competes in the same markets. None offers technology as its central product. Each has a website and conducts business on it—but don’t all big, serious companies?
The label haphazardly persists.
The time has come to stop calling anything a “tech company.” What was once a useful term for a business centered around the synthesis of data, software, and digital infrastructure is no longer so.
Perhaps a tech company employs software engineers to improve product offerings and user experiences. AT&T has employed developers for years, programming the infrastructure of telecommunications to route phone calls around the world. It’s not called a tech company though. Skype is.
Perhaps a tech company uses technology to change the way we behave. Amazon.com’s business of selling countless items at any hour to anyone, then shipping them anywhere, surely fits into this category. Yet, in practice, it is no different than a Sears Roebuck mail-order catalog.