Tell me if this sounds familiar: A big company gets a head start on a new type of tech product. It manages to gain a lot of momentum and market share in those early months and wins over countless headlines of "owning" the market and being an unstoppable force.

Then, Google moseys along into the arena. It's a latecomer to the game and an underdog to start — but it has a not-so-secret weapon no other player can match: an underlying ecosystem and army of high-profile partners. Those partners will soon create their own products for Google's platform and push its standard ever further into the world.

Despite some initial skepticism, then, Google ends up dominating the dojo and becoming the largest player in that market — by a long shot. Everyone else ends up being a niche (if potentially still quite relevant and profitable) player in comparison.

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