Since its launch a few weeks ago, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has captured the imagination of users, entrepreneurs and investors alike. The quality of the chatbot’s content and conversational speaking style have convinced many that AI is finally ready for primetime. Some are even comparing ChatGPT’s launch to the iPhone App Store – a pivotal moment in the creation of the next big platform.
The most important question is how much value the underlying platform will keep for itself. History has shown that most platforms extract the bulk of the value for themselves, leaving only crumbs for the companies and developers building on top of the platform. If OpenAI remains the only game in town, we can expect to see a similar dynamic, even if their profit goal is capped given their unique deal with investors.
However, there is a good chance that several companies will offer similar AI platforms…in the same way that cloud computing is divided up between AWS (Amazon), Azure (Microsoft) and GCP (Google). OpenAI (with Microsoft as a partner), Google and Facebook are leading contenders to play an important role. Competition between these three companies (and potentially more) should limit a single company’s potential to maximize profits at the expense of companies building on top.