If you think of your core business as a set of products or range of services you are making a big mistake. Products and services become obsolete over time – just ask Kodak’s camera film executives or Olivetti’s typewriter teams.

Both these companies were highly skilled at what they did, but their excessive product focus created such high levels of inertia that they were unable to change as quickly as their customers. As Seth Godin wrote earlier this week you must be willing and able to adapt to your changing markets.

Both Google and Apple are now in the smart phone business. And although this represents a big leap in terms of the products and services they offer, the smart phone sector is definitely within each company’s core business.

Apple’s core business is to provide people with the best designed computing and digital communication and entertainment products and services. Google’s core business is the sale of focused advertising services that result from on-line searches.

As the computing, mobile phone and digital electronics markets continue to converge, it makes logical sense for both companies to offer mobile phones. It helps them both drive forward their core business.

So what’s your core business? Are you like Kodak and Olivetti, and focused on a particular range of products and services? Or are you like Google and Apple, and delivering a set of customer benefits and solutions in whatever form makes most sense in your constantly evolving markets?