Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Dec 2012 21:23 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y Derek Powazek exposes the meaninglessness of the already overused tripe 'If you're not paying for the product, you are the product'. "But we should not assume that, just because we pay a company they'll treat us better, or that if we're not paying that the company is allowed to treat us like shit. Reality is just more complicated than that. What matters is how companies demonstrate their respect for their customers. We should hold their feet to the fire when they demonstrate a lack of respect. And we should all stop saying, 'if you're not paying for the product, you are the product', because it doesn't really mean anything, it excuses the behavior of bad companies, and it makes you sound kind of like a stoner looking at their hand for the first time." Nailed it.
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RE: Trying to make sense of it all
by Alfman on Thu 20th Dec 2012 17:36 UTC in reply to "Trying to make sense of it all"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Tony Swash,

That's a pretty good assessment of all three cases. To add to that, all of them will need to evolve.


There might be a point at which apple determines that it needs to focus on squeezing more profits out of services than devices. Tablets and smart phones are very likely to become commodities like desktop computers did.

Google services sold directly to end users have been met with limited success, but if their advertising model were seriously threatened they'd have to make better attempts at getting into more direct end user transactions.


Microsoft still has lots of lock in advantages of course, but that's becoming much less effective as everyday users and businesses rely on more web based services.



While all three companies will probably be recognisable in a decade's time, I doubt any of them will be able to stand still.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The mobile device revolution is now well under way, at some point soon there will be more than a billion Android and iOS devices being used and Android will sometime this year pass the installed base of Windows, and so we can I think begin to see some patterns emerging which will probably shape the fortunes and fates of the big tech players.

This is what I can see:

Services, advertising and software are not a big revenue generator in the mobile space. The most successful app store, Apple's, has paid only about $7 billion dollars in revenue to developers in the four years of it's existence, Android apps have paid a fraction of that. Non-app sales (digital content such as music, films, TV etc) do not seem to generate any significant profits, less even than apps do.

Advertising revenue is also very low on mobile devices compared to desktop PCs. Google made around $2.5 billion on ads in the US in the last year and only about $315 came from mobile and over half of that came from iOS so that means total Google earnings from mobile ads runs to only about 6% of it's total revenues. And that's in a market where smart phones have already reached 50% of the market. It's looks like the best Google can manage in any market, assuming optimum conditions of 100% smart phone penetration, is around 13% of the revenues it earns from the traditional desktop/browser.

Microsoft has, so far, gained zero advantage in the mobile markets from it's dominance on the desktop. It has almost zero presence in phones or tablets. Windows 8 and Surface could change that but there is no evidence it is and the mobile software market, which is now the dominant software market, has led to a very big reduction in the price (and hence the margins) of software.

In general almost nobody is actually making any substantial profits in the new mobile device markets, which is very surprising given it's size and growth rates.

The only two companies making any substantial profits are Samsung and Apple with the latter substantially out performing the former in terms of commercial performance.

Both are making those profits selling hardware.

All the above could change but there is not evidence of any change happening so far.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Tony Swash,

"In general almost nobody is actually making any substantial profits in the new mobile device markets, which is very surprising given it's size and growth rates."

We can agree that mobile device users will spend less than their desktop counterparts. People will spend $$$ for PC games/accounting software/multimedia editing/etc, but there remains a stigma paying so much for similar software on a phone/tablet.


"Advertising revenue is also very low on mobile devices compared to desktop PCs."

That's curious. There could be behavioural differences like desktop users being more likely to browse random ads for some reason. Also I know many mobile phone/tablet users who prefer their PC over mobile for web browsing, which could be a factor in increasing mobile market share and decreasing the ratio of mobile advertising revenues.

"Microsoft has, so far, gained zero advantage in the mobile markets from it's dominance on the desktop. It has almost zero presence in phones or tablets."

Time will tell.


"and the mobile software market, which is now the dominant software market, has led to a very big reduction in the price (and hence the margins) of software."


I disagree there, or I guess it depends on how you measure the market. There may be hundreds of thousands of devs writing countless mobile apps, but these are predominantly small-time operations with much smaller sales, less support, and less comprehensive solutions. I think traditional channels are still king of the software industry.


"The only two companies making any substantial profits are Samsung and Apple with the latter substantially out performing the former in terms of commercial performance. Both are making those profits selling hardware."


I don't believe the situation today will last though. As the mobile market matures they are going to find that selling the hardware will become less profitable. If apple keeps it's prices too high for the market, it will enable competitors to eat their market share. But who knows what they will do.


"All the above could change but there is not evidence of any change happening so far."


I have an idea of what I'd like to happen, but it's all speculation. Nobody knows for sure, but I guess that's part of the fun. If we knew our fate, we'd probably be bored of it already.

Reply Parent Score: 3