DigitalOutbox Episode 78
In this episode the team discuss Apple and Googles Subscription battle, the HTC Flyer and Plex for Windows.
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1:00 – Android Market Share
– So last time we said Android was popular
– According to a chart making the rounds from UK-based research firm IHS, Android Market revenues in 2010 came in at an estimated $102 million, up from $11 million the year before.
– And how did that compare to revenues from Apple’s App Store? Apple App Store revenues came in at an estimated $1.7 billion in 2010, almost 20 times bigger than Android. And Apple App Store revenue grew at a not-too-shabby 131.9 percent rate.
– More importantly, Apple accounts for 83 percent of the total estimated app store revenues.
– iOS also dominates Euro smartphone usage
– In the UK, Apple and Research in Motion are the two key smartphone players, each battling the other, with one’s rise accompanies by the other’s fall, oscillating about a line at 42 per cent.
– These numbers broadly mirror over-the-counter sales.
– Android usage is growing here too, but it’s still below 15 per cent and has only just begun to get clear space ahead of its nearest rivals. But it is rising, and that will push down the line over which iOS and BlackBerry are fighting.
5:39 – Microsoft Update Goes Awry
– MS started to roll out their first update for Win MO FO 7 – then had to stop
– It was at best causing problems, at worst, bricking samsung handsets with slightly older firmware….
8:59 – Apple Launches Subscriptions for Content Publishers on the App Store
– When Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing. We’ve pasted the release below.
– Apple also says that if publishers are selling a digital subscription outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to App Store customers (which we had previously reported). In addition, publishers may no longer provide links within their apps that would allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app.
– So in app subscriptions now offered from within Apps and managed easily from within iTunes. Easy for consumers, easy for publishers to offer
– Apple betting that publishers will be willing to pay the 30% in return for Apple dealing with customers and payments and the customer base/ease of use that iOS brings
– So this impact Amazon, Book, Magazine and Newspaper publishers. So Guardian will be affected as will The Times etc. Also impacts on streaming music services – Rhapsody, Last.fm, Spotify. What about Netflix and Hulu Plus – affects them too.
– What about Dropbox, Evernote, Remember the Milk which offer paid for premium options on top of the free client deals?
– What about iPlayer – I need a TV licence to legally watch iPlayer content. To stay within rules will the iPlayer app need to offer an option to buy licence fee from within the app?
– Great post from MG Siegler – http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/15/apple-in-app-subscriptions/
– This new subscription system is great for Apple as they’ll make a lot of money and create a new, better experience for their customers (and maybe publishers too). But if it backfires, they could lose a significant part of their ecosystem support. And if some companies pull their apps, consumers may start to leave.
– The new system is awesome for customers as Apple has enabled a way for them to easily get new content on their devices at a fair price. But if companies back out of the App Store as a result, they will be shafted.
– This new system sucks for companies that provider subscription services, as they’ll now be forced into Apple’s way of doing things and must pay them 30 percent for it. But if it leads to a massive amount of new customers, it could actually be a very good thing.
– Magazines show up supporting in app subs – Elle, Popular Science, T3
– Later Tuesday, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller confirmed that those rules apply not only to newspaper and magazine publishers, but also to content sellers like Amazon.com, which offers a Kindle app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
– To meet Apple’s guidelines, Amazon must remove its “Shop in Kindle Store” link from its Kindle application. That link, which opens the iOS browser and displays Amazon’s Web-based e-bookstore, is currently the easiest way for Kindle app users to purchase new books.
– Rhapsody – new iOS subs are economically entenable – http://musically.com/blog/2011/02/16/apples-new-ios-subscriptions-is-economically-untenable-says-rhapsody/
– An Apple-imposed arrangement that requires us to pay 30 percent of our revenue to Apple, in addition to content fees that we pay to the music labels, publishers and artists, is economically untenable,” says the statement.
– “The bottom line is we would not be able to offer our service through the iTunes store if subjected to Apple’s 30 percent monthly fee vs. a typical 2.5 percent credit card fee.”
– The statement also makes menacing legal noises. “We will be collaborating with our market peers in determining an appropriate legal and business response to this latest development.”
– As the fury dies, news that Readability app has been rejected – http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/21/readability-app-rejection/
– Reason – 11.2 Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected.
– Wow – so they really are chasing after everything?
– Allegedly subscriptions apply to ‘publishing apps’ only – e-mail attributed to one Steve Jobs
– Ian’s thoughts – Wed 16th – Step too far from Apple. This is evil. Android is now compelling enough to replace iOS for me. I won’t be moving from Mac anytime soon but if I see magazines, books, music only available on everything but iOS then I’ll move. Yet again it’s Apple changing the goalposts. I can’t believe people are saying this is what Apple have been saying all along. If so, why the change in dev guidelines. Again. Whats next? What if Apple say it’s not 30% but 40%. 50%? Then again, is this to force people OFF the platform so that everyone buys via iTunes, iBooks? Are they wanting to remove streaming music options so a future offer from Apple is more desirable? Long game at play and things will change – Amazon did use to charge 70/30 in there favour for Kindle originally. What I’m not sure is how much of the cover price of a magazine goes to the publisher and how much go to the newsagent? Thats why they can offer sub’s at lower price i.e. wired is half price to subscribe to. Looking online it’s 70-75% of the cover price goes to the publisher.
Chris – As consumers, there’s a lot to like about Apple’s stance. Everything wrapped up in the one ecosystem and the knowledge that they may as well buy in-app because they can’t get their subscription cheaper elsewhere. But this is a MASSIVE deal for companies with subscription models (a business model that is essential to companies today). 30% is a massive cut – and impossible to cater for in highly competitive and/or restrictive markets (like the music industry for eg).
Apple’s rolling the dice here a bit and, perhaps rightly, have come to the conclusion that their phone/tablet ecosystem is strong enough to force developers through it. But is Amazon really going to give away 30% of it’s book sales…???!!! Not without a fight I wouldn’t imagine.
It’s also worth noting that if this move is successful, it is consumers who will end up paying for the Apple tax… so it’s certainly an issue that should be paid close attention to.
24:18 – Google One Pass
– a service that lets publishers set their own prices and terms for their digital content. With Google One Pass, publishers can maintain direct relationships with their customers and give readers access to digital content across websites and mobile apps.
– Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password. Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don’t have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices.
– With Google One Pass, publishers can customize how and when they charge for content while experimenting with different models to see what works best for them—offering subscriptions, metered access, “freemium” content or even single articles for sale from their websites or mobile apps. The service also lets publishers give existing print subscribers free (or discounted) access to digital content. We take care of the rest, including payments technology handled via Google Checkout.
– No mention on cut but The Wall Street Journal said Google will take 10 percent of the revenue. That makes sense because One Pass rides atop existing websites and web apps. But it’s also smart in that it gives publishers more of the margins they expect for their content. Google said it expects periodicals will be the first customers of this, but it could extend to other properties that want to use micro-transactions. Google One Pass is currently available in France, Germany, Spain, the UK, the US and Canada.
– Provides alternative to Apple’s model and far less of a cut – interesting
– Also, by default Google will share your information with publishers which can be switched off. With the Apple deal, Apple will only share this info if you allow it – it’s off by default. Google One Pass is far more publisher friendly – could see a real shift from iOS to Android
29:56 – Kindle Publishing Costs
– Amazon charges 10p per MB for delivery of newspapers and magazines in the UK. By Amazon’s own estimates, a “typical newspaper” with 100 articles and 15 to 20 images would have a file size of between 0.5MB and 1MB – or around 10% of the overall revenue, considering most newspapers sell for 99p per day. It would be an even greater share of the publisher’s profits if users signed up for a cheaper subscription.
– Applies to delivery over 3G
32:07 – New Chrome Beta
– The latest beta release of chrome now has settings and options appear in browser tabs rather than popup windows. Makes sense and feels natural.
– Also reports that they could do away with an address bar!
– Well, they are looking at the possibility of rescuing yet more vertical space by having the address bar as a tab. Clearly those 30px are important!
35:16 – HTC Flyer
– Best specc’d 7” Android tablet?
– Not running Honeycomb – Gingerbread with HTC Sense on top
– Comes with OnLive service built in
– Stylus (pressure sensitive) with Scribe technology for recognizing hand writing
– Standard screen res, fast processor and good camera – aluminium unibody style design
– $730 so not bad
38:59 – Plex for Windows
– Plex Media Server launched for Windows
– Plex for Android also launched
– Watch content from your Plex library on Android devices
– Cheap media pc with blu-ray player and Plex is best solution for under the TV
– One of the gotcha’s with T-Mobile is that they (criminally) don’t include calls to their voicemail system inside your monthly allowance. However, a quick search around pointed me to the free HulloMail service. Essentially, this takes over from your carrier default voicemail service and the numbers you access the messages through ARE included in your monthly allowance.
– Signing up on Nexus S was as simple as downloading the app, creating an account and clicking “Apply Settings”. I’ve been running with it since Fri evening and it’s been great.
– The default application is free, but add supported. You can buy a year add free version for around £3.
Google Personal Blocklist
– Chrome extension that allows you to block a domain from being returned in your search results
– If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.
– Can edit your blocked sites to unblock them
– Early test but a must have extension