It’s actually a bit nuanced than this– it’s to get people the use the open internet. This isn’t something we’re making up either. Senior management and advisors I’ve talked to at Google speak about this openly. It’s very advanced textbook tech strategy– something very few players in the valley have the option of following.
This is a good post about ecommerce mobile strategy employed by some of the big e-commerce players. It’s based on recent research from McKinsey’s iConsumer initiative.
Be clear about and reinforce the total value of the store.
Aggressively make mobile core to multichannel.
Work with suppliers to offer a more unique assortment.
Use digital offers to get users in stores.
Make it simple to buy.
Think local, act local.
There’s a conference called Techonomy going on right now and some panelists were asked which big tech co was the most vulnerable. My favorite part was this bit on Apple:
Apple’s stores could become a big weakness, too, Ellison said. Sure, they’re a “tremendous advantage” now, but Ellison said IBM had a similar network of stores, which “became an albatross in the ’90s.” To reinforce his point, he asked the audience if anyone had set foot in a Disney store recently, and no one raised their hands, but he said that that question would have gotten a very different answer a decade ago. Apple could follow a similar pattern, Ellison argued. If its product momentum slows, the stores could become a big drain rather than an asset. (via Who’s Vulnerable Among the Internet’s ‘Fantastic Four’? Techonomy Panelists Say It’s Apple And Facebook | TechCrunch.)
Owning your own distribution by building stores is great when you have a hot product because it builds more leverage in your value chain. However, that leverage can come back to bite you in the ass if your product begins to stumble.
What would Apple do when it gets to that point? Can you imagine the day that Apple has to start selling Microsoft and Google devices in their stores? Or do you think they’d just shut down their stores?
Zuckerberg on search.
“We do on the order of a billion queries a day, and we’re basically not even trying.” Most of those are people trying to find people, but it’s also people trying to find brands and apps.
The “legacy” search business: “You type in some keywords and it does some magic.” It’s changing into giving you answers. “Facebook is uniquely positioned to give you answers.” He gives examples of finding sushi restaurants your friends have liked, or finding a job at companies where your friends work.
“We have a team working on search.”
Contrary to the title, this is some of the worst advice for startups:
If you do this sort of Porter’s Five Forces type analysis for every startup idea you have, you will never launch anything. While the post is a great analysis of the 10X Revenue Club, I never recommend this as reading for aspiring entrepreneurs. There’s a huge difference in a post that describes the quality of an IPO-ready company vs. a post that provides guidelines for entrepreneurs. Do not conflate the two or you will do yourself a huge injustice.
Some nice ecommerce insights from Will Hsu:
My thesis on this is that it’s less causal than this sentence implies:
In many respects, it wasn’t too surprising given the increasingly strenuous relationship between Apple and Google in the years since the iPhone launched and Google became a competitor with Android, but in recent weeks it was also revealed that YouTube will also no longer be included as a pre-installed app from iOS 6.
Google predicted that the rise of iOS could potentially disintermediate the search industry so it decided to proactively compete with iOS directly instead of vertically. Basically, what Google was looking to prevent is all coming true if this is possible:
Apple has increased the number of third party services that it integrates into iOS, but it continues to do so very carefully and takes steps to make any branding as minimal as possible.
Some interesting consumer preferences for smartphones revealed in this survey:
This is increasing the parallels between AOL + Tim Armstrong and Yahoo + Marissa Mayer since cash was the one big thing Armstrong got when he arrived at AOL but Mayer did not at Yahoo:
Marissa Mayer revealed that she might not be giving cash raised from selling Yahoo’s stake in Alibaba back to shareholders. This is great news for Yahoo. With billions in cash she can buy companies that can breathe fresh life into Yahoo.
AOL is a good case study Marissa can rely on since Armstrong has a couple of years on her.
A few years ago, the waffling and lack of assertiveness portrayed in this story would have baffled me:
Microsoft may have nixed its “Metro” branding for the new tile-based design in Windows 8 and Windows Phone, but the company appears to be split over its replacement naming. Earlier this week it was reported that references to “Metro-style applications” would become “Windows 8 applications,” and that the “Metro user interface” would be switched to “Windows 8 user interface.”
Today, I have total empathy (not sure if this is a good thing) and would say this story reflects a lot about Microsoft’s culture, politics, org structure, and bureaucracy.
To Microsoft’s credit, efforts such as rebadging Hotmail as Outlook with a few UI tweaks show that these projects can quickly shift brand sentiment in favor of Microsoft so they have plenty of good reason to take their time with these decisions.