Ronnie05's Blog

Google versus Twitter versus Facebook (and Friendfeed)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on August 14, 2009

Facebook, then is on a roll after a whopping $50 million acquisition of Friendfeed in cash and stocks. World’s largest social network just boosted their technology in real-time updates, conversations and search.

Social Networking

And right after the acquisition news came the update from Facebook that they are rolling out the new Facebook Search which will enable users to search for status updates, photos, notes, images and links. Facebook has effectively nipped one of its major shortcomings in the bud: to somehow index and arrange the millions of data flowing through the social network.

Let’s have a showdown between the three giants on the web right now.


Facebook vs. Twitter

Twitter has been the leader in real time search till now, but by making Facebook real time searchable they have challenged what Twitter wants to do: to be the pulse of the planet. And the FriendFeed technology and interface has always been acknowledged as the best; combine this with the content of 250+ million members from Facebook and you have got yourself a fast, accurate and huge search engine; the true pulse of the planet.

Arranging real time information has always been difficult because it is hard to differentiate the conversations from the chatter. There are times when the relevant talk just gets buried in a flood of useless chatter. The new Facebook will crawl the last 30 days of news feed and bring you results.

Of course, it’s not as if Twitter is going to shut down just because Facebook added some new features. Users have spent months in building relationships and networks there; they won’t shift easily. And I still stand by the idea of using @twitter_handle for calling users and connecting them in 140 words.

Can Facebook duplicate this too?

Facebook vs. Google

You think it’s a co-incidence that the Facebook acquisition and new real-time search engine news were announced on the same day? Entirely wrong, my friends.

I have been a long time believer in the simple fact that if there’s any potential in the future of search, it is in real time. And Google has just been backslapped by Facebook. As I said, the real time search capabilities of FriendFeed combined with the huge mass of Facebook is a power to reckon. The data was always flowing in the Facebook pipes, someone just needed to mine it.

Does the fact that Google also announced new tweaks in the search engine change tilt the showdown in their favor? Well, maybe slightly. But you can keep making search load faster or even give more results; if you can’t tell me what’s happening 5 secs ago then I am not interested. We are all impatient by nature.

Money wise, if the Facebook and FriendFeed brains can crack the real time code, then they can convert the millions of comments and links sharing into billions of keyword searches. And there in lies the business model.

If you look over at Google’s court you will see Google Wave coming soon which promises to be the new definition of web communications. And they are still the forerunners in indexing data accurately (though Bing might be catching up, especially after the Yahoo! deal). Google Android and Chrome in them hold high stakes in transforming how our future generations will see the web, mobile or otherwise.

Google vs. Twitter

I don’t think there are many debates here. Unless Twitter learns how to index the links that flow around in their pipes, most of the talk on Twitter is just chatter. They are definitely the winners here in real time search, while Google leads in quality. And let’s not forget that Twitter still hasn’t found out a monetization plan.

So, this was it; a complete breakdown of the what-is-what of internet. Facebook and Friendfeed will be the beginning of very exciting times on the social media and internet scenes around. Watch this space!

Worldwide Q2, 09 SmartPhone and Devices Market Shares: Gartner

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on August 14, 2009

Inventory Destocking Continues with 13.9 Million Units Shed by the Channel

Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 286.1 million units in the second quarter of 2009, a 6.1 per cent decrease from the second quarter of 2008, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales surpassed 40 million units, a 27 per cent increase from the same period last year, representing the fastest-growing segment of the mobile-devices market (see Table 2).

Gartner Findings

  1. Despite the challenging market, some devices sold well as consumers who would usually have purchased standard midrange devices either cut back to less expensive handsets or moved up the range to get more features for their money
  2. Touch-screen and qwerty devices remained a major driver for replacement sales and benefited manufacturers with strong, touch-focused mid-tier devices.
  3. The decline in average selling price (ASP) accelerated in the first half of the year and particularly affected manufacturers that focus on mid-tier and low-end devices, where margins are already slim.”
  4. The recession continued to suppress replacement sales in both mature and emerging markets.
  5. The distribution channel has dealt with lower demand and financial pressure by using up 13.9 million units of existing stock before ordering more.
  6. The gap between sell-in to the channel and sell-through to customers will reduce in the second half of 2009 as the channel starts to restock.

Q2 2009 Market Shares

Nokia maintained its leadership position, but its portfolio remained heavily skewed toward low-end devices. Its flagship high-end N97 smartphone met little enthusiasm at its launch in the second quarter of 2009 and has sold just 500,000 units in the channel since it started to ship in June, compared to Apple’s iPhone 3G S, which sold 1 million units in its first weekend.

  • The right high-end product and an increased focus on services and content are vital for Nokia if it wants to both revamp its brand and please investors with a more promising outlook in ASPs and margins.

Samsung and LG both had a very strong second quarter of 2009 with sales of 55 million units and 30.5 million units, respectively. Samsung’s touchscreen devices, qwerty phones and smartphones drove sales in mature markets, and Gartner expects it will continue to gain market share in the second half of 2009 to close the gap with Nokia. Gartner expects LG to keep moving into lower-tier devices to drive growth in emerging markets and be well-positioned to take advantage of China’s 3G rollout as it can deliver good-value-for-money devices.

Motorola’s sales of 15.9 million units were slightly better than expected, but its presence has rapidly concentrated on the Americas, and it has lost most of its share of the Western European market, where it sold fewer than 1 million units in the second quarter of 2009. Most operators and customers will be waiting for Motorola’s new Android-based products planned for the fourth quarter of 2009.

Sony Ericsson’s market share dropped 2.8 percentage points year-on-year in the second quarter of 2009 but its volume dropped 41 per cent. Although the market environment was challenging, Gartner attributes Sony Ericsson’s poor performance to its uncompetitive range of handsets.Sony Ericsson has neglected to exploit key trends such as qwerty products for messaging and e-mail, internet browsing and navigation.

  • If SE wants to build the presence of its three new products announced this quarter in the channel and capture Christmas sales, the products need to come to market early in the fourth quarter of 2009,

Smartphone sales were strong during the second quarter of 2009, with sales of 40.9 million units in line with Gartner’s forecast of 27 per cent year-on-year sales growth for 2009

Given the higher margins, smartphones offer the biggest opportunity for manufacturers. It is the fastest-growing market segment and the most resistant to declining ASPs.

Apple’s expansion into a larger number of countries in the past year has produced a clear effect on sales volumes, as have the recent price adjustments on the 8GB 3G iPhone. Sales of 5.4 million units in the second quarter of 2009 indicated a 509 per cent growth in shipments and helped Apple maintain the No. 3 position in the smartphone market, where it has stayed since the third quarter of 2008. Apple brought its much-anticipated new device — the iPhone 3G S — to market at the end of the second quarter of 2009, but its full potential will only start to show in the sales figures in the second half of 2009.

At the high end of the smartphone market, HTC remained in the No. 4 position behind Apple, where it has been since the third quarter of 2008. It reported lower expectations for the second half of 2009 due to product delays and now expects 2009 revenue to decline by low- to mid-single digits year-on-year, far below its previous outlook of 10 per cent annual growth.

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Symbian held 51 per cent share, down from 57 per cent a year ago, while RIM and Apple grew their shares year-on-year. Android’s share was just under 2 per cent of the market and more Android-based devices will come to market in the fourth quarter of 2009, intensifying competition in the smartphone OS market, particularly for Symbian and Windows Mobile. Microsoft’s share continued to drop year-on-year to account for 9 per cent of the market in the second quarter of 2009.

  • Microsoft licensees HTC and Samsung continued to add features to their own interfaces, on top of Windows Mobile, to create more competitive products and make up for the usability constraints of the Microsoft platform.

This quarter also saw the debut of the long-awaited Palm Pre based on the new web operating system.

  • This device attracted a lot of media attention but showed mixed results at the cash register as sales only reached 205,000 units. Palm currently ranks tenth in the smartphone market and Gartner remains concerned about its ability to gain traction outside the US market, where its brand is less strong.

For the remainder of 2009, manufacturers must offer products with the features that consumers and operators are demanding most strongly — like touchscreens, focus on user interfaces and application/content ecosystems — and work hard to keep operators loyal.Competition is expected to intensify in the second half of 2009. Mobile operators are likely to drive competition among manufacturers as they start selling e-book readers and mini-notebooks from other manufacturers to foster mobile broadband subscriptions. Operators are also starting to subsidise e-book readers and mini notebooks on contract and this means that there will be less subsidy available to drive sales of mobile phones and smartphones. In turn, operators will demand lower prices from phone manufacturers, which will be under even more pressure to deliver strong feature sets at the lowest possible price.




%d bloggers like this: