I had written about Apple’s music subscription services from the cloud and Google Cloud Streaming Music services. With the launch of its Digital music locker service, Amazon has beaten beat Apple and Google in the race to the cloud. Amazon has also launched its own cloud drive which would be a personal data disk in the cloud. While Google has started testing its Music streaming internally, Apple is working ona complete overhaul of its MobileMe services and will not look at a launch till Q3, 2011!
The Digital Music locker, lets users store their music (AAC/MP3 formats in their original bit-rates) on the Web and then listen to their collections on computers (PC/Mac) with a Web browser or on Android devices. Consumers can store their digital songs, videos, photos, documents, and music. In addition, Amazon also rolled out the Cloud Player, which enables people to play the songs they uploaded to Cloud Drive.
The ability to access music across a range of devices from the cloud directly eliminates the need of music transfer from computer to music players and cell-phones etc. Amazon’s music locker can be accessed from all the major browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.The Cloud Drive also allows customers to upload photos, videos, and documents, but those digital files are accessible only via a Web browser on a computer.
However. Amazon is yet to license the rights from top Hollywood studios and music companies which would otherwise mount to violation of legal copyrights, licensing agreements and IPR for Amazon. Apple, Google, and Spotify appear to have put themselves at a disadvantage by waiting to roll out their cloud offerings until they obtained licenses.
What this means for the cloud and competition?
There’s nothing all that world-changing about Amazon’s announcements. Plenty of companies are already offering online storage for free, and music streaming services are also on offer by many. However its the mash-up of music streaming, cloud storage, cloud storage of e-books and movies which is suddenly making Amazon such a potent threat to Apple and Google. Movies you buy from its video-on-demand service, for instance, already stay on Amazon’s servers, so they’re safe and sound even if your hard disk crashes. And Kindle e-books automatically get shelved in an online archive, so you can download them to a Kindle e-reader, smart phone or computer — or all of the above.
Users today have multiple computers, smart phones, tablets and even Internet-connected TVs.They had want personal digital media content to be accessible on all of them. Keeping it on the Internet makes that possible.Amazon is thus quickly moving to be the one stop shop for all “digital belongings” which were earlier a part of the local computer hard drive and will in future be available across devices and platforms.
As content bolts across both platforms and technology, doing taxonomy on media and technology companies is more complicated than it used to be.
In quest of continuous conquests and staying relevant against a rapidly commoditizing landscape, is Google changing into a Media company as against Content-based businesses? Google has maintained forever that its main business is organizing and managing content. This intent of faith is increasingly being tested as Google treads newer ground.
Prima Facie,Tablets have led the recent media-related deluge as they are fundamentally redefining the way content and media will be consumed. Google this February, announced a subscription based service called One-Pass to enable consumers to buy customized and relevant news and information for their tablets.
Perhaps the best example of Google’s media proficiency is YouTube,which is a platform that is looking more and more like a network for a postbroadcast world. YouTube’s home page, which used to be a user-generated free-for-all, now has a clear hierarchy of channels, with an array of topics — “Entertainment,” “News and Politics” and “Sports” — that doesn’t look that different from the menu guide on my cable set-top box. Al Jazeera English, which can’t seem to find carriage in the broadcast and cable universe, has found a home on YouTube, where it has become the No. 3 news channel.
Additionally, Google has secured deals with NBA, Lionsgate and is paying celebrities for launching their high profile- high traffic celebrity channels on YouTube which are content based agreements. The herculean effort of digitizing books is yet another example of how Google is not just media company but is rapidly moving into “owning content”. Google thus is working on the strategy of providing content to consumers and selling ads against it —which is unmistakably signs of Google moving into media space more than the content bit. Google, which has cracked the code on the Web advertising model, has come to realize that if content becomes just a commodity, then advertising will follow suit. Having created a healthy web eco-system around high quality content, Google is trying to arrange the bits in an innovative order and trying to monetize this high quality content.
Does it really matter?
For starters, being in the media business means looking at media a little differently than being a crawling the web for best search results with a sponsored ad thrown in. Google has long insisted that it has no plans to own or create content, and that it is a friend, not a foe, of media companies. Google in its Search avatar is a traffic generator for folks in media with websites. The Google vision till 2 years back was to be the best conduit connecting people between whatever their search is and the answer they are looking for. Thus Google was not interested in owning or creating content.The question in people’s minds would now be, how unbiased can Google be as it grows and grows and grows and stretches itself into Media. Google has always said it will never compromise the objectivity of its search results. Content based agreements with NBA, Lionsgate, Google Books and the celebrity channels on YouTube could tilt the neutrality of search results ever so lightly now.
Google’s growing reach into the content business could create conflicts similar to those faced by Microsoft in 2008 in its dual role as a provider of an operating system that others run their software applications on and a maker of applications. It is increasingly becoming clear that the company will not shy away from entering what it considers “high-value” content areas.
Mobile number Portability, much debated and delayed in execution is finally turning out a bugbear in as far as its “game changing” attributes are concerned.
1. 1.9 million subscribers have opted for a operator change keeping their number constant.That is less than .3% of India’s 771 million subscriber base.
2. CDMA operators as expected are the big loosers with Reliance and TTSL showing downhill numbers.
3. The ad campaigns by Idea and Vodafone seems to have given it traction as both these companies topped the national no.1 Airtel in MNP subscribers addition.
4. What is not spoken about in this data and not documented is the number of subcribers who were retained by the incumbent operator and the cost of retention. Some of the offers extended have been obscenely high.
5. Net, MNP has had very little impact in Indian markets. However, it would be in best interests of operators, customers and markets that a charter of “to-dos” that i had discussed in an earlier post are adhered to for stemming loss of high net worth customers to competitors going forward in MNP regime.
Data: COAI release
AT&T would acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash and stock transaction valued at $39 billion by the next 12 months and is awaiting the go ahead of regulatory authorities. This would make AT&T, the leading operator in USA with nearly 39% of US wireless market shareand $79 billion in revenues with 128 million subscribers.
AT&T’s surprise $39-billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc. could lead to more consolidation in the U.S wireless industry, leaving the market with just two dominant providers — and the prospect of higher rates and fewer choices for consumers. The potential market shift could force Verizon to consider making a large acquisition itself, analysts said, possibly including Sprint. But Sprint itself may snap up one or more of the many smaller providers, such as U.S. Cellular and MetroPCS.
This is a surprising development that leaves Sprint a distant third behind AT&T and Verizon. The deal delivers multiple benefits to AT&T, most notably valuable spectrum to aid capacity issues and support 4G LTE roll out.AT&T asserted that the deal would increase competition and lower prices. AT&T also said that the merger would allow it to accelerate the spread of faster, next-generation wireless service —4G. Besides the synergies and savings from closing overlapping retail stores and call centers, AT&T absorbing T-Mobile’s network will give it more spectrum to manage the data traffic surge that the market has seen inthe last few years. According to data sources, data traffic has surged by 8000% over the last 4 years after the introduction of iPhone.
However, regulatory approval in this case may prove challenging. federal antitrust and telecommunications regulators such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are likely to weigh the benefits of market and technical efficiencies achieved by the merger against the potential loss of competition. Regulators are also likely to scrutinize the combined market share for both Internet broadband services and wireless telephone services.
As mobile apps gradually gain mainstream, companies are already beginning to take poll positions in terms of promoting their standards as the default industry standard.Here’s an article from zdnet by Ben Woods, which speaks about Oracle’s app development framework for Java apps that can also be featured on other mobile platforms.This effort would also help Oracle to get more developers on the Java Apps and enable the development effort.
Oracle has launched an extension for its app development framework that provides tools for developing Java-based apps on a variety of mobile platforms.
The Mobile Client is an extension of Oracle Application Development Framework ADF and can be used to design apps in a mix of design and Java code view. Oracle said the new toolkit allows developers to quickly build enterprise applications for a range of mobile devices without the need for future redevelopment.
“It simplifies application creation and deployment using a single, standard Java user interface (UI) framework and tooling for all supported devices. Developers can build once and deploy to multiple devices – and as support for new devices is added in Oracle ADF Mobile Client, applications can be deployed to the new platforms without redevelopment,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
The mobile client will support development of Java-based apps, which can then be run as local applications on a mobile device. Currently, apps can be deployed directly to Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices.
Oracle said that deep data service integration and the ability to access real-time and offline data sources make it well suited for developing apps across many enterprise sectors. The tools provide Oracle Database Lite Mobile Server for configurable data synchronisation tasks.
The software is designed to work with the Oracle Fusion framework but can also be used with other web services, Oracle said.
Apps built using the client can also access certain parts of a device’s hardware, such as the camera, GPS or barcode scanner using natively embedded Java code, in order to provide extra functionality.