Why Apple Is Suddenly Poised To Take On Facebook

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Last week’s news that Apple was opening up its mobile ad network, iAd, to programmatic buying through partnerships with leading ad tech firms was a huge step for the little ad platform that could — and should be a much bigger player in mobile advertising that it currently is. Accordant…



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November 27th 2014 apple

Report: Google-Apple Safari Search Deal Expiring, Yahoo & Bing Want In

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According to The Information Google’s default Safari search deal with Apple is up in 2015. Microsoft and Yahoo are reportedly separately competing for the Safari business across devices. The Information says that both companies are pitching to Apple’s Eddie Cue and that his decision…



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November 26th 2014 apple, bing

Get Ready for More Mobile Ads on Your iPhones as Apple Launches New iAds

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Apple is finally showing it is serious about mobile advertising. Its iAd business has gone through several iterations and struggled, and the company is now tapping the ad tech community to open the service widely so marketers can get access to its iPhones, iPads and computers.

Today, Apple is unveiling partnerships with companies like AdRoll, which will flip a switch and start serving iAds through its automated marketing platforms. This turn toward programmatic mobile advertising has been in the works for at least a year. Last year, the company stopped treating iAd like a high-end marketing platform for only the top brands with the most cash.

Apple wanted to build a self-serve mobile advertising system in house, and it bought Quattro Wireless to help. Sources said that effort faltered, and Apple decided to partner with ad tech companies like AdRoll and The Rubicon Project to compete with mobile ad giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

AdRoll is a retargeting specialty firm that lets marketers use their own consumer data profiles to deliver ads across such platforms. And Rubicon unexpectedly leaked word earlier this week that it was partnering with Apple.

As for Apple, iAd is a small portion of the mobile ad industry despite its large base of iPhone users. Still, with iPhones making up more than 40 percent of all smartphones in the U.S., Apple is in a unique position to grow its ad business to reach those users. AdRoll CMO Adam Berke said the new iAd system is going to reshape the mobile advertising landscape, opening access to consumer data Apple had walled off for a long time. Here's how:

  • Berke expects the new iAd to reach massive numbers of users quickly. Apple is using standard format ads to make it easy—mobile banners and video already in use across the industry.
  • App-install ads will immediately be in demand and give mobile developers a new edge in the App Store, which can be a tough environment because of the sheer volume of apps.
  • Apple iTunes and App Store consumer data will finally be open for use to target ads. This is tremendous information about which apps every user has downloaded and which media each one consumes. This knowledge has been locked away within Apple, untouched by marketers until now. "They have App Store behavioral data, and we'll be able to target based on the types of apps that people like," Berke said.
  • The ads will show up in apps that use iAds, and the App Store has hundreds of millions of them, opening up never-before used ad space. "Any app developer using iAd will suddenly have a lot more demand and a lot more advertisers buying their inventory," Berke said.
  • Apple Pay, the new payment service, will feed into the advertising. This is the final piece of information marketers need to know for certain if their ads worked—did the user buy their product? This purchasing behavior is something only Apple will have access to through its control of its mobile ecosystem.
  • "It [could eventually] allow us to track from the mobile ad impression to the App Store behavior of the user to the app install to eventually someone buying with Apple Pay," Berke said.






November 22nd 2014 apple, Facebook, Google, ipad, iphone, Mobile, Technology, Twitter

Aruba Networks Enables “Blue-Dot” Indoor Navigation With Beacons

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WiFi provider Aruba Networks used to offer retailers and others “blue-dot” indoor navigation using WiFi triangulation. However Apple’s recent decision in iOS 8 to randomize the iPhone’s MAC address changed all that — and may have effectively killed WiFi as an indoor…



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November 22nd 2014 apple

Apple Adds UnionPay, China’s Largest Bankcard Network, To App Store Payment Options

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China Apple App Store customers in China can now link their UnionPay debit or credit cards to their Apple IDs for purchases, Apple announced today. This is significant for Apple and Chinese consumers because China UnionPay, a bankcard network approved by China’s State Council and the People’s Bank of China, enjoys a virtual monopoly. It has issued more than 4.5 billion cards in China, and… Read More

November 17th 2014 apple

The Internet Big Five: Doubling In Three Years On A Trillion Dollar Base

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The post The Internet Big Five: Doubling In Three Years On A Trillion Dollar Base appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

From time to time I have tracked what I call the “Internet Big Five” – the key platform technology companies that are driving the Internet economy. Nearly three years ago I wrote the first of this series – The Internet Big Five. I identified Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook as the “big five,” and compared their relative strengths in financials, consumer reach, and technology strengths. Some of the metrics were admittedly subjective – ranking relative offerings in “engagement” and “data,” for example.

It seems about time to take another look at the Big Five, and to consider a changeup – the introduction of Alibaba as a public company in the US certainly merits consideration. But before I do that, let’s quickly take a look at how the companies have fared over three short years.

Nov. 14 big five market cap

The first thing to observe is this: The top five Internet companies had a combined market cap of nearly one trillion dollars three years ago, a very large base to be sure. But in those three short years, the group managed to almost double their market cap – to $1.8 trillion. That’s impressive growth, and a testament to how central the markets believe these companies to be in our economy. Also, in terms of relative market cap, the Big Five have stayed pretty constant, with Facebook lapping Amazon, but not reaching the heights of Google, Microsoft, or Apple. It’s interesting to see that the market still values Microsoft above Google, something I imagine might change over the next three years.

Stock prices show a similar trajectory. You’d have almost doubled your money if you had invested in these five companies back in late 2011:

Nov. 14 stock big five

Clearly these companies are killing it at a very large scale. And Alibaba, at a market cap of nearly $300 billion, can now claim its place comfortably on the list above both Facebook and Amazon.

But what about strategic strengths? This is the area I find fascinating. Two years ago I wrote The Internet Big Five By Product Strength , and featured this chart:

TheIntBigFiveByProdv2-1024x642

Pulling back, it strikes me that the chart needs a refresh – something I hope to do during the more reflective down time of the coming holidays.  I’d also like to add in Alibaba. But a quick scan of this two year-old chart shows some interesting developments.

In Operating Systems, Social, and Entertainment, each company’s position has pretty much remained constant, but Facebook’s Oculus purchase bears watching in all three fronts.  In Productivity Software, Google’s position has strengthened, as has Apple, but I’d give the edge to Google, whose Apps suite has gained serious traction. In Advertising, Facebook is now very strong, Amazon has also strengthened, and it seems Apple has determined that advertising is a necessary evil not worth pushing very hard. “Tablet” doesn’t feel like a category to break out separately anymore – in the next rev, I’ll probably just call it “mobile devices.” In that category, Microsoft keeps trying but not gaining traction, Amazon flopped with Fire Phone but holds steady with Kindle and Fire tablets, and Facebook seems uncertain if it wants to play. Google and Apple remain the kings. Search as a category that bears scrutiny – what is “search” in a post mobile world, anyway? This question is fundamental to the next five or so years in computing, I’d warrant – expect more posts on that over the holidays. In Payment, Apple has strengthened, And in Voice, almost all the players have improved as well.

All of these companies have shifted over the past three years, some in unpredictable ways. With Page back at Google, the company has broadened its scope to include wearables, transportation, health, and energy. It’s become what I’d call the world’s first information-first conglomerate. Apple has kept its narrow hardware focus, expanding slowly into wearables (the watch) and shying from bets outside its clear wheelhouse. The market seems to be rewarding this focus. Facebook has made some big bets with drones and VR, and its advertising business is on a tear. Amazon hasn’t have any breakaway hits over the past three years, and I sense the company is uncertain how to proceed given the maturity of its core market.

In fact, one way to think about these behemoths is to identify and explore their core cash cows, and then map their strategies to diversify from that core. To wit:

Apple ———> Hardware

Microsoft —–> Desktop, Enterprise SW

Google ——–> Search Advertising

Amazon ——-> eCommerce

Faecbook —–> Social Advertising

Perhaps that’ll be the fodder for another post.

The post The Internet Big Five: Doubling In Three Years On A Trillion Dollar Base appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

November 17th 2014 apple, Facebook, Google, microsoft

Nest Isn’t Just Smart and Sleek, But Funny Too, in First TV Ads

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The connected-home company, Nest, is about to air its first TV commercials, a series of four humorous spots that show off the company's smart thermostats, smoke alarms, Web cameras, etc. Google owns Nest, competing for the growing interest in smart devices controlled by mobile phones.

One of the spots features a hyperactive kid who could use constant monitoring, the kind provided by a smartcam. There's another where an old man complains about thermostats and technology, as well as one about a neurotic homeowner invariably checking for carbon monoxide poisoning through his smart-home app.

Nest developed all of the commercials in-house and is buying national TV time during football games starting Sunday, during prime-time broadcasts for other kinds of programming, and across cable channels like ESPN and Discovery. The company declined to say how much it would spend on its effort, which is clearly timed to generate interest in thermostats ahead of the holidays.

"Who would have ever thought of giving smoke alarms and thermostats for Christmas or the holidays would be the norm, but we see a lot of people gifting our product," said Doug Sweeny, Nest's vp of marketing. "It's a big part of our business."

The commercials extend the company's Thoughtful Things campaign, which kicked off in September. Nest is competing in a hot space with established companies like Apple interested in smart-home products, and newcomers like Quirky, backed by General Electric, developing similar next-generation gadgetry.
In fact, Quirky recently started marketing its new thermostat as well as a lineup of connected devices and software.

Nest's commercials highlight the company's thermostat, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Also, there's a spot for a security camera made by Dropcam, a company Nest bought this year.

The commercials attempt to erase any remaining skepticism about smart-home technology, and suggest to consumers why an upgrade is in order for these devices that have been part of homes but barely changed for decades, Sweeny said.

"We take unloved products, products like thermostats that haven't had innovation built into them at all, and reinvent them to reimagine what those products can be," Sweeny said.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.

Adweek responsive video player used on /video.






November 14th 2014 apple, Google, Technology

New iPhone 6 Drives Traffic to Top Retailers

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iPhone 6

Image from: iPhone 6 / Shutterstock

In September, Apple’s release of the iPhone 6/6+ led to an increase in traffic to the “Big Four” wireless carriers. Accounting for the highest share of initial interest during the September 10-28 two-week period was Verizon with 40%. AT&T followed closely with 34%, and T-Mobile and Sprint accounted for 15% and 12% of share of interest, respectively.

However the site that saw the bulk of iPhone traffic was Apple. Unsurprisingly, Apple accounted for the majority of iPhone interest surrounding the iPhone 6/6+. With Apple claiming 52% of the share of relevant interest, Verizon’s comparative share was 19% of interest.

Share of UVs to iPhone 6

When comparing 2014 data to that from the iPhone 5 release in September 2012, we see that change in interest varies by carrier. Share of interest for AT&T grew from 12% in 2012 to 17% in 2014, and for Verizon share increased from 18% in 2012 to 21% in 2014. Sprint and Apple, however, saw a drop in interest from their 2012 numbers. Sprint saw only 6% of the share of interest for the iPhone 6/6+ compared to 2012’s 10%, and Apple dropped from 60% in 2012 to 56% in 2014.

iPhone Interest Share

The carrier to see the highest overlap of iPhone visitors who visited plan pages was far and away Sprint, likely due to the promotion of their “New iPhone for Life Plan” which allows customers to purchase the iPhone 6 for $20/month (or the iPhone 6+ for $25/month) for $0 down and with a guarantee of a new iPhone every two years. Sprint’s iPhone-plan page overlap was 26% between during the two week period in September, substantially higher than other carriers.

Overlap of iPhone visitors

Overall, the iPhone release seems to have drawn traffic not only to Apple.com, but to a number of sites. For wireless carriers, it’s an exciting time to be the mobile business, and for digital marketers, it’s a crucial time to be #GettingMobileRight.

November 8th 2014 apple, iphone

Apple Webcrawler: More Potential Evidence Of Search Ambitions

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Apple Insider reports on the discovery of a web-crawling bot originating from Apple’s servers. It was first “outed” by developer Jan Moesen. This is what Moesen saw: Moesen reports that the bot is only crawling HTML, “not the CSS, JavaScript or image files.” Then he…



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November 8th 2014 apple

Amazon Wants to Enter Your Homes and Hearts With This Super-Cheesy Infomercial

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"Alexa, do we really need a voice-activated speaker that listens for our every command?" 

Amazon is trying to earn a spot on our bookshelves, countertops and coffee tables with Echo, a wireless device that's ready to stream music and answer the types of questions you could easily ask Windows' Cortana or Apple's Siri. UPDATE: Echo listens for commands when prompted by a word set up by the user. The family in the video went with "Alexa."

Judging from the online infomercial, the device is perfect for any family that's just stepped out of a 1980s sitcom. ("Alexa, what's the definition of annoying? … Example, brother.") Echo is like the new Small Wonder—that show about a girl robot, V.I.C.I., who is just part of the family.

Amazon gadgets can be hit or miss with consumers—the Fire phone cost the company $170 million last quarter. Still, Amazon is trying to place devices in consumers' hands that make it easy to order products from the Web. And it's trying to send those goods faster with far-out concepts such as drone deliveries.

It also wants to sell as many digital books, movies and shows as it can. Echo is just another step toward total shopping control, a commercial outpost for Amazon embedded in the homes of its most loyal customers.

Echo starts at $199, a pretty steep price for a glorified speaker. Have a look:






November 7th 2014 apple, Google, Technology