Let's be a bit provocative after this week's announcement from Apple letting us know that they had sold 7,4M iPhones during the last quarter (+7% yoy). Apple's stock valuation was even higher than that of Google (as of October 20, 2009): $179 bn vs $173 bn. I am not a financial analyst so I won't comment the results from a profitability perspective, but would just like to throw out a couple of ideas to discuss whether this trend will last in 2010. Let's add a pinch of salt without taking into account the fact that Apple could (and certainly will) surprise us with new products.
Beyond the terrific iPhone user-experience, the power of Apple's marketing and the AppStore's ecosystem, part of the success is due to Apple's new business model introduced in July 08. When launching the 3GS, they also announced lots of international (and non-exclusive) deals with operators worldwide and finally accepted to let operators subsidize the device. No doubt there is a huge consumer demand for the iPhone but operators will have to solve a complex equation. It is a little dirty industry secret that many carriers are analyzing the profitability of the iPhone model:
I am oh so happy to report that our Forrester Wave on Full Service MROC vendors is now live on our site. This is the first time Forrester has done a Wave on this market, I sincerely hope our clients will find it chock-full of valuable info on the six vendors we reviewed: Communispace, Gongos Research, KL Communications, MarketTools, Passenger, and Vision Critical.
Affluent consumers have different expectations from their financial institution. Data from our Technographics online Affluent survey shows that while online affluent consumers prefer the Web over phone and in-person for getting balances and checking holdings, 58% prefer in-person meetings with their advisor for long-term financial goal planning.i
Affluent online consumers like to use the Web to update themselves on their investments, but they don't have a need for mobile tracking yet: A mere 6% of affluent consumers with a mobile phone are using mobile investing. The main reason: lack of urgency.
For months we have heard rumores that Hulu will eventually launch a paid service. Well according to News Corp's Depuity Chairman, Chase Carey, that move could come as soon as 2010.
At Forrester, we have detailed the need to launch an online subscription service for online video in our Reinventing the TV Industry report. I've always thought Hulu with its passionate community of users would be in good position to launch this service. However, looking through the comments on EW's link to the story, Hulu's equity as a "free service" could alienate users. I've posted a sample of the comments below:
The past week has seen two significant online retailers make
announcements about their global plans: last week Gap indicated its intention to
expand into Canada and the UK and yesterday Buy.com launched sites for Canada, the UK,
France and Germany, with Italy
Chatting with board members at a major apparel company last night, a few mentioned a story on NPR's Morning Edition about the social divide between young Facebook and MySpace users. I've been skeptical before, but am converting.
Are you attending Forrester's Consumer Forum 2009? Do you live in the Chicago area? Do you ever wonder who you are talking to on Twitter?
On October 26, the night before Forrester’s Consumer Forum, Forrester will be hosting a Chicago Tweetup. Tweetups are low-key social events where Twitterers can network and meet the people they tweet with. Anyone can attend; it is an informal atmosphere that allows casual conversations.
There are numerous reports that Google is about to launch a music service. Whether the rumours have foundation or not I think it is worth reflecting on what role Google could play in digital music and their various assets. Here are some initial thoughts:
Google is already a major player in the online music space via YouTube (in Europe, the home of Spotify, more people watch music video online than listen to streaming music)
Google shouldn’t (and probably won’t) try to be an ‘iTunes killer’. The bottom line is that the iTunes / iPod / iPhone ecosystem is successful within that niche, but it is just that, a niche. The 99 cents download model isn’t a mass market proposition
Google has its Android asset to leverage, potentially ensuring it is a truly cross platform music play
Google is in a unique position to target music demand at the earliest possible stage i.e. when consumers start searching for music
The last point is where I think Google’s core value proposition for the music industry comes in. Apple can do little about iPod owners downloading from BitTorrent (and our survey data shows they are very likely to do so). But Google on the other hand can.Just imagine if when a consumer searches for a song, alongside all of those Torrent results is a heavily integrated Google music offering.
In my role as forecast analyst,
a day doesn’t go by where someone doesn’t ask a question like the
following, “did you account for X in your Y forecast?” The answer is
almost always in the affirmative as our methodology incorporates a lot of
research and pulls in a wide range of perspectives. However, producing
reliable and actionable forecasts is an exercise in prioritization so not every
influencer becomes explicit in the model.