I’m excited welcome Principal Analyst Nate Elliott back to our London offices. Although he’s from New York and spent the last year working in Vancouver, many of our European clients will already be familiar with Nate's analysis: he previously spent 2 years based in London and another 2 in Berlin covering interactive marketing in Europe.
The iPhone has proven to be the 'Ironclad' of mobile phones. Everything that went before was obsolete overnight, both smartphones and dumb phones included. No prior phone could compete with the experience and the abilities of the iPhone. Sure, some phones were superior in very specific regards -- especially on cost and call quality -- just as very early Ironclad warships were not always the most sea worthy vessels. But overall, nothing existing could go toe-to-toe with the iPhone.
Other manufacturers saw this fast and reacted. Just like with the warships of the latter part of the 19th century the pace of innovation since, both from other manufacturers and from across the whole mobile ecosystem, has been ferocious. This week at CES we've seen numerous competing high end mobile phone launches that demonstrate that the pace of innovation in mobile is accelerating, rather than slowing.
Consumers use this new breed of high end phones in completely different ways to older 'smartphones' or dumb phones (we have consumer data on this, clients please ask!). This is especially true in Europe where consumer ownership of Nokia's Symbian Series 60 handsets is so great.
Parochialism aside, there is a major flaw in the logic here: if these large companies are deemed responsible in part for illegal content consumption, then so are the ISPs (arguably more so). And indeed the French Hadopi (Three Strikes) bill which this study is intended to complement, expressly apportions responsibility to the ISPs, making them partners in anti-piracy enforcement. So if they are deemed responsible under French law, shouldn’t they also be subject to a levy, if one is implemented?
The so called ‘Google Tax’ proposals also suggest that the tax should be paid regardless of whether the publishers have offices in France, based instead on whether French consumers view the ads. So this would mean, for example, that Google would have to make payment to support the French media industries if a French consumer clicked on a sponsored link, say, for washing machines in Seattle.