Why Apple’s Dominance Of The Download Market Really Is A Big Deal

Following my post about EMI’s financial results' risk guidance for Apple’s dominance of the download market, there has been some questioning about whether this is actually a big deal or not. The likes of Warner Music and Google make similar risk warnings in their results, so no big deal then? Wrong. This is in fact further evidence of just why it is such a big deal.

The labels are still kicking themselves for having let MTV build a business around their promotional videos. Once they’d realized their error, it was too late: MTV was too powerful and was making too valuable a contribution towards their business for them to simply turn off the tap. Some label execs stated they weren’t going to let Apple "do an MTV."  Whether they like it or not, they did.

Apple’s dominance of the download market is a huge deal. I’d argue that EMI and WMG are actually downplaying the importance. It’s not in their interest to scare investors with the news that a company they often don’t get on with too well effectively controls the destiny of one of the only parts of their business which is still growing and which they expect to be their future.

Apple’s dominance is such that would-be new entrants have to think as a priority about what their "Apple strategy" should be. Should they be MP3 or build an iPhone app?  Should they integrate themselves into the iTunes ecosystem or co-exist? Anyone who intends to be a key player in the digital music space is inherently competing with Apple. (See my colleague Ian Fogg’s fantastic report ‘Competing With Apple’ for more on this topic.)

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Adapting Marketing Yet Again — This Time For The iPad And Other Tablets

You are the CMO or the head of marketing for your company, and you’ve just finalized your social media plans for 2011 at the request of the CEO. Despite the unknowns out there, you are comfortable with your target audience, your message, your content plan, and the platforms you will use. You’ve even got a great candidate who loves the brand and wants to be the evangelist. But last week, your social media evangelist brought you an iPad to try out. You take it home for the weekend, you use it nonstop, and now you are thinking, “Where does this fit in my plans for next year?” While 2011 will see huge growth in spending on mobile advertising, and the display and search markets are back on track from the semi-slump of 2009, where does the iPad and other tablets to be announced from Google, Dell, Nokia, and others fit into your plans?

From a marketer’s perspective, the Web browser is pretty well understood — targeted banner ads that ideally would be integrated into content so as not to be intrusive. Mobile is getting cooler, and the ad platform to support visible ads on small screens is in the hands of the two (now) most popular smartphone platforms, Apple and Android. But this tablet segment seems to be gaining traction as a platform for what marketers dream of:

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Putting RIM’s “Security” Challenges In Perspective

Research In Motion has been in the news a lot over the last few days. Last week, the news broke that the governments of the United Arab Emirates and India threatened to suspend service to RIM customers in their countries because of alleged threats to national security. I was quoted in today’s USA Today about this unfolding story.

But let us be clear: the “security problem” that officials in these governments were citing had nothing to do with actual security. As we have written about extensively, the BlackBerry device is well-designed from a security perspective. Its cryptography modules are FIPs-certified, and all of its communications are encrypted using industry-standard algorithms. We have called the BlackBerry the “gold standard” of secure corporate devices and continue to stand by that assessment.

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