Blog Archives

Mobile Advertising to Reach $8.2 Billion by 2016 As Search Market Share Shrinks

New figures released by Forrester Research project the healthy growth recently seen in U.S. interactive advertising will continue through 2016, with total spending reaching $76.6 billion, or 35 percent of global ad spend.

The figures are particularly encouraging for those in the mobile sector, who have had to deflect criticism about the current state of mobile advertising and its viability using current technology. The report projects mobile interactive advertising will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent, reaching $8.2 billion in 2016. This best-in-class growth will be led by a growing mobile commerce market, consolidation of mobile ad networks and the implementation of rich media ad formats as smartphone technology advances.

Consolidation in mobile ad networks has accelerated in the past two years, as Google acquired AdMob for $750 million, Apple acquired Quattro Wireless for $275 million and ValueClick acquired Greystripe for $75 million, placing the full force of some of the most valuable companies in the world behind the mobile ad sector.

Mobile Advertisement Example - Land Rover

While display and search are projected to retain their dominance of most interactive ad budgets as rich media, text listings and online video components become budget staples, search engine advertising is expected to see a significant reduction in both its growth rate and its share of the overall interactive market. Search advertising is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent, nearly doubling from $18.8 billion in 2011 to $33.3 billion in 2016, but will see its share of the overall market decrease from 55 percent to 44 percent over the same period as other formats establish themselves as meaningful components of large scale media buys.

Forrester reports social media marketing will enjoy a healthy 26 percent compound annual growth rate, but will only reach $5 billion in total spend due to the inexpensive nature of many social ad platforms.

With the explosive valuations of literally thousands of VC-funded startups heavily dependent on advertising revenue for survival, let alone growth, these latest figures are encouraging. However, marketers appreciate (and are increasingly demanding) both security and results, which will likely benefit the largest and most established companies in mobile and social, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter. The industry should expect further consolidation as the large, cash and equity-rich players utilize critical acquisitions to expand their arsenal and take advantage of the rapidly accelerating growth in interactive advertising.

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Tim Cook to Employees: “Apple Is Not Going to Change”

Less than 24 hours after the jarring revelation that Apple’s revered leader, Steve Jobs, would be stepping down from his post as CEO, his replacement has set the stage for the beloved company’s continued growth and success.

Tim Cook, who previously served as Apple’s COO and as interim CEO during Jobs’ previous medical leaves of absence, sent a note to all Apple employees today promising them the company they knew under Steve Jobs won’t change under his leadership.

The note, originally obtained by Ars Technica, reaffirms Jobs’ commitment in his resignation letter that Apple will continue to be a successful and innovative leader in the always-competitive tech sector:

——

Team:

I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future.

Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.

Tim

——

Cook is no stranger to the tech community, often appearing alongside Steve Jobs at Apple events and giving important keynote speeches in Jobs’ absence. Cook has been a part of the Apple team since 1998, joining as Senior Vice President of Global Operations, and rising to his previously-held position of Chief Operating Officer in 2005.

Tim Cook at Apple - CHART

Cook’s execution of supplier contract negotiations has made it virtually impossible for competing firms to deliver comparable products at a competitive price. Cook previously held executive positions at Compaq and IBM.

With Jobs remaining as Chairman, and a suite of Jobs-era products in the pipeline, Apple likely won’t even see a hiccup for the next few years. Jobs created a system of excellence and creativity and instilled these values in every Apple employee, and Tim Cook will continue to execute Apple’s mission of innovation and growth. Investors and insiders are confident in Cook’s ability to lead – Apple stock is down just 1 percent through midday trading Thursday.

Google Launches Google+ iPhone App, Expands Critical Mobile Presence

After weeks of speculation, Google has received approval from Apple to release the Google+ iPhone app. However, the highly anticipated launch did not go off without a hitch. The first release of the Google+ iPhone app was buggy and highly unstable, frequently crashing and logging out users at random. Google quickly identified and rectified the issue, releasing an updated version of the app an astonishing 1 hour and 40 minutes after the initial launch.

Lead Project Manager for Google+ Mobile, Punit Soni, revealed early this morning (on Google+, of course) that the App Store was serving early downloaders a test version of the Google+ iPhone app.

(Some users report the Google+ iPhone app is not showing up in searches within the App Store. Here is the download link for the app, accessible through your iOS device.)

The app allows users to access their Stream, comment on and +1 other user’s posts, but the current version of the app does not allow users to re-share posts in their Stream. Soni, in response to Robert Scoble’s post reviewing the app, announced an in-stream Share feature is in the works. The app provides access to Photos from your Circles, your personal albums and all photos stored on your iPhone, and allows you to upload and geotag photos to Google+. Check out the full Google+ for iPhone review from Mashable, which includes 20 in-app pictures.

Google+ iPhone App - Screenshot

One of the key features driving the Google+ iPhone app’s utility over the browser-based version is the mobile-optimized Huddle feature. The success of Google+ will be largely driven by its seamless integration between mobile and desktop, and the two-way or group chat Huddle feature enables Google+ to become a central hub of mobile activity, replacing text messaging and additional group chat applications if the app gains widespread traction.

The brief and uncharacteristic early hiccup was positively overshadowed by Google’s quick update, and the Google+ iPhone app paves the way for Google+ to further penetrate the mobile environment, a critical battleground in the heavyweight bout between Google+ and Facebook. If Google+ can continue the growth trajectory it has enjoyed during its invitation-only trial phase, and perhaps beat Facebook to the punch with a standout iPad app, the social networking landscape that seemed set in stone just months ago will be poised for significant transformation. This competition between two immeasurably smart and talent-rich companies will only lead to stronger products and a better user experience, and that is something we can all look forward to.

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AllThingsD Redesign Delivers Context, Cohesion for the Influential Brand

Led by the sharp, snarky commentary of Kara Swisher and the perennial influence of Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD has risen to the forefront of Silicon Valley technology, Internet and media journalism. With decades of collective experience, Swisher and Mossberg have transformed a bare-bones, underfunded blog into an influential establishment and a trusted voice in a highly competitive industry. After years of strong growth and several recent talent additions, AllThingsD has gone live with an entirely redesigned website aimed at delivering better context and a more cohesive brand identity for the multi-columned site.

Kara Swisher has long been a source of unrivaled inside information at Silicon Valley icons like Yahoo! and Microsoft, and Walt Mossberg is widely considered one of the most credible gadget and technology analysts on the Web, so AllThingsD has greatly benefited from the respective personal brands of this powerful duo. However, with nine full-time columnists, each with their own column title, the AllThingsD brand name was often lost in the fragmentation of the site.

AllThingsD Redesign

The site is now unified under the AllThingsD.com domain, and is vertically categorized (i.e. News, Social, Mobile, Media, etc.) in an effort to provide better context for its users. More than any other element, context is the most vital component of the AllThingsD redesign. The site had consistently increased the quantity of content it produced daily, and the new design utilizes verticals that combine content from all nine columnists, providing users an all-encompassing resource from multiple perspectives. To appease the die-hard fans of any particular columnist, the new design still allows users to search by writer, acknowledging the continuing importance of each writer’s personal brand even in the new era of AllThingsD brand unity.

Beyond the functional and strategic elements of the redesign, the new AllThingsD is simply better looking. The much-wider layout helps cater to the higher-resolution videos and images the site has been sharing more frequently, and allows for much more aesthetically pleasing featured posts on the homepage.

Congratulations to Kara, Walt and the rest of the AllThingsD team on the beautiful redesign and your continued success as a leading voice on All Things Digital!

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Bowing Out with Grace, Microsoft Retires Kin and Moves On

Earlier this year, after two short months on the market, Microsoft decided to retire its “Kin”, a social media-centered mobile phone. In spite of strong reviews, the phone sold poorly, and Microsoft faced a key decision for its future in a market they had experienced relatively little success. On Thursday, a key executive in Microsoft’s mobile business revealed that the company will no longer pursue development of a new smartphone device.

The statement from Tivanka Ellawala, Microsoft’s CFO of mobile communications, comes at a critical juncture for the company’s efforts to become a true player in the mobile industry. Microsoft has developed Windows Phone 7 software, which has been promised to be a drastic improvement upon earlier versions of Windows’ mobile OS. Microsoft has thus far refused to reveal the manufacturers of the phones that will utilize the Windows Phone 7 software, but the company included hardware specifications, which Ellawala allows for “more predictability in what it takes to make the hardware work with the software.”

Microsoft Kin 1 & 2One of the crucial elements that the success of Windows Phone 7 hinges on is the adoption by the developer community. In an effort to stimulate development of mobile applications for WP7, Microsoft released a software development kit intended to help developers maximize revenue earned from advertisements.

To many investors, the shuttering of the failed Kin line was indicative of Steve Ballmer’s willingness to move on from products and projects that are losing money. In the past, Ballmer has been criticized for holding on too long to projects that were outside of Microsoft’s areas of expertise and were bleeding money. As Ellawala noted, Microsoft is in the software business, and that is where they need to maintain their focus. When one explores Microsoft’s efforts in mobile, the slang term “diworseification” comes to mind.

MSFT Chart 2005-1010

In spite of record cash flows and revenues, Microsoft’s stock price has remained relatively flat over a five-year period, getting lapped by competitors like Apple and Google. With the booming success of Halo: Reach, growing anticipation for Windows Phone 7, and the enticing prospects of an enterprise PC refresh cycle, Microsoft is in a healthy position moving forward.

Google and Verizon: The End of Net Neutrality? Not So Fast.

Last Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Google and Verizon Wireless were closing in on a deal that tested the boundaries of the FCC and threatened to drastically change the internet as we have known it. The two titans of their respective industries had reportedly agreed to “speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege” (NY Times 8/4/10).

Theoretically, Verizon could speed up access to content from Google sites like YouTube in return for a fee charged to Google. This would create a division between the average user and the elite who could afford to pay a premium for higher quality service. This story hinted at what would be the fundamental shift that proponents of net neutrality have feared for years. But was the story truly worth the hype?

Both companies vehemently denied the NY Times report, with Google (@GooglePubPolicy) tweeting: “@NYTimes is wrong. We’ve not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.”

Similarly, Verizon Wireless dismissed the story, with a company executive explaining: “The NYT article regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken.  It fundamentally misunderstands our purpose. As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect” on the company’s Public Policy blog.

Google Public Policy

In a joint public policy proposal released on Monday, Google and Verizon announced what they dubbed as a legal framework for potential traffic regulation and quality of service policies. Most importantly, they explicitly insisted upon complete transparency in any regulation of traffic and content distribution. The true core of the controversy surrounding this proposal revolved around the concept of net neutrality and whether or not Google and Verizon had turned their back on their stated desires to maintain a fair and open internet. The newest developments reveal that the policy proposal won’t give net neutrality advocates much ammunition against the two companies when it comes to personal computer broadband use. Wireless broadband connections, however, may be a different story.

The top executives at Google and Verizon attributed the lack of application of this proposal in the mobile sector to the “still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace”. This has some proponents of net neutrality arguing that the proposal intentionally ignores the future, allowing the companies to forge profitable, non-net neutral alliances as the mobile markets mature down the line.

Verizon Wireless

To date, nothing has been implemented and any legislation is likely to take considerable time to push through Congress. I don’t believe either bigh-profile company would risk violating the trust of their customers or risk exposing their brands to further scrutiny by concealing back door deals for short-term maintenance of public perception. If Google and Verizon are adamant that they are committed to an open internet, we should take their word for it. As they say, actions speak louder than words, and we will ultimately judge this entire situation as it develops and matures.

What are your thoughts about the proposal and about net neutrality in general? Share your opinions with your comments below!