There Is Just One Market, Apple Owns It — And Must Be Stopped

As Doctor Smith would say on Lost in Space, “Oh, the pain. The pain.”

Targets missed, Nook sells stake to Pearson to secure book distribution

For every 100 web pageviews on an iPad, a Kindle gets 5, a Galaxy gets 3, and a Surface gets 0.22

1) Pearson wants a lifeboat as its business begins to take on water like the Titanic did. Nook Media is not that lifeboat — but at least it gets them closer to Microsoft, who, paradoxically, can be.

2) It’s not surprising Nook sales did not meet expectations. I said they’ve been in trouble for a while. Oddly, there’s been an increase in Nook search results leading to this blog, both pre- and post-Christmas.

3) Despite the protestations of people who like total control over their computing hardware, the iPad does about 99% of what 95% of people want. And there is just no competition in terms of what really matters: Apps.

4) It’s not surprising that Amazon added their Kindle-hardware-exclusive X-ray feature to their iPad app. Even Amazon understands who now owns the e-reading market — and it’s no longer them, it’s Apple. Expect Amazon to surrender even more to the iPad next year.

5) Pearson and the Big Six (or soon, Four) will continue to sink and will find no hope simply tying themselves to any hardware vendor via investments. That’s the wrong game to play.

6) The right game to play is to sic the Department of Justice and the European Commission on Apple, to make it divest its Store — just as movie studios had, at one time, to divest themselves of their movie theaters. Restraint of trade and other issues are blatantly in operation and must be stopped. Apple has not been shy using the law against Android.

7) Failing any governmental action, perhaps Microsoft’s new Windows organization can address the shortcomings of Windows 8 and actually produce a tablet to compete against the iPad. Android is just not that tablet competitor. Windows 8 (or 9) can be.

8) Windows 8 is currently where Windows was with 3.0. Windows 95 brought all the excitement that made people line up around the block for it. Microsoft needs to turn that trick with Windows 8 — and that would make it possible through volume to give the iPad true price competition.

9) I’d be very surprised if any new generation of eInk devices appeared in 2013 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Sony. In fact, I’d be surprised if Kobo’s Arc tablet survived past next year too. I think people would rather go into hock and get a $329 iPad Mini instead of settling for an eInk device (this does not apply to eInk diehards who will hoard their devices and buy from ebay for a while). See Buying Advice.

10) There is no 10.

6 Comments

Filed under Digital Overthrow

6 responses to “There Is Just One Market, Apple Owns It — And Must Be Stopped

  1. gtf

    Finally someone who accepts the reality of the browsing experience on the ipad being far superior for the 90%. Apple better be paying off the appropriate politicos for when those who can’t execute realize they have other options.

  2. There is no question whatsoever that forcing a consumer of an Apple hardware product to go to only one ‘store’ in order to purchase their software is a restraint of trade of the grossest variety.

    There is, of course, no technical reason whatsoever that an iPhone, iPod, or iPad couldn’t visit the Amazon app store, or the Android app store, or any other vendor’s app store (once these other app stores sold iOS apps).

    In a technological environment as competitive and litigious as ours, it beggars belief that this fundamental illegal action by Apple continues to go unchallenged in the courts.

  3. Mike, I agree with almost everything in this post, but …

    I think an intervention by the DOJ (#6) would be wrong. Two years ago, large parts of the tech community were declaring the iPad wouldn’t succeed, it wasn’t a computer, it didn’t have a keyboard, there was no visible file system. And they sat on their hands and watched as Apple both struggled to meet demand and quickly evolved the product.

    Now there are literally hundreds of tablets out there. 99.9% of them are crap, assembled from lowest-bidder parts like so many of the PCs of the past decade which followed the Redmond mantra that the PC market was dominated by consumers who liked having pink plastic flamingos on their front lawn.

    Apple’s “our app store only” approach provides consumers with some confidence that the apps they download won’t contain malware (unlike what infests the Android marketplace) and also provides some degree of confidence the app will actually work. The 30% “tax” in part covers what must be a small army of approval testers – accounting for rejected apps as well as those accepted in the store, plus updates, I’m guessing they’ve dealt with around 2-million in two years. Not cheap to do.

    Point #7 is the answer we need: Microsoft, or maybe Amazon, or someone else, needs to buckle down and produce a true competitor line of tablets, _and_ an ecosystem to properly support them. Henry Ford took what looked like an unassailable lead in his industry with the production line, but once GM came together and got competitive, the auto industry became a real and very competitive industry. Right now the tablet “industry” is 90% Apple, maybe 9% Amazon, and a tribe of pygmies flailing around in the Rift Valley.

    Re. point #4: Apple may own the device market, but my sales stats show that Amazon still owns the ebook market — by a country mile.

    Good, provocative post ;)

    • mikecane

      >>>Re. point #4: Apple may own the device market, but my sales stats show that Amazon still owns the ebook market — by a country mile.

      Do your stats say whether those Kindle books are going to Amazon hardware or iOS hardware? I don’t think so. The number of iOS devices is a multiple of the total eInk device population.

      I guess I should have clarified I meant eBook hardware, not eBook sales (iBookstore will lag behind Kindle Store until someone produces a breakthrough book with iBook Author).

      • RicDay

        Don’t know the devices but I agree, the probability is very high that most of the books are being read on iOS and not Amazon hardware.

        Apple is pretty competitive with Amazon in international markets, I’m sure because the iTunes Store reaches more places. But I deal in nonfiction and that may also be a factor. Kobo is surprisingly strong in France, probably because they have lots of French publishers from Quebec. B&N is almost invisible outside the USA.

        Apple’s iBookstore … It will probably take something on the tectonic sales scale of The Elements (first monster app) to get it rolling. But there is also the sheer convenience angle. I tend to find an author I like and then read all that author’s novels, in published sequence. If I buy the first copy on my iOS device, it is too easy to just buy the rest that way … Couple of screen taps and I’m reading. With Amazon, Kobo, etc, I have to go to the browser, log into my account, … It gets a little tedious, especially because I get that reading done late at night.

  4. If Apple owns the market, it is via making a superior product. I find it difficult to believe eInk can be regarded as superior, except for some specialist uses (reading fiction in daylight being a potential one).
    Owning the iTunes store seems irrelevant. In multiple hundreds (and thousands) of pieces of music, movies, and ebooks, only a handful (less than a dozen of each) were bought through the Apple store. The problem book producers face is most are still unwilling to drop DRM.
    You are indeed locked into Apple for iPad applications. So what? You can jailbreak, you can buy an Android tablet, or you can stay with a traditional PC. Plenty of choices. People just do not like those choices.

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