Jun 25, 2010

Is (an) Apple Healthy? (English)

Apple vs. Flash
Image by wvs via Flickr

The success of Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad, can be explained by our preference for closeness, we do not want to know how things really work, as long as it is working! Apple also adds another dimension; a slick design and a unique user experience. Apple makes everyone of us a gadget freak and therefore we accept a significantly higher price and a limited freedom of use. Apple did jump on the growing unpopularity of Microsoft (the big evil) in a convenient way and knew how to avoid to much attention of Google (be no evil). But this will change!
The long-awaited breakthrough of mobile takes epidemiological forms and the combination with the emerging sensor technology will bring “The Internet of Things” close to mainstream. But where we expect more openness and connectivity (“everything must surely be able to communicate with everything!”), Apple makes a counter statement by banning support for the Adobe Flash technology. The question is “Why?”

– 70% of all online games is based on Flash;

– 98% for all Internet-Enabled Desktop Flash;

– 85% of the top 100 popular websites use Flash;

– 75% of all videos on the Internet using Flash (Youtube, Hulu, Disney);

– There are 3 million Flash developers;

– 90% of all creative use Adobe products;

– and there are 1.2 billion Flash-capable phones;

Apple’s slogan “Think Different” should be “Act Different”. Looking at the footprint of Flash, there has to be another explanation (than a business one). Steve Jobs is driven by aesthetics. Apple claims a monopoly on usability through a relentless  control of the user experience. In an open letter, Steve Jobs declared that Adobe Flash is the number 1 root cause for Macs to crash and battery life is significantly shorter by the use of Flash on mobile devices. Obviously Adobe rejects this view. In the meanwhile Apple promotes HTML5 (yet-to-be-ratified-standard for HTML), CSS, Javascript and H.264 (a standard for video compression). The other explanation is “revenge”! Steve Jobs is irritated for years because of the fact that Adobe finally has adapted its creative suite to the Mac OSX. But there is (much) more at stake!

The ‘jack comes out of the box’

The future of the web is the “app” (instead of the browser) and mobile (instead of the laptop / PC) and Apple sees opportunities to strengthen and expand its position on the mobile market (iPhone and mobile apps). Apple foresees a central and controlling position for its  iTunes distribution channel (Apple decides which applications may be distributed and Apple decides whether an application meets its aesthetic requirements). But there is another, more fundamental reason; most display advertising on the web is supported by the Flash platform (interactive display banners, video banners, etc.). Mobille advertising is still in its infancy. Google did acquire the company Admob, specialized in mobile advertising (Apple also had intentions to acquire Admob but lost). Apple bought Admob’s competitor Quattro and has implemented this technology in the heart of the iPhone 4.0, better known as the iADS. Advertising will be an integral part of iPhone apps and Steve Jobs promises a unique user experience and more value for advertisers. Within this vision a partnership with Adobe does not apply!

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Jun 25, 2010

Is (an) Apple Healthy? (NL)

Apple vs. Flash
Image by wvs via Flickr

Het succes van Apple producten, zoals de iPhone en de iPad, is grotendeels verklaarbaar uit een voorkeur voor geslotenheid; wij willen niet weten hoe dingen werken, als ze maar werken! En Apple voegt hieraan nog een dimensie toe; een gelikt design en een unieke gebruikerservaring. Met Apple is een ieder gadget freak geworden en accepteren we een significant hogere prijs en een beperkte vrijheid van gebruik. Apple wist handig in te springen op de groeiende impopulariteit van Microsoft (the big evil) en wist tegelijkertijd buiten het schotveld van Google (be no evil) te blijven. Maar daar komt nu verandering in; de langverwachte doorbraak van mobiel neemt inmiddels epidemiologische vormen aan en de combinatie met o.a. de zich sterk ontwikkelende sensortechnologie, is ‘The Internet of Things’ zeer nabij. En daar waar je juist meer connectiviteit en openheid verwacht (‘alles moet toch met alles kunnen communiceren!”), maakt Apple een counter statement door Adobe Flash in de ban te doen. De vraag is ‘Waarom?’

–    70% van alle online games is gebaseerd op Flash;
–    98% van alle internet-enabled desktops gebruikt Flash;
–    85% van de top 100 populaire websites gebruiken Flash;
–    75% van alle video’s op internet gebruiken Flash (Youtube, Hulu, Disney);
–    er zijn 3 miljoen Flash developers;
–    90% van alle creatieven gebruiken Adobe producten;
–    en er zijn 1.2 miljard Flash capable phones;

De slogan van Apple ‘Think Different” wordt nu geoperationaliseerd naar “Act Different”. Een bedrijfskundige verklaring is niet te geven, wel een persoonlijke psychosociale verklaring; Steve Jobs wordt gedreven door esthetiek. Apple claimt het alleenrecht op gebruikersvriendelijkheid middels een meedogenloze controle op de gebruikerservaring. In een open brief stelt Steve Jobs dat Adobe Flash hoofdoorzaak nummer 1 is voor het vastlopen van Macs en dat de levensduur van batterijen significant korter wordt door het gebruik van Flash op mobiele apparaten. Vanzelfsprekend bestrijdt Adobe deze zienswijze, maar vooralsnog hebben ze het nakijken en gaat Apple verder met het promoten van HTML5 (een nog te ratificeren HTML-standaard), CSS, Java-script en H.264 (een standaard voor video compressie). Maar misschien is de echte reden wel ‘wraak’; Steve Jobs ergert zich al jaren aan het feit dat Adobe keer op keer het Mac OSX als laatste adapteert voor haar creatieve software.

Het ‘duveltje komt uit het doosje’
De toekomst van het web is de ‘app’ (in plaats van de browser) en mobiel (in plaats van de laptop/pc) en Apple ziet kansen om haar positie op mobiele markt (iPhone en mobiele apps) uit te breiden en te versterken. Het distributiekanaal van iTunes neemt hierin een centrale en controlerende plaats in (Apple bepaalt welke applicaties gedistribueerd mogen worden en Apple bepaalt of een applicatie voldoet aan haar esthetische eisen). Maar er speelt nog een andere, veel belangrijkere reden; de meeste display advertising op het web wordt ondersteund door het Flash platform (interactieve display banners, video banners ed.). Binnen apps op het mobiele web staat advertising nog in de kinderschoenen. Google nam het bedrijf Admob, gespecialiseerd in mobiele advertising, over (Apple was ook in de race, maar moest afhaken). Apple kocht de concurrent Quattro en implementeerde deze technologie in het hart van de iPhone 4.0, thans bekend onder de naam iAds. Advertising wordt een integraal onderdeel van iPhone apps en Steve Jobs belooft een unieke gebruikerservaring en meer waarde voor adverteerders. Binnen deze visie past geen partnership met Adobe.

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May 12, 2010

Los Links

Boom! Bing Passes Yahoo
Image by Diego_3336 via Flickr

Microsoft is continuing it’s ad spending to bring Bing to the market (‘the 100 million dollar baby’). Bing has now an 11.8% share of the query market (source: Comscore) and still gains little slices extra every month. Microsoft differentiates itself from Google with the argument that search can be very confusing and lacks relevance. But as long as Bings market share is beneath 30%, there isn’t serious competition for Google. Breaking laws of common behaviour is a tough challenge, and we should appraise Microsofts attempts to get prepositioned in our minds when it comes to ‘find something’ on the Internet. It’s good for innovation, and ultimately good for all of us.

Although the Internet is in our veins, when it comes to reaching people, the good old TV still is an important medium (“Internet didn’t kill the TV star”). Microsoft will launch a series of commercials to establish Bing as a hero of search overload; Bing & Decide (the decision engine of Microsoft).

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Feb 24, 2010

Turning echoes into signs

Because of my involvement in Kalooga, a media company delivering visual relevance based on a proprietary gallery search engine, I’m especially interested in other technology companies in our region (North of the Netherlands). One of these companies having my attention is Heeii.

“Heeii is a browser plugin that shows you a number of tweets that are closely related to the web page you are currently viewing”.

Sometimes, narrowing your functionality and establishing more focus can be beneficial for your business. But in this case I wonder if it will benefit the user (and therefore ultimately the company). Although Twitter is a huge success, that doesn’t mean inheriting that success by using the Twitter API. My point is; I’m not interested in recommendations related to the web page I’ve already read (or currently reading) I’m interested in tweets that recommend sources I may be interested in! It’s the recommendation of an authority or a trustworthy person I’m already following that makes Twitter such a powerful tool. It’s not the other way around!

So how does it work!? For example a person I’m following, Guy Kawasaki, recommends an article on Alltop ‘Could someone stalk you using your own smartphone?’ The recommendations Heeii is giving lacks added value.

Recommendation sidebar of Heeii
Why change course from a (general) suggestion tool towards something that ‘echoes’ the web page? (Why not putting more effort in making the plugin cross browser compatible? (it now only works for Firefox and IE 6)

Looking from an outside perspective there is an opportunity window for Heeii that could tackle a ‘big problem’; what’s the authority, authenticity and trustworthiness of the web page I’m currently reading? Turning ‘echoes’ into ‘signs’, that’s real value! I would say; ‘back to the drawing table’. But leave the road you’re now embarked on!

I’m open for discussions!

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Feb 1, 2010

Three Kings

Twitter HQ is on the 4th floor of this not ver...
Image via Wikipedia

The first time I became aware of the difference between ‘search’ and ‘discovery’ was when I was attending a keynote of the founder of Stumbleupon Garrett Camp at The Next Web in 2007. And I’ve been interested in this subject since then. Search versus discovery can be illustrated by the following dichotomies between;

– knowing what you want versus not exactly knowing what you want,

– going to the information versus information coming to you,

– driven by popularity (math) versus driven by recommendation (social),

– wanting less (search results) versus more (options) is better,

– endpoint versus starting point.

More popular said; search is making the web effective and discovery makes the web fun (again!). Browsing the web in the pre-Google era was in fact discovering the web. Nowadays ‘search’ is still the most dominant theme, covering nearly everything we do with on the Web (finding something or someone). But most current innovations made in search are related to the discovery experience within search. Especially in the field of image/visual search  (f.e. look at Google Swirl). So another dichotomy can be added;

– text-based (entry field) versus click-based (button, link).

To put it more straightforward; the future of search is discovery! The success of Twitter proves this thesis.  Twitter is commonly seen as the most important player in the field of ‘realtime search’. But from a search/discovery perspective; Twitter is largely a discovery service!

– Information (Tweets) is coming to you;

– It’s driven by popularity (You choose whom you want to follow);

– A tweet acts as a starting point for further exploration (in a sense of thinking, linking etc.)

And if you’re following, you don’t have to search!

In the meantime, another term is making its appearance; recovery! Recovery refers to the activity of finding something you’ve seen before. F.e. you’ve seen a fragment on television, and you go to Youtube to find this fragment.

From a content perspective there are three ‘kings’;

King of Text is ‘Search’, the King of Images/Galleries is ‘Discovery’ and the King of Video is Recovery. And as in poker, the game immediately ends when one player has three kings!

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Jan 21, 2010

Excellent Idea!

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Dutch Giro 555 has developed an excellent online marketing concept; Participate and Lend your Homepage! A few simple steps and voila, your homepage is transformed in a call-to-action homepage where your visitors can donate for Haiti. This homepage idea is simple, viral and I think very effective.

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Dec 19, 2009

The death of the click?

Gian Fulgoni, ComScore Chairman #imediasummit
Image by Paull Young via Flickr

There is some discussion regarding the question if the click is a sufficient measure for effectiveness of a display ad. Gian Fulgoni, founder of Comscore says ‘no’. The number of users clicking on a display ad has dropped with 50% (again) and research has pointed out that the average CTR is down at 0,1% (which is not that bad!) and that in some cases 8% of the internet population is responsible for 85% of total amount of clicks (ignoring 92%). Fulgoni argues that the marketing departments should measure impact of campaign like they ought to do with traditional campaigns; cumulative impact of impressions during a certain (longer) period of time. Interesting point of view – not in a sense that it is new (on the contrary!), but in a time where ‘CPM is supposed to buried’ and ‘performance based marketing’ has been planted (on top of it).

I think that CTR and related measures (such as dwell rate and dwell time) are good measurements, also for effectiveness. The whole discussion ignores the relevance of the ad display content! If a display is relevant to the user, i.e. contextual, the user will click on it (is effective =purpose of the display ad). But reality shows that most display ads aren’t contextual and lack relevance. Although I agree that campaigns should be evaluated by the cumulative effect of several marketing instruments (online AND offline), but you can’t advice to throw CTR out of the window or that CTR isn’t important (and can be neglected). First comes relevance! But this causes problems for those online advertisers who are used to create standard IAB display advertising and throwing this in the basket of 2nd channel advertising networks, waiting for the publisher to pick this up. Its’ a common law of economics; abundance (of advertising content) leads to lower CTR overall. Throwing CTR out of the window is like changing national currency when a country suffers from a recession. Advertisers are still in the game of reach….but unfortunately for them, the audience has already left. But there’s enough excitement and opportunities in the game of relevance.

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Oct 28, 2009


Op 26 augustus 2006 voorspelde ik dat Google binnen 3 jaar Tom Tom over zou nemen (zie blogpost). Ik zat er naast, maar niet zo heel ver…… Google kondigde vandaag aan binnenkort met een gratis, op Android gebaseerde, navigatiesoftware te komen. De koers van Tom Tom ging hiermee meteen met 16% onderuit.

De andere concurrent, Garmin, was net bezig met het ontwikkelen van een navigatiesysteem op basis van….jawel, Google’s Android. Een klassiek geval van DOA? (Dead On Arrival). De koers van Garmin (NASDAQ) staat op dit moment van schrijven ook 16% lager.

Oct 28, 2009

Overheid Los Angeles stapt over op Google

Een sterk staaltje van ‘hoe overleef ik de crisis’ of ‘de beste oplossing willen’, in ieder geval lijkt Google aan het kortste eind te trekken. 30.000 ambtenaren, inclusief het gehele politie-apparaat, van de gemeente Los Angeles stapt over op Google Mail (als onderdeel van Google Apps). In Nederland is het nu een kwestie van afwachten wie de eerste grote gemeente of overheidsinstantie wordt, dat overstapt naar Google.

[kalooga wid=4603 /]

Sep 16, 2009

Wat ligt er (niet) op het nachtkastje van ABNAMRO bobo’s?

Wellicht voor velen tegen beter weten in bankier ik ook nog steeds bij de ABNAMRO. Afgelopen week ontving ik het ‘Relevant’, het groot economisch tijdschrift van de ABNAMRO. Vormgeving is prima in orde dus heb ik het niet meteen bij het oud papier gelegd. Het meest opvallend is de rubriek ‘Uitgelezen’ met als ‘ingooier’;


Interessant boekenlijstje met Bidden is niet genoeg, The Subprime Solution, De Kredietcrisis (2x), The Two Trillion dollar Meltdown en The Ascent of Money. Allemaal mogelijke antwoorden over hoe het zover heeft kunnen komen. Prima, blijven lezen, misschien steek je er nog wat van op!

Maar wat ligt er niet en moet er wel liggen? Juist, De Prooi van Jeroen Smit. Dat is pas relevant! (zie eerdere post)