Weekly Roundup: September 21st

Observations September 21, 2014 9:02 am


Microsoft Buys Minecraft

This Week in Tech: Alibaba and Apple Steal the Spotlight

  • Alibaba goes public: Alibaba’s IPO on the NYSE is the largest tech IPO of all time. The company raised nearly $22 Billion for the IPO, a figure as massive as the company’s size: 231 million active buyers place 11.3 billion orders on the site each year. But should investors think twice?
  • But what is Alibaba?: Alibaba is bigger than Amazon and eBay, and is the world’s fastest growing commerce site. China has 302 million potential Internet shoppers, which is a fraction of the total population (1.6 billion). Add to that stat the fact that 80% of China’s online shopping market is dominated by Alibaba, and Alibaba provides U.S. companies with a way to reach Chinese consumers.
  • Apple iPhone 6 Goes on Sale: Preorders for the new iPhone topped four million in 24 hours, more than double launch sales for the iPhone 5. With demand exceeding supply, many people will have to wait until October for their phones. Delayed shipment wasn’t the only snag in Apple’s big week– the much anticipated HealthKit app was also delayed because of a bug. And whatever you do, don’t put iOS 8 on your iPhone 4S.

Old vs. New: Music and Money

  • CDs account for 85% of music sales in Japan, U2 announces new digital, interactive music format: As the rest of the world embraces digital streaming, Japan holds on to its love for physical CDs. Why? A combination of cultural factors and smart marketing. Japanese consumers have a propensity to to love collectible goods, and marketers have learned that placing tickets to live events inside CD cases boost sales, with many people buying multiple copies of the same CD. Meanwhile in the U.S., U2 announces a partnership with Apple to develop “an audiovisual interactive format for music that can’t be pirated.”
  • 80% of all transactions in Germany are conducted in cash, mobile payments expected to reach $100 billion in the US in the next five years: As hype builds for mobile payments, with analysts betting on Apple Pay to make the promise a reality, recent stats provide a gut check to how consumers actually pay for items. In Germany, it’s nearly all cash. And for U.S. millennials, it’s debit cards. Meanwhile, consumers in Asia and Africa are saying, “we’ve been doing this for years.”

R/GA Originals


Thought of the Week: Privacy, What Privacy?

How well do Facebook and Google know you? The article, “The Ultimate Retaliation: Pranking My Roommate with Targeted Facebook Ads, made the rounds this week.” And it probably made you think about how much information you’re exposing to Facebook or to Google. Although the writer of the article used information not available online to target his roommate, are we telling advertisers information about ourselves without even knowing it? More than likely, yes. Especially if you’ve ever taken an online quiz. Although BuzzFeed claims it doesn’t use data collected from quizzes for ad targeting, other companies do, which makes taking the quiz, “What Sex and the City character are you?” not as innocent as it seems.

Tim Cook released an open letter this week slamming the likes of Google and Facebook for their data collection practices, writing “[Apple’s] business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone  or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.”

Of course, the benefit of data collection is increased personalization, which consumers generally see as a positive. But the downside is the loss of privacy. Read more about the tension between privacy and personalization in the FutureVision trend brief, “Privacy, Personalization, and Earned Data.

*Originally published on R/GA FutureVision 

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