Friday, January 13

The open access web paradigm and impending Google vs. Apple video media showdown

I just stumbled upon this take on the impending showdown to sell video content online between Apple, Yahoo and Google. Technically I don't even think Yahoo is in the game as their only plans are to stream media. Ha! Fat chance that'll have popular appeal.

Google's new entrance into the Video market announced at CES may not look like much yet but their rapidly putting in place some serious infrastructure to sell not just the same old Hollywood content but indeed anyone's content. I've lambasted their video search in the past for being a closed solution, but they do appear to be making moves to make it more open by allowing all videos to be downloaded in several different formats including iPod and PSP compatible formats. Now... if only the could figure out how to include non google content in their search I think they'd be in a whole new league. They are no longer quite the "content trap" I had originally labeled them as.

Anyway... as this market shapes up google's more open and more flexible marketplace is really really going to theaten Apple's closed marketplace, fixed price schemes, and it's proprietary only playback platform. In short apple's poor interoperability will ironically turn it's platform into it's prison and the more open, more interoperable and more flexible google marketplace will quite simply kick it's ass if it comes to that. It's still WAY WAY to early in the game though, buth players have a long way to go but I expect this showdown will really be apparent before the end of 2006.

"Google is used to attacking 900 pound gorillas. Just ask Steve Balmer. But its announcement this weekend, seems squarely targeted at Apple and its recent successes with the iPod.

On Saturday, Google announced that its Google Video service will be incorporating an open and flexible pricing mechanism for content distributors that are interested in offering video content online. This move is markedly different from Apple's decision to set pricing across the board.

History dictates that an open paradigm will win, especially for such a nascent industry. Apple does have a significant advantage in this case as it is far and away the leading distributor of mobile content players. Even though most iPods do not play video, look for video to take an ever increasing role in the product offerings.

As in the late 80's, being a one-stop shop for consumers has an advantage for Apple. But it also has its disadvantages. Google, with its cash war chest and leading online position, is in a strong position to begin co-marketing with all the other mobile device manufacturers -- think : Archos, Creative Zen, etc.

Moreover, Apple's commitment to its own proprietary standards will prove to be a significant achilles heal. This is especially true as more categories of devices begin to share the same video content. Eventually, the industry will converge on DRM standards, which means that you will be able to record content on your cable box and tranfer it to your laptop, cell phone or other mobile device. I seriously doubt that Apple's codecs will be included in any of these packages, regardless of how popular the iPod is or becomes."

I just can't believe someone else really plainly gets that when you do business on the open web interoperability always wins. This is an open access information economy and those that don't do business on the open web with interoperable non-proprietary platforms ultimately lock themselves out.

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