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Mobile Content: Google's Commons vs. Apple's Market

Mobile content producers do not have a truly competitive choice between Google's 10% fee One Pass service and Apple's 30% fee subscription service, as much as they have a value system choice between Google's Internet commons model and Apple's property-rights-driven market.


  • Google's One Pass offering looks eerily like its Google TV offering, where major video content owners faced the platform choice between dumb content and Content is King."
    • Given that choice, content-is-king-oriented owners broadly rejected Google's property-hostile, dumb-content system/model.
  • As mobile content providers and carriers threatened with "dumb content" and bandwidth/spectrum commodification from Google's "free" commons model assess their real long term strategic competitive and value-creation options, they will increasingly look toward, and forward to, the nascent Microsoft-Nokia alliance offering and RIM's offering for content-is-king allies and true competitive choices.

As much as Google tries to fool Little Red Riding Hood content owners that their Grandma always had such big eyes and big teeth, most mobile content providers will spot the Google commons wolf in disguise.


  • Content owners are not naive, they are painfully aware of Google's decade long consistent scofflaw pattern of disregarding the property rights of others.
  • To review, without permission, Google:
    • Has copied 13 million books (Google Book Settlement); hundreds of thousands of videos (Viacom vs. Google); and billions of news articles and headlines via Google News;
    • Has sold the trademarked brands of others to their competitors -- for profit (Rosetta Stone vs. Google); and
    • Has infringed on the patents of Oracle, Apple, Microsoft, the French and others, to offer a free operating system that does not compensate key patent owners a cent (Oracle vs. Google).
  • Why Nokia rejected Google Android, and why most all major video content programmers have rejected Google TV to date, is that content owners and others don't trust that Google is aligned with their interests in protecting and monetizing their property or their interests in being able to differentiate from their competitors.


Let's contrast the Google commons with the Apple market to see the real "choice" between what Google Acting CEO Schmidt calls the "openness" of Google and the "closedness" of Apple.

First, from a mobile content producer's perspective:


  • Google's "Open" means a peer2peer share-fest, a pirate/Wikileaks-sympathetic commons, and a Google ad-dominated ecosystem, where Apple's "closedness" means a protected, guarded, and subscription-fee monetizable marketplace.
  • Google's open means wide open transparency and little user privacy, where Apple seeks to protect users privacy.
  • Google's open means users are on their own in the open wild west because Google shifts most all responsibility for safety and security to others, whereas Apple appreciates that users want a sheriff in town to protect their safety and security from malware, scams, and harm -- and provides security protection as an integral part of their Apple platform.


Second, Google and Apple both are control-freaks, but Google denies and hides that it is, while Apple wears its obsession with control as a badge of honor.

  • Google Android chief, Andy Rubin said about Android: "One of the reasons we've achieved such adoption is because we have removed all control."
  • Savy content owners know that Google's claim is not true.
    • Google has tried to eradicate any control by competitors or competitive complement services to commodify them, but Google still keeps iron grip control over the way users find content (search monopoly) and over the metadata of most all Internet interactions, i.e. their monopoly of market inside information of user demand signals, and advertiser and publisher supply signals.

Third, Google's Acting CEO Schmidt misrepresents Google's approach in calling Google's One pass a "very publisher-friendly approach... we basically don't make any money on this," per the FT.


  • Given Google's well known commons approach to free information, and their admission here that they don't want to make money on One Pass, why should mobile content owners trust that Google wants them to make money long term when it is clear Google sees little value in content itself and sees all the value-creation on the web in brokering who wants what content?


In sum, Google's modus operandi is to lure content owners into the Google platform in any way they can because Google wants to collect all the business-valuable metadata involved with the content: i.e. user traffic demand and private user-hot-buttons; advertiser/publisher supply of advertising including the exact user demographic they are seeking -- so that Google can be the centralized and dominant infomediary on the Internet, where everyone else is dependent on Google to succeed in matching up their content with users on the Internet.


  • Little Red Riding Hood mobile content should easily spot the Google commons wolf in Grandma's clothes here, the huge-toothy smile and drooling are dead giveaways.