Friday News: More on the Apple-Beats deal, Amazon Germany delays shipments, BEA 2014, and eBay’s new fashion research
Apple’s Beats deal is bad news for these two companies – So now that the Apple – Beats deal is officially confirmed, the predictions shift into full gear. Will Beats bring Apple back to its glory days? Will it end up being an expensive flop? And what about other online services?
Yahoo Tech Reporter Aaron Pressman says this deal is not welcome news for Pandora and Spotify. “If you’re Pandora or Spotify – which maybe was heading towards an IPO – if you’re an investor in those companies, you’re pretty bummed out,” said Pressman. “This is not good for you.” — Yahoo News
Amazon Strategy Raises Hackles in Germany – Perhaps on the strength of Amazon’s share of the ebook market in Germany — which is substantial — the company is now delaying shipments for books from German publisher Bonnier Media Group. Similar to the early stages of Amazon’s US battle with Hachette, the situation in Germany has emerged from negotiations between Amazon and one of Germany’s largest publishers over the sharing of ebook profits.
Yet in a country where shopping hours are also tightly controlled by the government, Germans are becoming increasingly accustomed to the ease and independence of ordering books at all hours and having them delivered to their front doors.
Germany’s book-order business, including online sales, grew by 4 percent last year to 2.7 billion euros, or $3.7 billion, according to the Federation of Mail-Order Booksellers. Amazon towered above its competitors, controlling more than half of the German market, with sales of €1.9 billion. — New York Times
BEA 2014: Strong Traffic, Talk of Amazon-Hachette – Even BEA, which is currently underway in New York City, is preoccupied with talk of the Amazon-Hachette conflict. Along with flourishing attendance, a tribute to Maya Angelou, and presentation of the Indie Champion Award to James Patterson, people were talking about the battle. Patterson, especially, was outspoken, insisting that publishers must remain afloat to “support good literature,” and noting that profit margins in publishing are not enormous:
As Patterson sees it, readers and the bookselling community must step up in order to safeguard the future of our literature. He spoke about how this “economic war” will affect grocery stores, libraries, and bookstores. “Ultimately it will put thousands of mom-and-pops out of business. If Amazon’s not a monopoly, it’s the beginning of one. If this is to be the new American way, this has to be changed, by law if necessary.” He wanted the media and authors groups to take up this topic. “It’s a worthy subject of this BEA.”
Patrick Hughes, Fulcrum’s marketing and sales director, was also vocal on the subject of Amazon, and completely unsympathetic toward Hachette. “I can’t complain, there’s nothing better out there,” he said. “Amazon is our largest customer.” He continued: “One international corporate behemoth complaining about another international corporate behemoth—I have absolutely no sympathy.” — Publishers Weekly
In order to chase down fashion recommendations, eBay turns to neurological data – The use of algorithms to try to predict consumer choices and recommend merchandise is not a new concept, but eBay is taking the process a step further, it seems, by using neurological research to attempt to figure out what consumers want to wear, and thus, buy. Creepy or cool? Or maybe both?
Fashion taste is a fickle thing, but scientists have long pursued the neurological causes behind our aesthetic choices. We are still far from understanding the motives, but MIT Technology Review reports that a team at eBay Research Labs in San Jose is using neurology research and in-person opinions to help craft an algorithm that determines fashion combinations — ideally to be used to recommend clothing during shopping experiences. — Gigaom
I read the article about the Apple/Beats deal and was relieved to find headphones mentioned. That was the only thing I knew about Beats. I’m officially old now.
But Apple has become less a part of my life. I had bought a number of iPods since 2006, as well as using an iPhone, but this year when I bought a new phone I selected a Samsung and I can see why Apple has been trying to keep Samsung phones out of the US market. Once I was over the learning curve it’s far more versatile than my iPhone. I doubt if it is going to be as sturdy though.
I’m all for computers figuring out what I want and suggesting it. But, I’ll believe it when I see it. At present, being able to input a few parameters would do wonders. Not to mention the ability to screen out by keyword. I’ve had no success with that, so people selling stuff have an incentive to use every popular tag they can think of.
The problem is that sellers want more eyeballs to look at their goods, so they aren’t interested in something that filters their goods out, just in.
Ebay would be better served by putting some of that research money into site security.
My niece works for eBay and has a doctorate in astrophysics. She spends her days happily working out the best algorithms for users to find precise items, so I’m not surprised about the neurological concept at all. :) It’s a fascinating art.