Media Observations

FTC to investigate Apple

Since Gerri Knilan’s first post on the iPad, the Federal Trade Commisson has decided to launch an investigation into Apple’s policy of not allowing makers of competing devices to gather data from their ads on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. This data is considered indispensable, because it reveals how effective the ads are, and by extension how much companies can charge for them.

Gerri mentioned the iPad’s exclusivity—long an Apple business practice, dating back to the introduction of the Macintosh—as a potential reason that the computer and personal electronic giant’s new iPad device might face resistance. And now the FTC is providing that resistance, at least in the form of an investigation to determine whether barring competitors like Google from gathering ad data is unfair.

To me, this is more of the same from Apple, who in recent years has sought complete vertical integration of the user experience for its products. It’s no surprise that they want to restrict competitor’s access to ad data, effectively rendering competitors ad’s worthless and impossible to price.

I just don’t see this kind of monolithic approach working in 2010, when choices for consumers are limitless, and competitors are plenty. Apple has become the talking head from their famous 1984 Macintosh commercial:

What the heart wants

Car and Driver editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman opines on the iPad in the July issue, and makes a good point: no one really knows what the end result will be when it comes to media on the iPad. Says Alterman, “The device’s full impact on the media business won’t be clear for a while…As Woody Allen once infamously and lecherously confessed, ‘The heart wants what it wants.’ Well, media platforms are just as perverse.”

Size doesn’t matter?

More from the pop auto literature: a letter to the editor in the August 2010 issue of Four Wheeler:

I was disappointed to receive only 98 pages with Four Wheeler when my Diesel Power magazine came with 186 pages. That is a ridiculous difference since for the same price of my Diesel Power subscription I am getting half the magazine with you.

The editor’s response:

The actual size if the magazine is dependent on the number of pages of advertising we generate each month. Diesel Power has more pages of advertising, so naturally, it’s thicker than outs. Then again, what’s really more important—quantity or quality?

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