Collateral Damage of a Digital War: Online Publishing

Google FB and Apple are in long battle with each other. There are media reports that Facebook has a backup plan that would keep it running on Android should Google ever pull its Android app from the Play Store.

The Guardian also reports that "When Apple revealed that its new operating system for mobile phones, iOS 9, would feature what the company called “content-blocking Safari extensions”, no one really blinked. Though it may look as though online publishing has fallen prey to a dastardly plot from Apple to attack its revenue at the source, publishers aren’t really the targets at all. Newspapers and blogs are collateral damage in the latest flare-up in the long-running cold war between Apple and Google. Google’s revenue from advertising came to $59bn in 2014, almost 90% of its total revenue; $45bn came from ads on its own sites including search and maps, while $14bn came from ads served by Google on other websites. 

For all its diversification, from smartphone operating systems to self-driving cars, Google is still primarily an online advertising company with a large software company bolted on. Apple also has an advertising business. The iAd platform, launched in 2010, lets developers embed ads into applications, with Apple taking a 30% cut. But eMarketer estimated that, in 2014, iAds generated only $487m in revenue – 0.3% of Apple’s annual income. And those iAds only appear in apps, which are not affected by content blockers. That discrepancy is something that Apple’s chief executive has reiterated again and again. Apple is a hardware company; Google is an advertising company. In fact, Google is an advertising company that makes a significant chunk of its money advertising on Apple’s hardware: of the $11.8bn that Google made from mobile search revenue in 2014, $9bn came from iOS, according to Goldman Sachs."

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