10 most reputable companies in the world – Business Insider

The luxury watch brand Rolex is the most reputable company in the world, according to the Reputation Institute’s annual rankings.

Source: 10 most reputable companies in the world – Business Insider

The Reputation Institute sorts companies according to the public’s perception of their performance in seven areas: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership, and performance.

The chocolate maker The Hershey Company is the most reputable brand in the US, but the brand is much less well known internationally, so it did not make it onto the list. Facebook did not even make it into the top 100.

After the emissions scandal that engulfed the company last year, Volkswagen dropped from being the 14th most reputable company in the world in 2015 to the 123rd spot this year.

To compile the rankings, the Reputation Institute collected more than 240,000 ratings from 15 countries. You can see the full results here.

10. Apple. RepTrack Points: 76.6.

Apple’s reputation is getting worse, according to the study. The company has dropped from seventh place in 2014’s rankings to eighth in 2015’s, and it now sits at 10th. The tech company, however, came out on top in both the innovation and the leadership categories.

Here’s everything Apple announced at its Keynote on Monday, including its new, cheaper-than-ever iPhone.

9. Sony. RepTrack points: 76.7.


Sony proved to be a truly global brand. The company was among the 10 most reputable brands in 10 of the 15 countries surveyed. On this metric, it was beaten only by Rolex.

This year Sony faced criticism over its failure to release singer Kesha from a six-album contract with one of its record labels, Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records. Kesha alleged that her producer at the label, Lukasz Gottwald, sexually abused her.

Aside from music, the Japanese conglomerate makes electronics and produces movies and video games. The company was founded in 1946 by Masaru Ibuka.

8. Canon. RepTrack points: 76.9.


Canon is the third most reputable brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The world’s biggest maker of cameras and printers has been expanding further this year. It just announced that it would buy Toshiba’s medical devices unit for nearly $6 billion.


7. Microsoft. RepTrack points: 77.0.


Microsoft has returned to the list after it dropped out in 2015. It came out as the third most reputable brand in Asia. Microsoft is performing particularly well in the detachable tablet market, outperforming Apple.

Microsoft is predicted to take a 74.6% share of the detachable tablet market by 2020.

The company’s biggest businesses in 2016 include the Windows operating system, the Xbox, and Microsoft Office.

6. Lego Group. RepTrack points: 77.4.


Lego remains the most reputable brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

This year Lego faced a serious backlash after the company refused to sell artist Ai Weiwei a bulk order of its plastic bricks. The Chinese artist had planned on using them to make a political point, which went against the company’s rules. The toymaker later reversed this policy.

According to a report by Brand Finance, Lego is the world’s second most powerful brand after Disney.

5. Daimler (Mercedes-Benz). RepTrack points: 77.7


Daimler dropped from third place to fifth in the global reputation rankings this year.

Daimler sold 2.9 million cars in 2015, up 12% from the previous year, it was announced at the company’s annual press conference.

The Daimler-owned Mercedes could soon become the car brand most closely associated with Uber, as the taxi app just announced an order for 100,000 Mercedes S-Class cars, according to Fortune.

4. BMW Group. RepTrack points: 77.9.


BMW dropped from first place in 2015, but it retains its lead on its fellow German carmaker Daimler.

BMW celebrated its 100th birthday this year. To celebrate, it released the concept car it predicts everyone will be driving in 100 years.

As well as producing BMWs, the company makes Mini cars and oversees productions of Rolls-Royce vehicles.

3. Google. RepTrak points: 78.1.

Google came top in the performance and workplace categories this year, but it slipped from second place — which it had held in 2015 and 2014.

The search-ad business has had another important year; in October it reshaped its corporate structure to form a new parent company, Alphabet.

2. The Walt Disney Company. RepTrak points: 78.2.


The Walt Disney Company came in the top 10 in each of the seven categories. The huge media and entertainment company came first in the citizenship and governance categories, making it unlucky to miss out on the top spot.

The company is not afraid to stand up to things it disagrees with. On Wednesday, Disney Film Studios announced that it would boycott Georgia if the state brings into law a bill allowing officials to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, The Guardian reports.

The California-based company employs about 185,000 people across various divisions, according to its website.

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1. Rolex. RepTrak points: 78.4


Rolex’s position as the most reputable brand in the world is due to its incredibly high reputation for products and services. It was in the top 10 for every category.

Luxury watch brands have suffered over the past year after facing a declining market in China. Consumers in the country bought 40% fewer Swiss watches — including Rolex, Swatch, and TAG Heuer brands — than they did in 2014, Sky News reported.

The luxury watch brand was founded in London in 1905 before moving operations to Switzerland at the end of World War I.

Here’s how the rankings have changed over the past few years:


What Major Music Streaming Services Pay Artists, Visualized | Co.Design | business + design

What Major Music Streaming Services Pay Artists, Visualized | Co.Design | business + design.

Since the arrival of Spotify in 2011, artists have been at odds with streaming music services over the royalties they recieve. And now thatApple Music has entered the music streaming wars, the question of how much each music service pays artists is as rife as ever. But without a clear explanation of who’s paying what, it’s easy to find yourself usingTaylor Swift as a barometer of artist fairness.

Now, a new infographic from David McCandless at Information Is Beautiful attempts to clarify streaming music’s murky financial backwaters.

via Information is Beautiful

On the left side of the chart, a line graph connects the streaming service (i.e. Spotify) and the amount of revenue it pay their artists per play (i.e. $.0011) with the number of people who use the service (i.e. 75 million people). The right side puts that information into context by showing what percentage of the total number of users is needed in order for artists to earn the U.S. minimum wage, which McCandless approximates to $1,260 per month (the federal baseline for minimum wage is $7.25/hour but it varies by state). For example, in order for an artist to survive on Spotify sales, he or she needs 2% of its 75 million users—that’s around 1.5 million users—to play their track per month.

The chart is most useful when simply comparing the artist revenue per play. Google Play pays artists the most, quickly followed by Jay-Z’s recently acquired streaming service Tidal, which is expected given its “by artists for artists” platform. Spotify and Apple Music are neck and neck. Perhaps the most startling revelation? Apple Music cut its artist revenue in half after transitioning from Beats, which it bought last year.

Comparing the streaming sites is not exactly apples to apples, as a careful look at both sides of the chart will show. For example, Tidal pays its artists more per play than Spotify ($.0070), but it has far fewer users (.5 million), so an artist would need to rely on a larger percentage of a smaller pool of users to play their track. And McCandless’ infographic doesn’t offer a fair comparison to Google Play and Apple Music, two of the biggest players, because there’s no user data available.

Still, being transparent about artist royalties is a step in the right direction for streaming services, and it’s useful for users to see a company’s intentions. Check out the data McCandless used for the infographic here.

Spotify: le pari payant de la commodité pour nous offrir la BO de notre vie !

Dans les coulisses de Spotify, le juke-box 2.0 – TéléObs.

Le tour du propriétaire commence par la table de ping-pong, dépliée au centre d’une cour intérieure, encadrée de grandes baies vitrées. La légende raconte que le chanteur canadien Justin Bieber y aurait infligé une raclée au fondateur du numéro un mondial du streaming musical, Daniel Ek. 

Autour : des bureaux. Une enfilade d’openspace décorés par les salariés, pour la plupart de sexe masculin, la trentaine à peine, en jeans, tee-shirts, baskets, qui pianotent devant leurs écrans, un casque vissé sur la tête. Soixante-huit nationalités sont représentées. Spotify croule sous les candidatures, assure Jamie Smith, son directeur de la communication interne : l’entreprise, présente dans 28 pays, en a reçu 32.000 depuis le début de l’année !

Géant du streaming

Avec 75 millions d’utilisateurs, l’ex-petite firme suédoise est devenue le géant du streaming. Ce service, qui fait trembler une industrie musicale en chute libre, permet d’écouter gratuitement des morceaux sur internet et de se constituer ses playlists. Epouvantail pour certains artistes et producteurs, il est une future vache à lait pour d’autres. Car, si son accès est gratuit, le site reverse des droits aux artistes grâce à une manne publicitaire qu’on annonce gigantesque – Jonathan Forster, directeur pour l’Europe du Nord, rappelle en passant que la pub a rapporté 80 milliards de dollars aux radios privées en 2014, quand les recettes de l’industrie du disque ont atteint… 15 milliards de dollars. Spotify compte aussi 20 millions d’abonnés payants “freemium”, pour un service plus rapide et sans publicité.

Depuis le succès colossal du suédois, la riposte s’organise. Après le rappeur Jay-Z, qui a lancé, en mars dernier, avec ses amis stars Rihanna, Madonna, Daft Punk…, le service payant Tidal – pour l’instant sans grand succès –, c’est au tour du géant Apple d’attaquer avec son application Apple Music, disponible depuis le 30 juin. La marque à la pomme a des atouts de taille : 170 milliards de trésorerie et un milliard d’utilisateurs de son fameux iTunes. Cette offensive n’a pas ébranlé Daniel Ek, qui s’est fendu d’un laconique “Ah ok” sur Twitter avant d’effacer le message.

Car chaque nouvelle annonce d’un concurrent est une occasion à saisir, explique Jonathan Forster :

“Tout d’un coup, on ne parle plus que de streaming. Et comme nous ne faisons pas de grosses campagnes de communication, c’est de la publicité gratuite pour nous.”

Une reconnaissance. “Ça fait dix ans que nous disons que le streaming est l’avenir de l’industrie musicale. Nous sommes heureux que les autres soient enfin d’accord avec nous.” De toute façon, assure le Britannique, Spotify est parée :

“Jusqu’à présent, nos ennemis principaux étaient les pirates. C’est comme de se battre contre des zombies : ils n’ont ni corps ni règles. Ça nous a endurcis.”

Chez Spotify, on est aussi convaincu d’avoir une longueur d’avance : “Depuis notre lancement, nous avons fourni 2,5 milliards d’heures de musique en streaming : c’est autant de données qui nous permettent d’améliorer notre service.”

“Hack week”

A Stockholm, la décontraction fait partie du modèle. Salle de jeux, studio d’enregistrement, concerts gratuits à la cafétéria… D’après Paolo Brolin Echeverria, il n’est pas rare de voir traîner les salariés tard dans la nuit, au 61 de la rue Birger Jarlsgatan, siège de l’entreprise. Celle-ci a atteint une valorisation record de 7,5 milliards de dollars, mais l’esprit start-up demeure.

L’effervescence avec. Paolo est responsable de la “hack week”, qui vient de se terminer : pendant deux semaines, les 1.500 salariés du groupe (dont la moitié est basée à Stockholm) ont carte blanche pour travailler sur un projet qui leur tient à cœur.

Accès légal à une gigantesque discothèque

C’est pendant l’une de ces sessions qu’est née “running”, la toute dernière fonctionnalité, présentée fin mai à New York, qui permet aux joggeurs d’adapter le rythme de leurs playlists à la cadence de leurs pas. L’aventure Spotify a commencé en 2006 avec la rencontre de Daniel Ek, alors jeune programmeur de 23 ans passionné de musique, déjà riche mais déprimé, et d’un entrepreneur, Martin Lorentzon, 37 ans, multimillionnaire en quête de nouveaux projets.

Tous deux admirent Napster, le site de partage en ligne fondé en 1999 par un groupe de jeunes Américains, fermé deux ans plus tard sur ordre des tribunaux. Leur idée : réussir là où les autres ont échoué, en proposant un service d’accès légal à une gigantesque discothèque (autour de 30 millions de chansons), avec l’accord des labels et des ayants droit.

Le nom “Spotify” naît d’un malentendu lors d’une soirée un peu arrosée : Martin Lorentzon est devant l’ordinateur et enregistre des noms de domaine, tandis que Daniel Ek lance des suggestions. Le premier entend mal ce que dit le second et écrit “Spotify” : une combinaison de “spot” (découvrir) et “identify” (identifier). Quelques mois plus tard, un certain Jonathan Forster pousse la porte d’un petit appartement, dans le centre de Stockholm : “Il y avait un groupe de types visiblement superdoués, qui tapaient à toute vitesse sur leurs claviers et surfaient sur deux écrans à la fois, dit-il. On sentait l’excitation dans l’air.” Forster a droit à une première démonstration : “C’était magique. Ils avaient travaillé très dur pour que la musique soit disponible en moins de 300 millisecondes. L’oreille ne détectait aucun délai.”

Le pari est osé. Il s’agit de proposer simultanément une alternative aux boutiques de téléchargement, comme iTunes, et aux sites de téléchargement illégal, tels que Pirate Bay – à l’époque, YouTube n’en est alors qu’à ses balbutiements. L’idée de combiner un service gratuit, où les chansons sont régulièrement entrecoupées de spots publicitaires, à un service payant, le “premium”, accessible hors connexion, sans pub, s’impose rapidement. Un modèle “contre-intuitif”, dit Gustav Söderström, directeur des produits : “Car on a dit aux gens qu’ils allaient devoir commencer à payer pour obtenir ce qu’ils trouvaient gratuitement sur les sites de téléchargement illégal. Si vous n’êtes pas passionné, 120 euros par an, ça fait beaucoup. Mais plus vous consommez de musique, plus ça devient important. Et télécharger sur Pirate Bay prend du temps. Nous avons fait le pari de la commodité. Heureusement, les gens ont suivi.”

Les négociations avec les maisons de disques vont durer deux ans. “On regardait les listings des compagnies et on envoyait des emails aux gens, en espérant juste décrocher un rendez- vous”, raconte Jonathan Forster. Per Sundin, patron d’Universal Suède, est l’un des premiers à dire banco : “L’industrie musicale était attaquée de partout. On était désespérés. On avait essayé d’autres services. Rien ne fonctionnait.” Encore faut-il convaincre ses supérieurs. Si les labels sont partants pour le service payant, ils ne veulent pas du “freemium” (accès gratuit puis payant). Spotify ne lâche pas. Gustav Söderström s’en félicite : “Nous avons un taux de conversion du gratuit au payant de 25 %. Jusqu’à présent, Skype était une référence avec 7 %. Or notre taux aurait dû diminuer avec l’accélération de notre développement, mais ce n’est pas le cas : les utilisateurs du service gratuit continuent de passer au payant, bien au-delà des premiers mois.”

Coup de gueule planétaire de  Taylor Swift

L’an dernier, le “freemium” a connu son heure de gloire avec le coup de gueule planétaire de la chanteuse pop américaine Taylor Swift, qui a annoncé qu’elle quittait la plateforme, mécontente de ne pas être rémunérée à sa juste valeur pour sa musique. Jonathan Forster dit son incompréhension :

“Elle a laissé ses chansons sur YouTube, où les téléchargements ont explosé. Si nous n’offrions pas de service gratuit, nous perdrions notre meilleure chaîne de marketing pour le premium. Surtout, le gratuit génère de l’argent pour les artistes, grâce aux revenus de la publicité, ce qui n’est pas le cas de YouTube.”

Ludvig Werner, directeur de l’Ifpi (Fédération internationale de l’Industrie phonographique) à Stockholm, reconnaît que le modèle est complexe :

En tant qu’artiste, vous receviez une grosse somme d’un coup, à la sortie de votre CD. Désormais, vos revenus s’étalent dans le temps.”

La transparence n’est pas non plus toujours au rendez-vous : “Ce que vous touchez dépend de l’accord signé avec la maison de disques.” Pour lui, le streaming représente pourtant l’avenir de l’industrie musicale : “En Suède, nos revenus ont chuté de 60 % entre 2001 et 2008. Avec le streaming, ils ont augmenté de 27 %, et ce nouveau modèle représente désormais plus de 80 % des revenus de l’industrie.”

Une application incontournable

Spotify reverse 70 % des recettes générées par les abonnements et la pub aux labels et ayants droit. Au total : 3 milliards de dollars depuis sa création, avec une augmentation vertigineuse ces derniers mois. Et ce n’est qu’un début, assure Jonathan Forster :

“Le jeu Angry Birds a 600 millions d’utilisateurs. C’est dire notre potentiel. Nous avons les Rolling Stones, Daft Punk, Beck … Imaginez ce que le reversement va représenter avec 600 millions d’utilisateurs, ou un milliard, comme Instagram ?”

Tel est bien l’objectif : faire de Spotify une application incontournable.

“La question n’est pas de savoir quelle part du gâteau nous obtiendrons, mais comment accroître la taille de ce gâteau”, lance Gustav Söderström. Et puis, il se targue du soutien que sa compagnie apporte aux artistes : “Grâce aux données dont nous disposons, nous pouvons leur dire où se trouvent leurs fans, où se produire en concert.”

Les développeurs y travaillent d’arrache-pied, usant de savants algorithmes pour découvrir les goûts des utilisateurs.

Spotify a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires d’un milliard de dollars en 2014, mais quadruplé son déficit. Elle vient cependant, d’annoncer une levée de fonds de 465 millions d’euros, et se lancera bientôt dans la vidéo. L’enjeu est de taille, selon Gustav Söderström :

“Nous voulons vous accompagner toute la journée et produire la BO de votre vie.”

‘Bank of Apple’ Moves Closer With New Patent To Kill PayPal, Square (Source: Forbes)

‘Bank of Apple’ Moves Closer With New Patent To Kill PayPal, Square.


Apple AAPL -0.29% has quietly filed for a new patent which details a person-to-person money transmission method which could potentially grab market share from PayPal and Square, and hit the already beleaguered banking sector struggling to keep up with FinTech.

Apple is already banking on consumers using the wallet in Apple Pay as their central source for general payments, and having recently announced at WWDC that Apple Pay will soon be available in the UK (Apple Pay is reportedly coming to the UK on July 14th) that’s a huge additional market to tap into, especially to lure British consumers away from using contactless cards which dominate the UK banking sector. But the killer feature missing has been a method to transfer payments between people, and now Apple plans to remedy this with Apple Pay and the wallet.

Hey UK, here comes Apple Pay

According to Patently Apple, “Apple’s invention generally relates to wireless communications, wireless electronic devices, and more specifically to techniques for conducting financial transactions by communicating encrypted financial credentials between the wireless electronic devices.

In other words, an iPhone user will activate their Wallet app, chose a stored card that they want to use to make the money transfer with, and type in the amount they would like to pay. The payment would then be authenticated using Touch ID or the iPhone’s passcode. The wallet system would also let the person pick the recipient of the funds from nearby iPhone users.

Whats not clear is whether the Apple Watch will play any part in initiating a transfer of funds. Unless this arrives with the Gen2 Watch as a complimentary feature.

This has massive implications for a number of reasons:

  • A direct swipe at PayPal, Square and others for simple money transfer could impact their services if successful
  • As traditional retail banks struggle to offer quick and easy services for customers this could be another nail in the coffin for those who can’t provide innovation in the current account space
  • As Barclays and other banks experiment with wearable tech for contactless payments, Apple could kill off other R&D projects waiting in the wings at other institutions unwilling to take the risk
  • With £3bn in funds being transferred in the UK alone via banking apps, Apple is hoping to tap into a huge payments market for P2P transmission

This method is nothing new in terms of simple money transmission. M-Pesa was launched in 2007 allowing for funds transfer and borrowing without bank branches all via mobile.

Apple credits Senior Director of Apple Pay Engineering Timothy Hurley who came to Apple from Citibank for the new idea.

When, or even if, Apple decides to implement this is anyones guess at this point in time. Apple has a history of patenting many things that never see the light of day. But one thing is for certain; if it does hit, it will only hurt other FinTech wallets.

Of course, Apple is well known for locking in users as much as possible in their ecosystem, this is just another play to make sure you never leave the fold. To find out what I mean, read how Apple just makes us all complacent.

Apple and Twitter and Snapchat use human editors, but Facebook doesn’t – Fortune

Apple and Twitter and Snapchat use human editors, but Facebook doesn’t – Fortune.

Using human beings to do curation or aggregation works for some purposes, but not for others.

It’s gone from one or two examples to a bona fide trend—which, as any journalist knows, occurs whenever there is least three of something. The trend in this case is the hiring of human editors to filter through the news, music, and other forms of content that are being produced and/or hosted by a variety of platforms. So Apple is hiring editors for its News app, which it announced at its recent developer conference, as well as editor/DJs for the streaming music service the company is rolling out soon.

Meanwhile, Snapchat is also hiringjournalists to report and edit content related to the upcoming U.S. election, and Twitter is looking to add editorswho can filter and aggregate tweets and links related to trending topics on the network, as part of what the company calls Project Lightning. LinkedIn also recently announced it is adding human editors to its Pulse news-recommendation feature, and Instagram has started doing some curation for its new Explore page.

There are a couple of big names missing from this list that are pretty influential when it comes to news: Namely, Facebook and Google. Facebook is launching a new featurecalled Instant Articles with partners like the New York Times, but the site’s staff won’t have anything to do with the selection of stories that become part of the program—and the choice of who sees them and when will be left to Facebook’s all-powerful algorithm. Much like Facebook, Google’s services are also powered completely by algorithms.

Of course, algorithms aren’t autonomous robots, but software that is written and programmed by human beings to have certain attributes. So in a sense, the “humans vs. algorithms” debate is based on a misconception. But it’s probably fair to say the human input in an algorithm-driven model is one step removed from the action, compared to human editing.

So if Apple and Twitter and Snapchat and LinkedIn see the value of having human editors selecting news or curating content of various kinds, why wouldn’t Facebook and Google do the same? Because each of the latter two companies are involved in content that’s on a completely different scale than Apple or Twitter—and human beings don’t scale very well.

Technology analyst Ben Thompson made this point in a recent blog post, entitled “Curation and Algorithms.”There are some things that human curation is good for, and some things that it isn’t, he argues. For example, music and other emotional forms of content can be good candidates for curation because human beings perceive things about that content that algorithms might miss. So when Jimmy Iovine talked about the launch of the new Apple Music service, he said:

“The only song that matters as much as the song you’re listening to right now is the one that follows this. Picture this: you’re in a special moment, and the next song comes on… BZZZZZ, Buzzkill! It probably happened because it was programmed by an algorithm alone. Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional task. You need a human touch.”

But there are cases in which curation done by human beings simply doesn’t work, Thompson says—and Google and Facebook are two examples of that, but for very different reasons. Google’s job is to filter through all of the billions of webpages and content on the web and find the one thing that a user needs or wants to find, and that’s a task that would be impossible for even a gigantic group of human editors to accomplish (although Google does use small teams of humans to check link quality). That’s why Yahoo stopped trying to run a human-edited directory.

Facebook, by contrast, isn’t trying to filter all of the world’s information—or at least, not yet. It’s trying to find the right combination of text and photos and links and video that will appeal to every one of its billions of users, and get them to engage with the site as much as possible. So unlike Google, the supply of information it is trying to filter may not be infinite, but the personalization of that content for each of its users involves so many permutations and combinations that it would also be almost impossible to accomplish with a staff of human editors, even a large one.

“Google is seeking the single best answer to a direct query from an effectively infinite number of data points… For most queries there is one right answer that Google will return to anyone who searches for the term in question. In short, the data set is infinite (which means no human is capable of doing the job), but the target is finite. Facebook, on the other hand, creates a unique news feed for all of its 1.44 billion users… what is infinite are the number of targets.”

The news, by contrast, is something where human editors can perform a fairly useful function, and even add things that algorithms can’t, Thompson says (which is one reason why Techmeme founder Gabe Riverastopped using only algorithms to power his news portal in 2008, and started hiring human beings). The pool of information isn’t infinite, as it is with Google, but neither is the personalization required for the potential audience, as it is with Facebook. That’s why newspapers existed.

As Thompson notes, however, the risk is that human-edited services face—rightly or wrongly—much more criticism when they make decisions about what to show and what not to show than algorithm-powered networks. So Facebook and Google can to some extent argue that they don’t control what gets displayed directly, it’s just the algorithm (although there are a lot of problems with this defense, obviously).

If Apple’s human editors remove news stories about specific topics, there’s going to be a lot of negative attention. What journalistic considerations—if any—do platforms like Apple and Snapchat and Twitter have when it comes to the news? As distribution shifts to these large-scale networks, those kinds of questions are going to become even more important.

GAFA: The Future Of Amazon, Apple, Facebook And Google – Forbes (Steve Dening)

The Future Of Amazon, Apple, Facebook And Google – Forbes.

In one of the most energetic and entertaining presentations I’ve seen in a while, Scott Galloway, Clinical Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern, Founder & CEO of L2, business intelligence firm serving prestige brands. spoke in Munich about “The Four Horsemen of the digital economy“: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Galloway starts out like a whirlwind, declaring that he has 90 slides and 900 seconds and wisely warns listeners to fast their seatbelts. He and his team at NYU Stern have developed an algorithm that looks at more than 800 data points across four dimensions—site, digital marketing, social and mobile—and across 11 geographies. They applied this algorithm against 1,300 brands, thus providing the basis for predicting winners and losers. They see themselves as “trainspotters.”

Galloway argues that it’s as important to talk about the losers in this fast-moving marketplace as much as the winners. Galloway declares two winners—Apple and Facebook—and two losers, Amazon and Google. By “winners,” he means companies that will increase in influence and value. Losers are those that will decrease in influence and value. His valuation is relative: any of these giants could lose for the next ten years and still be terribly important. They are all, he says, “amazing companies.” He points out that these four firms are so dominant that their combined market cap is greater than the GDP of South Korea (US $1.3 trillion). They have a market cap of $5 million per employee.

Galloway’s winners: Apple and Facebook

Apple is a winner for Galloway. It is dominant both on-line and in stores. It’s vertical and global. Its future is strong in part because it is becoming a global luxury brand. That, he says, is good thing because rich people all around the world like the same things. Apple has all the elements to make a luxury brand work: craftsmanship, an iconic founder, exceptional price point, expanding margins, vertical control of distribution, and globally recognizable. It’s on the way to becoming the world’s largest luxury brand with the help of former CEOs of Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent, Angela Ahrendts and Paul Deneve. Apple is completing its transition to luxury with the iWatch, predicted to have more sales than any other watch company in 2015. Some apercus from his talk:

“The expensive watch that I wear has nothing to do with telling the time. It signifies that I am more likely to look after your offspring than someone wearing a Swatch watch.”

“There are three things we do in business. Help people survive (head). Help the ability to love (heart). Help your desire to bear offspring (propagation). As you move down the torso, the margins get better and the business gets better. Luxury is in the business of propagation.”

“Tesla is not an environmental car. It’s a man’s attempt to tell people he can afford a $120,000 car.”

“Women pay $600 for ergonomically impossible shoes to try to solicit inbound offers from men who buy such cars.”

Facebook, says Galloway, is the platform people of all ages spend the most time on. Reports of Facebook’s decline in popularity among young people are “hogwash.” It is also doing well in Europe with around 90% share of social. Facebook has the ability to track users by their identity, something only Google is able to match (through Gmail). It successfully pulled a bait-and-switch by convincing brands to invest in building Facebook communities, and then charged for access. Galloway applauds the acquisitions of Instagram and Whatsapp, as Instagram is growing faster than any other social platform in the world, except WeChat.

“The primary drivers in social are mobile and images.”

“Facebook is pulling away. The world of social is becoming ‘Facebook and the seven dwarfs.’”

“Facebook has relationships with 2.4 billion users. The Roman Catholic Church 1.2 billion. Facebook has more relationships on the planet than God.”

Galloway’s losers: Amazon and Google

Galloway sees two major flaws at Amazon. One is that Amazon is single-channel retail. Galloway believes that the future lies in multi-channel retail. He says single-channel retail will disappear, whether it’s pure e-commerce or brick-and-mortar without an online presence. Apercus:

“Amazon cannot survive as a pure-play retailer.”

“Stores are the new black in the world of e-commerce. We have discovered these incredibly robust flexible warehouses called ‘stores.’”

Amazon’s growth has slowed, as brick-and-mortar stores have begun matching prices and providing instant pickup. He announces the funeral of e-commerce companies like Fab.com, Gilt, and Net-a-porter. For Galloway, the winner will be Macy’s, which has successfully gone online, and e-commerce players like Rent the Runway and Warby Parker that are opening up stores.

The other flaw at Amazon is shipping costs. According to Galloway, in 2014, Amazon received $3.1 billion in shipping fees and spent $6.6 billion on delivery. This, he says, is unsustainable. Some apercus:

“Free shipping is a race to the bottom.”

“Uber will be the most disruptive force in American retail. Drivers from firms like Uber are going to disrupt Amazon.”

“Drive-through pickup points have exploded in France from 1,000 to 3,000 in just the last year.”

“Retailers are not sitting around like passive prey, waiting to be disrupted. The retailer of the future is Macy’s. Macy’s is a metaphor for what’s happening the economy. It is closing stores and investing in on-line. $40k-80k sales jobs are being replaced by $20k-$40k factory and fulfilment jobs. There are some fantastic jobs at the high end, but the real employment growth is at the low end.”

“The smart-phone economy is going to be wonderful for employment, but terrible for wages.”

Google has several flaws, according Galloway. First, although Google is dominant in search, other brands are cutting into Google’s share. Facebook now has 1 billion searches compared to Google’s 3 billion. Second, two-thirds of product high-value searches—product searches–are happening on Amazon. Third, Google has yet to master mobile in the same way it mastered computer search. Fourth, Google had major failures in Google Glass and Google+, As a result of all these factors, Google’s revenue growth is slowing down. Apercus:

“Google + is dead already.” It has had a “98% decline in engagement rate, year-over-year.”

“Google Glass is a prophylactic that ensures that you won’t conceive a child because no one will ever go near you.”

What Galloway may have gotten wrong

Galloway says that he hopes that most of what he says is right, but he knows that some of it is wrong. Let’s look at where he might be wrong.

Galloway may be too quick to write off Amazon. If having physical stores becomes key, Amazon could easily solve it, as Galloway himself predicts, by acquiring of a brick-and mortar chain. And the issue of Amazon’s shipping costs should not be looked at in isolation from the overall shopping experience at Amazon. If “free” shipping for shoppers who subscribe to Amazon Prime makes Amazon the primary search destination of most shoppers and so trump Google search in this high-value search arena, the cost of “free shipping” may be a smart investment, both cheaper and more effective than, say, buying advertising for the Amazon brand. Just as Tim Cook declared that he “doesn’t care about the bloody ROI” of individual business activities, what matters is the overall contribution to the customer experience.

Galloway’s commends Apple for its journey towards becoming a luxury brand raises questions. Yet in the past, Apple has succeeded by producing products that are simple, easy, elegant, useful and affordable. Straying into the field of $10,000 watches is taking Apple into the domain of the useless and the unaffordable. The gains from this excursion are likely to be small in relation to the scale of Apple’s gargantuan business, while also being a distraction from what have been the keys to Apple’s remarkable success from delighting a huge number of customers with products that are low-cost to produce. Apple’s continued exponential growth ultimately depends on producing products that will make most people’s lives truly simpler and better. It’s not obvious that luxury objects like a $10,000 iWatch, even once its current obvious flaws, like limited battery life and annoying alerts, are solved, is part of that future of making many people’s lives better..

Facebook has so far done a remarkable job of mastering mobile. Facebook’s knowledge about its users’ behavior is a big advantage. Facebook ad re-targeting works across multiple devices without dependency on third-party cookies that expire or get deleted. These are great strengths. So far, Facebook has been able to live with the contradiction of a business that appears to offer the personal and the social, while behind the scenes it is ruthlessly exploiting users’ personal information for commercial purposes. Facebook says it doesn’t pass this information on to advertisers, thereby eliminating liability for privacy protection. One has to wonder how long this contradiction can be maintained and remain acceptable, as users experience the creepiness of a commercial “Big Brother” listening in on personal conversations and immediately deluging those users with ads about subjects they discussed in conversations they thought were private.

Google has enjoyed remarkable financial success. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that Google has become hard to do business with, as a result of a certain arrogance in dealing with business partners. This may indicate that it is becoming that worrying creature, “the highly-successful process-driven company.” A process-driven company has short-term commercial advantages. With a leading share in its market, minimal thinking is required to continue on that path. Few mistakes are made. It is efficient. Its optimized processes were a good fit for its existing market. But efficiency can trump flexibility. When the market shifts due to new technology or competitors or business models, the finely tuned processes become a prison. Now that Google’s market has shifted, will Google be able to adapt quickly? Or has it become a prisoner of its existing processes? If process adherence is the overriding value system, Galloway may be right and Google may grind steadily into irrelevance. If Google can recover the focus on delighting customers that made it successful in the first place, it may go on to even greater success.

Apple Acquistion Of Metaio: Legitimate Augmented Reality Tech

Once thought of as gimmicky or primarily for gaming applications, Augmented Reality (AR) technology has the ability to quite literally reshape the landscape in many markets, with new capabilities from simple telepresence to industrial and architectural design, to navigation and tracking. Google GOOGL -1.52% has been heavily behind the technology for a while now, with Google Glass and their Project Tango tablet, and Facebook/Oculus recently moved in on AR firm Surreal Vision. Now it appears Apple AAPL -1.11% is apparently turning its gun sights on the market space as well.

Earlier this week, it was announced the Apple had acquired AR technology developer Metaio, a seasoned veteran in the space that has been around for over a decade, if you can believe that. Apple didn’t have much to say about the acquisition but the move itself speaks volumes. Metaio develops AR tools that use 3D tracking capable devices for development and deployment of Augmented Reality apps.

The most natural, immediate application for Metaio technologies would be with Apple’s iPad line. Tablet platforms have the light-weight portability you need for carrying a 3D mapping-capable device but also have enough mechanical area to house the additional circuitry and camera technology required to implement the design, not to mention the additional CPU and graphics horsepower required.

Musique : les maisons de disques se dressent contre Apple et Spotify, Médias (Les Echos)

Musique : les maisons de disques se dressent contre Apple et Spotify, Médias.

Les grands labels américains sont vent debout contre les sites de streaming qu’ils tentent de convertir au modèle des abonnements payants.

Est-ce une réaction au fait que le rappeur Kendrick Lamar a totalisé 9,6 millions d’écoutes en 24 heures sur Spotify ? Ou le fait d’apprendre que les revenus du streaming ont pour la première fois dépassé ceux du CD aux Etats-Unis l’an dernier ? En tout cas, les maisons de disque américaines ont haussé le ton ces dernières semaines à l’encontre des vendeurs de musique en streaming, bien décidées à défendre leur revenus.

La dernière charge est signée Universal Music, et vise Spotify. Une cible de choix puisque le groupe suédois est considéré comme le numéro un mondial de la musique en ligne avec ses 15 millions d’abonnés payants et 60 millions d’utilisateurs .

D’après le Financial Times , le label serait actuellement en pleine négociation avec Spotify en ce qui concerne les droits de son catalogue. Et se serait engagé dans un bras de fer pour contraindre le groupe suédois à davantage différencier son offre gratuite de celle payante en vue d’inciter plus fortement les utilisateurs à s’abonner.

Modèle à double détente

Possédant notamment les droits sur les œuvres des Beatles, Pink Floyd ou encore Katy Perry, la plus grande maison de disques du monde n’en est pas son coup d’essai. En 2010, elle avait déterré la hache de guerre avec le français Deezer pour les mêmes raisons. Avant de trouver un accord à l’amiable en septembre 2011.

Selon Rolling Stone , d’autres grands labels seraient sur la même longueur d’onde. Il faut dire que deux points de vue et surtout des intérêts contradictoires se font face. D’une part, les sites comme Spotify, Deezer et consorts sont sur un modèle à double détente. Ils sont contraints de conserver une offre freemium suffisamment alléchante pour attirer dans leurs filets de nouveaux utilisateurs, condition nécessaire mais non suffisante pour les diriger vers un abonnement payant. D’autant que le secteur ne cesse de voir arriver de nouvelle têtes, à l’instar de Youtube et son service de streaming, Music Key, lancé en novembre 2014.

De leur côté, les maisons de disques font le forcing pour que les groupes de streaming accélèrent le mouvement en restreignant davantage les possibilités offertes par leur offre gratuite. La raison ? Aux Etats-Unis, les revenus publicitaires en provenance du streaming gratuit ont rapporté 295 millions de dollars aux majors en 2014, alors que les abonnements payants leur ont permis de récupérer 800 millions, souligne le Financial Times.

Apple en plein négociation

Apple serait également en train de faire face à cette levée de boucliers des grandes maisons de disques concernant son service de streaming – qui doit fusionner Beats Music, iTunes et iTunes radio – et qui ne devrait pas être présenté… avant le moins de juin prochain.

Le groupe de Cupertino serait en pleine négociation avec les maisons de disques afin de pouvoir utiliser leur catalogue. Et les échanges se sont pas aussi cordiaux que ce qu’on aurait pu le croire, dans la mesure où Apple ne compte pas proposer d’écoute gratuite. Les discussions achopperaient sur le prix de l’offre payante, croit savoir le site Billboard .

Initialement, la firme à la pomme aurait songé à proposer une offre à 5 dollars au mois puis serait monté à 7,99 dollars. Mais les maisons de disques souhaitent que le groupe de Cupertino porte son prix d’abonnement mensuel à 9,99 dollars, sans quoi elles menacent de rejeter son offre, soutient Billboard.

Vers la fin du freemium ?

Depuis plusieurs mois, certains artistes très connus et vendant plusieurs millions d’albums s’insurgent également contre le modèle économique du streaming, à l’instar de la jeune chanteuse américaine Taylor Swift qui a retiré tous ses albums de Spotify.

Celle-ci estimait que le groupe suédois ne rémunérait pas « équitablement les auteurs, les producteurs, les artistes et les créateurs ». Récemment Bjork, qui a qualifié le streaming en général de modèle « insensé », a refusé que son dernier album soit en écoute sur Deezer, Spotify et tous les plates-formes analogues.

Selon Rolling Stone , la direction des grandes maison de disques estiment que le modèle du freemium pourraient avoir disparu d’ici à la fin de l’année. « C’est inévitable (…) Si vous voulez que Spotify vous rémunère plus par écoute, ils doivent eux-même faire payer davantage », a affirmé Gary Stiffelmann – une figure dans le business de la musique aux Etats-Unis et qui a été l’avocat de Michaël Jackson ou encore de Lay Gaga – cité par Rolling Stone. Pas sûr que Spotify, Pandora, Deezer et consorts l’entendent de cette oreille.

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