Consumers love Microsoft, Amazon distrust Facebook, Twitter

Verge consumer survey shows what tech companies are loved and disdained

The Verge completed a follow up survey to its 2016 survey on public perceptions of tech firms. Facebook lacked trust in 2016 and has fallen precipitously, while Amazon, adored in 2016, remains a public favorite. Microsoft is the must trusted tech company (75% trust it), followed by Amazon (73% trust it).

  • 56 percent said the government should break up tech companies if they control too much of the economy
  • 72 percent said that Facebook has too much power
  • 51 percent said Google and YouTube should be split into separate companies

dis-rup-shun: What is surprising about the survey is that Apple is in the bottom half of companies discussed. Has Apple’s premium product positioning and pricing made it an elitist brand that does not appeal to the masses as do Google, Netflix, and Amazon? Perhaps Apple has become the Nordstrom’s in a Target world, where technology is now a lifestyle necessity of all but the most impoverished, and highly accessible brands are seen as providing great utility to society. Facebook, however, remains a powerful but disliked brand — a precarious position for long-term success.

Walmart readies answer to Amazon Prime

Walmart will soon launch Walmart + which is a fee-based loyalty program aimed to combat Amazon Prime. Amazon now controls 40% of online retail, controls 5%. Walmart is exploring perks for which it has a unique advantage, such as 1,600 grocery stores in the U.S. that could provide free delivery. Aside from free grocery delivery, the retail giant may be hard pressed to find other advantages its chain can offer over Amazon. Vox

dis-rup-shun: Amazon has changed the rules of shopping, with Sunday deliveries so successful that FedEx trucks are rolling down neighborhood streets on Sunday. To beat Amazon at its game, Walmart must not only offer equivalent one to two-day delivery, but must provide a product that so delights customers, as Amazon Prime Video does, that consumers will, as with Amazon, feel as if they are receiving something for free. Grocery delivery is great, but more of a necessity than a pleasure. Free ice cream delivery, or make it dessert delivery, could be a game changer.

AT&T TV: meet the new face of cable TV

AT&T has exactly eight video service offerings, and the newest is simply AT&T TV. The new service looks like a skinny cable bundle (just the major channels), is delivered over the Internet, and costs only $50 per month. The catch, however, is that a two year contract is required, and year 2 costs $93 per month before a plethora of add-ons. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The masses are cutting the cord and there are many, many streaming TV package alternatives. Hulu and YouTube TV are the early leaders with bundles that look like cable, but cost a lot less, and provide whole-home (multiple device) solutions. AT&T TV is a clever offering, in that it will appeal to those that believe they should join the cord cutting revolution, yet just aren’t sure if non-traditional providers will give them what they want. Enter AT&T with a promise to deliver the new TV dream while also providing a familiar pricing package full of expensive add-ons and increasing prices over a contract period. Once again, the company will churn the same user base that it recently churned from U-Verse to DirecTV.

Another one (SpaceX rocket) bites the dust

Elon Musk’s SpaceX lost another Starship that apparently buckled under pressure as nitrogen filled its tanks. This follows a series of failures of different types and parts of rockets as the company remains hellbent on getting reusable space travel ready for prime time ahead of competitors. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Every rocket failure can be seen as a setback, but should be seen as great progress towards achieving safety in space. Every failure, let’s hope, is one less that will occur with precious cargo such as humans, aboard. The stakes for winning space are very high and commercial space travel is one area of technology that American entrepreneurs are leading the globe.

The streaming wars are over (already)

Streaming wars already over, says Diller

The big studios, AT&T’s Warner, Disney and NBCUniversal are launching Netflix-killer streaming services in the next few months. Netflix enjoys an advantage of 150 million subscribers and 22 years. The upstarts are trying to bring down the streaming giant by pulling their content, programs such as the Office and the Disney catalog, from Netflix. Media magnate Barry Diller says there is no way to catch Netflix.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Diller is a smart man, but if Netflix cannot keep producing original content hits and if the studios get on a hot streak of new content, which can be monetized by both streaming subscriptions and network TV (which Netflix cannot access), Netflix could lose its luster. In the Internet economy, the speed of change is faster than most expect, and Netflix has yet to make a profit, claiming that its deficit spending on original content will eventually pay off. It now has big competitors with multiple revenue sources and is locked into a spending battle with media conglomerates.

Why billionaires are launching rockets as fast as possible

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit is yet another billionaire’s rocket launch company, using a 747 to ferry rockets into high altitudes. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Branson joins Bezos, Musk, (late) Paul Allen in the battle for space travel. While certainly egos are involved, access to the stars is similar to building the ports for the first steamships to ply oceans and rivers. Two behemoth markets for space craft are telecommunications and defense. Companies that can secure spots in space for communications satellites can cost effectively provide broadband to any corner of the Earth without stringing wires. Companies that can launch defense equipment will have some large paying customers in world governments. Space entrepreneurship puts the U.S. in the lead over China and Russia as those nations’ space deployments are mostly government programs.

Mashup: YouTube on Amazon and Prime Video on Google Chrome

Further blurring the lines between all sources of TV, both streaming and broadcast, Google and Amazon have buried the hatchet and will make their TV sources available on one-another’s hardware platforms. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Another data point confirming that new TV services will soon look like old TV services, one will soon be able to access most streaming services from a single provider as various services essentially become channels within an uber provider, such as AT&T or Comcast or Apple or Amazon. These super-streaming providers will also offer access to cable and broadcast channels and watching TV will be simpler again, and will become more expensive as a few storefronts consolidate the goods.

Europe sends a $350M warning to Facebook, Google and big tech

Europe took the lead on data privacy in 2018 with the implementation of privacy standards known as GDPR. The EU just fined British Airways $230 million and Marriott $123 million for fumbling the security of customer records. Facebook and Google are under investigation by the EU now. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The EU is showing that, as designed, the government has the teeth to make big corporations respect the laws in place to protect citizens. Hey U.S. Congress, are you watching?