The Apple card stink: east and west coasts collide
Apple’s new credit card has come under fire when couples who file joint tax returns received different credit limits. The credit card is branded Apple but the financial management of the new card is handled by Goldman Sachs. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: This incident is a good example of why Apple doesn’t have as many partnerships as a company of its size might. Apple’s golden aura and cult-like following was built on doing things different, to remember the 1997 ad campaign. The problem is, Goldman Sachs is not a think different bank (are there any?) — it relies on the same thing most all financial institutions rely on — the big three credit agencies. Those agencies have dozens of frustrating and seemingly punitive policies, and have frequently made dumb credit decisions. The card is a strange match up of West Coast cool and East Coast traditional, and not one that Apple is likely to do again, but in this case, Apple was anxious to quickly bring a number of service products to market in 2019 to combat slowing iPhone sales. The partnership was successful in a quick launch, but has tarnished the Apple reputation a bit.
Google division amassing personal health data
Google has formed a partnership with the nation’s second largest health system, Ascension. The project, named Nightingale, enables Google to operate as an associate of Ascension, thereby gaining access to millions of personal health records well within the protections of HIPAA laws. HIPAA specifies that your data can be used to further medical research, and that is what Google is doing, but of course there is fear that Google will want to do far more. The company assures that personal health records will not be combined with other data the company collects for the purposes of advertising. Wired
dis-rup-shun: AI has the potential to dramatically assist in health diagnoses, quickly analyzing symptoms to determine the cause of an illness with a very high probability. In theory, this could be done without a doctor, or a doctor could be involved only after a computer determines your ailment and directs you to the right care provider. To do this effectively, however, a computer(s) must have access to tens of thousands of health records at a minimum. With more data, the accuracy increases. Google, through its Ascension partnership, is racing to build that database so that it can become a primary provider of disease data to the healthcare industry. That will make Google’s health division a very valuable information utility, and Google thanks you, I’m sure, for contributing your data.
Amazon grocery store: not self serve
Amazon has leased over a dozen locations in Los Angeles to open a chain of grocery stores. The stores will not be autonomous as some of its Seattle stores, and will not be Whole Foods brand. The format of the new stores is unknown. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: It seems odd that Amazon would launch yet a third food store brand and format, but then again, this is Amazon. Amazon knows that almost every person in almost every country shops at a food store, and if it owns a significant number of food stores, it can directly reach most citizens. At its current pace, Amazon will be a major player and market mover in most all of its lines of business. On Sunday as I received a package from FedEx, I asked the driver how long his company had been delivering on Sunday. He said several weeks and that it was a result of the Amazon effect. What more should your business be doing to give customers something they want but antiquated industry rules say that can’t have? That’s what Amazon is studying right now.
Realme enjoys smartphone sales growth of 808%
As smartphone sales slow in Western markets, sales of the product are exploding in markets including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam and Egypt. The upstarts, Chinese companies, are pushing out Samsung’s lead in many markets. Xiaomi has been the leader, pushing Samsung to second place, but a one and a half year old upstart called Realme is now giving Xiaomi and Samsung a run as its overall growth in the past year has been 808%, with 401% annual growth in India. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: These phones sell for $80 to $240 in their markets. Evidently the phones have enough smart features to connect large, Internet hungry populations. What would stop them from selling decent phones into Western markets? Not much. Apple and Samsung have lower priced models of their flagship phones that are less frequently seen in the U.S. and Europe, but it won’t be long before the Chinese phones are widely available everywhere, and that is why we see Apple, Samsung and Google doubling down on ear buds, smart watches and services. The golden era of the smartphone is entering its later stages and the dreaded C-word (commodity) is on the horizon as new vendors with staggering volumes are not afraid to slash market prices for the category.