Amazon and Google under federal scrutiny for unfair competitive practices
The Washington Post (owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos) reports that the FTC and DOJ have divvied up duties of looking into the practices of Amazon — a job for the FTC, and of Google, to be handled by the DOJ.
dis-rup-shun: Google’s dominant search engine and Amazon’s marketplace, together with Prime subscription data, enormous logistics resources and leading cloud platform, AWS, put the companies in the difficult position of direct competition with most of their customers. Owning the very rails of the online market, the Post puts it, is akin to the railroads of the late 1800s. The “coopetition” position of the companies — as they both compete and serve their customers, will undoubtedly be the companies’ defense should the feds take the companies to court.
iTunes is dead
This is the week of Apple’s annual developer event, WWDC. It has been rumored that Apple will shutter iTunes, more tightly integrating movie and music content services into new operating system features, rendering iTunes as a standalone marketplace irrelevant. Engadget
dis-rup-shun: Most people likely fell out of love with iTunes years ago as soon as it swallowed their music collection after their first iPhone upgrade. Launched in 2001, the service was the most important thing that happened to the music industry after music became digital, but iTunes complexity was its demise. By making it difficult to manage and share the content that people rightfully owned, it hastened the shift to streaming music services, which Apple finally joined by acquiring Beats in 2014. By that time, consumers had already tried and settled on several streaming services and the majority chose Spotify. Apple, the company that re-invented music, lost it only a dozen years later.
Space race setback: Stratolaunch shutting down
The race to own space is full-on with several governments (China, Russia, Japan, USA) and several private and public companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed, Boeing and others) aggressively pursuing economic and strategic initiatives. Stratolaunch, space company of late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is reported to be shutting down. The company has built and flown the world’s largest aircraft, capable of launching heavy rockets from high altitudes, which reduces the cost and complexity of blast offs from a launch pad. Engadget
dis-rup-shun: The U.S. government has outsourced space innovation to corporations. The free market will create efficient competitors who will profit from space exploration, but whose goals may not align with political and military objectives. Having a contract with NASA, however, helps stabilize the early days of the new space race.
Odd technology: Muro programmable music box
Muro is a wood and metal retro music box encased by a plastic dome. Unlike its pre-computer predecessors, this version can be programmed with an app to play essentially any tune. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: The appeal of an antique-looking and sounding music box playing Guns N’ Roses is lost on most, but perhaps this tech novelty will be the rage this holiday season.