Gillmor Gang 2.19.11 (TCTV)

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For Mobile Apps, It's 1996 All Over Again

The Gillmor Gang conflated two major stories this week into one: Apple’s terms of service for app store approval, and Twitter’s actions regarding UberMedia. The noise regarding Apple being hauled in front of the DOJ illustrates just how powerful Apple’s strategy continues to be. As many point out, Android’s market share makes it virtually impossible to tar iOS with monopoly status. It’s almost as though Erick and Steve planned it that way, right down to Google following up with its 90% scenario as if to validate Apple’s 70% model.

Stephen Elop also made that point with his decision to let Microsoft acquire Nokia, reminiscent of Yahoo’s failure to notice the ballgame was over when Ballmer pulled the trigger on them a few years ago. Then it was a seat at the search table; today it’s a seat at the mobile one. If Danny Sullivan was right that Google could have matched Microsoft’s offer, then the real question was why they didn’t. Perhaps because giving away 70% of the smartphone market licenses would underline how Google’s search monopoly revenue was being used to buy the way into mobile, a much more DOJ-ish infraction.

That’s why the crocodile tears shed by publishers and the open except for Flash crowd fail to resonate. Google can afford to give away its store service for 10% because they don’t make money on free OS’s and apps. Microsoft needs to spend billions on Nokia to buy what Android has done. Let’s guess at what that ransom works out to in appstore dollars — maybe 20%. And Apple has invested enormously in squeezing the record cartel, the carriers, and now who? The publishers? I think not. If developers need to make a choice of investment, are they going to bolt iOS in favor of an ad model that may be under attack from Facebook?

As Twitter fleshes out its platform in a very Apple-like way, developers are beginning to notice the stability that effective control of the realtime message stream offers. Facebook ROI is already double that of Twitter messages, harnessing the social edge that leads to authority and decision making velocity. This forces Google to expand its social search integration, which benefits Twitter given Facebook’s lack of two-way flow in the global conversation. At least President Obama understands why Twitter deserves to be at the dinner table.

@dannysullivan @scobleizer @kevinmarks @jtaschek @stevegillmor

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