The growing furore over Apple’s digital subscription rules, where it will take a whopping 30 per cent cut of revenues for newspapers and other media downloaded onto its devices, is another round of negative publicity that paints Apple as the big bad guy milking an untouchable monopoly.
Even major players such as Rhapsody have warned that the move could make their ventures instantly unprofitable. The company is being investigated by American regulators to establish if this policy breaks U.S. antitrust laws and, for some, the Silicon Valley company has taken on the image of playground bully.
"Could have been a fatal blow to Microsoft's chances in the mobile market"
- The Wall Street Journal
And looking at the week's other big news in mobile, Nokia's decision to get into bed with Microsoft as opposed to Google has been greeted with enormous relief by some. Had Nokia chosen to adopt Google's Android operating system instead, it "could have been a fatal blow to Microsoft's chances in the mobile market" according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple and Google then, would have been in a seemingly unassailable position.
When giants like Microsoft begin fretting over the grasp their rivals have on the market, it is understandable that smaller companies, the media and even consumers may share some of these misgivings. Motorola capitalised on this sentiment recently with its wonderfully satirical take on Apple’s hold over the mobile market. We loved Motorola’s advert for its new Xoom tablet, launched to over 100 million people watching the Super Bowl. It took a swinging right hook at Apple, painting it as the Big Brother of Orwellian nightmare, just as Apple itself had struck out at IBM with its 1984 themed advert when it launched the Macintosh in that year. Motorola’s effort taps into a vein of nervousness regarding the power of some of Silicon Valley’s big names.
There is nothing new about the “challenger” brand, but perhaps we are living in a climate right now where companies can be bolder in questioning the received wisdom of going with the established player. It seems that there is a receptive audience for accentuating the advantages of a different approach, highlighting that people have a choice and undermining the safe feeling that people might get from following the herd. Worth bearing in mind when thinking about the tone and aesthetics of your website and social media presence – it could pay to do things that little bit differently.