Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ooops! now it's (Plastic Logic + Barnes and Noble + AT&T) vs Amazon + Sprint (in the States) and the very good news for Oce and Infoprint.

The shape of the future is starting to emerge from the haze. The value is the network."Free" is the cheapest way to acquire new customers, keep old customers and increase the size of the network. The bigger the network the more people will pay for new stuff and experiences. And the less money has to be spent on paid media.
From tweetname Cart
Plastic Logic eReader to be AT&T exclusive: (via @jafurtado)
Then I clicked and found this:
Plastic Logic, the company behind the new exclusive Barnes and Noble ereader announced earlier in the week, has said that it will follow Apple in the US by signing an exclusive agreement with AT&T.

The news means the yet released ebook will sport a GSM chip meaning a possible UK launch could be on the cards.

The Plastic Logic Reader, which is also Wi-Fi enabled and due to launch in 2010, will be the company's answer to the Amazon Kindle.

The device is about the size of an 8.5 x 11-inch pad of paper, less than a 1/4-inch thick and weighs less than many print magazines says the company. Unlike the Kindle it will feature a touchscreen display.

Users will be able to connect to content and download it wirelessly through AT&T's 3G network in the US and abroad, something that the Kindle can't currently offer, however the company hasn't yet said how much roaming fees will be.
The problem with being an 800 lb gorilla in a user network economy.
It's the same problem that Ricoh, Xerox and HP have to face in MPS. A new combination can emerge overnight to threaten market share and margins. Given the new technology their are business models that can leverage "free." In my opinion is that sooner or later there will be free-to-the-user textbooks in high school ed, followed by free-to-the-user learning materials all the way to Graduate School.

The recent announcements by Yale+Apple show one direction for content. Both Yale and Apple have the organizational dna to understand the value is the network and the going forward experiences facilitated by that network. At Apple it's called a brand and the design skill that delivers the iEverything experience. At Yale it's called a leading edge opportunity for learning and the gong forward experiences of engaging with some of the best minds that money and location can attract.

Where Print fits
Print is not about content. Print is about making real stuff. People will pay less and less for content. They will also pay less for real stuff. But there is no going forward expectation that it should be free. Read for free, pay for Print stuff will continue to work for a long time.

Print (including packaging and signage) and TV were the real mass push media. Now that internet TV is emerging, it is moving from a push to a pull media. While printing can now be produced through pull (Web2Print) the end use of Print is push. A business card, a letterhead, a poster or a sign are pushed into someone's environment where they sit quietly until the nano second of interest brings the information top of mind.

If Print is connected to the content in pull media and can be delivered at massive scale in close to real time, it has the game to itself, once again.

Here's an example of what I'm trying say.
The Google money machine is built on the value of the biggest network on the planet. Now they are moving to be the entry point to the mobile web with Chrome OS. But since the web is a pull media they have to generate pulling through the web.

Consider the value to Google or Amazon or any of the leading edge internet enterprises of 50,000,000 postcards delivered overnight with a minimum carbon footprint, every two weeks at a reasonable price. This can only be done with a trsutworthy massive scale deliver and print functionality. The scale is too big for any one company.

The same thought model should work for newspapers, textbooks, marketing and publishing in general.

What might be Amazon's response to E Logic and Barnes and Noble?
My bet is going to be that they will delivered contextually accurate advertisements first in e books, then in printed books. Nobody but Google has the scale and the technology to compete. As far as I can tell AdSense and the Amazon recommendation engine have a huge lead over everyone else.

That could eventually mean free-to-the-reader printed books. The good news for printers is that free-to-the-user means massive demand and low but not no prices.

Oce and Infoprint
Oce is the leader in printed books. Infoprint has the lead in implemented technology for continous feed digital for the enterprise. If either one of them succeeds in making the connection from PSP networks to MPS in the enterprise, they get the first mover advantage and everyone else is going to be playing catch up.

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