Quarterly Wrap-up

Mobile first-quarter 2014: analysis and outlook

Some major acquisitions jolted the mobile industry in the first quarter of 2014, underscoring some important trends. Meanwhile, turbulence plagues the mobile-gaming industry and Dish is ramping up speculation about its plans to enter the mobile market.

For the FTC, privacy is an ecosystem issue

Daniel Kaufman, the deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, took to the stage at Structure:Data 2014 to explain the challenges faced by the agency in this age of big data.

Quarterly Wrap-up

Connected consumer 2013: how 2012 laid the groundwork for change

Many of the biggest stories in the connected consumer space occurred mostly offstage in 2012. Apple conducted behind-the-scenes discussions about rolling out new media services in 2013 and beyond. Google spent much of 2012 in difficult negotiations, primarily with policymakers and antitrust authorities in the U.S. and Europe. Microsoft released Windows 8 and its first home-brewed tablet, the Surface RT. Overall, 2012 saw important groundwork laid for potentially significant advances in the connected consumer space. The year 2013 should be eventful.

FTC: Kids app makers aren’t taking privacy seriously

The FTC is lighting a fire under the mobile app industry to improve its privacy and disclosure policies for children’s apps. The FTC said that most apps still don’t do basic disclosure about the use of data for advertising and other third-party services.

Quarterly Wrap-up

Connected Consumer Q1: Controversy, courtrooms and the cloud

The first quarter of 2012 featured several high-profile legal and regulatory battles over privacy, antitrust and copyright that could eventually reshape digital markets, including the pay-TV business and online advertising. It was also marked by shifts in the online video landscape, including a seductive new display from Apple and Hollywood’s first efforts in the cloud.

FTC Launches New Tech Blog

As America’s top privacy cop, the Federal Trade Commission is in the thick of balancing tech and privacy issues. In the last year, it has be…


Dissecting the data: 5 issues for our digital future

When it comes to the promise of data as the currency of the web, the current state of affairs has privacy advocates and many consumers up in arms. But it doesn’t have to be the one-sided affair it is today, in which companies have all the data and all the rights, and we shouldn’t have to be afraid of who’s doing what with our information. With laws, products, practices and education, data can become a far more valuable currency than cash ever was. Keeping that in mind, this research note examines five issues that must be addressed by policy makers and entrepreneurs so that they can deliver on our data-driven digital future. Companies mentioned in this report include Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. For a full list of companies, and to read the full report, sign up for a free trial.

The Morning Lowdown 08-24-11

»  Brightcove has filed a $50 million IPO (SEC)

»  Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) to Subsidize Subscribers’ TV Device (NYT)


Why Google’s screwup on Google+ brand pages is a big deal

There’s been a lot of sound and fury about Google and its handling of Google+ branded pages, but there is a serious issue underneath the griping, namely that Google can make or break a company’s presence online by virtue of its control over the web-search market.

Why consumer cloud needs a PR makeover

If I were a cloud-service provider, I’d consider investing in television advertising. If I didn’t know better, TV, and the media, in general, the cloud is a fairly useless and highly insecure place to store my data. Perhaps worse, I might think it’s a joke.

Is the FTC going after Twitter for bulldozing its ecosystem?

According to a news report on Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission is looking into Twitter’s business practices. Although that doesn’t mean Twitter is under official investigation, it means the company’s behavior must have raised enough critical flags to catch the regulator’s attention, which is rarely good.

Will a Crackdown on Privacy Kill Big Data Innovation?

As a recent McKinsey Global Institute report on big data points out, finding the appropriate balance between consumer privacy and business innovation will play a key role in ensuring that big data and the overall web advance at the pace required by both business and consumers.

Pandora Subpoena Highlights Potential Privacy Crackdown

In what could be a larger push by the federal government to stem the sharing of personal online information, a federal grand jury has served internet radio provider Pandora with a subpoena looking into the practices of information sharing on mobile apps.

FTC Fines Company For Bogus Online Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission published guidelines back in 2009 making clear that many of the rules that apply to advertising and testimonial…

Apple Adds Additional Password Protection for In-App Purchases

UPDATED: In an apparent attempt to quell concerns from parents, regulators and legislators, Apple has moved to require password entry on every iOS in-app purchase, closing a 15-minute grace period that some children used to inadvertently rack up pricey charges of virtual goods.


Platform Makers Placing Big Bets on In-App Payments

Events last week underscored how big a revenue source in-app purchasing is for mobile platform providers. In three separate moves, Apple, Google and Research in Motion, who typically take 30 percent of each transaction, signaled how serious they are about the space, and provided a good reminder of how much power they’re willing to wield in controlling their ecosystems.

Mozilla, Google Take Small Steps Toward Browser Privacy

With the federal government pushing for better Do Not Track tools for online users, browser makers are stepping up with solutions aimed at helping users avoid behavioral targeting. But it’s more of a symbolic act at this point that won’t mean a huge change in privacy.

Don’t Fall for Cord Cutting Scams

Here’s another sign that cord cutting is going mainstream: Scammer have found a new source of revenue in people’s quest to rid themselves of their cable bill, and they’ve set up dozens of web sites selling software with links to otherwise freely available video content.

The Morning Lowdown 01.03.11

»  Publishers are very hopeful about the launch of a Google (NSDQ: GOOG) “digital newsstand.” In recent weeks, Google has told pub…

Esther Dyson: Privacy Is a Marketing Problem

In light of recent outcry about social networking privacy lapses and potential misuse of users’ personal information, long-time web thought leader Esther Dyson had this to say at the marketing conference Pivot in New York City today: online privacy a marketing problem.

Google Tells FTC Enforcing "Hot News" Would Create a Hot Mess

The media industry may be in upheaval as a result of the web, but having the government step in isn’t the right response, Google has told the Federal Trade Commission. The search company’s comments are a response to the FTC’s proposed policy changes to support journalism

The Feds Getting Curious About Apple

Apple may be the media and public’s favorite son, but to the FBI and FTC, Apple is looking more like a red-headed stepchild. The FBI and FTC are collectively looking into at least three anti-trust suits against it.

Privacy Group Demands FTC Investigation Into Google Buzz

Despite apologies from Google, and changes to the innerworkings of its Buzz social networking service, a high-profile privacy group has taken its complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has urged the FTC to open an investigation into Buzz.

FTC Makes Graphic Claim Against Intel

The Federal Trade Commission today sued Intel, claiming it abused its market power and cut competitors out of the marketplace — not merely with regard to rival AMD, but also as the graphics market heats up. Nvidia must be thrilled.

Yahoo Launches Ad-Control Tool as Fed Regulators Loom

Yahoo’s new Ad Interest Manager tool gives users increased control and visibility in the murky world of targeted online ads. And with federal regulators taking a hard look at targeted online ads, the timing couldn’t be better.

Quarterly Wrap-up

Growing Mobile Data Use Turned Up Heat on Carriers in Q3

While some elements of the mobile market continue to contract in light of the economic downturn, other signs point to a resurgence. Total mobile handset sales continue to decline (although at a slower rate than in 2008), however, smartphones sales have shown strong growth. Mobile broadband subscribers also are increasing at a rapid rate, expected to grow from 225 million in March 2009 to 250 million by year-end, according to some estimates.

Another sign of looming recovery is the renewed interest the investment community is showing in the wireless market. Investment in wireless has been down in recent years as funding has dried up, but there has also been an uncertainty in the investment community in terms of the profitability potential of some of the emerging elements of the wireless market, particularly in applications. While app downloads are skyrocketing, investors have been unsure of consumers’ short and long-term willingness to pay for apps. Nevertheless, investors are anticipating increased wireless investment in 2010, and even in the remainder of 2009, particularly in the areas of mobile advertising and location based services. This trend is already evident, looking at the funding to have emerged out of the third quarter, as two of the most notable startup funding awards went to mobile advertising firms.

As the market is poised for recovery, carriers are investing in their networks to support continued growth in mobile broadband usage. The debate between LTE and WiMAX continues, and although WiMAX actually has more people covered (Clearwire deployed their fourth city, Las Vegas, in the third quarter), it is thought that in the U.S. (and other developed countries) LTE will predominate. To this end, Verizon announced a stepped up LTE deployment plan in the third quarter. However, in emerging countries, particularly Brazil, India, and Russia, WiMAX is anticipated to fair very well as an alternative to landline telephony services. While this is not a new observation for third-quarter, the continued build out of carriers next-gen networks reinforces this expectation.

The carriers aren’t the only ones positioning themselves to dominate the mobile market. OS and handset players are also playing hardball. Google had a strong quarter with several handset wins for Android, including Motorola signing on and HTC committing more than 50 percent of its 2010 shipments to Android-based phones. iPhone continues to be a dominant player in the market, towering over Android-based phones, yet Apple appears to be defensive against Google’s growing competitive threat. Apple responded in the third quarter by banishing Google Voice from the iPhone, a move that was met with federal scrutiny.

A variety of federal regulation agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and Congress, are looking closely at what is happening in the wireless market. These agencies are monitoring carriers and handset manufacturers for monopoly concerns as well as the legality of exclusive handset deals, which given their significant impact on a carrier’s success (e.g., the iPhone’s impact on AT&T) are thought to limit competition in the market. The mobile market is evolving rapidly and it is likely that the legal issues surrounding the market will continue to heat up in the months ahead.

FTC Issues Guidelines For Behavioural Targeting

The Federal Trade Commission is putting the advertising industry on notice: either implement stronger privacy protections when it comes to b…