Just finished reading an arictlce on Venturebeat about YouTube’s plans to start selling pay-per-view videos. The obvious benefit is that finally Google can start catching up to Apple’s iTunes and its revenue-generating media sales business.
As I have said before here and here I personally think it that the recent moves are part of a larger strategy: Getting the end customer billing relationship. Once you have this relationship set up you can sell anything (be it movies, games, flights, voice minutes or just the plain old Google Adwords) to the customer – with just 1 click away. Now, that’s what counts.
Telcos are probably eyeing Google’s recent moves closely. Once Google has a billing relationship in place their bargaining power will be greatly diminished. Suddenly their only asset is the network; not the network and the end customer relationship. But you can buy into any network as many successfull MVNOs have shown in the past. Let me make room for some wild speculation: Could we see the return of the Google phone? I’d say yes but in a different way. Google could partner up with mobile handset companies such as HTC, Motorola or Samsung, offering a cell phone at a huge discount to the end customer. Why? Preinstalled Android, Google seach and a media (movies, music, games) platform linked to Google’s own store. And maybe even including Google Voice and buying minutes for your phone? They’ll get their money back in no time. And while they pocket the customer’s money they’ll even learn about the customer’s habits and preferences. Smart move.
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