I have to tell you, that there are times when it just seems like one, big cosmic set up. The game is rigged and not in a bad way mind you. I have been getting closer and closer to some real time sync/nav nodes. The best way for me to explain this is that I am locking into some sort of collective brain, where I am thinking about some aspect or some event that relates to an aspect, then all of a sudden, the floodgates open. Here is the latest case-in-point. I ran across this piece on how Apple plans on crushing it’s competition in the online radio space, going after the likes of Napster, Pandora and MOG. And this is how they’re doing it.
iTunes and the iPhone have reached a critical mass of ubiquitous interface, meaning lots of people use these products and as a result, there is built in real estate for Apple. Once you are in, you their custom, not MOG’s or Napster’s. But as we migrate more and more onto our mobile devices, the app universe is quickly supplanting the online world and things like search. Businesses like MOG need to capture attention immediately. If you see their symbol on your iPhone as an app, you simply want to go there and sign up. Simple. I see. I want. I click. I get. The app is the closest equivalent to instant gratification that we have. No brainer.
Now Apple has determined that they have the right to charge Napster and MOG 30% for every user that clicks on their icon to sign up. Why? Because Apple can. And, because those businesses are competition to Apple and their forthcoming streaming service, Lala. If you want to sign up for either of those services, you can still go to their respective sites on your iPhone and bypass the app and thus screw Apple out of their usurious positioning, but few people will do that and Apple knows it. We’re basically lazy and mostly uninformed.
A few months ago, a friend of mine was creating some very lucrative ring tones, doing copies of popular themes. His Monday Night Football ring tones were pulling in about 2K per month during football season. What did Apple do? Apple buried the ring tone apps on the iPhone in favor of their new, online music community, Ping. See a pattern here? My friend’s revenue fell by 60%
So these revelations had me thinking about Pluto in Capricorn and the rise of Plutocracies and monolithic organizing principles. But I hadn’t really equated it with the online space and e-commerce, After seeing what Apple has done and is continuing to do, it dawned on me that there are only four real players emerging in the online world, with a another as a fading giant and ex-contender. The new silicon oligarchs of e-commerce are; Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. Microsoft hasn’t been innovative ever, and has literally coasted on Windows and Windows development now for decades. Their codec, WMA was too encrypted. Zune, too late to the party. Same with their phone. It’s really between Apple, Google, FB and Amazon. They’re the online giants carving up your mind share and grabbing what’s left of your wallet.
What’s ironic is that when the net started and e-comm took off, it was a veritable bazar, offering up a plethora of choices. Remember Kozmo? Webvan? Well Webvan is now a division of Amazon and delivers foods in Seattle. Its new name? AmazonFresh. What started off like the gold rush and the race westward to colonize cyberspace with quaint storefronts, niche boutiques and hybrid services, quickly faded as resources such as easy investment capital dried up. Businesses like Webvan got bought up by the likes of Amazon. See big fish eat little fish. Law of the jungle river. Nothing new. This process however has metasticized at a breakneck rate, much faster than when the Morgans and Rockefellers began wiping out and buying up their competition. As result, we don’t have models for the type of monopolization taking place on an iPhone. It’s new, synthetic ground and yet it conforms to the Pluto in Cap model; Vertical giants.
Steve Jobs is about to have Chiron in Pisces conjunct his natal Sun. It’ll be interesting to see how this will impact him from a health standpoint (think kidneys, liver) and also from a legal one as well. Uranus in Aries will also have a resounding affect on people wanting to be free and self-determinant in the online world. That means everything from supporting net neutrality, to using tech for revolutionary purposes and taking on the likes of Apple and Google in class action suits. But don’t look for the Fed to jump in and break up their netopolies any time soon. The photo above was taken last night at a swanky silicon valley dinner. The guy in the center is Barack Obama. To his left, Steve Jobs. Across from Obama, Larry Ellison. Eric Schmidt of Google and Mark Zuckerberg are hoisting the grape as well.
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