Apple Podcast+, anyone?

WhatsApp delays privacy changes. And more. RC10

Good morning. Today, the US President Trump will drop his “President” title. And President-elect Biden will drop the “elect.” This is big. We’ll see how this moment affects the tech industry.

For starters

  1. Twitter’s preparing to welcome President Biden to his @POTUS (President Of The US) account tomorrow. The @POTUS account currently Trump uses will become @POTUS45 and @PresElectBiden will become @POTUS. Followed by the transition of @WhiteHouse, @VP, @ FLOTUS and @PressSec

  2. Byjus signed a $1 billion deal to buy Aakash, the test prep leader with 200 centres all over the country. It’s one of the largest edtech acquisitions in the world and also the answer to why’s Byju’s raising so much money.

  3. Amazon’s selling Alexa’s AI tech to companies who want their own voice assistant but can’t build or maintain anything like that. Basically, these companies can add their own commands and features, and change the “Hey Alexa” wake word for anything they like.

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How about Apple Podcast+?

Apple seriously needs to find out who’s leaking insider information to the press. After Apple Car, someone told Bloomberg anonymously about Apple’s plans for a Podcast subscription.

This only seems obvious because:

  • One, the word “Podcasts” was popularised by Apple’s iPods.

  • Two, most of the podcast listeners in the US already use Apple’s Podcast app, which is free.

  • And Apple already bought 2 podcast startups (ScoutFM and Pop up Archive) and was trying to buy Wondery, a podcast studio before Amazon closed the deal.

The name: Apple Podcasts+ — I made it up based on Apple’s previous subscription names. (TV+, Fitness+…)

The Fight: The podcast subscription market is crowded. Spotify and now Amazon are already throwing millions of dollars buying Podcast Startups to make exclusive shows. Can Apple bring anything new to the table? Probably not.

  • But same goes Apple TV+. Netflix and Amazon are fighting here already. And Apple still entered the market with nothing new.

What Apple will do: Same as what everyone else did. Buy or partner with podcasters to make their shows exclusive to Podcast+ or launch original shows.

Bonus points for the bundle: If you buy Apple Podcasts for (say) $5 a month and you already use (say) Spotify for $10, you are more likely to ditch Spotify and buy Apple One for $15 a month to get Apple TV+, Music, Arcade, iCloud and maybe Podcast+

Death to Open Podcasting. If Apple, Amazon and Spotify make almost all podcasts exclusive to their platform — meaning you can’t hear them on any other app — the podcast industry will change forever and for worse.

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WhatsApp delays privacy policy changes for 3 months.

But will it help? I hardly think so.

Here’s why:

  1. All the buzz this policy change made on Twitter was dying away anyway. The news of this delaying will just re-fuel another wave of tweets.

  2. Worse still, WhatsApp will ask you to accept this policy again after 3 months. And this trend will revive again.

  3. WhatsApp still has a pretty strong grasp on its Indian users. You can’t switch to Telegram/Signal completely until all the people you chat with have switched as well. And they won’t switch until all people they chat with don’t switch. So basically people who don’t care as much about their privacy or are too reluctant to change will stop others from uninstalling WhatsApp. (It’s called Network Effects)

So, how to break network effects? Make chat apps like emails. No matter which service you use — Gmail, Apple Mails, Outlook — you can email anyone. Why isn’t there something like this for chat apps already? 


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