Months of speculation on Yahoo's future are over and a proposed deal has been finalized for Verizon to acquire the struggling company for $4.8 billion. Verizon plans to integrate Yahoo with its AOL service. Investors like to talk about the goals of buying low and selling high. Yahoo is a classic example of a company that missed an opportunity to sell high. In 2008, Microsoft offered to buy them for $45 billion. Ouch!
When you disrupt a market, good things happen. Dollar Shave Club took on Gillette with its direct to consumer business model and cheeky marketing. Now, Unilever is buying DSC for $1B. Not a bad return! I'm sure the company's investors are believing the marketing slogan pictured above.
MasterCard just rolled out its first identity redesign in 20 years. The company hired noted design firm, Pentagram, to complete the project. What results is a simplified mark based on the intersecting circles. This one should play better in our digital age of apps and mobile payments. What do you think?
Here is a very interesting interview that Wharton conducted with Russell Weiner, the U.S. president of Domino's. There are so many good insights on what it takes for a brand to survive these days. I'll summarize a few.
Digital ordering now represents over 50% of Domino's business. Any company, in any business, who thinks it can ignore digital is doing so at its peril. I love this quote, "People just are completely overwhelmed by media. I think the idea is you have to do something that breaks through the clutter, not in a kind of crude, obnoxious way but in a heartfelt way." That's a way of explaining that you can now order your pizza using an emoji. Brilliant!
I also admire the honesty behind reworking the domino's product back in 2009. The company admitted their product wasn't very good and committed to making it better. It's rare to see that level of transparency in business (or politics for that matter).
Another broad trend is mass customization, whether it's a Starbucks beverage or a Nike ID sneaker. According to Weiner, this applies to Domino's too. "Believe it or not, there are 34 million ways to make a Domino’s Pizza when you take all the ingredients and look at the different combinations."
Here's one more quote for everyone to think about, regardless of what business you are in: "In today’s digital age, we all need to move at the pace of digital. I tell people, obviously we’re a pizza company. But we are a digital company, an e-commerce company at the same time."
Wow! Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn, the leading social network for business. They are paying a massive premium over the current valuation so what's the long-range plan? Some are speculating that LinkedIn will be tightly integrated with Office. Another option is to extend it into the CRM space and compete with companies like Salesforce.com. This will be very interesting to watch. My first thought is that it really positions Microsoft more as a B2B company, and one focused on Internet-based services.
It also makes me wonder if Apple is pursuing the right strategy by continuing to focus on devices. This wouldn't be the first time that Microsoft has sprinted ahead of Apple based on taking a different strategy. Remember, that's how Microsoft ended up with 90% market share in PC operating systems.
More bad news for Apple. Educators are choosing Chromebooks over iPads by a wide margin. In the first quarter of 2016, Apple OS products only accounted for 17% of purchases in the K-12 market segment. Here's a telling quote from the article:" In one district in Maine that gave iPads to students, 88.5% percent of teachers said they preferred laptops." The problem is, of course, that Apple doesn't offer a laptop for anywhere near the Chrome prices.
I was surprised last semester by how many of my students are using Amazon's Echo and Alexa services. These allow you to order products or play media using voice commands. Apparently no one wants to bother logging in on their computers or phones anymore. Too much effort!
Anyway, Recode has an excellent summary and interview with Bezos. Amazon has more than 1,000 people working on advancing the AI technology in its products. Give it a read to understand more about the future of retail commerce and home automation too. Is Amazon leading the way into the Internet of Things?
Android and Apple mobile operating systems now account for 98% of the global market according to a new report from Gartner. It's time to observe a moment of silence for BlackBerry and Windows whose combine market share is just under 1%. Ouch! In the case of the once-mighty BlackBerry, it surely points to the end of their OS, especially with recent phones like Priv running Android.
Two other interesting stats popped out at me. Overall sales growth in Q1 2016 was 3.9% compared to the prior year. So, this market is definitely maturing. Smartphones now account for 78% of the total phones sold.