Boot up: app store wars, when SEO fails, Windows’s big problem, and more

A burst of 7 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

Top Global Apps – December 2013 | Blog | Distimo

In line with our ongoing market analysis, the graph above displays the past six months, showing the development of the relative market shares between the Apple App Store and Google Play [for the 34 countries in which revenues were generated in both].

While the relative market shares hardly changed in December, the Christmas spike we reported on, was clearly visible in the revenue growth of both stores. The month of December, including the holiday business, led to a revenue growth of 18% for the combined revenue from the Apple App Store and Google Play compared to November. Relative to July 2013, the combined revenue grew by 38%. Looking at the app store level, both graphs show a clearly steeper slope. This increase translates into a growth in revenue of 17% for Google Play and an even stronger 18% for the Apple App Store from November to December 2013.

The proportion remains pretty steady at roughly 2:1 in favour of Apple, despite Android’s growth.

When SEO fails: single channel dependency and the end of Tutorspree Aaron’s Blog

Aaron Harris looks back at the failure of his startup Tutorspree, which had looked so promising:

By December of 2012, we had virtually infinite runway and were at the edge of profitability. We still wanted to swing for the fences, and, given the radically shifted economics presented by our new model, we made the decision to retest all the marketing channels we had tried with our initial model and then some. We knew that only having a single scaling channel – SEO – would not let us become huge, so we began pushing for another scalable channel.

Given the strength of where we were and the challenges we saw, we raised another round with the explicit purpose of finding the right marketing channels. While we considered raising an A, we played conservatively, deciding that we wanted to find the repeatable channels, then raise an A to push them hard rather than raise too much money too early.

We finished that fundraise in January, began a much needed redesign of the site to fit with our significantly more high touch model, hired a full time growth lead and began to push rapidly into content marketing, partnerships. Then, in March of 2013, Google cut the ground out from under us and reduced our traffic by 80% overnight. Though we could not be 100% certain, the timing strongly indicated that we had been caught in the latest Panda algorithm update.

Pay-per-click customers didn’t convert as well as “organic search” customers. And Harris also comments in a footnote “it appears that Google is increasingly favouring itself in local transactional search”. Live by Google, die by Google.

Where is the wearable tech we want to wear? Elle

Ruthie Friedlander:

My friend Allegra swears by her Nike Fuelband. She wears it every day and anytime it’s featured in a fashion magazine, she snaps an iPhone pic and sends it to me as proof that it’s an acceptable thing for her to wear. Like me, Allegra works in fashion. She dresses impeccably and has exquisite taste. But that damn bracelet kills me.

I wouldn’t be caught dead with that ugly rubber thing.

And there in one sentence you have the challenge for makers of wearables.

This is not the year of wearables but the year the hype dies, says Evernote CEO Quartz

People used desktop computers for hours at a time, but often just once a day. Laptops can used in a variety of locations, so they are used more frequent and for shorter periods. Smartphones are almost always on hand, so people tend to use them multiple times a day but for even smaller bits of time. “But on wearables it’s going to go from 2 minutes to 2 seconds, but from 20 times a day to 200 times a day. So the [software] design challenge is how do you make experiences that are really short, where the sessions are glance-able?” [Evernote CEO Phili Libin] says.

The open office trap The New Yorker

Maria Konnikova:

In 2011, the organisational psychologist Matthew Davis reviewed more than a hundred studies about office environments. He found that, though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organisational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation.

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the–squirrel!

Microsoft Windows’s big problem Windows IT Pro

Paul Thurrott (who is nobody’s idea of a Windows-hater):

It’s not tablets, though I’d pinpoint this latest move to simpler personal computing to be a major contributing factor: People realize that they don’t just not need the complexity of Windows, they don’t even need most of the power of Windows.

Windows is in trouble because people simply don’t care about it anymore. It’s not outright hostility; there’s far less of that than the anti-Microsoft crowd would like to believe. It’s ambivalence. It’s ambivalence driven by the nature of “good enough” mobile and web apps. It’s ambivalence driven by the allure of anytime/anywhere computing on tiny devices that are more cool to use and even cooler to be seen using.

And make no mistake, this is a serious issue. With businesses keeping Windows on life support and users spacing out their PC purchases for so long that there might never in fact be another PC purchase, Windows is in trouble. This ambivalence is worse for the platform than outright defeat. In its current state, Windows can limp along for years to come. And that’s just long enough for the platform to wither and effectively disappear.

The last important consumer desktop app? Spotify – in October 2008. That’s over five years ago.

Ian Betteridge follows up. (Thanks @avro for the link.)

“That’s what pisses off everybody else.” Whole Part

An extract from a podcast in which Horace Dediu talks about how data collection – for profit – about everybody in the world is becoming concentrated in the hands of a few American companies:

most of the debate in the United States is about whether Americans are being monitored or not. That’s irrelevant. That’s 4% of the world. Most of the world hasn’t got that protection. And so if you ever speak to anyone outside of the United States on this subject, they’re like “come on! we don’t have the protections of Americans”.

What matters to most people outside the United States is that an American organization has complete, unfettered access to everything anybody does anywhere in the world, and that’s what pisses off everybody else, if I’m honest. You know, I speak to people or I have connections in Finland and that’s the primary concern.

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