ApplePay v. MCX
When Apple announced its ApplePay system for the iPhone 6, mobile apps were downloaded, consumers cheered, wallets were burned in protest (well, in spirit) and lone competing mobile-payment company MCX set about making sure ApplePay wouldn’t work in any of their consortium’s stores (no small names here, either – we’re talking WalMart, Target, CVS, and Olive Garden). Why? Well, MCX has been working on its own flavor of mobile payment software, CurrentC, for several years. They went forward with their version, and went so far as to disable Near Field Communication (NFC) technology (the method of communication used by ApplePay) in all their stores, sending a clear message that you and your iPhone weren’t welcome there. “It’s a skirmish,” Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal, “Merchants have different objectives sometimes. But in the long arc of time, you only are relevant as a retailer or merchant if your customers love you.”
But in the quickest backpedalling we’ve seen all week, MCX announced that maybe they’ll integrate NFC technology after all. Dekkers Davidson, Chief Executive of MCX said, “I think there’s been a mistake made here, and that is focusing on the technology instead of what business or consumer problem you’re trying to solve.” But even though the olive branch has been somewhat extended, there are still contractual issues if merchants choose one mobile app payment service over the other, implementation problems, and even a pretty major CurrentC hack in which an “undisclosed number of people” had their personal information compromised. Our money’s on Apple in this skirmish.
Google v. The Office
These days, most people we know use Google Docs in place of Microsoft products; they’re the favorites of remote teams that have to collaborate on work, they’re free, they’re browser-based (though also have robust accompanying mobile apps), and for the most part give you the same functionality as Microsoft Office. But walk into any standard office setting and that’s a different story – Microsoft Office Suite is still the gold standard for all corporate applications, and PowerPoint is as ubiquitous (and about as enjoyed) as powdered creamer and awkward office conversation. Well, all that might be about to change.
Google just announced Google Apps for Work, and has no less an entity than PricewaterhouseCoopers as both a customer and a partner for the new product. This cloud alternative to Microsoft Office will be rolled out to PWC soon, and the list of clients is growing – the City of Boston, Whirlpool, Woolworth’s…we can’t help wonder if office workers everywhere will soon stop clicking on the iconic green X. And we’re even more interested to see if this move will represent a successful enterprise contract navigation, which is something that has so far eluded Google.
Google v. Spain
Though the Google tax didn’t work in Germany, Spain is hoping they’ll have better luck levying a tax on the search giant every time it indexes copy from Spanish news sources. Google isn’t alone in the targeting; any aggregator that displays Spanish news in its results will be levied an as-yet-undetermined “Google tax”. Spanish Parliament has written the law to successfully exclude “fair use” situations, and has termed the fee an “inalienable right” of the publishers.
Though the law is not specifically aimed at social networks like Reddit, neither does it specifically exclude them, necessitating some clarification when the bill reaches the upper houses of Parliament. Proponents of the bill say that this could revitalize a steadily dying Spanish newspaper industry. Opponents’ arguments are easy to imagine. And what about the valuable linkbacks aggregators like Google provide to the original sources? Since the bill is likely to pass through Spanish Parliament, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go calculate how much we owe the Spanish government for researching this paragraph.