Apple’s Siri to Default to Preferred Third-Party Apps; Record Labels Hinder Apple’s Bundling Strategy; Tesla Adds Spotify Premium, Netflix and live TV to In-Car System; MGM Targets Halloween for ‘Adam’s Family’ Release; Disney Bans Netflix Ads Across All its Entertainment Networks; Online Festive Sales Soar, Malls and Stores Face Dip; Zomato Raises USD 600 Million from Ant; Amazon Launches IP Accelerator and more.
Apple’s Siri to Default to Preferred Third-Party Apps
Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, will soon be updated to direct users to third-party messaging applications by default and not to just Apple’s iMessage. This update will soon be extended to phone calls as well. Previously, to access other apps like WhatsApp or Skype, users had to specifically direct Siri to open them. The upcoming update will make Siri learn and remember the application frequently used for a particular contact and default to such application each time without being specified. Apple has been criticized for hosting only its own apps and making them default for their users, which made it difficult for third-party apps to have access to Apple users. This move comes in the wake of anti-trust investigations against Apple for promoting its pre-installed apps pose over third-party apps.
Record Labels Hinder Apple’s Bundling Strategy
Apple has reportedly been trying to introduce bundling of multiple services like video, music, and news together in a single monthly subscription, beginning with the rollout of Apple Music and Apple TV+. However, major record labels have been hesitant to come on board, fearing a loss of revenue due to the lower bundled pricing and higher number of stakeholders for revenue share. Apple is yet to finalise a pricing structure for its services, which could result in fluctuations in the share of music revenue for record labels from Apple. Licensing music is a significant hurdle for Apple, as it exercises little control over record labels and costs, unlike video content which it is largely producing on its own.
Apple revolutionized digital music by selling individual songs rather than just entire albums on its iTunes Store, thus opening the market for users who only wanted to buy copies of popular songs and not entire albums. However, record labels believe this ate into their profits, as they could no longer sell less popular tracks as a part of an album.
Tesla Adds Spotify Premium, Netflix and live TV to In-Car System
The latest version of Tesla cars is now equipped with a host of entertainment apps including Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Hulu and live TV etc. The software update allows the user to access video services when the car is parked, and audio apps like Spotify to run even while in motion. Spotify integration came as a result of huge demand for the popular streaming service. Tesla has also introduced a ‘Caraoke’ feature, which brings karaoke functions in multiple languages to the road trip experience.
MGM Targets Halloween for ‘Adam’s Family’ Release
Hollywood production house Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) intends of take full advantage of the Halloween spirit by releasing the animated film Adam’s Family just before Halloween. The teaser released on YouTube has garnered much attention as the spooky family is set for a well-timed comeback. This popular series was created by Charles Addams in 1938 to feature in the cartoon panel of The New Yorker. ABC then obtained a license to create a sit-com in 1964, after which animated versions became popular on TV cartoon channels in the early 90s. It was also made into a movie by Fox Studios in 1998, before MGM picked up the rights.
Disney Bans Netflix Ads Across All its Entertainment Networks
Disney is about to ban Netflix advertisements across all its entertainment networks, barring ESPN. This decision comes as a precursor of the launch of Disney+, Disney’s online streaming platform and a prospective Netflix competitor. Disney cited the absence of a mutually beneficial relationship as the reason, given that Netflix does not run any ads on its platform and relies solely on subscriptions for revenue.
Disney+ is slated to launch in the next month and will provide access to a host of movies, original series and new content including the Marvel and Star Wars Franchises. Disney is also planning not to launch Disney+ on Amazon Fire TV, the second largest distributor of streaming apps, which could be potentially detrimental to the company.
Online Festive Sales Soar, Malls and Stores Face Dip
According to a RedSeer Consulting Report, major e-retailers like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have sold goods worth rupees INR 19,000 crore in six-days of this year’s pre-Diwali sale. The Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of the goods sold for the entire month of October is expected to reach a whooping INR 39,000 crore. Flipkart has won the top position with 60% of the total GMV with Amazon at 30% so far. The report says that the biggest portion of the sale has been mobile phones; the customer base has been mostly residents of Tier 2 cities.
Online mega sales like Flipkart’s “Big Billion Days” and Amazon’s “Great Indian Festival” have drawn customers away from offline retailers and shopping malls, resulting in a major dip in offline sales. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged the government to regularize the e-commerce industry, protesting against unnatural discount rates and unfair business practices. It has even alleged that the pricing policies of the e-commerce platforms violate the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Regulations. The CAIT urged the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to consider a blanket ban on all festive sales by e-commerce platforms.
Zomato Raises USD 600 Million from Ant
Online food delivery and restaurant-search platform Zomato is in the final stages of bagging a USD 600 million fund-raising deal from Chinese investor, Ant Financial. Ant Financial Services Group, formerly known as Alipay, is an affiliate of China’s eCommerce giant Alibaba Group.
This huge funding comes amid a country-wide “log-out” campaign by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) for unrealistic discount rates and abusive business practices by food delivery and dining platforms. Zomato has been in a market-share battle with its rival and competitor, Swiggy, for the delivery business, while it has been competing with smaller platforms for dining discounts.
Amazon Launches IP Accelerator
Amazon has launched a unique program, titled Intellectual Property Accelerator, to help businesses with their intellectual property (IP) queries. Amazon has vetted a list of IP law firms to provide legal guidance to businesses to ensure better brand protection for small and medium scale enterprises. These firms would aid the businesses with all kinds of IP transactions, especially trademark registration procedure. Amazon will be footing the bills for legal support provided by participating law firms, without charging anything from the businesses. Businesses also gain the advantage of quicker access to Amazon’s brand protection tool to remove infringing products from the platform.
Authored and compiled by Anusmita Mazumder and Ashwini Arun (Associates, BananaIP Counsels)
The eCommerce Law and IP Transactions News Bulletin is brought to you by the eCommerce Law and Consulting/Strategy Division of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: eCommerce Law News.
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down.