Monday, October 4, 2010

Battle for the Digital Living Room (Chart) *Apple, Google, Microsoft early front runners*

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Apple TV was announced by CEO Steve Jobs at the Apple Special Event in September

Google TV was announced by CEO Eric Schmidt at the Google I/O Conference in May

Battle for the Digital Living Room
Apple TV vs. Google TV vs. Microsoft Xbox

Digital Living Room UBS Investment Research issued a report on September 22, "Who Will Win the Battle for the Global Digital Living Room?" which has created some buzz. UBS states, "We believe the brewing battle between the megacaps to own the consumer is hinged to ecosystems that allow seamless content access everywhere and at all times (via smartphones, TVs, PCs, tablets). We have sought to investigate the brewing battle for the Global Digital Living Room. Specifically, we analyzed the key players in the market, current ecosystem offerings, strengths & weaknesses, and future plans of those involved in this race."

Ecosystem UBS sees the digital living room as an "ecosystem" and reviews each competitors' strengths and weaknesses by category per the chart below:

Key Pieces of the Global Digital Living Room Ecosystem

Competitors UBS identifies and reviews the competitors in the Global Digital Living Room, "A number of players, but we prefer leaders: Apple, Microsoft, and Google: Companies that successfully build ecosystems of content and hardware connected through the cloud will have clear advantages in the consumer electronics market. Although the race has just begun, we believe Apple, Google, and Microsoft are the early front runners; Amazon, Samsung, and Sony are “dark horses”; while Hewlett Packard, Nokia, and Research In Motion are challenged." Among the front runners, Apple is labeled the Ecosystem Leader, Google the Cloud Leader, and Microsoft the Potential TV Leader. UBS notes the lines are blurring among these companies as each enters the others' original core business and all are expanding into the three core pieces of the Global Digital Living Room: Platform, Hardward, Content.

Holy Grail Who will put all these pieces of the global digital living room ecosystem together and cash in? Who will attain the Holy Grail? Obviously Apple and Google are pushing forward to this end and Microsoft is attempting to catch up. UBS proclaims, "We believe the "holy grail" for these vendors is to provide users with seamless access (eventually through the Internet or so-called "cloud") to all types of content across all types of devices (anything with a screen) anywhere and at all times. It is what we dub the Global Digital Living Room. Unlike in past years, technology and ecosystems are now enabling this to be a reality. While the race is still in the early stages, we believe Apple, Google, and Microsoft are the early leaders in the group - each with strengths and weaknesses in different areas - and a number of “dark horses” including Sony, Amazon, and Samsung. However, the early leaders are the ones that have “glued” or are in the process of “gluing” the content together with the hardware through end to end ecosystems.
Summary UBS rates each company per the Global Digital Living Room Ecosystem chart above and their level of attaining the aforementioned Holy Grail: "seamless access (by the consumer) to all types of content across all types of devices anywhere at all times". The competitors score out (first to last): Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, Samsung, Research in Motion, Nokia, Hewlett Packard. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are the clear leaders vying with each other for first, with the remainder of the pack a distance behind.

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