There's been a ton of CES news to digest these past few days, especially in the past 12 or so hours. Yahoo released Go and CEO Terry Semel made a speech at CES; Google released Google Pack, Google Video Player and Google Video Store; Larry Page did a speech at CES. As I trawled through all the news - thanks in particular to Engadget and PaidContent for the excellent coverage - I tried to distil some of the themes emerging. Here's a starter for 10, which I'd love to get peoples comments on...
Themes for Internet companies hitting the media market in 2006:
- Device connectivity - from the PC to mobile to television sets to gaming machines to talking refrigerators (OK, that last one has been thankfully absent from CES talk!). It's obvious that connecting all these devices together, seamlessly and in a user-friendly way, is a key goal for Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, eBay/Skype and others.
- Partnerships - we've seen a slew of partnerships announced at CES between Internet companies and a) hardware makers, b) media content companies, and c) other software companies. Microsoft and Palm, Microsoft and MTV, Yahoo and Nokia, Yahoo and Cingular and AT&T, Skype and Philips, Skype and NETGEAR, Google and CBS, Google and Norton, ... the list goes on and we'll see a LOT more of this in 2006. Partnerships are critical in this new Internet-media hybrid world. Yahoo's even talking about partnering with users: "Yahoo is not going to make gadgets. We're here to partner with you." [source: Engadget]
- Internet as the delivery vehicle. I thought this quote from Terry Semel captured the current era of the Web perfectly: "We think the Internet isn't a Web page anymore, it's a vehicle for delivering ... it's about connecting the devices that all of you are manufacturing." [source: Engadget]
- Video, TV, more video: we are seeing a lot of action amongst the big Internet companies in video. Google's new video offerings, a player and a store; Yahoo's promised tv-watching revolution in the shape of Yahoo! Go; Microsoft talking up Xbox 360 as a powerful application for high-definition television. eBay has a trump card too, with Skype video. Broadband has finally come to the party circa 2005/06, such that video delivered over the Web is now a reality that all the bigcos will exploit.
- Finally action in the mobile Web? I put a question mark over that, because there's still a lot of water to go under the product development bridge as far as mobile products are concerned. But Yahoo made some interesting noises with Go, and Microsoft and Google discussed mobile a lot at CES too. But the biggest action in mobile this week came from Skype, with a number of hardware partnerships announced at CES.
These are just the themes for Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and eBay/Skype - I can't wait to see what Apple comes out with at Macworld next week. The rumor of the moment is that Apple will release a new application called iWeb, said to be a Web design application with "easy drag-and-drop capability for a variety of Web-optimized content and media types."
So what do you think - have I covered the main themes of Internet companies at CES? Feel free to add your thoughts below.