iTunes is Dead, Long Live Apple Music!

Catch up with this week’s Five on Friday!

Jamie O’Donoghue
Jun 7 · 5 min read

#iTunes

Apple announced this week that it will shutter its iconic iTunes service, as well as introduce a new privacy feature that will hide user information from third-party apps.

What does this mean?

On Monday, the company said that it would be phasing out the iTunes service in favour of three more specific apps — Music, TV, and Podcasts. This mimics how the services are already divided on its mobile devices. Formally launched in 2001, the iTunes store changed the face of the modern music industry at a time when piracy and illegal downloads were rampant. Although iTunes was closely tied to the success of hardware products like the iPhone, the recent shift towards subscription-based models like Apple Music means that the company no longer has any need for the platform. Separately, Apple unveiled its new ‘Sign in with Apple’ feature, which allows users to create a new account on an app using a one-click button “without revealing any new personal information.” Apple will auto-generate a random “relay” email address that hides your real email address, meaning that a user will be at less risk of having their information misused by a company.

#BigTech

The US House Judiciary Committee is gearing up to launch a major antitrust investigation into tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

What does this mean?

The committee said that it will not be singling out any specific company but rather will aim to assess the effectiveness of current antitrust laws in regulating Big Tech as a whole. While it’s unclear what issues will be raised in the course of the investigation, we can expect legislators to focus on the question of monopoly. Recently, both Google and Apple have been accused of using their size and power to put unfair pressure on smaller competitors. The probe comes as large US technology companies face a backlash around the world, with EU representatives, individual governments, and consumer groups all joining in on the criticism. In a divided political scene, the call for better regulation is unusual for having been embraced by both Democrats and Republicans, albeit for different reasons. “Given the growing tide of concentration and consolidation across our economy, it is vital that we investigate the current state of competition in digital markets and the health of the antitrust laws,” said Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

#EuropeanWheels

German automaker Volkswagen has announced that it will invest as much as $4.5 billion over the next four years to digitalise its production process.

What does this mean?

“At least 2,000 new jobs related to digitalization are to be created,” a company spokesperson said, adding that up to 4,000 existing jobs could be cut in the transition. The Volkswagen investment is not the only news of technological change to come out of the European car market this week, with Germany’s BMW and Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover revealing that they will jointly develop power electronics and motors in a bid to embrace the future of the electric vehicle. BMW’s Klaus Froehlich said the alliance would benefit both companies by “shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market.” Meanwhile, the highly-publicized proposed merger between Fiat Chrysler and Renault was abandoned during the week over apparent concerns about the influence of the French government on the new company. The gesture to join forces, however, was unmistakable: as Silicon Valley darlings such as Tesla continue the push towards affordable electric vehicles, Europe’s auto giants are showing how serious they are about catching up.

#BeyondMeat

Plant-based food company Beyond Meat surpassed Wall Street’s expectations in yesterday’s earnings report, its first since going public back in May.

What does this mean?

Previously considered little more than a novelty, plant-based meat products are potentially on the verge of going mainstream thanks in no small part to the success of Beyond Meat (and close rival, Impossible Foods). Though the company has yet to achieve profitability, Beyond Meat beat analyst estimates and forecast full-year sales of more than $210 million. “We’re being very conservative and viewing this as a floor,” said CEO Ethan Brown speaking about this sales outlook. Remarkably, shares of Beyond Meat now sit more than 300% higher than their IPO price, but perhaps the more significant story here is that the meatless revolution is well underway and is already generating big money. With ethical consumers across the globe embracing meat-substitutes and alternative forms of protein, we are beginning to see old industry giants move into the space. This week, for instance, Nestle — a company that’s been in operation for 150 years — announced its own plant-based “Awesome Burger.” It seems that the grown-ups are catching on to what the kids are up to.

#AndFinally

World’s richest man Jeff Bezos demonstrated his famous composure at Amazon’s Re:MARS conference last night when a protestor rushed onstage to hector him about animal rights. While Bezos was taking part in a “fireside chat” interview, the protestor — later identified as an activist with animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere — managed to evade the Amazon CEO’s private security detail (which reportedly costs him more than $1 million per year) as she made her way onto the stage to say, “Jeff, you are the richest man on the planet, you can help the animals.” Unfazed, Bezos was on top form as he continued to speak about Amazon as well as his space venture, Blue Origin. When asked to predict the biggest change humanity will face in the future, he suggested that the things that don’t change are more important: “You can work on those things with the confidence… that all the energy you put into them today is still going to pay dividends in the years to come.”

What does this mean?

Bezos’s lesson about future change should resonate with investors and entrepreneurs alike (and maybe even the odd activist, too).

The Week In Numbers

$683 million

is how much hedge fund Elliott Management has paid to acquire iconic bookstore chain, Barnes and Noble.

$1 billion

is how much the global podcast industry is expected to be worth within two years.

$2.6 billion

is how much Google spent on acquiring analytics software firm Looker.

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Jamie O’Donoghue

Written by

Content Specialist at MyWallSt

The MyWallSt Blog

Investing is for everyone, we show you how. MyWallSt is a multi-award winning company that helps you to become a confident and successful investor.