Weekly Digital News Roundup: Oct 30 – Nov 3
Microsoft and Dropbox Set Aside Rivalry to Team Up in Mobile
- According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft and Dropbox, competitors in the market for digital file storage, are joining forces in a partnership that plays to each side’s strengths. The companies are connecting their mobile services so an iPhone user in a Dropbox account can edit Microsoft Office files with the tap of a button. Likewise, someone using an iPad to create a PowerPoint presentation in Office can save the file to Dropbox with a built in “save to Dropbox” function.
- Until now, Microsoft Office on the iPad and iPhone allowed users to save files only to Microsoft’s own digital file sharing services including the Dropbox-like OneDrive. The inability to save Office documents to rival store-sync-and-share services was a glaring hole in Office when, in March, Microsoft for the first time offered Office apps for the iPad. Similarly, Office documents saved in Dropbox have been difficult to edit.
- However, working with Office files in Dropbox comes with caveats. Notably, Dropbox users can create and edit Office documents only if they subscribe to Office 365, the Web-and-mobile version of Office. Dropbox and Microsoft said they are working to integrate their services next year in Web versions of Office and Dropbox.
Facebook Has Its Own Get-Out-the-Vote Message
- According to the New York Times, Facebook wanted its users in the United States to vote this Election Day — and it planed to put a reminder Tuesday at the top of the news feed of each of its American users of voting age.
- Virtually every American logging on to Facebook on Tuesday — roughly 100 million people — saw a reminder that it’s Election Day, a guide to local polling places and a button that says, “I’m a Voter.” If you click on the button, your status as a voter was shared with your friends (although just like anything else you share, it will have to duke it out with all the other postings competing for a spot in their news feed).
- In the 2010 election, similar nudging by Facebook resulted in 340,000 additional votes nationwide; however, only about 42 percent of the eligible voting-age population cast a ballot. Given the low participation in the 2010 midterm elections, anything that can get more people to the polls will probably make the election results more representative of the population’s wishes.
In Europe, Spotify Royalties Overtake iTunes Earnings By 13%
- According to Techcrunch, Spotify may be smarting from the removal of Taylor Swift’s music catalogue from its platform, and Taylor Swift may not care, since she is riding a sales blockbuster in the form of her new album 1989, but it turns out that in the bigger picture, Spotify’s streaming service continues to gain an edge over downloads, specifically via iTunes.
- Kobalt, a company that helps collect music royalties on behalf of thousands of artists — including “half of this week’s Billboard Top 10″ and musicians like Maroon 5, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Grohl, Max Martin, Bob Dylan, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — says that in the last quarter in Europe, revenues from Spotify streams were 13% higher on average than revenues from Apple’s iTunes for its customers.
- The numbers support findings reported in the Wall Street Journal last month noting that iTunes music sales are down about 13% this year. iTunes is still a massive business — up $300 million to $4.6 billion in sales in the last quarter — but that doesn’t point to how well music is doing within that.The decline in iTunes sales points to a bigger shift away from downloads in favor of streaming, and it is one more illustration of why Apple may have been interested in buying Beats Music and is now working on integrating some part of that streaming service into the wider iTunes experience. It hopes to provides an attractive streaming service to keep users tied into its device and wider mobile ecosystem.