#wiki 原作者:
来源Google Redefines Disruption: The “Less Than Free” Business Model

I like to think of myself as an aficionado of business disruption. After all, as a venture capitalist it is imperative to understand ways in which a smaller private company can gain the upper hand on a large incumbent. One of the most successful ways to do this is to change the rules of the game in such a way that the incumbent would need to abandon or destroy its core business in order to lay chase to your strategy. This thinking, which was eloquently chronicled in Clay Christiansen’s The Innovator’s Delimma, is the key premise behind recently successful business movements like SAAS (Software as a Service), open source software, and the much-discussed Freemium Internet model.  And while each of these disruptions are impressive in their own right, when I read this week that Google was including free turn-by-turn navigation directions with each and every Android mobile OS, I had an immediate feeling that I was witnessing a disruptive play of a magnitude heretofore unseen.

       我喜欢把自己看做一个商业颠覆迷。毕竟,作为一个风险投资家必须明白小的私营公司如何能在大的市场竞争对手面前处于上风的经营方式。最成功的一个方式就是改变博弈的规则,让那些巨头们们不得不舍弃或者毁了自己的核心业务而跟着你的策略走。这种想法在Cllay Change的《创新者的谜团》中有较为非常详细的记录,这正是最近一些商业模式成功的前提,例如软件服务,开源软件以及热论的免费互联网模式。而且这些颠覆从各自的立场来看每个都不赖,这周当我看到Google正在将免费的转由转动导向系统嵌入到每一个Android手机系统中的时候,我立刻意识到我在见证一场规模前所未有的颠覆表演。

Google has long had an interest in maps. Early in its history, the company added “Maps” as one of the coveted tab alternatives offered at the top of the screen above its famed search box. At that time, Google did what many others did to enter the mapping business – they licensed data from the two duopolists that ruled the mapping business – Tele Atlas and NavTeq. Over the years, as these two companies gained more and more power, and larger and larger market capitalizations, Google’s ambitions were growing too. Google wanted to spread its maps across the web, and to allow others to build on top of its mapping API.  The duopolists, recognizing a fox in the henhouse, were apprehensive to allow such activity.
        Google对地图方面的兴趣由来已久了。早在其发展历史中,这个公司就曾将“地图”作为一个梦寐以求的标签放在他那有名的搜索方框上方。那时,Google和其他的公司一样进入地图领域,由统领地图行业Tele Atlas 和Nav Taq两家公司提供给他们获得许可的数据。这么多年过去了,随着这两家公司实力不断增强,市场资金越来越雄厚,Google的雄心也随之而涨。Google想统领整个网络的地图业务,让其他的人都基于其应用编程接口而立。这两家巨头也识破了其狼子野心,心领神会的应允了其这一做法。
In the summer of 2007, excitement regarding the criticality of map data (specifically turn-by-turn navigation data) reached a fever pitch.  On July 23, 2007, TomTom, the leading portable GPS device maker, agreed to buy Tele Atlas for US$2.7 billion. Shortly thereafter, on October 1, Nokia agreed to buy NavTeq for a cool US$8.1 billion. Meanwhile Google was still evolving its strategy and no longer wanted to be limited by the terms of its two contracts. As such, they informed Tele Atlas and NavTeq that they wanted to modify their license terms to allow more liberty with respect to syndication and proliferation. NavTeq balked, and in September of 2008 Google quietly dropped NavTeq, moving to just one partner for its core mapping data. Tele Atlas eventually agreed to the term modifications, but perhaps they should have sensed something bigger at play.
        在  2007年的夏天,地图数据的精度给人们带来的惊喜达到了让人疯狂的境地。2007年6月23日,GPS龙头制造商同意以270万美元收购Tel Atalas公司,这之后不久的10月1日诺基亚同意以高达810万美元的价格收购了Nav Teq公司。同时Google也在不断的改进它的策略,而不希望被限制在这两份合同的条款之中。如此,它们告知这两家公司它们希望修改他们之间的许可条款以获得在联合与增值方面争取更多的自由。NavTeq犹豫了,2008年9月Google悄悄的放弃了NavTeq,转向将一个合作伙伴作为其主要的地图数据来源的模式。Tele Atlas 爽快的答应的更改的条款,可是他们也许都感觉到了更大的动静还在后面。
Rumors abound about just how many cars Google has on the roads building it own turn-by-turn mapping data as well as its unique “Google Streetview” database. Whatever it is, it must be huge. This October 13th, just over one year after dropping NavTeq, the other shoe dropped as well. Google disconnected from Tele Atlas and began to offer maps that were free and clear of either license. These maps are based on a combination of their own data as well as freely available data. Two weeks after this, Google announces free turn-by-turn directions for all Android phones. This couldn’t have been a great day for the deal teams that worked on the respective Tele Atlas and NavTeq acquisitions.
        关于路上有多少辆车上装有与其独特的Google街景数据库一样的转由转向地图数据这样的揣测实在很多。无论是哪种,肯定是一个庞大的数据。今年的10月13日就在失去Nav Teq之后的一年多的时候,另外一只鞋也掉了。Google断绝了与Tele Altas的联系,并且开始提供免费的无需其任何认证的地图。这些地图都是基于其对于同样也是免费的可用数据的整合。在这之后的两周,Google宣布了其所有的Android手机上的转由转到导向全是免费的。这对于那些分别运行于Tele Atlas和Nav Teq许可之上的商家来说绝对不是一个好消息。
To understand just how disruptive this is to the GPS data market, you must first understand that “turn-by-turn” data was the lynchpin that held the duopoly together. Anyone could get map data (there are many free sources), but turn-by-turn data was remarkably expensive to build and maintain. As a result, no one could really duplicate it. The duopolists had price leverage and demanded remarkably high royalties, and the GPS device makers (TomTom, Garmin, Nokia) were forced to be price takers. You can see evidence of this price umbrella in the uniquely high $99.99 price point TomTom now charges for its iPhone application. When TomTom bought Tele Atlas, the die was cast.  Eat or be eaten. If you didn’t control your own data, how could you compete in the GPS market?  This is what prompted the Nokia-NavTeq deal.
       为了弄清楚这对于GPS数据市场到底有多大的冲击,你必须首先清楚转由转向的数据关键,也正是这个支撑了此双寡头。任何人都能得到地图数据(有很多的免费来源),但是转由转向数据的建立和维护起来代价都分外的昂贵。这样一来没人能真正的仿制了。双寡头掌握了价格杠杆而且开出来了天价版权税,这样一来那些GPS设备制造商(TomTom,Garmi,Nokia)就被迫为此买单。TomTom现在对其手机应用的收费达到了新高——99.99美元,由此你可以对这个价格保护伞可见一斑了。当TomTom收购Tele Atlas时,死神就此埋下伏笔。吞人还是被人吞。如果能不能掌控自己的数据,你还如何在GPS市场上打拼呢?Nokia与Nav Teq的联合就是这样催生的。
Google’s free navigation feature announcement dealt a crushing blow to the GPS stocks. Garmin fell 16%. TomTom fell 21%. Imagine trying to maintain high royalty rates against this strategic move by Google. Android is not only a phone OS, it’s a CE OS. If Ford or BMW want to build an in-dash Android GPS, guess what? Google will give it to them for free. As we noted in our take on the free business model, “if a disruptive competitor can offer a product or service similar to yours for ‘free,’ and if they can make enough money to keep the lights on, then you likely have a problem.” It would be one thing if this were merely a mean-spirited play by Google to put an end to the GPS data duopoly. But it is not. There are multiple facets to this remarkably disruptive move.
       Google的免费导航功能的消息对GPS股市来说是一个毁灭性打击。Garmin下跌了16%。TomTom下跌了21%。妄想通过维持高额的专利税来与Google的策略进行对抗。Android不仅是一个手机操作系统,它是一个袖珍操作系统。如果Ford或者BMW想要建立一个内嵌的Android GPS导航系统,猜一下会怎样?Google 会将其免费相送。正如我们在免费的商业模式中所注意的那样,“如果一个具有破坏性的竞争者能免费提供给你一款相似的产品,而且他们能一直保持运转下去,接下来你就会有麻烦了。”也有可能是Google仅仅玩的一个卑鄙的游戏来终结双巨头GPS数据的垄断局面。可惜不是。这个颠覆性的举动有其多面性。
While it is obvious that this maneuver creates a problem for the multi-billion dollar GPS market, it also poses real challenges for the leading smart phone players – RIM’s Blackberry and Apple’s iPhone. Without access to their own mapping data, these vendors now face an interesting dilemma. Do you risk flying naked without free navigation or do you suck it up and swallow the above average royalty fee for each and every handset? Neither option is stellar. This problem isn’t nearly as daunting as the one now faced by the Windows Mobile and Symbian teams.  As software providers, they are lucky to get a per unit royalty equal to that extracted by the GPS data guys. If they are now forced to integrate this data merely to keep their product competitive, their gross margin just went negative. Ouch!
This is not just incredible defense. Google is apt to believe that the geographic taxonomy is a wonderful skeleton for a geo-based ad network.  If your maps are distributed everywhere on the Internet and in every mobile device, you control that framework. Cash starved startups, building interesting and innovative mobile apps, will undoubtedly build on Google’s map API.  It’s rich, it is easy to use, and quite frankly the price is right. In the future, if you want to advertise your local business to people with an interest in your local market, chances are you will look to Google for that access.
Introducing the “Less Than Free” Business Model
Google’s brilliance doesn’t stop there. It is hard not to have been surprised by the rapid rise in recent buzz surrounding the Google Android Smartphone OS. When I asked a mobile industry veteran why carriers were so willing to dance with Google, a company they once feared, he suggested that Google was the “lesser of two evils.” With Blackberry and iPhone grabbing more and more subs, the carriers were losing control of the customer UI, which undoubtedly represents power and future monetization opportunities. With Android, carriers could re-claim their customer “deck.” Additionally, because Google has created an open source version of Android, carriers believe they have an “out” if they part ways with Google in the future.
I then asked my friend, “so why would they ever use the Google (non open source) license version.”  (EDIT: One of the commenters below pointed out that all Android is open source, and the Google apps pack, including the GPS, is licensed on top.  Doesn’t change the argument, but wanted the correct data included here.)  Here was the big punch line – because Google will give you ad splits on search if you use that version!  That’s right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the “less than free” business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally “less than free” price point, Symbian or windows mobile would need to subsidize. Double ouch!!
“Less than free” may not stop with the mobile phone. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has been quite outspoken about his support for the Google Chrome OS. And there is no reason to believe that the “less than free” business model will not be used here as well. If Sony or HP or Dell builds a netbook based on Chrome OS, they will make money on every search each user initiates. Google, eager to protect its search share and market volume, will gladly pay the ad splits. Microsoft, who was already forced to lower Windows netbook pricing to fend off Linux, will be dancing with a business model inversion of epic proportion – from “you pay me” to “I pay you.”  It’s really hard to build a compensation package for your sales team on those economics.

       “比免费更便宜”不会停留在移动手机领域。Google的CEO Eric Schmidt 已经放话绝对支持Google Chrome操作系统。并且没有理由相信“比免费更便宜”的模式不会应用于此。如果Sony或者HP或者Dell在Chrome操作系统上做一台上网本,他们将会在每个用户的每一次搜索中率先盈利。Google急切的想保护其搜索份额以及市场分量,它将很高兴为这一广告版块买单。Microsoft已经被迫压缩其Windows笔记本的价格来阻挡Linux攻势,它将采取一个逆转比例极大的商业模式——就是“你为我买单,我为你买单”。在这样的经济情况下,真的很难制定一个补偿方案。    

Naysayers of these assertions will likely have the same retort – quality is key. They will argue that Google’s turn-by-turn apps are inferior to their well honed market leading products. With regard to Android, Google will lack the user interface or embedded software expertise necessary and will deliver a subpar product.  Plus, because the Android OS will be so splintered, QA testing will be difficult and incompatibility issues will abound. In the short run, these issues will exist.
Despite these challenges, it would be a dangerous strategy for any of the many threatened players in these markets to hang on to this “quality” rationalization for very long. First, Google’s products will get better over time. The sheer volume of the Android phones in the market will give them new data feeds to complement their own mapping effort. Also, they can create UGC hooks for users to embellish their own maps (like in Google Earth), offering themselves further differentiation.  With regard to Android, version 3 will be better than version 2 will be better than version 1.  Microsoft knows this game well.
       尽管有这些挑战,对市场上任何一个受到威胁的玩家来说纠缠于自认为合理化的质量问题过久都是险招。首先,Google的产品肯定会随着时间的推移而变得越来越好。市场上的小小的Android手机会给他们提供数据反馈,让他们在制图方面不断获得改进。同样,他们也还以制造出“用户自造内容”的物件让用户美化他们自己的地图(像Google Earth),让他们得到更细微之处。说到Android,其第二版比第一版好,而第三版好过第二版。Microsoft太了解这个游戏了。
Another perhaps even more important factor is that when a product is completely free, consumer expectations are low and consumer patience is high. Customers seem to really like free as a price point. I suspect they will love “less than free.”