Business Insider Research Morning Call 9/19/11

Netflix Splits Itself To Fight The Innovator’s Dilemma
Netflix just rebranded its DVDs-by-mail service “Qwikster” in an effort to further separate that business from its streaming business, which is the future. It’s a smart move that embraces the disruption of its mail business by streaming.

Google Wallet is likely launching today. It’s a smartphone app that lets people use their phone to pay for things. While using phones as wallets has been commonplace in Asia for over a decade, it remains to be seen whether this is something Western customers want. Meanwhile credit card dongle startup Square is smartly focusing on the merchant side of the equation, letting merchants more easily take the payments method people already use — plastic — and preparing the transition to a post-plastic future.

Facebook will unveil a music-sharing platform this week. It will allow music services to spread virally on the Facebook platform, the way other companies do. Facebook’s business model is to provide a social layer and tools to other businesses and take a toll in exchange, as it has done in social gaming and with the advertising of pages on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made no secret that he thinks media is next after marketing and games. Facebook integration has been a boon to Spotify, which shares investors with Facebook, by getting users to share playlists, thereby increasing engagement and virality. Facebook’s platform should definitely be a boon to these music services in the short term. In the longer term, it remains to be seen whether and how Facebook imposes a toll on them, and whether they can afford to pay off both Facebook and rights owners.

Facebook apps have added $15 billion to the US economy, according to a U. of Maryland study. To be clear, this isn’t an estimate of the market size of Facebook apps, but the total economic value generated by the Facebook app economy. It still suggests that the Facebook platform is a real and big market.

Seeking to better compete with Groupon in daily deals, Google acquired the German deal site DailyDeal. The acquisition signals Google’s intention to expand its operations to Europe, buying a company that already has an established presence and is said to be outperforming Groupon and LivingSocial in a number of countries.

While business networking in China works very differently than in the US, a number of Chinese startups believe it still represents a colossal business opportunity that they are determined to tap. Ushi is one of the more recent Chinese clones of LinkedIn ($LNKD). It is tiny, as are all the Linkedin clones, but growing reasonably fast. A good overview of China’s online business networking sector is Techrice’s Can Ushi.cn Outcompete JingWei and LinkedIn?

Alibaba’s Jack Ma is the only realistic buyer of Yahoo’s Alibaba stake.

Fundraising in email startups seems to be picking up steam again: ActivePath, a New York-based developer of interactive email and messaging solutions, has raised $10 million in funding in a Series B round led by Battery Ventures and Gimv. Battery also recently participated in an $8 million Series B round for LiveIntent, which makes an email ad serving platform. These investments make sense because email remains a huge marketing channel that people tend to forget because it’s less “sexy” than social media.



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