As significant as this announcement might have been this week, I was surprised by the relatively small scale coverage it received. Perhaps its an announcement that was lost in the iPhone and AppleTV buzz or it may be because Bebo is a small scale social network in the US. It has over 8 million reported users in the UK and Ireland however.
Knowing how shrewd Apple is with marketing and PR, one can deduce that much of this was intentional–that is, the integration with Bebo first beyond all other related options and the limited US news coverage. The truth is, this may be the beginning of a much bigger push by iTunes to seed itself in the social network environment and other related means of expanding its vast platform potential even further. Apple is a company who has been, historically, unwilling to integrate with most folks. This was not a random or casual move from my perspective.
Apple’s vast ambitions may be reflective of something even larger here–the beginning of a positioning for Apple a next generation label. With physical sales expected to dip below $30B this year and digital music not currently making up the difference, Apple’s position continues to become stronger daily. They have been relatively forthcoming about plans to become a primary platform and publishing tool via the Internet and mobile but perhaps there is something even more transformational on the horizon.