By now you're aware that Google acquired YouTube for $1.65B in stock yesterday. Back in late August GigaOm's Robert Young speculated that Apple was "the company that would benefit most" from an acquisition of YouTube. At the time, I wrote that an Apple acquisition of YouTube wasn't as crazy as I originally thought but that Apple might have a problem with YouTube's valuation and exposure to copyright claims.
Now that Google's picked up YouTube we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. In retrospect, Apple didn't need YouTube and all its baggage, Google is a much better fit.
Apple is blazing a new trail into the living room and they're trying to parlay their successes with the iPod and iTunes. The iTV is Apple's trojan horse (bad analogy) into the living room and part of a broader strategy where the Mac is the hub for all of your media - including movies. Apple doesn't need to be trying to sell music videos and movies while its new acquisition is giving them away.
Apple needs to appear sympathetic and cooperative to the labels, RIAA, studios and MPAA if they have a prayer at succeeding in their quest for the holy grail - the living room. YouTube would only be a distraction for Apple. In addition to the flood of copyright claims that would come out of the woodwork (lawyers, start your photocopiers!) Apple would also become the target of every copyright holder that had a grudge against the iPod.
A leadership position like the one that Apple enjoys in legal music downloads (76 percent) and portable music players (88 percent) is unprecedented and is the envy of the entire tech sector. If Apple acquired YouTube greedy lawyers would be champing at the bit to tie Apple up in litigation.
Instead of YouTube, Apple should focus on tying up more with Google - especially with CEO Eric Schmidt being appointed to the Apple board of directors. There are already hooks to Google Maps found in iPhoto and I'm sure that it's only the beginning of the integration.
Google's online word processor and spreadsheet would be a boon to Apple users, especially if enhanced versions were available to dot-Mac subscribers as we move to an ASP model of hosted applications. Spotlight could be fully replaced by Google desktop search for Mac and every iWeb blog could have Google search enabled and an option to earn Adsense revenue. Heck, maybe Google could help Apple port iPhoto and Aperture to Windows and they could both hook into an updated Picasa as a defensive move against Flickr. The possibilities are dizzying. Google's dedicated Mac software page is a step in the right direction.
Many questions about Google's acquisition of YouTube were answered in the joint press conference which is covered (with audio) on PaidContent.org.
What other people are saying about gTube:
I don't think you can sue Google into oblivion, but as others have mentioned, if Google gets nailed one single time for copyright violation, there are going to be more shareholder lawsuits than Doan's has pills to go with the pile of copyright suits that follow.
Given that Google is also not afraid of taking risk with IP issues--and going to bat in the courts over them. Google is the perfect home for YouTube because Google is excellent at holding the line on what they think is fair use and creating tools for folks to opt-out of their service. For evidence of this check their thumbnail, book-scanning, and news services. They've gotten attacked on all of those fronts and they've held the line, gone to the courts, all while respecting copyright holders.
So, Google has gone and bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock... The obvious question for me is "what sort of mobile content will come out of this?"...
Perhaps the biggest indication of any mobile results is in the content deals announced by both companies just before the merger, which is mostly with music labels and is for music videos. There's talk of free music videos supported by Google's advertising nouse.