They've clashed before in the mobile space, much to the benefit of the former, but Apple and Google are set for a second battle royal in the online video streaming space says IHS Technology.
The analyst notes that the market for streaming video devices at $99 and below has become increasingly crowded and competitive as a broad span of products has come online and that Apple TV's price cut on the back of its partnership with HBO is likely a response to this change in competitive dynamics.
IHS Technology noted that the current situation lies in stark contrast with that of several years ago when Apple TV led a market that featured Roku as its lone true competitor. Now, the market features a wide range of products including the $25 Chromecast HDMI stick, sub-$50 full-featured HDMI sticks from Amazon and Roku, and a range of more powerful streaming boxes in the $50-99 price span from Roku, Google, Amazon, and several niche competitors.
IHS forecasts that 8.7 million Chromecast units shipped in 2014, outselling Apple TV's 8.3 million. It expects Chromecast to continue exceeding those of Apple TV by a close margin for the near future, as it regards neither Apple's fundamental capabilities nor its iOS-centric market focus to have changed.
"Overall, to create and sustain market advantage against rapidly strengthening competition, Apple will need to expand the overall capabilities of Apple TV, continue expanding the selection of marquee content partners, release updated hardware, or some combination thereof," explained IHS Technology www.ihs.com senior analyst, Paul Erickson. "Apple TV's sales growth has slowed over the past few years as the level of competition within this market has accelerated. The price cut to $69 is likely in part a response to this change in competitive dynamics and the growing success of one particular competitor with a significantly lower-priced product – Google."
To successfully stave off Google's advances in the market, the analyst suggests that Apple will need new, more powerful hardware revision as part of a renewed competitive proposition. Yet it cautioned that in terms of scale over the long-run, however, Apple's hard ties between Apple TV and iOS devices will still continue to cap Apple TV's total available market in the face of Google's multiplatform, multi-company, multi-device attack on the streaming audio and video market with Google Cast.