Apr 17

Brilliant, must-read piece by Stanislav Datskovskiy:

I argue that Apple now has not one but two monopolies:

I) A nearly-total monopoly on computer (and pocket computer)
systems designed with good taste.

II) A total monopoly on the Microsoft-free, hassle-free personal
computer.

Mr. Jobs is indeed starting to behave like that other convicted
monopolist we know and love. Yet unlike the latter, Jobs did not
engage in underhanded business practices to create his
monopolies. They were handed to him on a silver platter by the
rest of the market, which insists on peddling either outright crap
or cheap imitations of Apple’s aesthetic.

(Via Alex Payne.)

[From Non-Apple’s Mistake]

This is quite a funny article actually 🙂

Creativity requires a mind, and a herd has none.

Apr 12

Tech geeks love numbers. When discussing computers, they speak of gigabits and gigahertz, of RAM and ports. The more tech adept among them will even swap out the internals or write their own code. They are tinkerers extraordinaire, and are just as happy customizing their rigs as they are in using their machines for their intended purposes, be it work or pleasure.

Then there’s everyone else.

I became a Mac user because I got tired of cracking my machine open to deal with hardware, and I got tired of fighting my software to get any work done. My work needs are simple: a browser, a word processor, and sporadic use of office productivity software (covered by Microsoft Office and Apple iWorks). With Google Docs, I use less and less of my desktop apps. I love cloud-based computing.

I was a PC gamer, but the current generation of dedicated gaming consoles took care of that. My Xbox, despite being made by Microsoft, is stable, fast, and runs my games perfectly. How could a company that gave us Windows build such a great gaming platform?

Because it was a closed system.

[From My iPad as a tool]

Remind me how long this has been the year of Linux on the desktop 🙂

Mar 30

Harry McCracken, looking back at Microsoft Bob, 15 years after its release:

Analyst Charles Finnie of Volpe, Welty & Co. called Microsoft’s product a threat to the very existence of Microsoft’s competitor in Cupertino. “Bob is going to be another nail in Apple’s coffin unless Apple can somehow raise the standard yet again on the ease-of-use front,” he told the AP.

[From ‘Another Nail in Apple’s Coffin’]

We know how that turned out 🙂

Mar 24

The high profile failure of Palm’s efforts to revitalize its flagging smartphone business with the Pre’s new webOS has analysts casting doubt over parallel phone platform reinvention efforts by others, including Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.[From Palm’s failure to take on iPhone casts doubt on Nokia, Microsoft]

They’re all doomed! Doomed I say!

Mar 17

Macs are often the black sheep in the many enterprise environments which have been dominated by Windows for nearly two decades, but the growing consumerization of IT is slowly changing that perception. Though Macs often have a higher up-front price than many business-class PCs, Macs are usually believed to have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) due to lower support costs. A recent survey of IT professionals in large enterprise environments that have a mix of Macs and PCs overwhelmingly agree that Macs cost less than PCs to support.

The Enterprise Desktop Alliance, which seeks to make it easier to integrate Macs in Windows-centric IT deployments, surveyed IT admins from companies that made large deployments, including universities and government agencies. Responses included in EDA’s analysis include those from environments with a mix of Macs and PCs that had a total of 50 servers or over 100 Macs.

A majority of respondents said that Macs cost less in terms of time spent troubleshooting, user training, help desk calls, and system configuration. Admins generally agreed that costs related to software licensing and supporting infrastructure were the same between the two platforms.

Two-thirds of those managing mixed environments plan to increase the number of Macs deployed in 2010. Twenty-nine percent cited lower TCO as a “key reason” for deploying Macs. Almost half cited lower TCO, ease of support, or a combination of the two as leading factors in Mac adoption. User preference and increased productivity were considered important factors as well.

“As a greater percentage of enterprise applications become OS-neutral, the cost to support a more diverse hardware and OS mix will decrease, making Macs a more viable choice for a greater number of users who continue to demand them,” noted Michael Silver, vice president and research director at Gartner, in a recent report on PC trends. Macs tend to be popular among C-level execs, as well as with those in creative departments and developers (especially cross-platform developers).

Apple has historically done little to actively develop a traditional strategy to target enterprise deployment. Instead, the company tends to focus on consumers first, and lets individuals drive enterprise demand for its computers and mobile devices. It does, though, make continual small improvements that make it easier to integrate Macs, iPhones, and soon iPads into many corporate environments.

Read the comments on this post

[From Survey: Macs cost notably less to support than Windows PCs]

That’s a no-brainer! Pretty much every IT person I know makes sure their family members buy Macs so they don’t have to deal with support hassles.

Mar 02

Apple is using its strong patent portfolio to fight iPhone competitors in court. Its latest target is HTC. Apple has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the cell phone manufacturer. The suit involves “20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.” Steve Jobs is quoted in a press release saying: “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.” The lawsuit itself is not available yet online. We’ve asked Apple for a copy. The lawsuit could be a way to go after Android, although Android is not mentioned in the press release. HTC manufactures some of the most successful Android handsets, from the first G1 up to the latest Nexus One. HTC’s touchscreen Android phones are the most similar to the iPhone. If that is the case, the lawsuit is a shot across Android’s bow and a warning to all Android manufacturers. This is not the first time Apple has gone after a mobile phone competitor. It is involved in similar patent litigation with Nokia. That lawsuit is more about Apple trying to get Nokia to license its patents. And the HTC suit may have the same motivation. But the fact that the lawsuit was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) as well as in a U.S. District Court in Delaware suggests that Apple is really going for the jugular. “The ITC does not award damages,” says Peter Toren, a patent lawyer with New York City law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman. The only remedy the ITC can award is an order to stop the importation of the infringing product. HTC is based in Taiwan. Apple thinks it owns the concept of the touchscreen Web phone and it wants other cell phone makers to pay for copying the iPhone or to stop altogether. Who will Apple sue next? Motorola? Palm? Research in Motion? Update: The complaint is embedded below. Some of the patents in questions are Patent Nos. 7,362,331, 7,479,949, 7,657,849, 7,469,381, 5,920,726, 7,633,076, 5,848,105, 7,383,453, 5,455,599, and 6,424,354 .

Apple vs HTC

CrunchBase InformationAppleHTCInformation provided by CrunchBase

[From Apple Goes After HTC In Lawsuit Over 20 iPhone Patents]

With all this suing going on it will be interesting to see if some of these patents (Apple’s, Nokia’s and others) actually stand up, and who has to concede what when the dust settles. In several years time…

Feb 24

Though the overall mobile market is slowing—sales are down about one percent for 2009 year-over-year—a slight fourth quarter sales jump balanced the dips during the rest of the year. The good news is all in smartphones, as sales were up a whopping 41.1 percent for the fourth quarter and 23.8 percent overall, according to the latest data from market research firm Gartner. Nokia still commands large but declining chunks of smartphone and overall mobile phone sales, while iPhone and Android devices saw big leaps last year.

Overall mobile phone sales were down about 11 million units for 2009—perhaps good news for the growing concern about the contribution mobile phones make to the growing e-waste problem. Three of the top five vendors saw sales decline over the year, with Nokia down a couple points, and Motorola and Sony Ericsson seeing their shares cut almost in half. Samsung’s share of the mobile phone market is up to almost 20 percent, and LG bumped up a couple points to 10 percent. Gartner told Ars that Apple doubled its share of the overall market from 1.2 percent in 2008 to 2.1 percent for 2009, though it wasn’t enough to put it in the top five.

[From iPhone and Android biggest winners in mobile market in 2009]

Don’t forget RIM.

Feb 17

Jim Ray:

More importantly, though, with something like browser rendering engines, I’m philosophically opposed to a monoculture.

First, I was observing more than celebrating. (But if any one rendering engine had to win the whole mobile shebang, I’m delighted it’s WebKit. But I’d love to see Mozilla get its mobile balls on.) But, bigger point: if any individual WebKit platform vendor disagrees with the direction of the mainline WebKit trunk, or simply thinks they can do better, they can do so. Real open source.

And:

For one, replace “WebKit” with “Flash” and suddenly the iPhone is the holdout.

Really? Every WebOS, BlackBerry, and Android phone today ships with Flash? I didn’t know that. (Not to mention Windows Mobile 7, phones with which aren’t shipping until “holidays 2010”, and which apparently aren’t going to ship with Flash.)

[From Jim Ray on the WebKit Mobile Browser Monoculture]

On the desktop Adobe had years to develop a Flash player to run properly on Mac OS X and Linux and failed. If they can’t provide a good implementation for more than one desktop platform how can they possibly provide a half-dozen or so mobile versions that aren’t dreadful?

Feb 10

Insightful reporting based on interviews with current and former Microsoft employees:

“When I started at MSFT in 1996, there were six people between me
and [Microsoft cofounder] Bill Gates,” Boris said. “In 2009, there
were 13 people between me and [Microsoft CEO] Steve Ballmer.” Fred
said, “the number of managers between me and the CEO went from six
to 10,” during the last decade. Another long-time Microsoftie,
whom I’ll call Barry, saw his reports go from six to 12.

Fascinating stuff, too, about the bizarre incentive structure for Microsoft employees. I think this gets to the nut of exactly what’s wrong with Microsoft. They’ve evolved a powerful, deep bureaucracy that has lost any sort of focus on creating great products. Worse, for obvious reasons Microsoft’s management is unlikely to see itself as the problem. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

[From Joe Wilcox on Microsoft’s Glut of Middle Managers]

Interesting stuff.

Feb 09

Bumper year for finger-friendly phones The world’s smartphone makers shipped more touchscreen models in Q4 2009 than at any time in the past – and more touchphones than devices with buttons.…The power of collaboration within unified communications [From Touchscreens take lead in smartphone biz]

And Apple is the leader in touchscreen smartphones.

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