Missing the point: The real stakes in the smartphone wars

The responses to my last several posts on the smartphone wars (The iPhone 4: Too little, too late; More dispatches from the smartphone wars; Steve Jobs’ Snow Job; Flattening the Smartphone Market; Now’s a bad time to be an Apple fanboy…; Android Rising) demonstrate that many of my readers continue to miss the real stakes in the smartphone wars and the real point of my analyses of them.

It’s not about whether or not Apple will be crushed. It’s not about who makes the “best” products, where “best” is measured by some interaction between the product and the speaker’s evaluation of the relative importance of various features and costs. It’s about what the next generation of personal computing platforms will be. Down one fork they’ll be open, hackable, and user-controlled. Down the other they’ll be closed, locked down, and vendor-controlled. Though there are others on each side of this struggle, in 2010 it comes down to whether Apple or Android wins the race to over 50% smartphone market share; after that point, network effects will become self-reinforcing until the next technology disruption.

When I took my first hard look at the smartphone wars (Why Android matters), I observed that “…Google itself doesn’t have to win or end up with control of anything for the future to play out as described. It’s not even necessary that Android itself be the eventual dominant cellphone platform. All they have to do is force the competitive conditions so that whatever does end up dominating is as open as Android is.” This remains the single most important fact behind Google’s strategy. It means they’re playing to achieve an Internet that is as friction-free and commoditized as possible, with no one else able to extract tolls or rents that would cut into their future ad revenue. It also means they don’t have to make a single dime from Android licensing to win – in fact, it makes business sense for them to spend engineering dollars for the short-term benefit of telephone carriers in order to keep smartphones out of anyone else’s control.

The good news – from both Google’s and the consumer’s point of view – is not so much that Android is winning. It’s that the closed-source proprietary alternatives to Android are all losing. WinMobile is a joke. The least implausible candidates to come out of left field would be WebOS and MeeGo, the former mostly open source and the latter entirely.

At this point Apple’s iPhone OS is the only viable champion of a bad outcome. But Apple does not have to go into receivership for the long-term good to prevail. If Apple is content to be what it has been in the PC space – a boutique vendor building its notion of the “best” products, with high margins and a single-digit market share – that’s not a problem. In that future, we could leave the fashion victims and art fags to their insistence that Apple does the slickest “user experience” and that’s all that matters, without worrying that their cult-like devotion will cause problems for the rest of us.

What must not be allowed to happen is a recurrence of single-vendor closed-source monopoly, only with better industrial design and PR than Microsoft’s. That would be bad…but it also looks almost vanishingly unlikely now. The iPhone 4 was at best a very weak riposte against Android 2.2; it will keep its fanbase, but (especially in view of Apple’s failure to go multicarrier and AT&T’s recent pricing moves) almost certainly won’t regain Apple’s lost market share, let alone slow down Android as the latter hoovers up most of the user conversions from dumb phones.

Really, the fact that the Sprint EVO 4 and Nexus One even look plausible against the iPhone probably means it’s game over for any thought Apple might have entertained of owning the smartphone space. Apple fanboys who are now itching to repeat “But that’s never been what they were after…” at me for the forty-seventh-gazillionth time should just stuff it. If you’re right, that just means that Android has already won in the only sense I have ever cared about, care about now, or ever will care about before the heat-death of the universe.

313 thoughts on “Missing the point: The real stakes in the smartphone wars

  1. > a recurrence of single-vendor closed-source monopoly,
    > only with better industrial design and PR than Microsoft’s.

    Regardless of how much love or hate you have for Microsoft, it is important to note that Microsoft never was the threat in the PC world that Apple is in the phone world. You could always put whatever you wanted on a Windows PC, no need to get Microsoft’s approval, including low level drivers and things of that nature.

    It is that level of control that is profoundly worrying to me about the iPhone, regardless of how much prettier the result it. And what is of great significance is that this is not an accidental friction, it is undoubtedly a deliberate design by Jobs. Putatively to keep the experience good (and that is no doubt part of it), but also, as is clear from the Google Voice debacle, it is also to control the competition, and that is downright scary.

    Simply speaking, Jobs is an insane control freak. This isn’t a “recurrence of a closed source monopoly” it is far, far worse than that. Hopefully Android can ameliorate that risk.

  2. Jessica Boxer Says:
    > Simply speaking, Jobs is an insane control freak. This
    > isn’t a “recurrence of a closed source monopoly” it is
    > far, far worse than that.

    I should add that it is far, far worse not only because Jobs has the platform under such scary levels of control, but also because it is my opinion that the smart phone revolution could, in the long run, be even more important than the PC revolution. The potential for smart phones to become a profoundly intimate part of your daily life is greatly underestimated. It isn’t there yet, but it is coming.

    I don’t want Steve in my intimate zone.

  3. Eric, Jesus Christ.

    You have beaten this cell phone topic to death. And then hit it 2 or 3 more times.

    How about a post on Helen Thomas’s brilliant comments telling the Jews to go back to Germany and Poland?
    Yes why did the Jews originally leave Germany and Poland? Something that happened in the 40s I can’t quite recall…

  4. Couldn’t agree more.

    Jessica — ditto on your thoughts. Jobs is much, much scarier than Gates and Balmer ever could be. The biggest thing that scares me about Jobs’ mentality, and that of his army of zealots, is the allegation that anything that shares similar concepts to Apple design is “stolen” or carbon-copied from Apple. The allegation for years that MS Windows was a copy of MacOS, and now that every smartphone in existence is merely an iPod clone is not only megamaniacally insane, it’s a really dangerous attitude, that one company should be able to make software/hardware that have a particular style or system of metaphors, and anyone that follows suit is a thief. I pray IP law doesn’t skirt too much farther down that path — imagine a world where Apple (or anyone else) could prevent anyone from making something in the same product class as their own creations. Such is a world where science and technology grind to a screeching halt.

  5. Hmm. I hope ESR is correct about the eventual dominance of open platforms. (I spend most of my paid time programming and using computers, and have for >30years) But I’m not as confident as Eric, time will tell.

  6. >How about a post on Helen Thomas’s brilliant comments telling the Jews to go back to Germany and Poland?

    Um, revolting anti-Semitism from a left-winger? How is this any kind of surprise?

    I’m less motivated to blog about politics than I used to be. Bismarckian-style intrusive statism is now collapsing around our ears, so pushing it into its grave doesn’t seem as important as it used to. Everything people like Helen Thomas relied on as eternal verities is going to be swept away by the oncoming sovereign-debt collapse; they won’t be able to cope, at all, on any level. The meteor reached atmosphere when Social Security went insolvent; dinosaurs like her will feel the shock wave soon enough. So why pile on?

    More politics is declared off topic for this thread and will be subject to deletion at my cruel and arbitrary whim.

  7. I think your essential argument is that mobile, i.e. using the latest incantation of a ubiquitous wireless network, computing provides the most general value so is the future of computing/internet. And if we all don’t want the equivalent of the phones people rented from Ma Bell in the 70s (or like all cell phones pre-iPhone) then the market has to choose the most open platform so hackers are free to create on zero budget, just as they were when the Internet was a baby.

    I tend to agree that for any chance for hackers to get a foothold there needs to be an open platform. The primary driver for that however is not that Jobs is a control freak therefore if he had the most market share with his closed platform then the open guys would close up so they can try and compete by doing the same thing, but that unlike the Internet the communication system for this mobile computing platform is completely under the thumb of the government. So the only chance for hackers to play there is for:
    a) someone to break open the network in the way that apple did with the iPhone
    b) android to come along and prove to be a viable way for phone vendors to make money that is at least comparable with a closed OS.

    What I’m not clear on is why one has to dominate the market or why you seem to be looking at it as a zero sum or at least if the market selects Apple to get 51% of the market, then automatically that invalidates the open market and hackers are shut out of playing in the mobile world. Why couldn’t HTC or someone end up being content being the boutique vendor for weird hackers with single digit market share? You seem to be saying it’s all or nothing and I’m not sure I understand why that would be the case?

    I think a bigger threat to the future where everyone routinely customizes the command line prompt on their cell phone to print out something from fortune(6) is the whim of a politician who wants the right not to have to think when choosing his phone so fights to mandate a bunch of arbitrary technical limitations on the devices that are allowed to be used on THE PEOPLES airwaves, or wants to cash in on the smartphone wars so adds in extra taxes so the vendors of smartphones can buy extra fiddle strings for the po’ folk.

    Or wait for the day that any smartphone is blamed for the death of a child because it crashes at the wrong time, someone couldn’t figure out how to use it to dial 911, or someone was able to dial 911 but the network was congested because Victoria’s Secret ran a special mobile user only fashion show and brought down every network it won’t be 3 seconds before we’re back to choosing between black and silver, and not even considering tethering, megapixels or the ability of the retina to resolve two dots on a surface 14 inches away.

  8. >You seem to be saying it’s all or nothing and I’m not sure I understand why that would be the case?

    Because if a closed solution goes over 50% market share network effects will almost certainly take it a lot higher, up to 90% or so. And that would suck.

    I agree there are lots of other threats to openness of a more political kind. But that doesn’t mean the technical lock-in issues don’t deserve attention now. Ultimately, they’re likely to shape the political landscape in subtle but important ways.

  9. > Because if a closed solution goes over 50% market share network effects will almost certainly take it a lot higher, up to 90% or so.

    This I don’t get, but I’ve not made a great study of economics so I’m open to argument, although my initial (uninformed) response is that it sounds like hocus pocus. Any works you know of or recommend that discuss the principles involved here?

    > I agree there are lots of other threats to openness of a more political kind. But that doesn’t mean the technical lock-in issues don’t deserve attention now.

    So it seems you’re basically saying, if you value openness in the computing, you should value openness in smartphones and should support the open platform now to ensure it wins. I think that follows if your economic premise holds.

    Thanks.

  10. With all due respect, I think the impending doom of the iPhone and the dangers of Steve Jobs are both vastly overstated. Of course any current iPhone looks bad compared with what Android could become: future promise always looks rosy. But Apple’s not standing still. In the last few years many gripes about the iPhone have been answered: it’s cheaper, not restricted to web apps, has cut and paste, multitasking, a better camera (in fact two), etc. When it’s available on networks other than AT&T (in a year or so, depending on who you ask), another big complaint will be answered, and another leap in growth will occur.

    And no, it’s not just “fashion victims and art fags” who care about design and user experience. It’s most people, by far. The percentage of cellphone owners who care how “open” their phone is probably in the single digits. That’s the niche market: people who want their phone to be as flexible as a PC (which means as complicated, difficult, and troublesome as a PC). I hope you get the open phone that you want, and I think you will, but I suspect it’s not going to dominate the market in most senses. Maybe lots of people will have Android phones, but most owners won’t take advantage of the openness craved by the ubergeeks, which means the developer market for the software won’t easily equal or surpass the App Store.

    Ultimately, it’s easier to take a well-designed product and make it more open, than it is take something open and improve the design and user experience. And I suspect Jobs is prepared to make the iPhone more open if necessary. If he decides that all OS X software can only be purchased through the App Store, I’ll join in the howls of protest. But I strongly doubt he’d do that. It’s just that he thinks smartphones and touchscreen tablets are something a bit different from PCs, and needn’t be designed and built and sold by the old rules, at least at first. In three years the iPhone went from a rumor to selling over 40 million units and creating the product to beat, so I think he’s doing something right.

  11. esr wrote:
    > Because if a closed solution goes over 50%
    > market share network effects will almost
    > certainly take it a lot higher, up to 90% or
    > so. And that would suck.

    I’m with Kevin on this one: I am not sure what would cause the network effect you are talking about. Usually that requires a high cost of switching and/or some network thing that makes it hard to go outside the network. In a sense, you could argue Android is more prone to that, because of the pervasive use of your Google credentials on there. If it is easy to switch from iPhone to Android (which AFAIK it is), and if there is no big database or network locking you into iPhone (which AFAIK there isn’t), what is causing the network effect?

    Or to put it another way why does Kevin tell Jessica she just has to get an iPhone like he has so that they can do such and such, which is only possible if they both have an iPhone? Perhaps a few games, but that is it.

    One thing that is interesting in this respect is the whole app business. I really haven’t managed to get my head around it but what I remember is that during the Microsoft anti trust trials the court documents claimed that Microsoft had an insurmountable, unfair competitive advantage, because of the huge number of applications available only on that platform. The number I remember was 70,000. Yet within a year both Android and iPhone had both greatly exceeded that number. That is a curious fact don’t you think?

  12. >This I don’t get, but I’ve not made a great study of economics so I’m open to argument, although my initial (uninformed) response is that it sounds like hocus pocus. Any works you know of or recommend that discuss the principles involved here?

    Hm, can’t think of a good popular-level presentation offhand. Here’s the idea: some kinds of technologies rise in perceived value to the customer proportionately to the extent that other people are using them too – operating systems and networking technologies are both like this. To maximize utility and lower costs you have a powerful incentive to join the biggest gang, or what you think the biggest gang will be when the dust settles.

    Because everyone else is reasoning the same way, such technologies are subject to very powerful winner-take-all effects. Getting to 51% share may be hard, but once you’ve done that and your potential customers know it the next 35% tends to happen absurdly quickly as everyone scrambles to join the winner.

    Eventually (and I think I was the first to point this out in print, BTW) such network monopolies are destroyed by their own success; the monopolists, chasing ever-larger returns, jack up the annual rent until it exceeds the transition cost out of the technology. This is how proprietary (non-TCP/IP) networking destroyed itself. But it means that the history of these markets tend to look like long stretches of serial monopolies or oligopolies, occasionally disrupted by a technology transition, until something open-source-like happens.

  13. >Usually that requires a high cost of switching and/or some network thing that makes it hard to go outside the network.

    That’s network effects from negative externalities. You can also have network effects from positive externalities, like the estimated future size of your app and developers base. Switching cost doesn’t have to be measured in pain, it can also be denominated in the units of opportunities you rationally expect to lose.

    >In a sense, you could argue Android is more prone to that, because of the pervasive use of your Google credentials on there.

    Which is why Google’s Data Liberation Front is important. It’s a way of signaling to customers and partners that it’s safe to let Google run the infrastructure because they’re not going to play the data-lock-in game. Jessica, you should think hard about the second-order impact of that signal – you are bright enough to deduce some of the larger consequences for yourself.

  14. Jessica Boxer: The wild woolliness will eventually end, and somebody is going to win. That somebody is going to get the best apps. The best Second Life phone client. The best network. The best $NEXT_BIG_THING app. When they have a niche interest that can sustain a phone app, but can’t sustain five phone apps, the phone app will be for the winner, and everybody either has or will soon have a niche interest like that. The best hardware will come out for it first.

    Network effects for cell phone platforms aren’t anywhere near as strong as social networking or IM network effects. After all, this is just Microsoft DOS/Windows v. Apple all over again in most ways, and the network effects didn’t destroy Apple, it just forced them into a niche. But they are still there and there is every reason to believe the market will stabilize just like the consumer OS market did (for a long time, at least): #1: 95%, #2 4%, everybody else: 1%. (Give or take a few percentage points for all segments.) The same forces in play, the same end result.

    Cell phones are just computers with a couple standard peripherals, after all; arguably this isn’t analogous to the OS situation, it is the OS situation. A historically unusual but ultimately unsustainable anomaly brought on by cell phone carriers owning the platform for too long and having too much control due to happening to control one component let us pretend for a long time that cell phones were a new segment and different forces were in play, but they aren’t. It is as during 1990-2000 the world of computing hardware was controlled by modem and network card manufacturers; if somehow we had blundered into that world, how long could it sustain itself, before natural forces converged to return us to the world we currently live in?

    (There’s a reason why Microsoft has been so desperate to control this space; my only question is why they haven’t tried harder.)

    ESR says: Excellent analysis, both in broad sweep and in the details.

    (And what the heck is with all the JB’s around here? Jessica Boxer, me, the guy/gal actually commenting as JB…)

  15. >(There’s a reason why Microsoft has been so desperate to control this space; my only question is why they haven’t tried harder.)

    I’ve mentioned this before. They did try, but the carriers looked at the history of the PC market and told them to fuck off and die. There was no way the carriers were going to let Microsoft do to them what it did to IBM. Ever since, WinMobile has been minimally funded as a more or less forlorn hope.

  16. You are obsessed with “being open” – that’s the only “point”, all other people are “missing the point”.

    Ask the phone users, TV users, … do they care? They didn’t miss any point, they just want a better phone (maybe just a better looking phone), open or not open doesn’t matter.

    Ask Google, if they care about “open”, why not open source Google search?

  17. > And no, it’s not just “fashion victims and art fags” who care about design and user experience. It’s most people, by far. The
    > percentage of cellphone owners who care how “open” their phone is probably in the single digits.

    I was standing in line earlier this evening at WWDC (at the bash, waiting to grab a burger before OK Go came out to play).
    Guy in front of me has an HTC. I ask him if Android has gotten any better since Cupcake (I used to own a G1.) He essentially said, “No”, and griped about being stuck on 1.5. We spoke some about Google’s (lack of) ability to get the carriers to fall in-line.

    The rapid fragmentation of Android reminds me of what happened to Unix in the 80s and 90s, prior to Microsoft shipping Windows 3.1 and then Windows 95. The Unix vendors wasted a 10+ year lead by not aligning on having developers being able to write to a common environment.

    The linux ‘vendors’ have nearly done the same thing, though at least there is some level of co-operation between Ubuntu, Red Hat and Suse/Novell. Problem is, there was already a dominant desktop player, and taking it back is… difficult.

    Jeremy said: “That somebody is going to get the best apps. The best Second Life phone client. The best network. The best $NEXT_BIG_THING app.”

    I think he’s right, but unstated is the ability to upgrade the OS on the phone to allow for new ways of using it.

    This a huge problem looming for Android.

    Unlike Windows desktop computers, the Windows Phone operating system cannot be directly upgraded by the user. Instead, phone owners are at the mercy of their telephone service provider to issue an upgrade, which often does not happen.

    Apple can release a new version of the OS, and its customers (the owners of the devices) can upgrade the phones themselves (via iTunes).

    Which of these situations resembles the situation with Android?

  18. “…especially in view of Apple’s failure to go multicarrier and AT&T’s recent pricing moves)…”

    Apple didn’t “fail” to go multi carrier. The iPhone is already mutli carrier, as you can buy one without subscription, and use it on any GSM compatible network.
    The US isn’t the World. The US mobile phone market appears different from the rest of the world because not all carriers operate using the same network standards (because, unlike in Europe, there is no government mandate to use GSM). If you want to see how the iPhone fares in a market that is much further on the was to full commoditization you have to look at Europe. The iPhone does quite well, there. In fact, most Linux System Engineers or Administrators I know have one. Wonder why…
    As to AT&T’s pricing moves: ESR argues that “fixed rates all you can eat” make the most sense when selling network services. However when you (intend to) allow tethering (as for example most European carriers do) you do need to impose a cap. Otherwise people will use their phones as a replacement for DSL service. That eats in to the turnover of your other businesses, and the mobile networks are not yet up to carrying all that bittorrent traffic. Reasonable caps are really not a nuisance for most users anyway.

  19. >He essentially said, “No”, and griped about being stuck on 1.5.

    If he’s still stuck on 1.5, he’s probably not very well qualified to claim that 2.x is no better. Duh…

    >The rapid fragmentation of Android

    iOS is now officially fragmented – Jobs admits that apps will need “a little work’ to take advantage of the hardware. I am actually surprised that Apple bungled this issue, but there it is.

  20. >As to AT&T’s pricing moves: ESR argues that “fixed rates all you can eat” make the most sense when selling network services.

    That’s a slight oversimplification. Fixed-rate all you can eat eventually makes sense, but may not relatively early in the lifetime of a network when capacity is limited relative to user demand.

  21. > Jobs admits that apps will need “a little work’ to take advantage of the hardware.

    Eric, I actually sat in on that session today. While I can’t tell you the contents, its not that big a deal, and many improvements relating to the screen come for free. (No mods necessary.)

    Don’t blind yourself. You’re a smart guy. Think.

    Apple is competing on other fronts, too. The recent changes to section 3.3.9 are a gun to the head of Google:

    3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent, and then only under the following conditions:

    The collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.

    The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes.

    There is also a lot of speculation that The iPhone is about to be offered on T-Mobile in the US. (Its already been announced for T-Mobile in the UK.) The right frequency support is now in-place, so people pissed off with AT&T will have a choice.

  22. >The recent changes to section 3.3.9 are a gun to the head of Google:

    Ha. I don’t think Apple is even capable of putting a gun to the head of Google, and this sure as hell ain’t it. I wonder if Jobs understands how weak his position is?

  23. “The US isn’t the World. ”

    Europe isn’t the World, either.

  24. >>“The US isn’t the World. ”

    >Europe isn’t the World, either.

    I lived in Europe for several years as a child and have traveled there extensively since; I understand conditions there from ground- and gut-level. I’m therefore amused at Europeans when they take a snotty you’re-such-an-American-provincial tone with me. Not one of those that’s pulled that move, so far, has ever had a reciprocal grasp of American conditions.

  25. > I wonder if Jobs understands how weak his position is?

    Care to elaborate?

  26. “The percentage of cellphone owners who care how “open” their phone is probably in the single digits. That’s the niche market: people who want their phone to be as flexible as a PC (which means as complicated, difficult, and troublesome as a PC). ”
    Exactly, this is only a discussion by uebernerds. Like in the Mac days Apple has set the user friendly standards which MS and now Androids are trying to follow. Being the best always brings on the usual paranoid uebergeeks trying to tell us that someone is trying to rule the world. Do you really think Google is not trying to rule the world?? They have exactly the same motivations as Apple, dominating the cyber world and earn the most money.
    Personally I don ‘t care whether the system is opne or not, all I want is a good working, intuitive smartphone. In my smartphone layman (and that’s 95% of the users) experience the Iphone is that, not (yet) the Androids.
    Besides I’m very afraid that an open system is heaven for hackers, see MS vs Apple OS.

  27. > The recent changes to section 3.3.9 are a gun to the head of Google:

    Or it just justifies why Google “betrayed” Apple and came up with Android in the first place: so Google would *not* be shot in the head if Apple did something like this. Yes, Google wouldn’t have provoked Steve’s wrath with Android, but how long do you think it would have been before *something* happened to cause a rift between those two tech titans? They do already compete on other areas, such as web browsers and cloud services, so it’s not like Android is the only thing that they are fighting for users over.

    Google needs to be in a situation where it isn’t entirely dependent on another company for financial success in an entire sector. Thus, it was entirely rational to start Android to avoid something like this from *actually* hurting Google like you suggest it does. By Apple doing this, it only shows that Google did the right thing by inventing and promoting Android. Besides, if an existing company was able to compete effectively with Apple, Google would not have had to have stepped in with Android to maintain balance.

  28. I really did not want to post this, but there will just be more and more posts it seems from the Apple apologists saying exactly the same thing.

    > You are obsessed with “being open” – that’s the only “point”, all other people are “missing the point”.
    > Ask the phone users, TV users, … do they care? They didn’t miss any point, they just want a better phone (maybe just a better looking phone), open or not open doesn’t matter.

    Let’s be cynical for a moment and say that the vast majority of people do *not* care about openness directly. There’s many still benefits of an “open” winner that will affect the average person. Put simply, an open-sourced platform benefits the consumer without them even noticing that it’s open. Just like you don’t need to know how computer hardware works in order to benefit from a computer, you don’t need to know the software technicalities to benefit from it, either.

    Here’s why the open *will* win though: Think about platform openness in general. An open sourced platform, of course, will always be more open than a closed source one because it can be given away for free; look at all the generic Chinese tablets and phones that run Android legally. Yet, in this case, Apple’s OS isn’t even open to other hardware manufacturers. It can be said, then, that Microsoft in the PC world was the *open* solution compared to Apple’s Mac OS in that Windows was allowed to legally run on hardware clones. Still, an open source operating system that is $0 in licensing fees would have undercut Windows before it was even popular. Free trumps cheap to the hardware manufacturers (firms maximize profit), which is why the OS which is the alternative-to-Apple in this case *will* have to be a $0 one since there is no sufficiently strong reason to rally around a more expensive one (in the PC world Windows is already too entrenched).

    Imagine the quality and advancement pace of hardware (not to even bring into the limited hardware choices) if there was only one hardware vendor that had a mammoth share of the computer market. It would be a nightmare. PCs managed to avoid it, let’s hope phones do too. This is actually why Android *will* win: every hardware manufacturer *except* for Apple has incentive to rally around a single alternative platform, and Android already has enough publicity… and enough apps.

    All these factors put together, and many more reasons that I don’t want to list, it doesn’t *matter* if the users care. I could go on for paragraphs, but I merely want to point out that there actually *is* detailed analysis behind this point of view, as opposed to blatant generalizations.

    > Personally I don ‘t care whether the system is opne or not, all I want is a good working, intuitive smartphone. In my smartphone layman (and that’s 95% of the users) experience the Iphone is that, not (yet) the Androids.

    Like any good capitalist (as I can assume by your name), let’s let the market decide what’s more important: one high-end device with an allegedly excellent experience or a wide array of devices from very cheap (barely more than a feature phone) to better-than-the-iPhone (in pure hardware specs at least). Clearly the people will vote what they want with their wallets, and the OS that people want will be the one with the larger market share, not necessarily the opinion of a self-appointed representative of the Average People. Do not claim that they secretly want some OS other than the one on the phone they own, because in that case they either had other priorities first (like carrier or price of the device) or they will in the long run (in this case about two years) even everything out by buying the device they actually want.

    > Besides I’m very afraid that an open system is heaven for hackers [sic], see MS vs Apple OS.

    Which is why Linux is the least secure of all the major desktop OSes, right? Oh, never mind, it actually becomes a matter of “security by obscurity” saving Apple here. Just like not too many game developers publish for Macintosh, not too many virus developers publish for Macintosh, and for the same reason: they get a bigger potential audience by putting it on Windows. The market leader will always get the most security problems, merely because there’s more people out there to discover the security holes and not because of any kind of inferiority or superiority. In Microsoft’s case, the inferiority only comes because it is very slow to patch vulnerabilities…

  29. Verry Innterressting Disscussion…

    I got royally pissed at my HTC Incredible today. Took a 8.1 minute video of my son at his last Mommy and Me meeting and when I clicked on the mouse/joystick thingy to stop recording the camera app crashed, and when I tried to play back the video, it said: unable to play. I have been considering all day how to stick it to all the Verizon/HTC/Google corporate overlords. Venting here makes me feel better already.

    My take is very simple: Eric is right. There are too many device lines out there innovating fast enough for Apple, no matter its engineering prowess, to release a device good enough to eclipse them all. Therefore, the Android and Android-like–do recall Unix was eclipsed by clone-ish Linux–will dominate the global market.

    I also think that the current cell-phone technology stack will blow up when someone, somewhere, comes up with a chip-on-a-microSD capable of smartphone-to-smartphone 2-30 km communication (or something along those lines.) It may start out slow, but taking into account mesh networking and the *nix pedigree of devices out there, many new types of applications will emerge that will make the very existence of the existing cell phone infrastructure completely obsolete.

    One needs to understand that this may not occur in the United States or Europe. It may explode in a surprising place, like Uganda or Kenya, with the end result that all modern nations will drool at the amazing capabilities afforded these hand-held communicating portable computers with zero-infrastructure, and will promptly rewrite their laws to circumvent existing intellectual property rights to be able to adopt the same.

    Then, as carriers collapse ignominously, hat-in-hand at Congress’s doorstep bemoaning the loss of jobs in local, vocal, and voting communities, a thousand and one startups with grandiose plans will pitch feverish VCs and their moneyed ilks on the vacuous merits of their vertically-integrated gaming, news and media social-network facebook-killer, only to stir up the mud long enough to provide Hackerdom the luxury of cloak and allow for the surreptitious creation of the Next Google.

    To the children of the Connected Age, our asynchronous, ASCII-based email and IM ways will seem quaint and old-fashioned, for to them the machines will provide instant voice and video anywhere and anytime to anyone–infant to aged–eliminating the need to keep/maintain/archive much of what has been computerized in the past half-century, save perhaps a copy of wikipedia for sentimental value, and dramatically change the workplace and the city.

    Mankind, no longer tethered to Towers and multi-year 10,000 word Contracts, will find itself, again, able to communicate freely.

    I know politics have been banned from this discussion, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the fiercest opponents of this seemingly idyllic future are the Western World’s Security Apparatuses backed as they are by their phobic governments.

    Oh, look, I have strayed far afield into the foggy realms of Fantasy and will now stop, feeling somewhat disoriented.

  30. “I’m less motivated to blog about politics than I used to be. Bismarckian-style intrusive statism is now collapsing around our ears, so pushing it into its grave doesn’t seem as important as it used to. ”

    No, this is when you have to push the hardest, you cannot give those ideologies time to regroup! This is not the time for complacency.

  31. Europe isn’t the World, either.

    Europe is, however, more representative of the cellphone market outside North America from a standards and infrastructure perspective.

    It’s worth noting that the iPhone is a huge thing in Japan right now; Apple is the only American electronics manufacturer to get a hearts-and-minds foothold over there in several decades. Android deployment? Very little, geeks only.

    The major reason why Android is so significant in the North American market is because it’s been able to successfully position itself as an “iPhone alternative” for people with contracts on other carriers or who don’t like AT&T’s abysmal customer service and frequent network problems. In markets where carriers don’t have a hammerlock on phone vendors and buyers you should be able to get a better bead on what consumers actually want in a phone, and it looks like the iPhone more closely hits the mark.

    Let’s not forget that Symbian still completely dominates the total smartphone market — although because app development on Symbian, from what I hear, is a pain in the ass I suspect its significance will wane over the next year or two as the “next gen” — iPhone and Android — smartphone devices take over.

  32. do recall Unix was eclipsed by clone-ish Linux

    The only desktop Unix of any note, these days, is Mac OS X.

  33. > I’m therefore amused at Europeans when they take a snotty you’re-such-an-American-provincial tone with me. Not one of those that’s pulled that move, so far, has ever had a reciprocal grasp of American conditions.

    Here in Australia, as a point of comparison, iPhone isn’t locked to a single carrier and is (at least anecdotally) romping it in as dominant smartphone.

    Android devices are only very recently becoming available, though – so this may change.

    Incidentally, I seem to recall that our competition (“anti trust” to you americans) regulator, the ACCC, had a bit to say about the prospect of single-carrier lock in for iPhone and this was. One of the reasons for the much better deal Australians have on this than our friends across the Pacific.

    I’ll leave further discussion of the merits of that piece of regulatory intervention to you libtertarians :)

  34. @esr and Jeremy Bowers:

    Cell phones are just computers with a couple standard peripherals, after all; arguably this isn’t analogous to the OS situation, it is the OS situation.

    It’s almost the same situation. You both seem to forget that the number one reason for the network effects described here:

    . Here’s the idea: some kinds of technologies rise in perceived value to the customer proportionately to the extent that other people are using them too – operating systems and networking technologies are both like this. To maximize utility and lower costs you have a powerful incentive to join the biggest gang, or what you think the biggest gang will be when the dust settles.

    Because everyone else is reasoning the same way, such technologies are subject to very powerful winner-take-all effects. Getting to 51% share may be hard, but once you’ve done that and your potential customers know it the next 35% tends to happen absurdly quickly as everyone scrambles to join the winner.

    The difference is that the biggest reasons for these effects revolved around apps and data. The application that propelled MS-DOS to dominance (it’s “killer app”) was Lotus 1-2-3. The “killer app” for Windows was Microsoft Word for Windows and, later, Microsoft Office. Those were the apps that were considered “must have”. Also remember that the primary data exchange format used to be floppy disks — these days it’s the Net. (Anybody else remember when Slackware used as a set of floppy images? I do.)

    I said before that the killer app for the smartphone was Web and e-mail and esr largely agreed with me. That’s true. But what is the killer app for iPhone or Android? (No, Apple weenies, it isn’t the App Store or iTunes). At the moment there isn’t one.

    One reason for that is that for everything revolving around communication, hackers and those in favor of open standards have won the data war. There is no vendor locked-in e-mail or vendor locked-in Web. Even Microsoft’s crappy IE7 and IE8 are now (mostly) standards-compliant. And the Internet being the predominant exchange medium means that open formats are now in-demand.

    So unless or until there’s a “killer app” I posit that there will likely be no clear winner in the smartphone market for some time to come.

  35. I’m still not convinced that 51% market share leads to domination. For a counter example, take the console wars. It seems like the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii all have some large, non-trivial market share, and it doesn’t look as if any one of those consoles is ever going to exhibit winner-take-all dynamics. Furthermore, it seems like if any market space that exhibited lock-in and winner-take-all dynamics, it would be the video game market. This follows because because of the large cost of game development (many of orders of magnitude more than for smart-phones) and consumer lock-in (consoles are expensive, and games that are playable on one console are not playable on the other).

    I want to believe that you’re right that openness will win in the smart-phone market; I’m just not convinced and hoping you can provide more arguments to show that you’re right.

    Thanks
    Albert

  36. Morgan Greywolf said:
    > I said before that the killer app for the smartphone was Web and e-mail and esr largely
    > agreed with me. That’s true. But what is the killer app for iPhone or Android? (No, Apple
    > weenies, it isn’t the App Store or iTunes). At the moment there isn’t one.

    I sense that the whole ‘FaceTime’ video-chat system is Apple’s maneouver in this direction. It’s free iPhone-to-iPhone, although wifi only for now, and the sort of thing that could spur the network effect quite strongly. I’d be more worried about this than anything else on the new phone, since you can bet that Apple is not going to allow it to talk to other phones or services outside of thiers. If the app actually performs well enough, it might mean trouble…

  37. I sense that the whole ‘FaceTime’ video-chat system is Apple’s maneouver in this direction.

    The EVO 4G has Qik, which is pretty much the same thing, but it also allows you put live video feeds on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Oh, and it isn’t limited to WiFi or iPhones, unlike FaceTime.

  38. # esr Says:
    > like the estimated future size of your app
    > and developers base.

    See this is the thing that seems oddly different to me. As I mentioned an insurmountable number of apps, as far as anti trust regulators were concerned, was 70,000 for Windows. But it seems that both Android and iPhone are getting 70,000 new apps a year! Now for sure the nature of those apps are different for a lot of reasons. However, it seems to me that everything important is available for both platforms, so the size of the app base is, from a network perspective basically the same.

    Now important point here: namely the capricious iPhone app approval process. I wonder which company can seriously take the risk of making a large investment into iPhone given that they don’t know until the money is spent whether they can recoup a single dime. Why? They make their app and then pray to the gods of Cupertino that some punk will approve it. Anybody want to put that in a venture capital business plan? What makes it even more scary is that there are examples out there of large, expensive to develop software actually being rejected. So this is not an imaginary threat.

    Apple can fix this in a number of ways, such as a pre-approval process based on a functional specification and/or a better rejection process where they enumerate the things they expect fixed, and make a commitment that if fixed, they will approve. However, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that they will do that.

    It seems to me that if I was responsible for product development on phone platforms (iPad too), I would absolutely insist that the software was targeted for both Android and iPhone as a risk reduction strategy. Who can really risk a project on the caprice of an unknown, unaccountable, unpredictable app reviewer?

    Here I am talking about significant, expensive to develop software. However, the majority of apps are written by Billy in the basement. The cost to develop them is low enough that it seems to me that anything significant gets duplicated a few months after release. So the killer app doesn’t differentiate, since the app will become available on the other platform soon afterward.

    So there are strong forces equalizing the app base on the two phones, and so I doubt very much that app base matters as a differentiator. Especially so since the peripherals are not significantly different. (Two cameras was a great idea, but EVO has this too, and Apple, or more to the point, AT&T screwed it up but limiting it to WiFi only. I guarantee every Android phone made from now on will have two cameras.)

  39. This is close to the mark, but you should be more worried about the non-openness of the dock adaptor — and the complete lack of an open equivalent — than about software openness as such.

  40. you can bet that Apple is not going to allow it to talk to other phones or services outside of theirs

    Actually Apple has already announced they intend to make FaceTime an open standard.

    Jessica, I think you are making too much of the app approval process. Just follow Apple’s known rules, and the vast majority of apps get approved. We hear about the edge cases and the mistakes made by some faceless compliance checker, but how many apps have been unfairly rejected, or rejected despite seeming to conform to Apple’s rules? Dozens? Scores? OK, let’s assume it’s 200: that would be out of 225,000 in the store. Or even take the total number of apps that have been removed, supposedly 5,000. I don’t think many serious developers will be dissuaded by the raw odds of rejection.

  41. My guess is that it will be about two years before this will shake out to the point where I’ll find a phone that does more than make phone calls with caller ID and rolodex functions appealing.

    My current phone has a camera. I’ve never used it.
    My current phone has a microSD slot. I think it can work through some sort of wireless protocol to talk to some headphones for playing music. I’ve never bothered buying the microSD card or getting the headphones.
    My current phone has the ability to download games and ring tones. I’ve never used it.
    My current phone makes a big ballyhoo about being 3G enabled. I’ve never used a data plan with it.
    My current phone is set to refuse SMS messaging after getting SMS spam.

    I guess I’m some sort of Luddite doing rocket science. Pardon me while I go wax my slipstick.

  42. @ESR: My apologies if I came across as a “snotty European”. That was not intended.
    However, when it comes to mobile phones the US _is_ behind Europe when it comes to handset features (and Europe is behind Japan). I find it quite interesting how Apple makes a big thing of videotelephony. In 2004 most 3G phone on the market in Europe had videophone capability. You won’t find this feature on a lot of 2010 phones though. People didn’t use it.
    We will see if apple manages to make this work where Nokia and Eriksson failed.

  43. Personally I don ‘t care whether the system is opne or not

    http://xkcd.com/743/

    Besides I’m very afraid that an open system is heaven for hackers, see MS vs Apple OS.

    Assuming you’re using “hackers” in the bad sense, I don’t see your point. Mac OS X is more open than Windows.

  44. (and Europe is behind Japan)

    This is why Apple is the only American electronics company to gain a foothold there — the iPhone absolutely curbstomps even the advanced handsets the Japanese had been using up to that point on a feature and technology basis.

  45. We do need to be careful about understanding what the network effects are. The classic one is sometimes called Metcalfe’s law, IIRC; the value of a network to each user is proportional to the number of other users, O(n) (total network value thus O(n^2)) – data interchange format lock-ins would presumably scale similarly.

    I’m not sure that applies to applications, though. A larger platform has more users to amortize development across, but IMO there are diminishing returns on programmer time investment – I think the scaling factor for this looks more like O(log n), and as long as a platform can reach double-digit share there may be no winner take-all-effect just from that factor.

  46. Not to mention, it looks so kawaii when girls pull it out of their tiny, tiny purses. That makes it hotter than the old imode devices from a fashion standpoint as well.

  47. I think the scaling factor for this looks more like O(log n)

    Metcalfe himself has said that this probably what social networks would look like, due to the effects of connections with no or negative utility. I’m not sure that applies the number of users of an application, however, since anyone using a particular application by choice is obviously getting utility out of it.

  48. >I guess I’m some sort of Luddite doing rocket science. Pardon me while I go wax my slipstick.

    Actually, my usage profile isn’t so different from yours. I use my phone’s browser heavily, but the camera and SMS only rarely, and I never play music on it at all. I think I played a YouTube video on it once just to verify it was possible.

  49. >Actually Apple has already announced they intend to make FaceTime an open standard.

    That’s kind of interesting. It suggests that Apple doesn’t think it can get to 51% share.

  50. PapayaSF Says:
    > Jessica, I think you are making too much of the app approval process.

    I don’t agree. The fact is that some organizations have expended major dollars only to be shut down without appeal, and that is both significant and symbolic. The danger is not that the power is exercised but that it could be exercised. It allows us to consider a threat like the one someone talked about here, namely that Apple might make their video phone application iPhone only. Regardless of whether they actually did or not, it is credible to think that they might (after all there is good reason for them to do so to provide the network effect ESR talked about.)

    And the fact that they can also prevent someone else putting an app on there that overcomes that shortcoming is pretty scary. So the App approval process is, in my opinion, the most scary thing about the iPhone — Bill Gates was never that oppressive.

  51. Bill Gates was never that oppressive.

    Xbox.

    Though to be fair, in the console realm I think you normally don’t have a fully developed game rejected by the console vendor; you pitch your game and get a license first, then develop, publish, and sell it.

  52. ESR: Looks like you’re in good company.

    Jesica Boxer> … Bill Gates was never that oppressive.

    Agreed, Billy Boy understood that his job (originally) was to sell an OS and he didn’t give a rats ass what people ran on it as long as they bought more copies of his OS.

    This is why I’ve always said that it makes no since to me that a company wants to be both a Software company and a Hardware company. Once you get past a certain market share, you HAVE to decide which one you are in order to grow any larger. And, as far as I can tell, the Software company always makes more money.

    If I want porn on my iPhone, who the hell is Apple to say no? And how does it serve their corporate interests? Don’t say they’re protecting the kids, as it would be ridiculously easy for them to implement a rating system and have the installer on the iPhone be configurable for that.

    The more they try to control the inherent chaos of the market, the less able they will be to influence that market. It’s just self defeating, and I think Bill understood that (although I’m not sure Balmer paid attention in class that day, but that’s a different story).

  53. >ESR: Looks like you’re in good company

    Heh. All this tells me is that Motorola’s board picked someone who wasn’t an idiot to run the company. It’s not like foreseeing that future is actually difficult; I wasn’t surprised to learn, a few months back, that others had done so before me.

  54. > Not one of those that’s pulled that move, so far, has ever had a reciprocal grasp of American conditions.

    Shhh. They don’t need to know that. Let them persist in thinking that American media is America, so they can learn everything they need to know from “Baywatch”.

    Someone has to be the rube, and who better?

  55. > [making FaceTime open] suggests that Apple doesn’t think it can get to 51% share.

    Apple wants to make FaceTime a standard feature everyone uses but bootstrapping a new standard is hard. Regardless of what percentage of the “Smartphone” market – or even the “smartphone with decent double cameras” market – Apple gets, video chat isn’t going to catch on without desktop client apps. Some fraction of the grandmas people will want to chat with just aren’t going to want a smartphone. And if grandma can’t receive the videos, there’s less value in that feature for Proud Papa, and hence less reason for him to want to buy an iPhone either.

    So Apple wants to nourish an ecosystem that includes desktop client apps, including some that run on old windows machines, linux, whatever. That’s the biggest win in making FaceTime an open standard. Being able to talk to other mobile videophones once there are some others out there worth talking to is a nice-to-have, but probably not a necessity.

    Incidentally, I thought it was odd that nobody seems to have noticed the new squared-off edges on iPhone are a *functional* feature. They allow the phone to be stood on its side or on end when acting as a videophone or HD camera. The old iPhone was tricky to prop against a wall and impossible to stand on a shelf.

  56. This is why I’ve always said that it makes no since to me that a company wants to be both a Software company and a Hardware company. Once you get past a certain market share, you HAVE to decide which one you are in order to grow any larger. And, as far as I can tell, the Software company always makes more money.

    What makes you think that? In case you didn’t know, there’s a certain very, very large company in the state of Washington that happens to have a hardware division that makes mice, keyboards, webcams, headsets, gaming controllers and, yes, even a video game console. In fact, I happen to be using one of their fine wireless mice on my Ubuntu desktop right now.

  57. some organizations have expended major dollars only to be shut down without appeal

    Anybody other than Adobe? True, there’s some bad blood there, Adobe having shafted Apple several times in small and not-so-small ways over the years, but more importantly Apple wants to be able to grow and evolve their platform without having to deal with Flash or other meta-platforms getting in the way. Adobe was trying to bluff Apple with the whole “CS5 outputs iPhone Apps.” It was a gamble that didn’t pay off for them.

    I’ve made some money developing with Flash, but I have little sympathy for Adobe here. They’ve known that Apple didn’t want Flash on the iPhone, because Flash is a crashy resource hog. Three years later, and it’s still a crashy resource hog.

  58. Jessica Boxer> You can have all the porn you want on your iPhone. Just type: http://www.playboy.com (or http://www.playgirl.com depending on your preference.)

    Ok, but can you play strip poker (ignoring the web browser :^). There’s been a number of apps that were rejected for not being family friendly as I recall.

  59. I’ve made some money developing with Flash, but I have little sympathy for Adobe here. They’ve known that Apple didn’t want Flash on the iPhone, because Flash is a crashy resource hog. Three years later, and it’s still a crashy resource hog.

    Not allowing third party interpreters to run on the iPlatform because of Turing-completeness is one thing (which some of us think is bad enough), but not allowing any kind of code-generation tools other than a handful of sanctioned compilers is simply spiteful. Neither of the two apparent reasons for the latter restriction (Job’s hard-on for complete control of the user experience and Job’s purely mercenary gaming-console-inspired desire for application lock-in to the platform) make it any less spiteful.

    However, while I also have little sympathy for Adobe in the matter (simply because they were in a position where the path of the steamroller should have been painfully obvious, but then you have to remember that this is the company which showed itself to be as tone-deaf as BP’s Tony Hayward when they had Skylarov arrested, so in some ways they really aren’t very bright), I am very grateful to them in this instance for forcing Apple to show its true colors.

  60. @ESR: if I told you that you can configure the Android camera to record the location of the photo in the photo’s metadata, would that make you any more interested in using your camera’s phone?

    If the answer is “yes”, then I’ll tell you that.

  61. Patrick, I just don’t see it as “spite.” Partly it’s a design issue. Jobs’ desire to forbid compatibility layers etc., and strictly define the framework for native apps, just seems like an extension of the same design philosophy that produced the Mac. (E.g.: no arrow keys on the first Macs so that software developers had to develop something new that used the mouse, and not just port something old.) He wants native apps to look and behave “right,” and not have some off-the-wall interface.

    And partly it’s “once burned, twice shy.” He doesn’t want to depend on the whims of third parties when the hardware or OS evolves. If the App Store is filled with EZFlash2iPhone apps that are only kinda-sorta native, changes Apple makes become dependent on Adobe updating their software to take advantage of a new hardware or OS feature. See Adobe’s long snub of OS X. I think Apple is making a totally justified strategic business decision. Whether or not there’s any spite involved seems entirely beside the point. There certainly seems to be some karma in it for Adobe….

  62. Jessica Boxer Says:
    > You could always put whatever you wanted on a Windows PC,
    > no need to get Microsoft’s approval,
    > including low level drivers and things of that nature.

    Is that 100% true? IIRC 64-bit Vista (and, presumably by extension, 64-bit Windows 7) would only accept digitally signed drivers. From this it would be a very small step to only accept digitally signed *by Microsoft* drivers. And having control over drivers that can be installed gives control over the entire platform.

  63. if I told you that you can configure the Android camera to record the location of the photo in the photo’s metadata, would that make you any more interested in using your camera’s phone?

    I know this was directed at esr, but awesome tip, Russ. Thanks!

  64. @James: The signed drivers check can be disabled by typing the following in a command prompt with admin priveleges: ‘bcdedit /set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS

  65. # dgreer Says:
    > Ok, but can you play strip poker (ignoring the web
    > browser :^).

    It is funny how the world changes, don’t you think? It seems just a few months ago that everyone was saying that the fat client was dead, and that everything was going to be a web app in the cloud. Now what is happening in the software world is everything is going back to the fat “app” on the phone, and web apps, which Jobs has little control over, are now chopped liver. Anybody else getting dizzy?

  66. @PapayaSF:

    I just don’t see it as “spite.”

    Well, maybe not, but now even Apple realizes they were overreaching.

    [Jobs] doesn’t want to depend on the whims of third parties when the hardware or OS evolves.

    To the extent you are saying that Jobs is a complete anal-retentive asshole, I agree. To the extent you are saying there is something technical or business related there, I can kind of see it if I squint real hard, but it still really boils down to attempting to force developers to write code for the iPlatform that cannot be reused in any meaningful sense on other platforms. Jobs’s wet dream is to have all these wonderful apps that he didn’t have to invest in, that all conform exactly to his vision, that are only available on the iPlatform.

    Following this dream is his prerogative, but he should have had the balls to articulate it better up front, both verbally and in the licenses. If he had done that, I think it would have actually been better for the platform, because he would still have had a lot of developers, and they would all be 100% on-board with the vision. Instead, he’s pissed off not only Adobe, but at least some of the developers who nominally buy into his vision; hence the current back-pedaling.

  67. @Michael Babich

    Which is why Linux is the least secure of all the major desktop OSes, right? Oh, never mind, it actually becomes a matter of “security by obscurity” saving Apple here.

    I suggest that Linux may seem secure because the installed base is too small to bother with. Economics and ecology are two aspects of the same subject. Any available niches will be filled, including those for parasites.

    esr’s argument that many sets of eyes make code better applies to the crackers as well. More crackers will find more vulnerabilities.

    Once Android gets a large enough market share it may very well accumulate its share of tapeworms.

  68. I suggest that Linux may seem secure because the installed base is too small to bother with.

    No. I suggest you learn something about things like SE Linux before you speak. A properly-configured Linux box doesn’t just seem more secure, it is more secure. System security is not just a matter bugs and patches; it’s a matter of configuring things correctly, taking appropriate security measures and maintaining a sheep-dog mentality.

  69. # Morgan Greywolf Says:
    > A properly-configured Linux box doesn’t
    > just seem more secure, it is more secure.

    One thing I think is interesting here is why this is the case. A not insignificant part of the reason Linux type systems are more secure than Windows type systems has to do with an accident of history. Specifically, Linux and the Unix philosophy is grounded in early green screen multi user systems. When you build a multi user system you bake in protections from the beginning. Windows (desktop), on the other hand, has always been primarily a single user system, and so consequently, there was no perceived need to build in that protection from the beginning. The different origins come about because of the different eras in which the systems find their genesis.

    The vast majority of security threats in Windows can be fixed by simply doing what Linux users do every day, namely not performing normal day to day operations logged on as the superuser (or as we Windows types call it, the administrator.) Unfortunately, the Windows culture is such that a significant number of software products do not work properly if you are not running as an admin.

    Of course, I am not saying that this is the only thing, but I think these origins play a lot into the situation as it is today. It is notable that security is much less of an issue on Windows server systems than on desktop systems because the culture there is to run server programs at minimum required access rights.

    This last pargraph being testament to Henry Spencer’s claim: “Those who don’t understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it — badly.”

  70. @Morgan Greywolf

    No. I suggest you learn something about things like SE Linux before you speak. A properly-configured Linux box doesn’t just seem more secure, it is more secure. System security is not just a matter bugs and patches; it’s a matter of configuring things correctly, taking appropriate security measures and maintaining a sheep-dog mentality.

    Perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems to me that your third sentence contradicts the first two.

    If you have to be an expert to keep your system secure, then most systems won’t be secure. Most system owners aren’t experts. Most cellphone owners certainly won’t be.

    Who was it who said that Unix is a full-employment program for Unix Gurus?

  71. Perhaps I misunderstand … If you have to be an expert to keep your system secure, then most systems won’t be secure. Most system owners aren’t experts. Most cellphone owners certainly won’t be.

    I think this may be a misunderstanding — either that or I disagree with Morgan…

    “Learn about SELinux” could mean “learn to use it properly” or it could mean “learn what its existence means for the average user.” Morgan could have worded it a bit more clearly, but “configuring things correctly” is something that is often done by default by vendors on behalf of the user, so exceptional security expertise isn’t usually required on most distros out of the box.

    It is far easier to develop and maintain security competence on an open system than on a locked-down system. This means, for example, that there are far more highly qualified security experts on Linux than on Windows. Not only that, but when one of these Linux experts finds a problem, he can initiate a fix much more quickly than his Windows counterpart. These are well documented consequences of Eric’s description of Linus’s law.

    Nonetheless, because Windows has such a huge marketshare, there are, in fact, a lot of competent Windows security researchers, both good and bad.

    But one less well-publicized difference between open and closed source is that, despite to all the hand-wringing about Microsoft “stealing” open source stuff and putting it into Windows, (at least in security testing) a lot of the value actually flows the other way. For example, just reading source code (a very valuable security exercise) is something that anybody can do on Linux but very few can do on Windows. Because of this, Windows security researchers have had to develop black-box security testing techniques, such as data fuzzing. These techniques work fine on Linux! And don’t think for a minute that those clever people who actually find bugs in Windows using this sort of black-box technique aren’t also looking for similar bugs in Linux by just retargeting their test code. They just usually aren’t as successful.

  72. Patrick Maupin Says:
    > “configuring things correctly” is something that is
    > often done by default by vendors on behalf of the user,

    Most users use the defaults — that is a fact of life. And that is at the core of the reason why Windows is generally less secure than Unix systems: the default in Unix is that a default user can only affect her own stuff — not the operating system itself; the default in Windows is that a default user can do absolutely anything.

    I am sure there are other things that are significant differences, however, from what I can see this is at the core of the security issue. When I am helping non computer experts set up their Windows computers, I always recommend that they run as a restricted user. People who do this have some difficulties actually running applications, but, in my experience, they never have actual security problems.

    FWIW, I recognize that stability is entirely separate from security, and Windows has traditionally been much worse at this. However, frankly, my experience is that this is much less significant than it used to be. I have many Windows servers in our data center that run for years without any failures or reboots. However, YMMV.

  73. @JessicaBoxer: Yes, of course you’re right about the cultural differences; Unix ‘grew up’ in a multi-user, networked world while Windows ‘grew up’ in a land of single-user standalone systems. I really, really wish the implications of your statements about Windows server were right; you’re right that security less of a problem, but alas, Windows’ inadequate security model shines through even here. Take, for example, the fact that Microsoft moved a lot of IIS code to Ring 0 and the security implications of that. (Yes, I realize those are the same for Tux, the Linux kernel http server, but at least there you have an option to turn it off)

    @BobW: What Patrick said. :)

    @Patrick: Excellent analysis. Yes, I could have worded that better. The only thing that I’d add is that distro vendors usually make security choices that will benefit the most users in their intended audience; if you have specialized security needs that are beyond what most users need, you will have to make adjustments. Then again, if you’re one of those with specialized security needs, you’ll likely already know that and you’ll already know how to deal with that.

  74. Jessica Boxer>It is funny how the world changes, don’t you think? It seems just a few months ago that everyone was saying that the fat client was dead, and that everything was going to be a web app in the cloud. Now what is happening in the software world is everything is going back to the fat “app” on the phone, and web apps, which Jobs has little control over, are now chopped liver. Anybody else getting dizzy?

    All things in moderation. I’ve never been a huge advocate of “everything on the web” simply because I live in Texas and there’s lots of places around here where dialup and satellite are still the only options. The folks in Silicon Valley do seem to forget this all too often :^).

    Using cell phones only compounds that problem because the networks are even more sparse than other high speed internet options.

  75. A poster mentioned SELinux, learning about it.

    And the first thing you learn is you better set it to Permissive if you want your system to work.

  76. @Patrick Maupin: It’s a truism that all great designers are anal-retentive assholes. It’s hard to get great product design without that level of obsession and attention to detail. And I don’t think it’s a desire to cut out other platforms so much as a desire to optimize his. Isn’t cross-platform development necessarily a lowest-common-denominator affair? If someone codes an app that works the same on an iPhone and an Android phone, inevitably OS- and hardware-unique features will be left out.

    You won’t need to sguint to see the business rationale for the decision if you read the link in my post upthread about Adobe’s long snub of OS X.

    As for Lua, wasn’t the new restriction in the beta version of the new SDK? So Apple got feedback and they listened and modified their terms. Seems like evidence of reasonableness to me!

  77. It’s a truism that all great designers are anal-retentive assholes. It’s hard to get great product design without that level of obsession and attention to detail.

    Agreed about the anal-retentive; disagree about the asshole, at least to the extent of acting that way to developers you want to help build your vision for free.

    Isn’t cross-platform development necessarily a lowest-common-denominator affair?

    No.

    If someone codes an app that works the same on an iPhone and an Android phone, inevitably OS- and hardware-unique features will be left out.

    Possibly, but if the app is coded at a high enough level, you know, with code generators and that sort of stuff, it’s entirely possible to have the core of an app work the same across platforms.

    So Apple got feedback and they listened and modified their terms. Seems like evidence of reasonableness to me!

    So, first you explain to everyone exactly how you’re going to fuck them over by unilaterally changing license terms, then when they complain so bitterly you realize that you’re actually going to lose business, it’s then “reasonable” to say “hey, but if you ask for written permission, we might provide it.”

    Sorry, but I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  78. # PapayaSF Says:
    > I’m open to counter-examples, though.

    It isn’t quite the same thing, but haven’t Apple on two separate occasions had to put in place simulators to allow old PowerPC code to run on x86, and 68k to run on PowerPC. Maybe I am wrong, since I am not a Mac person, but that is what I remember from my reading of Apple history.

    Not quite a cross platform software development kit, but in the same ballpark, and certainly in the general area that Gruber was talking about, namely compromising on the quality of the executable to allow more types of software to run on your platform.

  79. Isn’t cross-platform development necessarily a lowest-common-denominator affair?

    Definitely not. If a particular hardware or OS environment doesn’t have a feature, cross-platform apps will simply either disable it or implement the functionality in a different manner. As an example, Audacity will support whatever sound hardware is present and supported by the underlying platform; it does so through a library called ‘portlib‘ which is a cross-platform, real-time audio library that contains various backends for dealing with audio on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.

  80. @ Jessica Boxer

    I think you misunderstand the point of the 68k and PPC interpreters. The purpose was not the allow more types of software to run, but to allow the already existing base of software to run until such time as new software could and would take its place. And with each, Apple deprecated and killed them off with relative speed. And even then, there was still much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    The iPhone however is different. There is no “already existing” base of applications that need to be supported or brought along. There’s no flash version of Microsoft Word that if only apple would allow Flash would make everything rainbows and lolipops.

    And in regards to third part development layers and the quality of applications, I propose a small thought experiment. Adobe seems awful fond of redesigning UI elements in flash (see the entire AdobeUI Gripes blog for more on that). Imagine now, a horde of Flash developed iPhone apps all using flash UI elements. Apple just upped the resolution of the new iPhones, and every single interface element of every application in the app store just got a free resolution upgrade, no effort necessary on the part of the developer. The only thing the developer has to do is up the resolution of any included bitmaps. That free, no effort needed upgrade is a huge deal, and its exactly what Apple is talking about. OS X developers have known this for years, even though they have to wade through some horrible things to develop for OS X (XCode I’m looking at you), the pay off is that by using the standard libraries and elements, when Apple does something like decide to include a system wide spell check / dictionary service (around 10.3 I believe) every single application got that for free. Apple wants to make that happen for the iPhone in a big way.

    @ Patrick Maupin

    I don’t quite get how you think Steve Jobs and Apple haven’t been up front about what they envision for the iPhone. It’s pretty obvious what they envision and how they want things to go. Any developer jumping into this without expecting that they will need to conform to iPhone standards and not the other way around is simply delusional, and that certainly can’t be blamed on Apple.

    RE: SE Linux

    I have to agree with Darrencardinal, the only thing learning about SE Linux teaches most people is that security sucks and gets in your way. Even CUPS has difficulties with SE Linux, and you would think that a basic function like printing might be something the SE Linux guys would want to work right.

    The iPhone is massively successful for normal people for the very reason that they don’t have to learn about any SE iPhone program, and that is a huge plus to anyone that doesn’t read esr for fun and profit.

  81. BTW–Audacity is my counter-example; it is a professional-quality audio editing and recording tool that’s cross-platform and is considered by many to be one of the best tools available, either commercial or open source.

  82. @PapayaSF:

    I don’t think it fucked over anybody who was following the developer guidelines already.

    I don’t know about the developer guidelines, but I don’t imagine they would have said “don’t think about writing your own code generation tools” in those guidelines unless that was also in the original license.

    @tmoney:

    I don’t quite get how you think Steve Jobs and Apple haven’t been up front about what they envision for the iPhone. It’s pretty obvious what they envision and how they want things to go. Any developer jumping into this without expecting that they will need to conform to iPhone standards and not the other way around is simply delusional, and that certainly can’t be blamed on Apple.

    There’s a huge difference between envisioning a good experience, and retroactively changing the development agreement to disallow things like code generation tools. I stand by my earlier statement that it is spiteful of Apple — cutting off their nose to spite their face — to chase away only the developers who are smart enough to write code that writes code that gets the computer to do some of their drudgery for them.

    But you’re right that expecting Apple to be kinder or gentler than Microsoft is a huge mistake that a lot of developers irrationally made, and as I said in an earlier post, I think Adobe has done a great service by helping to show how far Apple will go. Upon reflection, Adobe has done even more than this: they are helping to show how unimaginative some of the Apple developers are — you know, the vocal ones who think Apple’s new policy is hunky-dory.

  83. tmoney Says:
    > I think you misunderstand the point of the
    > 68k and PPC interpreters.

    Their purpose was to allow software that didn’t run (old software) on the new platform. Trading off quality for broader application coverage. That seems to be a pretty clear parallel.

    In regards to the other things you mention: exactly why do you think that is unique to Apple?

    BTW, I agree with you about XCode. Compared to Visual Studio 2010 it is like working in the stone age, and don’t get me started about Objective C.

  84. >>Actually Apple has already announced they intend to make FaceTime an open standard.
    >
    > That’s kind of interesting. It suggests that Apple doesn’t think it can get to 51% share.

    or it could mean that they want to be able to put more pressure on the carriers, by having all the Android phones also implement it.

    Don’t allow your rage to blind you to your enemy’s preparations for battle, Master Foo.

  85. >or it could mean that they want to be able to put more pressure on the carriers, by having all the Android phones also implement it.

    Nah. They’d disadvantage the one they’re locked into the worst.

  86. It came up in casual conversation with Eric – that until I retired my old computer, I had a 6 year old internet connected WinXP install that had experienced no security issues. All of my problems with the machine were from hardware failures.

    Eric asked what dark god I’d made a pact with.

    I did the following things:

    1) Disabled the Administrator account.
    2) Created a new Admin level account with a non-obvious name.
    3) Worked in a user restricted account.
    4) Turned off open and execute privileges on the Internet cache directories and the Downloads directories.

    Most of the kvetching about Vista – aside from the horrible performance pre SP 1 – was because the User Access Control panels were new and unusual to the average Windows user.

  87. Nah. They’d disadvantage the one they’re locked into the worst.

    This raises an interesting question: Just what features is Apple holding back on because they don’t want to push AT&T too far?

  88. Re 68k and PPC interpreters, as tmoney says in different words, I think there’s a big difference between 1) having existing software on an established platform that you want to move to new hardware, and 2) having a new platform you want developers to write for, taking advantage of its unique qualities, and not simply port existing software for other platforms.

    Morgan: sure, there are many examples of good cross-platform software, but was Audacity (or anything else of quality) developed with a cross-platform software toolkit? That was Gruber’s point, and I don’t know enough about it to say.

  89. >This raises an interesting question: Just what features is Apple holding back on because they don’t want to push AT&T too far?

    If such restraint figured into Jobs’s thinking significantly, he wouldn’t have announced FaceTime.

  90. Ken Burnside Says:
    > Eric asked what dark god I’d made a pact with.

    Ken, I notice you didn’t actually deny making the dark pact, instead you hastily changed the subject to Windows configuration. Are we meant to read something into that?

    FWIW, my experience is largely the same as yours: if you run as a restricted user you rarely have security problems in Windows (though stability is a different issue.) Most of the problems with security in Windows are due to cultural failures rather than technical failures.

  91. I made the dark pact of assuming Windows is like a car with the dome light on and the windows rolled down in a neighborhood where joy riding and carjacking are considered a fun diversion. :)

    My windows stability issues all turned out, in the end, to being the result of various bits of hardware wearing out and dying.

    And on the discussion of inherent security of Linux:

    http://forums.unrealircd.com/viewtopic.php?t=6562

    Linux’s security model is better. However, complacency makes for security risks in Open Source land just as much as it does in Windows-land.

    I’m particularly bemused that this was in the wild for 8 months before anyone noticed – and that the Windows SSL and non-SSL versions weren’t trojan’d.

  92. @PapayaSF:

    Was Audacity (or anything else of quality) developed with a cross-platform software toolkit? That was Gruber’s point, and I don’t know enough about it to say.

    In the article you linked to, Gruber was giving QT as the example of the bad toolkit. Audacity was developed with wxWidgets, which is a toolkit that plays in the same space.

    But I don’t know that Apple directly disallows the use of either of these two toolkits, since they explicitly allow the use of C and C++. As we can all see, Apple is really just attempting to disintermediate companies like Adobe. But they can’t do that directly, because even our government would probably be smart enough to call that anticompetitive. So they disallow flash because of the bad experience. Sort of OK, because they could certainly find enough experts to testify that flash sucked in court. But Adobe does an end-run, and writes a compiler that can emit non-flash code. So now Apple has a blanket prohibition against any non-sanctioned translation tools (as well as interpreters) used in the development process. This is obviously untenable, which is why they backed off a bit (but you still have to ask for written permission).

  93. In the article you linked to, Gruber was giving QT as the example of the bad toolkit. Audacity was developed with wxWidgets, which is a toolkit that plays in the same space.

    Right. It’s important to note that wxWidgets uses the platform’s native toolkit to draw its widgets, as opposed to ‘emulating’ the native toolkit by disguising the cross-platform widgets with bitmap skins as Qt used to do and GTK still does. (It is my understanding that recent versions of the Qt toolkit now also use the platform’s native widgets as well, if possible and if the application is coded correctly.)

    Apple may have been referring to what GTK still does and what Qt used to do when they were talking about cross-platform toolkits.

  94. # Patrick Maupin Says:
    > But Adobe does an end-run, and writes a
    > compiler that can emit non-flash code. So
    > now Apple has a blanket prohibition against
    > any non-sanctioned translation tools (as well
    > as interpreters)

    Does anyone know how this can be enforced? Clearly, if I was Adobe, I could make a flash compiler that emitted code in C, and then compiled it from there using XCode. If I wanted to write an interpreted system, I could make a compiler that had a small interpretive engine in C, then emit large chunks of data statements in C, and readily combine them into a C program (consider yacc/bison, which does pretty much exactly that.) How can this rule be enforced in face of such options?

  95. Security is almost always a trade-off with usability (at least on a particular system, eg SELinux vs other linux distros or more locked down Windows vs out-of-the-box Windows, some systems are inherently more secure, eg Windows vs Linux) – see lots and lots of essays and posts on Bruce Schneier’s site, http://www.schneier.com/

    @tmoney

    >Even CUPS has difficulties with SE Linux

    Unless things have changed since the last time I tried it, and Eric wrote his rant about it, CUPS has problems on every system.

  96. @Jessica:

    How can [the prohibition against unsanctioned translators] be enforced in face of such options?

    I don’t know that it can directly, but it is certainly a signaling mechanism. Obviously, the primary signal they are sending is “don’t use Adobe stuff on the iPlatform,” and a lot of developers will take that very seriously indeed.

    Apple probably doesn’t care one way or the other about customer-supplied translation technology in the general case, but they have resorted to the sledge-hammer because they couldn’t figure out how to fashion the right-sized tool. Law is a bit different than programming in that respect.

    This is just one more arrow in Apple’s quiver. When they capriciously disallow yet another application, and the app author asks why, now they can say “because you didn’t write it in the right language.” Only if the app author says “but I did too”, and the app author is big enough to attract publicity and/or file a credible lawsuit, will Apple have to find some other bogus excuse. Years ago (still?) a joke about working at TI was that after the third day on the job, all employees had racked up enough unwitting rules infractions to be summarily terminated.

  97. Unless things have changed since the last time I tried it, and Eric wrote his rant about it, CUPS has problems on every system.

    CUPS is the native print system on Mac OS X these days. On Ubuntu for most simple cases, it works pretty well, but the esr rant sometimes still applies. Also, Ubuntu has for a while now (since Hardy, I think) been using Fedora’s system-config-printer, which is the actual subject of esr’s original rant. :)

  98. # Patrick Maupin Says:
    > Years ago (still?) a joke about working at TI
    > was that after the third day on the job, all
    > employees had racked up enough unwitting
    > rules infractions to be summarily terminated.

    That reminds me of that great quote from Ayn Rand:

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    A perfect example of this being traffic laws, which are sufficiently restrictive as to be almost impossible to obey. This giving the police pretty much unregulated powers to stop you, and, unless you want a big fat ticket and a lot of hassle, the ability to search your car. I suspect that this fact is in part at the root of the controversy over the Arizona immigration law.

  99. > Nah. They’d disadvantage the one they’re locked into the worst.

    If you mean AT&T, they’re no longer locked in. (This is why AT&T raised the buyout for smart phones, and no longer offers an “unlimited” data plan. The contract has expired.)

    Did you note that AT&T is accrelerating eligibility for no-cost upgrades to everyone who bought an iPhone in 2009?

    I expect an iPhone from T-Mobile in September. If Apple is feeling really radical, they’ll offer an unlocked phone in the US via the Apple Stores as well as a subsidized (and SIM locked) version through the carriers.

  100. > Unless things have changed since the last time I tried it, and Eric wrote his rant about it, CUPS has
    > problems on every system.

    You’re never going to believe what MacOS X and Apple’s Airports use….

  101. You’re never going to believe what MacOS X and Apple’s Airports use….

    Well, I don’t use Apple hardware, but unless things have changed, I would assume that Apple uses CUPS, since they bought the code and hired the developer a few years ago.

  102. > If such restraint figured into Jobs’s thinking significantly, he wouldn’t have announced FaceTime

    How so? Everyone is talking about it, and he has effectively blamed the carriers for it not working over 3G.

    I think it will work great over LTE, or even an upgraded HSP(D)A network.

    AT&T is in the middle of it’s 7.2Mbps upgrade, and the iPhone 4 will support 7.2. The iPhone 3G/3GS support HSPA 3.6. Most of the GSM Android phones support HSPA 7.2 as well. T-Mobile is nearing completion on their HSPA 7.2 upgrade, and has deployed HSPA+ (21Mbps) in some areas. (AT&T is doing this, too.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Speed_Downlink_Packet_Access

    I believe that AT&T is moving up eligibility for its customers who otherwise would come up for new contracts next year because a Verizon launch will occur before the next iPhone release in 2011.

    What does extending customers out two years do for AT&T? Though AT&T has been making significant improvements to its network over the last year to stem the tide of complaints about call reception and quality, the beating it took in the press over the first few years of the iPhone will not wear off quickly. Two years buys the teleco time to finish its next-generation LTE build out and show off what it can do.

    While LTE is the designated 4G upgrade from AT&T’s present GSM/UTMS network, and not Verizon’s CDMA2000, Verizon is still way ahead on deploying LTE as it joins most of the rest of the world in following the 3GPP’s family of cellular technologies. AT&T has more flexibility in offering increasingly fast speeds over its 3G network than Verizon or Sprint do and thus has been less anxious to make the 4G jump too quickly.

    Yet, LTE will win if only by a marketing fiat.

    Don’t misunderstand me — LTE is better than AT&T’s HSPA network over the long term, but AT&T is right from a technical standpoint not to rush into LTE. Since the maximum abilities of AT&T’s network exceed the minimum abilities of 4G technologies like LTE and WiMax, even 2009’s iPhone 3GS can offer real world performance that is better than the reported speeds of Sprint’s HTC Evo 4G once AT&T completes its current batch of upgrades later this year.

    But, consumer perception is that 4G is automatically better than 3G. The fact that Sprint is already promoting 4G and Verizon soon will be is causing the general perception of AT&T to bend to the narrative of AT&T’s network woes of years past: AT&T is behind again.

    It may not be entirely true or fair, but such a perception hurts the company anyway. Add in the iPhone showing up at Verizon or even both of AT&T’s 4G promoting rivals over the coming months, and AT&T could face a situation where a lot of customers decide not to re-up with the company.

    Hence, AT&T needs to get as many enthusiasts locked in as possible while it awaits its own LTE network lest the inevitable loss of iPhone exclusivity on the horizon cause it to hemorrhage its most lucrative customers. Tying customers to another two-year contract is worth the price of subsidizing two expensive phones in less than two years for AT&T in its present situation.

    Assuming it gets its LTE network lit up and running smoothly by the time those contracts expire, AT&T knows it can be better positioned come 2012 than it is in 2010, even if the iPhone is no longer its exclusive product then.

    In short, Eric, it seems that you don’t understand the cellular industry very well. Yes, Android’s “network effect(s)” (Metcalf) will be important, but I think you need to factor in carrier behavior and motivations.

    Jobs certainly does.

  103. >If you mean AT&T, they’re no longer locked in. (This is why AT&T raised the buyout for smart phones, and no longer offers an “unlimited” data plan. The contract has expired.)

    I think you’re speculating on insufficient evidence. Apple’s need to go multicarrier as a hedge against AT&T’s crappy network buildout is so desperate that I consider the fact that they did not announce it at WWDC conclusive evidence that they can’t yet do it at all.

  104. > Well, I don’t use Apple hardware, but unless things have changed, I would assume that Apple uses
    > CUPS, since they bought the code and hired the developer a few years ago.

    Buy that man a beer.

    Almost exactly 3 years to the day!

    Works great on MacOS X, too.

  105. Facebook is Evil:

    a Verizon launch will occur before the next iPhone release in 2011.

    First off, Apple said in a court document that the agreement expires in 2012. Second, there’s still a major hurdle for Apple going to Verizon: they would have to design, build, test, code for, and add another hardware platform to their delivery channel – a platform that’s useless outside the US. That cost should not be underestimated. Right now, Apple has a powerful advantage in that it can completely ignore the CDMA phone world. That advantage is not something they’ll likely throw away.

    There’s also the minor detail that Verizon wants total control over the handset. We all know just what Apple’s thoughts on that demand are.

    This wish keeps coming up, and people keep ignoring the very good reasons it won’t happen, at the very least until Verizon fully rolls out LTE nationwide: at that point, Apple can build an LTE iPhone and sell it for Verizon customers as well as everyone else.

  106. If such restraint figured into Jobs’s thinking significantly, he wouldn’t have announced FaceTime.

    Indeed. People don’t buy iPhones for AT&T’s stellar service; they tolerate AT&T so they can get their hands on the iPhone. AT&T is riding bitch on this deal. Pissing them off may work in Jobs’s favor; if they walk away he’s free to go multicarrier. Odds are they’ll suffer any indignity to keep the exclusivity gravy train going.

  107. >Odds are that [AT&T] will suffer any indignity to keep the exclusivity gravy train going.

    I agree with that, and I don’t see any actual reason for them to let Appple off the hook until 2012. Those of you anticipating a Verizon launch later this year are just dreaming.

  108. First off, Apple said in a court document that the agreement expires in 2012.

    Indeed, that detail was just revealed recently.. So it seems there will not be a Verizon iPhone until 2012 at the earliest, because there’s no way in hell AT&T is going to walk away from that deal or let it go in any way.

    Still, I doubt there will ever be a Verizon, because Apple (well, Steve Job’s anal-retentiveness, really) will not compromise with Verizon the way Google did.

    What this all means is that even if there were a Verizon or a T-Mobile iPhone by 2012, it won’t matter because Android will have a 2-year head start on gaining traction with those carriers. That ultimately means that the Android Marketplace will become more attractive for developers, and Apple won’t even have that advantage.

    Ultimately, in the long run this means that iPhone won’t even have the advantage of having more apps in its App Store.

    Sorry, Apple fanboys, but the writing’s on the wall: iPhone will be marginalized to a niche player just as it happened in the PC market.

  109. > that great quote from Ayn Rand:

    I’m pretty sure Eric asked that politics be left out of this thread … So I’ll say only that the only thing great about that quote is how nonsensical it is.

    Surely adults don’t really think like that?

  110. >What this all means is that even if there were a Verizon or a T-Mobile iPhone by 2012, it won’t matter because Android will have a 2-year head start on gaining traction with those carriers.

    Yes, this is why Apple desperately needed to at least announce multicarrier at WWDC. They didn’t, they can’t, and a stable but tiny iPhone marketshare analogous to the historical Mac marketshare is the almost certain result.

  111. > First off, Apple said in a court document that the agreement expires in 2012.

    Jebus I wish you people would read what he said with a critical eye.

    Yes, the original terms of the AT&T agreement with Apple was for a length of five years, putting its expiration date in 2012.
    That contract very likely got renegotiated. Remember when all the terms changed such that AT&T started subsidizing the phone? Notice that suddenly AT&T isn’t offering unlimited data plans on the iPhone any more?

    These are all clues.

    Bottom line: No one knows how long Apple and AT&T have left in that exclusive contract. You don’t, I don’t, and Fackbook doesn’t.

    > Second, there’s still a major hurdle for Apple going to Verizon: they would have to design, build, test, code for,
    > and add another hardware platform to their delivery channel – a platform that’s useless outside the US.

    Wrong. You’re thinking CDMA, and he said *LTE*. LTE is the upgrade strategy for GSM networks, and Verizon is building out LTE, and expects to turn up its LTE network this year.

    > Right now, Apple has a powerful advantage in that it can completely ignore the CDMA phone world.

    Yes, indeed. And this hasn’t changed. But Apple is (very, very likely) building a LTE handset. For Verizon, but lots of other carriers

    > This wish keeps coming up, and people keep ignoring the very good reasons it won’t happen, at the very least until Verizon fully rolls out LTE nationwide.

    Lets see what Verizon has to say: (url above)
    Verizon Wireless expects to commercially launch its LTE 4G network in up to 30 markets in 2010, covering 100 million people. In subsequent years, an equally aggressive growth plan will result in full nationwide coverage in 2013.

    My guess, Verizon will launch in Q4 2010, and the 700MHz LTE iPhone will come on board in 2011. I think the speculation about an iPhone 4 on T-Mobile late this year is interesting as well.

  112. An LTE-only phone on Verizon won’t do for Apple. It leaves uncovered twice as many people as it covers in 2010, and won’t have the kind of reach it needs until Verizon finishes its buildout. Other Verizon handset makers can simply use CDMA to fill the holes, but Apple can’t go that route without throwing away its advantage in the first place.

    I do think that T-Mobile is a much, much more likely multicarrier partner for Apple than Verizon, at least until the LTE buildout is substantially complete.

  113. > An LTE-only phone on Verizon won’t do for Apple. It leaves uncovered twice as many people as it covers in 2010, and won’t
    > have the kind of reach it needs until Verizon finishes its buildout.

    Thus the iPod Touch with CDMA idea. One of the two is going to happen. Or perhaps a merge.

    Apple can’t afford to leave all those Verizon customers hanging long enough for them to discover Android.

  114. There’s also the minor detail that Verizon wants total control over the handset.

    That was supposedly the reason Apple went with AT&T originally, yes. But I suspect that when Verizon (and other US carriers) have a second chance at the iPhone, they’ll be a bit less haughty. As in on their knees, begging and pleading.

  115. >I do think that T-Mobile is a much, much more likely multicarrier partner for Apple than Verizon, at least until the LTE buildout is substantially complete.

    Agreed. Using the T-Mobile GSM network would save Apple all the costs associated with fielding a CDMA iPhone.

    On the other hand…T-mobile was the first carrier to ship an Android phone. It may not want Apple’s action. All moot until 2012, anyway.

  116. > As in on their knees, begging and pleading.

    … grasping a butt cheek with both hands.

  117. >But I suspect that when Verizon (and other US carriers) have a second chance at the iPhone, they’ll be a bit less haughty. As in on their knees, begging and pleading.

    Dream on.

    It’ll be 2012 at the earliest. Android will be on version 3.x, with another two years of improvements. Given the failure of the iPhone 4 to support 4G data rates and AT&T’s pricing moves, there is no longer any plausible scenario in which the iPhone will have regained share against Android, which in turn means the app clouds will have swapped relative sizes. Carrier execs will say to Apple, with justification, “You’re two years late and many features short. You play on our terms, not yours.”

  118. > On the other hand…T-mobile was the first carrier to ship an Android phone. It may not want Apple’s action.

    T-Mobile is infamous for having the highest churn rate of any US Carrier.

    Here are the numbers from May 2009:
    Verizon Wireless: 1.14 percent
    AT&T: 1.2 percent
    Sprint: 2.25 percent
    T-Mobile: 2.3 percent

    part of the T-Mobile number is their high percentage of pre-paid, but that doesn’t account for all of it, and you’re not going to have the investors look kindly at your stock when your churn rate is 2X Verizon’s.

    > All moot until 2012, anyway.

    Would you care to wager?

  119. >Would you care to wager?

    Suggest a stake and someone to hold it. Before you bet too much, remember that before WWDC I offered to meet some commenter’s bet that there would be no Sprint or Verizon announcement there; I sure wish that fool had actually put money on the table.

  120. @ esr

    Out of curiosity, is there a reason that every time you talk about the future of Anroid and iOS that you anticipate a massive expansion of android features but always talk as if the iOS will remain in its current state and stagnate for 2 years? Recall that iOS development is not limited to AT&T devices. Both the iPod touch and the iPad are iOS devices. I would bet dollars to donuts that iOS development will not be severely limited by AT&T and that iOS will advance considerably in the next 2 years to keep parity with Android. In fact, I think you’ll find that really Apple’s plan for iOS devices really is to make AT&T and all the other carriers mere bit pushers. It says a lot that even though Apple negotiated a deal for the iPads with AT&T, they’re still unlocked devices.

  121. >Out of curiosity, is there a reason that every time you talk about the future of Anroid and iOS that you anticipate a massive expansion of android features but always talk as if the iOS will remain in its current state and stagnate for 2 years?

    Eh? Where have I made any such assumption?

  122. @John Long:

    Thus the iPod Touch with CDMA idea. One of the two is going to happen. Or perhaps a merge.

    You’re grasping at straws. The most recent flurry of CDMA iPhone speculation is based this WSJ article. The article names no sources other than claiming their sources were “briefed by [Apple]” and claims that Pegatron (an operating unit of Asus) is set to start manufacturing in September. The companies involved, of course, have either refused to comment or have simply denied the rumors are true. Add to that one of WSJ’s sources saying that production may not actually start in September, and, well, it either smells like a pump-and-dump scheme or a rumor started by Apple to keep people hanging on in wake of the big Android announcements this year.

    The problem is that this isn’t the first time a CDMA iPhone has been predicted in the last 3 years. Apple shouldn’t be surprised when people no longer believe their lies.

  123. @ esr

    Most recently:
    >It’ll be 2012 at the earliest. Android will be on version 3.x, with another two years of improvements. Given the failure of the iPhone 4 to support 4G data rates and AT&T’s pricing moves, there is no longer any plausible scenario in which the iPhone will have regained share against Android, which in turn means the app clouds will have swapped relative sizes. Carrier execs will say to Apple, with justification, “You’re two years late and many features short. You play on our terms, not yours.”

    Perhaps I’m ascribing malice to a failure to communicate, but I often get the impression when you make these statements that you don’t expect Apple to bring anything to the table in the next 2 years. The iPhone has been out for what, 3 years now? And in those 3 years, it’s gone from a 2G device with no 3pp app solution and an extremely limited feature set (at least compared to the smart phones of its age, noting of course that a checklist of features doesn’t make them usable) to its current version where the worst things people can say about it are its closed AppStore (a developer problem, not a consumer one for now) and that it’s only on AT&T in the US. 2 years is a long time in technology as I’m sure you’re more than well aware; to assume that there is nothing that Apple can do in those 2 years to maintain or even increase its dominance in this market is, I think, short sighted at best.

    In regards to 4G technologies and data rates, Apple has rarely if ever been on the bleeding edge of tech, and for a good reason. The bleeding edge changes far too quickly, and sometimes jumping onto a platform before its ready just means you spend a lot of money doing nothing. Everyone seems to be in agreement that LTE is going to be the future cell tech in the US, so what does producing a bunch of limited use 4G phones get Apple other than another feature check? I do ask this seriously as cell phone tech is admittedly not anywhere near my forte. Also, is LTE supposed to be the next big thing in Europe and Asia too? If not, it isn’t inconceivable that Apple is holding onto 4G until a clear world wide standard appears (a la GSM)

  124. @jay:

    What lies? Apple’s not coming out and saying a damned thing about their future plans. How can they be lying?

    Just because Apple uses the world of rumor and innuendo to communicate things that they don’t communicate officially doesn’t mean that they aren’t lying.

    @tmoney:

    its closed AppStore (a developer problem, not a consumer one for now)

    Apple obviously seeks to own the mobile content market, all the comments here about ‘trying to the best, not the most popular’ aside. That makes AppStore problems a problem for consumers, because if Apple were to successfully gain that 90% market share, their effective monopoly will mean that they get to be, for all intents and purposes, the sole arbiters of what does and does not go on a smartphone.

    In regards to 4G technologies and data rates, Apple has rarely if ever been on the bleeding edge of tech, and for a good reason. The bleeding edge changes far too quickly, and sometimes jumping onto a platform before its ready just means you spend a lot of money doing nothing.

    *cough*FireWire*cough*

  125. Morgan> *cough*FireWire*cough*

    Hah! I was tempted to say the exact same thing, except that it was a fine move on their part and did a solid job in helping them make headway into the high-end A/V industry previously (and still, honestly) dominated by AVID. It just never really caught on at the consumer level, I’m guessing because the dominant player in that market (read: x86 MS-equipped systems) went so heavy USB due to the early 1394 premium. Sony tried as well, but, well, vaios were awful.

    I lament the decline of firewire, especially in external HDDs.

  126. >Perhaps I’m ascribing malice to a failure to communicate, but I often get the impression when you make these statements that you don’t expect Apple to bring anything to the table in the next 2 years.

    Oh, I’m sure they’ll come up with some new features. But time is more on Android’s side, for at least two reasons: (1) the open-source property of Android, and (2) because Android is the disruptor in this situation.

    The greater openness of Android means Google can increase the size of its development community in ways Apple can’t match. Android’s position as disruptor means that Apple’s entire product strategy could be undermined when customers decide Android has as much UI polish as they want to pay for, rather than as much as Apple can supply.

  127. @jsk. Don’t you see? It’s just another example of Apple’s “superior technology” being relegated to a specialty niche. FireWire was touted as the be-all-end-all connector that would replace SCSI, RS232, IEEE 1284, ADB, PS/2, etc. In the end, USB won in part due to Apple’s patent premium, and, in part because it’s “good enough”. FireWire will continue to be in use in desktop A/V production for quite some time, but almost everywhere else it’s been replaced by USB and eSATA. (It’s worth noting that I actually predicted this would occur when USB was released in 2001.)

    History has a way of repeating itself. They lost the desktop wars, they lost the connector wars, and now they’re going to lose the smartphone wars.

  128. Just because Apple uses the world of rumor and innuendo to communicate things that they don’t communicate officially doesn’t mean that they aren’t lying.

    You’re assuming they’re doing this deliberately. That is far from proven; it could easily be ascribed to Apple’s security fanaticism making even the tiniest rumor newsworthy.

  129. # Morgan Greywolf Says:
    > History has a way of repeating itself. They lost
    > the desktop wars, they lost the connector wars,
    > and now they’re going to lose the smartphone wars.

    I hope you are right, but you are being a little selective in your history. Remember, they also won the MP3 player war, and they won the ITMS war.

  130. > Suggest a stake and someone to hold it.

    First lets be clear on the wager. I assume that you assert that there will be no non-AT&T Apple iOS product (not including WiFi-only products) from Apple until 2012. You haven’t specified if 2012 means “1/1/2012 or 12/31/2012.

    I suggest we get Doc Searls to hold the cash. Or Jay.

    > Before you bet too much, remember that before WWDC I offered to meet some
    > commenter’s bet that there would be no Sprint or Verizon announcement there;
    > I sure wish that fool had actually put money on the table.

    braggato? really?

  131. > USB won in part due to Apple’s patent premium, and, in part because it’s “good enough”

    USB won because Intel made it win. It got included in every PC “for free”.

  132. First lets be clear on the wager. I assume that you assert that there will be no non-AT&T Apple iOS product (not including WiFi-only products) from Apple until 2012. You haven’t specified if 2012 means “1/1/2012 or 12/31/2012.

    Technically, the iPad is an iOS device that is sold unlocked.

    I think it might be better to say “Phone” for this wager.

  133. @esr

    Time will tell I guess. To be honest, I hope you’re right that Android will keep Apple from gaining a dominant position in the market, but at the same time I hope you’re wrong that it will be because Android takes the dominant position. I think having any one dominant player will ultimately be bad for the consumer as I put no more stock in the benevolence of Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra as I did in the benevolence of Microsoft’s “Embrace and extend” mantra.

    @ Morgan Greywolf

    The “connector wars” really? I don’t ever recall hearing that FireWire would be the end-all be-all of connectors. Recall that when Apple really started it’s FireWire push was with the original iMac in 1998, whose major new selling point and feature was, wait for it… USB (which debuted in 1996, not 2001, perhaps you meant USB 2.0?).

    Even still, the FireWire comparison merely serves to reinforce my point that jumping onto the newest and greatest platform doesn’t always mean you’ve made the right choice, or that such a choice will carry you into the future, whether that new platform is FireWire, HD-DVD or current 4G cell service.

  134. USB won because Intel made it win. It got included in every PC “for free”.

    You make it sound as if Intel invented the thing all by itself. USB was developed by a consortium of industry players, including Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Compaq, NEC, DEC and Nortel (DEC and Compaq subsequently merged and were later gobbled up by HP), who developed it as a response to Apple’s draconian license fees for FireWire (FireWire 400 was released in 1992, USB 1.0 began development in 1994, released in 1996. My original prediction was in 2001 when USB 2.0 was released)

    USB won because Apple plays its cards too close to its chest. It always has. If they wanted FireWire to become the predominant industry standard, they should’ve been nicer about sharing their technology.

  135. USB won because Intel made it win. It got included in every PC “for free”.

    Not until the iMac shipped with USB ports only. Apple had a hand in USB’s wide acceptance; prior to the iMac, it was a port that only appeared in high-end server systems.

  136. @tmoney: Apple began development of FireWire in 1986, and began touting it as the be-all-end-all of connectors before they ever got a working specification out the door.

    Even still, the FireWire comparison merely serves to reinforce my point that jumping onto the newest and greatest platform doesn’t always mean you’ve made the right choice, or that such a choice will carry you into the future, whether that new platform is FireWire, HD-DVD or current 4G cell service.

    But it also serves to contradict your statement that “Apple has rarely if ever been on the bleeding edge of technology,” especially the “if ever” part.

  137. @Jessica:

    No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame. ;)

    You can’t win ‘em (or lose ‘em) all. iPod and iTunes are the one place where Apple’s tactics win. *shrug*

  138. >First lets be clear on the wager. I assume that you assert that there will be no non-AT&T Apple iOS product (not including WiFi-only products) from Apple until 2012. You haven’t specified if 2012 means “1/1/2012 or 12/31/2012.”

    Anybody know, from the court filing, the month and day the exclusive AT&T is scheduled to expire? That would be the fair cutoff date, given the question at issue. And, as another commenter noted, the scope of the bet should be iPhones only. The iPad, as long as it’s not a phone, won’t affect the market share of Android phones one iota; same goes for hypothetical iTouch-like things.

    Hard to see how you can win under those conditions – Jobs would have to buy his way out of the exclusive or break it. But if you’re foolish enough to put up money, I’ll take it.

  139. @ Morgan Greywolf

    I fail to see how one example contradicts the “rarely” qualifier. It does contradict the minor absolute, so if that victory makes you warm and fuzzy, I certainly concede but I think you’re missing the forest for the trees.

    @ esr

    >The iPad, as long as it’s not a phone, won’t affect the market share of Android phones one iota;
    > same goes for hypothetical iTouch-like things.

    I don’t know, Apple’s device integration is almost always one of their strong points. While I don’t think it would do much to pull new customers, an iPad I think can certainly keep current iPhone customers from switching. Remember that an app bought for one iPhone on your iTunes account is licensed for every iPhone / iPad device you own.

    That said, the original discussion was about the iPhone migrating to other carriers, so certainly the iPad/iPod touch should be excluded from the wager.

  140. I fail to see how one example contradicts the “rarely” qualifier. It does contradict the minor absolute, so if that victory makes you warm and fuzzy, I certainly concede but I think you’re missing the forest for the trees.

    Apple spent quite a bit of time in the PC industry being on the bleeding edge. That was their reasoning for choosing PowerPC chips, it was there reasoning for FireWire, it was their reasoning for pushing SCSI (back in the 1980s), and — most importantly of all — it was their reasoning for developing the “Insanely Great” GUI-driven Lisa and Macintosh in the first place; all of these events I am mentioning I remember personally. (Now get off my lawn) Is that sufficient for contradicting ‘rarely’ or would you like to add a qualifier to that statement?

  141. >(Now get off my lawn)

    Apple was betting against the commodization of hardware. This was a stupid, losing bet, especially since their core expertise was in industrial design and UI.

  142. Eric said: That’s kind of interesting. It suggests that Apple doesn’t think it can get to 51% share

    As Glenn Raphael said – that’s only true if you think Apple’s trying to “own video chat”, rather than “make their phone experience the most awesome one possible”.

    The former, you try to do by locking people in to a proprietary standard.

    The latter you do by innovating and making the standard open.

    It seems to me, following your various iPhone attempted-schadenfreude threads, that you keep making that kind of mistake; Apple does want all the money they can get.

    But they understand that the best way to get it is to make the best phone experience, not to try and make it “too expensive to switch” and make people use an inferior product.

    (Apple makes the highest profit share of any PC maker by not selling zero-margin bottom-end machines. Market share low, profit-share high.)

  143. Eric, have you considered numbering comments, or something similar? That would make it a lot easier in these long threads to pickup reading where you left off.

    ESR says: Do you know a way to make WordPress number comments?

  144. @ Morgan

    There is a difference between betting the wrong horse and being on the bleeding edge of technology. Similarly there is a difference between making the bleeding edge (see GUIs) and using someone else’s bleeding edge. But I think at this point we’re just going to have to disagree about how much Apple was or was not on the bleeding edge of tech through its lifetime as at this point we’re mostly adding snark to the discussion, not anything relevant.

  145. The greater openness of Android means Google can increase the size of its development community in ways Apple can’t match.

    Oh, I don’t know, those App Store payments to developers ($1 billion so far) are a powerful argument. Android’s not close to matching that yet.

    Here’s another potential bet: when will Android developer payments meet or exceed App Store payments? I have no opinion, I just think it’s an interesting question, and possibly more germane to the whole issue than market share measured in numbers of phones.

  146. @Tmoney: What are you referring to as the wrong horse? The Power PC was Apple’s horse; they co-developed it with Motorola and IBM.

    Furthermore, tmoney, Apple didn’t invent the GUI. They didn’t even invent the GUI as we know it. They simply hired Xerox’s engineers at PARC who had already invented GUIs before they ever showed up at Apple. That’s pretty much the same thing as using someone else’s bleeding edge.

  147. PARC GUI != Apple GUI, thats as much as I’ll say on the matter as we’re drifting dangerously off topic, and I hate arguing with someone whose rose colored classes have a heavier tint than mine.

  148. @esr> Anybody know, from the court filing, the month and day the exclusive AT&T is scheduled to expire? That would be the fair cutoff date, given the question at issue.

    Quoting Apple itself:

    The duration of the exclusive Apple-ATTM agreement was not “secret” either. 22 The RCAC quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the 23 iPhone’s release – stating, “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years—an 24 eternity in the go-go cellphone world.” RCAC ¶ 86, RJN Ex. E: L. Cauley, AT&T Eager to 25 Wield its iWeapon, USA Today, May 21, 2007.

    and

    This new twist cannot save plaintiffs’ claim. First, to the extent it matters, there was widespread disclosure of ATTM’s five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years. In fact, the iPhone box itself disclosed to the prospective purchaser that a “[s]ervice plan with AT&T [would be] required for cellular network capabilities on expiration of initial new two-year agreement.

    This at-purchase information was more than enough disclosure to put consumers on notice that they might never have a choice of cellular service for their iPhone, and to thus preclude a Kodak-type aftermarket theory. See, e.g., PSI Repair Services, 104 F.3d at 820-21; Queen City Pizza, 124 F.3d at 440-41. Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power, i.e., would allow Apple, a brand new 8 entrant in cell phones, to “exert raw power in the aftermarket without regard for commercial consequences in the foremarket.”

    and then quoting this:

    Defendant ATTM is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in Atlanta, Georgia. ATTM is a cellular phone service provider that markets and sells the iPhone and is the exclusive provider of wire and data services to iPhone customers, pursuant to a written agreement with Apple (“The Agreement”). Apple and ATTM entered into the Agreement prior to the commercial release of the iPhone, making ATTM the only authorized provider of wireless voice and data services for iPhones in the United States for five years.

    The Agreement, which lasts until 2012, provides that iPhone purchasers who want voice and data services must sign a two-year service contract with ATTM.

    The orginal on-sale date was June 29, 2007. (ref the wikipedia article on iPhone, as well as many other web-based references.

    What say we make the bet about June 29, 2012 (a Friday).

    @esr> And, as another commenter noted, the scope of the bet should be iPhones only. The iPad, as long as it’s not a phone, won’t affect the market share of Android phones one iota; same goes for hypothetical iTouch-like things.

    Waffling already, Eric?

    So here are my terms:

    1) The wager is for $500.

    2) The wager is that Apple will announce and ship an Apple-branded device running iOS on a cellular data network other than AT&T, in the US, available before June 29, 2012.

    3) The escrow agent is either Doc Searls or Jay Maynard. Your choice. If neither agree, then we must select another mutually-agreeable escrow agent.

    4) Monies to fund can be in the form of a check, post-dated to June 29, 2012 if you like. Or cash. Just state, publicly (here) what your preference is.

    5) Funding of escrow must take place by July 31, 2009. If escrow isn’t funded by a party, then forfeit takes place, but term #6 holds.

    6) Due to your propensity to ‘ban’ people from this blog, you agree to not ban or otherwise restrict my account here until June 29, 2012 at the earliest. I will agree, in-turn, to not behave badly. I’d like the ability to continue to post on the subject of iPhones (and otherwise).

    Agreed?

  149. >Waffling already, Eric?

    Oh, no you don’t. You don’t get to accuse me of waffling and then set the scope of the bet to include iPads when the point of contention was iPhones.

    >Due to your propensity to ‘ban’ people from this blog

    Propensity? Since I began blogging in 2002 I have banned fewer than one person a year. You try running a blog with open comments and a readership high enough to show up on TLB’s Ecosystem charts with a ban frequency that low. You are nowhere near obnoxious enough to be in danger of it.

  150. Typo: Funding of escrow must take place by July 31, 2009.

    Should read: Funding of escrow must take place by July 31, 2010.

    Yours,
    Tom

  151. Maybe there is even more to it than even ESR thinks there is. Basically if Open Source operating systems want to take over the computing devices of the future, the best way to do this is to have them installed by the factory because any plan that begins with “and non-technical users will reinstall their operating systems if ours is awesome enough” is an instant FAIL. This won’t happen on the common desktop, for reasons well-known enough, the simplest of them is that people have already invested enough time in learning Windows and really cannot be asked to relearn stuff again. But if there is an entirely new kind, new class of device, then some relearning is of course acceptable, because nobody ever in his right mind would look for a Start Menu in the bottom left corner of the smartphone. People accept that when they are buying a smartphone, it won’t work the same way as the desktop PC with the Windows on it, that there is a bit of learning to do, provided, that the operating system is usable enough to make it last no more than ten minutes. You can derive everything else from these observations… Open Source can cash in big wins by making the whole concept of the desktop PC and the laptop somewhat obsolete.

  152. @Shenpen: That’s basically the assumption that underlies Why Android Matters.

    Personally, I’m not entirely sure that I agree that desktops and laptops will be entirely obsolete. From what I see, I think the cloud matters (which implies that servers will continue to matter, an area that’s already dominated by Unix and Linux, at least where it counts). I think that smartphones, netbooks and tablets matter.

    But I also think desktop and laptop PCs will also continue to matter. My basic thinking on this revolves around battery life, processing power and usability. There are a lot applications that simply aren’t suited for smartphones. Examples would include CAD, simulations, A/V production, editing and processing, desktop publishing (yes, people still need this!), image/photo editing, animation…I could probably come up with a bunch more. Some of those applications could work in esr’s external screen-and-keyboard scenario for some of these uses by users who have only modest needs if, for example, smartphones had better connectivity to other peripherals like printers, scanners, cameras, mixing boards, etc.

    Unforutnately, we aren’t there, and that means there are large swaths of computing users who simply cannot replace their PC with a smartphone.

    I could see some of these applications, especially processor-heavy stuff that doesn’t require much interactivity (like A/V processing), moving into the cloud. Other stuff, well, definitely not, the latency will kill you.

  153. Today’s datapoint: massive preorders for the iPhone 4 take down both the AT&T and Apple online ordering systems.

    Shenpen: The counter-argument might be that these new devices are inherently limited-function computers, as Morgan says above (more or less). That, along with widespread use among the less technically inclined, could well mean that the demand for open source software is proportionately even less than it is with desktops and laptops. Sure, the geeks want it, but they’re an even smaller segment in the smartphone market than they are in “regular” computing.

  154. Morgan Greywolf Says:
    > Personally, I’m not entirely sure that I
    > agree that desktops and laptops will be
    > entirely obsolete.

    No doubt that is true Morgan. However, I am fairly confident that a significant amount of the computer market will move toward highly portable devices like the phone and the iPad. The full blown PC will still have a niche, but it will be a specialized thing. No more desktop for grandma.

    It is my opinion that the personal computer is about to become more personal. It moves into your personal space in the form of the phone and related devices. I remember when I was much younger reading about the crazy borg people at MIT who invented wearable computing. The phone is the wearable computer (short a few peripherals.)

    I suggest we call it the very personal computer. I propose the acronym VPC.

  155. Eric, John: It looks like you need a game designer.

    I would structure the wager like this:

    If there is an iPhone branded telephony (voice and data and internet device) that is sold on a US carrier other than AT&T, prior to midnight Pacific time, Friday, June 29th, 2012, Eric owes John $500. If this is not the case, John owes Eric $500.

    Escrow will be with either Jay Maynard or Doc Searls.

  156. >>Waffling already, Eric?
    >
    > Oh, no you don’t. You don’t get to accuse me of waffling and then set the scope of the bet to include iPads when the point
    > of contention was iPhones.

    OK, we can exclude the iPad. Its not SIM-locked anyway, so sticking a T-Mobile SIM inside is trivial, once you cut down a T-Mobile SIM to the right format.

    >>Due to your propensity to ‘ban’ people from this blog
    >
    > Propensity? Since I began blogging in 2002 I have banned fewer than one person a year. You try running a blog with open
    > comments and a readership high enough to show up on TLB’s Ecosystem charts with a ban frequency that low. You are
    > nowhere near obnoxious enough to be in danger of it.

    Oh no. You ban me prior to June 29, 2012, you lose the bet. Agreed?

    (Tom, thanks for the correction.)

    1) The wager is for $500.

    2) The wager is that Apple will announce and ship an Apple-branded device running iOS on a cellular data network other than AT&T, in the US, available before June 29, 2012. All “iPad” devices will be excluded from this, but all iPhone, iPod and other devices running iOS are included. For the purposes of this term, Apple selling an unlocked iPhone, an iPhone on any carrier other than AT&T (and available in the US) or an iPod Touch (or any other Apple iOS product other than the iPad) in the US will qualify.

    Apple’s iPad 3G is already sold unlocked.

    Apple unlocking people’s previously-purchased iPhones prior to June 29, 2012 will count as a ‘win’ of the bet for me.

    To be perfectly fair to you, be advised that both T-Mobile and Orange have announced that they will be selling unlocked iPhone 4s (at greatly inflated prices) in the UK and France. http://thegadgets.net/hot/apple-surprise-unlocked-iphone-4-available-for-pre-order-in-uk-and-france/

    3) The escrow agent is Jay Maynard. If Jay doesn’t agree, then we must select another mutually-agreeable escrow agent.

    4) Monies to fund will be in the form of a check, post-dated to June 29, 2012.

    5) Funding of escrow must take place by July 31, 2010. If escrow isn’t funded by a party, then forfeit takes place, but term #6 holds.

    6) Due to your propensity to ‘ban’ people from this blog, you agree to not ban or otherwise restrict my account here until June 29, 2012 at the earliest. I will agree, in-turn, to not behave badly. I’d like the ability to continue to post on the subject of iPhones (and otherwise). If you ban me at any point after you’ve agreed to these terms, for any reason other than my poor behavior, you lose the bet, and your $500 is mine. If you ban me for reasons which the escrow agent agrees are fair, then the bet is called off, and both parties recover their $500 check.

    (This prevents me from becoming an asshole on your blog and it costing you $500 to get rid of me. I’m going to count on the escrow agent being fair. Course, if he (or she) isn’t, then I’ll just sue for interstate fraud if my check or $500 goes to you.

    In fact, lets just make it checks. Drawn on valid accounts. I don’t need the money, but I sure would love to be able to post an image of your check on the web when I win. I’ll be nice and erase the account number. Be sure to write, “I lost the bet!” in the Memo area.

  157. >Apple has already announced they intend to make FaceTime an open standard.

    FWIW, Skype has announced their intention to support it.

  158. “Teledildonics?” Wow.

    That is an awesome term that I have not heard before.

    If that is not in the dictionary, it should be.

    Right in there with digital douche and binary blow up doll.

  159. John, I think you need to define a specific category of device.

    The definition I gave, of an iPhone branded, iOS telephony device (capable of telephone calls, data transfers and internet browsing) is a reasonable definition of what is currently expected from an iPhone.

    I consider it quite likely that an unlocked iPod touch will come out in the next 18 months, largely because it ISN’T (as near as I can tell) covered quite so tightly by the AT&T deal…and it will probably get rebranded and refreshed as an iPad Mini or something similar.

    As you currently have the definition defined, anything that Apple sells (or might sell) that can browse the Internet wirelessly and uses iOS – regardless of whether it’s using WiFi or 3G or 4G – wins the wager. I think, for the wager to be fair, you pretty much have to limit it to the following characteristics:

    1) It can make a standard cellular telephone call. Skype on an iPod Touch doesn’t qualify.
    2) It has to use a carrier’s 3G or 4G network. A WiFi only iPod Touch doesn’t count.
    3) It runs iOS or a clear successor to it. (EG, Apple renaming the OS again doesn’t mean you lose…)
    4) It has to be sold as an iPhone. Branding is important here.

    This will prevent arguments if, for example, Apple makes an AppleTV set top box running iOS, and distributes it through Verizon. By the way your original challenge is set, that would cost Eric the bet, even though you can’t make a phone call on it, it connects to a cable box converter…

    Rather than say iOS device, this needs to be set up to specify a mutually agreed upon Apple product space.

  160. > “Teledildonics?” Wow.
    >
    > That is an awesome term that I have not heard before.
    >
    > If that is not in the dictionary, it should be.
    >
    > Right in there with digital douche and binary blow up doll.

    New entries in The Hacker’s Dictionary coming up in 5…4…3…

  161. The truth about the future is that phones as phones are going to die. The future is text, VOIP, and video over a phone-like device. They won’t use standard cellular audio transmission technologies, but rely on the data transmission ones.

  162. Which is why I think an iPod Touch with a data-only network connection is a natural, and that it should be included in the bet.

  163. >Oh no. You ban me prior to June 29, 2012, you lose the bet. Agreed?

    That I don’t have a problem with; you don’t seem likely to turn into a troll, frankly.

  164. So where are we, do you accept the terms here?

    ESR says: I would accept the terms suggested by Ken Burnside.

  165. New entries in The Hacker’s Dictionary coming up in 5…4…3…

    Pretty sure that teledildonics is already there…

  166. I agree with Doc. I think if Apple pulls an end run around AT&T with a “facetime” like protocol for voice that works over the cellular network that might count. I would say any device whereby you open an Apple provided application (so no skype / google voice) and can enter another persons telephone number with no additional information (though having to set up an account one time is acceptable) and are capable of engaging in 2 way voice communication over the cellular network at no additional cost beyond the network access costs (no per minute fees a la Skype Computer-Phone) should qualify. I realize this pretty much narrows it down to Apple inventing their own Google Voice like service, but I think it’s fair to say something like that would pretty much qualify.

  167. @Jessica

    No doubt that is true Morgan. However, I am fairly confident that a significant amount of the computer market will move toward highly portable devices like the phone and the iPad. The full blown PC will still have a niche, but it will be a specialized thing. No more desktop for grandma.

    I think the class of users that will move will be those who are doing primarily e-mail and Web, and maybe a few devs focused on mobile apps, but realize that today mobile apps are written on desktop. That’s a big chunk, to be sure, but it isn’t all-inclusive by any stretch to of the imagination. If anything, I see the desktop and laptop as being content creation tools, whilst the ultraportables will be content consumption tools.

    Teledildonics. Honestly, people, it’s not like you don’t have a Web browser in front of you. ;)

  168. @tmoney: Why should that count? It isn’t a phone. Besides, do you think that the cell providers are going to let Apple get away with that?

  169. @ Morgan

    If it looks like a phone, walks like a phone and quacks like a phone…

    Or put another way, what is a phone, and why would such a device not qualify.

    As to whether cell providers do or don’t let Apple get away with it, I have no idea. Ask someone 4 years ago if they thought the cell providers would let Apple (who had never produced a cell phone before) introduce a cellphone with an unlimited data plan for all, unsubsidized, requiring a major overhaul of the carrier network to support a new voicemail functionality and overburdening the data network like nothing before, and without any carrier control over the device save for a simple SIM lock. You would have been foolish to think they would have at the time, but clearly someone did, and now we have the iPhone.

    Besides, the providers may not have much of a say in the matter. If it works over the data network, it’s just another SIM unlocked device.

  170. I realize this pretty much narrows it down to Apple inventing their own Google Voice like service, but I think it’s fair to say something like that would pretty much qualify.

    Remember when I said AT&T would suffer any indignity to retain the iPhone exclusivity deal?

    I’m not even sure if they’d suffer that one…

  171. Jessica Boxer wrote:

    “Simply speaking, Jobs is an insane control freak. This isn’t a “recurrence of a closed source monopoly” it is far, far worse than that. Hopefully Android can ameliorate that risk.”

    and

    “I should add that it is far, far worse not only because Jobs has the platform under such scary levels of control, but also because it is my opinion that the smart phone revolution could, in the long run, be even more important than the PC revolution. The potential for smart phones to become a profoundly intimate part of your daily life is greatly underestimated. It isn’t there yet, but it is coming.

    I don’t want Steve in my intimate zone.”

    Honestly, I find this comment just downright strange. Just what are these “scary levels of control?” And how is Steve threatening your intimate zone? More importantly, what does the inevitable continued dominance of the iPhone over Android have to do with you?

    Oh, and I can’t help but note in response to your comment: “it is my opinion that the smart phone revolution could, in the long run, be even more important than the PC revolution.”

    Umm.. yeah. Both were brought to you by Steve Jobs. Imagine how crappy Android would be if they didn’t have the iPhone to copy?

  172. > ESR says: I would accept the terms suggested by Ken Burnside.

    I am unwilling to give up on ‘winning’ the proposed wager via VoIP or a VoIP-like service, built-in to an Apple iOS-powered product. I have stipulated that such a ‘win’ would need to take-place via a cellular data network.

  173. Query for the day:

    If “open always wins”, will we soon see Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! search options on Android?

  174. Leif says:
    >>> Honestly, I find this comment just downright strange. Just what are these “scary levels of control?” And how is Steve threatening your intimate zone? More importantly, what does the inevitable continued dominance of the iPhone over Android have to do with you?

    I have to agree with this sentiment. It is just….. strange. To say that the IPhone is somehow a threat, when no one has to buy one…

    A lot of open source people have this mindset, where they seem to think: closed non-hackable systems today….. tomorrow we will all be getting rounded up to work in the rice paddies.

  175. # Leif Says:
    > Just what are these “scary levels of control?”

    Over the platform (like I said), Steve has 100% control, and has demonstrated a willingness to use that power capriciously and in a manner that would make Machiavelli blush.

    > And how is Steve threatening your intimate zone?

    I didn’t say he was, I said I don’t want him in there. I said that his deep level of control is happening at a time when the platform is becoming more and more embedded more an more intimately in our lives. I think that was pretty clear from what I wrote, but perhaps I didn’t explain myself well.

    My main point was that many an Apple fanboy (or grrl) complained about evil Bill Gates (remember the Borg Bill graphic on slashdot?) Yet Jobs is far more tyrannical in his domain than Bill Gates ever was.

    > More importantly, what does the inevitable
    > continued dominance of the iPhone over
    > Android have to do with you?

    First of all, I don’t accept your assumption, and secondly, what the heck are you talking about?

    > Umm.. yeah. Both were brought to you by
    > Steve Jobs.

    If you think Steve Jobs brought about the PC revolution or the smart phone revolution, I suggest you get out your history books. Of course he was and is a significant contributor to both, but this comment is pure fanboy talk.

  176. Darrencardinal Says:
    > A lot of open source people have this mindset,

    Yes, I am a well known open source fangrrl — not.

  177. # Jay Maynard Says:
    > brings to mind images of teledildonics.

    Add a sperm bank and the Hallmark channel, and I wonder what we need men for anymore.

    Oh, yeah, killing spiders, I forgot.

  178. @Morgan “That was easy”

    So AT&T running the MOTOBLUR UI on top of Android is a good thing? I thought there was this problem with fragmentation on the Android platform?

    T-Mobile took 6 months (until April 2009) to sell 1M G1s. In Feb, Google claimed to be shipping 60,000 handsets/day.
    With no growth, that would be just under 22 million per year.

    Meanwhile, Apple took pre-orders for 600K iPhone 4 units yesterday, with a broken web backend (thanks to AT&T),
    and thats only the US number.

    Doubtless Apple will ship over 1M iPhone 4 units in its first weekend, if not its first day.

    T-Mobile will be giving away free Android handsets the same weekend. Thats the way to make large coin!

  179. Compare and contrast:

    Initial two waves of iPhone 4 sold out, pre-order iPhone 4s priced at $5k on eBay:
    http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/16/iphone-4-ebay/

    T-Mobile giving away smartphones (including Android) this Saturday:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/06/15/t-mobile-looks-to-give-its-phones-away/

    Personally, I think its all stupidity. Its a phone (and a computer!, and a floor wax!, (or was that dessert topping?))

    (T-Mobile is building out a sexy HSPA+ network though. Either they see a ton of new Android in their immediate future, or… an iPhone coming to T-Mobile soon. Or both, of course.)

  180. I got “teledildonics” from the Jargon File.

    And thanks for the trust that the folks discussing the bet place in me, but my circumstances at the moment make me unsuitable as an escrow agent.

  181. So AT&T running the MOTOBLUR UI on top of Android is a good thing? I thought there was this problem with fragmentation on the Android platform?

    You only really glanced one of those articles (and the other not at all) didn’t you ?

    If you read both of them you’d have read that what they’ve been changing is the “phone’s default search”. In the case of the backflip apparantly they’ve also removed all of the google apps (which i imagine would include their browser). However the article about verizon and also a CNN article about Motorola selling “android phones” in China both only mention the phone’s default search.

    Going technical for a minute, it appears (I haven’t tried so I might be wrong) that doing a web search is actually an “Intent” which is Android API speak for a generic action that you can register your own implementations for. If you’ve had multiple things registered then the OS gives the user a nice box that you can make a selection with (including an “always use this one” check box). So in theory i could take a locked down G1 direct from googles manufacturing floor, connect to android market and download a bing search app and my next search would ask me if i wanted to use Google or Bing.

    The same thing would happen on a Dream, Evo, or any Android step from step 1 (thats V1.0 for those with no knowledge of Android API steps).

    Why anyone (outside of maybe microsoft, apple or china) would bother getting a bing search app is beyond me but thats a whole separate argument.

    In Feb, Google claimed to be shipping 60,000 handsets/day.
    With no growth, that would be just under 22 million per year.

    Motorola Droid sold about as fast as the first generation iphone in the first 74 days. Why that has anything to do with android openness and whether you can change the android search target from Google to something else escapes me.

  182. T-Mobile giving away smartphones (including Android) this Saturday:

    Ok, lets inset a little bit of sanity in this attempt a bashing.If T-Mobile were capable of selling iPhones they’d be doing the same with iPhones. So I really don’t see what this has to do with Android. This is about T-Mobile and their vanishing market share, not about phone operating systems.

  183. P.S. my point in getting technical btw was to show that (assuming it works as the wrapper suggests) this is about as non-fragmented as you can possibly get. Regardless of what browser you use, so long as they use the standard web search activity they’ll get the benefit of your spiffy new web search “library”.

    I actually quite like the design of Android’s internals. From what i’ve seen so far they’re quite well designed and doesn’t have the unfortunate term collisions that many other embedded GUI libraries.

  184. Jessica,

    Again you make a bunch of completely incoherent comments. Your language is extremely emotive without in any way identifying what it is you’re pointing to.

    “# Leif Says:
    > Just what are these “scary levels of control?”

    Over the platform (like I said), Steve has 100% control, and has demonstrated a willingness to use that power capriciously and in a manner that would make Machiavelli blush.”

    “Capricious”, “Machiavelli-[an]”

    You forgot to add “draconian”, and “despotic.” But I note that you couldn’t close the post out without using the word, “tyrannical.”

    Put aside the emotive language. Tell me what Steve has done that is so evil.

  185. And, Jessica, I hasten to add, that if you sincerely believe Steve is behaving in a way that would make Machiavelli blush, it is you who needs to crack open some history books.

  186. Darrencardinal wrote:

    “I have to agree with this sentiment. It is just….. strange. To say that the IPhone is somehow a threat, when no one has to buy one…

    A lot of open source people have this mindset, where they seem to think: closed non-hackable systems today….. tomorrow we will all be getting rounded up to work in the rice paddies.”

    I find it absolutely bizarre talking with various Linux nutcases and these Android fanboys. If Apple is a cult, these guys are Manson family, Jonestown whack-jobs.

    A very interesting thing about cults is this: the failure of their prophecies to come true actually tends to make them more fanatical in their beliefs.

    On the one hand, you have ESR bizarrely claiming that iPhone and Apple are already in serious trouble. In the next breath is warning about the dire consequences of the outcome.

    What we are really seeing, I believe, is a bunch of people coming unglued because Steve Jobs has built the wealthiest technology company on principles which so many people believe just can’t work. Apple was mocked when they got into the portable media player market, and for years we had to hear the breathless talk about some amazing “iPod Killer” just around the corner. Years have gone by and all that has happened is an American company has knocked some of the japanese conglomerates completely out of a market they once dominated. We were told Apple would fail in retail. We were told Apple would never be able to compete in a fast moving market like cellular phones against such competition as Sony, Nokia, Samsung, RIM, etc., Amusingly, people who should know better are no claiming that the iPhone killer is here and that it’s Android… and it’s going to win for all the reasons that have led to Linux’s failure in the consumer desktop market.

    I suspect that when history is written, many decades from now, it will be seen as common sense that the ideas of Stallman, FSM, and most Linux enthusiasts were perhaps the biggest obstacle to advancing the state of the art. I’m beginning to think they’ve done far more damage than Microsoft. Sorry, kids: misunderstood cybernetic theory combined with ill-digested notions of network effects lead to some goofy conclusions. The creation and sustenance of high quality software and conventions takes far, far more than random tinkerers fiddling around with the GIMP as their highest achievement.

  187. Leif, I use and like Apple products. I unashamedly recommend them to anyone who has a computer because they need to get real work done on them. Many of the folks here would call me an Apple fanboy.

    Nevertheless, I think you’re overstating the case extremely.

    You’re ignoring the biggest counterexample to your idea that the open source movement can’t create and sustain high quality software: Linux itself. There’s a reason Linux is so widespread, and it’s not just because it’s freely available. Especially for servers, it Just Works. No, it’s not winning on the desktop and, I agree, will likely never do so in the absence of some major upheaval – but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of an achievement.

    Eric’s conclusions, while I disagree with them (I think he badly underestimates Apple’s success both in making things Just Work, largely because he has little direct experience with modern Apple products, and in making things that consumers want to buy), are plausible and can be validly drawn from the information available to him. What will happen in the future is something nobody can predict well.

  188. @JonB> “You only really glanced one of those articles (and the other not at all) didn’t you ?”

    Nope, I read them both.

    this one is speculative. Its full of “could” and “probably”, so I didn’t comment on it.

    No, if you read this one, you’ll see that its not that “they’ve been changing is the “phone’s default search”.” as much as it is speculation.

    If you’ll look at the date, its from early October, *last year*. and this from *last week*, just makes you look stupid, or as esr would say, “like an idiot”.

    So while its true FOR CHINA ONLY, the situation on the Android phones from Verizon for the US market is that you get a free Bing app.

    Thus, my original query. Yes, AT&T stripped all the proprietary Google apps off MOTOBLUR, probably because they woudn’t run on AT&T’s private UI libraries, and the source for the proprietary apps isn’t available. Despite what various editors have called it, “Blur” is not simply a ‘skin’.

    Android is fragmenting. read it for yourself. The OHA may not be a success.

  189. Consider this:

    If, in the long run, the iPhone winds up the dominant platform for mobile advertising expenditures, then Google may well wind up with less revenue than if they had never entered phone business (with Android).

    Google is an advertising company, that has now chosen to make enemies of a former ally in possession (and tight control) of a fast-growing advertising platform. Result: Apple has moved to block Google from collecting iOS app analytics, and introduced iAd, its own advertising network.

    So now, the previous close relationship between Apple and Google is shattered, Google can’t collect analytics on iOS devices,
    If iOS ‘wins’, Google loses, big. So Android is now a ‘do or die’ move for Google.

    Long-term, Android may wind up a mistake for Google.

  190. So in theory i could take a locked down G1 direct from googles manufacturing floor, connect to android market and download a bing search app and my next search would ask me if i wanted to use Google or Bing.

    @JonB: Caught me on skimming the articles, but yes, I knew you could change your default search engine by writing an Android API app that does just that. There may even be apps already out there that do that. But if I had pointed that out, the Apple fanboys would be all like “oh, so grandma is expected to write an app?” and, thus, totally missing the point.

  191. Its not clear from the documentation that you can change the search engine via WEB_SEARCH_ACTION.

    The docs say that WEB_SEARCH_ACTION will either search via Google or open a given page, if the string starts with http: or https:

    So, dude(s)… show me the CODE.

  192. John Long-
    I won’t claim to be an expert on comment etiquette, but I will say you’re playing fast-and-loose with the rules.

    This comment is a reworded version of this tweet. By itself, I’d say sketchy, but not necessarily conclusive.

    Then I saw this comment, which is WAY to close to the initial content and, particularly, the footnote at the end of this post by John Gruber at daringfireball.net.

    I checked timestamps on both of these and you’re comments appear well after the originals.

    These, plus the fact I called you out in a prior thread, are too much coincidence for myself. Considering that you’ve used links in other cases, I’m guessing that it’s an act of laziness on your part, as opposed to an act of malice; others can judge for themselves. You’d best knock it off.

  193. Regarding my prior comment, I’ll add that I considered the possibility that “John Long” is a pseudonym John Gruber is using here. But, if you read a few of his recent entries, Gruber has a pretty strong dislike for comment sections. Plus, I can’t imagine why, since he has his own blog and defends himself regularly there, he’d feel compelled to comment under a different name here. So the odds seem small. Regardless, that would be about the only acceptable explanation at this point.

  194. So while its true FOR CHINA ONLY, the situation on the Android phones from Verizon for the US market is that you get a free Bing app.

    OK hang on… all of that to finally say you know i’m right? I don’t get the point. That free Bing app is EXACTLY what i’m talking about. Your question was “If “open always wins”, will we soon see Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! search options on Android?”. The answer is Yes, There’s an app right now to do so.

    The thing that we may be differing on is whether or not it will get released by everyone. But if your looking at platform openness, so long as its possible for someone to do it then we’re all good. Google’s domain control ends at the software repository. From my perspective, it’s even better that I can make that decision on my own without petitioning the manufacturer to add it. The fact that it’s an app that requires no root access puts it heavily into the win category.

    Oh and as an aside in terms of comparisons to iPhone. All of this would get blocked at the IStore because it is duplication of functionality.

    Its not clear from the documentation that you can change the search engine via WEB_SEARCH_ACTION.

    Like I tried to say, that is inherent within the definition of an “intent”. The only thing that I can’t picture the code for is how you return results back. (Maybe it starts a new activity to show results but that just defers the problem ultimately)

    Ultimately however I can do you one small step down from showing you code. That free bing app that you linked to works exactly the way i would expect. It works with standard browsers and the home page search thing(thats from its documentation) so it’s slotting in where google’s search would normally be.

    Android is fragmenting. read it for yourself. The OHA may not be a success.

    I didn’t say Android isn’t fragmenting. What i’m saying is that changing your search option to Bing is not a source of fragmentation. Also what form of fragmentation do you mean? In the context of this blog “android fragmentation” usually refers to the problems people have with having a Android 1.5 phone and not being able to use the android 2.x apps. I.e. API fragmentation.

    , “Blur” is not simply a ’skin’.

    From a technical standpoint thats exactly what it looks like. The look and feel is changed. The home screen has gotten a revamp (mostly using Motorola’s widgets). The documentation isn’t specific but it kind of implies to me that you can only put motorola widgets on the motoblur home screen. The last is about the only thing that would make me frown at Motorola. Maybe next time i’m near a phone shop i’ll ask to have a play around with motoblur.

  195. Meant to add that you can still use google marketplace so that would certainly suggest that you can still use the dalvik based apps on it.

    As far as i can find documented, the only change is the home screen with the biggest point of fragmentation being that motoblur may not be compatible with android widgets.

  196. @Morgan-
    Yeah- in all likelihood. The pseudonym thought was more myself trying to provide a plausible explanation, albeit an unconvincing one.

  197. Am I the only one here who twitches when he sees the name “Gruber”? Even though I don’t think this is the same one…

    ESR says: I don’t twitch. Explain?

  198. Google John Grubor (note spelling difference) and Steven Boursy, and you shall be enlightened…but beware: madness awaits…

  199. Grubor…Grubor…where have I seen that? *quick google* Oh, “Doctor God”. *twitch* *twitch*

  200. Can’t Apple just buyout T-mobile from Deutsche Telekom? It sucks anyway, and Apple can hire some expertise to have that as an ‘iphone carrier’ so to speak where you little people can use other phones if you feel the need to.

  201. >Can’t Apple just buyout T-mobile from Deutsche Telekom?

    Yeah, Apple could do that. It would be an exceedingly risky path to pursue, though – much more so than is evident at first glance. Jobs is too smart to try it, I think.

    The problem with acquisitions for this kind of vertical integration is that the DNA of the two organizations tend not to mesh well. Running a computer or consumer-electronics company is a very different business than running a telecomms carrier, giving rise to very different cultures and different sets of instincts. If you tried to join Apple and T-Mobile at the hip it is quite likely the the resulting awkward fusion of top managements would run both companies very badly.

    I say this as someone who’s been on a corporate board and directly involved in an acquisition. It’s not easy, no way, no how. There be dragons here.

  202. Apple doesn’t need to buy out T-Mobile. Apple doesn’t need to worry about the telecoms.

    Apple has already won the platform war in the mobile space. Now they just need to continue concentrating on consigning the other platforms to marginalized irrelevance and follower status with low margins.

    Android could take 75% of the smartphone market tomorrow (and they most certainly won’t get anywhere near that any time soon) and Apple would still be the dominant force with higher quality software, more robust developer base, more diversified accessory market, and much higher profits.

    Apple has already won. And tethering or a 20 gigapixel camera or fold out keyboard or TV tuner slapped onto some ugly case running Android won’t change it.

  203. Apple has already won the platform war in the mobile space.

    Hardly. If there’s one thing everyone here can agree on, it’s that the war has just begun and the opening salvos have just been fired.

  204. “Hardly. If there’s one thing everyone here can agree on, it’s that the war has just begun and the opening salvos have just been fired.”

    Sorry to be to disagree. Apple has won the war, the problem is far too many people – particularly in this forum – don’t understand the nature of the battle or what is being fought over. It’s hardly “majority market share.”

    All Apple needs is a dedicated userbase, a vibrant developer community, and a solid OS and APIs.

    It’s got those. The Mac has done quite well for itself with less than 10% of the market. Merely having reached the position that Apple has reached in telephony/mobile computing has put them in a place that will take anyone else years to equal.

    Next time you’re in a bookstore, take a look at the number of titles devoted to Android dev vs iPhone. Last time I checked? 20 to 1 in favor of iPhone. This has forever altered the dynamics of the Mac market, as the lack of developers was the biggest thing holding back the platform. That’s been forever altered. And it won’t change for years.

    Look at the customer satisfaction ratings and other figures likely to lead to users sticking with the platform. Off the charts in favor of iPhone.

    Compare the margins Apple is making per phone compared to other handset manufacturers. Off the charts in favor of the iPhone.

    Compare the profits of develops making titles for iPhone vs Android. Off of the charts in favor of the iPhone.

    Compare how the iPhone contributes to the growth in sales of Apple’s desktops and laptops vs Google’s hardware sales. Obviously, off the charts in favor of Apple again. (yes, I know Google doesn’t sell hardware. And that’s my point.)

    It’s already over. Apple has no competition at all. None. Don’t you get it? There IS NO IPHONE COMPETITOR OUT THERE. None. Just a few ill-considered, haphazardly designed flatscreens running some cobbled together version of Linux with bad icons. And they really haven’t shown any ability to reduce Apple’s sales at all. Not a bit. In fact, since Android has come to town, the iPhone’s sales and dominance has only grown.

    Apple’s only obstacles are its ability to make the things fast enough.

  205. What far too many people, particularly in this forum, don’t understand about “network effects.”

    The power of a network is a result of the number of nodes AND the number of interconnections between those nodes. This is why it simply doesn’t matter if Android gets 50% of the market. Or even 75% of the market. Because even at 25%, the iPhone as a platform and userbase, has higher quality nodes and vastly denser interconnections between those nodes.

    A well interconnected network of 25 nodes beats a haphazard network of 75 nodes.

    Android doesn’t have a chance of being as dominant as the iPhone any time soon. Not for years. And by that time, Win7 Mobile is going to come in and eat Android for breakfast. It’ll be left as the cheap commodity OS running appliances and various phones and media players sold out of vending machines.

  206. My guess is that “John Long” is one of Gruber’s lunatic fringe fanboys.

    Yo dawg, I herd u like fanboys, so we got a fanboy of a fanboy…

  207. Leif,

    I think you don’t quite get the point. Are you saying that Apple has ‘won’ and the dominant paradigm will forever be smartphones with walled garden environments; purely vendor-controlled experiences?

    You say Win Mobile will kill Android. So? OS itself aside, Windows platforms have always been exceedingly open for developers and users to do what they would. Another MS system would not be optimal, but I’d still rather have a device I can make my own choices and control myself than a device the (read: legal) use of which is dictated by some approval-droid somewhere.

    Hell, I have no problem if Apple keeps the lead in design and innovation. They’re good at it. I am a fan of my jailbroken iPod Touch. But that is irrelevant. Whether it is Apple or Google, MS or HP, the core issue has nothing to do with WHO the contenders are. We just have to watch the direction the market will go: user-controlled, or vender-controlled. It’s always possible Steve could go (extra) batshit and do a complete turnaround, fully opening up iOS applications development without restrictions. That would be the best outcome, but I’m not holding my breath.

  208. I think you don’t quite get the point. Are you saying that Apple has ‘won’ and the dominant paradigm will forever be smartphones with walled garden environments; purely vendor-controlled experiences?

    Yeah. That’s what he’s saying. All you have to do is look at the freaking numbers to tell who’s winning hearts and minds in the developer space. Hands down, it’s Apple. Once again — a few loud butthurt bloggers do not represent the entire developer community. Most developers are perfectly content with Apple’s terms, and Apple has more happy developers than Android does.

  209. As for Android’s user base/market share… lately I’ve started seeing a lot of unpleasant street-thug types carrying Android devices, and I’m to understand that the popularity of the Hiptop/T-Mobile Sidekick a few years back was largely due to drug dealers’ need for a cheap smart communications device. Draw what conclusions you will.

  210. Jeff,

    OK, so I’m curious now. Assuming you’re right, which I don’t, but whatever. Assuming you’re right, and this is The Way It’s Going to Be. Are you happy about it? Because, and I may just be reading more into the written words than is there, it seems like you, and the others saying similar things, are actually glad for this outcome. Am I wrong? I don’t get it.

    As an educated, knowledgable user, why do you find it acceptible for the usage of the device you paid for to be limited in such a draconian way that you can’t anything you want with it without breaking the law? (DMCA or foreign equivalent)

    Or do you not think it’s acceptible, only inevitable?

  211. Or do you not think it’s acceptible, only inevitable?

    This is what I think. I don’t like closed platforms. But what I think and what Eric thinks mean precisely dick when it comes to end user uptake. Why? Because we’re geeks. Our priorities in what we use for an OS platform day-to-day are completely different from all the unwashed masses out there. For those, a high-quality, closed platform really is best: the vendor can act as a quality filter and provide a unified, seamless experience to their user base. That’s something Android can never do.

    Once again… In 1985, Nintendo completely changed the face of video games and saved the industry from utter destruction. Their chief innovation in this field was in LOCKING DOWN THE PLATFORM. Since then, millions upon millions of consumers have found it perfectly acceptable for the usage of the devices they paid for to be limited in draconian ways. Because they didn’t give a shit about all the other ways their devices might be used besides playing Mario, Sonic, Halo, or whatever. What Nintendo achieved in 1985 with video game consoles, Apple is poised to achieve now with smartphones. This is where the industry is headed, and geeks had better get used to it because we’re not nearly as important as we tend to think we are; we’ve always been riding bitch in the producer/consumer relationship.

  212. @Jeff Read and @Lief:

    What the hell is in that Steve Jobs kool aid anyway?

    Here’s the bottom line: Right now, today, the number one smartphone market share isn’t Apple or Android. Not even close. Apple in 2009 had about half the market share of RIM. Blackberry is in the lead, no matter whether you want to admit it or not. Android is predicted by many analysts in the know — those would be analysts in the mobile phone business, not computer industry analysts who fail to understand the intricacies of the mobile phone business — to exceed Apple’s market share by this time next year for sure, and to match RIM’s by 2013.

    Not matter what you think about Apple or iPhone, this is not a fight Apple is prepared to win. Apple has been in this business only since 2007 and they are facing players with much, much more experience. They aren’t the winners, they’re the underdogs.

    Contrast Google’s model: instead of going it alone, Google partnered with people already in the business. What you fail to understand is that a single-vendor solution isn’t likely to survive in that business; the phone market is far more subject to dynamics that don’t exist in PCs, like fads and the complications that arise from the heavily-regulated wireless phone business. Read my lips: the current popularity of the iPhone is a fad. And like all fads, it’s time will come. Android is prepared for the long-haul, Apple isn’t.

    In my mind, quite the contrary to your thinking, Apple hasn’t already won, they’ve already lost. And they lost before they even began.

  213. @Jeff Read: That’s all well and good, except for the fact that locking down the platform isn’t new in the mobile phone business. It’s the rule, not the exception.

  214. Here’s the bottom line: Right now, today, the number one smartphone market share isn’t Apple or Android. Not even close. Apple in 2009 had about half the market share of RIM.

    Wrong again. Symbian is currently the market leader, and has been for some time.

    But I suspect that iPhone and Android, taken together, will spell the death knell for Symbian as a serious player in the future much as they have for Windows Mobile. And the reason is so simple even Steve Ballmer can understand it: “Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!” Getting started with Android or iPhone development is easy; Symbian is legendary among mobile developers for having crappy tools and difficult APIs.

  215. > This is where the industry is headed, and geeks had better get used to it because we’re not nearly as important as we tend to think we are; we’ve always been riding bitch in the producer/consumer relationship.

    Hm. Yet, as the people who know, understand and can see the distant consequences more than the average dumbfuck consumer, I feel we have a duty to do our best to educate people and try to shape the outcome. ‘Getting used to it’ is fatalistic, and I won’t have any of that in my computing life.

    There is a key difference between what Nintendo did and what Apple is doing. Nintendo locked down a device space that had been extremely specialized already. I want my games console to play games, and I want it to do it well. I have no major issues there, other than the madness of bringing the hammer down on hobbyists and enthusiasts the way Nintendo does.

    The smartphone is poised to be the next generation of general computing device, though. As a PHONE it is specialized, but as a ‘smartphone’ it is more. And worse, Apple has stepped in and shown us just how much more it can be, but then set up barriers to prevent us from taking it even further. It’s infuriating.

  216. Wrong again. Symbian is currently the market leader, and has been for some time.

    In Europe. Nowhere else but Europe. Why do people make the mistake of “Europe == The World”?

    Take a look at this analysis, predicting 170% increase for Android for 2010. It shows actual shipments for 2009, and Symbian.

    ESR says: That analysis seems sound, if a bit conservative.

  217. Ermmm..Symbian is like 1.5% of the North American market. Yes, I realize that North America != The World either, but many are too quick to dismiss Asian markets.

  218. JSK wrote to me:

    “I think you don’t quite get the point. Are you saying that Apple has ‘won’ and the dominant paradigm will forever be smartphones with walled garden environments; purely vendor-controlled experiences?”

    Oh, but I think I do get the point. My point is that I find much of the griping about Apple’s “closed platform” to be kind of ridiculous. I do not regard “walled garden” to in any way be a pejorative term. A ridiculous, emotive, somewhat silly term. I can understand how the users wish to regard it as pejorative, but I find that silly. “Open” as seemingly defined by many people here has so far failed to succeed in the consumer market and make any paradigm shifts. It’s generally just a chaotic mess. Makes me think of Linux user groups meetings where attendees shift between war stories about the quest for drivers and shared fantasies of the rest of humanity wanting to join them in their time-wasting hobby. “Free as in over-priced.”

    ” We just have to watch the direction the market will go: user-controlled, or vender-controlled.”

    Umm.. why? Is your iPod touch not “user-controlled?” It’s jail broken, is it not? As such, you know that Apple makes it very easy to jail-break; it’s not like they are actively working hard to make it difficult. Primarily it appears as if they are doing nothing more than putting up some minor obstacles to discourage the clueless so they aren’t bombarded with warranty issues of the unqualified digging into what they shouldn’t.

    In the meantime, Apple’s “walled-garden” and “draconian control” and (throw in the usual vague, emotive terms like “tyrannical”, “despotic”, and “machiavellian”) has produced RATES OF ADOPTION, USER SATISFACTION, and RELIABILITY that the open source community has NEVER, EVER been able to achieve on the desktop. Sorry, kids. FSM and Open Source has largely been a waste of time. That fanatical steve jobs has put a functioning, reliable personal computer in the pockets of people who the open source people haven’t been able to GIVE their products to.

    I suppose Ubuntu and the like might be nice if you’re obsessed with getting “free as in overpriced” software. I used to run Ubuntu. But the desire to run professional software was too strong. As was the economic argument. GIMP is free, but the cost of running it is simply way, way too high. And the cost to the wider society has probably been even higher: with crap like Ubuntu and GIMP out there, it becomes very difficult for people to bring to market alternatives that work better.

    That’s why I’m typing this to you on a Mac. My Ubuntu friends crow about all the “free” software they can get. What they don’t realize is that I have software that they can’t get and I’m quite happy to pay for it. On Ubuntu, that wasn’t even an option. Free comes with some very, very high prices. Sure, the $50 image editor I’m using right now on my Mac is considerably more expensive than GIMP. But it does every major filter at about 3x the speed. In a few hours, I more than make back the purchase cost.

    It sort of makes me wonder what kinds of great commercial desktop alternatives we could have if so many people weren’t wasting so much time and money on “free” software.

    ” It’s always possible Steve could go (extra) batshit and do a complete turnaround, fully opening up iOS applications development without restrictions. That would be the best outcome, but I’m not holding my breath.”

    On the contrary, I think it would be an utter catastrophe.

  219. JSK:

    “> This is where the industry is headed, and geeks had better get used to it because we’re not nearly as important as we tend to think we are; we’ve always been riding bitch in the producer/consumer relationship.

    Hm. Yet, as the people who know, understand and can see the distant consequences more than the average dumbfuck consumer, I feel we have a duty to do our best to educate people and try to shape the outcome. ‘Getting used to it’ is fatalistic, and I won’t have any of that in my computing life.”

    Consumers aren’t dumfucks just because they aren’t stupid enough to run Linux on their desktop. Your declaration of yourself as someone who “knows, understands and can see the distant consequences” is quite possibly dangerously arrogant. And your insistence that you “have a duty to . . .educate people.. and try to shape the outcome” is also quite curious. It quite reminds me of a religious prosyletizer, pestering people “for their own good.” On this note, it’s quite interesting that for all the griping about the App Store’s porn policy, most open source people are astonishingly similar to anti-porn zealots and other censorship freaks. Constantly feeling they have a need and the right to get in the face of “average dumbfucks” and “educate” them.

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s you who has it all wrong.

  220. > Umm.. why? Is your iPod touch not “user-controlled?” It’s jail broken, is it not?

    Well, considering I’m pretty sure I violate DMCA by doing so, AND I’m violating the TOS of the device itself, which by doing gives Apple the contractual right to take the device away from me, I would have to say that NO, my touch is NOT ‘user-controlled.’

    I’m certainly not a free-software weenie, for my part. I use the tools that get the job done. I’ve got windows, mac, and slackware installs in my home. I use windows, redhat, and slackware at work. I use the gimp when I just need to do some basic stuff. I load up CS4 on my mac install when I need to do some hard-core photo editing, I load up windows when I want to do some gaming, and I use slackware when I want to do actual work.

    The catch is that all of the systems I run I use however I see fit. Apple and others want to take that ability away from me in the mobile device space. That is Wrong.

  221. JSK:
    “The catch is that all of the systems I run I use however I see fit. Apple and others want to take that ability away from me in the mobile device space. That is Wrong.”

    Apple isn’t the only people making mobile devices. For my part, I like Apple’s approach to the iOS platform. I want to buy the platform that fits my needs. It seems that you want to take away that ability from me. That is Wrong.

    And you do not run and use your systems however you see fit. Try running Photoshop on a Linux box. It’s pretty hard to do. Is it due to Adobe’s or possibly Torvald’s fanatical, closed down control? Should you be able to use whatever kind of lubricant you want on your car and still enjoy the warranty?

    I don’t see your argument as having any moral basis, really. Please elaborate on the basis of “That is Wrong”.

  222. Leif,

    Last response, then I’m getting back to work. : )

    I don’t run Photoshop on Linux because Adobe has not made Photoshop for Linux. There is nothing stopping me from installing Wine and trying to run it that way. It’s not even that hard.

    And yes, I do consider the vast majority of consumers to be stupid. It is willful stupidity, essentially social fascism wherein people do not want to make their own choices, they want those choices made for them. That will never change, so it is up to the people who DO care to step up and try to make the changes that provide the most freedom to the most people, even if those people don’t understand or want to understand why it’s even important.

    I don’t care what people run on their desktop. I don’t care if they prefer one operating system over another. I _DO_ care that they are aware that there are choices. I care that people understand the tradeoffs in chosing one system over another, and I care that people make the best choice to suit thier needs.

    And, seriously? All three big desktop options, Mac, Win, and Linux, provide considerable freedom allowing users to do what they want, at least at the application level. I have technical and other issues with all of them, but they all serve the same purpose. And, lately there has been growing convergence between the three platforms in terms of available software. Don’t even bother lumping me in with Linux evangelists, because although I use it in 95% of my daily computing, I will never recommend it to someone if it won’t work for them immediately.

    If I had my way, we’d all be on a Plan 9 derivative, anyway. ; D

    > Apple isn’t the only people making mobile devices. For my part, I like Apple’s approach to the iOS
    > platform. I want to buy the platform that fits my needs. It seems that you want to take away that
    > ability from me. That is Wrong.

    WTF, dude? Nevermind, you’re an idiot and a troll. I don’t give a shit what you buy or what Apple makes. If you like it, then use it, why do I care? I am concerned that the things Apple does if they genuinely ‘win’ will affect what I and others do on ANY platform. Unlike Jeff Read, you are showing a clear disregard and misunderstanding of the actual stakes in your arguments, whether you do so intentionally or not.

  223. @Leif: “Try running Photoshop on a Linux box. It’s pretty hard to do. Is it due to Adobe’s or possibly Torvald’s fanatical, closed down control? Should you be able to use whatever kind of lubricant you want on your car and still enjoy the warranty?”
    This. This is stupid. Photoshop is not available on Linux, AFAIK, because there’s not an economic incentive for Adobe to make it run. I might ask you how can I run Autocad on a Mac, if we want to talk about useful software unavailable.
    Plus, you might say of Linus that he’s hard-headed and brash, but fanatical is not a term that fits him.

  224. Actually, word is that AutoCAD is coming back to the Mac.

    I don’t think greater opening of iOS is either improbable or a potential disaster. I doubt Jobs would do it all at once, but significant steps in that direction have already been taken: remember that at first, they wanted iPhone developers to only make web apps. If Jobs felt that Android was becoming a threat due to its greater openness, he could change iOS/App Store policies in a moment.

    And that approach makes sense to me: first create a well-designed, reliable smartphone experience with dependable apps, then open it up after it becomes established. That’s a lot easier than the Android approach of starting out open and then trying to create a well-designed and reliable experience.

  225. Hm. Yet, as the people who know, understand and can see the distant consequences more than the average dumbfuck consumer, I feel we have a duty to do our best to educate people and try to shape the outcome. ‘Getting used to it’ is fatalistic, and I won’t have any of that in my computing life.

    Remember that the “average dumbfuck consumer” includes doctors, lawyers, particle physicists — even software developers. Oftentimes it’s not that they don’t know what’s at stake but rather that they just don’t care. People choose the iPhone and iPad with eyes wide open. Because these devices make their lives easier.

    There’s a scene in Tron, I forgot when, where someone states that the ENCOM computer system, where all the “program” characters live, exists to serve its users. How quickly that is forgotten among fosstards, and how paramount it is to the success of Apple’s business. You want Linux — or any OS — to win hearts and minds among a given user base, it’s your job to make the OS serve that user base. Those users don’t have to serve the OS by submitting to “education” or indoctrination into the OS writers’ ideology or worldview.

    The smartphone is poised to be the next generation of general computing device, though. As a PHONE it is specialized, but as a ’smartphone’ it is more. And worse, Apple has stepped in and shown us just how much more it can be, but then set up barriers to prevent us from taking it even further. It’s infuriating.

    No. The smartphone is the end of the “general computing device”. What do most people do with their “general computing device”? Usually — not very much. Email, chat, Facebook, Youtube, lolcat pictures. Maybe letters and memos in Word. Maybe crunching some numbers in Excel. Maybe some games, if that’s your sort of thing. If you’re a computer-using professional, chances are the machine is an appliance, as far as you’re concerned purpose-built to run the one or few applications it takes for you to get your work done. These people — the vast, vast, vast majority of the computer-using population — wouldn’t miss a thing if denied the infinite possibilities their machine encapsulates. For casual use they’d be perfectly content with the iPad. Proof: the iPad is currently cutting off netbooks’ air supply.

    Yes, a computer can do anything. Yes, it’s completely wonderful. Yes, it’s sad that most people don’t appreciate this. But they don’t, and they won’t because they’re not geeks like us. Capitalism dictates that the company that successfully packages the few things that most people need a computer for into a slick, easy-to-use device that fits into their lives and doesn’t waste any of their time will attract the most customers and get those customers to love them. Apple is currently poised to be that company. Expecting less than complete success from them is foolhardy. It will change the market forever because people’s expectations of a computing device will be fundamentally changed. This is the future because it’s the easiest thing and makes the most sense for the vast majority of people. Again — get used to it.

  226. I don’t think greater opening of iOS is either improbable or a potential disaster. I doubt Jobs would do it all at once, but significant steps in that direction have already been taken: remember that at first, they wanted iPhone developers to only make web apps. If Jobs felt that Android was becoming a threat due to its greater openness, he could change iOS/App Store policies in a moment.

    Again, Steve Jobs — singlehandedly and in no time at all — did what years-going-on-decades of agitation from fosstards did not. The iPhone opened up the market for smartphone applications. Jobs is striking a delicate balance between openness and preserving the quality and uniqueness of the Apple UX. It’s proven… phenomenally successful, especially when compared to the clusterfuck that is Android, with its varying hardware profiles, lack of recent-version updates for certain makes of phone, unnecessary cruft like HTC Sense, etc.

  227. Re: adding numbers to comments in WordPress, I found this how-to .

    I haven’t tried it so, I can’t say it works but it looks fairly simple.

  228. ESR,

    I think you might be missing the really real stakes. I too missed them a month ago, when I complained (here too) that smartphones are too small to be actually useful.

    I just understood something I consider very important. Despite all the advances made in computing technology, as to the human-computer interface, we are stuck with the mouse, invented in 1974, and the keyboard, invented for mechanical typewriters, dunno when but really long ago. It is probably older than cars.

    Now the smartphone provides completely new ways of human-computer interactions with its GPS, compass and small size and weight, – where small size and weight is in itself an interface, there are smartphone apps where you swing it around and it makes lightsabre sounds and you could not really do that with a big and heavy laptop, there are apps that recognize a given piece of music if you hold it close to the loudspeaker of the radio, and the app that based on GPS and compass, will overlay information on that thing you are looking at through the camera (“augmented reality”) and the app that lets you blow into the mic and play it like a flute, the app where you take a long-distance bus and set it up wake you up 2 miles before you arrive and it will wake you up, based on your GPS position and and and and…

    It is a whole huge freakin’ paradigm shift happening in human-computer interactions which will completely revolutionize the keyboard-and-mouse based paradigm of a user interface, and Open Source can win it with much higher chances than winning the desktop because the barrier to that was the cost of relearning the way you use the computer, but with this sort of interaction that barrier is non-existent, because nobody really expects to have a Start Menu in the bottom left corner of their phone nor being it able to run Medieval: Total War 2…

  229. *sigh* @adriano, Leif, Jeff Read, re: Photoshop.

    I’m tired of the Photoshop/GIMP argument. I, personally, am a power user on both programs, and I run both programs on my Ubuntu box without any trouble whatsoever. Some versions of Photoshop work perfectly well under Wine. I personally learned how to do photo editing on Photoshop running on a Macintosh. (Surprised?)

    Here’s what I can tell you: For 90+% of photo editing needs, I use GIMP. It’s smaller and it’s faster. Yes, it’s faster, even considering Photoshop’s “live” filters; it loads faster and it opens photos faster and most operations are faster in GIMP. Yes, the “live” filters are faster on Photoshop, no doubt, but most photo editing operations don’t involve filters; usually all I need is a little color correction, scaling, noise removal, maybe a retouch or two, and cropping. That’s it for more than 90%. If you’re spending a lot of time doing filters, your doing it wrong anyway.

  230. @Jeff Read

    Expecting less than complete success from [Apple] is foolhardy. It will change the market forever because people’s expectations of a computing device will be fundamentally changed.

    Expecting history to not repeat itself is what’s foolhardy. You don’t seem to get it. Evo 4Gs are sold out everywhere. I’ve talked to a lot of people of who also wanted them, and for them AT&T simply was not an option. I even spoke to one woman who was switching from iPhone to the Evo due to AT&T’s crappy network. Android 2.x is likely to become the dominant smartphone platform. I don’t think there’s any doubt of that. Apple will forever be consigned to the realm of snobby turtleneck-wearing, latte drinking art fag crowd. Get used to it.

  231. > If you’re a computer-using professional, chances are the machine is an appliance, as far as you’re concerned purpose-built to run the one or few applications it takes for you to get your work done.

    I’m a computer-using professional, specifically a research chemist. At my job I use a dozen different programs to get my work done – not counting the specialized programs used to run various instruments.

    Maybe I’m an atypical user, but I think you grossly underestimate the usefulness of a general-purpose computer to the “vast vast vast majority of the computer-using population,” even leaving aside the usefulness of having a general-purpose design in the cases where each computer only runs one or two programs – but a different one or two programs on each machine.

  232. > I just understood something I consider very important. Despite all the advances made in computing technology, as to the human-computer interface, we are stuck with the mouse, invented in 1974, and the keyboard, invented for mechanical typewriters, dunno when but really long ago. It is probably older than cars.

    > Now the smartphone provides completely new ways of human-computer interactions with its GPS, compass and small size and weight,

    Some of these new ways may be nifty, but they’re still low-bandwidth by the standards of human-computer interactions. They strike me as making a virtue of a necessity, wrt the problems humans have interacting with something as small as a smartphone.

    I’m not so sure about mice, but I think this “keyboard” concept will have long, long legs. Possibly even as long as the stylus/pen/pencil concept, which has managed to last for thousands of years. The keyboard rewards training, but is still usable in hunt-and-peck mode by the untrained, and it has a relatively high bandwidth, even in that hunt-and-peck mode. Offhand, the only way I can think of to top it would be some sort of direct mind-machine interface – mechanical telepathy where you think words at the machine and it understands. Now this may well happen, but I don’t see keyboards being replaced by anything short of that.

  233. Morgan wrote:

    Here’s what I can tell you: For 90+% of photo editing needs, I use GIMP. It’s smaller and it’s faster. Yes, it’s faster, even considering Photoshop’s “live” filters; it loads faster and it opens photos faster and most operations are faster in GIMP.

    For me, the reason why GIMP doesn’t cut it (or didn’t, when last I looked)

    1) Miserable handling of larger file sizes and resolution.
    2) No CMYK or PANTONE support.

    When I’m working on the cover for a book, or a game box, I’m usually working at 600 dpi and at full bleeds on an 18×12″ press sheet. In raw pixels, this is ~10,800 x 7,200 pixels, or about an 80 megapixel image. This gets substantially larger when dealing with a game box.

    I now send those files as CMYK color space documents. For complex documents, I perform color separations.

    CMYK is not supported natively in GIMP. There are plugins that sorta kinda do separations…but when I’m sending files for a $12,000 print run, risking sending them in a format that could go ‘splat’, or have changes in colors because of differences in import processes, is not a good risk.

    Particularly since the the staff at the printer likely won’t catch any errors…and if it’s something they can blame on “Well, we printed what you sent…”, they will.

    All that said, for making LOLcats, Photoshop is sort of like stirring a margarita with a concrete mixer. Even Adobe is acknowledging this. They’re working on an entirely different photo-editing tool specifically for that niche, with a radically different UI, called Lightroom.

  234. I just tried to apply the comment-numbering mod. No effect. I’ll poke at it some more, but I’m not optimistic.

  235. Sorry, folks, all your pre-press are belong to Adobe. I think they own the patents on CMYK color sep. Open source is a complete non-starter.

  236. >I think [Adobe] own[s] the patents on CMYK color sep. Open source is a complete non-starter.

    *Sigh* Wrong.

    Scribus already has CMYK. GIMP should have it in the not-too-distant future; it was waiting on a major refactoring of the color-handling core, which was merged in 2.7. A CMYK separation plugin for GIMP already exists.

  237. Morgan:

    “Expecting history to not repeat itself is what’s foolhardy. You don’t seem to get it.”

    Exactly what history do you see repeating here? Please don’t throw Mac vs Windows at me.

    “I even spoke to one woman who was switching from iPhone to the Evo due to AT&T’s crappy network.”

    But not due to any features of the Android platform? Seems that advantage will fly, fly away when iPhone hits on Verizon. Of course, Apple is already selling the things faster than they can make them.

    “Android 2.x is likely to become the dominant smartphone platform.”

    Dominant meaning what exactly?

    “I don’t think there’s any doubt of that.”

    If by dominant you mean anything other than sheer numbers, there’s plenty of doubt. But even in that area, iPhone is way ahead.

    Android is such a goofy, incoherent mess that it doesn’t even deserve to be called a platform. And its most impressive iterations are little more than misunderstood attempts to duplicate the style and conventions of Steve Jobs. Best way to describe an Android to your mom? “Well, you know what an iPhone is? An Android is sorta like that, but not quite as well-conceived.”

  238. >Android is such a goofy, incoherent mess that it doesn’t even deserve to be called a platform.

    This crosses the line from reasoned advocacy into raving. Don’t waste my time.

  239. @Ken Burnside: GIMP will soon have proper CMYK color support, but the separation plugin you mention (now included with GIMP) does support soft-proofing and CMYK separation support. Whether you need to edit images in ‘CMYK mode’ is a actually a separate question. On the rare occasion I do, I use Photoshop, which I also keep around for the odd Photoshop plugin that doesn’t seem to work in GIMP or have a GIMP equivalent.

    PANTONE color suport isn’t something I need. PANTONE is for doing spot color and almost everything I do 4-color process or black and white. For spot colors, though, it’s all in the communication with your printer: you can either give the print shop precise CMYK values for each spot color, or you can pick the color off a real PANTONE chart (which you need anyway, whether or not you’re doing this stuff on a computer) and simply specify, this is PANTONE 101C, etc. Most printers are more than happy to work with you; the ones that aren’t, well, why are you giving them good money?

  240. > I’m not so sure about mice

    Zoom out to “pointing devices” (which is all a touch screen really is) and I think the answer is they’ll be around a long time.

    >Offhand, the only way I can think of to top it would be some sort of direct mind-machine interface – mechanical telepathy where you think words at the machine and it understands. Now this may well happen, but I don’t see keyboards being replaced by anything short of that.

    Funny, I was thinking about this very thing as well. Don’t know if you’ve played with it, but the Google voice recognition is really pretty remarkable. Very accurate, even with ambiguous word combinations, with no training at all for the phone.

    More generally, it can’t do it now, it’s possible that voice recognition could replace keyboards for a good portion of users- those who email and text, possibly light blogging. Possibly even for coding, although I think it would have to be used in conjunction with some kind of block selection scheme.

    I think the big problems here would be punctuation and privacy. Punctuation might be solvable. But dictating to a phone would impose informal requirements on usage (finding secluded spots to respond to private email) that I don’t think most people would like. The opportunities for eavesdropping by nefarious interlopers would be greatly increased also.

    Another possibility is improved keyboard portability, perhaps a “touch field” keyboard? But even this just underscores the efficiency of the keyboard-pointer combo for user input.

    A somewhat random thought regarding a mind-link input scheme- how much training would be necessary for the average user? I’d think the concentration requirements would be pretty high.

  241. Funny, I was thinking about this very thing as well. Don’t know if you’ve played with it, but the Google voice recognition is really pretty remarkable. Very accurate, even with ambiguous word combinations, with no training at all for the phone

    I was playing with this last night; the only problem I can see with it is that it doesn’t work with some non-language words very well, like some names, for instance. I’m supposing you could train it for specific words, but I couldn’t seem to find any options to do that. You also have to edit what you speak here and there…the personal pronoun ‘I’ always seems to appear in lower-case, for instance. And punctuation, as you mention.

    Privacy is an issue for any mobile device, though. The Evo 4G’s 4.3 inch screen is big enough that someone could look over your shoulder surrepetitiously, for instance. Maybe you could get one of those privacy filters they make for laptops; OTOH, it would make the camera-phone-sharing maneuver a bit more difficult, I suppose.

  242. >I think the big problems here would be punctuation and privacy. Punctuation might be solvable. But dictating to a phone would impose informal requirements on usage (finding secluded spots to respond to private email) that I don’t think most people would like. The opportunities for eavesdropping by nefarious interlopers would be greatly increased also.

    Privacy, not disturbing others (already a problem with simple “dumb” cellphone usage), filtering out background talk and noise… I don’t see voice-input being anything more than secondary unless it somehow becomes “voice input without making noise” – which effectively amounts to that mechanical telepathy.

    >A somewhat random thought regarding a mind-link input scheme- how much training would be necessary for the average user? I’d think the concentration requirements would be pretty high.

    That’s a big “nobody knows”/”it depends.” If using a mind-link requires an effort equivalent to learning touch-typing, then that’s a big drawback.

  243. @ Jeff

    >As for Android’s user base/market share… lately I’ve started seeing a lot of unpleasant
    >street-thug types carrying Android devices, and I’m to understand that the popularity
    >of the Hiptop/T-Mobile Sidekick a few years back was largely due to drug dealers’ need
    >for a cheap smart communications device. Draw what conclusions you will.

    That’s a low and completely wrong blow. That criminal elements choose to use a device has no bearing or weight on its quality or lack thereof. It’s not valid when talking about guns, and it’s not valid when talking about phones.

  244. That criminal elements choose to use a device has no bearing or weight on its quality or lack thereof.

    You know you’re right about that. The true pimps probably have iPhones. Diamond encrusted, to match their grills. :)

    Anyway, the angle I was going for wasn’t that “criminals carry Androids, therefore they’re bad”. The economics of drug dealing is just like any other multi-level marketing scheme: all the guys at the top make the lion’s share of the money while the ones doing all the footwork are working their asses off for a pittance, hoping to move up the ladder. So your average street dealer is far more likely to carry whatever cheap phone serves their communication needs. In years past that was the Sidekick; what I’m saying is that Android devices are beginning to fill that niche in the low to middle end of the market.

  245. > I think the big problems here would be punctuation and privacy. Punctuation might be solvable. But dictating to a phone would impose informal requirements on usage (finding secluded spots to respond to private email) that I don’t think most people would like. The opportunities for eavesdropping by nefarious interlopers would be greatly increased also.

    Look up subvocalization recognition.

  246. In years past that was the Sidekick; what I’m saying is that Android devices are beginning to fill that niche in the low to middle end of the market.

    Yet another lesson learned from the computer and car industries: he who dominates the low and middle end of the market will inevitably control the whole market. (see: Windows and Toyota)

  247. >Yet another lesson learned from the computer and car industries: he who dominates the low and middle end of the market will inevitably control the whole market. (see: Windows and Toyota)
    blogspot.com

    Or, as a friend of mine puts it, “Never bet against the cheap plastic solution.”

    Wasn’t anyone here paying attention when I described Android as a disruption from below?

  248. >Yet another lesson learned from the computer and car industries: he who dominates the low and middle end of the market will inevitably control the whole market. (see: Windows and Toyota)
    blogspot.com

    I guess Commodore missed this memo…

  249. “…before the heat-death of the universe”

    Pardon me while I miss the point, but the end of the universe is currently expected to be cold and dark…

    :)

  250. I guess Commodore missed this memo…

    Commodore was run into the ground by criminally incompetent management.

  251. Dear Eric S. Raymond,

    This is my first post; I am not a hacker, just a consumer, with an idea.

    I think I have thought up a game changer, or at least a catalyst of an idea, to change the music game, and ultimately perhaps the smart phone game?

    I don’t know if it is feasable, but I wanted to get it out there to the open source software community, because I thought you might appreciate it.

    A little background:
    I made the mistake of buying an iphone 3G two years ago on a 3 year contract. I live in Canada. I was like every other apathetic consumer, and foolishly bought into the advertising campaign and “sleek design” based solely on the iphones/ipods reputation for being the “best for music”. Do I ever regret I did that!

    I just finished reading your book, (The Cathedral & the Bazaar), and I wanted to thank you for the enlightenment :)

    I think from a consumer perspective, since most “average joe” consumers don’t understand the difference between Open Source and Closed Source, that Steve Jobs’ reluctance to let other MUSIC applications onto his phones was his biggest mistake, and ultimately will result in Apples downfall; by exposing his ridiculous stranglehold on the music industry.

    This made me realize the true value of open source; it is anti-monopoly.

    The way I see it, Apple has been holding the music industry hostage, essentially encouraging piracy, indirectly. Itunes is only the largest e-music retailer because a lot of people get sucked in by the sexy hardware, until they realize they are trapped in the itunes pit of hell with no way out.

    Because I realized that I could not afford my music addiction at $1.00 per song through itunes, and because so many of the applications that are available to US users are not allowed in Canada on the iphone, I was going through music withdrawal, and so I began scheming…

    My thoughts led me to think of a sort of music “rental” service, because I was so unsatisfied with my iphone when I realized I had stepped into a baited $700 3-year long sentence in the itunes TRAP. But it had to be unique, I also wanted to foster creativity, to be a nurturing environment for new artists, and to replicate the Success of Napster 1.0, but to improve on it, and somehow make it LEGAL.

    After some research, I realized that other music subscription services were out there already (or have since already been shutdown), like Lala (but conveniently Apple bought Lala, and shut it down because it was a threat to his business). I looked at Napster, and Rhapsody, but Steve Jobs does not allow Rhapsody or Napster to work with the iphones in Canada. I began to wonder why, and all I could conclude was that it was greed.

    The way I see it, the Apple empire was made largely off the backs of musicians, no better than a major record label.

    There is all kinds of talk about new artists struggling, a few rich artists (like Metallica) grumbling about lost revenue, and lots of grumbling from major record labels, complaining that people are stealing their music, and apathetic people who steal everything because
    it is easier and cheaper than getting it on itunes, and more convenient than going to the library.
    There are those like me who want to use a music subscription service like Rhapsody, but can’t, because it is not available for use in their country on the iphone. Isn’t that crazy? You can go to the public library here and take out CD’s for 3 weeks at a time, as many as you want, for a $12.00 per year library subscription, plus the cost of your time and the gas or bus fare to get to the library. Granted, most of them are either really old or really scratched, but still.

    My point is that people need a price point that is on par with a monthly trip to the library, for UNLIMITED SONGS. I think this would almost eliminate piracy, and probably give Steve Jobs a good run for his money with the ugly itunes trap he has created. There will always be people that will copy their friends’ entire library, until you make exploring music affordable to the masses, and streamlined.

    So who doesn’t feel good by donating to charity? Musicians are essentially natural drug manufacturers, or therapists (the good guys), in my opinion. The drug dealers (the bad guys) are the parasitic sites like itunes, Amazon, Wal-Mart, big music labels, fairsharemusic (it appears as if these guys are piggybacking on the backs of charity, for their profit), etc. Then there are the music stealers (potential consumers stuck in the middle); the people who might be able to afford to pay $1.00 up front for a song, but are only likely to do so after they have heard it on the radio a bunch of times, and thus the mainstream musicians, and their labels, and itunes get even RICHER, and the keys to the music industry are kept in the hands of a select few at the top of the corporate gluttonous music label food chain / itunes. The result is that people keep stealing music from the new musicians, and forcing them out of lucrative careers as musicians, even though they are talented, because nobody wants to donate $1.00 based on a 20 second clip of a song they have never heard in it’s entirety before, only to find out that they don’t like the song because it does not suit their “taste”, delete, repeat, and feed the itunes monster until they find a song they like…This behavior only lasts so long, and then itunes is relegated to a service that you only use to buy music that you already know you like, and have heard before, and we remain stuck in the commercial radio trap that we have been caught in for the last 10 years. Every station only repeats a handful of songs day after day after day. Creativity is lost. There is no motivation for new talent to emerge. It seems impossible for new talent to get discovered when people are force-fed the same songs day in and day out. It makes it incredibly hard for new musicians to get discovered, based on 30-second samples, and it makes it incredibly hard (and EXPENSIVE) for consumers to discover music that is NEW to THEM that they like.

    I, (probably like most musicians), absolutely despise itunes, because it is a buggy program (unless you run it on a mac OS), and not an affordable way to explore music. Itunes is largest music retailer in the world. Why? Because Apple has a monopoly (read “Cathedral”) because of it’s slick hardware which is tied to it’s proprietary software. Everyone bought into the slick expensive hardware, and are now locked into long term contracts and are forced to use the proprietary software (itunes). Nobody wants to throw away their $700 phone even if they realize that they are now trapped in Steve Jobs’ itunes pit of music hell for 3 years! Itunes slows down my old PC so bad that I am forced to uninstall it. Now, Steve Jobs has me just where he wants me. I am forced to download songs directly through wifi using the itunes app on the phone unless I buy a Macintosh. I can’t even transfer songs from my PC anymore to my iphone because installing itunes causes my computer to crash. No options for getting my music from anywhere else but itunes. Not even the really cool songs from 10 years ago, from artists I discovered through Napster 1.0….Yes, I used Napster 1.0, and it was a real eye opener to the untapped amount of diverse musical talent out there that does not get commercial radio exposure.

    The problem with itunes is that it is really geared towards purchasing songs that you have already heard, most of them on the radio. How can new artists make a name for themselves if they do not have a streamlined way of going “viral” with their music? Youtube is not the answer unless you are youthful with a perfect body and a perfect face, or already well established in the record industry, or have the self-confidence to go and reveal your talent to the world, to the detriment of your privacy. Real Music is meant to be heard, not seen. How many fantastic musicians are out there that do not or did not get the exposure they deserve based on their age or appearance? (artists like Susan Boyle come to mind)…If Susan Boyle’s voice was anything but mind blowing, she would have likely been ridiculed off the stage. That woman has guts, and I applaud her, but I do not think this is a good way to nuture budding artists, by forcing them to jump through the “trade your privacy for dollars” hoop. How many artists get more exposure than they want? (Artists like Brittany Spears, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain come to mind). I have been reading a lot about Kurt Cobain lately, and one of his biggest stumbling blocks which led to his suicide was his lack of privacy, the inability to go anywhere without being recognized, and he felt as if his music was “selling out to the big wigs in the music corporations”. He also struggled with his body image, because he had stomach problems and was very thin as a result. I wonder how many other talented musicians feel the same way, terrified to step out into the spotlight, because of their age or appearance? Maybe I am wrong, but I think most musicians want to be known for their music, not flaunting their faces all over the world and sacrificing every shred of personal privacy and dignity for fortune provided by signing contracts with the big music labels, or appearing on reality TV shows.

    Another problem with itunes is the lack of transparency. People do not know where their dollars are going, and how much money the artist gets, and how much itunes gets, etc.

    The passage in your book, “The Cathedral & the Bazaar – musings on Linux and open source by an accidental revolutionary” on page 99, that talks about “gift culture” really struck a “chord” with me (pardon the pun).

    This is the route that I think should be taken to get this idea (Music for Charity) off the ground to overcome music piracy, challenge itunes, and generate fortunes for charity. I was toying with the idea of launching my idea as a registered charity, and I was randomly thinking up names for websites last night, and punched in “www.charitunes.com” and found the site already existed. Now here is an artist with a similar vision that I have. His site is basically a place where artists can donate whole songs for charity, and people purchase the songs for $1.00 each and ALL of the proceeds will go to charity. This is a good idea. But I think mine adds even more value. It would challenge itunes, and add critical momentum to the open source cause.

    (I must admit I thought the “charitunes” name sounded a little too much like itunes, but at least there was an artist out there with a similar mindset as me. I emailed him, with my idea, which is basically a more encompassing idea that would allow even more access to songs and generate even more money for charity, and this is it):

    A “PAY AS YOU PLAY” model, where you essentially rent music “airtime”, and you basically “rent to own”. So that is to say that the playtime of each song is tracked on your device, down to the second, until you have paid for the song outright. And it would be AFFORDABLE. And you would be supporting charity. And you would be supporting the band.

    So basically it would be an open source software project (likely Linux based), that allows computer enthusiasts to verify that each said charity is getting the money that people are donating. People can choose a charity of their choice, and 50% of their dollars will go to the artists who they listen to, and the other 50% to the charity of their choice, to the last fraction of a penny! Or in case where artists decide to donate a whole song to charity, then all of that money would go to charity! AND IT MUST BE FREE FOR ARTISTS TO UPLOAD THEIR MUSIC TO THE CHARITY SERVICE. And the “music for charity” service itself, would be a registered not-for profit charity.

    It would be free unlimited downloads, users money will get divvied up 50% to the artists based on the proportional amount of airtime (in seconds) that each artists song has had on their smart device, the other 50% to charity. And tax receipts! Those are important too.

    The smart phone or compatible device will keep a track of the amount of airtime each artists song has had between “Syncs” with the service (“music for charity site name here”), and then 50% of the users airtime dollars would get divvied up proportionately amongst the artists or bands that they listened to during that block of airtime, and the other 50% to the charity of their choice.

    There would have to be a cutoff. It would be like “rent to own”. So, if you are in a crazy mood, and you listen to the same song on repeat over and over again, once the amount of proceeds from your paid “airtime” listening to that song from that artist or band reaches the asking price say ~$1.00 for that song, then that is it, you do not keep on paying for that song over and over again.

    So here is a mathematical example:

    Lets say the cost of the service is $10.00 for every 80 hours of music played (a reasonable amount for a north American market).
    I listened to everything that “Nirvana” ever produced for a whole month, between “syncs”, during which time nothing but Nirvana Songs were being played on my smart phone, because I was obsessed with Nirvana at the time, and had a play list of theirs on repeat. And lets say that I was playing their music for 80 hours during that time span “between syncs”. I would get billed for $10.00 at the end of the cycle, and $5.00 of that would go to the charity of my choice, and the other $5.00 would go to Nirvana, and I would get a tax receipt at the end of the year from that charity, which included the $5.00 from that cycle. Now if Nirvana chose to do so, they could donate their entire songbook to the charity of their choice, let’s use the Haiti relief effort for example, for that month, and Nirvana (or whoever controls the rights to their songs) would get a tax receipt for $5.00 for the Haiti relief effort, if they chose to do so, because they wanted to show their philanthropy also.

    Another example:

    The cost of the service is still $10.00 for every 80 hours of music played (north American market).
    I was listening to my friends’ music at their house, I liked what I heard, and they give me a play list of what we had been listening to. I download their entire play list through the service, and it consists of 80 complete albums of 1 hour duration each, from 80 different bands. Then each of the 80 bands would get 6.25 cents of my money from that billing cycle, and the charity of my choice would get $5.00. Not much for each band, but it is paid exposure…. If 5% of the population of the United states listened to the same band that week, that is a $750,000.00 for that band, and $75 Million for Charity. Not a bad payday.

    Next Month:
    I really like one of those bands, and decide to download all of their albums and listen to all of their music for a whole month. I am working on my own, 7 days a week and keep my mp3 player on my smart phone playing 8 hours a day, in the background.
    That is 7days/week*8hours/day*4weeks = 224 hours of music airtime total that I listened to for that month. 224/80=2.8 So I would owe 2.8*$10.00 = $28.00 for my music addiction for that month. $14.00 of that goes directly to the band, the other $14.00 goes to the charity of my choice. Good payday for the band. Good exposure for the band. Good deal for me for having continuous good music that I like, with no annoying commercials. Good payday for the charity of my choice. Everybody is happy. I get what I want (music that I want, without commercials). Everyone gets paid.

    Lets say that someone designated their charity of choice to be the Haiti Relief effort, then, at the end of the year, that person would get a tax receipt for exactly HALF of their total “airtime” costs for the year from the Haiti Relief Charity.

    And by the same token, the artists would be able to donate their proceeds from the songs to a charity of their choice if they like, and the consumer should be aware of this too. So if an artist was to donate a song in it’s entirety to charity, they would obviously control which charity their half of the proceeds go to.

    In summary, I think this is what consumers want and expect, as a minimum from a digital musical experience:

    1) A cataloged list of all of the music they have purchased legitimately on-line (after their airtime fee is the same amount as it would have cost to purchase the song “outright”.
    2) The ability to go back and retrieve their legitimately purchased music for free if their hardware gets damaged, lost or stolen.
    3) The ability to listen to whole songs, multiple times before they “outright” buy them (sort of like renting the music)
    4) A “celestial jukebox” musical experience; the ability to type in a name of a song, album, or artist, and immediately have those songs download to their phone, without being charged $1.00 per song (imagine if you did this all night, it would cost you $20.00 per hour of new music played) NO FREAKING WAY.
    5) The ability to delete or “ban” a song or artist from their library if they want
    6) The ability to make and save playlists (playlists to be stored in the cloud).
    7) Everyone wants to know their own “top 40″ (most played, least skipped) songs, smart phones pretty much do this already. By the same logic, it would be nice to have a “worst 40″ (or most skipped list of tracks).
    8) The ability to share and copy other peoples playlists, and download & check out the music their friends are into (like in the old days of Napster)
    9) A FAIR way to compensate the artists that they listen to & appreciate (If a user decides to listen to a song they have never heard of before because it is getting a lot of publicity, and they hear it once, and they don’t like it, they don’t want to give that artist another nickel, because their music doesn’t resonate with them, However if they are in the mood to listen to Pearl Jam for a whole month, then, by all means give 50% of their airtime fee should go to Pearl jam, and the other 50% to the charity of the users choice. And if pearl jam decides to give all of their money from certain songs away to a charity, the user would know, and then the other 50% of the money for those songs would go to the charity of choice of Pearl Jam.
    10) NO COMMERCIALS OR ADVERTISEMENTS.
    11) Only to pay for what you play, regardless of what you download.
    12) No Long term Commitment “Contract”, but rather a guarantee, that if you cancel your subscription, your “outright purchased songs” will be retrievable indefinitely, and your lists of all “rented music” (aka list of songs that you did not delete after hearing more than once) and all other “playlists” and will be saved indefinitely, so that if you start back up your subscription service, you pick up where you left off.
    13)Per second billing for “rented music”; For example, if you listened to 20 seconds of a song you didn’t like, only a fraction of your airtime fee (20 seconds/the total amount of airtime*airtime rate for music played during that month), would go to that band/artist/label.
    14)A maximum cap of around $30 per month (depending on the country, and minimum wages etc) for UNLIMITED rental & download of songs.
    15)A sense of “doing good” (donating to charity).

    I know it is a huge undertaking, and would require the resources of many people, but I think it really has the potential to shake up the music industry, and take back a big share of the lost revenue from music “pirates” who are otherwise simply too fed up with the outrageously expensive options available to them, so they just steal because it is easier.

    It would definitely have to be worked on by a group of music enthusiasts, bands, and most importantly open source computer enthusiasts (ie Linux), but the whole effort of putting it together seems WAY out of my league. But I mean, hey, if Linus Torvalds and friends can come up with the most reliable open sourced operating system, is this really beyond the means of music lovers, musician, hackers, and philanthropists?

    What do you think?

  252. “Everyone bought into the slick expensive hardware, and are now locked into long term contracts and are forced to use the proprietary software (itunes). Nobody wants to throw away their $700 phone even if they realize that they are now trapped in Steve Jobs’ itunes pit of music hell for 3 years!”

    What? huh?

    I’m currently using VLC to play a song I purchased on iTunes just a few days ago. No rips, tweaks, hacks, or mods necessary. What are you talking about?

    For the record, I buy music through iTunes because it’s convenient and always been an excellent service. I’m sorry you find it too expensive, but it’s far less expensive than the old days of buying CDs in the music stores.

    My feeling is that your proposed solution is 1) too complicated, and 2) addresses non-existent problems.

  253. @Shane:

    Are you seriously asking esr to solve all of the problems with online music distribution and piracy by himself?

    FWIW, Leif is at least partially right; I’m pretty sure that the current state of things will eventually resolve itself. The free market has a way of stabilizing these things. ;)

  254. Leif,

    My point is that itunes is not set up to EXPLORE music (as in music that you have never heard before):

    What song did you buy? Is it one that you have heard in it’s entirety before, quite a few times on the radio or one from an unknown artist that you just happened to stumble accross, listened to the 20 second sample, and you knew right away that you were willing to spend $1.00 for it?
    If it is a mainstream song that you have already heard before a few times, then yes, itunes is set up well for that sort of thing, and you just fed the commercial media monster. If it is a song from an artist you have never heard of before, then I am curious to know how you found the song in the first place, and you have way more disposable income than I do.

    Sounds like you are not using an iphone/ipod anyway, if you are using VLC to play your song. Good choice for not buying an iphone.

  255. True, iTunes sucks for exploring music.

    That’s what YouTube is for. Lots of artists are moving their videos there, often with a link that says “Download this on iTunes Music Store”.

    As for Leif using VLC, it’s probably on his computer. Those can still play music. Some people still play music on their computers.

  256. Youtube, as far as music is concerned, is just a funnel that leads people back to itunes to purchase tired songs from big name, mainstream big bands who already have the money to make interesting videos.

    Cell phone carrier companies realize this, and that is the reason why they are making you pay through the nose for data plans, so they too can piggyback off of musicians. Google, Apple, Youtube, the Cell Phone Carriers, they are all in bed together.

    As if creating a song isn’t hard enough for musicians, I don’t think most people realize how much MORE money and effort is required to create a music video than just a song? For a video to be successful, usually people expect to see really high end graphics and pretty faces, perfect bodies, etc. This really limits the talent pool to a select few. What about the other 95 percent of the population who might not be so comfortable in their own skin, but may have unheard of musical talent, might not have the money to produce a video, or who do not wish to have their private lives destroyed by becoming victims of TMZ and the papparazzi?

    I doubt that, given the choice, musicians want to fall into the papparazi spotlight just to get their music out there, nor do most musicians who are just starting out have the money to invest in a video to put on youtube. The result is that the whole system choking out a lot of really good musical talent, and feeding you the same tired mainstream songs over and over again.

    What needs to happen is to buck this corporate greed BS, and put music back in the hands of the people. People are willing to pay, but is it really fair for someone on low income to pay the richest men in the world for that same music over and over again? No thank you, I would rather my money go directly to the artists who make the music that I like, and to charity, and to buck this trend of closed source corporate greed.

    Does anybody remember using the old (now defunked) Napster 1.0 around 10 years ago? Or maybe nobody wants to admit it? It was AMAZING. If you found someone who had similar musical taste as you logged on, (be it a friend or whatever) you could download their entire library for free. It’s only downfall was it had no way of paying the artist for his or her work. So isnt that the way it should be; free to download, but pay a “rent” for what you listen to, and only what you listen to, up to the asking price of the song? Napster 1.0′s ultimate success was that it made it so easy to discover music that was new to the listener (not necesscarily newly produced).

    Imagine visiting your favorite e-music store (forget the itunes model). You really like your friends taste in music, and he hands you a list of every song that he owns. You download them all for free from the store, and you listen to them all, in full, or if you get sick of it, you skip it, and delete the songs you dont like right away, and you didn’t pay $1.00 each for those hundred songs that you skipped, you only paid pennies in rent. You keep the rest on your phone. You just discovered tonnes of new songs that you liked. You had awesome music playing on your smartphone 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for a whole month. You just listened to songs from hundreds of artists you have never heard before, and it only cost you $28.00 for the whole month. Or if you listened for 56 hours during that month, it would be only cost you $7.00 for totally new music. Obviously, you would have to keep renting the songs that you liked until the asking price of the song was met, but, that is the way it should be. And it should be run by a registered, not for profit charity, and coded open source, to keep it honest, with exactly half of the revenue going to the charity of the users choice, the other half to the band. Don’t anyone try to patent that, or you are stealing from charity, and YOU are the theif.

  257. People should also be able to see the total amount of revenue generated by a song, and if and how much of that revenue went to the band and how much of it is getting donated back to charity (by the band).

  258. Hi Shane,

    VLC is on my computer. Actually, the song in question, a progressive trance electronic dance tune, was one I discovered on a computer in an Apple store and I thought, “I like that.” I pulled my iPod Touch out of my pocket and began downloading it from iTunes. I’m perfectly satisfied with my iPod Touch and iTunes; it’s certainly far more economical than the days of buying CDs.

  259. Hi Tom,

    Pandora is blocked in Canada, so is Rhapsody. Napster-to-go is blocked on the iphone. It is like a legitimate music vacuum here. No wonder music piracy is rampant. Everyone I ask admits to using torrents for their music, even complete strangers. Most of the people that have iphones use macintosh computers to rip their music onto, and they claim there are no issues. Is that Steve Jobs way of hinting at PC users to buy a mac?

    Every time I walk into a cell phone store and see another sucker buying an iphone, I cringe. 3 year sentence of itunes tax and music boredome for that guy…

    I did at one time successfully load my music onto my phone, but it was such a detriment to my windows based PC (having itunes installed), that I vowed not to do that again. Then all of that music mysteriously went missing one day from my phone, and only some of the stuff I purchased through itunes stayed.

    Steve Jobs: Evil, underhanded multi-media marketing parasite & manufacturer of the worlds “sexiest” hardware – but most annoying software.

    I feel like stomping on my iphone, it is such a piece of marketing evil in disguise. It’s almost worth that much to me, I am thinking of breaking out of my contract and paying $300 in cancellation fees, just so I can start building a portable digital music collection. Commercial radio is really bad here too. I will never buy another apple product or song from itunes again, I can tell you that. I really would like to start building a legitimate portable digital music library.

    Nobody offers a mobile music subscription service here, as far as I am aware.
    We can get last.fm though, but that is all streamed stuff you won’t necessisarily like.

    I did get a glimmer of hope though, as I see that a young hacker has ported the android os (linux kernel) onto the iphone with some success. Maybe I will just wait it out a little longer, and hope that he gets the bugs ironed out of that one, so that it can be used for music using the android os.

  260. Shane:

    “Most of the people that have iphones use macintosh computers to rip their music onto, and they claim there are no issues. Is that Steve Jobs way of hinting at PC users to buy a mac?”

    The majority of iPhone users are PC users and sync them to PCs. I’ve never heard of anyone having any issues like that. Your assumption is actually the opposite of Apple’s strategy, so far as I see. You don’t convert people by giving them a bad experience with their current hardware. The iPod/iPhone can only produce a halo or conversion effect if people find the experience to be a good one.

    “Every time I walk into a cell phone store and see another sucker buying an iphone, I cringe. 3 year sentence of itunes tax and music boredome for that guy…”

    I noted I can play my iTunes content on other media players. But I didn’t tell you that I also play all sorts of content on my iPod that I didn’t purchase from iTunes. But I also have no problem buying music from iTunes; it’s generally been more affordable than the old days of buying CDs, and I’ve never had any problems. There may be other services that are more affordable, but so far I’ve found no compelling reason to seek them out.

    And as to being “suckers”, well, there are plenty of benefits to going with the iPhone platform: it’s got the highest rankings for customer satisfaction, the largest selection of apps, and the best user interface. What do you see as a better product?

    “Steve Jobs: Evil, underhanded multi-media marketing parasite”

    Care to back that up?

    Shane, the big problem I’m having is that you seem to be upset over myths. I can’t figure out why you feel iTunes is so evil or why you’re stuck or not free to play your music where you want to play it. I have had no such problems.

    And as to your vitriol towards Steve Jobs, let’s remember some history: back when the iPod and iTunes were released, the record companies and the music industry was in a real panic. Those were the days of Napster, and the fear that the entire industry would be destroyed by piracy. Steve Jobs suggested that people would be happy to pay for content if it was high quality and delivered in a simple and reliable way.

    For me, that’s precisely what iTunes is. Sure, so often I could find the song I want through a torrent site. But generally they are very low quality rips, and many times I have to fiddle around downloading several copies of the same song to find one that’s in good quality sound. iTunes gives me the ability to find the song I want in a very high quality file, delivered much faster, and with compensation going to the artists. I find that much, much preferable than any torrent site.

    What exactly is the problem you’re suffering from?

  261. Lief,

    >”The majority of iPhone users are PC users and sync them to PCs. I’ve never heard of anyone having >any issues like that. Your assumption is actually the opposite of Apple’s strategy, so far as I see. You >don’t convert people by giving them a bad experience with their current hardware. The iPod/iPhone can >only produce a halo or conversion effect if people find the experience to be a good one.”

    -I can only speak from my experience and those people who I have talked to. I am running a 10 year old PC. Big bulky programs don’t do well with the old girl, especially when thy try to make “quicktime” my “default media player” even when I deliberately uncheck that box. Those kinds of things really drive me wild. It makes me wonder what other “behind the scenes” software is being installed onto my operating system, and why it now runs at half the speed as before I installed itunes for the first time.

    >”I also have no problem buying music from iTunes; it’s generally been more affordable than the old >days of buying CDs”

    -More affordable only in the sense that you can buy singles, and not the whole CD. In the old days (depends how old) a CD averaged $12-15 dollars. And on average there was 10-15 songs. That still works out to $1.00 per song, in the old days. But definitely NOT more affordable when you factor in that there is a definite cost savings by eliminating the overhead costs of: the retail space and sales staff, the cost of materials & manufacturing of the physical CD, the physical artwork, the jewel case, packaging, anti-theft devices, and the cost of carrying inventory, warehousing, and shipping and receiving. None of these savings are being passed on to the consumer. All going to the electronic retailer. Sure they have some costs in maintaing the software, but really, this amounts to peanuts compared to overhead costs of the old days.

    >”There may be other services that are more affordable, but so far I’ve found no compelling reason to >seek them out.”

    -Well maybe you are content listening to mainstream music over and over, and paying heavily for it, but not me. I would absolutely LOVE to try rhapsody, or Napster-to-go, but they are blocked on the iphone in Canada, for some strange reason, so people just use torrents instead, to the detriment of new musicians, and the result is like hearing a broken record all over commercial radio with songs staying in the top 40 for WAAAAAY longer than they should be…

    >”What do you see as a better product?”

    -Anything with an open source operating system that will play ANYTHING, including FLASH: Android, WebOS, Meego come to mind.

    >”“Steve Jobs: Evil, underhanded multi-media marketing parasite”
    >Care to back that up?”

    Yes, absolutely:

    1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lala_(website)
    More specifically the part about apple buying these guys out and then shutting them down a year later, because it was a threat to itunes.
    2) Another good one on wikipedia is to read the history between Rhapsody and itunes.
    3) Also, you can do a search on youtube for “why itunes sucks”
    4) Additionally, it looks like 402 other people share my oppinion that the iphone OS is horrible and too locked down… read the praise this guy is getting in the comments section below the video: http://linuxoniphone.blogspot.com/2010/04/ive-been-working-on-this-quietly-in.html
    This guy spent almost 2 years of his spare time hacking the iphone os because it sucked so bad. I think that right there is a testimant to poeple’s dissatisfaction with the closed source model…

    You should really buy Eric’s book, and READ it, cover to cover, he really nails a ton of key points in there, and it was PUBLISHED 11 years ago. He is a very smart man.

    I wouldn’t go beating the apple drums too hard if I were you. Apple is in trouble unless they open their sh!t up.

    Using the iphone is like getting into a long-term relationship with a pinup model with the IQ of 20. The sex might be great for the first few times, but when you realize you have to live with that person for the next 2 or 3 years, you have nothing but regrets.

  262. Shane,

    First off, it seems odd to me that someone would run a 10 year old desktop and yet purchase an iPhone. For the price of that iPhone, you could certainly have found a much more powerful computer than the one you are currently using, even a used 5 year old computer would be a whole new level of performance. Considering the amount of time I spend on my desktop vs my iPod touch, I know that would be my choice.

    ” In the old days (depends how old) a CD averaged $12-15 dollars. And on average there was 10-15 songs. That still works out to $1.00 per song, in the old days.”

    I bought far too many CDs that had just a few songs on them that I really wanted. So this has been a huge benefit for me. YMMV.

    ” None of these savings are being passed on to the consumer. All going to the electronic retailer.”

    Umm.. and to the artists/record labels. Who certainly aren’t getting anything from torrent sites. Furthermore, if this is all just Apple unfairly profiting one would expect this to be a very lucrative market for others to enter and offer songs at, say, 50 cents.

    “I would absolutely LOVE to try rhapsody, or Napster-to-go, but they are blocked on the iphone in Canada,”

    I can’t comment on that. All I know is that I can get any music I want on my desktop computer and put it on my iPod touch.

    “>”What do you see as a better product?”

    -Anything with an open source operating system that will play ANYTHING, including FLASH: Android, WebOS, Meego come to mind.”

    If you’re running a 10 year old PC, it would seem to me that Flash couldn’t possibly be a big priority for you. At any given time when I have my webbrowser open and run TOP, there the Flash plugin is consuming more CPU power than your 10 year old machine is probably capable of. And that’s just a webpage I’ve left open; we’re not even talking about Flash video or games.

    I have no reason to assume that an open source operating system would be superior; unless someone has religious reasons to run such software. And again, what’s this “play ANYTHING” complaint? I transfer all sorts of audio and video files to my iPod Touch. Sure, in some cases I have run a file through a conversion. But that’s hardly a challenge. Otherwise, why should Apple waste their time and people’s money trying to update every possible codec on the planet?

    I really see this as kind of a non-issue from a practical standpoint. There’s plenty of content available for the platform and most people will never notice an issue; those who do are generally savvy enough to open VLC and make it happen.

    As to Steve Jobs being evil because he purchased a potential competitor to make into a partner, well, I don’t mind mergers and acquisitions to be evil.

    “This guy spent almost 2 years of his spare time hacking the iphone os because it sucked so bad.”

    Now this seems really odd to me. The reason to buy an iPhone is primarily because of the software and user-interface. And there’s no version of mobile Linux that works as well on an iPhone as iOS. I put this up there with people who install Ubuntu on Macbooks. Kinda silly, and probably best explained as the result of strange religious beliefs.

    “You should really buy Eric’s book, and READ it, cover to cover, he really nails a ton of key points in there, and it was PUBLISHED 11 years ago. He is a very smart man.”

    I’ve extensively read Eric’s work, learned much from him, and agree that he’s a very smart man. But I strongly believe that he’s incorrect in his analysis of the current paradigm shift.

    “Apple is in trouble unless they open their sh!t up.”

    Apple is the largest consumer electronics company, OS X is the most widely installed desktop/mobile version of Unix, and both combine to be absolutely the most vibrant platform largely because Apple has gone against the conventional wisdom regarding the virtues of “open.”

    The platform will likely remain “closed” and will also be the leading mobile platform for many, many years. Even if Android exceeds it in installed userbase, this will largely be irrelevant. iOS will remain in the leadership position and Android will be following.

    There is no platform war. Apple has already won.

  263. @ Morgan Greywolf:

    >”Are you seriously asking esr to solve all of the problems with online music distribution and piracy by >himself?”

    Not at all. But I just thought, who better to share the idea of the “music for charity idea” with than esr, and the people on this blog? Obviously the people in the Linux community have a lot of stroke if Linux is being run on something like 90% of the supercomputers in the world, and Linux itself was built by Hackers? If that is not a worthy cause for a “gift culture”, I don’t know what is.
    And clearly esr understands things like this, I know that after I read the book, cover to cover.

    I know very little about programming, and I was hoping to get the “music for charity charity” idea rolling in the open source community. The chances for success of a new startup music subscription service are slim to none, because the idea is not a new one, there are lots out there. HOWEVER, I feel that the idea of a music subsciption service as a registered not-for profit charity itself, is a brand new idea, and the world could see the need AND demand for something of this nature when Port-au-Prince was destroyed by earthquakes in January. And also in the Tsunami in 2004. And there is pretty much a worthy cause all the time, although the media attention might shift from one topic to another.

    E-music is a luxury, affordable to only (I am going to take a stab in the dark on this): the top 10 percent of the worlds wealthiest people.

    I think people in general would rather donate the profits from e-music distribution to a charity of their choice rather than to some corporate big-wigs living the high life in mansions in Beverly Hills? That is a powerful notion, and in itself has the potential to make apathetic pirates think twice about WHO they are stealing from, especialy during a natural disaster scenario.

    As mentioned in esr’s book, Philanthropy and gift culture seems to be the trend among the super rich. If it makes billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet feel better about themselves by donating half of their fortunes to charity, and they still have billions to sit on, wouldn’t the same logic also apply to your average joe consumer who wants to sit back, put on some music after a hard day of work, and and zone out while listening to music he LOVES, knowing that he is donating half the money he paid for the music to directly to the charity of his choice, instead of the profits going into the hands of corporate bigwigs sitting on Billions? It would also give the artists the opportunity to donate rents from their entire song catalogs, if they wanted, especially during natural disaster scenarios.

    It seems like a no-brainer. It just needs some support and momentum.

    Does anyone else here think it is a good idea, or is it just me?

  264. Apple is the largest consumer electronics company, OS X is the most widely installed desktop/mobile version of Unix,

    [citation needed], [citation needed]

    and both combine to be absolutely the most vibrant platform largely because Apple has gone against the conventional wisdom regarding the virtues of “open.”

    Weasel words.

    The platform will likely remain “closed” and will also be the leading mobile platform for many, many years. Even if Android exceeds it in installed userbase, this will largely be irrelevant. iOS will remain in the leadership position and Android will be following.

    History says otherwise. All these Android/iPhone arguments are the same exact ones I remember going all the way back to the 1980s. Apple fanboys were wrong then, and they are wrong now.

    There is no platform war. Apple has already won

    There is no platform war, Google has already won.

    See how stupid you sound?

  265. Sorry, Apple is the largest computing devices company. Now larger than Dell and Microsoft combined.

    second citation is here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/Operating_system_usage_share.svg/600px-Operating_system_usage_share.svg.png

    Linux usage on the desktop is nowhere near OS X.

    Weasel words? Honestly, Morgan, coming from you that is pretty laughable.

    History says otherwise? I’ve repeatedly asked you to explain just what you think is relevant from the 1980s to this situation. Sorry, missed the Apple vs Android battle from the 1980s. Care to elaborate? You keep referring to history is if your point is obvious or clear. It’s not. And if you think the history of Apple vs. Microsoft from the 1980s is relevant, it’s not. And please don’t throw VHS vs Beta at me.

    Apple has won, Morgan. It carved out a place in the mobile space before the open source kids could even think of it, and this hasty, haphazard response called Android is no threat to it at all. Open source has been shown to be a useless driver in the consumer or desktop space, and in the mobile space it’s only a bad follower to what can only be accomplished by a controlled and closed platform. Sorry.

    Now we just sit back and wait for Microsoft to come along and mop up this Android farce.

  266. I mean, really. This is laughable.

    The fact that we have people who think Android is a threat to iPhone? That’s some serious fantasy-land thinking. Total fantasy ideology.

    You guys don’t even know who the competition is. It’s going to be Microsoft. They’re going to take away a huge chunk of the enterprise away from Android.

    Apple isn’t even pushing for the arbitrary 50% many of you guys speak of. That’s pretty obvious to anyone who looks at Apple’s history on this. They are simply (and exceptionally thoroughly) locking in a substantial segment and cultivating and nurturing an unmatched developer base. And that’s done. No one is changing that. Android is far, far too schizophrenic, undirected, incoherent. It lacks all of the essential characteristics of platform from the end user perspective. It’s a developer’s platform, a techie’s platform, a hobbyists platform. But in terms of a clear set of user-conventions and ways of doing things, the kind of qualities that bind users to an interface, it’s utterly lacking.

    Oh, it will be around for a while. It’ll be on a bunch of devices. Of course, all the devices running it now that are worthwhile will also be running Win7Mobile soon.

  267. Oh, and just wait for the serious beatdown desktop Linux is going to face from OS X in the next two years. Any idea of how Apple’s developer ranks have grown? Any idea how much new software has been released in just the past two years? Done any inventories of your local bookstore to see the number of books on OS X developement vs Android?

    Oh sure, the installed base of Ubuntu will keep growing. They’ll probably seize a commanding 10% of the sub $300 netbook market! There’ll undoubtedly be many people running it. But when you look at the availability of software there is no comparison now. Just wait for another two years.

  268. How’s that Android tablet coming? I can hardly wait to see one of these mythological “iPad killers” I heard so much about. You know, boy.. if only someone made a tablet with a USB port and Flash. Wow. I’m breathing hard just thinking of the possibilities. Of course, it will need more than a USB port. Oh God, I hope Google can put together one with co-axial TV output. Now that would be sweet. And a 3.5″ floppy drive. That’ll just blow that iPad right out of the water, I tell ya.

    So important to have that USB port on my tablet. You know, I frequently find myself in places where I have an emergency print job and the only working printer is not connected to a network and I gotta have my USB card…

    Yep, looking forward to that Android tablet.

    But hey, with all the crafty inventiveness of these open source “hackers”, I’m sure many of them will be able to make their own. take a powerstrip, an old Commodore 1541 diskdrive, a motorcycle battery, a monitor, and some lightpen.. wrap it in duct tape.. paste on a few “Tux” stickers, and “voila!” A Linux tablet! One can just see the open source cultists lugging such things around, walking past the Apple store and scoffing.

  269. @Leif:

    The chart you provided only takes into account Web clients. It’s irrelevant for a number of reasons, but the biggest among them you would know if you had ever managed a Web server.

    And if you think the history of Apple vs. Microsoft from the 1980s is relevant, it’s not.

    And if you think the history of Apple vs. Microsoft from the 1980s is relevant, it’s not

    Prove it. Provide some factual information to back your claim as opposed to content-less drivel like “most vibrant,” which means nothing. I, along with a bunch of other people here, already have done this. Besides, it wasn’t Apple vs. Microsoft, it was Apple vs. IBM and the clone makers. IBM ruled the market then. Stop trying to revise history.

    And speaking of Microsoft, it’s Microsoft who lacks direction in mobile. Windows Mobile is pretty much a lost cause Even Steve Ballmer has admitted that Windows Mobile is a failure.

  270. “Prove it. Provide some factual information to back your claim…”

    What exactly is your claim, Morgan? That IBM and the clones vs Apple in the 1980s is relevant?

    Let’s look at that situation, because there’s some elements to the equation that have changed.

    First of all, the original Mac was a desperate last gap by a struggling company to fight back the onslaught of a platform nurtured by a much larger company that had been on the market for many years. Comparing Apple of now with Apple of then is foolish. Equating Android and a handful of manufacturers to IBM and MS-DOS from back then is even more daft.

    “Besides, it wasn’t Apple vs. Microsoft, it was Apple vs. IBM and the clone makers..”

    LOL. I overestimated you.

    “IBM and the clone makers” only becomes a meaningful abstraction due to the factor that united them: they were running MS-DOS. So, ultimately, it really was Apple vs Microsoft.

    And, yes, Microsoft does lack direction. But Win7Mobile is a different beast entirely from Windows Mobile. But you’re also missing my point: even Microsoft could pose a serious threat to Android.

  271. Morgan,

    Let me put it to you this way: if you sincerely believe that “IBM and the clones”, a common platform in existence for several years, firmly established in the enterprise, with a vast portfolio of productivity applications = Android in 2010, and furthermore you believe that a struggling to stay alive Apple pushing the Mac to market with a handful of software titles, while consigning Steve Jobs to termination = Apple in 2010 with a commanding lead in app dev, $40 billion in the bank, 1 million iPhone 4 sales on the first day, and on an on…

    well, i don’t quite know what to say to you.

    What’s your point?

    Where is the history you see repeating?

  272. Leif,

    It wasn’t Apple vs. IBM. It was cheap IBM-clone Micros vs. Mini- and Mainframe computers from IBM, DEC, et al. Remember the original IBM PC was mostly a token gesture to the market segment, and they tried HARD to prevent the clone manufaturers from wrestling control away. And, boiled down, the specifics aren’t the point anyway. The point is that cheaper, commodity solutions displaced the established, expensive, highly-vendor-controlled solutions with ease. As ESR says, disruption from below.

    BTW, do you invest in straw? I’m seeing an awful lot of scarecrows in your posts.

  273. jsk,

    It wasn’t Apple vs. IBM. It was cheap IBM-clone Micros vs. Mini- and Mainframe computers from IBM, DEC, et al.

    And none of them knew dick about interrupt-driven I/O.

    So we end up with standards like the peecee where the CPU has to be involved in fucking everything, and Unix which has no standard asynchronous I/O primitive. (And no, O_NONBLOCK is not fucking proper fucking async. To do async properly you need callbacks.)

    You (and Eric) want us to look forward to a world where the open-standards shit sandwich drives out single-vendor awesomeness. We’re seeing it again in the mobile space except this time the open-standards players don’t know dick about even more basic shit like battery life and power draw.

    The peecee won because both Apple and Commodore were mismanaged in the nineties. Jobs is proving far more competent to run Apple than Sculley and Amelio ever were; and his 2010 Apple poses a credible threat to the open-standards shit sandwich. If you don’t believe me, look at the desktop numbers for Mac OS X and compare them to Linux.

  274. jsk: “the point is that cheaper, commodity solutions displaced the established, expensive, highly-vendor-controlled solutions with ease. As ESR says, disruption from below.”

    Speaking of straw….

    Cheaper commodity solutions were only made possible by the unifying framework which was, at the time, MS-DOS and the ecosystem of applications meant to run on it. That’s why the clones appeared in the first place. The cheaper commodity solutions didn’t displace the established, expensive, highly-vendor-controlled solutions. They were simply a part of the development of a new established, expensive solution: Microsoft. And the only reason Linux has any place on the desktop is because of Microsoft: the MS-DOS platform created a standard around which that commodity hardware industry could form.

    What I find absolutely bizarre is that ESR and a number of other people here really believe that it’s as simple as they seem to portray. That’s it’s a fundamental law of nature that cheaper, commodity solutions are always gonna win. Even more amazing and arbitrary is ESR’s focus on the magic “50% market share”, at which point he believes “network effects” will magically take hold as a force of nature. Well, there’s much, much more to it than that. As a matter of fact, network effects have little to do with ill-defined percentages of market-share. They have much, much more to do with the concept of critical mass and interconnectedness.

    Cheap commodity PCs have been a curse. Microsoft was bad enough. Then along came Linux, which hasn’t help matter one bit. Oh well, those days are coming to an end.

    Hey, where’s that Android tablet at?

  275. Jeff,

    You’re not addressing my point in that post, and I’m not dismissing yours. I have no particular love for x86. If Apple or Commodore had come out on top, then affordable Micros would still have won and my point would still stand. If Apple had become dominant, _someone_ would have built cheaper clones (wait, I’m pretty sure someone did… forgive me for not providing links) and we would be in a similar position we are today. In theory, of course.

    Leif,

    You need to chill out. You’re raving like a lunatic, not making your points coherently, and mixing up thoughts. Most of your posts are covered in some kind of displaced anger at “Linux.” You’re not discussing, you’re attacking. Relax.

  276. You’re not addressing my point in that post, and I’m not dismissing yours. I have no particular love for x86. If Apple or Commodore had come out on top, then affordable Micros would still have won and my point would still stand. If Apple had become dominant, _someone_ would have built cheaper clones (wait, I’m pretty sure someone did… forgive me for not providing links) and we would be in a similar position we are today.

    All right, I’ll address your point: The mainframe won. Peecees suck at what the venerable System/360 was designed to do. Ask IBM: they got out of the peecee business, focused on mainframes and enterprise computing services, and are making tons and tons of money.

    If Apple or Commodore had come out on top, affordable micros would have been better at what they’re good at, and there would probably less effort to shoehorn them into niches where they don’t belong. The Amiga single-handedly revolutionized video production and replaced hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gear with a box costing a few G’s. The Mac and the Atari ST not only dominated but actually enabled desktop publishing and desktop music production, respectively. None of these platforms had any clones except the Mac in the mid-late nineties and that was both late and a fluke. Peecee clones were johnny-come-latelies to these fields; the only thing a peecee was particularly good at until the mid-nineties were Lotus and Flight Simulator, and it’s no surprise those were the defining characteristics of “100% IBM compatibility”.

    So that’s what the desktop scene would have looked like were it not for a terminal case of Beige Box Syndrome: diverse, disparate platforms, probably all running on 68k hardware, each one filling a niche particularly well due to its unique characteristics.

    As for Apple clones, they’re part of the reason why Apple started hemorrhaging money in the nineties. Then Steve Jobs came back in and was all like “fuck that!”, and roundhouse-kicked the clone makers right in their face. Well, revoked their license to run Mac OS on their kit and threatened to sue anyone who copied Apple’s shit. But the roundhouse kick imagery is more awesomer. You can also imagine him going “Madness? THIS! IS! APPLLLLLLLLLLEEEEE!!!!” and shoving them with his foot into a really deep pit if that’s your thing. Point being that Steve Jobs is a creature of a bygone era, champion of the uniqueness of the Apple platform, and that has served Apple well and gone far toward differentiating Apple from boring cloney sameyness.

  277. JSK:

    Sorry if I’ve not made my points properly clear to you. I find the points offered up my Morgan and Eric and others to be very, very weak. So let me go over it:

    1) learning from history: there is a constant referral to the 1980s and early 90s as if the events of that time bear a strong similarity to the current dynamic and lead to a foregone conclusion. As I have tried to make clear, I believe that this interpretation of history is incorrect and not really applicable.

    2) Eric makes a mistake when he says “in 2010 it comes down to whether Apple or Android wins the race to over 50% smartphone market share; network effects will become self-reinforcing until the next technology disruption.” 50% is an arbitrary figure and this claim betrays a misunderstanding of network effects. Furthermore, it’s absolutely clear that Apple is NOT racing for the largest market share; they are locking up the juiciest segment, not going for sheer mass, not going for an arbitrary percentage.

    3) Android poses no threat to iPhone at all. In fact, since Android has hit the market, Apple’s sales have only increased. Furthermore, the data shows that Android is only taking market-share from other platforms.

    4) Android is not a real platform in the sense that most matters: user experience. It’s not a set of user conventions. It’s a back-end platform.

    And there’s more. But the biggest is this whole issue of stressing “dominance”, as if the world is likely to be an endless repeat of the historical accident of the rise of the PC where 90% of the market was one set of conventions.

    The rumors of the iPhone’s death are premature, as the latest sales figures and massive lines outside of Apple stores around the globe clearly indicates.

    And the success of the iPhone shows that a lot of what was believed about the virtues of “open” is in fact little more than groundless superstition. Closed and controlled will lead again over disorganized chaos.

  278. @Jeff Read:

    So we end up with standards like the peecee where the CPU has to be involved in fucking everything, and Unix which has no standard asynchronous I/O primitive. (And no, O_NONBLOCK is not fucking proper fucking async. To do async properly you need callbacks.)

    Linux supports native asynchronous I/O libaio. (The page is a bit outdated as to libaio’s capabilities; for example, vector AIO is already there.)

    @Leif:

    earning from history: there is a constant referral to the 1980s and early 90s as if the events of that time bear a strong similarity to the current dynamic and lead to a foregone conclusion. As I have tried to make clear, I believe that this interpretation of history is incorrect and not really applicable.

    They do. You Apple-aid drinkers are making the same exact arguments that were made then: it’s all about user experience. No one cares if Mac OS [iOS] supports real multitasking; only geeks care about that. The closed hardware [software] platform means a better user experience, and that’s all that anybody cares about.

    I’ll tell you now what I told you all then: nobody gives a rat’s ass about the platform, the OS, or the user interface. It’s all about applications. It’s always been about applications and it will always continue to be about applications. The use cases for iPhone and Android are identical; having more applications in the App Store vs Android Market means nothing, either. It isn’t about quantity of applications.

    Nobody ever bought a computer because it had a good user experience. Nobody ever bought a computer because it had multitasking or asynchronous I/O. People bought computers to perform a function. If platform A can’t perform function X, and platform B can, the end-user will buy function B, no matter how much prettier platform A is.

    At the end of the day, the platform war will come down to applications. The platform that’s more open will always be able to attract more developers and definitely more quality developers. Having standards, user interface guidelines, etc. means nothing. DOS won because it had Lotus 1-2-3; Windows won because it had Microsoft Office.

    There is no killer app for phones that doesn’t exist on both platforms, so all things being equal, people will pick phones based on other external factors, such as carrier choice. Unless or until a killer app exists for iPhone and Android, that carrier choice will be the #1 determining factor, period. iPhone may win in Europe, where carrier choice exists by force of law; but in the U.S., the market that matters the most in IT, people hate AT&T.

  279. Morgan:

    “At the end of the day, the platform war will come down to applications. The platform that’s more open will always be able to attract more developers and definitely more quality developers. Having standards, user interface guidelines, etc. means nothing. DOS won because it had Lotus 1-2-3; Windows won because it had Microsoft Office.”

    And ultimately, what is Microsoft Office? Why do people stick with it over “free” alternatives? A tremendous factor is standards, user-interface, and related factors. People are highly resistant to learning new things. They stick with what is familiar. Of course, there are other reasons for the inertia behind Office, such as existing code. But a huge part of the ongoing success of Windows is that it is what people are familiar with. This is what a platform is from the point of view of the people who buy it. They are buying familiarity.

    “I’ll tell you now what I told you all then: nobody gives a rat’s ass about the platform, the OS, or the user interface. It’s all about applications.”

    It’s all about applications they are familiar with.

    Do you really think the majority of people who buy a computer today will choose a Windows machine over a Linux machine simply because of applications?

    ” The platform that’s more open will always be able to attract more developers and definitely more quality developers.”

    Groundless superstition. If this were the case, we’d expect Linux to be the leader in desktop applications. You’re overlooking too many relevant factors.

  280. Morgan,

    I think you’re misunderstanding me about user conventions. I’m not suggesting that just because the iPhone’s UI is esthetically superior that it will carry the day. What I’m getting at is that people go with what they are familiar with and what they understand, and what they are invested in.

  281. people go with what they are familiar with and what they understand, and what they are invested in.

    That’s why the “arbitrary” marketshare of 51%. Right now, fewer people are invested in iPhone 4 than you’d think. It’s not even a majority of the smartphone market; that honor goes to RIM and Blackberry.

  282. Yes, and their stock has been plummeting. And they’ve been losing share. Mostly to Android, supposedly. Android certainly hasn’t been reducing iPhone’s sales and advance one bit if the numbers are any indication.

    Besides, as I pointed out earlier, market share percentages have little or nothing to do with “network effects.” Network effects are achieved via number of nodes and interconnections between those nodes. One product can have 75% market share and not leverage anywhere near the network effects of another product that has only 25%, if the 25% has a higher rate of interconnections.

    Oh, and by the way, when I used the term “most vibrant” it was not an example of “weasel words” as you seem to insist. It was simply not bothering to belabor and enumerate the obvious. So I’ll do that now: compare iPhone and Android on…

    Number of apps
    Number of installed apps on each phone
    Number of PAID installed apps on each phone
    Profits made by developers
    Quality of IDE and SDK
    Quantity and quality of documentation/training for those tools

    As a simple example, do an Amazon search on “iPhone development” vs “Android development.” You’ll find about twice as many titles for iPhone development. And you’ll also discover that they are selling at a faster rate.

    Ergo, iOS is the most vibrant mobile development platform.

    Geez, I could go so much further. The cathedral is giving the bazaar a bloody beat-down and you guys are completely oblivious.

  283. > Geez, I could go so much further. The cathedral is giving the bazaar a bloody beat-down and you guys are completely oblivious.

    I’m not sure about that. I think this is a bit of a gray area, which is fooling people here. The iPhone and Android application marketplaces are both bazaars. The two archbishops in charge are trying like crazy to take advantage of the various advantages of the development bazaar, which is why they created the two bazaars in question. The difference is that one archbishop, the Right Reverend Jobs, is regulating the iPhone application bazaar somewhat and occaisonally drives out a relatively random Abdul, Dick or Harry in an occaisionally capricious but more often self interested way. Gotta keep those indulgences coming!

    Yours,
    Tom

  284. Quality of IDE and SDK
    Quantity and quality of documentation/training for those tools

    I think the Android SDK and IDE (Eclipse) are both excellent. Maybe that’s because I’m already accustomed to GWT. *shrug*.

  285. Tom:

    My reference to cathedral vs bazaar was intended at a slightly different meaning. I was getting at the issue of the ability to define and direct a platform and create game changers or “technology disruptions.” In his post, ESR made reference to “the next technology disruption” and an important point is this: with the iPhone and the iPad, two huge shifts were ushered in by the cathedral. One of the most notable things about most Android models is that they are very clearly following in the wake created by the iPhone. This is clearly obvious when a Nexus is placed dude by sude with an iPhone. When the iPhone was announced, many informed commentators felt the lack of a physical keyboard made it not viable. Now, we see the form factor widely duplicated 

    On another level, I fear Android fans are dramatically misreading things. The sheer numbers of Android sales DO NOT mean that the platform itself is a success. I know many people who own Android phones. Most know little to nothing about Android.  They wanted a large screen smartphone and that’s what they found at their service provider. I know several such people; not one of them has purchased any apps and each admits to not having begun to really learn what the phone can do. These people are Incredible or EVO owners, not Android converts.  They are incidental Android owners. 

    Of course, I do not suggest this to be true of all Android owners. Certainly the platform has its enthusiasts. But a huge portion of the most enthusiastic of these people are hardly the kind of people who are a lucrative market to sell software to. 

    Contrast this to iPhone owners who use the device to purchase software and content. Contrast this to the integration and backup with the iPhone owners desktop. Bottom line: Apple is pulling in more revenue per phone at initial sale than any Android maker and pulling in more revenue per phone than Google after the sale and leaving the user with more content on the device which serves as more of a motivation to upgrade to a new iPhone at the end of the contract. 

    Morgan insists that there is no killer app for the iPhone and that Apple’s substantial lead in apps isn’t relevant because there is probably a similar Android app. Nevertheless, there are thousands of specialized little apps that might not seem to be defining or game changers but that are important to their particular owners. Each one of these provides additional incentives. 

    Android has no meaningful competitor to the iPod Touch, of which Apple sells millions per year. These are particularly popular with high school and college students. This further incentivizes app development as well as eventual upgrade to the iPhone. 

    These were huge gift items last holiday season. Apple has been giving them out to college students who purchase Macs. Watch the numbers throughout the holidays this year; it’s a huge part of the equation. 

    And this leads to what is really being missed: the iPod touch greatly contributes to gaming on iOS.  More importantly, the level of gaming dev on iOS is equalled on Mac OS X. Same IDE, same language, same APIs. 

    What’s being missed is this: in the last 4 years sales of Macs and the availability of software for OS X has been steadily and aggressively growing. 

    The more iPhones are sold the more Macs sell. The more iPhones are sold, the more iPhone development occurs. The more iPhone development occurs, the more software becomes available for Macs. The more software, the more attractive the Mac platform becomes. 

    Sorry guys, Macs are no longer a single digit marketshare boutique item. The platform is rapidly growing while you are staring at Android sales figures and radically misinterpreting them. 

  286. I dunno, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my Touch as far as apps go. The iOS API has a version lock-out feature, where an app written for, say, version 3 or version 4 will ONLY work on that version. So, unless I want to pay for the upgrade AND have to dick around with re-jailbreaking and re-loading what apps I DO use, the App store is basically useless. The problem works in reverse, too; there are quite a few apps that don’t work or don’t work properly on 4.0 yet. Though, of course, that is up to the developers to fix.

    Personally I think changing API targets once a year (technically twice now, what with iPad as a new hardware target) would get pretty damn old as a developer.

    Not that this is a problem specific to Apple, mind. Just something I find thoroughly annoying, as an end-user of a device. If/when my Touch breaks, I don’t plan on replacing it with another.

  287. jsk, jailbreaking is not a concern for Apple. They expressly don’t take it into account. iOS upgrades are easy and straightforward on unjailbroken hardware; if you don’t want the hassle don’t jailbreak.

  288. On another level, I fear Android fans are dramatically misreading things. The sheer numbers of Android sales DO NOT mean that the platform itself is a success. I know many people who own Android phones. Most know little to nothing about Android. They wanted a large screen smartphone and that’s what they found at their service provider. I know several such people; not one of them has purchased any apps and each admits to not having begun to really learn what the phone can do. These people are Incredible or EVO owners, not Android converts. They are incidental Android owners.

    Wow. You sound silly. Bear in mind that the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’ as you think about the following questions. Do you really think that

    A) that’s true for the majority of Android owners?
    B) that’s not true for any iPhone owners?

    Furthermore, do you really think it makes any difference how much people pay for an application or whether they pay for an application at all?

    Morgan insists that there is no killer app for the iPhone and that Apple’s substantial lead in apps isn’t relevant because there is probably a similar Android app. Nevertheless, there are thousands of specialized little apps that might not seem to be defining or game changers but that are important to their particular owners. Each one of these provides additional incentives.

    Apps that are not game changers do not matter with regards to the network effects esr is talking about.

    Sorry guys, Macs are no longer a single digit marketshare boutique item.

    You don’t even have half of that right. Mac OS X’s current marketshare hovers between 5% and 8%; it has for a very, very long time. And it’s not likely to change.

    Also, the iPod Touch is irrelevant. Two very, very different markets.

  289. @Leif: Oh, and if you think game software is relevant as to the viability of a computing platform outside of gaming consoles, wow. All I gotta say is you sound like you’re 15 and you need to get off my lawn now.

  290. Do you really think that

    A) that’s true for the majority of Android owners?
    B) that’s not true for any iPhone owners?

    Far more frequently do people go to the store looking to buy Coke, and end up getting generic cola instead because it’s what’s available/what’s on sale, than the reverse.

    I suspect that most Android owners really want an iPhone, but such desire does not supply the activation energy necessary to overcome the undesirable onus of switching to AT&T.

    As for incidental iPhone users, I believe they are very few. Apple and iPhone are among the biggest brands around: Apple is close to overtaking the frigging oil companies in market cap!

    Furthermore, do you really think it makes any difference how much people pay for an application or whether they pay for an application at all?

    Open source is a ghetto precisely because no-cost software is taken for granted. You want to know how much people care about their software, find out how much money they pay for it.

    Oh, and if you think game software is relevant as to the viability of a computing platform outside of gaming consoles, wow.

    It has proven far tougher than open source advocates realized to dislodge Windows from its dominant position, in large part due to games. Underestimate their importance at your peril.

  291. It has proven far tougher than open source advocates realized to dislodge Windows from its dominant position, in large part due to games. Underestimate their importance at your peril.

    I don’t agree with this meme. Most gamers I know that also do real work on computers have a PC set aside just for gaming and almost invariably they have a Mac and/or another *nix box for real work. Some dual boot, but the main idea is that the Windows partition is just for gaming. The gamers that don’t do real work on computers, well, they’re a segment that doesn’t make much difference as they’ll just move to whatever platform becomes dominant.

  292. Morgan:

    What exactly is your point?

    All you seem to be saying is that the existence of games is leading to the sales of copies of Windows.

  293. No. My point is that game developers don’t care about platforms and neither do gamers. Game developers write games for Windows because Windows is the dominant operating system. Gamers buy Windows because game developers write games for Windows. IOW, Windows isn’t the dominant operating system elsewhere because it’s the dominant operating system in gaming[1].

    [1] Windows isn’t really the dominant operating system in gaming. Gaming consoles and portables like PS3, XBox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii are.

  294. @”Leif”…

    I have never read of, heard of, or met anyone who so feverishly defends Apple in light of all of the valid arguments that apple currently has against them, as a tech corporation, on the subject matter at hand in this thread, and on this site in general.

    Wait, that is your real name isn’t it? “Leif?” I think it’s ironic, Apple trees have at least one “leaf”… hmmmmm…. It makes me think that either 1) You are getting paid by Apple to post propaganda, stem negative press towards Apple, and promote Apple products on this blog, OR you are Steve Jobs!) If so, I think it is only ethical that you reveal either of these cases to the readers of this blog…This especially holds true when you post such nonsense as:

    RE: Installing Linux on an iphone:
    >Now this seems really odd to me. The reason to buy an iPhone is primarily because of the software and >user-interface. And there’s no version of mobile Linux that works as well on an iPhone as iOS. I put this >up there with people who install Ubuntu on Macbooks. Kinda silly, and probably best explained as the >result of strange religious beliefs.

    Boooo! I can’t beleive you actually published that thought on the world wide web. You are stereotyping all computer enthusiasts who like to tinker as “best explained as the result of strange religious beliefs”? Aaaaaaargh. If your intention was to raise my blood pressure, congratulations, you suceeded.

    When I think of people who like to tinker, I think their “tinkering condition” is the result of having a thorough understanding of how something works, and the having the confidence and technical prowess to improove on something.

    You need to break out of your bubble (or as you call it “your walled garden”).

    I don’t know what to tell you, except maybe turn off your TV and start reading Wikipedia for some diversity. Maybe check out BBCnewsworld on the web. Or maybe try using a music source other than itunes. Or maybe try listening to an internet radio station in another city, or better yet, another country. Just check your sources and make sure they are diverse. It seems to me like you haven’t done that yet.

    I would love to burst your bubble, and not everything about apple is peaches and cream:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10490572.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10161633.stm

    http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2010/05/12/con-foxconn-suicide.html

  295. Shane,

    You asked: “I can’t beleive you actually published that thought on the world wide web. You are stereotyping all computer enthusiasts who like to tinker as “best explained as the result of strange religious beliefs”? Aaaaaaargh.”

    No, I wasn’t getting at people who merely like to tinker. I was getting at people who have strange, inexplicable, and unfounded beliefs that running free software will make the world a better place. Or people so confused as to think Ubuntu is better than OS X. Or people who would install Android on an iPhone because of their concerns about iTunes. Concerns which, more often than not, aren’t even true.

  296. Leif,

    Who said anything about installing Android on an iphone?

    My exciting news:

    I just paid $80 upfront for the new HTC Legend, agreed to sign a new 3 year contract with a new carrier, agreed to pay $220 in cancellation fees with my old carrier, just so that I would never have to touch an apple product again in my life. FYI This was still cheaper than buying a new PC or Mac, just to accomadate the glutonous abomination of a program Steve Jobs calls itunes….

    The HTC Legend works GREAT with my 10 year old PC. I didnt have to install any clunky itunes software, and connecting my HTC Legend didn’t slow my 10 year old computer down one bit. I keep my Windows XP operating system, stable. No Trojan horse “apples”. No crappy quicktime that defaults itself to my “default media player”. No itunes auto-updater running in the background. It does video, pictures, mp3′s, has a built in flash, AND it will display websites that RUN FLASH. I can drag and drop files from my PC to my phone as I please, and use it as a removable storage device. Solid aluminum case. Flat screen. REMOVEABLE Micro SD Card (up to 32GB). Removable battery. Hahahaha. Built in FM Radio with headset. The HTC Legend is an iphone killer! Hahahahah.

    Android awesomeness is going to CRUSH the iphone! If I personally owned any apple shares I would probably short them right about now.

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