Finally, after 18 months of busted rumors and false starts, Verizon got the iPhone today. Apple fanboys, still stinging from comShare’s November report that Android had passed the iPhone in U.S. market share, are delirious with joy. People who actually get paid to think about smartphone market trends are less sanguine.
“We believe that current estimates of [iPhone’s] potential sales are overblown,” said Daniel Hays, who covers telecommunications for consulting firm PRTM. This is sensible, in view of the iPhone 4’s failure to reverse Apple’s market-share losses earlier this year.
Other analysts have pointed out that, now that AT&T has lost its exclusive, they’ll certainly be promoting Android phones more. “Now that AT&T has an incentive to promote Android more than it’s done until now, Android there will grow,” says Tero Kuittinen of MKM Partners LP. “It’s going to compensate for much of the decline at Verizon.” According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T has already committed to shipping a dozen new Android models this year. This will offset the increase in iPhone sales through Verizon; given AT&T’s market position, it is even possible that Kuttinen is underestimating and the net effect on iPhone volume will be zero or negative.
My prediction is that the Verizon iPhone will prove no more effective than the iPhone 4 was at stemming the progressive weakening of Apple’s market position. It’s too late; the window when Apple could irrefutably claim superior “user experience” began to close with the release of Android 2.2 and slammed shut during the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco.
The coming wave of cheap system-on-a-chip Android phones will crank up the pressure, as the price difference between iPhone and equally capable Android models opens up to three digits in U.S. dollars. Bloomberg reported Apple’s stock slightly down and Google’s slightly up in advance of the announcement, suggesting that investors have already priced in this expectation.
I’ve already spam-binned one attempted threadjacking about this news. I will continue to do that. Comments should be attached to this post and not elsewhere. Content-free flamage will be deleted.
Most people who really want an iPhone already have one. A lot of them got one last quarter or quarter before last, because AT&T was running great deals on the ramp-up to this news.
As I pointed out on an earlier thread, and then reiterated once on a recently defunct thread, in 3Q10:
(“integrated device” is AT&T-speak for “smartphone”.)
Unfortunately, AT&T doesn’t break out, e.g. RIM/Nokia smartphone vs. Android data, but given the shellacking that RIM is taking, I think it’s safe to say that Android was holding its own pretty well at AT&T.
I think iPhone on Verizon will be good for Verizon, good for Apple, slightly negative for AT&T, and a no-op for Android.
While we will certainly have to wait and see, I think that over the next year (when most current Verizon users are locked-in to their contract) we’ll see tremendous Verizon iPhone adoption. I love my Droid, and most likely won’t be getting an iPhone, but when I got it, it was only because the iPhone wasn’t offered and I had 4 lines on a family plan with Verizon. Others probably feel the same way.
>I love my Droid, and most likely won’t be getting an iPhone, but when I got it, it was only because the iPhone wasn’t offered
Right. I have no doubt there are a lot like you out there. This is why I say Apple missed its window – it needed to be multi-carrier before Android became a credible alternative, before millions who might have been Apple customers found themselves saying “I love my Droid, and most likely won’t be getting an iPhone”.
But it’s too late. The positive network externalities that will suppress Apple’s market share to levels comparable to its PC share have already kicked in.
> This is why I say Apple missed its window
Apple had a short window. First, Apple had to make the iPhone a must-have device, and they could not do this if the carriers crippled it they way they cripple ordinary devices. One bargaining chip Apple offered was the exclusive, and even that was not enough for Verizon, according to Wired:
It was (much) later when Verizon would be willing to offer the device without crippling it, and as you note, by now Android is ‘good enough’, and now lower manufacturing and software costs (absent some huge patent settlements) will create a feedback loop driving all but the most price-insensitive customers to Android devices.
Well this evens the playing field at least. No longer will android phones have a leg up because they’re on a superior network. It will be interesting to see what the results will be. I suspect that there is latent demand for the iPhone on Verizon, particularly in NYC ans SF where AT&T’s coverage is apparently pretty bad. I also suspect that some number of Android buyers were buying it as a boobie prize for just that reason. Eric would obviously disagree. But we’ll see with time.
I guess the next few months will show what impact (if any) will the CDMA iPhone have on Android sales. Now that the two biggest carriers in US have it, the playing field is somewhat equalized. Also, if my understanding is correct, the CDMA iPhone is not exclusive to Verizon, so I suspect we’ll see it on Sprint before long. T-Mobile is probably screwed, it makes no sense for Apple to create a separate version that runs on AWS. Unless they come up with a 6-band 3G chip. In any case, there will be interesting times ahead.
Don’t I recall that your real goal was that Apple should not be able to get and hold a monopoly postion in smartphones?
It would certainly appear to me as if they have not, will not and can not get there — so haven’t we won?
It matters not to me if they claim the title of ‘The coolest phone in the universe’ so long as I can have a gadget that works well as a flashlight/browser/ebook reader/mail agent/music player/calculator/gps/clock/camera…. that, oh yeah, I almost forgot .. lets me talk to people or text them.
So, now that you have won that battle, when can I have the laptop docking station?
It would seem to me as if the bits that are missing from the nexus s is a data port with sufficent bandwidth — I doubt, but could be wrong, that the usb port would carry the load. That and some drivers.
I picture the docking station to have a screen, keyboard, mousepad, battery/power, hard drive(or equivalent) and IO ports.
Form factor might range from tablet through the mongo laptop, or even desktop setup.
It wouldn’t have the raw power of a high end computer, but even though I spend a lot of time at a keyboard these days, I seldom need a whole lot of power by today’s standards, so if I need power, probably a smart phone dock wouldn’t do it. Fine, I already have several computers, this would cut it down to two or three. Plus the one that runs cnc on a minimill.
As an asside, I watched with interest on the gpsd thread at how you gleaned a good idea for how to handle the problem from all the noise.
>It would certainly appear to me as if they have not, will not and can not get there — so haven’t we won?
Yes, at the minimum level of “win”. Now we want the pour encourager les autres victory. which is for Apple to lose in a way sufficiently obvious as to discourage future efforts at proprietary lockdown.
>So, now that you have won that battle, when can I have the laptop docking station?
Good question. The Celio Redfly still only supports Blackberry and Windows Mobile; they showed an Android demo in January but there’s been no further news.
>As an asside, I watched with interest on the gpsd thread at how you gleaned a good idea for how to handle the problem from all the noise.
Yeah, I wrote a paper about that once :-)
OTOH, I thought that Apple was going to be crushed from the start thanks to the iTunes-style design of their application market. Analytically, I have always considered the “-phone” portion of the smartphone market a quaint call to external market forces; this whole discussion shows the market forces of “smart” outweigh those of the “phone”; indeed, these devices have slowly been morphing into a pocket-sized general purpose computer since the first Java-enabled phones were released. To me, this means we should be thinking of this as the “nanocomputer” market, NOT any sort of phone market, and I always have analyzed it as such. [Aside: Wikipedia defines a “nanocomputer” as built from nano-scale components, which is so arbitrary a definition “ludicrous travesty” is an understatement. A smartphone is power-scale smaller than “micro”-computers and can still do general purpose computing, thus “nanocomputer”.]
Now, the last time this current market shape appeared (the micro-computer revolution), the winning OS was the one that fully decoupled itself from the hardware vendors: MS-DOS. That historic “accident” eventually opened the modern third-party application market in new ways, and the open hardware competition enabled by having the same software — with no code changes — run everywhere, was the driving factor behind the micro-computing revolution.
Which leads to the question: if this new market is to play out differently, what forces [without a broad historic precedent in the micro market] could prevent this? I only see a few possibilities — the largest of which are: (1) external limitations (i.e. cell service provider) shifting market choice, (2) external service options or alternate marketplace tie-ins (e.g. Windows Phone / XBox Live integration) or (3) legal challenges (the Dalvik patent suit). While each of these could be given a full analysis, all of them have at least narrow comparisons in the micro computer market and therefore I see none of them significantly affecting or hindering the eventual dominance of Android in any fashion.
I read that VZ’s iPhone is only 3G/CDMA, not usable on its 4G/LTE system that’s rolling out, unlike coming VZ Droid phones.
rob sama Says:
It has been possible to buy an Android phone on AT&T: the Samsung Fascinate, for one. What you may mean, however, is AT&T has been fairly reticent to share relative sales numbers for (non-iOS) smartphones, making unquestionable apples-to-apples numbers hard to come by.
Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. The Android software ecosystem still sucks rocks compared to the iPhone’s, and Apple’s end-to-end integration strategy is a big part of why. Once you’ve paid your fee and passed the approval process, your app is instantly available to every iPhone user.
Maybe the situation for Android will improve once the supermajority of handsets are running it. But with over 9000 third parties looking to open and curate their own app stores for Android, I see dark clouds on the horizon…
Alex K. Says: A smartphone is power-scale smaller than “micro”-computers and can still do general purpose computing, thus “nanocomputer”.]
A smartphone doesn’t really have to be all that smart. Once the carriers start offering apps and storage on their own servers in a big way, the smartphone needs to be little more than a terminal. Back to the days of BIG IRON guys!
There’s also this:
esr, you say that Apple should have been multi carrier earlier, as if Apple had a choice in the matter.
When the iPhone came out, no other carrier was willing to let Apple (or anyone else for that matter) create a phone with the now-ubiquitous icon based, touch screen, user experience. Pre-Apple, all carriers locked down smart phones with inane requirements, most of which Apple threw out the door for the iPhone.
But of course, to get AT&T to agree to Apple’s terms, Apple had to agree to AT&T’s terms, which was multi-year exclusivity.
What do you think Apple should have done differently? I personally don’t see how they could have done anything different.
I’m sure that once Jobs realized how much demand there was for the iPhone, he was kicking himself for letting AT&T hobble him with such a long exclusivity agreement, but that’s 20/20 hindsight, and that’s assuming that Jobs even had a strong enough had to be able negotiate a shorter exclusivity agreement. From everything I’ve read about that time frame, it seems like Jobs had a very weak hand on the table.
No, it doesn’t. As esr has pointed out, the window where this would have matter came and went … oh, about 18 months ago. :)
Verizon’s 3G network isn’t that much better than AT&T’s; both are quite large, but still mediocre. The best 3G networks are at T-Mobile and Sprint. Too bad this phone won’t be rolled on Verizon’s 4G LTE network (yet).
Apple still has no 4G phone, and this is part of the reason why Android phones are outselling iPhone. The many, many buyers of the EVO 4G and similar phones bought them for their 4G capabilities.
The Android as a boobie prize theory doesn’t stand up when you consider that.
So what if Android has a bigger market share. That doesn’t mean it “wins”, unless you define “win” as bigger market share. I suspect that both platforms will continue to gain users, but that Android will probably always have a lead in absolute number of users. I also suspect that Apple will continue to make more money even with a smaller number of users. So who’s the winner? It really doesn’t matter unless one or the other product is discontinued or becomes a tiny niche player, which I think is extremely unlikely in both cases.
I think Apple did noyhing “wrong”. This looks lile a replay of the PC revolution. The Apple II and Mac were better PCs. In the end the multi-vendor hardware solution won.
Even if the iPhone is technologically “better”, the solution that can deliver 2 billion smartphones will dominate.
> Apple still has no 4G phone, and this is part of the reason why Android phones are outselling iPhone. The many, many buyers of the EVO 4G and similar phones bought them for their 4G capabilities.
The “many many buyers of EVO 4G” are not even a blip on the radar. That’s pretty much the only 4G phone on the market now. TMobile might claim one or two if you believe their marketing sleight of hand. Android numbers come mainly from Verizon and from cheap (read $0 cost) discounted phones on all four networks. The situation will change when LTE phones start selling, but they’re not here yet.
“Apple still has no 4G phone”
Sure it does. All that’s left to do is change the “3” to a “4” on the screen, and that can be done in a software update:
I spoke to my cousin, in America. He had yearned for an iPhone a couple of years ago, but refused to use AT&T. He told me at the time that as soon as the iPhone were available on any other network, he’d jump at the chance.
In the meantime, he bought an “interim” Android phone, which he’s upgraded once.
I asked him in view of today’s news whether he’d be first in line to get the new iPhone on Verizon. Here’s his response:
“Nah. To be honest I’ve collected all my apps on Android and it works fine. Iphone doesn’t do anything that I need to make it worth starting again with new apps etc and the Iphones I’ve used have worse call quality”.
I doubt he’s unique.
The Android software ecosystem still sucks rocks compared to the iPhone’s
Really? Really? Or are you just parroting a trope that glides out with a simulacrum of veracity?
I’ve used both iPhones and a number of Android phones, and the app universe (for apps that matter) seems pretty synonymous. There are *plenty* of terrible iPhone apps, with bad user-interfaces, buggy-crashingness, idiotically intrusive marketing and so forth. Apple’s “seal of approval” seems to count for almost nothing. You clearly haven’t investigated the actual quality of Apple’s app store.
> So, now that you have won that battle, when can I have the laptop docking station?
The Motorola Atrix is close: http://www.techlicious.com/blog/motorola-atrix-4g-smartphone-with-computer-like-power/
>The Motorola Atrix is close: http://www.techlicious.com/blog/motorola-atrix-4g-smartphone-with-computer-like-power/
The Altrix begins to look uncannily like the future I was predicting in How Smartphones Will Disrupt PCs.
So, now that you have won that battle, when can I have the laptop docking station?
Well, there’s the Motorola Altrix (due out shortly from AT&T at least); 4″ screen, dual-core 1Ghz CPU, and laptop-form-factor dock as well as a desktop dock available. Should be available Q1 2010. I’m beginning to think the PC as we know it is in deep trouble…
Altrix accessories page on Motorola.com
> I’m beginning to think the PC as we know it is in deep trouble…
That depends highly on your definition of ‘PC as we know it.’
Two of my three major use cases for what _I_ know as PC do not fit well in the new miniaturization push, and given the storage requirements of the third, it may actually be all three.
But, times change and all that.
# LS Says:
That’s why I really push for looking at the “smartphone” Android/iOS/RIM device market as not a [anything]-phone market. Look at it this way: if you want to sell a new device to consumers to carry everywhere, you have to either provide an extremely compelling reason (“Plays all your MP3 music, all day long!”) or displace an existing device. Ever since the first Blackberry, replacement seemed to be the order of the day [the first email enabled devices displaced pager services].
The primary bottleneck to this plan is the network: the triumvirate issues of spotty reception, hard data limits, and limited-bucket billing will prevent dumb terminal design from reaching the nanocomputer market for a very, very long time. You do show that having the carrier offer the server space might ease some of these (“we don’t charge for in-carrier data transfer”) but if your seemingly-facetious statement was true, I am left to wonder why the cable/DSL carriers haven’t done that same back-to-dumb-terminal subsidy for home PCs yet….
@Jeff Read: Having more than one Android app store isn’t likely to cause any problem. In fact, it was, in part, Apple’s lack of retail exposure that caused it to lose the desktop PC wars. I would have to say that it’s probably a good thing that there will be more than one source of apps for Android.
I must say, it’s sure been fun watching Apple making exactly the same mistakes it made in the 1980s and early 1990s all over again. Apple’s biggest asset was always their biggest liability — Steve Jobs and the control freak culture he built at Apple.
The Motorola Atrix and its successors are almost certainly aiming in the same direction as what esr wants in terms of the “docking station”. The best part is, the desktop side of it is just firefox running on an X server on a variant of Ubuntu. And in general, mobile ARM CPUs are getting powerful enough to run a decent X desktop. But mobile bandwidth is still relatively scarce and expensive, at least for dumb terminal use, which is why we’re more likely to see this sort of thing than dumb terminals hanging off a 3G/4G network.
Its not clear to me that the iPhone 4V will be a net profit win for Verizon. I expect it will result in a fair amount of increased revenue — not as much as it would have pre-Android explosion — but its also going to raise a lot of costs. My friends inside Verizon were talking about waiting until LTE was ready. That clearly didn’t happen, but the 4V is has the potential to overload Verizon’s network just like the original iPhones did to AT&T. And like AT&T, Verizon has zero interest in putting serious money into CMDA/3G, it spent over $20 billion (with a BEE) last year alone on LTE rollout.
For me, the interesting question is: can the wireless carriers sell value added services, or do customers expect them to just provide big dumb fast bit pipes. I, and I expect most folks here, just want big fast dumb pipes. The vendors have said that they can’t make their expected/required returns without added services.
>The vendors have said that they can’t make their expected/required returns without added services.
Then they’ll go to the wall and be replaced by companies who can run the network infrastructure more efficiently. The days of “value-added services” are fast drawing to a close.
> I would have to say that it’s probably a good thing that there will be more than one source of apps for Android.
It will be as long as somebody can push the idea out into the consciousness of people who don’t habitually debate these things on comment threads. I speak from experience, as a user of an Android device that doesn’t come with Android Market. Right now developers seem to be thinking that all they have to do is push their app to the Marketplace and, bam, it’s distributed. True to a first and probably also a second approximation, but I’m on the sticky end of the fact that it still ain’t necessarily so.
There will certainly be a small bump in Apple’s sales, as people who are ready for a new smartphone will be somewhat more likely to buy an iPhone now that AT&T isn’t a necessary part of the package. But the bump won’t last long – after a few months, sales of the two flavors of iPhone will equal what total sales would be for just the AT&T iPhone. The bigger change is that AT&T will lose a bunch of bandwidth hogs, and Verizon will pick up most of that bunch. I’ve actually been selfishly dreading this day, as I’m not sure that Verizon’s network is up to handling the extra traffic a bunch of iPhonies will impose on it.
>There will certainly be a small bump in Apple’s sales, as people who are ready for a new smartphone will be somewhat more likely to buy an iPhone now that AT&T isn’t a necessary part of the package. But the bump won’t last long – after a few months, sales of the two flavors of iPhone will equal what total sales would be for just the AT&T iPhone.
That’s going a bit far. I think it would be quite surprising if combined sales failed to rise somewhat.
The scenario Apple fans are hoping for, though – huge Apple uptake reversing Apple’s loss in market share relative to Android – won’t happen. The reason we can predict this is from looking at overseas markets where Apple is already multicarrier competing with Android. It simply doesn’t make a difference; Android is eating Apple’s lunch everywhere.
> The scenario Apple fans are hoping for, though – huge Apple uptake reversing Apple’s loss in market share relative to Android – won’t happen.
I find it entertaining that that Mr. Raymond continues to wears his blinders so firmly that he totally under-estimates the intelligence of the folks at Apple, and continues to mis-apply the role that penetration percentages play in profitability.
It’s lot unlike the position that General Custer held before trying to interface with the Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.
“Hurrah boys, we’ve got them! We’ll finish them up and then go home to our station.”
@Wet Behind the Ears
“It’s lot unlike the position that General Custer held before trying to interface with the Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.”
If I remember well, it is the Lakota and Cheyenne people that were all but exterminated in the end.
Wet Behind the Ears,
How can you, a person who writes so entertainingly and well, miss things that are so obvious?
> I find it entertaining that that Mr. Raymond continues to wears his blinders so firmly that he totally under-estimates the intelligence of the folks at Apple, and continues to mis-apply the role that penetration percentages play in profitability.
He’s not doing that. He’s looking at their position on the problem terrain and where they can go. It doesn’t matter how smart they are. They are constrained by the problem. Furthermore, he agrees that the smart folks at Apple are going to continue to make big piles of money – which is, from an anarcho-capitalist, a very high compliment. An odd position were he actually the Apple haterboy you appear to falsely think he is.
If anyone’s “delirious with joy” over the Verizon deal, it’s Verizon’s management and shareholders. They’ve had to try to make do with second-rate wannabe products for a long time, and now they can quit spending their time inventing excuses.
>Furthermore, he agrees that the smart folks at Apple are going to continue to make big piles of money
For a while. There are a lot of dumb-phone users out there; even once iPhone’s new-sales share drops below 10%, enough of that <10% will be price-insensitive and looking for a positional good to keep the money flowing in.
At some point, though, Apple’s revenues will start to fall unless it reverses its market-share slippage. Sky-high margins can’t fend off that fate forever. Apple’s usual response to this problem has been a lateral move to a new product category; we’ve seen this twice now, with iPod and iPhone.
The interesting question, starting about 24 months from now, will be whether Jobs can pull another rabbit out of his hat. I’m doubtful, simply because he’s getting old.
. It doesn’t matter how smart they are. They are constrained by the problem.
Nope. Apple’s got a pretty good track record of changing the game when they appeared to be fenced in.
whether Jobs can pull another rabbit out of his hat. I’m doubtful, simply because he’s getting old.
This shows that you fundamentally misunderstand Steve’s role. He doesn’t pull rabbits out of his hat, he chooses the right rabbit from the countless rabbits pulled out of countless hats by Apple’s engineers and designers on a continuous basis.
Most of his contribution is in rejecting good, profitable lines of business that Apple could be involved in, in order to concentrate on better, more profitable lines of business.
>This shows that you fundamentally misunderstand Steve’s role.
Do I? You just reported that Jobs is Apple’s lead for product strategy. The rabbits he pulls out of his hat are exactly that – product strategies.
Jobs isn’t stupid, not even by my standards. He can see commoditization coming; he knows that the only way to fight it is to not be there.
“Apple’s usual response to this problem has been a lateral move to a new product category; we’ve seen this twice now, with iPod and iPhone.”
And why should we not thank them for getting us better gadgets?
Apple II, Mac, iPod, iPhone, and now iPad all opened new markets with new “tools”. They all showed what is technically possible if you put good designers at work.
It is just that Apple never gets in the commodity low price market. At some point, their products stay too locked down and too expensive to cater for all people. But then others can take over.
Back to this discussion. Apple will not let the iPhone/iPad price down enough, nor can ramp up production enough, to enable every human to get a smartphone/tablet. So others have to supply the remaining 95% of humanity with smartphones and tablets. Android looks well equipped to do that.
We get cheap smartphones and tablets and competition will force Apple to open up a new market. So we get yet another new kind of gadget to boot. We all are better off.
>And why should we not thank them for getting us better gadgets?
Because their tactics for maintaining sky-high margins are a toxic drag on the health of the entire computing/communications ecosystem, both in prompt and second-order effects. Apple is like Microsoft that way, but with good packaging and PR.
“Apple is like Microsoft that way, but with good packaging and PR.”
Actually, I agree wholeheartedly. Apple are as evil as MS, only less criminal (I understand MS pay ~$1B/year in fines and settlements for criminal behavior). I see one difference: Apple actually gets us new and better products. So I will thank Apple, as long as there is competition to push them out of the way as quickly as possible.
But you might be right that in the balance, they might have done more bad than good to the world.
And now for something completely different:
Nexus S Runs Ubuntu; Linux Replaces…Linux
We do not have to bet everything on Android, plain Linux will work too.
>Nexus S Runs Ubuntu; Linux Replaces…Linux
Interesting. But of course; because Android is open source, its visible use of the hardware interfaces implies enough information to port a Linux userland.
I wonder how long it’ll be before we have customized Linux distributions to run on smartphones that virtualize Android userland? That would be cool; Android phone and Linux system both. That would be a long step towards smartphones eating PCs
I was at CES last week. There were Android tablets *everywhere*, despite the lack of availability of Honeycomb. 90% of the ones I tried sucked. Retail prices will be within 10% of a similar iPad… at least until the inevitable race to the bottom kicks in, destroying all margin in the process. I saw an Android-powered iPod Touch clone, with a nice screen. Samsung refused to discuss retail pricing.
Open Source is one answer to the question, “How do we take advantages of other people’s good ideas?”, but it is not the only answer, neither has it been proven an optimal answer. Microsoft has survived for quite some time by adopting (or flat-out stealing) the ideas of its partners.
I see that Eric has reset the next sign-post for two years out. Seems like a safe bet given the timeline of the past 10 years:
iPod: 2001, iPod Nano/Shuffle: 2005, iPhone: 2007, iPad: 2010, iXXX: 2013
Perhaps we should look at some real data. First, according to comScore, 61.5 million people in the U.S. own smartphones.
Next, the market share (percentage), and percentage change since August
1) RIM 33.5 -4.1
2) Google 26.0 6.4
3) Apple 25.0 0.8
4) Microsoft 9.0 -1.8
5) Palm 3.9 -0.7
Which are the rough numbers that Mr. Raymond likes to quote. See? Google has passed Apple, and are on a much faster growth path. But then one needs to look at a bit of additional data. Here are the top 10 Smartphones in the US, and their market share (percentage):
1) RIM – BlackBerry Curve 8530 4.9
2) RIM – BlackBerry Curve 8330 4.5
3) Apple – iPhone 4 16GB 4.2
4) Motorola – Droid 4.0
5) Apple – iPhone 3G S 32GB 3.9
6) Apple – iPhone 3G 8GB 3.4
7) Apple – iPhone 3G S 16GB 3.3
8) Apple – iPhone 3G 16GB 3.0
9) RIM – BlackBerry Bold 9700 2.2
10) Apple – iPhone 4 32GB 2.2
(All data sourced from comScore)
Interestingly, the 16GB iPhone 4 *by itself* has a larger market share than the Droid. This is phone for phone. Which single carrier sells the Droid? I think we all know the answer.
But here is a question for us all to ponder. If Android is so great, why did Verizon obviously jump at the chance to get iPhone on its network?
Quoth Verizon’s President at today’s announcement: “Our relationship with Apple has developed over the last two years. In 2008 we started talking about bringing the iPhone to a CDMA network. We spent a year testing.”
Now, we all know that Verizon was approached back in 2006 about carrying the original iPhone, but rejected Apple’s terms for doing so. Here Verizon obviously is saying they’ve reached an agreement over a year ago. Android has been at maximal ascendancy during the past year. If Mr. Raymond is correct, why is the Verizon deal with Apple going forward?
Could it be that Verizon known that there is a large amount of demand for the iPhone, and that no amount of pimping Android-powered Droid phones will overcome the natural proclivity in the customer base to owning the assumed ‘winner’. Or perhaps its just that Droid isn’t growing as fast as the least expensive iPhone.
I think Apple has shown incredible restraint here. It could have launched a CDMA version of iPhone anytime during the last 2 years. (Anyone who thinks there aren’t “lab rat” CDMA variants of every iPhone model ever made is in a state of denial. These are the source of all the rumors over the past 3 years. Yes, CDMA iPhones have existed the whole time, but Apple has waited until the demand curve for iPhone started to flatten (or a competitive response was required for other reasons) before launching them.
When I was at Sun, I watched as Sun announced the Sparc Station 1 days after the ECO for the Sparc Station 1+ was signed off. I was livid. Why not ship the best machine we had? Cooler, wiser heads prevailed, and at the very moment the demand curve for Sparc Station 1 started to flatten, the 1+ was announced, and the rocket ship continued on its prior course.
I was, in that moment, enlightened.
I predict we’re about to see something very similar. Millions of people who would have purchased a Droid will, instead, purchase an iPhone.
According to Matthew Goodman at IDG, (who obtains his data from independent wireless retailers), 80 percent of smartphone sales at Verizon in November were Android devices, and 46 percent of those were Droids). The remaining 20 percent were RIM/Blackberry. Even if we assume that iPhone 4 and Droid split the current 46 percent, that will put iPhone back in the lead, nation-wide. And let us not forget that AT&T has dropped the price on iPhone 3GS to $49 with a contract.
With iPhone taking over Verizon (displacing the Droid series), the vendors of Android-powered phones will be forced to place more their offerings through carriers (Sprint & T-Mobile) who are largely dominated by a demographic very sensitive to price. These customers come in the land of pre-paid cellular, and they do not generate significant profits when measured on a per-customer basis.
I’m not looking out two years. I’m looking forward to June, when Apple announces a new iPhone at WWDC.
@Winter> “If I remember well, it is the Lakota and Cheyenne people that were all but exterminated in the end.”
All but exterminated? The population of both the Cheyenne and Lakota are 3.5X what they were mid-18th Century.
“Zuyawicaßa lila ohiþaúaöi iß þaúu uñ iúþeöi hena wa¡aúe üca. Þúa þohan wiñyañ cañþe úiñ maía glaúiñyañ iüpayaöi úiñ hehañ ihañúe kta naíuñ hehañ oyañúe úiñ iüpayaöi kta.” — Tsistsistas, Cheyenne
(“A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is finished, no matter how brave its warriors or how strong their weapons.”)
>But here is a question for us all to ponder. If Android is so great, why did Verizon obviously jump at the chance to get iPhone on its network?
No mystery here. Verizon’s planners think it can collect fatter margins on expensive iPhones than on cheap Android phones. Undoubtedly they’re right about that; the phone will allow them to price-discriminate, targeting more expensive services at less price-sensitive customers.
Millions of people who would have purchased a Droid will, instead, purchase an iPhone.
Bingo. Now that they don’t have to settle, they’ll buy what they actually want.
I think Apple has shown incredible restraint here.
Actually, no. Apple’s been supply-constrained since the first iPhone came out. They’re the biggest user of flash RAM in the world, they’re bringing new high-DPI LCD production on line as fast as they can, and even Foxconn needs months to build a new factory for the main assembly. Then you also have the limited number of engineers available to work on each project. Sales in the USA have been far above Apple’s projections for a long time, so regressing to CDMA for the sake of adding a carrier wasn’t nearly as important as getting the next generation of the phone on the market.
@esr: “No mystery here. Verizon’s planners think it can collect fatter margins on expensive iPhones than on cheap Android phones.”
Translation, Verizon thinks it can make more money with iPhone than Droid.
Probably so, now that the BOGO on Droid models will (obviously) be history.
However, Eric, carrier’s don’t make the big margins on the initial purchase, they make them on services, especially contract services.
Flash is not ‘RAM’. It’s just flash memory, and Apple has been less supply-constrained than you state. Were what you say a fact, Apple would have, of necessity, disclosed it in their SEC filings. As for “above projections”, you do know that the game is to slightly understate to the street, right?
“I’m not looking out two years. I’m looking forward to June, when Apple announces a new iPhone at WWDC.”
And I would like to drive a Rolls Royce. Why doesn’t everyone drive this superior car and settle isntead for some cheap American or Asian car?
I am looking at who will supply smartphones to China, India, and South East Asia. At current prices, I seriously doubt whether it will be any kind of iPhone. And That part of the world houses almost half of humanity. And they really, really like cell phones.
On the other hand, a sub $100 smartphone would clean out the market in most of the world.
As I wrote earlier, who will deliver 2 billion smartphones to the world? Apple, I do not think so.
I am not that well versed in US history. But I understood the opponents of Custer faced a population bottleneck some years after their last victory. I saw counts of a total of only 250,000 native americans around 1900. But obviously, those living in the US will know better how this all went.
That is all beside the point. You said esr is in a mood like Custer before his last fight. I said his opponents lost in the end. And I still think the plains tribes lost the war.
I’m on an iPhone for one reason: The Calendar app has great CalDAV support in connecting to two Zimbra servers (one for home, one for work). As of the last time I looked, Google had still not put CalDAV support in Android. I have only seen one app for Android that speaks CalDAV, but it seems immature from just reading about it. Plus, it just seems like it will be a pain needing to go outside the “native” app for calendaring. Can anyone here speak from experience on using Android to access multiple CalDAV accounts?
Not quite so: I want to drive a Lamborghini, but since I can’t afford one I settle for the more-affordable Toyota. For every broke bloke out there, the choice between buying a $50 Android or forking out at least twice as much for an iPhone isn’t a choice at all. I will admit we might see some shift in high-end phone sales on Verizon, but the mid- to low-end range will probably remain unaffected.
For reference, Steve is three years older than Eric.
>For reference, Steve is three years older than Eric.
Quite true, but calendar age isn’t the whole story. I haven’t had to beat liver cancer; Jobs is, through no fault of his own, aged beyond his years.
> For every broke bloke out there, the choice between buying a $50 Android or forking out at least twice as much for an iPhone isn’t a choice at all.
What about $50 iPhones? http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_iphone
Is there any data available on iPhone use on T-Mobile in the US? As far as I know T-Mobile doesn’t sell iPhones on that side of the Atlantic, but what is to keep one from getting one that is not locked to a carrier, and just putting a T-Mobile sim in it?
Other than the cost and the need to jailbreak/unlock it, nothing prevents it. Heck it’s what I do, and it works fine for the most part. Visual Voicemail doesn’t work, and I have an original iPhone so I can say whether or not 3G works.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“There were Android tablets *everywhere*, despite the lack of availability of Honeycomb. 90% of the ones I tried sucked. ”
Here is the official release video of Android 3.0
I could live with a tablet running Android 3.0, I think.
Iphone on T-Mobile is a suboptimal experience. 3G does not work, since they use different frequency bands. Visual Voicemail does not work. Other than that it is quite allright. I hear that T-Mobile people are quite friendly with people trying to use iPhones on their network.
January 12th, 2011 at 8:38 am
The older 3G iPhone is only available to those willing to be on AT&T. The Verizon press release is very clear that the phone being offered is the iPhone 4, and I see absolutely nothing from websites — Verizon or Apple — or any news that hint that the 3x models will also be available on Verizon.
Anyway, if you’re looking for past-generation, lowest-price phone availability, the Verizon iPhone needs to compete against “free”:
Apples-to-apples comparisons, please.
@Wet behind the ears:
I didn’t see that at comscore’s site — do you have a URL?
Due to the impending release of iPhone on Verizon, AT&T was offering (very) early upgrades to iPhone 4 for their customers for cheap ($19 is the price I heard) for a 2 year contract extension. So, iPhone 4 has a lot of converts from iPhone 3.
That doesn’t require any pondering. iPhone is a fine phone, with a lot of adherents. Verizon needs it to stay competitive with AT&T among a certain subset of its customers. That doesn’t alter the fact that a lot of other customers will be fine and happy with Android phones. The things that will be interesting to see are (1) how hard Verizon pushes iPhone, and how it prices it relative to its Android offering, and (2) if AT&T changes their marketing strategy now that the exclusive is broken.
>The things that will be interesting to see are (1) how hard Verizon pushes iPhone, and how it prices it relative to its Android offering, and (2) if AT&T changes their marketing strategy now that the exclusive is broken.
Exactly. I think Verizon’s iPhone is a price-discrimination move aimed at high-end customers, not a volume play. It follows that Verizon won’t be aggressive on price, and won’t spend a lot of money on promotion. They’ll count on Apple’s brand marketing to pull customers.
On the other hand, AT&T will tilt more pro-Android. We already have reason to believe this from its announced plans to ship a dozen Android models over the next year.
Hmmm….could it be that AT&T let Apple out of its exclusive early because Android looks like better business? Can’t think of any other reason for them to do it.
In the “why took this so long” department:
Motorola Xoom tablet crowned best CES gadget
Along with being declared the top creation at the dazzling gadget extravaganza, Xoom was also honored as the best of the scores of tablets introduced here as fresh competitors in a market dominated by Apple iPads.
Motorola also scored a victory with its Atrix smartphone designed to work with high-speed 4G wireless networks and which can be used in a dock to power a laptop.
Atrix won the top spot in a smartphone category at the official Best of CES awards.
Oh, come on, Winter. You’re not the blind fanboy you make yourself out to be here.
While the Apple II certainly did open up new markets by being one of the first micros that wasn’t put together from a kit, the Macintosh is a different story.
The original Mac was basically a failure. That was the reason John Sculley fired Steve Jobs. It wsan’t that the Mac opened new markets, it was that John Sculley found a new market for the Macintosh in desktop publishing and graphic arts after he fired Jobs. Painting such a flowery picture when the reality is much uglier doesn’t make you look smart, Winter.
The rest I’m not commenting on, but suffice to say the iPod didn’t open any new markets, either; it just stole the existing market out from under its competition.
They already have, and started doing so late last year. Turn on your TV; you’ll find that AT&T is pushing both their Windows Mobile and their Android offerings harder.
esr: >And why should we not thank them for getting us better gadgets?
Because their tactics for maintaining sky-high margins are a toxic drag on the health of the entire computing/communications ecosystem, both in prompt and second-order effects. Apple is like Microsoft that way, but with good packaging and PR.
Err, I think I gotta disagree here. Those sky-high margins are what has attracted manufacturers to the smart phone market, giving us the huge number of choices and giving Android the rich environment it has had in which to develop. Those high margins on the iPhone, mean there was enough margin to drive the industry in this direction much faster than I think would have happened otherwise. This wasn’t the case in the PC market 30 years ago, not until the likes of Compaq came out and drove the cost of PC manufacturing down enough to make it worth the investment in fabrication facilities. Not unlike the huge margins and huge investment in build-out that happened during the Internet boom in the mid to late ’90s.
And now that the market is becoming saturated with hardware choices, there’s enough market for the Fabs to make things like the Broadcom chipset with the cost of building the fab facilities, etc., driving down costs even further.
I think this will all settle down, and the margins will come down drastically in the next 2 years, then Moore’s law will take over and drive development from there as it has in the computer industry.
More generally, Jobs’ genius is in product positioning and marketing, possibly the best huckster on the face of the planet, and I’m doubtful that Apple will ever find anybody to match his ability in that area. For all intents and purposes, he recreated the market for the home PC (from the Tandy and Altair types), he reinvented that market at least once more, he reinvented the market for the MP3 player, and he recreated the market for the smart phone. He’s figured out how to take geek toys that we all love and make them interesting and acceptable to Joe Schmoe, and get Joe to be willing to give his left arm for the damned thing in the process, and many manufacturers have ridden his coat tails. While I’m not a fan of Apple’s closed nature, I gotta say, I for one will be saddened to see Jobs leave the industry. Whether it’s magic, or bull shit, it’s fascinating to watch a master at work.
Morgan Greywolf> The original Mac was basically a failure.
Are you referring to the Lisa? I think the price tag had a lot to do with that failure. That, and the fact that it was released at the height of a recession. When the Mac came out a few years later, money was loosening up, payroll levels were recovering from the Carter era inflation, and people were finding greater utility in WYSIWYG apps (desktop publishing being one of the shining examples of that, although things like Calendar Creator, and PrintShop did a lot for introducing this as well).
I think the Lisa failure was more an issue of bad timing than anything. I know that when I entered the computer market ~83 there was already an awareness of WYSWYG and the utility of early Windowing systems. That’s what drove Tandy to create the CoCo, to try to get onto that next wave, but they missed the boat, mostly because they based it on an 8-bit processor and too little memory space (and a really clunk hardware bus). The Lisa tried to avoid these problems, but the hardware was just too costly
“Oh, come on, Winter. You’re not the blind fanboy you make yourself out to be here.”
Amusing. Just a few comments back I agreed with eric that Apple might have done more bad than good to the world.
Anyhow. When the original Mac launched (and not the Lisa) we saw for the first time a computer that did graphics from the ground up. And it had WYSIWYG, a term I never heard before. It showed what was possible with affordable hardware. And it showed how awefully bad MS Dos was. So the Mac was indeed ground breaking for people like me who knew nothing but black terminal screens. There was a before, no real graphics, and an after, bit screens and graphics.
The iPod was the first mass market music player with enough room to store all your music. And it had a decent UI.
Even though. Apple did not invent everything, they often were the first to package it in an affordable and usable gadget.
I was initially very attrackted to Apple products, as they were a relieve from Windows. But it was a torture to see how all these great products were castrated for marketing and control (why oh why was there no 4 MByte Macintosh when it mattered). So I switched to Open Source when I finally got around installing it (Linux). Now I even install Linux on Mac hardware.
There is some truth the idea that Apple has had some success recently creating new markets where there weren’t any before, but the question is, where would they go next if Android erodes this position? And it does occur to me to wonder if you might not get a two-fer, esr: What better way for cell+(desktop/laptop) dock to take off than for Apple to make it fashionable? It might buy them another year or two. And it does seem to me that they are in a legitimately better position to create the device than anybody else, even though once they legitimize the market the competition will be there pretty quickly. There are some ways that being in charge of both hardware and software in the first iteration makes it a lot easier, especially if you want the docked mode to be able to really up the performance vs. cell mode.
>What better way for cell+(desktop/laptop) dock to take off than for Apple to make it fashionable?
Hm. You know, this does strike me as quite plausible. 2013: Jobs announces an add-on for the brand shiny new iPhone 7 that looks like a MacBook Air but is actually just a docking station with a big display and keyboard, and some sort of wickedly alluring Jobsian positional-good feature that I can’t now predict.
Six weeks later, Android ships a stock API for hotplugging a dock to Android through the phone’s micro-USB connector. The following quarter Taiwanese consumer-electronics companies flood the zone with cheap docking hardware. My future arrives as I predicted in 2014.
No. I’m referring to the Macintosh. The Lisa is a different story. How quickly people forget. The original Macintosh failed to meet Apple’s sales expectations in its first year of existence, in part due to bad decisions made on Steve Jobs’ part. He seized control of the Mac group, then all but seized control of Apple from Sculley, pulling in the best employees from other groups, essentially gutting every other program at Apple, including the Apple II and the Apple III.
Essentially, Jobs was betting the company on Macintosh. When sales of the Macintosh proved to be abysmal, Sculley had had enough of Jobs’ antics and stripped of his title as head of the Macintosh group — basically taking away all his responsibilities. When Jobs continued to secretly run the Mac group, Sculley fired him.
It was Sculley who found a new market for the Macintosh in the field of graphics and publishing. Apple fanboys like to blame all sorts of Apple’s failures on Sculley and his successors, but Sculley saved the Macintosh from abject failure.
Xerox Star. ‘Nuff said.
(Strolling down Memory Lane)
When Apple first produced the Mac, it came with 128K of RAM. (That’s a K there, not an M!) This was much too little. Early adopters bought it and found out it was useless for anything. Apple produced the ‘fat Mac’ with 512K, but arrogantly refused to do anything significant to sooth their early customers. It certainly didn’t help sales.
Everyone takes it as a given that iPhone is the bestest. Time to leave this meme in the past where it came from? Maybe Android will not only own the bottom and middle but also the top as well.
“The story is quite different on Verizon Wireless though where the iPhone 4 won’t even be the best smartphone available on the nation’s largest network. In fact, there will be several Android devices, Windows Phone 7 devices, and maybe even a webOS device, launching in the first half of 2011 that will far exceed the features and functionality of the iPhone 4.”
Apple already has a patent for this, which means that the Android manufacturers will have to tread carefully. Microsoft has a patent for a similar setup.
The diagrams for Apple’s patents showed a monitor enclosure that looked like a current-gen iMac, with a slot in the side where you slide in your iPhone. Definitely where things are headed. Apple is gearing up for a Mac OS 10.7 release this summer; word on the street is that they are going to make their desktop OS look and work as much like iOS as is practical for that platform.
And you’re right: Android will gobble up the low and middle ends of this brave new world and become like Windows: ubiquitous and comfortably middle-class.
Nevertheless, Apple deserves much of the credit for making this world possible.
>Nevertheless, Apple deserves much of the credit for making this world possible.
No, absolutely not.
First, Apple hasn’t actually shipped this fantasy hardware.
Second, Motorola is already shipping a rig like this – which gives me doubt that Apple has a blocking patent.
Third, if Apple does have a blocking patent, they’ll be making this future less possible, not more.
Cripes. What an extreme of fanboyism it is to claim that Apple should get any credit under these circumstances.
That’s part of it, definitely. Not everything, though. Also important was that the memory could not be upgraded and there were no slots. The only printer that worked with it was the Apple ImageWriter. It also had persistent overheating problems due to Steve Jobs’ personal boneheaded insistence that Macs ship without a fan. And they chose to roll their own neworking — AppleTalk — rather than something more standard like, oh, say, Ethernet and TCP/IP.
Do the Apple fanboys yet see why I consider this rose-colored-glasses view of Apple to be silly?
>Can’t think of any other reason for them to do it.
I can. The original agreement changed. Compare the original terms and conditions of buying and using an iPhone to how it is now. It would be insane to think that Apple allowed changes to those terms without taking some benefits of their own.
It was Sculley who found a new market for the Macintosh in the field of graphics and publishing.
Not even close. It was Aldus, not Apple. Sculley is the Chauncey Gardner of the Apple story. The man was completely out of his depth from day one.
“Second, Motorola is already shipping a rig like this – which gives me doubt that Apple has a blocking patent.”
Which is why I phrased it as Apple legitimizing the idea. They aren’t the first to have it, they aren’t the first to deploy it, but they’re in a unique position to make it go from silly peripheral to the cutting edge of cool in a matter of weeks. In the last ten years that’s almost been their core competency….
> >For reference, Steve is three years older than Eric.
> Quite true, but calendar age isn’t the whole story. I haven’t had to beat liver cancer; Jobs is, through no fault of his own, aged beyond his years.
OTOH, Jobs can afford the best healthcare that exists. (And he semi-obviously bought his way to the front of the liver transplant line.)
Can you spend this kind of green?
You are also (like most of us around 50) … “chubby”. What is your BMI, Eric? OK, BMI is bullshit, but what is your waist:hip ratio?
I doubt you’ll go public about same (nor do I think it’s a good idea), but my point is made. (Something about glass houses.)
>I doubt you’ll go public about same (nor do I think it’s a good idea), but my point is made. (Something about glass houses.)
I wasn’t casting an insult. You might recall I once rejected the suggestion that I ought to try to go into physics by saying I’m too old for it. Happens to us all – fluid intelligence decreases as we age. If you’re lucky, like me, you start out with enough of it that you can lose a significant percentage to aging and still be creative. I don’t know how lucky Steve Jobs is, and for Apple that’s a billion-dollar question.
It may be relevant that I’m biologically younger than Jobs by much more than the calendar three years. I’ve met him, shook his hand, looked in his face, and seen how he moves. Not a man who could do submission wrestling and boxing two nights a week, and six days of what I do for fun at summer sword camp would half-kill him. It wouldn’t work very well for most men my age, either; I’m physiologically fortunate that way.
Right. As if Aldus single-handedly all by itself introduced desktop publishing and saved the Mac. No. Try again:
>Second, Motorola is already shipping a rig like this – which gives me doubt that Apple has a blocking patent.
… I think I’m in love.
I’m rather famously the other way on that scale from Jobs…
But I’m not at all sure that Jobs’s physical condition is relevant except as it speaks to his longevity. What effect does his health problems have on his mind? That’s not as easy a question to answer – either way – as it first looks. Don’t forget, also, that this affects more than just Apple…I’m sure Disney is keenly interested in that, as well.
>But I’m not at all sure that Jobs’s physical condition is relevant except as it speaks to his longevity.
I wasn’t speaking of physical condition in the normal sense related to, for example, aerobic fitness. If you want to get an estimate of future creativity there are more subtle kinds that I think are more important. Immune-system health is a big one, and the physiological age of organ tissues is another – neither correlates with calendar age as tightly as most people assume. High stress and/or chronic illness can literally age people before their time. And some people are just genetically fast agers (see progeria for the medical extreme of this).
On the other hand, if you were born lucky you may be descended from slow agers – long-lived people who run at a biological age lower than average for their calendar one. This trait is rather conspicuous in my mother’s family (though not in my father’s) – they tend to live forever, looking surprisingly spry, until some exotic cancer kills them. I take after that side, physically, which is why at 53 I can wrestle and swordfight twentysomething jocks on equal terms.
The billion-dollar questions for Apple and Disney aren’t whether Jobs is “fit” in the been-to-the-gym sense but (a) what his genetic speed of aging is, and (b) to what extent stress and illness have accelerated the schedule. Jobs and I are both in the calendar age range where these questions start to matter seriously; the difference is, one of us has indicators of running young for that age and the other of running old. The cancer can’t have helped.
Brian: Actually I have a major objection to that design in practice. A desktop can afford a separate cradle, but that laptop has all the sensitive bits hanging off a cradle on the back. Ick. Your phone really needs to slide into the notebook chassis.
Personally I’d investigate having the phone replace the trackpad. This lets you use the display if you want (though you might not want, actually), and puts the phone where it is much safer. Also, you don’t necessarily have to expose the entire phone surface, since that would be an awfully large trackpad; nothing necessarily stops you from masking the surface of the phone back down to an acceptable size. It would be a suboptimal trackpad in that case, but probably half the people who actually care about that are reading this thread right now. (Have I mentioned how hard it is to buy a decent laptop display, and the worst part is, “nobody” cares?)
But even if that turns out to be a bad idea it still needs to slide into the body somewhere.
Morgan Greywolf, normally a sensible guy, said: And they chose to roll their own neworking — AppleTalk — rather than something more standard like, oh, say, Ethernet and TCP/IP.
Excoriating Apple for not using Ethernet and TCP/IP as their standard network architecture in 1983 beggars belief. I mean, seriously?
Ethernet was still specialty stuff, and cost a bloody fortune, and the only “standard” was for thicknet until 1985 – and the IEEE standard for thicknet was new in 1983.
(Remember when ethernet became vaguely sensible on PCs for home LANs? The decade there starts with a “9”, not an “8”.)
4.2 BSD with TCP/IP had just come out in 1983 as well. Certainly none of the Macintosh’s competition was using TCP/IP; DOS didn’t even have a damned network stack in 1984. (I can’t easily find when the first third-party one was available, but it sure wasn’t 1984.)
Nobody else (in terms of hardware makers) was even contemplating networking as standard in a home computer at that time – as far as I know, Apple was the first to ship a home computer that did networking by default (and certainly the first “common” PC with integrated networking even if someone else made one, which I doubt).
Now, you COULD get a ethernet card for an IBM PC in 1983, admittedly – the 3Com “IE”. But not at a price that made it sensible for someone to build ethernet in to a home computer – which is why IBM didn’t even consider it. (I can’t find a list price for the IE in 1983, but the EtherLink was $695 in 1987, and evidently quite competitive. The IE cannot possibly have been cheaper.)
Blaming Apple for not going with ethernet and TCP/IP in 1983… huh.
It’s only in hindsight than one can even begin to think that ethernet and TCP/IP were the Obvious Choices for a home networking setup in 1983 (remember that in the “rest of the home market”, at the time, DOS didn’t have ANY network support, and Windows, once it came into being, didn’t support TCP/IP by default until 1993, despite never being forced to use AppleTalk) … and even then, the cost of the former would have been intolerable for ubiquitous use.
It’s fair to say it would have been nice if Apple had had immense foresight and had somehow been able to make Ethernet affordable in 1983 when they were designing the Original Mac, and used TCP/IP from the start. But it’s not realistic, I think.
Jobs’s age has nothing to do with his capacity to innovate. Remember that the iPhone was introduced three and a half years ago; and the iPad a year ago. These are probably among the most revolutionary and innovative products emitted by Apple, up there with the original Macintosh; and the iPad was arguably the most successful electronics product ever until it was supplanted by Kinect.
The big risk with an aging Jobs is his physical health. If he dies or is incapacitated, who will provide the cohesive end-to-end vision for which Apple is known? One hopes that he has a trusted lieutenant or two with his eye for industrial design to take over. (He damn well should. Apple attracts people like that the way a bug zapper attracts skeeters.) I highly doubt he’d do what Bill Gates did and appoint a guy like Ballmer to the CEO spot. (That was a bit like Lewis Skolnick conferring Tri-Lamb leadership upon Ogre.)
We can see a parallel development happening at Nintendo. Their star designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, is (I think) a few years younger than Jobs. Recently he has taken less of a controlling role in the development of new Nintendo games and systems, and has remained content to stay in the background and offer guiding advice. The Super Mario Galaxy games were made largely without his direct input. All in all, this system seems to be working out rather well for Nintendo.
Jobs would be a damn fool not to take a similar approach with transitioning chief vision guy duties at Apple.
>Jobs’s age has nothing to do with his capacity to innovate.
You could say the same of me, up to now. The question is, how much are we going to slow down in the next decade? It’s a real risk, for Jobs and myself both, and it’s not a risk that goes away because anyone else wants it to.
First off, the Macintosh was first available in 1984, not 1983. I was there. Secondly, Ethernet was included in the box in the Xerox Star, the machine that Jobs stole nearly all his ideas for the Macintosh from, including the idea of building networking in the default package. Jobs certainly ought to have known better than to develop his own standard.
Thirdly, as to their competition, there certainly was a network stack for PC-DOS/MS-DOS in 1983. It was called ‘IBM PC LAN’. Perhaps you’ve heard of stuff like SMB? NetBIOS? Where do you think it came from? Microsoft? Hint: no. There was also Novell Netware, which was contemporary with the time.
The Xerox Star was priced well outside the budget of that mythical beast the Average User. No freakin’ way was something as comprehensive, robust, and bloody expensive as Ethernet going to find itself in the standard configuration of a personal computer in the market of the day. The AppleTalk implementation over RS-422, using a PHY layer which was cheap and already there, was the best Apple could do and keep the computer under budget. It was pretty much the state of the art in the mid-80s: the Atari ST did something remarkably similar, albeit with its MIDI ports instead of RS-422.
Those things were alot more expensive than AppleTalk. Too expensive. Of course the VIC20 and Commodore 64 had an even less expensive serial bus. Heh. And GEOS was a really nice windowing OS for the Commodore 64!
No doubt that Ethernet was expensive, but this is why people used ARCNET, which was supported by IBM PC LAN and Novell Network at the physical layer. Like AppleTalk, It was also significantly cheaper than Ethernet. There was something like 10,000 ARCNET LANs in commercial use before the first IBM PC shipped in 1981.
I stand by original statement that in 1983 there was simply no reason at all for Apple to roll their own networking.
One wonders why you didn’t quote the other pertinent part of the wikipedia article on ARCNET. Here, let me do it for you.
“In 1985 ARCNET cards sold for around $300.”
By contrast LocalTalk used the Mac’s built-in RS-422 serial port, and a cheap external transceiver.
Thank you. The Xerox Star is the perfect example. I have never ever seen a Xerox Star in my life. But we could buy as many Macs as we wanted around the corner.
At work, we had quite a number of them and it took us well into the 90’s before they could be replaced. We needed some of the “desktop publishing” features. And yes, we were forever messing around with cables for half a dozen different network solutions. Only in the 90’s was Ethernet finally affordable.
And the choice of printers in 1984? (thermal) Matrix printers and type-writers (letters only) were the choices. The Apple imagewriter was a good contender.
All in all, the Xerox Start is a good illustration of what made Apple great: High end technology in a well designed and affordable package.
And then the frustration set in about all the things that had been made impossible by Apple on purpose.
The Motorola 6800 could address 16MB. If I remember well, the motherboard could have easily been changed to allow 1MB (or even 4MB). But it simply was not done. And no other relief was possible.
So at the first possible moment, work switched over to SGI and then Linux. But there are still people who prefer to work on Macs for good reasons.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
I am curious. Do you really think Android will collapse to single digit user percentages if people were only allowed to buy iPhones from every provider?
That is, 99% of Android users only settled for an Android phone because they could not get an iPhone?
Or have all real iPhone lovers already switched to a network where they can buy one? Which would mean Verizon’s gains are AT&T’s losses.
> Or have all real iPhone lovers already switched to a network where they can buy one?
Verizon obviously doesn’t think so. I (obviously) think that you and Mr. Raymond are both in the group who would oppose Apple at all costs. If Android retroactively disappeared from the face of the earth, neither you nor Eric would own/use an iPhone. (Kinda like rms won’t use a computer that doesn’t run a free (as in speech) BIOS).
I understand why Mr. Raymond ‘hates’ Apple. I don’t agree with him, but I understand his stance.
That all said, I think I’m in a better position to judge the relative strengths of Android and iOS.
I own both a Nexus One and an iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 is my daily device. (Both the iPhone 4 and the Nexus One are used for app dev.)
Prior to these, I owned and used an iPhone 3G and a ADP1 (aka the ‘developer’ model of the G1/Dream), again for app development. The 3G was my daily phone, until I lost it, then carried the G1 (with the AT&T SIM card) for 6 months (including several trips to Europe), and purchased a 3GS within a month of their availability.
While Android is a “good enough” solution, iOS is a far superior experience, and that is why I choose to carry the iPhone 4. While other people may be cash constrained, I am not, so perhaps my economic situation favors this, but at the end of the day, I can carry any damned phone I please, and I choose the iPhone 4. (Also I am an old fart hacker not unlike Mr. Raymond, and was contributing to the GNU projects prior to even his lauded early efforts.)
That probably just got me banned, but I’ll continue in the hope that Eric will get past his rage, and read the argument.
In my mind, Android is a classic example of “Worse is Better”. Quoting “The Rise of Worse is Better”:
I and just about every designer of Common Lisp and CLOS has had extreme exposure to the MIT/Stanford style of design. The essence of this style can be captured by the phrase “the right thing.” To such a designer it is important to get all of the following characteristics right:
Simplicity-the design must be simple, both in implementation and interface. It is more important for the interface to be simple than the implementation.
– Correctness-the design must be correct in all observable aspects. Incorrectness is simply not allowed.
– Consistency-the design must not be inconsistent. A design is allowed to be slightly less simple and less complete to avoid inconsistency. Consistency is as important as correctness.
– Completeness-the design must cover as many important situations as is practical. All reasonably expected cases must be covered. Simplicity is not allowed to overly reduce completeness.
The worse-is-better philosophy is only slightly different:
Simplicity-the design must be simple, both in implementation and interface. It is more important for the implementation to be simple than the interface. Simplicity is the most important consideration in a design.
Correctness-the design must be correct in all observable aspects. It is slightly better to be simple than correct.
Consistency-the design must not be overly inconsistent. Consistency can be sacrificed for simplicity in some cases, but it is better to drop those parts of the design that deal with less common circumstances than to introduce either implementational complexity or inconsistency.
Completeness-the design must cover as many important situations as is practical. All reasonably expected cases should be covered. Completeness can be sacrificed in favor of any other quality. In fact, completeness must sacrificed whenever implementation simplicity is jeopardized. Consistency can be sacrificed to achieve completeness if simplicity is retained; especially worthless is consistency of interface.
In RPG’s terminology, iPhone is the MIT/Stanford/Lisp/Scheme way, while Android is the “New Jersey” way that generated Unix and C.
Yes, Unix and C ‘won’ (and guess what, both iOS and Android run a Unix kernel, and are programmed in C and a C-like language (Java or Objective C) one would think this fact alone worth celebration, but I digress.
I’m not talking here specifically to Lisp .vs C as an implementation language, but rather the meta issue of RPG’s essay(s), that design either does not matter as much as utility (“Worse is Better” and Android) or that it does (“Worse is Better is Worse” and Apple.)
Directly to you point, nobody said that 99% of Android users only settled for an Android phone because they could not get an iPhone. Your statement here is a fine example of the fallacy of causal oversimplification. Nor did anyone propose that Android will collapse to single digit user percentages.
I think that many people who are on Verizon will buy iPhones. (So does Verizon, obviously.)
I think that many people with iPhones will remain on AT&T.
Both Verizon and AT&T will continue to offer Android phones to their customers who do not want an iPhone, or who can’t afford one. (This said, my 20 year-old niece who is a greeter at an Appleby’s and a full-time student has an iPhone 3G, and covets the iPhone 4. I don’t think she’s going to select an Android phone anytime soon.) Google has to have Android take a significant (but not majority) of the smartphone market, or their cash-cow will wither. Apple has to have iPhone take a significant (but not majority) of the smartphone market, or *their* cash-cow (iPhone and other iOS products) will *also* wither. Both Android and iOS are the keys to the continued growth of billion dollar businesses at Google and Apple.
The two of them combined already control more than 50% of the smartphone market. Both are looking at expansion into the television market. RIM is dying, and has no out. QNX and dual core ARM SoCs are not going to save the Blackberry.
Microsoft has no presence in the smartphone market, and with an ever-increasing share of it taken up by Apple/Google, has no real entrée sans buying their way in, either by (actually or functionally) acquiring Nokia, or by paying Taiwan/China (HTC, Samsung, Kyocera, etc.) and the carriers to push Windows phones. Either option is going to be very expensive.
In short, I see Apple and Google continuing to grow their respective smartphone platforms, probably keeping within a few percentage points of each other, until they achieve something like 80% saturation of the TAM. Until that day, I see all of this squabbling and posturing as adult children fighting for their respective football teams.
In the meantime, there is a ton of money to be made writing apps (and, indeed accessories, I launched a Lego-like-studded case for the iPhone 4 on Monday. If that doesn’t give away who I am, then perhaps Eric will, indeed, one day welcome me back.)
@Wet Behind the Ears:
> “Verizon obviously doesn’t think so. I (obviously) think that you and Mr. Raymond are both in the group who would oppose Apple at all costs. …”
For my part, wrong on every account. But I do think “Free” and “Apple” do not mix well.
> “While Android is a “good enough” solution, iOS is a far superior experience, and that is why I choose to carry the iPhone 4.”
If there is one thing I learned very early working with computers, there is no universally BEST solution. Just as there is no single BEST car for all. If you like to use an iPhone, enjoy it. I really like the Nexus One, and will not switch it for an iPhone for reasons that have nothing to do with Apple’s brilliance in design.
> “The worse-is-better philosophy is only slightly different:”
Their Worse-is-better design philosophy is what makes it impossible to eradicate humans, rats, mosquitoes, and viruses. “the right thing” is what has killed most brilliant ideas (and some pretty awesome creatures).
A very simple illustration: HTTP/HTML is WIB, Xanadu/Hypertext is TRT. HTTP/HTML made the web possible, but where is Xanadu? Another one, The Hurd is TRT, Linux is WIB. We can actually USE Linux, but where is the Hurd?
> “Google has to have Android take a significant (but not majority) of the smartphone market, or their cash-cow will wither. ”
The one who gets Asia on line with smartphones will dominate. And I currently do not see how that would be iPhones. But I can see that being Android. And with dominate I mean ~90% market share. Apple will create a compatibility layer or get out of the market if they do not dominate.
> “In the meantime, there is a ton of money to be made writing apps (and, indeed accessories, I launched a Lego-like-studded case for the iPhone 4 on Monday. ”
I think money will be made in the iPhone app/accessories market, while open source and low price will dominate the Android market. But then, I am the worst person to ask for such predictions.
> but where is the Hurd?
I hope you are aware that both Hurd and MacOS X (and iOS) are, at their very core, Mach.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“I hope you are aware that both Hurd and MacOS X (and iOS) are, at their very core, Mach.”
No need to worry. I knew that. But the Hurd is more “The Right Thing” than OSX.
No, the Hurd is not “The Right Thing”. A Lisp machine is “The Right Thing”.
Android doing good in add requests:
Android passes iPhone in mobile ad race
3,130 per cent climb in 2010
The report, based on what Millennial Media identifies as “carrier, device and campaign data collected over billions of monthly ad requests,” says that Android devices accounted for 46 per cent of mobile ad requesst in the fourth quarter of 2010 – the first time Google’s open source OS had passed Apple’s iOS devices on the Millennial network.
Devices based on iOS – including the iPad – accounted for 32 per cent of ad requests, while RIM pulled in 16 per cent.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“A Lisp machine is “The Right Thing”.”
Personally, I go for a Turing Machine.
– Simplicity Check
– Correctness Check+
– Consistency Check
– Completeness Check+
Yes, many more apps on Android are ad-supported than those on iOS. This makes sense, as Google is, at it’s very heart, an advertising company. (Google owns AdMob, too.)
Who ever thought that a Madison Avenue wannabe would be the largest distributor of linux?
> Personally, I go for a Turing Machine.
I prefer a random access stored program machine over a Turing Machine. That infinite tape can take infinite time to position.
> The one who gets Asia on line with smartphones will dominate. And I currently do not see how that would be iPhones.
To be clear, I happen to agree, on both counts. But I don’t think that dominance in Asia means Apple failing. Even if it ends up 35% iOS and 45% Android, both platforms are viable.
I just don’t see another ‘winner take all’ occurring in this industry. (Facebook notwithstanding.) Earlier in the thread it was pointed out that ARCNET was HUGE at one point, but Ethernet eclipsed all, once the transistors to implement the MAC and PHY got cheap enough.
Apple isn’t going to die. Its no less expensive for Samsung to produce its own ARM-based CPUs for the ‘mobile’ market than it is for Apple to have Samsung produce the A4. Apple effectively *OWNS PART OF ARM* (they posses an inventor’s license to ARM.) Someone else has pointed out that Apple is the single largest consumer of Flash memory in the world, you know their prices represent seriously thin margins.
Apple can build handsets as cheaply as anyone else. They choose not to.
Frankly, with the ascendancy of ARM (even Microsoft is going to port Windows to it now), it’s Intel who should be sh*tting down both legs. They’re about to have no play in the fastest growing market. AMD’s CEO already got canned for ignoring the mobile and tablet market.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“Apple isn’t going to die.”
I completely agree with this statement. And I did not try to implicate that in any of my comments.
I make one reservation though. Steve Jobs is mortal. Apple will have to have a replacement for him that can keep Apple going after his demise.
Who ever thought that a Madison Avenue wannabe would be the largest distributor of linux?
Makes sense in retrospect though – commoditise the software and there’s more revenue for the advertising.
Those are sweet! Thanks for bringing them to the world.
> Makes sense in retrospect though – commoditise the software and there’s more revenue for the advertising.
Well sure, everything is obvious in hindsight. Hindsight is 20/20!
@Wet Behind the Ears Says
“With iPhone taking over Verizon (displacing the Droid series),”
Your long dissertations are an impressive feat of typing but telling us how *you* prefer iPhone is like telling us that Sarkozy prefers France.
Why don’t you make some falsifiable predictions about Android and iPhone market share a couple of months into the 2011-02-10 launch date.
> Why don’t you make some falsifiable predictions about Android and iPhone market share a couple of months into the 2011-02-10 launch date.
I’ll own one, in order to test my apps.
(Probably wasn’t what you wanted.)
I’ve already predicted that Android and iOS will stay neck-n-neck (within 5 percentage points) for a long time to come.
here are a couple others:
By the end of 2011, iPhone will outsell Droid (all models) on VZW.
By the end of 2011, both iPhone and Android will be larger than RIM (all models) on both VZW and AT&T.
By the end of 2011, Apple will have released a new phone, simultaneously on CDMA and GSM, and Google will have shipped Honeycomb. Honeycomb won’t run on anything older than a Nexus One.
>By the end of 2011, iPhone will outsell Droid (all models) on VZW.
Hardly takes any bravery to predict that, since Droid is a single model. Are you willing to predict that iPhone will outsell
all Androids on VZW? Or really go out on a limb and predict that iPhone will continue to outsell Androids on AT&T?
>By the end of 2011, both iPhone and Android will be larger than RIM (all models) on both VZW and AT&T.
Fish. Barrel. Boom! I agree with this one, but it takes even less courage than your last.
>By the end of 2011, Apple will have released a new phone, simultaneously on CDMA and GSM, and Google will have shipped Honeycomb. Honeycomb won’t run on anything older than a Nexus One.
Oh, how bold! Oh how confident! *Yawn*
I’d agree with this, too, except that I expect Cyanogen to backport Honeycomb to older handsets if Google doesn’t.
iPhone outselling Verizon’s flagship Android model is pretty significant, as it too is a single model.
No one manufacturer has the clout that Apple has. They have to combine to form an Android Voltron in order to stand a chance against the Apple Robeast.
Speaking of which, one thing that Apple could do in order to entice Verizon’s Droid installed base is to pressure retailers to let people try the iPhone in-store. Once customers see the butter-smooth touch interface the iPhone has, and compare it with the herky-jerky Android bullshit they’ve been using, I bet a lot of them will switch on that basis alone.
Boy howdy. It may be a bit early to say “we won!” but all of a sudden people who don’t own PCs are walking into shops and buying handheld devices with RISC processors that run Unix (increasingly, Linux at that). And this will soon be the biggest segment of the computing market if it isn’t already.
As for Worse is Better — yes, that philosophy gave us Unix, which everybody loves. But it also gave us X11, which virtually nobody loves. Heck, the best networked-GUI implementation these days comes from Microsoft.
Perhaps we could say “Mission Accomplished!” *tongue firmly in cheek*
> the Xerox Star, the machine that Jobs stole nearly all his ideas for the Macintosh from
Morgan: are you sure “stole” is the right word there? First off, the Macintosh had a lot of new ideas that weren’t in the Xerox Star. Like a menu bar with pull-down menus, a Finder, overlapping windows that automatically refresh themselves when revealed. But of the many ideas Apple did use from Xerox, how about using the word “bought” instead? Apple bought nonexclusive access to those ideas with pre-IPO stock options worth millions of dollars. (In exchange for letting the Mac team in, Apple gave Xerox the right to buy 100,000 shares of Apple @ $10/per. That way, when Apple profited by using the ideas they got from bringing the team to visit Xerox PARC, Xerox could profit by it as well. And did.)
Eric: Care to comment on Apple adding support for (on both Verizon and at&t) iPhones acting as a “personal hotspot” for up to 5 devices? That seems like the best part of healthy competition – that any feature Apple comes up with can be expected to appear soon on Android and vice-versa.
>Eric: Care to comment on Apple adding support for (on both Verizon and at&t) iPhones acting as a “personal hotspot” for up to 5 devices? That seems like the best part of healthy competition
Indeed. It didn’t especially surprise me; Verizon’s backhaul is in much better shape than AT&T’s, making tethering an obvious competitive feature. Are they charging extra for it?
> Are they charging extra for it?
Rumors suggest $20/month extra, but Verizon hasn’t even announced their regular pricing yet. They start taking orders for the phone on February 3rd so we should find out pretty soon.
> Well sure, everything is obvious in hindsight. Hindsight is 20/20!
My experience is that many people’s hindsight is almost as blinkered as their foresight.
For every cliche there is an equal but opposite cliche.
“Hindsight is 20/20” vs “Some people never learn.”
Many hands make light work / Too many cooks spoil the broth
An Android a day keeps the fanboi away.
>iPhone outselling Verizon’s flagship Android model is pretty significant, as it too is a single model.
When you consider the different business models, about the only way comparing iPhone sales to any *one* particular Android handset would be if iPhone lost, in which case there would be no hope for Apple at all. Because there will always be more Android handsets…
>No one manufacturer has the clout that Apple has. They have to combine to form an Android Voltron in order to stand a chance >against the Apple Robeast.
Does it bother you that they CAN? You can’t really complain about being outnumbered when your whole model is based on going it alone to hog all the profits. Didn’t Voltron always win…?
>Speaking of which, one thing that Apple could do in order to entice Verizon’s Droid installed base is to pressure retailers to let people >try the iPhone in-store. Once customers see the butter-smooth touch interface the iPhone has, and compare it with the herky-jerky >Android bullshit they’ve been using, I bet a lot of them will switch on that basis alone.
Aside from the trollishness… you know the iPhone is not a new product, ATT Wireless has retail outlets, and most prospective Verizon iPhone customers have friends… meaning that everyone currently carrying an Android handset has already had the opportunity to experience that creamy richness?
>iPhone outselling Verizon’s flagship Android model is pretty significant, as it too is a single model.
I’m going to point out that a single model of iPhone (the 16MB iPhone 4, on AT&T) beat the Droid (on VZW).
> I’d agree with this, too, except that I expect Cyanogen to backport Honeycomb to older handsets if Google doesn’t.
Yeah, I ran a Cyanogen Froyo on my G1 for a while… went back to Cupcake. At some point the OS outruns the hardware.
I don’t think we’re going to see Android saddled with the same set of greasy-fingered nerds who run the latest linux distro build on their Pentium III fitted with a SATA card and a mixture of whatever-was-$100-at-Bestbuy-at-the-time drives.
I don’t see a rapid rise in Honeycomb in the installed base. Hell, Eric, where is the Gingerbread for the Nexus One? (*) In this regard, Apple is way ahead of Google. 4.2 runs on all my iOS devices (save the original iPhone, which I no longer use), and a couple of them are now running the 4.3 beta.
@esr> “Indeed. It didn’t especially surprise me;”
I think the point was that competition is good. AT&T could have offered the WiFi hotspot stuff, but chose not to. Maybe it’s their network, but now, because Verizon has it, AT&T is mulling it over. ‘Course, they mulled over tethering for the longest time, then used it to attempt to get people off the ‘unlimited’ data contracts that all early iPhones came with.
(*) I’m going to be delighted if you say, “over there, dummy” and point to a URL.
Indeed. The Apple fanboys make it sound like the Verizon iPhone is the be all, end all necessary to propel the iPhone to dominance over Android phones, but everyone seems to forget that people could always simply switch cell companies. My wife had AT&T for a while; it wasn’t terrible or anything, it just wasn’t that great, the network had some slowdowns, and it was a lot more expensive than Sprint.
Also, real power users will not be happy with iPhone 4 on Verizon. It’s CDMA, which means that there will be no simultaneous voice and data. It’ll make those happy that want an iPhone as a fashion accessory (most of them), but people looking to use the iPhone 4 as a true mobile computing platform are going to find themselves disappointed, I think.
@esr> ” The days of “value-added services” are fast drawing to a close.”
Indeed, let’s look at the terms that Apple drove for the Verizon iPhone 4:
a) no V-cast software
b) no Verizon software/bloatware/crapware (of their own or of their partners)
c) no Verizon selling of games music or apps
d) no Verizon branding on the hardware
e) no Verizon control of software/firmware or updates
f) no Verizon control of scheduling of release dates for software updates
g) NO exclusivity deal for a USA CDMA version of iPhone
Now… show me an Android phone manufacturer that doesn’t allow even three of these!
>Now… show me an Android phone manufacturer that doesn’t allow even three of these!
Market (and time-to-market) pressure is doing a pretty good job of suppressing crapware and carrier branding on Android. There’s much less of it today than there was six months ago, and the trend is towards less still. Shortening hardware product cycles make it an ever-more-expensive play for the carriers.
It was also a callback to an earlier discussion. I recall esr many posts ago suggesting a key reason Apple was doomed, doooooooooomed was that multiway tethering – a newly announced feature at the time – was the sort of essential feature you could only get from Android. In response, some commentators (e.g,: me) called sour grapes, suggesting that nobody but the most diehard geeks at the time really need their phone to do multiway tethering anyway. Both sides ignoring the likelihood that Apple could bloody well add tethering as soon as it started to seem important or at least useful as a marketing bullet-point.
So now that there’s carrier competition, that particular “essential feature” card is out of play and we’re just haggling over the price. :-) And perhaps keeping a close eye out for what might be the next “essential feature” one side does or doesn’t have…
It’s not even a question of “adding”, since the functionality isn’t hard to implement on any sufficiently advanced device. The only difficulty is that the carriers go out of their way to try to block it (reason #42 we’ll be much better off once they’re reduced to dumb pipes). Third-party tethering apps have been available on Android phones and jailbroken iPhones for years.
@Wet behind the ears:
But, as has been repeated time and again, for those of us who just don’t want Apple to have the ability to lock up the entire universe, this just doesn’t matter.
I don’t care if Apple makes fistfuls of money, and Samsung doesn’t. That’s not directly important. The only thing that is important is that enough phones are running Android that it is viewed as a long-term healthy competitor. So, from that perspective, I care about Android vs. Apple, but couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Droid vs. Apple.
> Third-party tethering apps have been available on Android phones and jailbroken iPhones for years.
You don’t even need to jailbreak. Software written for the iPhone can do many things that aren’t acceptable in apps sold via the App Store. If you’re a developer, you don’t need the App Store if you want to scratch an itch, only if you want to sell the result.
The App Store restrictions seem onerous, but they do tend to foster more creativity in the app space on Apple than that found on Android. “Restrictions breed creativity” is hardly a new concept, but one worth repeating.
Mark Rosewater, the lead developer of the card game “Magic:The Gathering” constantly talks about how restriction breeds creativity.
“The explanation he gives is simple: when someone is building a house, the more tools they have, the better off they are. But when someone is looking for something, the more space they have to explore, the worse off they are”
and the original article (on Magic:The Gathering design, but with useful information – scroll down to the “Design Tool #1: Restrictions” header where he discusses this point): http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/92
By not allowing yourself to use all of the tools at your disposal….by not allowing yourself to do the things that normal people do….by not allowing yourself to compete on the features that every other product has….you can force yourself to innovate, differentiate, and create a unique value proposition.
Running a real estate website? OK….you’re not allowed to show the asking price or address of any home. Go.
Starting a pizza place? OK….no tables or chairs allowed.
New app to compete with runkeeper? No user inputs allowed. None. Just figure out when they are running.
These restrictions drive traditional developers nuts. “But I can do that on my Android phone, where there are no restrictions!”
Yup. And look at the mess in the Android Market.
Every product Apple has right now has had years of very careful thought given to industrial design, user-interface, and marketing. Apple doesn’t release a product unless they’re at least 90% certain it can capture the market. ‘Design’ at Apple is about more than what leaks out of the brain of Johnny Ives.
But I understand how pig-in-a-poke traditionalists who can’t wait to see a shell prompt on their new *nix-powered mobile device, and why Android is more special to them. (“Look, I can find a site where someone else has re-packaged teh OS! Open Source Win!”)
“I am a power user!” was interesting in the days of command line computing, but “Windows Power User” became equated with “ability to edit the registry”. These days it’s a joke. Imagine the term “smartphone poweruser”.
There is a massive market for software developers developing. Currently on iOS alone it’s larger than 100M. Apple could easily achieve a TAM of 250M device in three years. 250 million devices, all with people behind them. People who take these devices with them, carrying them everywhere. People willing to buy software (apps), video, music, etc.
Android, by contrast, seems to be a platform specially created to serve up advertising. (We already had television for that.)
My hope for Android is that the obvious plans of Google will backfire. That the “street will find it’s own use” for Android, destroying Google’s plans to serve up ever more ads. Sorta like if Microsoft had invented linux, and then let it escape from the lab.
Android may not do as well on AT&T as people think:
Interesting issue w/r/t keeping android devices up to date:
The manufacturers and carriers have very little incentive to maintain the software on devices that are still relatively new and under contract, because they want everyone buying the newest ones instead. We’re already seeing carriers and some manufacturers refusing to release new Android versions to handsets that were launched as recently as 6 months ago, even though most users bought them with 2-year contracts.
Full post here: http://www.marco.org/2730711751
I hadn’t considered the possibility that fragmentation of the Android platform would actually be driven by an economic incentive. Contrast this with Apple, who really want everyone running the latest iOS version that their device can possibly handle, to reduce support costs.
@Wet behind the ears:
Interesting cognitive dissonance ya got going there:
Apple == locked down == good
Android == open == more like traditional television == bad
The reality is that Android was created specifically to keep Apple from being able to lock up the serving of advertising on cellphones. In this, I think google is succeeding wildly, and hope their success continues.
Makes sense. Android manufacturers are making throwaway devices. Apple wants to charge too much to make a throwaway device.
>Makes sense. Android manufacturers are making throwaway devices. Apple wants to charge too much to make a throwaway device.
No, Android phones won’t be throwaway devices for some time yet – price point’s too high.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the interests of the handset makers and carriers are in opposition here. Version fragmentation both raises the carriers’ support costs and lowers the value of the phone to potential carrier customers, and it’s the carriers who control OTA update timing.
That’s why I’m not worried about this rumor. Samsung may want updates delayed, but there is no good reason for T-Mobile to play along and at least two good reasons they shouldn’t.
Patrick Maupin Says:
“Android manufacturers are making throwaway devices.”
With Eric’s cellphone-on-a-chip and subsidized US hardware, we may be soon paying $0 for very capable machines so we may think this is all terrific. The suppressed Greenie in me wants to squeal but I may as well tilt at windmills.
Go ask Garmin how well Android worked out for them on phones.
@ wet behind the ears
>Indeed, let’s look at the terms that Apple drove for the Verizon iPhone 4:
>a) no V-cast software
>b) no Verizon software/bloatware/crapware (of their own or of their partners)
>c) no Verizon selling of games music or apps
>d) no Verizon branding on the hardware
>e) no Verizon control of software/firmware or updates
>f) no Verizon control of scheduling of release dates for software updates
>g) NO exclusivity deal for a USA CDMA version of iPhone
>Now… show me an Android phone manufacturer that doesn’t allow even three of these!
I’m pretty new to this game, but as near as I can tell, the nexus S with t-mobile doesn’t have any of them.
I did pay for it outright, then added it to my kid’s t-mobile family plan, on a month to month basis.
It’s possible that T-mobile will control the updates instead of google, but near as I can tell, that’s a google thing, and if I want to go to the trouble and risk, I can run any version of android on it that I want to, along with related software.
If there’s a t-mobile presence on the phone beyond the connectivity, it’s pretty unobtrusive.
Don’t know what it would take to connect it to a different carrier. In the last two weeks, t-mobile hasn’t annoyed me, service is good enough, the price added to the kid’s family account seems reasonable, so I haven’t bothered to think about it, much less investigate. If t-mobile does something to annoy me, I may rethink that position.
Overall, a cool toy — once more I’m listening to ‘dragon force’ on pandora as I type this.
The Nexus S is a Samsung Galaxy S with new plastics and a NFC part. Variants of the Galaxy S include the AT&T Captivate, T-Mobile Vibrant, Verizon Fascinate, and Sprint Epic 4G)
But you’re right, when Google sells a phone, it doesn’t load it with crapware… just like Apple!
So now we have a drag race in the US. Google / T-Mobile .vs Apple / AT&T + Apple / Verizon.
T-Mobile is not blemish-free, either: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=912480
Neither is Samsung: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=911191
If we talk about new revenue models for networks using Android, go to wild east for this “new” criminal plan:
Chinese crack down on ‘money-sucker’ Androids
The handsets concerned are sold cheaply, and generally unbranded, though some bear forged logos. Once they go into use the Android-based handsets start quietly sending text messages, or making a silent call or two. The transactions only incur a fee of about around 20 pence a time, in the hope the user will never notice, while the miscreant collects the termination fee or other premium charge.
Money talks, BS walks.
@Wet behind the ears: “I’m going to point out that a single model of iPhone (the 16MB iPhone 4, on AT&T) beat the Droid (on VZW). ”
@J. Jay: Great link. And it shows that the financial people ALSO see Apple against Android. Not iPhone against Samsung
In short, all this “iPhone must be compared to single model [X] not Android” is meaningless outside “Wet behind the ears” and Apple Fanboys
Furthermore, note that only 70 million iPhones have been sold world wide. There are more than 4.5 BILLION cell phone subscriptions world wide (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/15/business/main6209772.shtml). Could Apple replace them all? Could they all be replaced by Android phones?
Apple vs. Google: Funds Weigh In
“Success breeds competition, and one of Apple’s biggest rivals in the smartphone and tablet computer spaces is Google (NasdaqGS:GOOG – News), with its Android operating system. The iPhone still has the highest market share of any individual smartphone, but the combined market share of all Android phones surpassed it in 2010. And while Apple’s iPad has been selling briskly, lots of competing tablets running versions of Android are being rolled out in the coming months. (See this video report by Morningstar’s Jeremy Glaser from the recent Consumer Electronics Show.)”
Man, we needed you a month ago when Eric was confidently predicting — well, I’ll quote:
One of the reasons I don’t think Eric’s got any special ability to predict the cellphone market is because he’ll allow himself to get fooled by marketing videos. Yep, Google did one video for the Nexus S. It turns out that wasn’t the harbinger of a big marketing campaign, nor was it any reason to think the Nexus S would sell particularly well. The Nexus S is on T-Mobile, which is a relatively small portion of the US market. Where were the sales going to come from?
When someone’s prognosticating, you have to ask yourself where those predictions are coming from. If someone predicts something that they really want to see happen, it is possible they’re making that prediction not because of reasoned logic but because, well, they really want to see it happen! This has no effect on the probability that any given prediction is correct, of course. You can’t say “you’re wrong because you want that to come true.” That would be silly. But… you do have to think about it if you’re going to evaluate any particular person’s skill as a forecaster. If the predictions are coming from hope rather than rationality, there’s no skill involved. It’s just the world aligning itself with their hopes.
>One of the reasons I don’t think Eric’s got any special ability to predict the cellphone market is because he’ll allow himself to get fooled by marketing videos.
Before you suppose that I’ve been fooled, it would be a really good idea to wait on actual data. We don’t have Christmas or year-end sales figures yet.
It would also be wise to bear in mind that over the last 18 months I have been calling the market trends quite a bit more accurately than the Android skeptics or iPhone fans. While this is not a guarantee of future infallibility, it does suggest that I have a generative theory which cannot be dismissed as mere enthusiasm.
“While this is not a guarantee of future infallibility, it does suggest that I have a generative theory which cannot be dismissed as mere enthusiasm.”
I think I can pose some of these interconnected theories:
– Cheap open hardware trumps expensive closed hardware (PC vs Mac revolution)
– Technology in competitive markets evolves faster than oligopoly markets (IBM compatible PC versus everything else)
– One size does not fit 4.5 Billion people (I admit that MS went a long way)
– Producers want to commoditize the markets they buy from, and consolidate the markets they sell to (Software commoditization)
– All profits will be concentrated in the most consolidated (bottleneck) part of the chain (MS, Music industry)
Android is king in all these points. All players want to get rid of software costs. Everybody, handset producers, ISPs, app producers, and clients, will lose if Apple wins as Apple will “consolidate” the profits.
The only thing left is getting a good estimate of the development times and resources of the players.
>I think I can pose some of these interconnected theories:
That’s pretty accurate. Also note that I have analyzed Google’s grand strategy here and here.
Understanding what Google is doing and how it connects to the cost and time-to-market pressured on the cellphone carriers, and looking at market-share trend data a year ago, I anticipated correctly that (a) iPhone 4 would fail to slow Android’s momentum, and (b) Android would achieve userbase crossover in 4Q 2010. I also predicted that crapware and carrier skinning would decline, which has in fact been happening since the G-2 launch. The only major thing I’ve called wrong is that I didn’t think AT&T would let Apple’s exclusive go before 2012, but even there I was right to dismiss about a dozen waves of imminent Verizon iPhone rumors over the last 18 months.
One point you’re missing — producers also want to move as many of their costs as they can away from open-ended variable costs and more towards predictable fixed or semi-fixed costs. Software commoditization — in this case, adoption of an open source platform and decreasing amounts of customization to that platform — pushes development and software packaging costs closer to fixed or at least semi-fixed costs.
This is the most efficient market strategy because one of those centers of consolidation you mention is, in fact, Google and its ad-driven business. With Android, the costs of development shift away from the handset producers and towards Google. But Google gives Android away for free because it will drive search and therefore advertising revenues, while adding zero cost to the handset producers.
Google makes money, the handset producers make money, the telcos make money, and the consumer gets a smartphone for the lowest cost possible; everyone wins. It’s the free market at its finest.
“Also note that I have analyzed Google’s grand strategy here and here.”
What amazes me most is not the accuracy of your predictions (they were good, no question about it) but the fact that the “industry” actually has learned from history. That is, from the way first IBM and then MS were able to consolidate all profits in the computer industry and cream off a (very) large part of the productivity increases from the introduction of ICT.
I would have expected the industry to fall into the very same trap again (and again, and again). Institutions that actually learn seem so, alien.
No, but the Android manufacturers (a) can see that the prices are headed that direction; and (b) would certainly like every individual to buy more phones. They haven’t yet (that I can discern) had the foresight to try to develop a huge ecosystem with other than the odd spare battery pack and charger. I’m sure this will change, or is already changing, with some of the manufacturers trying to build ecosystems around their flagship offerings, but Samsung, HTC, et al. will be duking it out in the price-sensitive portion of the market for awhile, driving end user costs down.
Apple is selling the experience — software, add-ons, etc. They charge a premium for the phone itself, partly to dispel any notion in the customer’s mind that it is a throwaway, and they anticipate an ongoing revenue stream from software and hardware add-ons. Throwaway == commodity == might get the next one from someone else, and Apple can’t let that happen. You’ll know that Apple feels they have solidified their position as the non-throwaway phone when they start charging for iOS upgrades.
In other mobile news:
About Apple consolidating the profits. So much for this great iPhone App ecosystem. More like an expensive Toll Road.
Apple tightens rules for iPad news delivery – Money, power, Murdoch
De Nolf told De Tijd that Apple is now demanding that all content subscriptions go through iTunes so that Cupertino can take its traditional 30 per cent cut. Previously, newspapers could simply serve content to subscribers from their own servers.
The only remaining, also run, contender: Windows 7
While Windows 7 doesn’t seem to sell many phones:
LG disappointed by Windows Phone 7 launch, keeping the faith
Choi suggested that the situation would change once mid- and low-priced handsets became available. Windows Phone 7’s specification limits it to relatively high-end hardware, with a price to match. However, given the widespread subsidization of phone handsets—including many free or one cent promotions in the US—it’s hard to believe that cutting prices is going to make much difference. And if meeting lower price points results in hardware compromises, the operating system might be tarnished by poor screens and weak performance.
It already is losing focus. Will Windows 8 on Arm compete with Windows Phone 7, or vice versa?
Will Windows on ARM sink Windows Phone 7?
Microsoft insists that its upcoming ARM-friendly version of Windows is no threat to its existing smartphone OS, Windows Phone 7. Windows for ARM is strictly for “tablets on up,” Redmond says. But Intel CEO Paul Otellini sees Microsoft’s mobile OS future quite differently.
>But I’m not at all sure that Jobs’s physical condition is relevant except as it speaks to his
>longevity. What effect does his health problems have on his mind? That’s not as easy a
>question to answer – either way – as it first looks.
Why would you think a person’s mind would NOT be influenced by their physical condition? We’ve all (I assume) met folks who managed to keep tracking well into old age, but most of those that I knew eventually started to lose their mental flexibility no later than their 60s.
>I take after that side, physically, which is why at 53 I can wrestle
>and swordfight twentysomething jocks on equal terms.
My father was beating kids half age in Racquetball up to a week before his knee surgery in his early 40s (and it was the kind of surgery that was necessary, but not sudden so he was incapacitated to a degree even before the surgery). Poor compliance with doctors orders prevented full recovery. He was dead–along with every other male member of his family–before he was 65. The women in his family all lived into their late 80s or early 90s.
He was still fairly sharp, but he’d never been real flexible mentally. Massive Paleo-con in a lot of ways.
“Go ask Garmin how well Android worked out for them on phones.”
Almost bought one of those when my last cellphone went for a wash. Would have bought it too, but the local provider who has an exclusive on them (I’m OCONUS right now) was staffed with morons and women with prominent breasts, and I decided I didn’t need it that bad.
> I wonder how long it’ll be before we have customized Linux distributions to run on smartphones that virtualize Android userland?
I thought I’d mentioned this elsewhere:
(That’s probably the link I didn’t include before for being on my BB.)
Also, The Daily Show does the announcement:
(It’s the first segment.)
>Also, The Daily Show does the announcement:
I saw that. It was pretty damn funny. Jon Stewart is a left-wing tool, alas, but he’s a very bright tool who’s hilarious when his politics are irrelevant or he manages to rise above them.
Actually, MS proves the rule here.
Windows works equally well(such as it is) between a tablet, a desktop, an imac style “integrated device” (i.e. monitor and processor in the same shell) or a laptop. About the only thing it doesn’t work on is an embedded device (too bloaty, large/small screen real estate divide). To windows the difference between a touch on a touch screen or a click on a mouse button at the application layer is almost 0(actually a touch on a touch screen is a mouse click and a mouse move but leaving that aside…).
So it is with android. There are square phones that twist out to give number pads, iphone style slimline rectangles, fatter rectangles with keyboards… the only thing i haven’t seen is some truly abstract art phones ala nokia ngage style (and considering how badly those fared i’d be surprised to see them). To android, at the application layer, these all merge into basically the same thing.
Why US Galaxy S phones are still running Eclair:
Ya’ll gotta knock harder on that wood, guys. Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence.
Meanwhile, in a secret compound outside of Cupertino, a youth named Steven is being told he just won the lottery to go to “the Island”…
>Ya’ll gotta knock harder on that wood, guys. Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence.
I wish Jobs no ill, but his recent press pictures make me think he’s not coming back from this one. The man looks positively skeletal, and his skin tone is not good either. I’d put the odds of Jobs being able to personally steer the next major product cycle at < 10%, and his odds of steering the one after that at zero.
I won’t bet against you, Eric; I’m positively scared for the guy. But I’d lay long odds that Apple has a robust contingency plan in place, and an untimely demise for Teh Steve might temporarily shake Wall Street confidence in Apple, but not severely affect what the company does day-to-day. My guess is that what he does at Apple is very high-level and hands off, and has been for some time, having started the transition way back during the pancreatic-cancer scare.
CES 2010 marks the rise of ARMDROID
The Fall of Wintel and the Rise of Armdroid
The wheels are just starting to fall off. At CES, for the first time, almost all of Microsoft’s OEM partners abandoned Microsoft exclusivity; and Microsoft’s next-generation operating system has abandoned Intel exclusively for the first time. There’s no reason to believe that either of the two companies are going to be able to turn this around. On one hand, ARM processors are perfect for powering these handheld devices. Manufacturers can customize to their heart’s content. And Android is on track to dominate the operating system space (though maybe not profitably). Both ARM and Android — Armdroid — are providing everything that tablet manufacturers need, and doing it more effectively and at a lower cost than Microsoft and Intel are able to.
> I’d put the odds of Jobs being able to personally steer the next major product cycle at < 10%, and his odds of steering the one after that at zero.
Let's look at the numbers…
Tim Cook (COO): Been working with Steve Jobs since 1997
Jonathan Ive (VP of Industrial Design): Been working with Steve Jobs since 1996
Bertrand Sertlet (VP of Software Engineering): Been working with Steve Jobs since 1988. (Since 1997 at Apple, at NeXT before that.)
Scott Forstall (VP of Software Design): Been working with Steve Jobs since 1997
My bet is that some of the magic has rubbed off.
Bertrand Serlet designed Workspace Manager at NeXT, so he must have been there since around 1988.
I think that makes Serlet one of Jobs's most long-term colleagues. His deep experience of software evolution processes may be one of Apple's most underestimated assets. The NeXT platform has gone through seven different CPU architectures (by my count) and an enormous API merger with Mac OS, yet shows no signs of getting bogged down.
Most other companies can't seem to manage an operating system for even a decade before it loses its momentum under feature bloat and internal fighting over direction (c.f. Windows Vista, Symbian).
OTOH, who says they can come up with the next iPod or iPhone even with him?
What other worlds are left for Apple to conquer? Where else in your life can you possibly put an Apple product?
On top of your television? Maybe. The AppleTV is actually a damn good product, but it still hasn't gained much traction. Many folks still aren't quite sure what it does. Heck, I've used one and I'm still not quite sure what it does. I know what it won't do, though, and that's play my DVD collection.
Games consoles? I'm doubtful — Apple's strength is in making better user interfaces than everyone else, but when you play a game you're at the mercy of the third party developer's interface. (And yes, they already failed at this once, but the Apple TV still has a chance.)
This all said, my gut tells me that Apple isn't done finding markets to zap with their Midas touch (with or without Jobs, but hopefully with Jobs).
Steve Job is loosing his health over competition with Google. They cannot match Google development cycles. Already they are way ahead of apple with the new tablets Android 3.0. Google has started competing with them in almost all their markets : ebooks, music, phones, tablets, mobile ads, music and now desktop machines with chrome os. Apple did not have any real competition till now. But since Google has entered their markets and they cannot beat them. This will eat away into Apple high profit margin and closed ecosystem businesses that Jobs built over the years. Their shine is wearing off.
Apple released their iPhone/iPad on Verizon as the last ace in their hands. Now everything is out – Google is going after them with everything they have got.
Apple did manage to push really hard for 2 years but they cant keep going the same way for long time. Steve Jobs is leaving Apple for a long break as of today. They simply cannot compete with Google + Linux.
I wish Steve Jobs to recover fast and stage another comeback. Wish him all my good wishes :)
Perhaps the grievous loss of it ending this way, is the idolatry of the legacy of Jobs will survive on the doubt of “perhaps Apple wouldn’t have lost if they hadn’t lost Jobs”.
Can anyone conjure a miracle?
Apple’s not exactly struggling yet:
$26.74 billion in quarterly revenue, for a net profit of $6 billion
16.24 million iPhones, 4.13 million Macs, 7.33 million iPads, 19.45 million iPods
19 quarters straight of growing faster than the market
88 of the Fortune 100 companies are now deploying iPhone
80 percent of the Fortune 100 are already deploying or piloting iPad
Half of Macs are sold to people who didn’t have one before
Google has a looong way to go. I wish them luck, because competition is good and keeps everyone innovating, but I’ve been hearing about Apple’s impending doom for decades now….
“Google has a looong way to go. I wish them luck, because competition is good and keeps everyone innovating, but I’ve been hearing about Apple’s impending doom for decades now….”
Google has 4 billion people to go. There are 4.5 billion cell phone users. I think almost all of them could find *some* use for a smartphone. And a billion or so could find a use for a tablet.
17 million iPhones and 7 million iPads sounds impressive, but it is the rounding error in the total number of phones. Can Apple scale up a hundred times?
Who can? That is the real question.
But Apple will not go down (yet?). They might even find a new market to open up and profit from.
The total number of units doesn’t mean a lot if you don’t make a profit selling them. 24 million units in a quarter means a lot if you make billions in profits selling them.
Apple doesn’t have to scale up a hundred times to survive. The “rounding error” number of phones they’ve already sold has transformed the smartphone industry. (Do you remember the Blackberry-like things that were the very first Android phones?)
Indeed. Do you want the biggest slice of the pie? Or do you want to create market opportunities by revolutionizing industries? Apple has always been in the latter camp: at least five revolutions (8-bit micros, PCs, music players, smartphones, and tablets) and still going strong. What the fuck have the other players done lately?
Do you remember the Blackberry-like things that were the very first Android phones?
Google desperately needed a better example to copy.
> I’d put the odds of Jobs being able to personally steer the next major product cycle at < 10%, and his odds of steering the one after that at zero.
So you admit that Jobs has been knocking them out of the park then?
>So you admit that Jobs has been knocking them out of the park then?
Get over yourself, fanboy. I don’t live in the one-dimensional universe you inhabit, where respect for Job’s abilities correlates perfectly with approval of the direction he wants to take computers and consumer electronics. I can respect the man’s ability as a strategist and product designer while still working as hard as I can towards discrediting and destroying his closed-source, locked-down, walled-garden philosophy. I can even (you monomaniacal idiot) recognize that Apple has broken significant ground in UI while completely rejecting the religious dogmatism that Apple is the One True Source of All That is Good and Shiny. Try to wrap your brain around that, if you can do it without having a rupture.
“Do you want the biggest slice of the pie? Or do you want to create market opportunities by revolutionizing industries? ”
Ahh, but in the end, technology is not about getting the the inventor rich beyond imagination. Technology is there to make the world “better” (wealth, happiness, more people live longer, whatever). So I judge the qualities of a company not just by how much money they make for themselves, but also by how much the world can get out of their offerings.
So, it is nice that Apple can make some people very very rich. It is nicer that I, and the rest of the world, can get a smartphone for a low price. And even nicer, if many companies can make better smartphones. The nicest thing would be if all 6 billion humans would be able to profit from good and cheap technologies.
Apple sounds a lot like the Wright brothers who patented powered flight in the USA, and then locked it down so well that aircraft did not improve there anymore and no commercial industry could grow. All R&D and commercial air industry moved to Europe.
So is Apple good at inventing new stuff, but then extremely good at milking it in ways that block further progress.
Oh, I don’t think anyone around here is of the religious “Apple is the One True Source of All That is Good and Shiny” camp. I am a fan (not a “fanboy”), but not enough so that I think Jobs is perfect. (I think Apple would be better off if he could sometimes dial it down by 10% or so.) I do know that Apple has broken significant ground than in more just UI.
There’s just no way there’d be a decent Android phone now if it wasn’t for the fact that the iPhone came out first. The iPad is another high-quality trailblazer that competitors are struggling to equal. Ditto for the iTunes Music Store, and the App Store.
All those are more than UI: they are breakthrough products carefully designed in ways their competitors usually are not. Not perfect, but so damn near perfect that their every flaw becomes a topic for headlines.
And contrary to common criticism, Apple’s designs are more than superficial glitz to appeal to trendies. Design is more than “looks.” The iPhone and iPad are marvels of hardware/software integration.
As I see it, the problem for open source advocates is that it’s hard, perhaps even impossible, to achieve that level of design and hardware/software integration in a reasonably-priced, leading-edge consumer electronics product. There are too many cooks, too many competing agendas, and poor economies of scale.
I’m sure that whatever the next breakthrough Apple product is, I’ll hear the same sort of griping about how limited and locked-down it is, followed by years of often pitiful attempts by numerous companies to produce its equal. And as much as I sympathize with the open source cause, I doubt I’ll see a breakthrough Android product with a high level of design integration and polish, unless Apple was there first, showing everyone how it’s done. Uber-geeks like esr and many of the rest of you may sneer at a semi-geek (or non-geek or poser, depending on your p.o.v.) like me who prefers closed-and-easy to open-and-hard, but more consumer electronics are sold to people like me. If you want a command line on your smartphone, bless you and go for it. Do your best to force Apple to bend in your direction. I honestly hope you succeed. But without Apple, *I* might *have* to use a command line on my smartphone….
>If you want a command line on your smartphone, bless you and go for it. Do your best to force Apple to bend in your direction.
That’s a ridiculous strawman, just as idiotic as the fool who pressed me to “admit” that Steve Jobs is competent. What is it with you Apple-worshipers, does the reality-distortion field entirely shut down your forebrains?
I reject the implied assumption. We can have both open-source and easy; I have it on my Android now.
“As I see it, the problem for open source advocates is that it’s hard, perhaps even impossible, to achieve that level of design and hardware/software integration in a reasonably-priced, leading-edge consumer electronics product. There are too many cooks, too many competing agendas, and poor economies of scale. ”
But that sounds as if *only* open source is unable to come up with the same “quality” and “innovations”.
MS, Sony, Samsung and all these other companies have exactly the same problems. Why have MS and Nokia, which had more money and people than Apple, have even worse track records than open source?
They have done brilliant and ground breaking things at Apple. But that argument can equally be applied against Nokia, Sony, and MS as against “Open Source”. I would counter that simply, Apple had some brilliant people working for them and was able to use their brilliance. Other groups/companies either lacked this brilliance or were unable to use them effectively.
> Get over yourself, fanboy.
Shouldn’t that get you banned?
Or do I need to point out that you’re growing ever closer to the rabid philosophy of rms with each passing day?
Android is open (if you’re a carrier). You’ll be able to buy and run an Android phone for a long time yet. (Unless Oracle wins, then you’ll want to have a Chrome OS phone.)
Have a hot cocoa.
Drive to the range and blow off some steam.
Even Florian Mueller thinks Google is stuck in a patent minefield with Android.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“Even Florian Mueller thinks Google is stuck in a patent minefield with Android.”
Florian is long on strategic deliberations, and very short on actual infringement data. He argues that Google (actually, Open Source in general) must lose because a patent infringement suit has been filed. The patent version of “If they arrest you, you must be guilty, just confess”.
Android is not a patent minefield anymore as any other field of technology. In the US, you cannot drive a nail in a board, or design faster than light travel for that matter, without infringing some patents according to some pundits. If electricity is involved, add another order of magnitude of patents.
Sun/Oracle have done so much “estoppal” and “dirty hands” that even if there were valid, enforcible patents infringed (which is very much in doubt), any real enforcement is seriously in doubt.
There’s just no way there’d be a decent Android phone now if it wasn’t for the fact that the iPhone came out first.
From what I’ve seen, Android is a long way from “decent”. I’d describe it a half-assed knock off.
The problem is that the developers of Android are either not ambitious enough or not talented enough to go beyond what Apple’s done. As long as they keep playing catch-up, what they ship will only asymptotically approach the quality and usefulness of the previous release of iOS.
We can have both open-source and easy; I have it on my Android now.
Oh, that’s just *too* funny. You yourself told us about the hoops you’ve had to jump through just to update the OS on one of those things.
ESR says: Only in your fantasies.
“From what I’ve seen, Android is a long way from “decent”. I’d describe it a half-assed knock off”
That is encouraging. I remember the same comment tatgetted at Windows 95. If history repeats itself for those who forget we can expect 95% of the world ending up using Android phones.
Er, that’s not entirely true. Apple has the lead in UI innovation, but try asking an iPhone owner how they like having to dismiss text messages and notifications that come in during a call, before being able to hang up the phone.
Contrast with Android’s notification bar, which alerts you to events but lets you handle them at your convenience.
It’s a design win for Android. Frankly, I’m disappointed in Apple for not thinking of it first; they usually do.
esr: I am not saying that Android isn’t easy for you, or even easy for lots of non-geeks. I’m saying it still doesn’t have the level of design polish and hardware/software integration that Apple can create, and that I think there may be inherent reasons why that may always be the case.
Winter: You are correct. In theory, Sony or Samsung or whoever could do what Apple is doing. There the problem is more corporate culture and the traditional ways of making and marketing products: a superficial design focus, add some features, good enough, marketing wants some different models, get them out the door, on to the next batch of SKUs, etc. Apple puts far more effort into each SKU, and wants only a few. I’m sure all those companies have bright and talented people, but Apple has Jobs to provide a level of design focus that they just don’t do, even though they could if they really wanted to.
But for open source products, I’m not even sure it could be done in theory. The hardware/software split is problematic in itself, plus the many cooks, agendas, economies of scale, etc.
Also, maybe I’m misunderstanding how an open source license would work here, but let’s say Sony worked real hard and created an Android device with wonderful hardware/software integration by virtue of a few tweaks and innovations in the software. Would they not be bound by the license to release their innovations to all competitors? Or would they have to create a proprietary layer and incur the wrath of open source advocates? In the first case they’re likely to say “why bother,” and in the second case they’re not playing by the rules the open source advocates want.
Indeed. Thanks to Apple. Or haven’t you noticed all the deliberate UI design rips that have taken place?
The problem for other manufacturers is that a huge amount of what’s good and shiny in the computer industry did originate at Apple. Apple’s designs have historically been enormous wins that the rest of the industry sought to emulate. Go into any computer store and look at all the laptops. Despite carrying different name badges, they all share the same basic design: that of an early 1990s PowerBook. The use of a trackpad, and the positioning of the trackpad in front of the keyboard, with ample space around it to rest your wrists on — those are all design features that Apple innovated and popularized in the market. This basic design was such a win that the only thing that has proven capable of displacing it in the market place is knockoffs of the iPhone and iPad.
Let’s look at HTC. They make great smartphones. Most of them have the same basic form factor as the iPhone, with additional buttons, trackballs and other gewgaws. They started business manufacturing PDAs like the Compaq iPaq. The PDA market was created virtually single-handedly by Apple with the Newton; and the term “PDA” was an Apple coinage. Don’t get me wrong, HTC have found and filled a great market niche, make cheap products that are good for the price, and I wish them all the best. But they probably wouldn’t exist in their current form were it not for Apple’s market-changing innovations.
The “closed-source, locked-down, walled-garden philosophy” has a lot to do with why Apple’s designs are so good. It’s about end-to-end integration. The hardware, software, and even network services like the App Store work together as a cohesive whole. It’s the job of that cohesive system to make the user’s experience as pleasant and hassle-free as possible even if it means removing user choice. (Psychologists have known for some time that too many choices are bad.) In order to meet this goal, the system has to minimize the extent to which third parties can interfere with the goal. The easiest way to do this, it turns out, is a walled garden.
>The “closed-source, locked-down, walled-garden philosophy” has a lot to do with why Apple’s designs are so good.
We’ve all heard this religious chant before. Nothing is contributed by repeating it.
> why Apple’s designs are so good.
I’d say that the reason their designs are so good is that they care about the design, instead of caring about political nonsense. “Ok, my Android phone isn’t as good as an iPhone, but it’s OPEN SOURCE! FREE SOFTWARE! Apple is EEEEEEVIL.”
> The “closed-source, locked-down, walled-garden philosophy” has a lot to do with why Apple’s designs are so good.
That certainly explains why Mac OS X is an unusable pile of crap. I can’t wait until Apple rips out the command line and only allows approved apps in Lion+2; finally ordinary people will be able to use computers.
>We’ve all heard this religious chant before.
If Apple users are “religious”, then how come you linux weenies are the ones wearing the hair shirts?
To play Devil’s advocate, I’ll argue that Mac OS X manages to avoid being a pile of unusable crap due to its inheritance from previous walled-garden Mac OS versions.
OTOH, arguments for the walled garden and against open source have to explain the success of Firefox.
And on the gripping hand, I think Android is fortunate that a smartphone’s small size imposes an inherently limited UI – and that these limitations aren’t cumulative with the inherent user-hostility of Unix.
More generally, I see Android smartphones and tablets as being at the edge of what Unix is good for (with tablets possibly being beyond that edge). Hook up a full-sized keyboard, like the Altrix laptopoid dock or an Android equivalent of the keyboard/stand for the iPad, and I expect the result to have all the popularity that Linux currently has on the desktop.
>OTOH, arguments for the walled garden and against open source have to explain the success of Firefox
There you go again, opposing religious zeal with mere facts. Ignore Firefox! Worship at the shrine of Apple, the one true fount of all that is good in user experience!
So T-Mobile is offering the G2 for free with 2 year contract. Yesterday the wife and I went to the T-Mobile store to check out the G2, fully expecting to start a new contract, and replace our now 4 year old iPhones with Android G2s. The only cost to us to go G2 would be the contract lock in (nothing we were concerned about) and an additional $10/month on our plan since we would need to upgrade a bit. In the end, we left, and we’re going to use the money we would have paid over the lifetime of the contract to buy “new” used iPhones and keep on as we are. There was just nothing at all compelling about the G2 that made such a switch worthwhile. The phone build quality was decent, the software was nice enough (and despite claims of it not having carrier cruft, it does, just in the form of apps, not new user interfaces), and in all, the experience of using the phone was not bad. However, it wasn’t any better than our 1st generation iPhones. I freely admit that in store demos rarely allow you to experience the full power of a device, but even knowing this, the G2 just wasn’t at all compelling. And the little tiny things that suck (like jitters) just made it not worth getting in the end.
On that note, I think I discovered the difference in the Android and the iPhone as far as jittered scrolling is concerned and why the iPhone feels more responsive. Playing with the two side by side, both had their moments of jitter when switching between screens of apps. On Android, it appears that the jitter comes in the form of the phone pausing until it can play the full swipe animation smoothly. While this makes the animation pretty, it gives the feeling of being slowed and delayed.
The iPhone on the other hand forgoes smoothness of animation to keep up with the motion of your hand. In this way, while the slide animation skips frames, the position of the animation is always lined up with your hand, giving the illusion of speed, responsiveness and eliminating that feeling of “telling” the phone rather than “controlling” the phone.
Also, esr, while you personally may not have OS issues, it’s worth pointing out that the G2, a phone which was new just last fall, has to the best of my knowledge, no official update to 2.3, and to get 2.3, you must root your phone (which for the longest time wasn’t permanent on the G2 either). If I’m going to have to root my phone to get the full functionality out of it, I might as well stick to the iPhone no?
>And the little tiny things that suck (like jitters) just made it not worth getting in the end.
You know, when your evaluation of “superior” UI is down to details as tiny as the exact timing of animation jitter, what it tells me is that the playing field is effectively leveled. Most people won’t care as much as a perfectionist like you – tell them the “inferior” device is $20 cheaper and they’ll go for it.
>it’s worth pointing out that the G2, a phone which was new just last fall, has to the best of my knowledge, no official update to 2.3,
I’m currently using a G2, but aren’t really happy with it. I expect to drop back to my Nexus One at some point.
Google says 2.3 for Nexus One is coming soon. Going by past performance, I’d look for a G-2 update rthree weeks to a month after the Nexus One OTA ships.
I have a Hero running CM6. The generic stock apps page is just a scroller. The phone does the best it can to keep up with my finger, but usually lags a frame or two behind. Part of the problem is that Android doesn’t use GPU acceleration where available for the standard UI. This lag breaks the illusion that you are manipulating a physical object rather than sending a command to a computer, and so it doesn’t feel as natural as iOS.
Deep Lurker, I’m interested in your thoughts on what constitutes an “inherently user-friendly” OS, and if such a thing could be developed in an open-source environment. Would AROS or Haiku be a good starting point?
>You know, when your evaluation of “superior” UI is down to details as tiny as the exact timing of animation jitter, what it tells me
>is that the playing field is effectively leveled. Most people won’t care as much as a perfectionist like you – tell them the
>“inferior” device is $20 cheaper and they’ll go for it.
I’m hardly a perfectionist. It took me this long to figure out what about the scrolling actually didn’t feel right. Up until this point all I could tell you was that it didn’t feel the same, but I and everyone I knew could tell you it didn’t feel right. Of course, plenty of people will go for the “inferior” device for $20 cheaper. But many people will also go for the better device for $20 more, especially when they actually get a chance to use it. Notice that Apple’s renewed vigor not only comes on the backs of new and awesome products, but also on a fully Apple controlled demo experience with the product.
As for tiny details, remember that it is the tiny details that make up so much of a user’s experience with a device, and those tiny details add up over time. Making 90% of a smart phone is easy, everyone is doing it. It’s that last 10% that make all the difference. And to be honest, all the talk of “Android is good enough, just like windows” may be true, and likely is, but the question is, is “just like windows” the experience OSS wants to give to its users?
>I’m currently using a G2, but aren’t really happy with it. I expect to drop back to my Nexus One at some point.
That sort of says a lot to me. Out of curiosity, what is the effective difference to you? On paper, the G2 should be a vastly better phone, so why isn’t it?
>a fully Apple controlled demo experience
All the more reason for “fully controlled” to terrify anyone.
>Out of curiosity, what is the effective difference to you? On paper, the G2 should be a vastly better phone, so why isn’t it?
I wrote about it in November. It’s not an Android problem, it’s the physical ergonomics of the phone – too heavy and bar-of-soap like.
>the question is, is “just like windows” the experience OSS wants to give to its users?
Let’s be honest: OSS hasn’t even reached Microsoft’s pathetically low bar.
ESR says: I could use many adjectives to describe this claim, but ‘honest’ would not be among them.
Hey Eric, I know the truth hurts, but there’s a reason why users didn’t abandon Windows in droves to run Linux, and it’s not just because MS had a hell of a lot inertia.
>Hey Eric, I know the truth hurts, but there’s a reason why users didn’t abandon Windows in droves to run Linux, and it’s not just because MS had a hell of a lot inertia.
No, it was because Microsoft had system preinstalls locked in. Do try to keep up; that’s obvious enough even for a troll.
Hey Eric you will love this one:
Apple is going to start using “pentalobular” screws on the iPhones.
These are a type of screw that you cannot get a driver for, so you can’t open up the phone.
In addition, if you bring in your existing phone, the “genius” will replace the existing screws with these new ones.
You can read all about it at consumerist:
>All the more reason for “fully controlled” to terrify anyone.
Why? What’s so terrifying about an honest demo? Until Apple did their own retail stores, Apple products were mostly regulated to tiny corners of the big retailers, neglected and at best ignored, and at worst actively misinformed. Much the same problem Linux and OSS faces today. Apple made sure that the retail experience in their store highlighted the features of their products and that the demos were clean and up to date. Why should that terrify anyone except those that have something to gain by lying about or denying the features and benefits of a mac?
>No, it was because Microsoft had system preinstalls locked in.
Which of course leads to an obvious question: Now that Microsoft’s lock in is failing, why isn’t Linux picking up steam the way Apple is?
>Which of course leads to an obvious question: Now that Microsoft’s lock in is failing, why isn’t Linux picking up steam the way Apple is?
I don’t actually know that it isn’t. Statistics on Linux penetration are notoriously hard to come by, and I could list confounding effects that make them unreliable for pages.
> Which of course leads to an obvious question: Now that Microsoft’s lock in is failing, why isn’t Linux picking up steam the way Apple is?
I think history will show that Microsoft is still finding ways to punish vendors who dare to ship Linux, and most consumers aren’t going to bother to change the OS on the box they take home from the store.
2) Patent worries.
Even when you can find Linux, it won’t generally have all the necessary codecs and media stuff to be a usable entertainment center (to play MP3s and DVDs, for example).
20% of peak internet traffic on NetFlix? Some of that may be on Linux (e.g. Roku), but it’s not on desktop linux.
4) Move away from the desktop
Instead of buying a new desktop, technology dollars are going to fancy cell phones and tablets.
I think Android proliferation is going to help take care of 2 and 3, and to the extent that desktops remain relevant, (1) will take care of itself, either by a new company that completely ignores Microsoft, or an existing player that blows the whistle on the bullshit.
>No, it was because Microsoft had system preinstalls locked in.
Dell offered PCs with Linux pre-installed well over a decade ago. Customer uptake was negligible. Try again.
>Dell offered PCs with Linux pre-installed well over a decade ago.
Doing their best to hide the fact on their website. Recommending Windows. Making two identical configurations with the Linux one more expensive than the Windows one despite the Microsoft tax. Dell’s behavior was inexplicable, nuts, and self-sabotaging; they acted as though they wanted the offering to fail, did about everything possible to make it fail, and it did.
> >it’s worth pointing out that the G2, a phone which was new just last fall, has to the best of my knowledge, no official update to 2.3,
You can get 2.3 for your G2, if you’re willing to forego a few features: http://i.imgur.com/xvGMq.jpg
Quoting esr comparing Android 2.2 .v iPhone last Nov: “the software ergonomics is good enough for anyone not a fully-inducted fanatic of the Apple cult. ”
Translated: Android is GREAT (if you don’t know what iOS is)
There is some hope for Android now that Eric is being put out to pasture. Larry Page ‘gets’ the Internet and Open Source in ways that Eric never did (or will). Perhaps now, finally, Google will get aggressive.
> Doing their best to hide the fact on their website. Recommending Windows.
Dell still offers Ubuntu pre-loaded on their machines.
>Dell still offers Ubuntu pre-loaded on their machines.
With no marketing, hidden deep inside the website, Windows is still loudly trumpeted as “recommended”, and Linux configurations are still more expensive than the same hardware running Windows.
I just don’t get what Dell thinks it’s doing. I’ve never understood it. If I were paranoid, I’d speculate that this is deliberate sabotage by Microsoft agents inside Dell who want a Linux offering to fail in public and have designed Dell’s, quite effectively, to be as unattractive as possible. There’s probably some much more mundane explanation arising from murky Dell internal politics.
Linux has a bad reputation for complexity and is actively campaigned against without really getting much(if any) campaigning for.
MacOS has a very active, very visible, very expensive marketing campaign and very little in the way of marketing opposition plus is (apparantly) “easy to use”.
And yet Linux and MacOS have much the same level of take-up. So does the truth hurt that it’s a fair argument that whatever reason is causing users to not run to linux is also causing them to not run to Apple as well?
Still wondering (not!) whether Apple could make this vision real: A Billion people getting inexpensive smartphones.
Preparing for the Big Mobile Revolution
by Eric Schmidt
Third, we want to increase the availability of inexpensive smartphones in the poorest parts of the world. We envision literally a billion people getting inexpensive, browser-based touchscreen phones over the next few years. Can you imagine how this will change their awareness of local and global information and their notion of education? And that will be just the start.
>Still wondering (not!) whether Apple could make this vision real: A Billion people getting inexpensive smartphones.
As you’ve probably figured out, it’s not in Apple’s corporate nature, or Steve Jobs’s personality, to do this thing or even want to. Apple wants to hang out in the high-margin, positional-good part of the market.
> There’s probably some much more mundane explanation arising from murky Dell internal politics.
You’re Eric S. Raymond! I’m sure they’d tell you. The question is, are you brave enough to find out?
> Third, we want to increase the availability of inexpensive smartphones in the poorest parts of the world. We envision literally a billion people getting inexpensive, browser-based touchscreen phones over the next few years. Can you imagine how this will change their awareness of local and global information and their notion of education? And that will be just the start.
The Droid is done, baby! Android is so fscked!
> As you’ve probably figured out, it’s not in Apple’s corporate nature, or Steve Jobs’s personality, to do this thing or even want to.
The Android operating system it makes for mobile phones has become a viable challenger for Apple’s iOS. But for all the talk about it being “open,” they’re not giving it away out of the goodness of their hearts. Android isn’t an attempt to build the best mobile platform and sell it on its merits; it’s a play to control the vast majority of the mobile market, secure eyeballs for Google advertising and eliminate any threat to Google.
Android is EYEBALLS!
Wet Behind the Ears Says:
I found the Daily Show rendering better.
“But for all the talk about it being “open,” they’re not giving it away out of the goodness of their hearts.”
No, but what is your point. It is Open Source, Cyanogen distributes a completely Free&Open version of Android LEGALLY. Who cares why they do it?
I heard there are actually networks that make a deal to use Bing search (to lower consumer satisfaction?) io Google. And they can.
“As you’ve probably figured out,”
Yes I did, a loooong time ago (how old I feel).
> No, but what is your point.
Apple makes money selling hardware. Google makes money selling your information.
Does one really have the moral high ground over the other?
I’m not saying Google has an especially moral high ground here, but lets not get too carried away placing a halo on Apple either.
Oh Apple doesn’t sell hardware, Apple sells “Experiences”. Thats why anything that would allow cross compatibiliity with anything else is a no-no.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“Apple makes money selling hardware. Google makes money selling your information.
Does one really have the moral high ground over the other?”
I think there are a lot of people in the world who could benefit from having a smartphone and internet access. I want as many people in the world to have access to information and be able to communicate with the whole world at the lowest possible cost.
Whom should I support? Apple iOS or Google Android? Closed source or Open Source?
And I think that in the end I am better of if I can root my phone and put an image on it that I control (cyanogen mod).
>> Dell offered PCs with Linux pre-installed well over a decade ago.
> Making two identical configurations with the Linux one more
> expensive than the Windows one despite the Microsoft tax.
Dell’s behavior is only inexplicable if you believe there exists a Microsoft tax in the beer sense. I would not be surprised if Dell’s Microsoft tax is zero or even negative when you include all bundled trial-ware installed on their consumer line. Dell knows that if they installed a ton of bloat-ware on their Linux distros, Linux buyers would promptly wipe and install their favorite distro.
P.S. For those wanting an MS-Windows Pre-Install, when I got my last laptop from the IBM Certified Pre-Owned site, the only thing resembling bloat-ware on their Win-XP stack was an icon to install Symphony, IBM’s version of Open Office.
“Dell’s behavior is only inexplicable if you believe there exists a Microsoft tax in the beer sense. I would not be surprised if Dell’s Microsoft tax is zero or even negative when you include all bundled trial-ware installed on their consumer line.”
Dell effectively pays a license price for every processor they sell. MS did this to all their “partners”. MS was forbidden to charge for every processor sold after the anti-trust case, but they have instated a “marketing fund” on sold machines that has the same effect.
In essence, Dell pays MS a fee for every processor/system sold. Any Linux system sold will be deducted from the marketing fund, increasing the net licensing cost of the other systems they sell. In the end, for Dell, they pay MS the same amount, whether or not they sell systems with windows installed.
PS, MS marketing fund is Dell’s margin.
Microsoft charges a Windows license fee for every unit sold, not every Windows-installed unit sold.
To ship a Dell computer with Linux cost just as much as to ship one with Windows, plus the costs of “WHERE’S MUH BLUE E” type support calls.
The insane act would be to aggressively market these things. Dell doesn’t save any money building and selling them, they are niche products with niche appeal and offering them to the general public would incur unnecessary support costs and depress their reputation among the general computer purchasing public. “Have you seen those new Dells? Don’t buy Dell, they support that communist You-bun-too thing. I can’t play my favorite games or watch DVDs.”
So yes, it makes perfect economic sense for them to try real hard to not sell you Linux shit.
I discovered this oddball behavior when I attempted to purchase a Nokia internet tablet. Practically had to twist the guy’s arm to get him to sell it to me.
>I just don’t get what Dell thinks it’s doing.
…and that’s why you should never be in charge of a business.
What they’re doing is selling their customers what they want. If there was any significant demand for desktop Linux, Dell would be all over it, not leaving it to niche players like Penguin computing. YOu might recall that back when MS was doing all they could to sell Vista, Dell kept on offering Windows XP, because that’s what the customers wanted.
Whoa, slow down there cowboy. Since it seems that Google did in fact steal code from Oracle, their case looks a lot stronger than, say, the SCO case.
It’ be interesting to find out where this all leads. Oracle is requesting the immediate bricking of Android smartphones as part of the injunction.
>Since it seems that Google did in fact steal code from Oracle, their case looks a lot stronger than, say, the SCO case.
Depends on what the legal status of decompiling is. It looks as though the supposedly “copied” files weren’t actually copied at all, but may have been decompiled from j-code produced by Sun source. Florian is confusing the legal issues by writing as though there are Sun copyright and do-not-distribute notices in the Android files, but since they were decompiled that cannot be true – the Java compiler would discard those.
For Google to have a problem, Oracle would have to first convince a court that decompilation is as actionable as copying the actual source code, then they’d have to prove the decompilation took place before Sun rammed through the change in the license therms on Java Mobile.
>their case looks a lot stronger than, say, the SCO case.
Not to me it doesn’t. And I knew the SCO case intimately.
I thought Java had gone open source, Jeff.
AFAIK decompiled code counts as a derived work, and all derived works are property of the copyright owner of the original work.
Oh yes, there’s also the fact that EULAs are binding contracts in the USA, so if there’s a “you agree not to decompile, disassemble, reverse-engineer”, etc. etc. clause in the EULA, Oracle could nail them on that alone.
The copied files are a non-issue: http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2011/01/new-alleged-evidence-of-android-infringement-isnt-a-smoking-gun.ars . Yes it’s technically copyright infringement, but from the available evidence it wasn’t intentional, the code wasn’t shipped on Android devices, and there was no actual harm done. Google will get a slap on the wrist at most, and it has no bearing on the primary dispute of the Dalvik VM infringing Oracle’s patents.
If the copyright case was so strong, Oracle would have started a copyright case, not a patent case.
The first question is whose copyright are on the files, and were they actually the correct ones. Second, were they shipped? And why do we need Florian to dig them out?
Some of the files shown by Oracle were even gpled. So the copyright was not even infringed.
They’re not even in the repo anymore.
Oracle is going to have trouble extracting more than a small judgement for an honest mistake. My (and Florian Mueller’s) bad.
There is little question that these files create an infringement liability for Google.
The state of our current copyright law doesn’t make exceptions for how source trees work, or whether or not a script or human attached a different license, or if these files ever made it into handsets.
The single most relevant legal question is whether or not copying and distributing these files was authorized by Oracle, and the answer clearly appears to be “no”.
“Intent” has very little to do with it.
In fact, everyone who copied the tree is probably guilty of infringement, and Google guilty of contributory infringement with every clone made. This is a risk of open source I’d not considered before.
>The state of our current copyright law doesn’t make exceptions for how source trees work, or whether or not a script or human attached a different license, or if these files ever made it into handsets.
I see from this that your ignorance of copyright law is only exceeded by the certainty with which you pronounce upon it.
If by Oracle you mean Sun then sure maybe but the more relevant legal question is whether or not copying and distributing these files was authorized by Sun’s Java License. (Or reverse engineering these files via a decompiler, since it is certainly a valid argument that decompiling doesn’t count as copying particularly for the purpose of interoperability)
Just to be specific in what i’m saying, what Oracle says now is mostly irrelevant if what Sun wrote down a little over 2 years ago gives google license to do whatever it is they did. If (as has been mentioned) the files were GPLed then the biggest thing Google did wrong was give it an apache license.
J. Jay: It appears you have a copyright infringement problem of your own: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/android-source-code-java-and-copyright-infringement-whats-go/ . And yes, intent does matter when determining penalties, as does as the damage done to the copyright holder. In this case Oracle would have a very hard time showing any damages at all.
While is is quite possible, maybe even probable, that this is true, I don’t personally have enough information to consider it a foregone conclusion.
I don’t think this is necessarily true. Depending on how code is handled, the DMCA safe harbor may apply to google. Even in the instant case, if it wasn’t a google employee that put the code in the tree, then google may be in the clear. Sure, google is benefiting financially from Android, but arguably, they didn’t benefit financially from the specific files in question.
It seems quite likely that the file was put there by a google contractor or employee, but if not, it would set a great precedent if there were a court ruling clearing google under the DMCA safe harbor in this case.
Section 512(c) doesn’t seem to contain any text that would keep it from applying to source code repositories. However, for expeditious removal of infringing material after notification, something like reposturgeon might prove to be very useful :-)
As you point out, copyright law is quite strict, so anybody downloading from the repository could theoretically be responsible for infringement, but it is extremely unlikely that a plaintiff would receive more than the minimum $750 for that, and (probably for economic and Streisand effect reasons) I can’t recall seeing any case where anybody who was merely a non-P2P downloader was sued for infringement, even though they might be theoretically liable.
Other actions, such as creating a linux distro and shipping binaries, cloning a repository, forking a project, etc. could be more problematic.
But simply contributing to an existing project is unlikely to cause additional infringement over the initial infringement for downloading, for the simple reason that when you upload to the repository, you are probably uploading a change diff, and not re-uploading infringing material, and simply innocently downloading (not using a torrent or other P2P) and using infringing code is unlikely to get you sued, even if there is a theoretical infringement.
However, your tax dollars at work pay to get out the message that any kind of sharing is risky, so really we should all just sit down and shut up and take whatever Microsoft and Apple give us.
It is almost certain that J. Jay’s assertion that “[whether or not] these files ever made it into handsets [is irrelevant]” is completely wrong. That might not be relevant in determining whether or not google infringed, but is obviously completely relevant in determining the scope of infringement and any associated damages.
But in J. Jay’s defense, there have been a lot of wonky copyright court decisions based on the theory of strict liability. In fact, a lot of the tedious exceptions in copyright law, for example, the explicit right to copy a program to RAM, the right to copy the program from CD to disk, and the safe harbor provision of the DMCA, are really just patches around the fact that copyright law can, in fact, be an ass.
If you take some of the rulings in the Psystar case to their logical conclusion, it might even be an actionable infringement to buy a Macintosh and then give it away as a Christmas present because of the license. Hell, the Supreme Court just ruled that if you buy an Omega watch overseas and bring it home and give it away, you’re violating Omega’s copyright. So while J. Jay significantly overstates his case, there is no question that some areas of copyright law are stubbornly irrational.
>That might not be relevant in determining whether or not google infringed, but is obviously completely relevant in determining the scope of infringement and any associated damages.
Yes. And you don’t get any remedy without showing actual damages, a test these “infringements” fail (if we are to believe the descriptions; I haven’t read the code myself.
>If you take some of the rulings in the Psystar case to their logical conclusion, it might even be an actionable infringement to buy a Macintosh and then give it away as a Christmas present because of the license.
Thankfully, court rulings since have not gone down that road. Instead, the doctrine now generally applied (though seldom explicitly stated) is that copying is not actionable for copyright purposes unless some sort of unjust enrichment or actual damages is traceable to it.
> I see from this that your ignorance of copyright law is only exceeded by the certainty with which you pronounce upon it.
I don’t see refutation, Eric. Just a different posture.
>I don’t see refutation, Eric. Just a different posture.
Yes. It’s called “knowing what I’m talking about”. I learned this stuff by (a) being immersed in it for five years when I was running a licensing standards project at OSI, and (b) doing forensic analysis for a multi-billion-dollar IP lawsuit. This is why you don’t see me making extravagant claims about Google’s exposure; these sorts of accusations are not new in my experience, I know how to evaluate them, and I know what the trends in case law are. I’ve had to learn these things, not as a matter of theory but for pressing functional reasons.
> Thankfully, court rulings since have not gone down that road.
I almost wish that some court ruling would go down that road, in the (probably vain) hope that this would clarify how broken this corner of the law is well enough that a higher court or congress would have to sort things out and give some kind of rational basis for infringement damages.
> Thankfully, court rulings since have not gone down that road. Instead, the doctrine now generally applied (though seldom explicitly stated) is that copying is not actionable for copyright purposes unless some sort of unjust enrichment or actual damages is traceable to it.
In Lowry’s Reports, Inc. v. Legg Mason Inc., a 2003 lawsuit between a publisher of stock analysis newsletters against a company that bought one copy of the newsletters and made multiple copies for use in-house, the jury awarded damages – actual damages for some newsletters and statutory damages for other newsletters – totaling $20 million.
>In Lowry’s Reports, Inc. v. Legg Mason Inc., a 2003 lawsuit between a publisher of stock analysis newsletters against a company that bought one copy of the newsletters and made multiple copies for use in-house, the jury awarded damages – actual damages for some newsletters and statutory damages for other newsletters – totaling $20 million.
That’s right. The key phrase is “actual damages”. Statutory damages are rigidly capped by Federal code; they’re so small that they’re seldom worth going after. $20 mil in actual damages seems kinda high for what you describe, but I don’t know the whole fact pattern.
Now, to start getting clued in, you need to understand “actual damages”, the legal term of art – what they are and how courts evaluate them. Have fun, and expect some surprises.
I understand from comments on various blogs that U justice is less predictable and consistant than thee weather. However, I suspect US ourts will be hesistant in bricking tens of millions of phones, disrupting phone service, and destroy a complete industry for something that could be solved by a few billion dameges.
Unless of course Oracle colludes with Apple. Which would bebreaking the law.
Next time Florian posts some spectacular evidence, remember he is a lobbyist, neither a lawyer, nor a developer. He lobbies, for someone.
Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android
It all started with an article written by Florian Mueller, who by the way is neither a lawyer nor a developer although he plays one on TV. I downloaded and examined all the files he wrote about, and my analysis as an expert developer comes to a completely different conclusion than Mr. Mueller. Here’s what I found:
The second set of 37 files is actually zipped up into one file called MMAPI.zip and tucked away in a directory used for native code audio drivers for one particular type of chip set. Florian really had to go digging for this one. I double-checked the make files and it’s clear this file is not shipped with Android either. Somebody uploaded it by mistake and it should simply be deleted.
Updated: Looks like Google has already taken care of these files.
Sadly, while sensational articles like Engadget’s and Mueller’s will get splashed all over the web and lavished with thousands of views and hundreds of comments, the boring truth will rate no such attention.
> Now, to start getting clued in, you need to understand “actual damages”, the legal term of art – what they are and how courts evaluate them. Have fun, and expect some surprises.
Eric, you’re not as special as you think you are.
A copyright owner may recover the profits he or she would have earned absent the infringement(actual damages) and any profits the infringer might have made as a result of the infringement but that are not already considered in calculating actual damages.
Oracle could (and likely will attempt to) make the case that, absent Android, Java ME would have captured a very large portion of the mobile market.
There are also criminal sanctions for fraudulent copyright notice, fraudulent removal of copyright notice, and false representations in applications for copyright registration.
>Eric, you’re not as special as you think you are.
Would you like some cheese with that whine?
>A copyright owner may recover the profits he or she would have earned absent the infringement(actual damages) and any profits the infringer might have made as a result of the infringement but that are not already considered in calculating actual damages.
>Oracle could (and likely will attempt to) make the case that, absent Android, Java ME would have captured a very large portion of the mobile market.
There’s an unjustified leap there. For Oracle to collect on that premise, they’ll have to show that Android could not have foreclosed Java ME’s future without the patented techniques and copyrighted code. Others have addressed how inessential the decompiiled stuff is. I’ve read the patents, and that’s not going to happen – they’re just not that important.
>There are also criminal sanctions for fraudulent copyright notice, fraudulent removal of copyright notice, and false representations in applications for copyright registration.
Correct, none of which apply here. Though you have to dig into the actual facts the way Ars Technica did to see that.
Sure, but then they have to connect the dots and show that some fraction of that lost market is due to google’s inadvertent copying of a couple of files that aren’t even used, or show that some other files that are used are actually infringing, somehow.
Would you like to place a side bet as to whether google is convicted of any of these?
Eric may not be as special as he thinks he is, but while your pronouncements are sprinkled with legal facts, they are really, really distant from the legal realities that google is likely to face. Not that google doesn’t have to dot their i’s and cross their t’s to avoid any further trouble; just that, if they are diligent and manage to get the true facts in front of a judge, it is going to be very difficult for oracle to extract much money from them.
BTW, for this to hurt google at all, there would have to be more than a few hundred million changing hands, and/or an injunction against google to not do something they really, really want to do (like ship Android). An injunction against doing something they were doing accidentally and don’t really care about (like ship a couple of test files) doesn’t count.
So, if google has to give Larry a couple of million to make this go away, that’s a huge victory. For google.
While none of these charges would appear to apply to the newly discovered files, if a District Attorney could be convinced that google had “fraudulent intent” in the issue of the original decompiled and then Apache-labeled files, and could further be convinced that there were actually any copyrightable elements (not purely functional) in those files, then it’s possible google could in fact be tried for fraudulent removal of copyright notice. Fraudulent copyright notice might be trickier, in that it seems to apply to an “article”, which may or may not imply a physical object.
Unfortunately for the google bashers, even if the DA could be persuaded to waste time and energy taking Oracle’s side in this dispute, there is no real penalty in it — no jail time, and only a maximum of $2500 for each offense.
This portion of the law is a tool for messing with vendors down at the flea market, not for injecting the justice department into the middle of a dispute between tech heavyweights.
>Unfortunately for the google bashers, even if the DA could be persuaded to waste time and energy taking Oracle’s side in this dispute, there is no real penalty in it — no jail time, and only a maximum of $2500 for each offense.
Yes. And there’s a Federal Title 17 cap on copyright damages at $150K unless you can show actual damages. That may sound like a lot, but after you subtract the cost of hiring lawyers to get it, it too falls into the “not worth it” bin.
No, to get anywhere on an actual-damages theory Oracle would have to show that the copyrights or patents violated were essential to the Android platform. On the evidence we have now, this isn’t going to happen – those patents simply aren’t important enough even if they all survive challenge. It’s just like SCO: their actual game is to be a big enough pain in the ass that Google will pay them to shut up and go away.
It depends on whether you’re talking about a DVCS. If I clone from github to my own git repository then i’m mirroring the entire project repository not just the part I modified. Technically speaking it would probably fall under DMCA Safe Harbour but it’d be a torturous route to get there. “Who uploaded that material to the web site?”. “I did”. “But you say you didn’t know the infringing material was there?”. “No because I had to import the whole project wholesale.”
And, as SCO did with IBM, Oracle has probably picked the wrong opponent here. Google has quite a bit invested in Android and they’re sitting on enough cash to see this lawsuit through to the bitter end.
With so many lawsuits coming and Google from different angles it’ll be interesting to see which ones they settle out of court and which ones they fight. I’m betting they fight this one, though I wouldn’t entirely be surprised if they settled with Oracle out of court.
I imagine the settlement will hinge on whether android gets a public stamp of approval or not.
The one case where i can see real potential harm to the ecosystem is if Google quietly settles out of court without settling whether other android houses are OK.
>The one case where i can see real potential harm to the ecosystem is if Google quietly settles out of court without settling whether other android houses are OK.
Absolutely. *Not*. Going. To. Happen.
I will cover any bet anyone wants to make on this. That move would be utterly suicidal for Google’s grand strategy.
Eric, Eric, Eric. Is it that you don’t understand the law, or that you like to twist it to your own ends?
> And there’s a Federal Title 17 cap on copyright damages at $150K unless you can show actual damages.
This Is Dead Wrong.
Under the Copyright Act, an infringer is liable for either statutory damages or the copyright owner’s actual damages plus the infringer’s profits. Statutory damages can be hefty, running anywhere between $750 and $30,000 for each infringed work. If a defendant is found to have willfully infringed, (and ignoring the existent copyright notice on those files means Google was legally ‘willful’), statutory damages can rise to $150,000 *per infringed work*. 17 U.S.C. §504(c)(2). (emphasis mine.)
Now, every time these files were downloaded, they were copied.
I’ll let you do the math.
>statutory damages can rise to $150,000 *per infringed work*. 17 U.S.C. §504(c)(2).
Your cite is correct. Your interpretation is not; “per infringed work” is not the same as “per copy”, a distinction which has been significant in recent RIAA file-sharing lawsuits.
>ignoring the existent copyright notice on those files means Google was legally ‘willful’
False premise. Any j-code that was decompiled fell under copyright, yes, but did not have the notice attached to it to be ignored. You might be able to show willfulness, but only through evidence that Google decompiled with prior knowledge that the originating sources were licensed under closed-source terms. Given the history of AOSP this is going to be a pretty high bar to clear unless you have taped confessions of malfeasance or something.
>Eric, Eric, Eric. Is it that you don’t understand the law, or that you like to twist it to your own ends?
I understand the law well enough to have been told by a partner at a firm so rich it has its own skyscraper that I was doing for them the work of both a top-flight expert witness and an A-list paralegal, on a case rather similar to this one – and at this firm, average paralegals are trusted with heavier work than most junior associates elsewhere. They paid me a commensurate amount – not quite enough for retirement, but excellent fuck-you money. And we won the suit.
You, on the other hand, are reaching a limit. You are not contributing enough to this blog to pay for the amount of abuse and flamage you fling around. End the flamage or pitch more actual content; I don’t care which, but if you choose “neither” the ban-hammer will come down.
>I’ll let you do the math.
Hmm.. Looks to me like if Google loses, the nominal award to the plaintiff could exceed their market capitalization.
And if Google settles, they’re just encouraging other parties with weak cases to threaten litigation. Google plays the long-term game, so I expect they’re going to take most of these cases to court, or else counter-sue and settle with no financial component.
Eric, you’re wrong about animation jitter. Tmoney is explaining why everybody notices that Android’s animation sucks. He’s not whinging about little details. He’s talking about the fact that Android isn’t polished. There are a dozen little affordances, all different, and all interfering with each other. The UI isn’t responsive. You can do a full-screen swipe, and it acts as if you didn’t touch the screen. Then you go to do it again, and before you can finish, it’s already done the swipe.
These are all bugs that need to be fixed, and open source developers aren’t likely to fix them. Google has shown no willingness to fix them, since they’ve been present since 1.6 and never changed.
Yeah i wouldn’t put any money on it either.
Especially not until after discovery.
@Some Guy> Hmm.. Looks to me like if Google loses, the nominal award to the plaintiff could exceed their market capitalization.
OK, not quite, but Oracle’s Java will either be paid for by Google, or it will be removed from Android, or Oracle will lose. It can only be one of the three, and I see it as unlikely that Oracle will lose. (Eric, of course, sees it as extremely likely that Oracle will lose, because otherwise, his precious dominance of open source dreams will evaporate.)
But hark, what do we see on yonder horizon? With the latest version of the NDK, r5, many big improvements have been made to coincide with the release of Gingerbread. The largest is the ability to code a native application for Android 2.3 entirely in C++.
It has begun. http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2011/01/gingerbread-ndk-awesomeness.html
Google is working as hard as it can to have the ability to remove Java (Dalvik, same thing!) from Android. In doing so, they may well end up with a far superior system for a future Android. (You may wish to note that Chrome OS is constructed in a very similar way.)
@esr> Your interpretation is not; “per infringed work” is not the same as “per copy”.
Indeed. But every time you re-compile, you create a new work. (Oh Shit!)
(Seriously, Eric. Try your obfuscation ploys with anyone else, I’m immune.)
Any settlement of the case (and believe me, Google *will* want to settle this as soon as the impact on Android starts to be felt) will mean that Google has to either completely remove Java from Android or license it properly and continue to pay to distribute same.
I think Steve Jobs did right by not allowing Java into (what became) iOS after looking into hte issues of what Microsoft has gone through with the Java settlement. Someone at Apple obviously looked at the steaming stinking debacle surrounding Java ME and Harmony and moved sharply in the opposite direction.
Interested observers on this thread may want to read up on “Jacobsen v. Katzer”, and then posit what Google did when they removed Sun’s copyright notices and attached the Apache license terms.
@esr> end the flamage or pitch more actual content
Just because we disagree doesn’t mean it’s not content. Still, it’s your blog, and you can ban me at will. Seems you do that to nearly anyone who shows up with the personalty and depth of knowledge to argue with you.
>Indeed. But every time you re-compile, you create a new work. (Oh Shit!)
No. There was some case law that went in that direction in the 1980s, but it hasn’t been followed up. You create a new instance of the same derived work.
>Just because we disagree doesn’t mean it’s not content.
Disagreeing with me isn’t the issue, and I won’t argue the point further because I don’t think you’re worth the time. Last chance; one more contentless gibe will get you banned. Any more attempts to jerk me around by playing on my sense of fairness will count as contentless gibes.
>The largest is the ability to code a native application for Android 2.3 entirely in C++.
Or C. This was expected. Google has been promising it for many months now, not because they had plans to remove Dalvik but because it’s been the top request from their developer community.
I am not a lawyer but wouldn’t Oracle have to specify that in their complaint since they are responsible for specifying “identification of what material in such work(s) is claimed to be infringing (“infringing work”)”. And when would this interpretation have come in? Do you have case law that supports it(even superficially, we’re not lawyers here)? Because it certainly wasn’t in during the SCO case otherwise the amount of damages from IBM would have been astronomical (a million eyeballs, they each had to compile it in its entirety once, and thats not even getting to plain users(i.e. non-developers) of systems like gentoo that are source based distributions). SCO certainly wasn’t asking for US$1,500,000,000.
Not saying your interpretation is wrong, it just doesn’t seem to match reality as I understand it.
You know, after napster, grokster, my.mp3.com, etc. I was actually kind of worried about how youTube would turn out, and sincerely puzzled that google bought such a lawsuit magnet at such an inflated price. Turns out google knows a thing or two about copyright, as well as about business.
Google bought and is running a business that everybody knows contains a lot of material that infringes valid copyrights of every deep-pocketed, lawyer-rich entertainment company in the world. They make money off this, and they’re seemingly untouchable.
Now you’re apparently suggesting that they are headed the way of the dodo because of a few small, unused, obscure source files in a huge code repository. What have you been smoking?
Even if this were true, what bearing does that have on these silly files that aren’t even used?
Larry? Is that you? This is almost as funny as Darl continually posting on Groklaw.
Any idiot can see that Katzer was willfully, deliberately using the heart of Jacobsen’s source code in infringing ways, while google is trying very hard not to use oracle’s code in infringing ways and, for the most part, succeeding. Believe it or not, when it comes to damages calculations, copyright law really does care about intent.
>Any idiot can see that Katzer was willfully, deliberately using the heart of Jacobsen’s source code in infringing ways, while google is trying very hard not to use oracle’s code in infringing ways and, for the most part, succeeding.
“Wet Behind The Ears” may be a troll who I’m near the point of banning, but fairness requires us to admit that the patent allegations he’s referenced can’t be dismissed on grounds of demonstrated good intentions. The legal criteria are different there. I don’t actually think the patent threat is going anywhere either, not as easily as I turned up prior art for them, but that’s a different argument.
Now, this is interesting. An iPhone fan does the math and concludes that the Verizon iPhone is a bad deal for multiple reasons, mostly having to do with switching costs and the timing of Verizon’s 4G rollout.
One set of his reasons only apply to Apple fans looking to move of AT&T, but the bad timing of releasing a 3G-only iPhone when LTE/4G is coming in a few months may suppress a lot of what would otherwise have been sales to first-time iPhone customers.
The likelihood that iPhone 5 will debut in spring or early summer doesn’t help, either. The rational expectation is that it will be LTE/4G-capable, in which case this Verizon 3G device looks like a dog you don’t want to be stuck with for a 2-year contract term. (If iPhone 5 is not LTE/4G-capable, 4V customers won’t feel like chumps but Apple will have bigger problems, like getting its lunch eaten by Android devices that are.)
This, together with Patrick Maupin’s by-the-numbers argument that most people who want iPhones already have them, suggests that Verizon iPhone sales may be rather anemic. I’ll be watching closely for first indications of sales trends.
A subtle problem here is that the iPhone’s higher price point increases the opportunity cost associated with committing to this quarter’s model rather than the next. Android phones, being cheaper, aren’t as sticky.
My previous prediction that iPhone will not overtake Android’s market share stands, though based on different reasoning.
Sure, but I was responding directly to what I perceived as WBTE’s true claim that even when there are no monetary damages because FOSS is “free”, the copyright infringer can still lose in a bad way. Although his assertion is true, the circumstances of the cases were considerably different.
Interestingly, to the extent that Jacobsen teaches us anything about patents, the lesson is that the bad guy wielding the ridiculous patent doesn’t always win :-)
I have no doubt that this is true. OTOH, I think Verizon really needed to move now, in order to get people thinking about iPhone 5 on Verizon in the summer.
Look at it this way. Even Apple will sell disposable, or at least almost-obsolete, gadgets, given half a chance. However, they implicitly understand that actually pushing said almost-obsolete gadgets would incur a direct, power-draining hit on the all important Reality Distortion Field. All this media speculation about why Apple let Verizon do the introduction misses this very important point: Apple had excellent reasons for not putting on a splashy event, even without considering Jobs’s health. If Verizon really wanted to do the rollout themselves, even better — Apple probably begged and begged not to be thrown into that briar patch.
If the capabilities of a Verizon iPhone 4 make it a logical stepping stone on the way to a more capable iPhone 5, then the cost of productizing the intermediate version probably isn’t all that much. Apple has a huge machine dedicated to product rollout, and a lot of it was probably sitting almost idle last quarter.
So, for example, if Verizon tossed $10-20 million in NRE to Apple to bring out the iPhone now, any incremental revenue that Apple gets from actually selling the darn things is probably gravy, and to Verizon, that’s $10 or $20 million that can legitimately be assigned to the advertising budget, because they will get that much value in mindshare for when iPhone customers starting moving to LTE. Verizon wants and needs to be perceived as a preexisting serious player in the iPhone ecosystem at the point in time when the customers’ decisions are made about which carrier to use for LTE, which, for a lot of users will probably be some time between March and May.
The thing is, AT&T isn’t the exclusive target of that mindshare that Verizon is busy buying right now with its iPhone 4 rollout. After all, once Apple brings out a really capable multi-band multiprotocol phone, AT&T and Verizon aren’t the only players any more.
The piece of the puzzle that Verizon might be missing is that, given Apple’s penchant and talent for wresting control from the carriers and assigning most of it to themselves while still giving customers just enough value-add to keep them happy, one of the rabbits that Apple could potentially pull out of the hat this summer is a fully supported, network-agnostic, completely unlocked cellphone. AT&T may have no choice but to go along; if there is an expired contract that has not been replaced, Apple may be under no obligation to supply phones to AT&T any more, and AT&T has too much invested in iPhone customers to walk. Verizon might not be too happy about it, but immediately after spending a lot to get into a relationship with Apple, they’re not going to walk either. And, of course, the smaller carriers will be ecstatic to get iPhones for free, even if it means giving up a bit of control.
So even though Apple and Google are in a huge fight with each other for dominance, they’re still effectively tag-teaming the carriers. Perhaps next fall you’ll be able to get month-to-month postpaid a la carte voice and data plans from all the majors, with no device, and a sim card that will work in 20 different smartphones and 10 different data modems. Once they get used to it, the carriers might find that they actually like not being responsible for the phone.
Of course, more transparent pricing for hauling the bits around also implies more transparent pricing for the terminal device. Apple may not mind too much; if they can keep the carrier margins low, and app store margins high, working with Android to grow the overall smartphone market might be a better strategy than concentrating on market share.
Another possibility is that Apple or Google becomes a “virtual carrier.” Apple in particular — they have the financial clout to decide to make money by loaning it to people buying iPhones, and if they do like Virgin Mobile did when they started up and become a bandwidth reseller, they will be able to make the carriers offers that they would like to refuse, but cannot. Apple could be in a position to offer customers whatever network they want. Maybe even the ability to switch networks for a day when they go to a city where a different network has better coverage.
Google obviously also has the clout to do this, but so far, they have shown themselves unwilling to engage seriously in any business that requires actual on-the-phone live customer support. It will be interesting to see if the leadership change there alters this strategy. If google seriously got into live customer support, their margins would go down, but all of a sudden, the sky is the limit for business opportunities for them.
Even though I detest some of Apple’s practices and am ecstatic that google has been and will continue to be important for phone fungibility, I am cautiously hopeful that Apple might actually have a significant role to play in the inexorable drive to carrier fungibility.
> The rational expectation is that it will be LTE/4G-capable, in which case this Verizon 3G device looks like a dog you don’t want to be stuck with for a 2-year contract term.
I really like the speed I get with Sprint 4G on my Epic, particularly when downloading big apps or streaming audio or video. I would not want to drop back to 3G.
>I really like the speed I get with Sprint 4G on my Epic, particularly when downloading big apps or streaming audio or video. I would not want to drop back to 3G.
Interesting point. Anyone got stats on 4G smartphone market penetration? Because Apple can kiss those conversion sales goodbye until iPhone 5, at earliest.
Here’s an interesting article with a few factoids about HTC 4G shipments: http://www.intomobile.com/2011/01/10/htc-10-million-4g-smartphones-2011/
> They paid me a commensurate amount – not quite enough for retirement, but excellent fuck-you money.
It has been my experience that when people bring “I got paid”, to the conversation unbidden, that they’ve found a way to temporarily increase their self-esteem.
>Tmoney is explaining why everybody notices that Android’s animation sucks.
What’s not clear to me is 1) how they botched it, and 2) why they would have shipped it in that condition. From what I can tell, Android phones typically have display hardware that can run OpenGL ES, so I have to surmise that they just didn’t hire decent developers to implement their graphics stack. Maybe all the talent in that area is working at Apple, Sony, Nintendo, or the gaming companies.
> Apple has a huge machine dedicated to product rollout, and a lot of it was probably sitting almost idle last quarter.
Nobody’s sitting idle at Apple.
> if Verizon tossed $10-20 million in NRE to Apple
Apple doesn’t work that way. They fund their own R&D, and they don’t let the carriers tell them what to do.
It has been my experience that when people quote a single line of a paragraph and talk about that line like as if the preceding paragraph didn’t lead to that line as naturally as a sunset, that they’ve got serious problems with their ability to support their argument.
> I think Steve Jobs did right by not allowing Java into (what became) iOS after looking into hte issues of what Microsoft has gone through with the Java settlement.
Apple made that decision on technical grounds. Licensing didn’t enter into it.
Google’s excuse is that not all Android products have OpenGL ES-capable hardware, so they implemented the UI layer with a software compositor so a single code base can work across all Android platforms, GPU or no GPU.
It’s a load of horseshit.
It’s not hard to abstract out the compositing bits into an OpenGL or software implementation, depending on what’s available on the phone. Given how important responsive animation and the illusion of physical space is to the touchscreen experience, there’s little reason not to do it this way. Still, Google didn’t do it. It might be because they’re not good at the graphical UI part of things. Then again, the pioneer in this sort of thing was — wait for it — Apple. So Google could have been walking into a patent minefield by implementing it in the Android layer.
You sound like one of those guys who says he works 110% all the time.
NRE, prepayment for ‘x’ phones, promise of more money per phone, whatever. The point is, part of “not letting the carriers tell them what to do” is extracting concessions from the carriers that translate into profit, and unlike you, Apple probably doesn’t think that cash is gauche.
@Morgan> Apple’s biggest asset was always their biggest liability
— Steve Jobs and the control freak culture he built at Apple.
@esr> The interesting question, starting about 24 months from now,
will be whether Jobs can pull another rabbit out of his hat. I’m
doubtful, simply because he’s getting old.
Of course, Tim Cook is now running the show, and I find it likely
that Cook will be fully in-charge in 24 months.
Before joining Apple, Cook was vice president of corporate materials
for Compaq and was responsible for procuring and managing all of
Compaq’s product inventory. Previous to his work at Compaq, Cook
was the chief operating officer of the reseller division at Intelligent
Electronics. Cook also spent 12 years with IBM, most recently as
director of North American fulfillment where he led manufacturing
and distribution functions for IBM’s Personal Computer Company in
North and Latin America.
Mr. Cook is a full year younger than Mr. Raymond, and unlike the
mercurial Jobs, or anyone in a leadership position at Google, Cook
knows how to run a manufacturing company.
Apple is known for putting a premium on design. Few here would
argue the point. Johnathan Ives, not Jobs, is design @ Apple.
Apple’s CFO is Peter Oppenheimer, who started with Apple in 1996
as controller for the Americas, and in 1997 was promoted to vice
president and Worldwide Sales controller and then to corporate
controller. Oppenheimer joined Apple from Automatic Data Processing
(ADP), where he was CFO of one of the four strategic business units.
In that capacity, he had responsibility for finance, MIS, administration
and the equipment leasing portfolio. Prior to joining ADP, Oppenheimer
spent six years in the Information Technology Consulting Practice
with Coopers and Lybrand.
Even Apples GC, Bruce Sewell, is deeply rooted in the computer
industry. Sewell joined Apple from Intel Corporation in September
2009. At Intel, he was responsible for leading all of Intel’s legal,
corporate affairs and corporate social responsibility programs,
managing attorneys and policy professionals located in over 30
countries around the world. He joined Intel in 1995 as a senior
attorney assigned to counsel various business groups in areas such
as antitrust compliance, licensing and intellectual property. In
2001, Sewell was promoted to vice president and deputy general
counsel, managing Intel’s litigation portfolio, and handled corporate
transactions including M&A activities.
My point: Apple’s leadership is computer industry-based.
Now let’s look at Google. Eric Scmidt couldn’t help copying Apple’s
every move, so he’s jumping out of Google, effective April 2.
Brin and Page are both bright, but given that all they’ve ever known
is graduate school and Google, must posess a somewhat pinched view
of the world. Like the sycophant boss’ kid, they’ve always been somewhat ‘in-charge’, and as a result, there is no well of exeperiece from which they can draw.
Google’s Patrick Pichette, previously the top operations executive
at BCE, parent of Bell Canada (Canada’s biggest phone company), is
Google’s new chief financial officer. Google hired a guy from a
Canadian *phone company*.
Prior to joining Bell Canada, Patrick was a partner at McKinsey &
Company, where he was a lead member of McKinsey’s North American
Telecom Practice. He also served as vice president and chief financial
officer of Call-Net Enterprises Inc., a Canadian telecommunications
company. Google is among the most chaotic, profligate, unfocused,
engineering-oriented, and self-proclaimed recession-resistant of
organizations. Yet it reached outside the Googleplex for a real
business executive and charged him with ensuring that Google’s
freewheeling culture wouldn’t become its own worst enemy.
Prior to joining the company, Google’s “Chief Business Oficer”,
Nikesh Arora was chief marketing officer and a member of the
management board at T-Mobile.
Google’s GC is David C. Drummond. David was first introduced to
Google in 1998 as a partner in the corporate transactions group at
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. He does not have the legal
depth of his opponent at Apple.
Let that sink in for a moment. Google, the biggest Internet company
of all time, beset from all sides by legal challenges, is being run
by two telco-heads and a comparatively weak chief lawyer.
Anyone in the industry knows that the telcos are the mortal enemy
of the Internet space.
The long-running era of hypergrowth at Google is over.
@Wet Behind the Ears:
“The long-running era of hypergrowth at Google is over.”
Given the size of Google, this is not a bold prediction to make.
Your analysis looks nice, but leaves out a few minor points:
– Apple is a hardware company, and has management that is good at producing hardware for high/margin price insensitive markets.
– Google is a “cloud” software company, very good at implementing cutting edge software on OTS hardware on the biggest computer centers. Their business is automating that what cannot be automated, on the biggest scale. Their management is good at steering software development.
– Handset makers are hardware companies, good at designing and manufacturing consumer electronics in very high volume, small margin markets. I assume they do have the relevant management talent.
Your complaint seems to be that Google is bad at manufacturing hardware, and the handset makers are bad at writing software. Which is completely beside the point.
In a high volume/low margin market, the handset makers will fleece Apple. In large scale, cloud based software services, Google will fleece Apple.
Only in medium-to low volume/high margin price insensitive markets will Apple beat the others. As they always have.
Nice speech but it’s about as one sided as a stick figure. It’d also help if you did a little fact checking.
And yet people here were saying he needed to copy Apple more instead of RIM. Personally i think he didn’t give a rats ass what kind of phone android was running on, rather he wanted to imitate what was popular in the market because it was never about google making phones, it was about google challenging phone manufacturers to do better. Also he’s not jumping ship April 2nd. At best it’s April 4th and even then he’s staying on as Executive Director and advisor for a year. Read between the lines a little and it becomes obvious that the 55 year old thinks that Page can probably make it without training wheels and thinks he can do better for Google by stepping aside.
Please. Brin and Page are a couple of smart cookies who revolutionised an industry by giving the users what they actually needed so well that 12 years on they still basically own their space. If there’s anything here it’s that i’m not sure diverting page with the top job is really in their best interests, his or the company’s. The weakness to their “well of experience” it’s that it’s pretty much limited to the web space. Which is probably why they hired the likes of :-
OK so check me on this. You’re criticising Google for hiring someone outside of their own comfort zone to make sure that their comfort zone doesn’t destroy the company. As an added bonus he has a historical skillset involving strategic planing in the telecoms space. Directly in his past is intimate knowledge of telecoms rollouts. Call me strange but he sounds like a perfect hire for the new directions that Google is moving.
As far as I can tell Google’s General Counsel is Kent Walker. He’s hard to find information about (it looks like google did a restructure of their execs page which dropped the legal section… old one available here) but ebay and netscape are interesting names to drop on a resume as well as being an Assistant US Attorney with a specialty of technology crimes.
David Drummond is listed as the “Chief Legal Officer” which Apple doesn’t seem to have one of. (I make no judgement as to whether thats a good thing or bad thing either way)
Where does Brin and Page fit into this line up? And i’d point out that the point of the CLO is not to actually run court cases, it’s to make sure that fundamental corporate policy isn’t blatantly illegal. Google has King & Spaulding on retainer to run the court cases.
So you think that because telcos “are the mortal enemy” then Google shouldn’t hire anyone with that history? Why? Because they might be a traitor?
> they implemented the UI layer with a software compositor so a single code base can work across all Android platforms, GPU or no GPU.
Wow. That’s pretty screwed up. Apple has a software GL implementation that’s a fallback if a particular display isn’t GL-capable, but they always use the hardware if it’s there. Do you know if Google compounded their error by doing something completely asinine like trying to write rendering code in Java?
> unlike you, Apple probably doesn’t think that cash is gauche.
What the fuck? What have I ever said to make you think that I have anything against cash?
Probably should have said “unlike you[r protrayal of them (in never accepting anything resembling NRE)], Apple probably doesn’t think that cash is gauche.”
BTW, even if there wasn’t any real cash involved, there certainly were NRE costs incurred by Verizon — cell tower, CDMA experts on-site at Apple campus, etc.
@Jeff Read: Sorry to be so late about answering your question.
In his portrait of J Random Hacker, ESR points out how hackers have very good memories compared to most folk. The inverse of this is that users have very poor memories compared to hackers. In addition, users lack confidence in their memories, even more so that their poor memories would justify.
So my view is that “user friendliness” consists primarily of (a) supporting the user’s memory as a precious resource, letting him get the most possible work done for the least possible stress on his memory, and (b) reassuring him that he hasn’t misremembered commands (and breaking it to him gently when he has). The very fast response to user input that you keep pushing is, in my view, an aspect of (b). It keeps the user from starting to worry that he has misremembered something and so mistakenly issued a command equivalent to typing rm -fr * in the wrong window.