The Smartphone Wars: Signs and Portents

The September comScore numbers are out, and the market transition hinted at by the June numbers seems to be under way. Growth in the U.S. smartphone market is slowing, and the flavor of the competitive game is about to change.

Since early 2011 I’ve been writing that the U.S. smartphone market didn’t look like its players were in a zero-sum game. In particular, both Android and Apple were spared having to compete head-to-head in each others’ core markets by the huge volume of dumbphone conversions and customers bailing out of RIM and Microsoft. But I also expected this to change in 3Q2011 as the U.S. smartphone market neared saturation; this change was hinted at in the June numbers and I think the September ones show it arriving right on schedule.

Comparing the first and third graphs at statistics page tells the story. Apple and Android userbases are continuing to grow on their usual trendlines, but RIM and Microsoft seem to have found some sort of floor; their decline has notably slowed and (if you’re prepared to trust the last decimal digit, which I’m not) Microsoft may even have picked up a handful of users.

This means it’s going to be a tougher game from now on. Android and Apple have captured the easy switchers; now they’re going to have to fight harder for increased share, and more against each other.

Apple fans will want to spin the flat Apple share numbers as people holding off purchases for the 4S, and will predict a big spike in Apple’s October numbers. The trouble with this a narrative is that we could equally interpret the fall-off in Android share growth as people waiting for Android 4 – and meanwhile, the ratio between share growth rates has actually increased in Android’s favor.

Again, it’s helpful to compare with the userbase graph; there’s no sign of weakness in Android’s competitive position there. The longer-term U.S. trend is still that Android is growing twice as fast as Apple, and in fact the difference in growth rates is widening rather than narrowing.

For some perspective, let’s hop across the pond. In England, Android utterly crushes its competition. The article doesn’t specify whether “market share” is installed base a la comScore or new sales, but either way it’s nor a pretty picture for competitors. RIM has seen a slight recent uptick, but everybody else – including Apple – has gotten kerb-stomped.

Of course, the 4S could still surprise everyone in the holiday season. But we’re now in the third cycle of “Oooh! Oooh! the New Apple phone will crush Android and restore Cupertino’s rightful dominance…” and we all know what became of those blithe and wishful imaginings the first two times. The smart bet is that this time won’t be different.

456 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: Signs and Portents

  1. Apple fans will want to spin the flat Apple share numbers as people holding off purchases for the 4S, and will predict a big spike in Apple’s October numbers. The trouble with this a narrative is that we could equally interpret the fall-off in Android share growth as people waiting for Android 4 – and meanwhile, the ratio between share growth rates has actually increased in Android’s favor.

    It’s not that simple. I don’t think anyone but enthusiasts (myself included) are really waiting for 4.0 or the Galaxy Nexus. A lot of people were waiting on the 4S. The difference is Apple releases one iPhone per year, whilst there’s weekly Android releases.

    Also, there is a large number of people I know that bought the original Motorola Droid on Verizon exactly 2 years ago because it was the best option on the carrier, whilst actually wanting an iPhone. I also think the Droid soured their experiences; it was fairly slow, as were all of the Android models before the Nexus One.

    I’m actually looking at purchasing the 4S on contract, hoping to sell it on Craigs list, so I can purchase a European or Canadian Galaxy Nexus, which is sadly going to be a Verizon exclusive in the US. Shame on Google for making me do this – they made a pentaband phone that supports both the Tmobile and AT&T 3G frequencies, and are only going to be selling a CDMA/LTE version stateside!

  2. One interesting trend I’ve been seeing in my arguably limited sample size — midle-class, non-techie women are going for highend Android phones. Particularly, they’re going for the biggest screens they can find. A lot of men I know scoff at the pocket ability of 4+ inch screens, whereas the women I know don’t care because they key their phones in their purses. Some are even considering these larger phones as PC replacement devices, as all they want to do outside of the office is use Gmail, YouTube, and Facebook. They don’t consider the iPhone because of the 3.5″ display.

  3. @esr so are you predicting existing trends will simply continue? Is that a good summary?

  4. The press seems to interpret the numbers just like Eric does. (searching both Bing and Google with [android comscore numbers])

    The Nielsen numbers were alike:
    Android Continues to Dominate, Gain Mobile U.S. Market Share
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395804,00.asp#fbid=BqrHv2pN71X

    To summarize, it looks extremely unlikely that the more expensive iPhone with only a single new model this year will start to outgrow the cheaper Android phones with a new model every week.

  5. I think we are seeing the beginning of a period with much uncertainty in the mobile arena. Apple has stagnated. Android is hurt by too many OS versions, patent FUD and Motorola disgestion uncertainty. Microsoft is getting good reviews for their Mango version.

    At the same time, the developed world is almost done with the transition from dumbphones to smartphones, while the rest of the world hardly has started. I think the main battlefield will no longer be in the US and Europe, because it will be hard to convince an iPhone user to change to Android or Mango, just as Android users will be reluctant to switch from their platform.

    The fight will be in India, China, the old Soviet Union, Latin America and Africa. Adoption of smartphones have hardly started, but when it comes, it will be very quick. People in these countries have limited access to landline internet and stationary computers. They will be doing everything on their phones. Major players on the market will be ZTE and Huawei, because they have worked really hard on producing cheap and capable smartphones. If they will be selling Android or Windows phones, only time will tell. What we know for certain is that they won’t be selling iPhones. Nokia is their only serious contender, with a capacity for producing low cost handsets, and with a really good reputation in these markets.

  6. Also, there is a large number of people I know that bought the original Motorola Droid on Verizon exactly 2 years ago because it was the best option on the carrier, whilst actually wanting an iPhone. I also think the Droid soured their experiences; it was fairly slow, as were all of the Android models before the Nexus One.

    Have you surveyed these people? I am one of them. I never wanted an iPhone, and I’ve invested time, money, and energy crafting my Android experience to my personal level of comfort & utility. Now, it’s essentially duplicated on my tablet. And I will probably buy the newest slider when I’m tired of the original ‘slow’ Droid, which I’m not, yet, but then I’m not needing to be asking it if I need an umbrella or a locksmith, being a little more practical. Maybe I’m too much of a wanna-be hacker, but I never wanted any Apple product, except the big-ass iPod.

  7. > The article doesn’t specify whether “market share” is installed base a la comScore or new sales
    In the left side of the graph it says “Percentage share of sales during period”

  8. @eric, looking at numbers in isolation leads to funny conclusions. I would argue that the recent drop in (global) feature phone share indicates that we haven’t entered the zero sum end game for smart phones and that’s still in the future. RIM, Nokia, et al are not the ONLY low hanging fruit. There’s a lot of feature phones out there. We’re nowhere near smartphone saturation even in the US IMO.

    You can’t just look at smartphone market share in isolation. Total share and unit growth are also two important metrics. There are others as well.

    One additional interesting metric…profit. It appears that the Android tide is not lifting all boats evenly.

    http://www.asymco.com/2011/11/04/the-end-of-the-independent-phone-brand/

    As much as everyone has concluded that RIM is doomed many other companies suffered more. How that plays out should be interesting. HTC and Samsung are the clear Android winners. How that impacts strategic thinking in the other players may or may not matter given most of those haven’t shown any great ability to execute well.

    I wonder how much TouchWiz has played into Samsung’s success.

  9. >I would argue that the recent drop in (global) feature phone share indicates that we haven’t entered the zero sum end game for smart phones and that’s still in the future.

    Globally of course that’s true. It’s the U.S. market that’s transitioning to zero-sum.

  10. Can we take it, then, that your post announcing Android passing 50% share will be titled ‘The Coming of Shadows’?

  11. @Tom
    I think Android passing 50% in the USA will be a non-event. The goalposts will shift from “50% of Smartphones” to “50% of cell phones”. Which will be a long way off.

    “Android growing” is just as newsworthy as “Dog bites man”.

  12. @nigel:

    We’re nowhere near smartphone saturation even in the US IMO.

    @esr:

    It’s the U.S. market that’s transitioning to zero-sum.

    I’m sure I’m not typical, but I would be happy to replace my feature phone with a smartphone. BUT… It is my understanding that the carriers will automatically sign you up for the “necessary” data plan if you carry a smartphone. I understand there are workarounds, but this is the sort of cat and mouse game I’m not interested in playing.

  13. My crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s, but I think taking about share numbers for Apple vs Android may be too simplistic, as Android isn’t monolithic. The iPhone is: it’s a single product with a limited set of models made by a single company that does both the hardware and the software. Android is an open source OS anyone can grab and implement on a device, with a modular design that allows OEMs to include the parts that support what their particular hardware platform will include and what they want it to do. There are a number of Android based devices out there, with more coming, and a wide variation in design and implementation, from merely adequate to very good indeed.

    Another question is form factor. While Android began targeting the smartphone market, there’s no inherent reason why what it runs on should be a smartphone. I was wondering for a while when we would see devices running Android that weren’t phones, and sure enough, we have a batch of Android tablets. It might be interesting to see what the numbers look like if the comparison is iOS vs Android, and you toss the tablet numbers into the mix.

    Also, the market isn’t monolithic, and I think you can identify various distinct segments with differing purchase motivations. For instance, Nokia, under a new CEO who is ex-Microsoft, has bet the company on Windows Phone and is abandoning Symbian and Maemo. Devices based on Windows Phone are a decent bet for the business market where Windows runs on everything else. But while the executive may buy one, will his teenage daughter who wants to keep up with her friends? For a large segment of the market, phones are fashion accessories, bought because they’re cool. The iPhone is cool. Android is cool. Microsoft and Nokia’s challenge is to make Mango cool.

    I’m not counting RIM as dead just yet, though their shift to Qnx may be too late, and their initial entries have been underwhelming. (Blackberry Playbook, anyone?)

    In the US, I expect to see the smartphone market resemble the credit card market – saturated, with vendors attempting to poach market share from each other. (Save that customers are unlikely to have multiple cell phones along with multiple credit cards.)

  14. @Aaron Trass:

    > Particularly, they’re going for the biggest screens they can find. A lot of men I know scoff at the pocket ability of 4+ inch screens, whereas the women I know don’t care because they key their phones in their purses.”

    I might class myself in that group. My cellphone is the smallest, lightest, cheapest feature phone Nokia makes. All it does is place/receive calls and do SMS, and that’s all I want it to do. My main device for everything else is an old Palm OS PDA (a Tapwave Zodiac 2), which holds my contacts, calendar and todo list, displays videos and pictures, plays MP3s, views spreadsheets and documents, plays games, and serves as my main ebook viewer platform. (It can go on line via wifi, but in practice, I don’t.)

    I’d be interested in a combo smartphone/tablet offering, with functions distributed similar to what I do now, where each can operate stand alone, but will work together (like the tablet going online via the phone as a cellular modem if wifi isn’t available). Like the women you mention, I want a larger screen than a pocketable cell phone is likely to have.

  15. Patrick: I had to go through grand contortions to get my smart phone without a data plan.

    I wanted something that I could take snapshots with, get them off the phone with a USB cable, and have a slide out keyboard for texting.

    I’m waiting for the next round of data plan bloodletting before going in on a smartphone with a dataplan.

    Unless someone with a serious sense of curiosity really wants to swap an AT&T capable Android running Ice Cream Sandwich for one of the handful of Bada-OS phones released in the US….

  16. @Ken Burnside:

    I’m waiting for the next round of data plan bloodletting before going in on a smartphone with a dataplan.

    Exactly my point. Nigel says “We’re nowhere near smartphone saturation even in the US” and esr says “It’s the U.S. market that’s transitioning to zero-sum” and they are both right. At least for now. There are several things keeping dumb/featurephone users using dumb featurephones. Battery life, the availability of cheap PAYG plans, and the reticence of the carriers to let you have a phone that’s more than a phone unless you pay them for the privilege.

    A canny phone vendor could do worse than to release a phone that’s incapable of transferring data except by WiFi…

  17. “The September comScore numbers are out, and the market transition hinted at by the June numbers seems to be under way… But I also expected this to change in 3Q2011 as the U.S. smartphone market neared saturation; this change was hinted at in the June numbers and I think the September ones show it arriving right on schedule.”

    So Apple began to precipitously collapse?

    “Apple and Android userbases are continuing to grow on their usual trendlines, but RIM and Microsoft seem to have found some sort of floor; their decline has notably slowed and (if you’re prepared to trust the last decimal digit, which I’m not) Microsoft may even have picked up a handful of users.”

    Oh, I thought you predicted a precipitous collapse for Apple, not that they would continue to grow at current rates NOR that RIM and Microsoft would actually consolidate a base, however admittedly small.

    “The trouble with this a narrative is that we could equally interpret the fall-off in Android share growth as people waiting for Android 4 – and meanwhile, the ratio between share growth rates has actually increased in Android’s favor.”

    How could you equally interpret that? Has Apple had observable slowdowns or even declines at the end of every transition? Have they had a significant boost with a product transition and the holiday season? Can we “EQUALLY” say the same has been observed with Android?

    “In England, Android utterly crushes its competition.” I really don’t see much difference in the US except for greater strength in the RIM platform (and more residual Sybian) and the possibility that Android has plateaued.

    “…but everybody else – including Apple – has gotten kerb-stomped.”

    If hovering between 20-25% is your definition of “curb-stomporced,” it’s no wonder that I’m having difficulty seeing this “precipitous, self-reinforcing collapse.”

    “Of course, the 4S could still surprise everyone in the holiday season.”

    And by “surprise” you mean “not a surprise” — is there anyone not expecting an extremely good product launch/holiday quarter for Apple?

    “The smart bet is that this time won’t be different.”

    Agreed, your prediction of a precipitous collapse in 3Q2011 won’t materialize.

  18. I’m philisophically predisposed to favor Android, but I jumped on the smartphone bandwagon with the original iPhone and I haven’t managed to switch away from Apple yet. My main hesitation is the horror stories about Android phones that never get new software or that have hardware compatibility problems after patches. Then there are the vague claims about Android lacking polish compared to iOS. Some of that is probably exaggeration, but rare battery life issues after major releases notwithstanding, Apple does a fine job at keeping the iPhone user interface polished and as a result I’m reluctant to give up my 3GS.

    BUT the iPhone 4S inexplicably failed to enlarge the screen, and AT&T in Houston is hell, so now I’m more open to Android — maybe one of those nifty-looking Samsung big screen phones.

    I can identify with the Apple fans who expected the 4S to breathe new life into the iPhone line. But the only attractive new feature is the computing speed. No modern screen, no 4G bandwidth, what was Apple thinking? With their cash on hand I wonder what we are missing of the story behind the 4S, the phone that from the outside appears to have squandered an opportunity in the war vs Google.

  19. > So Apple began to precipitously collapse?

    Not yet. That’ll happen in 2013. There are bigger picture around all that. We are in the midst of Greater Depression. The government’s ability to hide picture it smoke and mirrors is slowly but surely eroding. But U.S. have not yet used it’s “last hurrah”: massive direct money injections. Looks like the current plan is to stretch all other possibilities till about spring of 2012: then the “last uptick” (and the accompanying euphoria) will happen before elections and hangover (monthly inflation of around 10%) will happen after.

    What does it mean? Apple will have a fantastic 2012 year. People will foolishly believe that can continue to buy premium products like iPhone or iPad. iPhone5 will probably the bestselling smartphone… of all times. The marketshare can even grow significantly in that period (in US, not in the world)!

    But in 2013 situation will change: if you have 10% monthly inflation then subsidized phones become heavy burden on carriers. They will just have no way to borrow money to subsidize these phones! And people will be reluctant to pay full price for iPhone’s “premium experience”.

    It’s hard to predict exact timings of Apple’s crash, but it’ll happen sometime in 2013, not in 2012. Note that Apple also can mask it for some time: they have massive cash reserves, but since these, too, will erode in 2013… well, 2013 is shaping up to be really interesting year.

  20. People waiting for the new Android version, yeah right. Mention “Ice Cream Sandwich” in relation to mobile phones among “regular people” they will think you are high or something.

    Contrast this to the the fact that almost everybody knew there was a new iPhone coming late fall, as even mainstream media was constantly pumping out rumors about it.

  21. @DMcCunney

    “My crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s, but I think taking about share numbers for Apple vs Android may be too simplistic, ”

    You must be new here. Around these parts, mobile device platforms are considered to be an exact replay of the “PC wars”. Market share is all that matters.

  22. Former FTC official and current Google employee Susan Creighton told the Senate Judiciary committee in September that Apple’s iOS devices accounted for 2/3 of Google’s mobile-search traffic.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/OversightofG/start/8655/stop/10380

    So, less than 2 months ago, a Google employee testified under oath that Apple’s iOS devices are responsible for 2/3 of all mobile search.

    Wither Android? If Android has so much market share, why isn’t Google seeing it?

    Steve Jobs on Google ((as reported by Wired) in Jan 2010: “We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them”, he says. Someone else asks something on a different topic, but there’s no getting Jobs off this rant. I want to go back to that other question first and say one more thing, he says. This don’t be evil mantra: “It’s bullshit.” Audience roars.

    With some potential corrections: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/01/31/jobs-town-all

    Yeah, well, not anymore. Seems like Apple is in the search business now. http://blog.thearorareport.com/2011/10/31/apple-siri-google-search-study/

    We did a small study to validate the hypothesis that users of Apple (AAPL) Siri are reducing Google (GOOG) searches.

    The study involved 17 users of Apple Siri who upgraded from Apple iPhone 3GS, 20 users who upgraded from android phones and three users who upgraded from Apple iPhone 4.

    All 40 users of Siri report that they see no need to go to Google if Siri can answer their question.

    27 users of Siri have not done a single Google search since they got iPhone 4S.

    13 users on the average have done two Google searches since they got iPhone 4S. These users would have previously done over 10 Google searches in the same time period.

    This is a small sample and the study is not scientific. The study provides evidence that Apple Siri users are changing habits . As a result of changing habits, Google search may see a major decline as Siri becomes widely available and Apple adds more databases to the backend of Siri.

    Removing the revenue stream is how Microsoft got back on top of Netscape back in the day.

  23. @wlad

    >You must be new here. Around these parts, mobile device platforms are considered to be an exact replay of the “PC wars”. Market share is all that matters.

    And don’t even think about including the iPad in the same platform as the iPhone. That is verboten.

    It’s share of mobile phone units (NOT share of revenue). That is the One True Metric.

  24. The “wait for Apple’s shiny new phone” narrative is tired and irrelevant. As for me, I had a rare opportunity to buy any phone I wanted, and I picked up a Samsung Galaxy S II, which as far as I’m concerned is *the* finest phone available today, bar none.

    I don’t own an iPhone for the same reason I don’t own a Prada handbag: way overpriced, way overrated, and I’m not girly enough to own either one of them.

    Android is the obvious winner. Microsoft is irrelevant, and we have to assume that any “favorable reviews” of Vista Phone were bought and paid for. RIM might hang in there for longer than we think, but it’s not going to be a serious competitor.

  25. @IGnatius T Foobar

    >I don’t own an iPhone for the same reason I don’t own a Prada handbag: way overpriced, way overrated, and I’m not girly enough to own either one of them.

    Way to lay some flame bait, and demonstrate your misogyny in one post.

  26. @Life as we know it:

    Former FTC official and current Google employee Susan Creighton told the Senate Judiciary committee in September that Apple’s iOS devices accounted for 2/3 of Google’s mobile-search traffic.

    Wither Android? If Android has so much market share, why isn’t Google seeing it?

    Most commentators seem to include tablets in the “mobile device” category. Given that Apple is still way out front in tablets, I think this is fairly self-explanatory.

  27. One additional interesting metric…profit.

    No, it’s not particularly interesting. What would be interesting is if Android makers tended to have fat, Apple-like profits, because that would contradict the “Android commoditizes the product” theory. Thin profits on Android devices support the PC market equivalency model.

    Removing the revenue stream is how Microsoft got back on top of Netscape back in the day.

    Usefully, Google still owns non-mobile Internet search and advertising, so Apple can’t cut the revenue off. Therefore the model doesn’t apply.

    And don’t even think about including the iPad in the same platform as the iPhone. That is verboten.

    Go ahead if you think the tablet market is anything more than a slightly delayed version of the phone market. Nobody will set you ablaze on this Guy Fawkes Day. The fires will wait until the 15th.

    It’s share of mobile phone units (NOT share of revenue). That is the One True Metric.

    If you’re an investor or manufacturer, you care about revenue. From the developer and consumer perspectives, who cares? Unless you’re rooting for one side as if it were a baseball team, there’s no reason to look at revenue; units tell you how big the platform is.

  28. I’d be interested in a combo smartphone/tablet offering, with functions distributed similar to what I do now, where each can operate stand alone, but will work together (like the tablet going online via the phone as a cellular modem if wifi isn’t available). Like the women you mention, I want a larger screen than a pocketable cell phone is likely to have.

    Check out the Samsung Galaxy Note. It’s a 5.3″ Android phone with a 720p display, huge battery, and a capacitive stylus. Only available in Europe and Asia, but you could always import it.

  29. @Tom:

    Way to lay some flame bait, and demonstrate your misogyny in one post.

    Hmm, I didn’t notice any misogyny in that post. I’ll leave it to others to figure out what that says about me.

  30. @Aaron Traas:

    Check out the Samsung Galaxy Note. It’s a 5.3? Android phone with a 720p display, huge battery, and a capacitive stylus.

    Yes, I’d be very interested in the Note, but am worried that any carrier I tried to use it on would demand that I get a dataplan to go with it. Apparently, they can tell via the IMEI what kind of phone it is, and apparently, even though the IMEI is alterable on some phones, it is illegal to alter it in some countries (because said alteration makes it easier to flog a stolen phone) so whenever you see a thread on a discussion board about altering a handset’s IMEI, some self-sanctimonious asshat always shuts down the conversation with some variant of ‘that’s illegal, we don’t condone it, there’s no legitimate reason to do it.”

  31. I’ve invested time, money, and energy crafting my Android experience to my personal level of comfort & utility.

    …and hobbyists like yourself are what proportion of the market?

  32. the iPhone 4S inexplicably failed to enlarge the screen

    Inexplicably?

    The current size means that most people can operate it one-handed. I don’t want it any wider, although I might go for another 50 or 100 DPI whenever such displays become available.

  33. @steven profit is interesting because unless you are HTC or Samsung Android isn’t doing much for you. Hence my point about boats and tides.

    Moto’s plan was to get acquired by Google. Done.

    Sony’s is to kick ericsson out. My guess is further differentiation via PSP gaming and deeper customization of android.

    LG should be interesting to watch.

    Nokia going WP7 exclusive doesn’t seem as bad a play if they get more leeway than LG or Samsung in differentiation.

  34. @Patrick Maupin

    I basically want the opposite. I want a data plan woot a voice plan. There are VoIP solutions that I could use on occasion. I probably use less than 5 minutes of talk time in a week. Sometimes it’s zero.

  35. @IGnatius T Foobar: So an iPhone is “overpriced” compared to a Samsung Galaxy S II? Really? An iPhone 4S is $199 with a contract, about the same as a Samsung Galaxy S II, from what I can tell. If I am wrong, please enlighten me.

    As for screens, the 4S is 960 x 640, while the Samsung is 800 x 480.

  36. HTC and LG are already reporting sales slumps due to a strong showing from the 4S. (Four million units sold in three days!) And you want to take a wait and see stance? Jim Henson took a wait and see attitude too, and now we’ve got wrong-sounding Muppets.

    Between the blockbusting 4S sales and the upcoming legal challenges Google faces, Android’s meteoric rise to prominence is likely to peter out before reaching stable orbit.

  37. Don’t count Windows Phone out of this yet. The Lumia 800 is winning rave reviews, and Microsoft is a few money hats away from having a solid developer base.

  38. @Aaron Traas:

    I want a data plan woot a voice plan. I probably use less than 5 minutes of talk time in a week. Sometimes it’s zero.

    Currently I have a VirginMobile handset that I add $15 to every 90 days, that probably has $300 of time available on it. So, I’m not a heavy phone user either. But I could get on my daughters’ AT&T family plan for $10/month. A $5/month bump is no big deal. But then the dataplans are a lot more than that. I haven’t researched options in awhile — was taken aback when I realized that I almost made a huge mistake paying full retail for a smartphone that I could put a SIM card in, assuming I could attach it to AT&T for a mere $10/month…

  39. @Some Guy

    …and hobbyists like yourself are what proportion of the market?

    That makes me a hobbyist? Are you running a stock iPhone? No other apps besides what ships on it?

    Everyone I know with a smartphone crafts it to their preferences. Kinda seems to be a main selling point of smartphones, in fact…lot of money being made off of “hobbyists.” What an absurd assertion.

  40. @Patrick Maupin,

    I’m with AT&T. The base data plan is $15/month for 200MB, and there’s also $25 for 2GB. What I really wish they offered was family data 2GB is enough for both my wife and I to share, whilst 200mb each isn’t enough. It gets worse if you want multiple devices, or want to tether, or whatever.

  41. @Tom

    “And don’t even think about including the iPad in the same platform as the iPhone. ”

    Since Apple’s marketshare of tablets already crossed the threshold where network effects doom any competitors (per the local weltanschauung), mentioning tablets around here is, er, inconvenient.

  42. If you want to get an idea of what the future of the iPad’s market share dominance might look like, you need only to look to another product where Apple was able to lead on user experience, hardware prowess and software ecosystem:

    the iPod.

  43. wlad:

    cSince Apple’s marketshare of tablets already crossed the threshold where network effects doom any competitors

    Let’s revisit this assertion in a year, shall we?

    mentioning tablets around here is, er, inconvenient.

    No, but conflating them with phones is.

    @Life as we know it:

    If you want to get an idea of what the future of the iPad’s market share dominance might look like, … the iPod.

    Not happening. iTunes was the killer app driving that, and the Android-carrying masses have gotten more than comfortable getting their music from elsewhere and/or moving iTunes content over to their Androids.

  44. @Patrick Maupin

    “Let’s revisit this assertion in a year, shall we?”

    Hey, I’m not the one aserting that once you reach 50-60% marketshare, network effects (etc..) make it inevitable that you will reach 80-90% with a quickness.

  45. @wlad:

    > Hey, I’m not the one aserting that once you reach 50-60% marketshare, network effects (etc..) make it inevitable that you will reach 80-90% with a quickness.

    I didn’t assert that. But if anybody did assert that, I think there were a few more conditions to it. As in multiple competing manufacturers selling products with the same software…

  46. Apple reported back in June that a total of 220 million iOS devices have been sold. 25 million of those were iPads.

    Let’s assume that, by now there are 200 million non-iPad iOS devices.

    Let us further assume that there are 200 million Android and other ‘mobile’ devices, and that their owners are as likely to search Google as an iPhone owner. So essentially, 1/3 of mobile Google searches are iPhone, 1/3 are Android and other (windows mobile, rim, etc), and since we’ve accounted for the entire mobile market except iPad, 1/3 are iPad.

    But there are 8X as many ‘other’ (Android) devices as iPads. Why are iPad owners doing 8X the google searches?

    Remembering that Siri is killing google searches on iPhone 4S, what happens when Siri is available on iPad (perhaps iPad 3)?

    Finally look at the negative growth of the PC market. Google can’t rely on a shrinking market while losing access to 2/3 of the growing market.

  47. @Patrick

    >No, but conflating them with phones is.

    I’ve never understood this. You guys are always talking about how it is the platform that matters. That’s why it is irrelevant that the iPhone is always the single best selling device.

    But then you claim that the iPad shouldn’t be considered as part of the same platform as the iPhone because its a different device.

    Which is it: devices or platforms?

  48. >The Smartphone Wars

    Since that’s what we’re talking about, that’s why I personally wouldn’t throw tablets in the mix.

    Maybe one day, Eric will do a platform wars…that would be fun.

  49. @Scott

    >Since that’s what we’re talking about, that’s why I personally wouldn’t throw tablets in the mix.

    Because phones are more important than tablets?

    The Android people who post here are typically motivated by a desire to ensure that the next generation of computers is open. They want to prevent a closed ecosystem like iOS from dominating. So, given this, I just don’t see why there is a relevant distinction between phones and tablets.

  50. @Life as we know it:

    Why are iPad owners doing 8X the google searches?

    Probably because of what psychologists would call “affordability.” +Nice big screen. -No keyboard. +Use it on the sofa with others. +Long battery life. Etc. Not as many Android tablets with those characteristics sold yet.


    Overall, the iPhone accounted for 54 percent of the total number of iOS ad impressions with iPad and iPod touch impressions making up the remaining 46 percent.

    @Tom :

    I’ve never understood this. You guys are always talking about how it is the platform that matters.

    Yes. What will be the platform that most of the 7 billion users use for their computing. And, btw, most of them won’t be affording tablets for at least several years.

    That’s why it is irrelevant that the iPhone is always the single best selling device.

    If I buy an Android phone and learn an Android app, I can use it on my next phone. Even with all the supposed Android fragmentation that most developers don’t seem that concerned about. That’s why the platform matters. Before Android, there was a good chance that Apple was going to sew up the lion’s share of smartphone purchases and channel everybody who wanted more than a featurephone into their walled garden, with Nokia’s and RIM’s walled gardens and Microsoft’s somewhat more open garden fighting for scraps. Now that potential outcome seems like a distant threat.

    But then you claim that the iPad shouldn’t be considered as part of the same platform as the iPhone because its a different device.

    When people buy a phone, tablet compatibility might be on their list, but the tablets aren’t directly competing with the phones in most cases. A couple of the bigger phones and smaller tablets blur the distinction a bit, but in general, most people want an always-with-them pocket/purse device that acts as a phone and has some other functions, and some people might also want a tablet. Very few will choose to have one or the other, so in general, they are not in competition with each other. Tablets do appear to be somewhat in competition with desktops, at least with the second desktop in a household.

    Which is it: devices or platforms?

    Platform with a market segment. Personally, I think dumbphones and smartphones are much closer to the same market segment than smartphones and tablets, but what do I know?

    They want to prevent a closed ecosystem like iOS from dominating. So, given this, I just don’t see why there is a relevant distinction between phones and tablets.

    This is a point, but most of the world won’t be using tablets for awhile, which in and of itself is a reason not to care so deeply about them. Phones are ubiquitous, and smartphones are poised to take over. Every increase in battery life and decrease in price is one more nail in the coffin of — well, apparently, Nokia, although they’re not down for the count yet.

    In addition, the size of the handset market leads to an ongoing case of disruption from the bottom — smartphones will be the volume market driver for all the tablet components except the somewhat bigger touchscreens (yes, including the OS). Obviously, Apple figured this out and managed to execute extremely early compared to any Android vendors, but the market curves of Android vs. iOS tablet adoption look a lot like earlier curves of Android vs. iOS smartphone adoption.

    So at the end of they day, yes, it appears that enough people are finding tablets useful that they will matter, but I think they will just follow the smartphone trajectory (at least globally — Apple might be able to disrupt a local market here or there with bogus design patents).

  51. Phones and tablets are the same platform? Even if they are running the same OS?

    Then I guess you think desktop computers, servers, and supercomputers are all the same platform if they are running Linux?

  52. In October, Apple announced that is has sold 40 million iPads on a cumulative basis. Apple also reported selling some 250 million iOS devices in total since the iPhone was first introduced in 2007.

    For all of its “market share” hype, Android doesn’t seem to be something most people actually use. Rather, it’s been the smartphone people could afford, or that was offered on their carrier-of-choice.

    But now the situation has changed.

    iPhones are $0 (on AT&T), and are available on every carrier in the US except T-Mobile and US Cellular.

    I’m looking forward to the next few sets of comscore numbers. The Holiday buying season is going to be very hard on Android.

  53. iPhones are $0 (on AT&T), and are available on every carrier in the US except T-Mobile and US Cellular.

    And I feel sorry for anyone who gets suckered into buying one, when there are tremendously superior phones (both iPhone and Android) available for an insignificant incremental cost over the contract term.

    I’m looking forward to the next few sets of comscore numbers. The Holiday buying season is going to be very hard on Android.

    I’m reminded of the economist who predicted nine of the last two recessions.

  54. > And I feel sorry for anyone who gets suckered into buying one

    Anyone with $200 to spend will buy an iPhone 4S.

  55. @Tom

    Because phones are more important than tablets?

    The Android people who post here are typically motivated by a desire to ensure that the next generation of computers is open. They want to prevent a closed ecosystem like iOS from dominating. So, given this, I just don’t see why there is a relevant distinction between phones and tablets.

    Note that I did say “personally.” Look, if you want to post about the SmartPlatform wars, I’d read it. I find it all fascinating. Though, I do think Android will “win” the installed race.

  56. MS do not believe in WP7 themselves:

    Microsoft updates Bing app for Android and iOS, not Windows Phone 7
    Summary: If Microsoft doesn’t invest in its own mobile operating system why should you?
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/microsoft-updates-bing-app-for-android-and-ios-not-windows-phone-7/1601

    You can get the updated Bing app. on the general Android Market, Verizon customers can get it here, and Apple iPhone users can pick it up at the iPhone App Store. Windows Phone users can… ah… well “We’re working to release the same consistent experience for RIM and Windows Phone 7 devices in the future, and will share more details as they become available.”

  57. @Patrick

    So, it seems to me that you are arguing that we should not be including tablets with the smartphone numbers for two basic reasons:

    1. People just aren’t using that many tablets compared with smartphones. Therefore they are not as important.

    2. Although the iPad and the iPhone are part of the same platform (and while Android phones and Android tablets are part of the same platform) they are not part of the same market segment. Therefore tablet numbers should not be mixed in with smartphone numbers.

    In response to point 1:

    Yes, there are more smartphones out there than tablets, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore tablets completely. We don’t ignore smartphones with screens larger than 4 inches just because there are relatively low numbers of them compared with sub-4 inch smartphones. We don’t ignore phones made out of metal (just to choose a random example) just because there are more plastic phones than metal ones.

    The whole point of looking at sales numbers is to find out what device or platform is selling well compared to the others. Excluding a class of devices just because they have relatively low numbers is crazy, and counter to the purpose of tracking share.

    We should be concerned about tablet sales to the extent that they they are being sold, and the easy way to achieve this exact goal is to include tablet sales numbers with smartphone numbers, platform vs. platform.

    Now to point 2:

    I don’t dispute that there are distinctions between smartphones and tablets. Of course not. They clearly are distinct market segments.

    But my point is, why is this relevant to your stated reason for being interested in this race from the start, namely to ensure freedom for the next generation of computing devices?

  58. @Tom
    Note that iOS numbers include iPods and iTouch. They seem mainly designed to give Apple increased numbers for marketing.

  59. @Winter

    iOS numbers include iPod Touches, but not the other iPods. And that’s as it should be. The iPod Touch is a fully-fledged computing device and first-class member of the iOS platform. It’s basically an iPhone without the phone part.

  60. @Tom:

    But my point is, why is this relevant to your stated reason for being interested in this race from the start, namely to ensure freedom for the next generation of computing devices?

    iOS numbers include iPod Touches, but not the other iPods. And that’s as it should be. The iPod Touch is a fully-fledged computing device and first-class member of the iOS platform. It’s basically an iPhone without the phone part.

    Sure, if you’re interested in tracking OS numbers. But why stop there? iOS is a BSD variant. Throw in half the world’s routers. Or look at what Steve Jobs had to say about 7″ tablets:

    7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad, These are among the reasons that the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA — dead on arrival…

    So if 7″ is too small for a tablet, then certainly 4″ is too small for a tablet…

    Interestingly, though, the rumor mill has said for a couple of months that Apple has done an about face and is prepping a 7″ tablet for Christmas. It will be fun to watch the Apostles reinterpret the true Jobs message at that point in time.

    But what I was trying to say earlier is that, where the smartphones go, the tablets will follow. Phones are the bellwether. So I fully expect Android to eventually do as well as tablets as it is in phones. You are certainly welcome to track them to check my hypothesis.

    It’s amazing to me that there are times that I’ve been challenged here because I put dumbphones and smartphones in the same category, but then the same person will often argue vehemently that it is important to count smartphones and tablets in the same category. Personally, I think both these are useful perspectives, but one is customer-centric, and the other is developer-centric. If you have enough customers, the developers will come around, but the converse is not necessarily true, so (for example) I think that any developer who chose to develop for iOS over Android just because his iOS app could also run on an iPod might have been making a mistake (depending, of course, on the kind of app) because iPod users are not necessarily fungible with cellphone users.

  61. I just got back from a trip to China (Beijing, Shanghai, and some side trips).

    Android is everywhere.

    Any Android service tied to Google sucks. Sucks badly.

    Gmail? Doesn’t work. Blocked.
    Google maps? Street names are wrong and streets do not match up with satellite images (typically off by 2 blocks). Both are way off, even for big streets. Note that street signs in the big cities are in both Chinese and English; Google maps screws up both. I relied on paper maps from the hotel.
    Google search? Re-routes through Hong Kong, if you are lucky. Even then, well over half the time the search times out.
    G+? Blocked.
    Android marketplace? Try like 50 different marketplaces. None of them by Google.
    Google ads? Nonexistent. I doubt a single developer of Chinese Android apps makes a single yuan, as all apps are free and ads don’t work, because there’s no equivalent of Google ads yet.

    Without a reliable VPN, I would have been up the creek without a paddle. Even with a reliable VPN, the VPN connection was not nearly as solid as it is the USA. It was like talking on a cell phone in a low signal area.

    One final note. China truly is a bazaar. Everything about the USA and western Europe feels like a cathedral in comparison. Want to teach an American about capitalism? Send him/her to Shanghai for a week. They’ll learn more about capitalism in a week than they would in a semester of business classes at a university.

    The most impressive capitalist moment I had was seeing a store built in a day. As in, the first day, the street corner was empty. Second day, construction. Third day, a free standing, fully staffed and operational cosmetics store.

  62. Tom Says:

    So, it seems to me that you are arguing that we should not be including tablets with the smartphone numbers for two basic reasons [cut].

    No. There are only one reason: it’s stupid and pointless.

    The whole point of looking at sales numbers is to find out what device or platform is selling well compared to the others.

    Not for most readers. This is not a contest. We are looking on the sales numbers to [hopefully] predict the future.

    We know sales of iPod touch grow – but sales of all iPods are shrinking. This means in the future iPod touch either will disappear completely (when smartphones will finally kill the music players) or will stabilize at some point smaller then iPod sales today (and that number is significantly smaller then number of smartphones sold today – and chasm is widening).

    We know that iPad sales are growing, but it’s share of tablet market is shrinking (because you can only go down from 100%). This means that dynamic of sales in this segment will be radically different from dynamic of sales in smartphones.

    It may be interesting to investigate behavior of buyers (how many of them buy dumbphone with iPod touch or iPad, how many of them have two different smartphones, etc) – but we don’t have enough data to do that. But to lump all these numbers together without such data have as much sense as to calculate “average temperature of patients in hospital”. Patient in morgue: 70F, patient with a cold: 102F and patient in intensive care: 106F, but on average… well “everyone is freezing, 92F is too low, we should do something about it!”… Crazy and stupid.

  63. @khim:

    I like your average temperature analogy. I might have to use that in the future!

  64. @Hsu
    I was in China a year ago. Saw the same thing.

    Every city was a big marketplace with stalls everywhere. Every subway entrance was a phone market. But then Smartphones were not as big. All was dumbphones and iPhnoe (sic) and iPheno (sic) phones.

    But that was soooo 2010. Things change by the day there.

  65. @khim except for the fact that many here predict that network effects of Android the platform will doom Apple. Because developers will stop developing for the iPhone because it represents too small a market segment in comparison to Android.

    If you’re going to argue network effects you can’t call foul when the other guys point to their own advantages.

    Simply stating that “I’m not one of those guys that thinks this is a contest” is disingenuous. So what? There are many, if not most here that do view this as a contest for dominance. Including the host. Frankly, it has been the Apple proponents here that have repeatedly stated it isn’t a contest for market share and Android capturing majority share doesn’t mean Apple will automatically “lose” and become a niche player.

    Besides, why do you care about predicting the future if you don’t care who wins?

    Apple will likely be very happy occupying the top 20% of the US smartphone market share for the foreseeable future. This is especially true if eric is right and I am wrong and we’ve entered a zero sum game for US share. That means that Android has effectively topped out at 50-60% of share.

    @patrick arguing that we should track iOS as a BSD is an amusing attempt to divert the point. The probability that Apple releases a 7″ tablet by this christmas is very very very low. The probability that Apple releases a 7″ tablet ever is just low (no verys) and not impossible.

    I can easily see a 4-5″ iPod touch however. That’s possibly something we’ll see the next time the iPod touch actually gets a refresh. Could be why the current iPod touch got no love this go around. A 4-5″ A5 iPod Touch with 3G option would sell well I think. It would have been a good christmas item…

  66. @hsu This is one reason why I argued that effectively there are little to no network effects for Android from the Chinese market.

    It’s cut off from Google services AND it caters to a completely different language. The two pools of app developers are nearly completely different except for large companies. App developers in China will have to find alternative web services to code against. In some apps this doesn’t matter much. In other apps it’s everything.

  67. @nigel
    The Chinese market will decrease the price of Android phones. Also, apparently will migrate to and from Chinese markets. It is not as if the Chinese are isolated.

    Moreover, Chinese politics will make sone summersaults in the coming decade.

  68. Nigel Says:
    There are many, if not most here that do view this as a contest for dominance.

    This is not a contest. This is war. Pure numbers only matter in contest. War is different art. Sure, number do matter – but the manoeuvres matter too.

    Apple’s iPad was brilliant strategy: it opened new battlefront which was initially owned by Apple without any competition. It was much cheaper then most competitors expected and Android was just not ready.

    But proceedings on this front follow different pattern so it makes no sense to blindly lump numbers together.

    Besides, why do you care about predicting the future if you don’t care who wins?

    I do care to a degree. I don’t care if the winner will be HTC, Samsung or, for example, LG. As long as it’s not “jail made cool” I don’t care. I can probably even live with Microsoft, but of course I much prefer Android.

    Apple will likely be very happy occupying the top 20% of the US smartphone market share for the foreseeable future.

    They will not have 20%. They will crash. The question is not “if”, the question is “when”. It’s hard question to answer because there are so many factors involved. As I’ve said before it’ll not happen till 2013 but it can happen later. If you only “foresee” the future for the next year then sure, Apple will keep 20%, but I have no intentions to die next year so I try to see farther.

  69. @Patrick

    >Sure, if you’re interested in tracking OS numbers. But why stop there? iOS is a BSD variant. Throw in half the world’s routers. Or look at what Steve Jobs had to say about 7? tablets:

    I’m not talking about OS, I’m talking about platforms. iPhones and iPads (and indeed iPod Touches) are all part of the iOS platform.

    >So if 7? is too small for a tablet, then certainly 4? is too small for a tablet…

    Definitely. But I’m not saying that a 4-inch phone is a tablet. I was just trying to make the point that we oughtn’t to exclude a device from our numbers just because it is selling in relatively low numbers. I also gave the example of metal vs plastic.

    >But what I was trying to say earlier is that, where the smartphones go, the tablets will follow.

    That may or may not be the case, but why not look at the whole picture as it exists today?

    In the fight of the ‘open’ Android platform vs. the ‘closed’ iOS platform, surely one device is as relevant as another, whether it’s a tablet or a phone. I still do not see the relevant distinction.

  70. @Tom:

    > That may or may not be the case, but why not look at the whole picture as it exists today?

    You mean a static snapshot in time? What’s the point of that? If you mean the change in the market, as khim points out, you don’t do that by averaging numbers, and as I pointed out, the tablet market looks remarkably like the smartphone market when Apple was king and Android was just getting started.

    > I was just trying to make the point that we oughtn’t to exclude a device from our numbers just because it is selling in relatively low numbers.

    Sure, but at some point you might exclude it just because it’s not playing in the same market space as the other devices on the same “platform”

    http://kschang.hubpages.com/hub/7-Weirdest-Android-Devices-Ever

    @Nigel:

    > If you’re going to argue network effects you can’t call foul when the other guys point to their own advantages.

    I don’t think it’s calling foul to express the opinion that iPod numbers are meaningless when it comes to smartphones, and by Steve Jobs’s own admission, meaningless when it comes to tablets.

    > arguing that we should track iOS as a BSD is an amusing attempt to divert the point.

    No, it’s a (hopefully) amusing effort to show that there is a continuum. I have given my reasons for drawing my lines where I have in segmenting the market. If you want to draw lines by “platform” or whatever, where do you stop? Do you count the microwave and not the espresso machine?

  71. That may or may not be the case, but why not look at the whole picture as it exists today?

    This is good idea but this is not done by lumping different things together.

    In the fight of the ‘open’ Android platform vs. the ‘closed’ iOS platform, surely one device is as relevant as another, whether it’s a tablet or a phone.

    Absolutely not. Not even close. This is grapes vs oranges comparison. No matter how you’ll slice it you can not replace phone with iPad.

    Sure, some people will prefer to buy combo “iPod touch & dumbphone” or “iPad & dumbphone” instead of smartphone – but we have no way to know how many. Till we’ll know this number (or at least plausible estimate) we can only compare grapes with grapes and oranges with oranges.

    From the other side it also looks strange to lump them together: Sure iPads use the same OS iPhones use but that does not mean they are the same from developer’s POV. You can use iPhone version on iPad, but this usually looks ugly thus you need additional investment. Situation with Android is slightly different: because it was created from ground up to have different specs on different phones you can just treat tablet as “large smartphone”. But this approach also gives you substandard results so in reality you need to invest more there, too. How much more? Again: we don’t know.

    This basically means for now separate comparison is the best we can do. Sure, sales of iPads affect sales of iPhones and Android-phones, but we don’t know how much.

    I’m not talking about OS, I’m talking about platforms. iPhones and iPads (and indeed iPod Touches) are all part of the iOS platform.

    Why not add desktops to the mix, then? You can use the same Silverlight to develop for Windows, MacOS and Windows Phone.

    This is just stupid: sure, these beast share some pieces (for example both Android and iPhone use WebKit), but there are enough differences to make “total sub” absolutely pointless for anything except PR.

  72. @Nigel:

    > The probability that Apple releases a 7? tablet by this christmas is very very very low.

    Sure. It’s getting awfully late for that.

    > The probability that Apple releases a 7? tablet ever is just low (no verys) and not impossible.

    The rumor mill’s not letting this one die (and is delighting in pointing out other things that Apple was never going to do):

    http://9to5mac.com/2011/10/18/manufacturers-send-ipad-mini-samples-to-apple-for-approval/

  73. @khim:

    > Sure, some people will prefer to buy combo “iPod touch & dumbphone” or “iPad & dumbphone” instead of smartphone – but we have no way to know how many.

    And part of the thing that makes this difficult is the data plan pricing arbitrage imposed by the carriers. At AT&T they have plans ranging between $5.00 and $10000.00 per gig.

  74. @Patrick

    >You mean a static snapshot in time? What’s the point of that?

    No, I’m saying let’s look at the whole platform, and use that as a basis for any predictions about whether an open or closed computing platform is going to be dominant in the future. Khim is right that one thing we use these numbers for is to try to predict the future. But what you have done is to make an assumption about the future (that Android will dominate) and then exclude those numbers that do not support your assumption.

    >Sure, but at some point you might exclude it just because it’s not playing in the same market space as the other devices on the same “platform”

    You might, but why? Your aim is to ensure that future computing platforms will be open, isn’t it? You are tracking the contesting open vs closed platforms to see how you are doing, and how the contest might turn out in the future, aren’t you?

    Then why limit yourself to one type of computing device? It’s like going back 20 years and trying to predict whether Windows or Mac OS will dominate the PC market, and limiting yourself only to laptops, claiming that desktop computers are a different market segment. Yes, they are a different segment, but that fact is irrelevant to the overall contest.

    @Khim

    >No matter how you’ll slice it you can not replace phone with iPad.

    Again, nobody is claiming that. Tablets and phones are different markets, but that is irrelevant.

    >Why not add desktops to the mix, then? You can use the same Silverlight to develop for Windows, MacOS and Windows Phone.

    Silverlight is a platform of sorts, certainly, but as far as the new wave of personal computing is concerned it is largely irrelevant. I’m not really sure what your point is here.

  75. @khim

    war? please. None of the participants really give a hoot about your “war”. They care about profitability. Any lip service paid to “freedom” is just that. Lip service. Equating technology competition to war, even metaphorically, is inane.

    Trading Apple for Google is trading one “jail” for another if you’re inclined to think of it that way. I’m as locked into gmail and google services as I am to iOS. As in not very much even though I use both.

    Personally, no vendor holds me in a “jail” and it is idiotic to think that the iOS ecosystem as a “jail”. A “jail” I can move to any other platform whenever I feel like? That’s a crappy sort of “jail”. Google take a little more work to jump but even then, there’s little on google services I couldn’t live without.

    A “jail” where the latest version on the latest device is already “jailbroken”? There are probably android devices that are more annoying to root than the iPhone 4S. I’m pretty sure every Apple iOS device has a jailbreak and a fairly active community offering all sorts of stuff that Apple doesn’t care enough to acknowledge. You really don’t think that Apple is smart enough to apply sufficient cryptographic features to make jailbreaking really really annoying?

    That Apple will crash someday is a given so stating that it will happen is meaningless. Saying it wont happen before 2013 is equally meaningless. That’s like saying that world is going to end is not an “if” but a “when” but it’s not going to happen till 2013 or later. Really? Thanks for that insight.

  76. @Tom:

    > No, I’m saying let’s look at the whole platform, and use that as a basis for any predictions about whether an open or closed computing platform is going to be dominant in the future.

    But when you average things out, you average in the morgue. The iPod business is starting to shrink.

    Also, as I have mentioned several times, the tablet business will be nowhere near as big as the handset business for the forseeable future. And as we are now seeing, Apple’s initial lead in the tablet business, like its initial lead in the phone business, does not make it infallible.

    > But what you have done is to make an assumption about the future (that Android will dominate) and then exclude those numbers that do not support your assumption.

    I think you are projecting here. I have done nothing of the sort. I think the tablet numbers also show Android will dominate, but I think it’s silly just to tote them up. I think the iPod numbers are irrelevant, and they are increasingly proving themselves to be so.

    > You are tracking the contesting open vs closed platforms to see how you are doing, and how the contest might turn out in the future, aren’t you?

    You keep saying this like it makes a difference in whether you lump things together or not. It doesn’t.

    > Tablets and phones are different markets, but that is irrelevant.

    Why?

  77. profit is interesting because unless you are HTC or Samsung Android isn’t doing much for you.

    Low Android handset maker profits are as fully relevant to the question of Android/iOS/WindowsPhone/QNX/WebOS platform question as CompuAdd’s bankruptcy was to the Windows/Mac/Amiga/Atari/BeOS platform question. Which is to say, fully ir.

  78. In the war between the platforms, openness is but one differentiator. Personally it is the one that sways me into the Android camp, but different people have different priorities. For some, I’m sure the deciding factor is which platform is pretties running Angry Birds.

  79. @patrick the ipod business doesn’t factor into the iOS figures except for the iPod touch. iPod touch sales are relevant because iPhone apps work on the iPod touch. I don’t see why you want to call that part of the “morgue”. So what if the iPod business is starting to shrink? The relevant part (the touch) was 60M devices as of Q2 2011 so it makes up a significant impact in developer thinking.

    http://www.asymco.com/2011/04/19/review-of-apples-unit-numbers-released-in-legal-filing-prior-to-earnings/

    You guys go on about Apple’s lead in the phone business. At what time did Apple ever have 50% or more smartphone share? Never. Only in 1 qtr was it even the top device maker. Apple never could dominate the smartphone business. It is arguable it cannot dominate in the tablet business but the volumes are lower so there’s a moderate chance of success there.

    The whole point with the network effects argument is that the mobile OS market will go the way that the desktop OS market went with one dominant OS where all the developers developed for starving out other competitors. Users went where the apps were in the desktop market. App developers went where the users were and this is the downward spiral for everyone but Windows.

    If that’s the argument, then the fact that iOS has 40% of the mobile OS market is relevant to the discussion. iOS as a platform isn’t going to be starved of developers as long as it has significant share in smartphones, tablets or personal media players. There are lots and lots of ObjC coders now that didn’t exist before iOS. And iOS is targeted by cross-platform development environments like game engines.

  80. @steven

    Low Android handset maker profits are as fully relevant to the question of Android/iOS/WindowsPhone/QNX/WebOS platform question as CompuAdd’s bankruptcy was to the Windows/Mac/Amiga/Atari/BeOS platform question. Which is to say, fully ir.

    Unless they decide to embrace WP7 as a differentiator to Samsung figuring they can beat Nokia more easily. Cost wise it probably isn’t that much different to choose WP7 over Android for LG or Sony.

    Unlikely for Sony. They’re more likely to deeply fork Android (a la Amazon) and couple their Playstation ecosystem into their phones than go WP7.

  81. @Nigel

    > Apple never could dominate the smartphone business. It is arguable it cannot dominate in the tablet business but the volumes are lower so there’s a moderate chance of success there.

    I think you need to be clear(er) on what you mean by ‘dominate’.

    Apple can’t currently dominate the smartphone market by volume, because it can’t develop enough manufacturing capacity to satisfy the current demand levels. They do dominate the smartphone market by profitability and developer mindshare. It is dominant in other ways, too. It has a huge wad of cash, and is using it to secure supply lines for components. When Apple pays *up front* for components, title to same is transferred at the moment of manufacture. Any transfer of said components to other than Apple is conversion (theft), even under Chinese law.

    However, the game is longer-term than our host and many here want to consider or discuss. Eric wants it all to be ‘over’ and decided soon. Android will have ‘won’, and 500 million open source flowers will bloom. The problem with this mindset is that with the singular exception of Samsung, no major Android handset manufacturer is profitable.

    Quoting asymco, and re-arranging in order of decreasing profit/increasing loss:


    Samsung had a great quarter with a sequential increase of 19% and year-on-year growth of 130%. The total profit amounted to 25% of the peer group.

    HTC has a 1% sequential increase but a 78% y/y growth.

    Sony Ericsson broke even with about $50 million in operating profit. Its performance was barely break-even during the last four years.

    Motorola remained in the red with a small loss of $20 million, an improvement over the $90 million loss of the previous quarter. Motorola is being acquired by Google after an accumulated mobile operating loss of $4.69 billion since the beginning of 2007. It’s unlikely we’ll receive any updates on performance thereafter.

    LG had its sixth consecutive quarterly loss and is now appealing to investors for more capital to continue operating as a smartphone vendor. Raising dilutive capital seems a radical approach and not one that inspires confidence.

    Without profits, these companies will not long continue to make Android handsets. Unless other entrants exist, the supply of Android handsets will wither. Existing handsets will eventually break beyond repair.

    The outlook for Android then becomes one of Samsung continuing, and Google managing to raise MMI out of the grave. Samsung will have the issue that MMI, as part of Google will (must) receive favorable treatment, but perhaps Google can modulate this some. The others (Sony, LG, HTC) might continue, but will never be majority players in the Android space.

    Long-term, (and I’m looking out 5+ years here), I see Apple taking over more and more of the smartphone market. It will never achieve a super-majority position because there will always be some new entrant who attempts to challenge on price, but as the trending of the companies above shows, competing on price when the volumes are enormous is a suicide mission.

    Moving to tablets.

    Apple currently dominates the tablet market by volume for several reasons:
    – a lack of channels to support Android tablets (other than the traditional ‘computer stores’) The carriers aren’t playing in the tablet space.
    – a lack of Android developer mindshare (honeycomb open source incident, Rubin’s claim that there should be no specialized tablet apps, etc.)
    – apple’s ability to create objects of status
    – apple’s ability to tie-up component supplies, forcing any alternative to have a higher manufactured cost, and thus price.
    – the tablet market is still small enough that Apple *can* satisfy the majority of demand.

    I’m sure that Android tablets will eventually have some purchase. Google will, eventually, develop a tablet OS that is ‘good enough’. However, as the discussion above and before amply illustrates, Google is surrounded by challenges competing in this space, with a non-obvious renumeration of their effort.

  82. @Nigel:

    > iPod touch sales are relevant because iPhone apps work on the iPod touch.

    To some extent. How’s that navigation app working for you?

    > The relevant part (the touch) was 60M devices as of Q2 2011 so it makes up a significant impact in developer thinking.

    I already mentioned that measuring platforms in this way might be useful for developers. But that’s true only as long as they’re not coding an app that requires cellular connectivity.

    > At what time did Apple ever have 50% or more smartphone share?

    By the standard definition of smartphone, you are correct that it was “never.” But the capabilities of the phone and the ecosystem that Apple wrapped around it were so far ahead of RIM and of the smartphones that Nokia was selling in volume, that it arguably was the first product in the brand new category of “smartphones that could be primary computation devices for the masses.” Which is slaughtering the “basic” smartphone category. If Android (or something like it) didn’t exist, Apple would almost certainly be above 50% in smartphones in the US.

    > iOS as a platform isn’t going to be starved of developers as long as…

    And Linux isn’t going to be starved of developers as long as it runs the world’s servers. But more to the point, Android isn’t going to be starved of developers when it runs the world’s cellphones. Other than that, I don’t care about iOS.

  83. “Sure iPads use the same OS iPhones use but that does not mean they are the same from developer’s POV. You can use iPhone version on iPad, but this usually looks ugly thus you need additional investment. Situation with Android is slightly different: because it was created from ground up to have different specs on different phones you can just treat tablet as “large smartphone”. But this approach also gives you substandard results so in reality you need to invest more there, too.”

    We may need to revisit the meaning of the word “slightly” and/or of the word “different”

  84. And Linux isn’t going to be starved of developers as long as it runs the world’s servers.

    The world’s Web servers, maybe. But more Windows server machines actually ship than Linux ones. For a corporate intranet, you pretty much need Exchange but beyond that there is quite a bit less IT overhead running Windows Server than Linux.

  85. > there is quite a bit less IT overhead running Windows Server than Linux

    how’s that ?

  86. I think you are projecting here. I have done nothing of the sort. I think the tablet numbers also show Android will dominate, but I think it’s silly just to tote them up. I think the iPod numbers are irrelevant, and they are increasingly proving themselves to be so.

    No, the iPod numbers are hella relevant. Here’s why: It’s the ecosystem, stupid.

    Why did Windows win on the desktop? Ecosystem. Microsoft had the best developer tools, the MSDN, they did everything they could to make sure that there were plenty of applications for Windows and developers had as easy a time as possible getting started. (Not a small task in the Win16 days.)

    Why did the iPod win? Ecosystem. iTunes, the iTMS, Apple’s special negotiations with the music industry, all making sure that when you bought an iPod you owned a device that a) Just Worked and b) was connected to a way to effortlessly purchase, download, and transfer music for listening.

    iOS has a far more mature and integrated ecosystem than Android. This is a fact. It’s pretty much a given that hackers prefer Macs, so when the App Store launched, iOS already had a ready supply of enthusiastic top-class developers eager to get started on the platform. Then there’s the seamless integration with iTunes, the App Store with its content filtering (a net positive in this case; if you don’t believe me, check the Android malware infection rates), the far superior UX, and the buzz, and you have a network of app developers and customers that Android can’t match.

    The only other company that historically could compete with this sort of success was Microsoft.

    Hence my belief that Windows Phone will overtake Android, perhaps in a couple of years or so.

    Eric is using his wishful-thinking-as-already-established-fact style of reporting to plant the meme that total mobile domination is Android’s manifest destiny, simply for the reason that if this were the case, developers would have to target Android the same way they had to target Windows. But iOS what they want to develop for. And yet Life as we know it is the “embittered old fart” for pointing out time and time again that the emperor has no clothes, and backing it up with thorough research.

  87. @Jeff Read:

    Why did the iPod win? Ecosystem. iTunes, the iTMS, Apple’s special negotiations with the music industry, all making sure that when you bought an iPod you owned a device that a) Just Worked and b) was connected to a way to effortlessly purchase, download, and transfer music for listening.

    Sure, but as customers have gotten more sophisticated, they find it’s not really that difficult to drag and drop songs to their Android phone. These iPod ecosystem advantages don’t directly translate to the phone market.

    The only other company that historically could compete with this sort of success was Microsoft… But iOS what they want to develop for.

    And the primary difference between Microsoft and Apple is that Microsoft squandered its developer goodwill somewhat earlier.

    Hence my belief that Windows Phone will overtake Android, perhaps in a couple of years or so….
    And yet Life as we know it is the “embittered old fart” for pointing out time and time again that the emperor has no clothes, and backing it up with thorough research.

    Even if you were to accept his analysis, which is somewhat more nuanced than some, it doesn’t at all follow that Microsoft will do well at Android’s expense. His analysis is orthogonal to your rosy Microsoft hindsight.

  88. The problem with this mindset is that with the singular exception of Samsung, no major Android handset manufacturer is profitable.

    Well, the same as with PC market, then.

    Without profits, these companies will not long continue to make Android handsets.

    Probably. Most early PC clone makers failed, you know.

    Unless other entrants exist, the supply of Android handsets will wither.

    Sure. But why do you think only existing handset makers can play this game? There are plenty of Chinese manufacturers who’d can buy well-known brand and start selling mobile phones on the world market.

    Existing handsets will eventually break beyond repair.

    Probably. And others will replace them. Here is market share among handset makers about 10 years ago (Q3 2000):
    Nokia 30%
    Motorola 13%
    Ericsson 10%
    Siemens 9%
    Alcatel 6%
    Others 32%

    Today it’s
    Nokia 24%
    Samsung 19%
    LG Electronics 7%
    Apple 6%
    ZTE 5%
    Others 40%

    Only one company out of top5 survived – but “others” category actually grew and there are no shortage of handset manufacturers.

    Long-term, (and I’m looking out 5+ years here), I see Apple taking over more and more of the smartphone market.

    Doubtful. It’s not like iPhone/iPad is the first time Apple managed to reinvent something. For example it created today’s layout of laptops (with trackball – and later touchpad – below keyboard) and managed to reach 40% of that market! Yet… Apple is just not the company which keeps market share.

    The only time it was able not only to grab significant market share was iPod – and that happened because it was able to reach super-majority position there fast enough. Smartphones are lost cause and I doubt Apple will be able to keep super-majority in tablets, too.

    However, as the discussion above and before amply illustrates, Google is surrounded by challenges competing in this space, with a non-obvious renumeration of their effort.

    Challenges… sure, but renumeration? Survival is enough. Google’s goal is to make sure noone is trying to toll relationship between Google’s services and user. Google never wanted to participate in “fight do death”, but as Siri example shows Apple’s stance (inherited from Jobs) is that “there can be only one”… well, we’ll see.

    You are correct in you prediction that “this is far from over”, but I think that you overestimate Apple’s abilities to tie suppliers: when total solvent demand will drop (which will happen after US elections next year in the very best scenario) there will be plenty of surplus on the market. Unless Apple will be happy to buy spare parts and keep them stockpiled (which will be foolish idea because demand will not be coming back for a long time) other manufacturers will get the same price (if not lower: when you have spares which are already produced and don’t have money you may decide to sell them below break-even price – which is obviously less then what Apple pays).

  89. Jeff Read Says:
    Eric is using his wishful-thinking-as-already-established-fact style of reporting to plant the meme that total mobile domination is Android’s manifest destiny, simply for the reason that if this were the case, developers would have to target Android the same way they had to target Windows.

    Developers already must target Android. It’s already too big to ignore.

    Jeff Read Says:
    But iOS what they want to develop for.

    Not all that sure (different people say different things about that). But this not important. Developers don’t decide what to develop for. Their managers do. And Apple’s stance you owe us everything, we owe you nothing, make us angry and we’ll quash you like a bug does not make them all that eager. Android already passed Apple in raw numbers, but since Apple tragets premium segment money are lagging behind and that means managers are forced to deal with Apple’s attitude. We’ll see how many times Apple will need to screw them till they learn.

    Nigel says:
    They care about profitability. Any lip service paid to “freedom” is just that.

    This is where “freedom” and “profitability” converge. When Apple keeps you destiny in your hands you can never have high profits: Apple have the kill switch and can kill you at any time. Managers are trusting guys, they will need quite a few object lessons – but Apple is happy to oblige, so I think eventually they will learn.

    Jeff Read Says:
    And yet Life as we know it is the “embittered old fart” for pointing out time and time again that the emperor has no clothes, and backing it up with thorough research.

    I don’t care about “thorough research” if it’s prediction power is nil.
    Result of “thorough research”:
    The introduction of the Verizon iPhone has stopped Android’s growth (see http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3285)
    Reality: see the ESR’s post which we discuss here. For bonus points try to find Verizon iPhone introduction on the graph here: http://www.catb.org/esr/comscore/ .

    I’d be happy to celebrate realized predictions of “Life as we know it” but so far I’m not seeing them.

  90. @khim

    “This is where “freedom” and “profitability” converge. When Apple keeps you destiny in your hands you can never have high profits: Apple have the kill switch and can kill you at any time. Managers are trusting guys, they will need quite a few object lessons – but Apple is happy to oblige, so I think eventually they will learn.”

    Yeah, ask the skyhook guys how well Android freedom turned out for them.

    Apple has paid out $500M between July 7th and October 4th for a run rate of $2B. That’s close to Google’s run rate of $2.5B for mobile earnings in 3Q. That’s not counting AdMob and other mobile ad revenue for iOS developers.

    http://www.bgr.com/2011/10/21/ios-developers-said-to-earn-more-from-app-sales-than-google-makes-from-its-mobile-business/

    Figuring out what Android devs have made is more problematic.

  91. Why profit matters 101:

    http://www.asymco.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Screen-Shot-2011-11-04-at-11-4-4.10.41-PM.png

    The solid areas representing profit are operating profit/phone in the vertical axis and volumes shipped in the horizontal. The blank areas above are the cost of goods sold per phone and the combined solid and blank represent the average revenue per phone.

    Some of the areas are over-represented due to the lack of resolution available.

  92. > I’d be happy to celebrate realized predictions of “Life as we know it” but so far I’m not seeing them.

    Unlike our host, I’ve made no close-in predictions.

    Eric predicted that linux would win the desktop due to the 64-bit transition. (multi-core seemed far more likely until the advent of the smartphone tipped the entire thing over.) When pushed, he countered with:

    We got the transition timing right, pretty much nailed it to within 90 days. What we didn’t foresee is that the market momentum we thought would result in large deployments of Linux on conventional PCs would shift to netbooks.

    Who buys a netbook now?

    In his presentation of the Halloween Documents, a series of internal documents laying out Microsoft’s internal strategy to deal with Linux’ rise in popularity, Raymond predicted Windows 2000 would be an expensive failure, and claimed credit for a successful prediction in later edits. In actual fact, Win2K was only marketed on a consumer basis by Sony, but was still considered a capable follow-on to NT4. (Though his description of what a car crash Windows 2000 would be fit the real disaster, Vista, marvellously. Seven years late.)

    And then there are the truly batshit writings of our host: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=184

  93. >Eric predicted that linux would win the desktop due to the 64-bit transition.

    He did? I missed that.

  94. Life as we know it Says:
    Unlike our host, I’ve made no close-in predictions.

    Then what good all that “thorough research” actually does?

    Sure, it’s hard to predict the future and most foretellers fail. But some fail more often then other – and this is how quality of research is measured. If your don’t ever predict anything then your words are just pointless grumbling and we all will be much better without it.

  95. Eric predicted that linux would win the desktop due to the 64-bit transition.

    Hey, it won on *my* desktop.

  96. “Eric predicted that linux would win the desktop due to the 64-bit transition.”

    He didn’t. What he said was that the 64-bit transition was going to be the last chance for Linux to become the dominant desktop OS.

  97. My own stats for my website traffic show the iPad as the leading source of mobile traffic followed by the iPhone with nothing else making a mark.

  98. > He didn’t. What he said was that the 64-bit transition was going to be the last chance for Linux to become the dominant desktop OS.

    Fair point. Since it didn’t, (Eric suggested a hard deadline of 2008), can we presume that the year of the Linux desktop is ‘never’?

    What if “the desktop” itself is in decline?

    An iPad with a WAN connection, Pages, Numbers, a browser, video conferencing, physical keyboard and working email and backups is $718 + $10/mo. You don’t need to administrate it. It’s completely silent, and uses very little power. You can buy books, music and video for it quite simply.

    If you’re willing to forgo the WAN connectivity, it’s $519 and $0/mo.

    For another $99, you can stream video and music wirelessly to your TV.

    It “Just Works” ™ for “Your Mom” ™.

  99. Sorry, $588 for the wifi-only model with the Bluetooth kbd and pages/numbers.

  100. @wlad

    He didn’t. What he said was that the 64-bit transition was going to be the last chance for Linux to become the dominant desktop OS.

    Yah, and he was right. I don’t recall what the linux community wasted its effort on during that window (pulse audio fiasco? Nah, that might have been later) but pretty much they all told eric to go pound sand. The convergence of 64 bit transition and complete MS meltdown was completely wasted.

    Except maybe by Apple which didn’t even care that much about the desktop anymore beyond cranking out OSX updates on schedule, making some humorous ads with John Hodgman and poking MS with sticks once or twice a year at conferences. By then I’m pretty sure Jobs had his focus on the phone and the tablet. Desktop share was probably furthest from his mind at that point.

  101. @Tim F:

    No, the game is not quite zero-sum yet. But the smartphone category will have a hard time growing very fast until the carriers either let you have a smartphone without a data plan, or come up with cheaper data plans.

    @Nigel:

    Most people consider “apps” to be software. Obviously, your mileage varies.

    > Yeah, ask the skyhook guys how well Android freedom turned out for them.

    Lots of Android apps use skyhook. Google doesn’t stop them. Google apparently doesn’t even mind if manufacturers ship skyhook on phones, as long as it’s not set up by default in such a way that either google doesn’t get the data, or that the WiFi and GPS data are mingled.

  102. -> It “Just Works” ™ for “Your Mom” ™.

    And that’s the point. Around here most *nix engineers have macs at home exactly for this reason. It just works. If your daytime job is system engineering and administration you don’t want to do this at home too.

    Now that Apple’s got a nice little server appliance out I’m ready to completely ditch Linux at home even.

    Most Android phones now come with a MS tax. MS might even make more money on Android handsets than it does on WP7 Handsets (and all that without having to spend anything on actually producing code…). Given that most Android ecosystems are as closed as Apple’s the choice between iOS and Android isn’t really about “open” versus “closed”. It’s about which multinational’s coffers you are going to fill, and what you get in return…

  103. @K_:

    > Given that most Android ecosystems are as closed as Apple’s

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

  104. @patrick

    Perhaps not most by volume but many by number:

    Amazon Market – curated
    Nook Market – curated
    Baidu Yi Market – curated (there’s some kind of approval process…as to be expected…pretty much all of the PRC markets are likely to be curated and censored)
    Aliyun Market – same as Baidu

    Looks like Amazon, Yi And Aliyun are outright Android forks replacing Google services with those of Amazon, Baidu and Alibaba. Nook is a pretty deeply skinned. You might or might not count that as a fork.

    Rooting the Kindle Tablet or Nook Tablet is probably on par with jailbreaking iOS.

  105. @patrick

    The tomtom link is to indicate that navigation apps will work just fine on the iPod Touch. There are several third party GPS accessories to allow an iPod Touch to run any of the various navigation apps.

    One advantage of Apple’s ecosystem is the wide range of 3rd party hardware addons that work with iPods, iPhones and iPads. Ranging from simple cases to highly complex systems.

  106. > If your daytime job is system engineering and administration you don’t want to do this at home too.

    I doubt that most people posting to this blog have a daytime job. Eric doesn’t. Russell Nelson doesn’t. Neither does Jay Maynard.

    Therefore, they have the time and mental energy to administrate a linux box. Some will even tell you they have two!

  107. > Most Android phones now come with a MS tax. MS might even make more money on Android handsets than it does on WP7 Handsets

    Support Microsoft! (Buy an Android phone.)

  108. Many classical tragedies have ironic twists at their center, and this one is no different: When they launched Android against the iPhone, Google and Schmidt attacked Apple’s homeland and turned a longtime friend (Steve Jobs) into a mortal enemy. And now, with Siri, Jobs will have his posthumous revenge. Because make no bones about it: despite Jobs’ original claims that the Siri acquisition was not about search, Siri and the ecosystem of Siri-optimized APIs sure to evolve in its wake represent a bigger mortal threat to Google’s search business than anything Google has ever faced.

    http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/06/schmidt-right-google’s-glory-days-numbered/

    The threat Siri poses to Google is that it relegates Google to the background.

    People on Smartphones can ask a question of Siri in 2~3 seconds as opposed to typing that question in Google within 10~20.

    And if Siri can’t answer the question she offers to send you to Google without having to type that question again.

    Since Apple controls the iPhone they can make it favorable for people to avoid visiting google.com and typing in their query (of course they can dictate that query too).

    This is a very powerful position in which to be.

    Apple has demonstrated this by making Wolfram Alpha available for answering some queries.

    I see Apple continuing on this road and maybe aggregating results from various search engines (including Google) and presenting them outside of Google’s format.

    The result is still the same, No Ads.

  109. @Life as we know it eo.
    It is clear that Android failed and is dragging Google under the waves!

    And this is shown by Google making lots of money and Android outgrowing iPhone 2:1 (with >50% market share, globally)?

    There are three points to Siri:
    1) If it is used to search, then it should use a good search algorithm and infrastructure. Is that better than Google’s?

    2) The performance of speech technology is determined by the amount of speech and language you have collected and the number of processor cycles you can throw at it. Any ingenuity is in efficiency.

    3) The science behind the AI is well described by the IBM Watson project. There is quite a lot of research available in this direction. Again, most of this is about having data and cycles to burn.

    Google is collecting very large amounts of speech recently. And Google have more cycles to burn than anyone else. Google’s search is at the the front of the pack. Google already has voice search. I expect them to upgrade it to Siri or beyond very soon.

    So, Siri is like the iPhone, in front now but not for long. But obviously, they will get competition fast.

  110. And here is the link:

    5 Best Free Siri Alternatives for Android
    http://www.techdrivein.com/2011/11/5-best-free-siri-alternatives-for.html

    One of the most hyped features of recently launched iPhone 4S was Siri, the new voice assistant application for iPhone. I don’t own an iPhone 4S and hence I can’t comment on how good Siri works. But upon searching a bit, I found out that there are quite a few good Siri alternatives for Android readily available in the Android Market and most of them are free too. Here is quick collection of top free Siri alternatives for Android.

  111. Off topic: A study about trolling (maybe meta-topic?)

    Rash impulsivity, vengefulness, virtual-self and amplification of ethical relativism on cyber-smearing against corporations
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563211001968

    Abstract

    Office outbursts are often associated with impulsive reactions to something that is said or done that aggravates an individual by offending his or her beliefs, expectations, sensibilities, or principles. Vengefulness is linked to needs for retribution (until satisfied) for a perceived offense. An unsettled issue is whether these antecedents are also manifested in electronic expressions known as cyber smearing. Free speech by constitution and legislation in the US, UK, EU have been held as a cherished value and basic right, but the rights to free speech are not unlimited and in fact are legally constrained to varying degrees regarding issues such as related to privacy, defamation, and harassment. Cyber smearing is a campaign waged to damage the credibility or reputation of others over the Internet. Using a randomized study we investigated rash impulsivity, vengefulness, and anonymous identity (a virtual self), as factors contributing to cyber smearing, and we found that when people who lack self-control and have tendencies to seek revenge especially when shrouded in anonymity of virtual self and concomitantly have high tendencies toward cyber smearing. We also found that those who hold the view in which ethical standards are situational and relative amplifies these cyber smearing behaviors.

  112. Life as we know it Says:
    I see Apple continuing on this road and maybe aggregating results from various search engines (including Google) and presenting them outside of Google’s format.

    This is direct violation of Google’s TOS (item 5.3). Sure, in it’s endless arrogance Apple can decide that it can get away with this, and Google may allow that for some time – I guess it’ll depend on the Siri success.

    The result is still the same, No Ads.

    And again you failed to predict timings which makes your rant useless… as usual. When Siri will become “good enough” for people outside of US? How can Apple plan to support search with Siri if both search providers have their own platforms to push? And so on.

    Everyone assumes that Siri sucks just because it’s early beta and will be fixed “soon” – but I’ve seen similar interfaces decades ago in adventure games and they are quite limited. Sure, added voice recognition make it more useful but I’m not sure Siri will ever raise to the level hype demands. It’s four years old, after all, it’s not like it was conceived by Jobs Almighty few months ago.

    Yes, Siri is spear directed straight in Google’s heart so the question becomes “us vs them” – but this is the stage where a lot of companies suddenly find out that they are not as powerful as they believed. Microsoft is just the last example.

    My own prediction is that it’ll be non-event like retina display: nice thing to have and brag about but not a deciding point for the most buyers. Don’t forget that US is less then 10% of global phone market and Siri only works adequately in US while Apple needs Google’s search and Google’s Youtube in other countries, too (they need special support from Youtube because they refuse to support Flash).

    In short: don’t expect more then few percents change in market share from this “grand achievement”.

  113. One of the most hyped features of recently launched iPhone 4S was Siri, the new voice assistant application for iPhone. I don’t own an iPhone 4S and hence I can’t comment on how good Siri works. But upon searching a bit, I found out that there are quite a few good Siri alternatives for Android readily available in the Android Market and most of them are free too. Here is quick collection of top free Siri alternatives for Android.

    Apparently what he means is that they’re good alternatives to the Siri he imagined. Whether or not they’re good alternatives to Siri? Who knows?

    Also, the blog is an ad farm — any time you see a blog that’s mostly lists of X awesome things, it’s designed to get links and generate ad eyeballs. I do see one post that wasn’t just a list: it’s a positive review of Ubuntu 11.10. Caveat emptor.

    … oh, hey, that’s funny. Ignatius liked the “girly” line so much he’s using it everywhere.

  114. @Bryant
    “Also, the blog is an ad farm —”

    Obviously. It was just an convenient list of links for Siri competitors. Doing a good evaluation of such applications is devlishly difficult.

    But, as I mentioned earlier, there are good reasons why IBM Watson did their Jeaopardy without speech recognition.
    http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-watson-works-a-conversation-with-eric-brown-ibm-research-manager

    Q: Does Watson use speech recognition?

    Brown: No, what it does use is speech synthesis, text-to-speech, to verbalize its responses and, when playing Jeopardy!, make selections. When we started this project, the core research problem was the question answering technology. When we started looking at applying it to Jeopardy!, I think very early on we decided that we did not want to introduce a potential layer of error by relying on speech recognition to understand the question.

  115. @winter perhaps you need to reread that article you posted and review your posts about MS…

    @khim It’s only a violation of the TOS agreements if Apple hasn’t negotiated other terms as part of their search deal for Google.

    Given that they are paying Apple millions to be the default search provider I’d say that Apple has fairly good negotiating position to ask what they like.

    The “Siri threat” isn’t that Apple uses alternative search engines but the paradigm of mobile searching could shift toward more spoken and less typed. It doesn’t help Google if they implement Siri within Android if the results are verbalized and don’t provide ads. There will still be text results so they’ll still be able to monetize.

    As far as the reach of Siri goes, I expect that it’ll work pretty well in the US and EU and China perhaps next year.

  116. @Nigel
    “@winter perhaps you need to reread that article you posted and review your posts about MS…”

    You mean the paper about trolling?

    Given the amount of flac Ballmer is getting for his (lack of) strategies and costs wrt WP7, Bing, Hotmail, etc, I do not see what is wrong with my predictions? MS have abismal performance, for a decade now, with everything except Office and OS. And they have no toes in any growth market. How can you not predict doom?

    MS 80% margin days are over, soon.

  117. Winter,

    You’re forgetting about Xbox.

    Microsoft went from complete newcomer to dominant player in the console space, mainly on the strength of its Xbox Live service, and with dropping hardware costs it’s even quite profitable.

    Ecosystem, Winter. Ecosystem.

  118. Winter,

    Indeed, and there’s still a massive chance that Ballmer could eff this up.

    But if Microsoft were to invest heavily in WP7′s ecosystem, within a year they’ll have an Android killer. They’ve got best of breed dev tools (Visual Studio), best of breed languages and APIs (C#/.NET), and Metro is a fucking awesome and superior UI. Maybe not Apple-good, but close. If they could un-nerf the mobile APIs (providing things like real sockets and deep support for sensors, GPS, etc.; AFAICT this was largely done with Mango) and build developer awareness through aggressive promotion, giving away devkits (Visual Studio Mobile Express), and so forth, Windows Phone could rock this joint.

  119. @Jeff Read
    The point is, if MS could not get WP7 right the third time, why should they succeed the fourth time? The same story as with Bing. If it sucks after spending $6B, it will suck after spending $2B more.

    Going back in history, MS have never been able to make anything profitable beyond Windows and Office. That is, when they had to compete. Xbox might be an exception, but that is hardware and they may never recoup their sunk costs.

    People are openly calling for the dismissal of Ballner and the dissolution of Bing and WP.

  120. What’s hilarious about Ballmer shills pumping up how Microsoft is going to kill off Android with Windows phones is that they never are able to outline an actual strategy that gets there other than getting all squee about how great the platform is (with the usual vague platitudes that ignore its high hardware requirements that even seems to have spoiled Nokia’s half-baked strategy – requiring them to restart a low end OS)

  121. Nook tablet looks pretty nice. Its going on the christmas list over the Fire.

    As much as I’d like to get the fire the ability to walk into a B&N and handle the thing first and the ability to swap a bad unit is very nice. Also the SD card will be very useful on trips for movies.

  122. Meh, folks that completely discount MS are likely to be as wrong as folks that predict WP7 will destroy Android.

    The most probable outcome is that WP7 will gain some traction in 2011 and grow moderately in 2012.

    You don’t need some kind of magical strategy to achieve this. Just decent execution. Execution that Nokia and MS can achieve. I would put RIM and LG execution below that of Nokia. The only ones executing well are Apple, Samsung and possibly HTC (along with other Chinese brands that cater mostly to China). While it would help if Nokia executed as well as Samsung it isn’t likely nor really required. They just need to hit their dates with the usual level of Nokia hardware quality.

    @SPQR Care to back up your claims? Because from what I’ve seen the WP7 hardware requirements are modest. Lower than that for Android and in fact WP7 devices are kinda mid grade hardware wise but still perform well.

    Nokia’s strategy to use a lower end OS for feature phones is no different than Samsung’s with Bada over Android. If Apple were to do a high end featurephone/low end smartphone it would likely start with the iOS variant running on the iPod Nano and not the full iPhone iOS.

    Neither Android nor WP7 (nor full iOS for that matter) would make a very good S40 replacement.

  123. @Nigel:

    > Nook tablet looks pretty nice. Its going on the christmas list over the Fire.

    Agreed.

  124. Apple, With 4 Percent of Handset Market, Captures 52 Percent of Profits

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395951,00.asp#fbid=AKGpSMwBmyA

    With Nokia in the midst of a challenging smartphone strategy transition and our checks indicating RIM and Motorola Mobility continue to struggle in North America given the increasingly competitive Android smartphone market, we believe Apple will gain further value share in the December quarter and could capture over 60 percent of industry profits,”

  125. Jeff Read Says:
    You’re forgetting about Xbox.

    Microsoft went from complete newcomer to dominant player in the console space, mainly on the strength of its Xbox Live service, and with dropping hardware costs it’s even quite profitable.

    Puhlease. “Dominant player”? With less then 5% lead over SONY and over 50% loss against Nintendo? With a barely profitable division which is bringing less then 3% of profit and will need hundreds of years to compensate for the losses of previous years?

    Sure, you can call it success, I guess, but this is far cry from 80% profitability Microsoft’s organization structure is built around. By normal accounting break-even point somewhere in XXV century is not a success at all.

  126. Nook tablet looks pretty nice. Its going on the christmas list over the Fire.

    If they fixed the NC’s issues, such as the wonky touch screen’s tendency to generate spurious touch events, then it may indeed make a suitable substitute for the iPad for people on a budget. Especially if rooting is a matter of copying an image to an SD card, slotting it in the device, and rebooting, as it was with the NC.

    But a friend of mine once told me that GIMP was just the ghetto version of Photoshop, and a similar analogy applies to Android. It’s the ghetto version of iOS. You really can’t expect it to have the same cachet — or legitimacy — that iOS has.

  127. Jeff there’s a huge difference between GIMP and Android. One is a joke and the other a dominating platform.

    While I feel that Android is inferior to iOS, I feel the same way about Windows 7 and OS X. But if there were no OSX I use Windows 7 because it’s good enough. Likewise, if there were no iOS, Android would be good enough. Google, for all it’s problems with engineered designed interfaces and workflows still has designers on the team. The user experience is much improved in ICS.

    GIMP or Linux for the desktop not so much. Even with (or in spite of, whatever your opinion) Shuttleworth the Linux user experience is still pretty bad.

  128. Between Barnes & Noble and Amazon, there is some interesting activity in the lower priced tablet / ereader space. Will be interesting to see if they can gain some traction against the iPad.

  129. @Patrick Maupin: “Nigel says “We’re nowhere near smartphone saturation even in the US” and esr says “It’s the U.S. market that’s transitioning to zero-sum” and they are both right. At least for now. There are several things keeping dumb/featurephone users using dumb featurephones.”

    This is incorrect. You and a few others may not be ready for the revolution but there is no indicator that the growth rate of smartphones versus dumphones has slowed, never mind reversed course. It also seems a fundamentally pessimistic prediction to claim that smartphone growth stalls at less than 50% penetration.

    ESR is clearly wrong that we have reached a zero-sum game. It may begin before 100% penetration, but it will certainly not begin at less than 50% penetration.

  130. @SPQR Most likely. $200 is a good price point even against a refurb iPad…although $399 for a 32GB 3G iPad 1 is pretty decent.

    What it does do is suck the air out of the room for Android makers trying to make a profit in the 7″ range. Although it is interesting that B&N margins went up considerably since they released the original Nooks. Interesting tidbit.

    Still, it’s going to be hard for Lenovo or Samsung to compete in the 7″ market against these two.

    I would expect to see Apple hit more on iPod touch sales than ipad sales. I think Apple missed out by not selling a 5″ A5 iPod touch this christmas.

  131. Although I would like to see it succeed (competition is always good), I would not be too optimistic for WP. Microsoft has the same problem today that I think it had in the Windows Mobile days…it wants to be in mobile but can’t figure out how to make money at it. Windows, Server, and Business divisions still account for virtually 100% of profits. Online Services still bleeds $2b per year. Devices makes about $1b per year, and might start making up for previous sunk costs in a decade or so. According to their latest 10-Q, most of the $8.6b spent on Skype will be allocated to “goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets, primarily trade names”. Huh?

    In that environment, there is no way to do math that adds up to a feed-the-baby profit model for WP or any conceivable successor, unless it includes IP licensing fees.

    The Nokia thing has an 50/50 chance of blowing up in their faces. If the Nokia WP phones don’t show early indications of stabilizing/reversing Nokia’s loss of share, the company will come under tremendous pressure from shareholders and board to pull the trigger on Plan B. Whether it’s resurrecting Meego or peeing in pants to make Android phones, Nokia has to make phones that people will buy and it doesn’t have a whole lot of time to figure it out which ones they are. If Plan B is executed, WP’s credibility will take a huge hit in the market.

    The Skype purchase? WTF? From here, it looks like an eight billion dollar bonfire.

    It’s too bad, because I really would like to see a healthy competition between two non-proprietary OS’s. But my prediction is that WP will double its market share by the end of 2012 to 3.2%.

  132. > But my prediction is that WP will double its market share by the end of 2012 to 3.2%.

    Save Microsoft! Buy an Android Phone! The manufacturer will donate (approximately) $10 to the Save Microsoft Fund for every Android phone purchased.

  133. @Steven Ehrbar “No, it’s not particularly interesting. What would be interesting is if Android makers tended to have fat, Apple-like profits, because that would contradict the “Android commoditizes the product” theory. Thin profits on Android devices support the PC market equivalency model.”

    Of course it’s relevant. Android “partners” are far more susceptible to commoditization and disruption from their own dependency so we will see them falling all over themselves, and it will be up to Samsung and HTC to buoy the platform. Meanwhile, even if Apple does start to decline (which I don’t think we are seeing yet at all), they will still be making the lion share of profits and still be the healthiest phone manufacturer in the entire ecosystem.

  134. @Nigel> Jeff there’s a huge difference between GIMP and Android. One is a joke and the other a dominating platform.

    I saw the following scrawled on a bathroom wall (above a urinal) once:

    “Don’t look here, the joke is in your hand.”

    If the glove fits, you can’t acquit, and all that.

  135. @Steven Ehrbar “Go ahead if you think the tablet market is anything more than a slightly delayed version of the phone market.”

    It is clearly nothing like the smartphone market and we’ve been watching and waiting for 2 years.

  136. @Steven Ehrbar “If you’re an investor or manufacturer, you care about revenue. From the developer and consumer perspectives, who cares? Unless you’re rooting for one side as if it were a baseball team, there’s no reason to look at revenue; units tell you how big the platform is.”

    I would certainly care if my phone manufacturer may cease to exist tomorrow. Most consumers look for brands that are reliably going to be there tomorrow — not go out of business or get swallowed up by another company.

  137. @Patrick Maupin “Most commentators seem to include tablets in the “mobile device” category. Given that Apple is still way out front in tablets, I think this is fairly self-explanatory.”

    Are you claiming that Android users produce as much mobile traffic as iPhone users but with other iOS devices included Apple actually has 2/3s of the mobile device market? Or are you just waving away the massive discrepency between mobile web usage between the two platforms no matter how you slice market share?

  138. @Kevin the problem for Nokia is if WP7 doesn’t pan out there is no backup option. Being another Android maker isn’t going to turn out any better for them than it has for S-E, LG, Moto, etc. Meego doesn’t have any advantages over WP7 at this late date.

    So what is plan B other than folding shop? By 2013 Nokia has no options but to stay the course. They can’t even reasonably buy WebOS at that point and do anything useful with it.

    How Nokia AND RIM let WebOS go to HP is beyond me. Why HP just dumped it out the airlock is also beyond me. Perhaps this is why Apple and Samsung are beating the crap out of all of them.

  139. @Tom “Which is it: devices or platforms?” Whichever is most convenient, of course.

  140. The point is, if MS could not get WP7 right the third time, why should they succeed the fourth time? The same story as with Bing. If it sucks after spending $6B, it will suck after spending $2B more.

    Bing doesn’t suck. It’s gained against Google in market share over the past year, and is projected to overtake Google in early 2012. Its ROI also exceeds Google’s.

    http://www.marketingvox.com/bing-is-gaining-marketshare-its-search-roi-is-already-tops-049059/

    ROI, Winter. ROI.

    Between Bing and Siri, Apple and Microsoft are executing a successful squeeze play against Google on its home turf — what do you think is going to happen to Google in a market that is unprofitable for them where they are way out of their element?

    The heyday of Android is long past.

  141. @Patrick Maupin “I already mentioned that measuring platforms in this way might be useful for developers. But that’s true only as long as they’re not coding an app that requires cellular connectivity.”

    What application category requires cellular connectivity outside of A PHONE? I can’t think of any.

  142. @Winter “And this is shown by Google making lots of money…” Where is it? I know their existing business continues to grow. I know there is zero top line growth that corresponds to the growth of Android.

  143. @Winter “But obviously, they will get competition fast.”

    Why is this obvious? Your argument seems to be Google is great because Google is great.

  144. “That article doesn’t say what you say it says.”

    @Patrick Maupin: You’re right, it doesn’t. The original story had something in there from Best Buy about how they were going to get all the profits from Apple sales now…I see that it was completely removed in an update. Sorry to all…

  145. @Nigel Re Nokia’s plans, I would be incredibly surprised (and Nokia management would be guilty of serious negligence) if Plan B were not being worked on in a quiet corner somewhere. It may not have been started when the WP announcement was made, but as 2011 progressed surely they could see the handwriting on the wall and recognize that there might be a need for a Plan B and gotten started?

    I do agree that it’s likely too late for them to start over with Meego.

    I’m not sure I share your pessimism about a Nokia Android phone offering. Nokia’s strong suit and differentiation has been their hardware. A Nokia Android phone lineup could appeal to a lot of people. That’s speculation on my part, of course, I have never owned a Nokia product nor do I know anyone who does. But there is a huge base of existing Android customers out there and some of them would look seriously at a Nokia alternative.

    IMHO, if the wheels come off the WP wagon, it’s the only chance at survival they have.

  146. @Jeff Read: Suck is a relative term. From the end user’s or advertising buyer’s perspective, Bing might not suck. But from the business and shareholder’s perspective, Bing does suck, to the tune of two billion dollars a year down the drain with no end in sight.

    >”…and is projected to overtake Google in early 2012.”

    Projected by which source? Not the article you cited.

    Siri is an interesting product and no doubt part of a larger Apple strategy. I’m sure that Facetime was as well. Right now, Siri is still a novelty with a limited appeal. Time will tell whether voice interaction becomes a widely used functionality, and what Apple’s competitor’s do with their own offerings (which predate Apple’s) in response.

  147. >Projected by which source? Not the article you cited.

    You must be new here. The occasions on which Jeff Read’s sources back up his claims are rare enough to be remarkable. He’s not as out-and-out crazy as “Shelby”, aka “Jocelyn”, but there are topics on which he’s unhinged from reality, and you have encountered one of them.

  148. Mashable made that projection earlier this year. Granted, that was months ago — but since that time Bing has been in a slow and steady climb against Google.

  149. there are topics on which he’s unhinged from reality, and you have encountered one of them.

    Says the global warming and AIDS denialist.

    That doesn’t excuse me from being more careful about claims and sources, but still. Glass houses, stones, and all that.

  150. @esr: I’m an “AIDS denialist” now? What fantasy does that come from? What does it even mean?

    What does it mean, Eric? One need only ask Wikipedia:
    Quoting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS_denialism

    AIDS denialism is the view held by a loosely connected group of people and organizations who deny that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

    So when you said http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=184:

    I believe, but cannot prove, that global “AIDS” is a whole cluster of unrelated diseases all of which have been swept under a single rug for essentially political reasons, and that the identification of HIV as the sole pathogen is likely to go down as one of the most colossal blunders in the history of medicine.

    you became an AIDS denialist.

    It’s OK. You’re entitled to your opinion.

    But the scientific community holds that your opinions on AGW and AIDS are wrong.

    And many here think your opinions on Android’s certain dominance are also wrong.

    But we’re entertained by your bluster.

    Enjoy your popcorn.

  151. I’m an “AIDS denialist” now? What fantasy does that come from? What does it even mean?

    Let me Wikipedia that for you:

    AIDS denialism is the view held by a loosely connected group of people and organizations who deny that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some denialists reject the existence of HIV, while others accept that HIV exists but say that it is a harmless passenger virus and not the cause of AIDS. Insofar as denialists acknowledge AIDS as a real disease, they attribute it to some combination of sexual behavior, recreational drugs, malnutrition, poor sanitation, hemophilia, or the effects of the drugs used to treat HIV infection.

    The scientific community considers the evidence that HIV causes AIDS to be conclusive and rejects AIDS-denialist claims as pseudoscience based on conspiracy theories, faulty reasoning, cherry picking, and misrepresentation of mainly outdated scientific data. With the rejection of these arguments by the scientific community, AIDS-denialist material is now spread mainly through the Internet.

    Quoth Eric Raymond:

    I believe, but cannot prove, that global “AIDS” is a whole cluster of
    unrelated diseases all of which have been swept under a single rug for
    essentially political reasons, and that the identification of HIV as
    the sole pathogen is likely to go down as one of the most colossal
    blunders in the history of medicine.

  152. @esr: Well, he did come back with a source.

    @Jeff Read: Your source is six months out of date. It cites numbers from Experian Hitwise and makes projections from them that have turned out not to be true. If the six month old Mashable article’s projections were anywhere close to coming to pass, Bing would be at 44% and Google would be at 51% now (reading from Mashable’s graph). Experian Hitwise’s latest press release (which goes to Sept 2011, http://www.hitwise.com/us/about-us/press-center/press-releases/google-share-of-searches-66-percent-in-sept-2011/ ) shows Google at 66% and Bing at 28%. If you’re going to cite it, check it.

  153. @Tim F.:

    [The tablet market] is clearly nothing like the smartphone market and we’ve been watching and waiting for 2 years.

    Actually, I used to think that the tablet market was nothing like the smartphone market, but I’ve been convinced otherwise by events. I don’t know its eventual size compared to the phone market[*], but Apple proved that there was a lot of demand at the high-end for the right product at the right price, and it took some of the Android vendors awhile to figure out that Apple really was at the high-end (of what consumers would tolerate), but they’ve caught on, and the prices are coming down to significant volume territory.

    And the curve of iPad adoption followed by the curve of Android tablet adoption is, so far, uncannily like the curve of iPhone followed by Android phones.

    * While there are a lot of people in the world who will just have a phone, there are a lot of others who, at the right price point, will have a phone and three tablets — one at home in the living room, one in the bedroom, one at the office… Also, it doesn’t hurt that almost all the components are fungible with smartphone components — even the screen uses the same manufacturing process, or that there’s a huge market for tablets that are going to hang out around the house and don’t require the expensive cellular connectivity components (which isn’t even a checkbox item for those tablets until the carriers drop their data pricing or allow family data plans). This means that, at least for awhile, every time more smartphones OR more tablets are sold, prices will come down for both tablets AND smartphones, and that will only accelerate the price reduction cycle in both categories.

    I would certainly care if my phone manufacturer may cease to exist tomorrow. Most consumers look for brands that are reliably going to be there tomorrow — not go out of business or get swallowed up by another company.

    A lot of phone-buying consumers apparently beg to differ, especially in markets like China. And in markets like the States, you often get the phone through the carrier, warranty and all. No big deal.

    Most commentators seem to include tablets in the “mobile device” category. Given that Apple is still way out front in tablets, I think this is fairly self-explanatory.

    Are you claiming that Android users produce as much mobile traffic as iPhone users…

    No, in the aggregate, a little more. But not as much per user. Probably partly because people willing to pay extra for iPhone are more willing to pay extra for more data/month. (It will be interesting to see, since Apple has been pushing lower cost phones, if new users use as much data as existing users. I imagine more US iPhone customers than Android customers are grandfathered into unlimited data plans, especially on AT&T.)

    but with other iOS devices included Apple actually has 2/3s of the mobile device market?

    58.5% according to comscore. But another interesting data point there is that, from a web usage perspective, not only do iPads generate more traffic than iPhone, but “other” iOS devices, e.g. iPods, count for less than 11% of iOS traffic. Which is only one of the reasons why I don’t personally think that iPods contribute much heft to the iOS “platform.”

    Or are you just waving away the massive discrepency between mobile web usage between the two platforms no matter how you slice market share?

    No, I think it can be explained pretty well by a combination of tablets using more data than phones, and non-iPhone customers being more cost-sensitive than iPhone customers.

    “Which is it: devices or platforms?” Whichever is most convenient, of course.

    I gave my reasons. If you don’t have anything sensible to say, you’re welcome to snark, but the rest of us aren’t stupid enough to think you’re saying anything valuable when you do.

    What application category requires cellular connectivity outside of A PHONE? I can’t think of any.

    Well, then, you’re not very imaginative (but I supposed I could have gleaned that from the last snarky comment). Despite Nigel’s apparent assertion that GPS is sufficient for a location app, there are a lot of location apps that rely on both continuous real-time internet connectivity and GPS.

  154. I was trying to cherry-pick some responses to some of the comments, particularly those by Patrick Maupin and Winter, but there are so many more irrelevant and tangential comments, far afield from ESR’s post that the transition that portends Apple’s collapse may or may not have occurred in the US at the end of 3Q2011 AGAIN despite there being absolutely no change in the data trends (or a possible reversal of the trend in the case of Microsoft and RIMM) so I put together some of my views. I apologize if they are irrelevant and tangential in their own right:

    1. The market is evolving quickly, but we haven’t approached a zero-sum game by any measure of any market segmentation. However, a zero-sum game is inevitable. What we call smartphones, mobile touch devices, will “fully” supplant “dumb”/feature phones. The dynamics of a zero-sum game will not fully manifest until the zero-sum state has been achieved.

    2. Today we are still in the 40-55% range for the developed world: US, China, Japan, Europe. The US market still remains the most lucrative, dynamic, and profitable (a position it overtook quickly these last three years). China will overtake the US in the near term. (Apple will ALWAYS be more profitable in China than Google.)

    3. “Full” market replacement is relative. A small percentage may remain locked into feature phones because of infrastructure or financial limitations. I think this non-replaced market segment can achieve a very small percentage in the 2 year to more than 5 year term globally. Say, less than 20% of the cell market/world population. Maybe even more optimistic. Despite global economic trouble and basic infrastructure problems, the technology will race ahead of our means. I would vaguely and conservatively call the zero-sum state at 80-85% market transition to smartphones.

    4. The market isn’t segmented by form factor, hardware features, data connectivity protocols, or screen size. (It is in many ways now, but it’s full potential will inevitably be unlocked.) The dynamic leading towards a zero-sum game is also leading towards a convergence, or rather “blurring”, of market definitions by device or OS or form factor, because new forms are just as likely as others fading or being redefined. The market is defined by platform ecosystem now. The market can and will transcend phones, PDAs, tablets, laptops, and even desktops, consoles, and home televisions in time, at least in some form. This evolution may occur more slowly than the mobile market transition (dumb -> smartphone) but has already developed past the point of its potential — platform ecosystem is the market most at play. (This is why Nokia and RIMM are losing quickly, and Microsoft is very much in trouble because it has been so late to enter meaningfully.) It remains useful to look at market segments, but from now on, the larger platform picture must be considered as well. Segmented, like-to-like comparisons of form factor, technologies, points of distribution, sources of revenue, “platform-ness,” etc. are necessary and useful throughout the transition and after.

    5. Platform ecosystem is not simply OS; the potential or explicit right to modify a device to achieve “platform compatibility” may enlarge or shift the ecosystem, but this potential is always a minority case. In the majority case, it will void the user’s warranty. There are various methods and means to create, segment, or lock platforms into smaller segments or fractional platform compatibility WITHIN the platforms to varying degrees. Platforms even overlap and coexist.

    6. Apple competes as a platform against Google’s Android and other platforms. And also as a manufacturer of several form factors of two platforms against the likes of Samsung, HTC, HP, MMI/Google, Dell, and innumerable others. In the second category, their success, even when not market leading, is unquestioned (I would hope). It is also a lucrative meta-platform for Google and other competitors. However, for some, there is a question of its sustainability as a competitive super-platform.

    7. Apple may experience slowdowns, or even downturns, as we move towards this zero-sum state, but it is also fully capable of growing its userbase (certainly) and market share (less likely but I will still predict it at this date) throughout the entire transition to mobile touch/smartphones. Again, zero-sum dynamics are not fully at play until the zero-sum state is actually achieved.

    8. Apple is likely to be the most profitable device manufacturer, at most market segments, for the entire transition phase of mobile computing. In some cases, it may lead in profit AND units against its manufacturer AND platform competitors. In all cases, Apple is likely to be comparably competitive, likely in a leading, top 3 or 5, position.

    9. Additionally, Apple is likely to be the most profitable meta-platform/device manufacturer for GOOGLE, more than any other meta-platform/device manufacturer INCLUDING Google’s OWN PARTNERS and PLATFORM (and possibly devices), throughout the entire transition phase of mobile computing.

    10. The disruption predicted by ESR and others for Apple is also at play on EVERYONE of Google’s partners (and I’m sure several would say as much even though they rarely point out the effects on these partners, because a platform that inherently disrupts its partners is plainly not a healthy one). It will be all the MORE harsh for Android PARTNERS than Apple who has weathered technological and innovative disruptions historically, has a vast pool of software and hardware resources and talent, grows the world’s largest monetary war chest, and pursues a strategy orthogonal to the underlying technological disruption from below — or at least more so than any other player (excepting, but not necessarily, Google) in the marketplace.

    11. Platform sustainability is not governed by platform dominance. Market share is not the only value in platform selection; there are numerous factors at stake in judging a platform’s qualities: profitability, quality and scope of tools, market share, market profitability, platform openness, ease of use, rate of platform progress, economic and other barriers, etc… All of these qualities come together to form a “quorum” for platform sustainability which is often not synonymous with dominance.

    I would say we are likely moving to a second phase of the transition, but I don’t think it looks like ESR says it does.

  155. No, I don’t fit the template for an AIDS denialist, because I don’t particularly doubt HIV causes some of what we see as AIDS. But I strongly suspect that Duesberg was onto something and there are other things producing immune-system collapse that have been mistakenly attributed to HIV, especially in Africa where HIV infection is co-morbid with several rather vicious tropical diseases.

    If you think this is nutty, look up the history of ARC (AIDS-Related Complex) sometime – but be prepared to dig, because the CDC has shuffled its definitions several times. The short version is that there are a lot of people with AIDS-like immune-system failure who aren’t HIV-seropositive. The Gallo/Montaignier model doesn’t really have a good explanation for this.

  156. @Tim F.:

    I actually agree with some of what you write. But not all.

    What we call smartphones, mobile touch devices, will “fully” supplant “dumb”/feature phones. The dynamics of a zero-sum game will not fully manifest until the zero-sum state has been achieved.

    But as I wrote repeatedly, for that to happen, carriers have to allow you to have a smartphone without a data plan. That’s part of why the curves are flattening in the US even as dumbphones are still selling quite well. You keep missing or otherwise ignoring this important piece of the puzzle. Personally, I would be ecstatic to buy a smartphone, but I don’t want a data plan. I doubt I’m alone.

    The market is defined by platform ecosystem now.

    I don’t think this is true yet. People use their iPods for listening, their TVs for viewing. I’m not sure it’s even that important in the near future for a lot of these devices, except that the platform support HTML 5 and good video.

    [Apple] is also fully capable of growing its userbase (certainly) and market share (less likely but I will still predict it at this date) throughout the entire transition to mobile touch/smartphones.

    I believe, and have argued, that Apple’s handset market share could rise for awhile (probably will rise for the next couple of quarters), but that its smartphone market share will be flat or dwindling during that time. So, we may be at least close to agreement on this.

    Additionally, Apple is likely to be the most profitable meta-platform/device manufacturer for GOOGLE, more than any other meta-platform/device manufacturer INCLUDING Google’s OWN PARTNERS and PLATFORM (and possibly devices), throughout the entire transition phase of mobile computing.

    Possible. But Android was necessary insurance in any case. Apple just isn’t nice sometimes. Business is business.

    The disruption predicted by ESR and others for Apple is also at play on EVERYONE of Google’s partners…

    Sure. You are correct that Apple might be well-positioned to weather the storm. But the companies creating the storm don’t need Apple’s enormous margins or a huge pile of cash to wreak this havoc. Most will die, but a few will live. And they will be tough.

    Platform sustainability is not governed by platform dominance. Market share is not the only value in platform selection; there are numerous factors at stake in judging a platform’s qualities: profitability, quality and scope of tools, market share, market profitability, platform openness, ease of use, rate of platform progress, economic and other barriers, etc… All of these qualities come together to form a “quorum” for platform sustainability which is often not synonymous with dominance.

    Is Apple going to create something new, different and exciting? If so, they’re starting over. If not, we basically know what the platforms look like. This stuff isn’t rocket science any more. Appcelerator will build you an app that runs on anybody’s platform. Is it best of breed? Probably not. Is it good enough for most users? Probably so. Will someone else build the app if you don’t? Probably so. Will that continue to attract customers? How could it not?

    I would say we are likely moving to a second phase of the transition, but I don’t think it looks like ESR says it does.

    You say transition. Eric says transition. I say transition. I say that in the US, the carriers (or the right lawsuit against the carriers) could break it wide open again, but other than that, the tangent of the smartphone vs. dumbphone growth curve is probably going to be reduced for awhile.

  157. @Patrick Maupin

    “And the curve of iPad adoption followed by the curve of Android tablet adoption is, so far, uncannily like the curve of iPhone followed by Android phones.”

    Would love to see this. With substantial numbers, I’m not sure the iPad adoption curve is clear, never mind its relation vis-a-vis Android adoption. Citation?

    “No, in the aggregate, a little more.” Your own citation shows a 2:1 ratio in favor of iOS.

    “58.5% according to comscore.” No, 43.1% and yet it produces even more web usage (58.5%); therefore, iOS is responsible for more web browsing than other platforms, if not 2/3s of all Google traffic.

    “Which is only one of the reasons why I don’t personally think that iPods contribute much heft to the iOS “platform.”” There is no subtraction of “heft”; the iPod represents 11% of iOS. That there are less volumes of web-capable iPods than iPhones doesn’t diminish its value as a member of that platform.

    “No, I think it can be explained pretty well by a combination of tablets using more data than phones, and non-iPhone customers being more cost-sensitive than iPhone customers.” Neither of which negates the fact that iOS as a platform, in aggregate, generates greater web usage than competing platforms. This is handwaving. Yes, I am saying iPad users surf the web more and non-iOS users and cheaper and surf the web less. Yes. How does that negate that iOS has more web usage than Google.

    “I gave my reasons. If you don’t have anything sensible to say, you’re welcome to snark, but the rest of us aren’t stupid enough to think you’re saying anything valuable when you do.”

    This wasn’t directed at you. I understand that you are willing to look at various segmentations for various purposes. No need to be offended. To act as if every comment ever posted here is devoid of snark or humor is absurd. Humor has value.

    “there are a lot of location apps that rely on both continuous real-time internet connectivity and GPS.”

    I’ll give you a hint: continuous real-time internet connectivity is not dependent on cellular connectivity. Conversely to my previous comment, I can’t think of a single app that doesn’t use internet connectivity, at all times or in part, that ceases to have utility because it happens to be on my iPod.

  158. @Patrick Maupin

    “But as I wrote repeatedly, for that to happen, carriers have to allow you to have a smartphone without a data plan.”

    Disagree. Not concerned with your cost sensitivity. You’re devaluing traditional wifi connectivity. Of course, there will also be pricing pressure on those ISP data plans and cost in the future as well. But I still disagree: we won’t care about the costs.

    “I don’t think this is true yet. People use their iPods for listening, their TVs for viewing. I’m not sure it’s even that important in the near future for a lot of these devices, except that the platform support HTML 5 and good video.”

    The majority of people not thinking so is why I think Apple is winning.

    “But Android was necessary insurance in any case. Apple just isn’t nice sometimes. Business is business.”

    iOS is necessary insurance against Google. Google isn’t nice sometimes.

    “But the companies creating the storm don’t need Apple’s enormous margins or a huge pile of cash to wreak this havoc. Most will die, but a few will live. And they will be tough.”

    Disagree. Google is the only beneficiary of the storm and it’s unclear if they are even in that case. We’ve already seen SE and MMI disappear, LG will be next. A few will live and suck. They’ll be cheap, weak, visionless slugs like HP and Dell today. They may get to the top of a heap for a brief while, but it will be the top of a pile in a landfill.

    “Is Apple going to create something new, different and exciting? If so, they’re starting over. If not, we basically know what the platforms look like.”

    Don’t know. Even if they do, don’t think it will be starting over. Do not think we fully know what the platforms look like.

    ” This stuff isn’t rocket science any more. Appcelerator will build you an app that runs on anybody’s platform. Is it best of breed? Probably not. Is it good enough for most users? Probably so. Will someone else build the app if you don’t? Probably so. Will that continue to attract customers? How could it not?”

    Disagree, think developers are just making baby steps still. Anything “great” I’ve only seen on iOS first so far. But not sure what the point of your series of rhetorical questions is? It appears you agree that iOS is a sustainable platform that doesn’t have to collapse?

    “You say transition. Eric says transition. I say transition. I say that in the US, the carriers (or the right lawsuit against the carriers) could break it wide open again, but other than that, the tangent of the smartphone vs. dumbphone growth curve is probably going to be reduced for awhile.”

    Of course, we say transition. I do not say there is a transition based on this data that doesn’t show a transition though, nor do I agree with what the transition is. No, I disagree with you that smartphone growth is going to slow down. (It may for Android but not for the total market.) If anything, I think it’s more likely to accelerate.

  159. @patrick

    Despite Nigel’s apparent assertion that GPS is sufficient for a location app, there are a lot of location apps that rely on both continuous real-time internet connectivity and GPS.

    Well, that’s like asserting that cloud based services rely on connectivity to the cloud. Yah, no kidding. Google, Facebook, etc also don’t work either when there’s no connectivity. Funny though, those apps work just fine on the iPod touch anyway because often that connectivity exists.

    Many navigation apps have maps stored on the device and only GPS is needed. Google and Mapquest are the two major ones that do not and rely on maps tiles from the cloud. Navigon, TomTom, CoPilot, etc all have maps stored on the device because sometimes you need to know where they hell you are even if cell service is slow or down. It also means you aren’t burning through your data plan loading map tiles. Which also means they work just fine on the iPod touch.

    Your implication is that the iPod touch couldn’t be used for some classes of apps. There are actually very few use cases where this is true. Sure, some times you need to buy additional hardware but typically the solution ends up cheaper than any subsidized smartphone due to the contract terms.

  160. @Tim

    Disagree. Not concerned with your cost sensitivity. You’re devaluing traditional wifi connectivity. Of course, there will also be pricing pressure on those ISP data plans and cost in the future as well. But I still disagree: we won’t care about the costs.

    Actually, there are starting to be some prepay mobile hotspots that paired with an iPod touch gives you pretty much a smart phone without the cell service and just data plan. The best buy pre-paid MiFi offers 1.5GB for 30 days for $35. Couple with skype, google voice and an extra battery (the thing only lasts 4 hours) and while it’s a little awkward it does mean you get smartphone features without smartphone contract costs.

    Works best for students and such that carry around a backpack a lot anyway. Just stash the battery and mifi in one of the pockets.

    If you also have good wifi coverage you’re pretty well set.

  161. @Tim F:

    And the curve of iPad adoption followed by the curve of Android tablet adoption is, so far, uncannily like the curve of iPhone followed by Android phones.

    Would love to see this. With substantial numbers, I’m not sure the iPad adoption curve is clear, never mind its relation vis-a-vis Android adoption. Citation?

    I’d have to put together numbers, but I have no time right now. Maybe over Christmas, when we’ll have some more numbers anyway. This is just my recollection of looking at the shipped statistics from the analysts over that last few quarters and mentally thinking they matched up pretty good with phones — Apple kicking butt, then an exponentially rising Android curve.

    (@Life as we know it): Former FTC official and current Google employee Susan Creighton told the Senate Judiciary committee in September that Apple’s iOS devices accounted for 2/3 of Google’s mobile-search traffic.

    Wither Android? If Android has so much market share, why isn’t Google seeing it?

    (@Me): Most commentators seem to include tablets in the “mobile device” category. Given that Apple is still way out front in tablets, I think this is fairly self-explanatory.

    (@You): Are you claiming that Android users produce as much mobile traffic as iPhone users…

    (@Me): No, in the aggregate, a little more.

    (@You): Your own citation shows a 2:1 ratio in favor of iOS.

    You didn’t say iOS. You said iPhone.

    58.5% according to comscore.

    No, 43.1% and yet it produces even more web usage (58.5%);

    Now you’re mixing numbers. The Susan Creighton number was “mobile-search traffic;” what you call “web usage.” 58.5% it is.

    There is no subtraction of “heft”; the iPod represents 11% of iOS. That there are less volumes of web-capable iPods than iPhones doesn’t diminish its value as a member of that platform.

    Well, if over 60 million iPod touches (according to Nigel) only represent 11% of 200 million iOS devices sold, rather than 30%, I’d personally call that reduced “heft.” But YMMV.

    Neither of which negates the fact that iOS as a platform, in aggregate, generates greater web usage than competing platforms.

    Absolutely true.

    This is handwaving.

    Why? It’s a discussion about what drives the numbers. I have discussed several times in comments on previous posts about Android users being more cost constrained. In addition to that, the sharply rising numbers for iOS are being driven by the more-surfing-on-tablet phenomenon, and the fact that the installed base of iPads is huge and the installed base of Android tablets is still small.

    Yes, I am saying iPad users surf the web more and non-iOS users and cheaper and surf the web less. Yes. How does that negate that iOS has more web usage than Google.

    It doesn’t. Where did I ever say that it did?

    (@Me:) No, but conflating them with phones is.

    (@Tom:) Which is it: devices or platforms?

    (@You): Whichever is most convenient, of course.

    I gave my reasons. If you don’t have anything sensible to say, you’re welcome to snark, but the rest of us aren’t stupid enough to think you’re saying anything valuable when you do.

    This wasn’t directed at you.

    In that case, you’ve got really shitty aim.

    I understand that you are willing to look at various segmentations for various purposes. No need to be offended. To act as if every comment ever posted here is devoid of snark or humor is absurd. Humor has value.

    I agree and I wasn’t offended. Just explaining that humor that attempts to make a point that isn’t accompanied by data, well, doesn’t make a point.

    I’ll give you a hint: continuous real-time internet connectivity is not dependent on cellular connectivity.

    Reliable continuous real-time internet connectivity usually does. Poor people take physical maps. A step up, they make sure they load their maps on their navigation device. The next step up, they buy continuous connectivity, usually from a cellular carrier. Sure, if you get lost, you can always look for an open access point, but those are few and far between in the countryside around here.

    “But as I wrote repeatedly, for that to happen, carriers have to allow you to have a smartphone without a data plan.”

    Disagree. Not concerned with your cost sensitivity. You’re devaluing traditional wifi connectivity. Of course, there will also be pricing pressure on those ISP data plans and cost in the future as well. But I still disagree: we won’t care about the costs.

    Perhaps you don’t understand. I am perfectly happy to buy, outright, a cellphone that happens to have smarts and that I can use on WiFi. But the carriers won’t let me. Even if I buy it from someone else. The will figure out it’s a smartphone and automatically sign it up for the smartphone data plan. I honestly don’t think I am alone in not wanting to fork out the $15/month for this, so yes, I think my cost sensitivity does matter.

    Or perhaps you do understand and you are making an argument I don’t understand or don’t agree with. Do you really think that all the remaining dumbphone users will be happy to spend $15 extra every month for carrier data? If so, explain why dumbphones are still selling (1/3 of all phones sold by AT&T last quarter were dumbphones, despite the easy availability of $0 smartphones). If not, explain why you still disagree with me…

    “I don’t think this is true yet. People use their iPods for listening, their TVs for viewing. I’m not sure it’s even that important in the near future for a lot of these devices, except that the platform support HTML 5 and good video.”

    The majority of people not thinking so is why I think Apple is winning.

    Why Apple was there first. But look at the web stats. Most people don’t use their iPods for web stuff. That’s just the way it is.

    “But Android was necessary insurance in any case. Apple just isn’t nice sometimes. Business is business.”

    iOS is necessary insurance against Google. Google isn’t nice sometimes.

    They’ve been a lot nicer than Apple for most of their existence. But that’s a matter of opinion. You’re highly unlikely to sway mine on this point at this time. Even after they make Jobs a saint.

    But the companies creating the storm don’t need Apple’s enormous margins or a huge pile of cash to wreak this havoc. Most will die, but a few will live. And they will be tough.

    Disagree. Google is the only beneficiary of the storm and it’s unclear if they are even in that case. We’ve already seen SE and MMI disappear, LG will be next. A few will live and suck. They’ll be cheap, weak, visionless slugs like HP and Dell today. They may get to the top of a heap for a brief while, but it will be the top of a pile in a landfill.

    And from a consumer’s point, it’s all good. I would think Apple fans would be the ones rooting hardest for the competition that helps keep Apple products affordable, and I don’t mind that most hardware is dished out by cheap visionless slugs. After all, most of the people at Apple’s subcontractors aren’t allowed to use their brains, either.

    Is Apple going to create something new, different and exciting? If so, they’re starting over. If not, we basically know what the platforms look like.

    Don’t know. Even if they do, don’t think it will be starting over. Do not think we fully know what the platforms look like.

    We do know that the gap between the Macintosh and other systems has increasingly narrowed. Why would it be different for phones?

    Disagree, think developers are just making baby steps still. Anything “great” I’ve only seen on iOS first so far. But not sure what the point of your series of rhetorical questions is? It appears you agree that iOS is a sustainable platform that doesn’t have to collapse?

    Where did I ever say that iOS was unsustainable?

    No, I disagree with you that smartphone growth is going to slow down.

    That observation that it has slowed and may continue to slow was for the US market only, and I gave my reasons, but you haven’t fully addressed them in a way that I have understood properly.

    (It may for Android but not for the total market.) If anything, I think it’s more likely to accelerate.

    Global smartphone market will certainly accelerate, led by Android.

    @Nigel:

    Well, that’s like asserting that cloud based services rely on connectivity to the cloud.

    Most navigation apps these days work much better with continuous connectivity. I agree that it’s practically a tautology, but I really don’t understand why it was contentious for me to bring it up in the first place.

    Your implication is that the iPod touch couldn’t be used for some classes of apps. There are actually very few use cases where this is true. Sure, some times you need to buy additional hardware but typically the solution ends up cheaper than any subsidized smartphone due to the contract terms.

    I agree that if you buy the hardware to turn an iPod touch into an almost-phone, it could do anything an iPhone can do, and possibly cheaper. That doesn’t make it a particularly attractive solution. And on the continuum of devices, it’s still really small for a tablet, and it’s not a standalone phone. That’s why the 30% of iOS devices known as iPod touches only account (according to comscore) for 11% of iOS web traffic.

  162. @patrick the reason I think that iPod touches are 30% of iOS devices and only 13% of iOS traffic is because 90% of touches I see are owned by teenagers as game devices and PMPs. As near as I can tell they surf the web a lot less than we do and predominantly use social apps connecting to FB, twiiter, skype, gv, text, youtube, etc via apps.

  163. @patrick Oh, the thing about nav apps was contentious because it pretty much does work assuming you buy a GPS unit for your car. Android nav apps tend to be connected. iPhone ones tend to not require connection except for traffic reports. All the map and POI data is preloaded.

  164. I gotta say, that moderation filter is just weird. I have no idea why the post about teenagers and iPods got flagged for moderation.

  165. @Nigel “Actually, there are starting to be some prepay mobile hotspots that paired with an iPod touch gives you pretty much a smart phone without the cell service and just data plan.”

    This is more or less my point: even if there is a price ceiling for 15-20%, or even 30%, of the world’s consumers, the market demands what options necessary to achieve 100% connectivity. The 80% of the market will get there if only the top 10% can really afford it, and the other 70% pay for it on credit that they don’t have.

    There are innumerable barriers and innumerable ways around them. Patrick wants a smartphone with a voice plan and no data plan. I want a smartphone with a data plan and no voice. And I’m sure I’m not alone. But I also know there are others not in mine or Patrick’s position. Growth carries onward. The ways in which the 80% will reach near ubiquitous voice/data connectivity are numerous and less cost constrained than posited (despite real economic concerns).

    I certainly agree with you that an iPod is no less a member of the iOS platform because it cannot be employed for some forms of in-car GPS navigation. For a number of reasons: mobile wifi plans; downloading/local caching inherent to app design; wifi in paid and public transportation; an iPod used as an educational, play, media consumption tool is no less valuable than a voice phone used primarily as an in-car GPS; not being concerned that various platform form factors occupy a space, a time, a specific utility, or location scenario — niche usage doesn’t diminish contribution to the total platform; etc..

  166. @Nigel:

    > iPhone ones tend to not require connection except for traffic reports.

    Given that traffic reports can be had for free these days (assuming connectivity) isn’t that part of a standard nav app?

    @Tim F.:

    The 80% of the market will get there if only the top 10% can really afford it, and the other 70% pay for it on credit that they don’t have.

    I never said we wouldn’t get there, just that in the US the growth is entering a new, much slower phase, and will probably remain there until and unless the carriers change.

    The ways in which the 80% will reach near ubiquitous voice/data connectivity are numerous and less cost constrained than posited (despite real economic concerns).

    The concerns are economic, to be sure, but also have to do with perceived worth. I spend a lot on my home network, and am more than capable of spending whatever I want to for cell traffic. But I don’t see the value. I really don’t think I’m alone in this. But time will tell.

    I certainly agree with you that an iPod is no less a member of the iOS platform…

    Wait, wait, wait… A few comments ago, it was a full 11%. Now it’s back up to 30?

  167. “You didn’t say iOS. You said iPhone.”

    I thought you were saying Android was a little more in aggregate, not iOS. We are clearly arguing at cross purposes. Let’s look at my original question:

    “Are you claiming that Android users produce as much mobile traffic as iPhone users but with other iOS devices included Apple actually has 2/3s of the mobile device market?”

    I am not concerned about the market division between iPhone and iOS so if I used it loosely my apologies (although I’m not sure I have).

    Nonetheless, iOS has 43.1% mobile device market share, iPhone has less market share of smartphones, and it does have 60ish% of the web usage market. Google says iOS, or iPhone, or Apple is responsible for 2/3 of its mobile device revenue (I think, I would need to confirm). Is that a fact we are in agreement on, and is that not remarkable and an advantage?

  168. @Nigel:

    the reason I think that iPod touches are 30% of iOS devices and only 13% of iOS traffic is because 90% of touches I see are owned by teenagers as game devices
    and PMPs.

    Which gets to my point that, even though they use the same OS, they are typically used for different things.

  169. “Well, if over 60 million iPod touches (according to Nigel) only represent 11% of 200 million iOS devices sold, rather than 30%, I’d personally call that reduced “heft.” But YMMV.”

    I thought you had said it was 11%; if I did that in error, apologies. Again, the point is: no matter what percentage of units of iOS devices the iPod is, it is a member of the iOS platform.

  170. “Why? It’s a discussion about what drives the numbers. I have discussed several times in comments on previous posts about Android users being more cost constrained.”

    To me you are just restating the reasons why iOS web usage is higher. I’m not saying you can’t say it: yes, you surf more on an iPad. Good. Android users are cheaper and thus utilize the products less, yes. I agree. This isn’t addressing how it is not an advantage that iOS has higher web usage that it is likely to sustain.

  171. @Tim F.:

    Google says iOS, or iPhone, or Apple is responsible for 2/3 of its mobile device revenue (I think, I would need to confirm). Is that a fact we are in agreement on, and is that not remarkable and an advantage?

    I have no reason to disbelieve it, but I do not see it as remarkable for reasons I have already given.

    I think that, for carrier mobile, iPhone will remain ahead for two simple (related) facts: the average iPhone user is less cost-constrained than the average Android user, and a higher percentage of iPhone users have grandfathered unlimited data.

    I think that, for non-carrier mobile, Android tablets are going to seemingly come out of nowhere to kick some serious web browsing marketshare butt over the next two to three quarters. Android phones, too, if the carriers relent and let people basically combine their phone and their WiFi tablet. BTW, have you actually tried to just buy an unsubsidized smartphone and get, e.g., an AT&T standalone dataplan on it? It would be interesting to see if they force you to have a voice plan in the same manner they force you to have a data plan.

  172. “Reliable continuous real-time internet connectivity usually does.”

    Reliable continuous real-time internet connectivity is not a qualifier as a member or fractional member of the iOS platform is the point. Lacking reliable continuous real-time internet connnectivity at all times does not diminish a device’s contribution to the platform is the point.

  173. @Tim F:

    I thought you had said it was 11%; if I did that in error, apologies. Again, the point is: no matter what percentage of units of iOS devices the iPod is, it is a member of the iOS platform.

    11% was from the traffic report. You seem to be implying that iOS is somehow better than Android because it drives more web traffic. You also state that all iOS devices are equal. But they are not all equally better than Android, because they don’t equally drive web traffic…

  174. “Even after they make Jobs a saint.”

    I think this is the sort of thing the conversation could do without.

  175. @Tim F.:

    Lacking reliable continuous real-time internet connnectivity at all times does not diminish a device’s contribution to the platform is the point.

    How can you know that? iPods are the one member of the platform that people don’t surf the web on as much and that are often primarily used off-web. In any case, this is all a matter of opinion, and I don’t think either of us will convince the other.

  176. @Tim F.:

    > I think this is the sort of thing the conversation could do without.

    I would say something snarky, but then you would just say this wasn’t addressed to me.

  177. “You also state that all iOS devices are equal. But they are not all equally better than Android, because they don’t equally drive web traffic…”

    No, I say all iOS devices are different, enlisted to do a variety of jobs by a variety of people for many different reasons. But they have “equal” (admittedly relative) value contribution to the total platform. An iPad can primarily be used as a restaurant check-in device, an iPod touch can be used to educate and distract a kid, an iPhone can be used for 80 different apps or just used to make a video, 3 different devices can be used by 1 person part-time… I cannot discern which contributes more to the merits, health, or desirability of a platform as they approach equal value.

  178. “But the carriers won’t let me. Even if I buy it from someone else.”

    I don’t know why you don’t understand that your choices will not prevent 80% of the world from owning a mobile touch device. But that’s the case. If you can’t pay $15 a month, you’ll have another option. And you might not like that one either, but some will. And there’ll be another option, and you might not like that one either… Just because the ideal product for you does not exist does not mean other products will not flourish.

  179. “Given that traffic reports can be had for free these days (assuming connectivity) isn’t that part of a standard nav app?”

    In what way does a full-featured navigation app (one type of app) define a device’s contribution to the platform?

  180. @Tim F.:

    > I don’t know why you don’t understand that your choices will not prevent 80% of the world from owning a mobile touch device.

    So, are you not comprehending the point where I limit my issue to the US, and limit it to slowing down the rate of change, or are you really not believing that a lot of other people are in my boat? Do you really have an explanation why one-third the devices sold by AT&T last quarter were dumbphones? Does that explanation explain why the rate of change in ratio of smartphones to dumbphones is diminishing?

  181. @Tim F.:

    > In what way does a full-featured navigation app (one type of app) define a device’s contribution to the platform?

    OK, that’s one too many comments you’ve plucked out at random without enough background. I’m done for now.

  182. “So, are you not comprehending the point where I limit my issue to the US, and limit it to slowing down the rate of change, or are you really not believing that a lot of other people are in my boat?”

    I do not see the rate slowing. I’m sure people are in your boat.

    “Do you really have an explanation why one-third the devices sold by AT&T last quarter were dumbphones?”

    It’s just the ending of the first phase of the market transformation.

    “Does that explanation explain why the rate of change in ratio of smartphones to dumbphones is diminishing?”

    I don’t think it is. Would be happy to look at data showing this.

  183. @Tim F.:

    I do not see the rate slowing.

    Based on what?

    I don’t think it is. Would be happy to look at data showing this.

    Ahh. I see. This explains a lot. Willing to stake a claim and spout nonsense without looking at data, but more than happy for others to provide it, so that you can pretend like you understand it without actually agreeing with it. You must work in marketing. Well, here ya go:

    AT&T didn’t break out smartphones separately until this year. The also use weasel words to make it slightly difficult to figure out, but in this case “devices” means “handsets” since they count postpaid “connected data devices” separately.


    AT&T had another strong quarter of smartphone sales. (Smartphones are voice and data devices with an advanced operating system to better manage data and
    Internet access.) More than 5.5 million smartphones were sold in the first quarter, the third-highest quarter ever. During the quarter, 3.6 million iPhones were activated. Approximately 65 percent of postpaid sales were smartphones.


    Best-ever second-quarter smartphone sales of 5.6 million; nearly 70 percent of total postpaid sales were smartphones.


    In the third quarter, the company sold 4.8 million smartphones, representing nearly two-thirds of postpaid device sales.

    Verizon breaks out smartphone sales as a % of total postpaid phones. Looking at just a few reports, you can draw a nice graph:


    2009Q4 = 29%
    2010Q4 = 49%


    2010Q1 = 35.6%
    2011Q1 = 60%


    2010Q2 = 39.5%
    2011Q2 = 59.5%


    2010Q3 = 42.8%
    2011Q3 = 59.6%

    Now I’m sure you’ll have a perfectly logical explanation why there’s no flattening there, based on third-party sales or some other such rubbish that supports your position, but unless you can come up with data that passes a smell test (even if only at 100 yards), I’m really not interested in any more of your so-called “arguments” on this point.

    I will entertain the very slight possibility that the whole world has been waiting for the iPhone 4S for the last 3 quarters, but that still doesn’t explain why people are still buying dumbphones in droves, and I’m not particularly interested in testing that hypothesis until data for the next quarter comes out in any case.

    Finally, I will note that in my opinion dumbphone users are, on average, more cost-constrained and more likely than smartphone users to hold on to their devices for longer periods of time. So the percentage of users using dumbphones is probably going to continue remain higher than percentage of dumbphone sales for the forseeable future. (That statistical information is also available if you care to look.)

  184. @esr> I strongly suspect that Duesberg was onto something

    Eric, … (sigh). No.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/data/cohen/266-5191-1642a.pdf

    This investigation reveals that although the Berkeley virologist raises provocative questions, few researchers find his basic contention that HIV is not the cause of AIDS persuasive. Mainstream AIDS researchers argue that Duesberg’s arguments are constructed by selective reading of the scientific literature, dismissing evidence that contradicts his theses, requiring impossibly definitive proof, and dismissing outright studies marked by inconsequential weaknesses.

    The main conclusions of Science’s investigation are that:
    ? In hemophiliacs (the group Duesberg acknowledges provides the best test case for the HIV hypothesis) there is abundant evidence that HIV causes disease and death (see p. 1645).
    ? According to some AIDS researchers, HIV now fulfills the classic postulates of disease causation established by Robert Koch (see p. 1647).
    ? The AIDS epidemic in Thailand, which Duesberg has cited as confirmation of his theories, seems instead to confirm the role of HIV (see p. 1647).
    ? AZT and illicit drugs, which Duesberg argues can cause AIDS, don’t cause the immune deficiency characteristic of that disease (see p. 1648).

  185. @Patrick “Personally, I would be ecstatic to buy a smartphone, but I don’t want a data plan. I doubt I’m alone.”

    I just bought both an iPhone 4s, and an iPad. I bought both without a plan of any kind. The iPad i bought over the counter at a shop, the iPhone over the internet. I then put the sim card of my company phone in my iPhone (my company provides me with a free cell phone subscription, but not with the latest smarphones…), and got a pay-as-you-go data plan for my iPad.

    In Europe bundling devices and cell phone or data plans is even illegal in some countries. In other countries bundling is allowed, but the phone has to be offered unbundled too. Since goods and services travel freely within the EEA this basically means the any smartphone is available without plan, and that the “exclusivity” deals Apple has with some carriers in some countries actually don’t mean anything. In Switzerland the iPhone used to be exclusive to Swisscom (disclosure: That’s my employer) but the other carriers quickly started selling grey imports too. After the iPhone 4 arrived exclusivity was given up altogether. You can get a subsidised iPhone (or any other smartphone) from all three national carriers, and can buy them with or without plan from any number of online and brick-and-mortar places.

    Commoditization of phone hardware has been achieved in Europe. It could be argued (the libertarians aren’t going to agree probably) that the EU’s GSM mandate has something to do with that.

  186. http://allthingsd.com/20111107/samsung-mobile-vp-leaves-for-product-management-post-at-microsoft/

    Wouldn’t you think that being “Mobile Vice President” at Samsung (allegedly the biggest manufacturer of smartphones on Earth), is a far better position than being “GM – Windows Phone”?

    Apparently not, as the Samsung dude has left for Microsoft, which tells you how serious Microsoft seems to be getting about smartphones.

    It probably tells you how little money there is in making really good Android smartphones.

    But remember kids, profit doesn’t matter as much as market share!


    Android, Android über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt,
    Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
    Brüderlich zusammenhält.
    Von der HTC bis an die LC,
    Von der Samsung bis an den Motorola,
    Android, Android über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt!

  187. @Life as we know it
    Deja vue all over again!

    MICROSOFT SAYS RIVAL LINUX HAS NO FUTURE, SO LINUX INDUSTRY WILL STOP NOW
    Despite Gains in Market Share, Linux Firms To Call It Quits
    http://www.satirewire.com/news/0101/linux_quit.shtml

    Chastened Linux executives pledged to stop their “crazy dreaming” and disband their efforts after an executive from Microsoft proclaimed Linux was doomed, and openly questioned whether the free, rival operating system should exist.
    Without Microsoft’s blessing, what’s the point?

    The executive, Microsoft group product manager Doug Miller, told a reporter for Wired “Linux is not leading anything, it is simply providing a ‘free’ operating system,” adding that, “”Free does not sustain a business,” and, “the recent security problems with Linux … really call into question whether Linux should be used at all.”

    Windows 7 is enough to kill Linux on the desktop
    First INQpressions Should damage Apple too
    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/review/1050392/windows-kill-linux-desktop

    The Linux crowd were too busy talking about their superiority on the server and ignored the desktop to the OS’s eventual doom. Windows 7 is as pretty as Apple stuff, just as easy to use, and does not treat you like a moron.

    The only thing that will keep people away will be the price. If Microsoft was a little bit sensible it would learn that the prices it is shipping the software on are far too high. With a product like Windows 7 at a price of less than $100 it would clean up spectacularly. It will not do this of course which might just save other operating systems out there. Me, I will probably get Windows 7.

    Linux is Doomed!
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=266270

    (Yes, I did get the jokes)

  188. @Life as we know it
    Duesberg simply stopped behaving rationally early on in the debate. Eric simply does not trust scientists. In his view, scientists are all too stupid and gullible to ask tough questions.

    Btw, there are two Human Immunodeficiency Viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-2 has a limited distribution in Africa. HIV-1 is the one generating most invections.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV

    There are many ways to destroy your immune system. The CDC (WHO) refined the definition of AIDS to distinguish it from other causes of immunodeficiency. That is called progress in health sciences. Especially as the progressive destruction of immune cells in HIV-1 can be stopped by a drug therapy. With other causes, different treatments are needed. There was no “conspiracy” behind these refinements, just increased knowledge.

    It is tragic that people in Africa are so prude that they rather let everyone die in agony than to admit people engage in risky behavior.

  189. Eric, … (sigh). No.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/data/cohen/266-5191-1642a.pdf

    I may be wrong (and haven’t studied either position beyond what’s been posted here directly) but i’m pretty sure ESR’s position is entirely consistent with that. A casual reading of his comment rendered as HIV causes AIDS… but “there are other things producing immune-system collapse that have been mistakenly attributed to HIV”.

  190. >Eric simply does not trust scientists. In his view, scientists are all too stupid and gullible to ask tough questions.

    Actually, I think I trust scientists more than any other occupational group of human beings. But human beings in general aren’t very good at asking tough questions when under heavy peer pressure to conform, and scientists are far less exceptional in this respect than would be ideal. And there are characteristic noises scientists make when they’re failing a rationality check; one of these is to start talking about “scientific consensus” as though it were a substitute for empirical skepticism.

    Thus, whenever I see a scientist being treated the way Duesberg was, my instinct is to go contrarian and side with the pink monkey against the brown ones. Sometimes this turns out to be a mistake, but it’s such a useful heuristic for detecting error cascades that I accept making such mistakes as a cost of the method.

  191. The will figure out it’s a smartphone and automatically sign it up for the smartphone data plan. I honestly don’t think I am alone in not wanting to fork out the $15/month for this, so yes, I think my cost sensitivity does matter.

    Are you serious? Honestly not taking the piss but… are you serious? Like… American companies are allowed to just start charging you for something you haven’t agreed to? IANAL but i’m pretty sure in Australia we call that Fraud. Hell companies are required to give you a 10 day cooling off period.

    Dang. No wonder they can get away with license agreements that fall just short of “by looking at this piece of paper you agree to drop pants and allow anal rape without recourse”.

  192. @JonCB:

    Are you serious? Honestly not taking the piss but… are you serious?

    ‘fraid so. See, e.g. http://forums.att.com/t5/forums/forumtopicprintpage/board-id/wi-fi/message-id/555/print-single-message/false/page/1

    Also, see:


    An eligible tiered pricing data plan is required for certain Devices, including iPhones and other designated Smartphones. Eligible voice and tiered pricing data plans cover voice and data usage in the U.S. and do not cover International voice and data usage and charges. If it is determined that you are using a voice-capable Device without a voice plan, or that you are using an iPhone or designated Smartphone without an eligible voice and tiered data plan, AT&T reserves the right to switch you to the required plan or plans and bill you the appropriate monthly fees. In the case of the tiered data plan, you will be placed on the data plan which provides you with the greatest monthly data usage allowance. If you determine that you do not require that much data usage in a month, you may request a lower data tier at a lower monthly recurring fee.

    IANAL but i’m pretty sure in Australia we call that Fraud.

    I’m pretty sure we call it that here, too, but unfortunately, either the law doesn’t call it that, or the law hasn’t caught up to them yet. After all, it was in the contract fine print.

    Hell companies are required to give you a 10 day cooling off period.

    I’m pretty sure that if you told AT&T you didn’t understand, they’d drop the data charges for the month they added them, as long as you stopped using the device. $15 isn’t worth enough to them to incur the headache. But they figure once you’ve bought the device, you really want to use it, so they figure you’ll acquiesce and just start paying the money. Their odds are probably pretty good in that endeavor.

    No wonder they can get away with license agreements that fall just short of “by looking at this piece of paper you agree to drop pants and allow anal rape without recourse”.

    What do you mean “just short?” Excuse me while I go get some more tissue paper. I think I’m bleeding again.

  193. @ Patrick

    >Which gets to my point that, even though they use the same OS, they are typically used for different things.

    Am I understanding your argument here. You are arguing that because an iPod Touch (or presumably, an iPad) is used for different purposes than an iPhone, and doesn’t have cellular connectivity, that such devices should not be counted when looking at the iOS platform? This seems strange to me. It would be like saying that the people who use their PCs for games shouldn’t be counted when looking at the windows platform because they don’t use it to do spreadsheets. Certainly the different usage profiles might effect how well a particular application will sell on the platform, but that doesn’t make the platform any less big.

    Assuming I’m understanding your argument correctly, would this also mean that if you were able to get an Android phone without a data plan that you (and all other such subscribers) would not be contributing to the Android platform?

  194. @tmoney:

    Am I understanding your argument here. You are arguing that because an iPod Touch (or presumably, an iPad) is used for different purposes than an iPhone, and doesn’t have cellular connectivity, that such devices should not be counted when looking at the iOS platform?

    Not at all. I am saying, first and foremost, that, when looking at smartphone platforms, it is useful to count smartphones. I am further arguing (or agreeing, depending on your perspective) that the tablet market is interesting in its own right, and is intertwined with the smartphone market, and shares a lot of common components, including software, but that the iPod market is not as interesting as either the larger tablet market or as the cellphone market. The iPod market is either growing slowly or shrinking, because anything you can do on an iPod you can do on your phone, whereas the bigger form factor device are easier to use for other things. But don’t take my word for it — Steve Jobs said that any tablets smaller than 10″ were useless. That must make the iPod really useless.

    But your question confuses the cart and the horse. The entire reason that people use these different devices for different purposes is because of the different inherent capabilities of the devices themselves.

    It would be like saying that the people who use their PCs for games shouldn’t be counted when looking at the windows platform because they don’t use it to do spreadsheets.

    Certainly they should be counted as revenue for Microsoft and the PC manufacturer. But when looking at the smartphone market, it’s helpful to, you know, look at the smartphone market.

    Certainly the different usage profiles might affect how well a particular application will sell on the platform,

    If it doesn’t have a cellular transceiver, it’s not a matter of “applications selling” on the platform — it’s a matter of not being able to make calls unless you have WiFi available and a suitable app. So it’s not part of the smartphone market, at least until open WiFi is ubiquitous.

    but that doesn’t make the platform any less big.

    60 million iPods to date, which kick ass in that market segment, have zero predictive effect on how that same iOS platform will do in the much bigger cellphone segment.

    Assuming I’m understanding your argument correctly, would this also mean that if you were able to get an Android phone without a data plan that you (and all other such subscribers) would not be contributing to the Android platform?

    You’re confusing the capabilities of the hardware with how the user chooses to use it. After your argument about games vs. spreadsheets, I have to wonder if this is deliberate. Cellular connectivity is a capability. Screensize is a qualitative capability that, at some resolution, depending on the user and the application, becomes a quantitative limiting factor. The iPod has no cellular connectivity and a tiny screensize. If I choose to buy a device that has cellular connectivity, it is quantitatively different than an iPod, both in capability, and also in how I will use it — I will make cellular phone calls with it. BTW, it will also probably have a bigger screen than the iPod, because I’m an old guy.

  195. @patrick, there’s little difference between the iPod touch 4G and the iPhone 4 other than cellular capability and GPS. The camera sucks a little more and there’s less ram (but the same as in the iPad 1).

    The predictive power of the iPT on how well the iOS platform will do in the smartphone market is in the addition of 60M devices for iPhone app developers. You don’t have to do anything different to have access to 60M additional users for the large majority of apps.

    App availability and selection is a critical component of how competitive a smartphone platform will be no?

    You can argue that the iPad shouldn’t count since you have to tailor the app for the iPad. But the iPod Touch is essentially an iPhone sans 3G service and GPS.

  196. esr Says:
    > And there are characteristic noises scientists make when they’re failing a rationality check;

    Another would be when a scientific discovery is announced at a news conference rather than in a peer reviewed journal.

    My experience is that people who mock Duesburg as a nut haven’t even read his book, though I’m sure some have. I have. It is substantial, and has a lot of interesting stuff beyond his controversial hypothesis, and asks a lot of questions that seem perfectly legitimate to me, many of which I have never seen a good answer to. However, I don’t follow the subject closely, and Duesberg wrote his book twenty years ago so I could well be wrong.

    But that might just be me. I feel entirely unqualified to judge the validity of his theory having no expertise in virology or epidemiology. But I’m with Eric on this. Big grant money, politically correct causes, and celebrity scientists often make for a funny odor. Science if full of nut jobs for sure. However, people with proven contributions and qualifications as Duesburg does, are definitely worth listening to when they go contrarian.

  197. @Jessica Boxer
    “I feel entirely unqualified to judge the validity of his theory having no expertise in virology or epidemiology. ”

    I know people involved in the early and late years of AIDS research, and Duesberg was and is unreasonable. And that has cost a lot of people in Africa dearly.

    All his questions have been answered beyond all reasonable doubt. And many people are infected with HIV, and many are dying from it. Many more than were necessary.

    As usual, if you took the time to read the primary literature, you would see that there is no “error cascade” nor a conspiracy. Only researchers doing their utmost best to save the health and lives of people.

  198. @Nigel:

    I dunno if this still works but AT&T used to let you use an iPhone on their pay as you go plans. You can forgo network access.

    That is useful, but I was hoping to get on my daughter’s family plan…

    The predictive power of the iPT on how well the iOS platform will do in the smartphone market is in the addition of 60M devices for iPhone app developers.

    But (a) everybody rags on Android because it doesn’t have as many “tablet-optimized” apps; so arguably the iPods don’t help there, and (b) iPods obviously don’t help “the platform” for cellular and only help a bit for GPS… Obviously we’re not going to convince each other on this, but I don’t think an iPod is worth as much to “the platform” as a smartphone or a bigger tablet. Certainly not as much to “the platform I want to use for my next cellphone.”

    You don’t have to do anything different to have access to 60M additional users for the large majority of apps.

    For games, I agree. For a lot of other apps, maybe not so much. Limited screen size really is a hindrance, that a phone can somewhat ameliorate by being always connected. Why does Apple seem to have an “iPad app store” anyway?

    App availability and selection is a critical component of how competitive a smartphone platform will be no?

    Once you hit critical mass of users, the apps will come. That cycle has already happened for both Android and Apple. In fact more apps probably come than the platform can reasonably support:

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1792313/striking-it-rich-in-the-app-store-for-developers-its-more-casino-than-gold-mine?partner=gnews

    Which is all great for the consumer.

  199. Dang. No wonder they can get away with license agreements that fall just short of “by looking at this piece of paper you agree to drop pants and allow anal rape without recourse”.

    This is the USA, where if you support laws to restrict businesses from doing anything they want, you’re a commie pinko liberal memebot blindly executing some Bolshevik propaganda programming.

    And thanks to the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court, your cellphone contract includes a binding clause preventing you from suing the telcos class action, scuppering an important check against corporate hegemony through collective action.

    Legal wonks will tell you that the Supreme Court is made up of experienced jurists with a more balanced and nuanced view of the law and its application and interpretation. This is a bald-faced lie. In recent years the Republican justices have consistently sided with the big corporations, and the Democratic justices have consistently sided with the rights of individuals.

  200. And there are characteristic noises scientists make when they’re failing a rationality check; one of these is to start talking about “scientific consensus” as though it were a substitute for empirical skepticism.

    No, Eric. Scientific consensus is not the same as Gallup-poll consensus. Get it straight.

    Think of appeals to scientific consensus as being to scientists what “RTFM” is to hackers. It’s code for “Go back and read the primary literature, because my colleagues and forebears have already answered those questions through peer-reviewed empirical research. I don’t have time to respond to long-discredited crank theories coming out of left field.”

  201. Winter Says:
    > Duesberg was and is unreasonable.

    Whenever someone says something like that I am reminded of that quote by George Bernard Shaw:

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”

    Which is not to deny that many unreasonable people are also schmucks.

  202. @patrick

    For games, I agree. For a lot of other apps, maybe not so much. Limited screen size really is a hindrance, that a phone can somewhat ameliorate by being always connected. Why does Apple seem to have an “iPad app store” anyway?

    Eh, for social media apps, productivity apps, educational apps, etc. Only a small subset of use cases cannot be handled by the iPod that can be handled by the iPhone. Yes some are very significant, like telephony, but there are many offline use cases as well.

    The limited screen size is a function of the device fitting in your pocket. Something neither a 7″ or 9-10″ tablet can do unless you have really large pockets.

    Good UI design for the iPhone translates into good UI design for the iPod.

  203. @ Patrick
    >Not at all. I am saying, first and foremost, that, when looking at smartphone platforms,
    >it is useful to count smartphones.

    And this I think is where the confusion lies. When we talk about android and iOS’s share and when our host makes such grandious statements about the war being waged for the future of computing, it seems like we should be talking about all devices that run such OS (at least to the degree that they meaningfully participate in the “network effects” our host speaks of).

    Equally, I think that talking about “smartphones” and limiting the discussion only to “smartphones” is, as I’ve mentioned before, a bit short sighted. Smartphones may be the primary vehicle for distributing iOS and Android, but in the long run, I expect that the “phone” part will become just another feature and cell carriers will begin to find themselves relegated to bit pushers. After all, what is an iPhone but an iPod touch with a a 3g modem and a voice chat application.

    If the war between Android and iOS is the war for the future of computing (as our host is fond of saying) then “smartphone” or iPad or iPod Touch doesn’t matter, only the platform itself, everything else is just hardware and dongles

  204. @Nigel:


    Good UI design for the iPhone translates into good UI design for the iPod.

    Everything you say there is true. But the iPod is still an inferior member of the platform family, because it has all the drawbacks, and most, but not all, of the advantages of a phone. Most people will choose to use their smartphone instead of a tiny tablet.

    @tmoney:

    If the war between Android and iOS is the war for the future of computing (as our host is fond of saying) then “smartphone” or iPad or iPod Touch doesn’t matter, only the platform itself, everything else is just hardware and dongles.

    Long term, you are correct. In the shorter term where the platform wars will be won or lost, most of the world will be using smartphones, but not MP3 players or tablets. And they won’t care if their “platform” runs on said other device categories. And the stuff about developers is a red herring. There are enough users on both platforms to attract good developers. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft or Badu or Blackberry can manage to achieve and hang on to any kind of meaningful third place.

  205. Nigel Says:
    > @patrick Oh, the thing about nav apps was contentious because it pretty much does work
    > assuming you buy a GPS unit for your car. Android nav apps tend to be connected.
    > iPhone ones tend to not require connection except for traffic reports.
    > All the map and POI data is preloaded.

    On my iPad, the pre-installed map application does nothing without connectivity.
    And it seems to be a common question:
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16604172#16604172

  206. @Winter> Btw, there are two Human Immunodeficiency Viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-2 has a limited distribution in Africa. HIV-1 is the one generating most invections.

    > There are many ways to destroy your immune system. The CDC (WHO) refined the definition of AIDS to distinguish it from other causes of immunodeficiency.

    First, the CDC and WHO are separate organizations. World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. Note the plural ‘Centers’, btw.

    Now, when you (and Eric) say the CDC refined the definition of AIDS, yes, it has happened several times. And it’s a primary source of the shouting by AIDS denialists.

    Quoting Duesberg’s book (“Inventing the AIDS Virus” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895263998):

    Section 2.2: “Because of this belief [HIV causes AIDS], 25 previously known, and in part entirely unrelated diseases have been redefined as AIDS, provided they occur in the presence of HIV.”
    Section 3.4.1: “Since AIDS has been defined exclusively as diseases occurring in the presence of antibody to HIV (Section 2.2), the diagnosis of AIDS is biased by its definition towards a 100% correlation with HIV.”

    This is basically a restating of Duesberg’s equations:
    INDICATOR DISEASE + HIV = AIDS
    INDICATOR DISEASE – HIV = INDICATOR DISEASE

    Here is the 1987 CDC definition: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/other/mmsu3601.pdf (for comparison to when Duesberg’s papers and book were written.)

    Now, for example, a diagnosis of Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (or Pneumocystis jiroveci, or PCP – no, not the drug), no other cause of immunodeficiency, and a negative HIV test results in an AIDS cases under the CDC definition. This is because it only occurs in immuno-comprimised people.

    And this is medically accepted.

    Since the start of the AIDS epidemic, PCP has been closely associated with AIDS. Because it only occurs in an immunocompromised host, it may be the first clue to a new AIDS diagnosis if the patient has no other reason to be immunocompromised (e.g. taking immunosuppressive drugs for organ transplant).

    An unusual rise in the number of PCP cases in North America, noticed (by the CDC) when physicians began requesting large quantities of the rarely used antibiotic pentamidine, was the first clue to the existence of AIDS in the early 1980s.

    But this is taken as ‘evidence’ by the conspiracy theorists AIDS denialists of something evil afoot at the CDC. “They’re swelling the numbers to get more research funds!” is the most benign accusation.

  207. Interesting rumor that the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 would have already happened if Steve Jobs wasn’t busy cutting off his nose to spite his face:

    http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_business/504483.html

    I don’t know how much credence to lend to this, but it does seem to mesh with other, earlier, datapoints about what and when Apple was shipping.

    But I have to say that there’s a bit of spin there — if the problem really was with TSMC, rather than with Apple’s design, then it would most likely be because Apple was asking TSMC to push the process envelope.

  208. > if the problem really was with TSMC, rather than with Apple’s design, then it would most likely be because Apple was asking TSMC to push the process envelope.

    Digitimes has been reporting all year on a TSMC tie-up with Apple for the A6 and A7. A6 is supposed to be in 28nm, and A7 is rumored to be in 20nm.
    The 28nm process was only announced for production by TSMC on Oct 28. Samsung’s 28nm process(es) aren’t really ready for production volumes.

    The A5 is made in one of Samsung’s 45nm processes.

    Perhaps Apple tried to skip over 34nm. Is that what you’re saying, Patrick?

  209. @marco it’s not working because he doesn’t have a GPS receiver. Not because he doesn’t have connectivity. I have used my iPad 3G as a large GPS unit when the data plan is off. If you have a WiFi only iPad then you need to get a 3rd party GPS receiver.

    http://www.ipadforums.net/ipad-accessories/40530-gps-receiver-wifi-ipad.html

    You can’t use Google Maps but you need one that already has all the map data loaded. CoPilot is one of the cheapest.

    Usually the iPad is in the back of the car entertaining the kids on a road trip but I have shanghai’d it for GPS duty. Typically I don’t bother with the data plan given that I get free wifi at the hotel and I have movies and such preloaded.

  210. @Life as we know it:

    > The 28nm process was only announced for production by TSMC on Oct 28.

    Yeah, but they claim they have 80 tape-outs, so obviously they’ve been working hard with lots of customers…

    > Perhaps Apple tried to skip over 34nm. Is that what you’re saying, Patrick?

    I think TSMC went straight from 40 to 28, and now they’re headed to 20, but I could be wrong. But with 80 tapeouts in-house, they’ve obviously been working with lots of customers for a very long time. The question is, was it just a matter of the 28 nm process being delayed past when TSMC promised it to Apple, or (as the article seems to hint), did Apple get back bad pre-production material? If it’s the latter, you can be sure that Apple will spin it to be TSMC’s fault, and TSMC won’t say a peep (especially if they already have 80 tapeouts — the people who need to know will figure out the truth).

  211. Nigel Says:

    > @marco it’s not working because he doesn’t have a GPS receiver.
    > Not because he doesn’t have connectivity.

    But, as I understand it, if you get the 3G model of the iPad, the GPS receiver is included with the 3G chipset, but it does nothing until you actually activate the data plan. I certainly know that when I am on Wi-Fi, the maps do load, and the accuracy of my current position seemed reasonable (though I did not test it in detail).

    As far as the 3rd party GPS receiver goes, that is about what you would pay for a dedicated GPS anyway, and is another thing to carry anyway.

    Thanks for the tip on CoPilot.

  212. > Yeah, but they claim they have 80 tape-outs, so obviously they’ve been working hard with lots of customers…

    The new process includes 28-nm High Performance (28HP), 28-nm High Performance Low Power (28HPL) and 28-nm Low Power (28LP) which are in volume production now. This is where the ’80 tape-outs’ have occurred.

    TSMC has an 28-nm High Performance Mobile Computing (28HPM) node which “will be ready for production by the end of this year”, according to TSMC’s own website (and the original source of that announcement of the 28nm process being in production.) If the A6 is targeted to 28HPM, then TSMC hasn’t slipped the process.

    More evidence here: http://cens.com/cens/html/en/news/news_inner_37282.html

    Taipei, Aug. 12, 2011 (CENS)–Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC), the world’s largest semiconductor foundry by market shares now, has allegedly started trial production of the A6 processor in cooperation with Apple Inc., with the production design to be taped out in the first quarter of next year and scheduled to be publicly unveiled in the second quarter at the earliest, according to industry sources.

    Note that this is from August. This seems to align with TSMC’s own synopsis of when 28HPM will be available, and states that the Apple tape-out isn’t due until a couple months from now.

    So, Patrick, you portend to know a lot about semiconductor manufacturing. Were you deliberately attempting to blow smoke up our collective backsides, or did you just make a mistake?

  213. (God Damn the posters on this blog are full of teh stupid.)

  214. > On my iPad, the pre-installed map application does nothing without connectivity.

    You could still use an External GPS (via serial, USB or Bluetooth). External GPS units are required to send CoreLocation events when connected to iOS devices.

    So to your app (and the pre-installed map application) it would be exactly the same, and no, you wouldn’t need connectivity.

  215. >(God Damn the posters on this blog are full of teh stupid.)

    You just crossed a line. Insult me all you want; I don’t ban for that – but insulting other people who come here is a crash landing.

    This is a ban warning. If your next post is not an apology and a credible promise not to repeat the behavior, the hammer will fall.

    UPDATE: Life As We Know It responded with deliberate abuse and has been banned.

  216. Jeff Read Says:

    “In recent years the Republican justices have consistently sided with the big corporations, and the Democratic justices have consistently sided with the rights of individuals.”

    Like in the Heller and McDonald cases where the Democratic justices voted against individual rights as outlined in the 2nd Amendment?

  217. @Life as we know it:

    The new process includes 28-nm High Performance (28HP), 28-nm High Performance Low Power (28HPL) and 28-nm Low Power (28LP) which are in volume production now. This is where the ’80 tape-outs’ have occurred.

    Yes, but those are “just” in volume production. And it’s possible that Apple targeted 28HPL or even 28LP (figuring that their Intrinsity magic would get them the speed they need) first, with an aim towards further reductions later. See, e.g. a comment to that effect on this article from April. Also see all over the web where TSMC claims that despite all rumors to the contrary, no customers have been impacted by delayed 28 nm. Highly unlikely given that TSMC skipped a node and the current customers have been sitting at 40 (and even GlobalFoundry’s been below that for awhile). Also unlikely given the schedule in their 28 nm process technology brochure, which puts the “risk” date for the low power process around April/May this year, a date they obviously missed.

    TSMC has an 28-nm High Performance Mobile Computing (28HPM) node which “will be ready for production by the end of this year”, according to TSMC’s own website (and the original source of that announcement of the 28nm process being in production.) If the A6 is targeted to 28HPM, then TSMC hasn’t slipped the process.

    That’s a big “if”. Apple probably would have been quite happy to have 28HPL earlier this year rather than 28HPM next year. The volumes that they drive, some more NRE and another set of masks for when a somewhat better process comes along is no big deal. Also, 28HPM only showed up on the roadmap fairly recently.

    Note that this is from August. This seems to align with TSMC’s own synopsis of when 28HPM will be available, and states that the Apple tape-out isn’t due until a couple months from now.

    Isn’t it lovely to be able to be so secretive that nobody knows for sure whether you’re behind where you wanted to be or not? Of course, that just leads to more rumors and speculation. Like this: maybe that article about TSMC somehow screwing Apple was right on the big picture, but completely wrong on the details. After all, TSMC and QualComm were supposed to have 28 nm going the middle of last year. Missing that jumping-off point into lower power LTE is quite possibly more of a problem for Apple than needing to revamp the baseband.

    So, Patrick, you portend to know a lot about semiconductor manufacturing. Were you deliberately attempting to blow smoke up our collective backsides, or did you just make a mistake?

    I don’t portend anything. I was just reporting on some smoke I noticed. The question is whether it’s coming from Apple or from somewhere else.

    BTW, I don’t work hard keep abreast of what’s happening at those process nodes, and don’t bother to keep up with that sort of news that much, because it’s just not relevant to the smallish chips that we design. I doubt if the handlers could pick them up if we fabbed them on a process that small.

  218. @anonymous:

    > Like in the Heller and McDonald cases where the Democratic justices voted against individual rights as outlined in the 2nd Amendment?

    Jeff overgeneralizes his case, but the republicans on the supreme court are certainly not internally consistent. They had a perfect opportunity to restrict the use of the commerce clause and they blew it. They had a perfect opportunity to affirm that government doesn’t consist of private developers and they blew it. On copyright, they probably blew that too, but we won’t know until the next case comes up exactly who’s biting us there — plenty of democrats take Hollywood money.

  219. @Life as we know it:

    I hope you’re OK. One of my friends is in a fragile state right now because his house burned down, and it’s amazing to me how much the little things are still weighing on him.

  220. @Jessica
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”

    I used unreasonable in the literal sense: Not using reason.

    An empirical scientist who refuses to accept empirical evidence is unreasonable.

    Indeed, “Unreasonable” people can force others to address unpopular questions. But at some point that has been achieved and the world has to move on. There is too much to do to be stalled by unreasonable doubt. People did walk on the moon, Quantum Mechanics just works, as does General Relativity, and the earth is round.

  221. Get DRM off music: The open source community agitated for it, Apple did it.

    End the Web’s Flash dependence: The open source community agitated for it, Apple did it.

    Yet open source people still insist that Apple is evil.

  222. Jeff Read says:
    > Get DRM off music: The open source community agitated for it, Apple did it.

    I think your memory is faulty. “Kicking and screaming bloody murder” would seem an appropriate way to describe their departure from DRM.

    > End the Web’s Flash dependence: The open source community agitated for it, Apple did it.

    Perhaps.

    > Yet open source people still insist that Apple is evil.

    Give users control of their device? The OSS community agitated for it, Apple doubled down.

    Keep software patent free? The OSS community agitated for it, Apple doubled down.

    Allow programmers unfettered access to devices and keep data out of jail? The OSS community agitated for it, Apple doubled down.

  223. I have to ask since he has just been banned, but is it correct of me to assume that Life As We Know It was basically fake account, who was basically Jim Thompson, who has used many, many other aliases to come on this blog and rant at people? The writing style seems similar, as does the insane vitriole directed at anyone whose opinion differs even slightly from his.

    If it is him, it saddens me a bit, as I used to (somewhat) enjoy the fact that Jim Thompson was willing to speak against some of the more popular opinions on this blog and generally had decent historical and technical chops. But now it seems that 9/10ths of what is said is just venom and spew. What is the guy’s problem?

    Of course this could be completely wrong-headed speculation on my part, and if so then just disregard everything I wrote above. Carry on, nothing to see here…

  224. @Jessica

    Actually Jobs’ open letter to the industry did result in less DRM in music. iTunes has always been rip friendly to the music industry’s chagrin. Apple and EMI had DRM free music (before Amazon) in 2007 and Apple negotiated the removal FairPlay on 8M tracks in 2008 and was DRM free by 2009.

    Adobe apparently has caved on Flash. Contrast Apple with Google in this respect. Google has gone out of it’s way to promote Flash at the expense of HTML5.

    Users have control over their devices. Name one Apple device that doesn’t have a jailbreak. You can’t.

    Software patents are a fact of life and supported by all companies. Even Google.

    Programmers have unfettered access to jailbroken devices. It’s not as safe but you can go that route if you like. What data jail are you referring to?

    The fact is that Apple is as friendly to Open Source as any other big company and friendlier than most. What they do try to do is provide their users with an excellent user experience. That means app curation which many android markets are moving toward as well (notably Amazon and Nook).

  225. “Kicking and screaming bloody murder” would seem an appropriate way to describe their departure from DRM.

    Once again Jessica, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Apple never wanted DRM, it was the labels who insisted on it.

  226. > The fact is that Apple is as friendly to Open Source as any other big company and friendlier than most.

    Nonsense. The last I recall (and maybe it’s changed), Apple had a policy that did a pretty good job of quashing the use of OSS when submitting to the app store. Feel free to correct me (with citation, please).

    Further, so long as development for iOS devices is kept behind a rent-collecting pay barrier I will never consider Apple friendly in that respect. Yes, it is possible to circumvent it, but I’m pretty sure the process involved (forging the digital signature) would constitute DMCA violation, and is not valid.

  227. >is it correct of me to assume that Life As We Know It was basically fake account, who was basically Jim Thompson,

    It is possible that Life As We Know It and fake account are the same person, but I don’t think either of them is Jim Thompson. I could be wrong about this, but Life As We Know It seemed to exhibit a different set of verbal tics and obsessions.

    I actively dislike banning people, even more so when they show signs of technical competence. I dislike it so much that when I am finally pushed into banning someone like Life As We Know It, I always find myself thinking that I should have done it sooner, and promising myself that I’ll be less tolerant of abusive behavior next time. I apologize for my seeming inability to keep this promise. :-(

  228. >I apologize for my seeming inability to keep this promise. :-(

    I think you do a pretty good job of balancing that one. You allow an awful lot of argument, but manage to keep the worst of the flames under control. It’s something that you’ll never get perfect, so be content with ‘good enough’.

  229. Some Guy Says:
    >Once again Jessica, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    “Once again”? Wow, sounds like someone’s got a chip on his shoulder.

    > Apple never wanted DRM, it was the labels who insisted on it.

    What difference does that make? (And BTW you do know who else Steve Jobs worked for besides Apple right?)

    I don’t know all the ins and outs, frankly the whole IP thing gives me indigestion, so there is only so much of it I can take. However from the point of view of a user, the plain fact is that Bezos managed to negotiate a DRM free deal, and Apple coatailed on it.

    Jeff Read’s claim that Apple is some lover of hackers just doesn’t bear the cold light of facts. Apple/Jobs are/were persnickety control freaks. That is precisely the opposite of “open”.

  230. @jsk
    >Nonsense. The last I recall (and maybe it’s changed), Apple had a policy that did a pretty good job
    >of quashing the use of OSS when submitting to the app store. Feel free to correct me (with citation, please).

    Apple has no policy against open source. Their policy does however disallow GPL software (and similar licenses) and my interpretation of this particular policy suggests that it has nothing to do with OSS and everything to do with the requirement that as a distributor Apple is then also responsible for distributing the source. I’ll see if I can find the last time this topic came up, as I went over the specific policy there, but for now, here is a link of OSS software available right now on the iPhone:

    http://maniacdev.com/2010/06/35-open-source-iphone-app-store-apps-updated-with-10-new-apps/

  231. @tmoney
    “that it has nothing to do with OSS and everything to do with the requirement that as a distributor Apple is then also responsible for distributing the source. ”

    That “reason” does not hold water legally.

    Next computers was one of the very first companies that tried to exploit loop holes in the early GPL to use GCC but get out of the requirement to distribute changes. The FSF changed GCC and the license to block that. Since then Jobs has burned every trace of GPLed software from any of his companies.

  232. “Apple had a policy that did a pretty good job of quashing the use of OSS when submitting to the app store. Feel free to correct me (with citation, please).”

    Apple will not reject an app that is GPL licensed (v2, of course). The FSF has seen to have a few GPL’d apps to be withdrawn from the store. In one case (a GnuGo-based app) this was legitimate since the developer did not provide a way to obtain the source. In another case (VLC) it was more like one of their typical publicity stunts. There are, to this day, other GPLv2 apps available from the store and with their source available from the developer’s website (I rather not name them lest the FSF decides to petition Apple to withdraw them ;) ).

    “Further, so long as development for iOS devices is kept behind a rent-collecting pay barrier I will never consider Apple friendly in that respect.”

    This is, to me, a proper bone to pick with Apple. One should not be charged an annual fee to program on one’s own device.

  233. @wlad:

    I think the problem with the GPL and the app store is mischaracterized. Apple’s terms and conditions on what users can do with apps they get through the app store purport to keep users from doing things that the GPL specifically allows. So any one of the authors of any GPL app is within their rights to ask Apple to either apply different, more lenient, terms and conditions to the GPLed app, or to stop distributing the app. One of the VLC authors did just that.

    So, it may be GPL posturing. OTOH, Apple certainly has the wherewithal to fix it, if they cared to, just by having a separate, more user-friendly set of terms and conditions for free software.

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/no-gpl-apps-for-apples-app-store/8046

  234. Winter,

    Yet GCC (now in the form of LLVM-GCC) and Emacs made it into every Macintosh.

    Jessica Boxer,

    I don’t claim that Apple is some “friend of hackers”. Making a priority of being “friendly to hackers” in the manner that fosstards demand has a tendency to negatively affect your bottom line. A lesson Google should learn well if they don’t want to wind up like Sun. (Here’s a larf: imagine in four years’ time, after being squeezed out of search by Bing and Siri and hemorrhaging money on unprofitable side projects like Android, Google is acquired by Apple. Android ceases development, and the search engine gets integrated deeply with Siri.) What I do know is this: hackers love Apple. Since Jobs took over, Apple has never had any problems recruiting top developers to their team. Many more top developers literally can’t wait to begin developing for a new Apple product as soon as they hear of it. That goes for Macs, the iPhone, and iPad. Having kick-ass hardware, a beautiful interface, and literally the best native-code UI API ever in Cocoa would be enough, but Apple returns the favor as much as is practical: free dev tools and documentation, dirt cheap OS upgrades, support for and improvement of open-source projects such as GCC, the open-sourcing of Darwin, etc. Even the iPhone and iPad are open to hacking: simply pay the $99 developer registration fee and you can sideload whatever the hell you want onto the thing. Oh, and the fact that Steve did at least two things, with a single executive decision each time, that despite its hemming and hawing the fosstard crowd couldn’t achieve in decades: get music sold without DRM and diminish Flash to irrelevance, making Web standards the default for professional development.

    So no, they’re not going to cozy up to the likes of Stallman, but Apple is not any less hacker-friendly than most any other company in the industry. Although if you have to pick out the most hacker-friendly company, I’d say Microsoft has the top spot. I don’t think Apple has really gone the extra mile to make developers’ lives easier because their focus has always been on the end user.

  235. @patrick
    “Apple’s terms and conditions on what users can do with apps they get through the app store purport to keep users from doing things that the GPL specifically allows.”

    What do you mean? Such as…?

    “Apple certainly has the wherewithal to fix it”

    Apple doesn’t see it as a problem. And, presumably, neither do the FOSS developers currently offering apps through the store. Granted, charging a yearly fee for letting you hack on your device is evil, yet as far as I can tell, it was not explicitly forbidden by the GPLv2.

  236. Apple doesn’t see it as a problem. And, presumably, neither do the FOSS developers currently offering apps through the store. Granted, charging a yearly fee for letting you hack on your device is evil,

    The inconvenience of being charged $99 a year to develop on Apple’s top-end kit is a first-world problem if ever I heard one.

  237. “You could only use the software on up to 5 devices, for example:”

    That was it?!? The need to compile a new binary for every 5 devices is a violation of the GPL?

  238. “The inconvenience of being charged $99 a year to develop on Apple’s top-end kit is a first-world problem if ever I heard one.”

    Would you like to pay Toyota 3000$/yr in order to be able to keep driving your Corolla?

    I don’t fault Apple for charging rent in their mall. My problem is that people who have no intention to sell their apps, people who want to just write a little program for their own use, still have to pay. If a primary feature of a computer is to be programmable, this fee in those cases mean that those people are renting their computer. Call me old-fashioned but that just strikes me as wrong.

  239. @wlad The dev tools are free. If you don’t intend to submit an app and you don’t want Apple’s support and increased documentation, you are free to develop to your heart’s content on a Mac… for free!

  240. @jessica

    “Once again”? Wow, sounds like someone’s got a chip on his shoulder.

    > Apple never wanted DRM, it was the labels who insisted on it.

    What difference does that make? (And BTW you do know who else Steve Jobs worked for besides Apple right?)

    I don’t know all the ins and outs, frankly the whole IP thing gives me indigestion, so there is only so much of it I can take. However from the point of view of a user, the plain fact is that Bezos managed to negotiate a DRM free deal, and Apple coatailed on it.

    I think the said once again because you state that you don’t know the ins and outs, don’t really want to know the ins and outs (because it gives you indigestion) but clearly want to make incorrect assertions anyway.

    First, Apple had DRM free music before Amazon. They negotiated a deal first. Jobs’ open letter came out before as well. So you’re wrong.

    Second, Jobs didn’t work in the music industry but part of Pixar. Again, wrong.

    Jeff Read’s claim that Apple is some lover of hackers just doesn’t bear the cold light of facts. Apple/Jobs are/were persnickety control freaks. That is precisely the opposite of “open”.

    Wrong again. Jeez. Apple hired Chris Lattner to continue working on LLVM under the BSD license. They hired Michael Sweet to work on CUPS (GPL and LGPL). They hired Jordan Hubbard, co-founder of FreeBSD. He’s now the Director of Engineering of Unix Technologies at Apple. They hired Nicholas Allegra (Comex) who created JailbreakMe.com. They hired Peter Hajas, another well known member of the jailbreak dev community. They hired Ivan Krstic who did security for OLPC.

    But seriously, WTF? Never freaking heard of Clang/LLVM? One of the biggest news in compilers in years. Open source and sponsored by Apple. That’s ignoring webkit and all the other little open source stuff they put out. You know like where they just open source Apple Lossless.

    Cold light of my ass Apple doesn’t hire lots of hackers. Those are just some of the bigger name ones.

  241. @tim f
    “The dev tools are free. If you don’t intend to submit an app and you don’t want Apple’s support and increased documentation, you are free to develop to your heart’s content on a Mac… for free!”

    You still need to pay the 99$ to be able to install it on your own device. Why not unbundle this for people who don’t submit apps?
    (Like it is on the Mac)

  242. Jessica: some history, in addition to what Nigel just said.

    The major record labels failed miserably in setting up online stores before they agreed to sign up with Apple. In exchange for a one-size-fits-all pricing and Apple’s other requirements, they demanded some DRM, and got it.

    Fast-forward a few years. Apple’s iTunes Store is now a huge distribution channel for music, and the majors are nervous. They don’t like having a distributor so powerful. They agree to DRM-free music at Amazon, not out of the goodness of their hearts, not because Bezos is more OSS-friendly than Jobs, but because the majors are trying to build up an alternative to iTunes. So when iTunes did drop all DRM, it wasn’t because Jobs was “coattailed” on Bezos’ deal, but because Apple was finally able to do what they wanted all along, despite the record labels.

  243. @wlad:

    > That was it?!? The need to compile a new binary for every 5 devices is a violation of the GPL?

    No, that’s for people downloading a GPL app from the app store (e.g. those people not paying Apple $99/year). There were other terms and conditions as well, I think.

  244. Never freaking heard of Clang/LLVM? One of the biggest news in compilers in years

    That’s a bit of an understatement. LLVM is ending the dark ages of GCC as we speak.

  245. “There were other terms and conditions as well, I think.”

    None of them pertinent to the four freedoms as long as the developer makes the source available.

  246. Re: LLVM

    Yes LLVM is great. Yes Apple sponsors it. Yes they sponsor WebKit, and CUPS and other things.

    No, they didn’t start any of those projects.

    Yes they are smart at recognizing good stuff, and smart at basically funding people who are passionate about good open source to keep writing good open source that they can use.

  247. > None of them pertinent to the four freedoms as long as the developer makes the source available.

    No, but I think that was basically a hook to be able to protest the walled system, including the $99 fee that even you find egregious.

  248. @some guy

    I’ve always avoided gcc whenever I had the option. Intel compilers on intel platforms and sun compilers on solaris. Now clang/llvm for osx. Greenhills and centerline back in the day. I guess greenhills is still around.

    But yeah, gcc/gdb suxxors.

  249. The new eepad (i never know how many eeeees to include) transformer prime looks really nice. I wish it were a $100 cheaper though. Actually the price is fine I just don’t like paying $150 for the dock that will likely be unusable for anything else.

    I think I’d pick that over the same generation galaxy tab.

    The price though puts it pretty close to 11″ MBA pricing.

  250. >Yes LLVM is great. Yes Apple sponsors it. Yes they sponsor WebKit, and CUPS and other things.
    >No, they didn’t start any of those projects.

    Similarly, Google didn’t start Android, Red Hat and Canonical didn’t start Linux, and Sun didn’t start MySQL. But I’m not sure anyone ever claimed Apple did start those projects. The claim was that Apple does like hackers, and to an extent that is true, though I personally would add that Apple likes hackers that either are doing work that they like, or prove themselves to be great at hacking something Apple is interested in (like the jailbreakme guy). It is however true that Apple doesn’t like (or perhaps more accurately doesn’t care about) hackers that are doing things outside Apple’s domain or vision. And lets not just dismiss what Apple has done for the projects it sponsors. SInce Apple has taken hold of CUPS not only has the interface and functionality gotten better, but suddenly all sorts of printers that before had weak or non existent CUPS support now have real PPDs (Zebra, I’m looking at you!).

  251. Yes LLVM is great. Yes Apple sponsors it. Yes they sponsor WebKit, and CUPS and other things.

    LLVM and CUPS became really great after Apple got involved in them.

    There are worse things to happen to open-source projects than to have Apple sponsor them (or even take them over).

  252. @ Nigel
    > You don’t need to pay $99. Just jailbreak your iPhone. Here are some step by steps.
    >http://www.alexwhittemore.com/?tag=jailbreak-development
    > You still need a mac…or a hackintosh.

    And, as I already stated, in order to do that you have to deliberately break DRM and other security measures to be able to run self-signed code. I know, I did it on my iPod Touch once upon a time. I’m pretty sure, but could be wrong, that that is a DMCA violation, which makes your point invalid. I shouldn’t have to break the law to accomplish this.

  253. jsk,

    Technically speaking jailbreaking a phone is not a DMCA violation, by the authority of the Library of Congress which can specifically allow certain protection-circumvention activities under the DMCA. However, these tend to be very narrow and specific, and only last for three years. Playing DVDs under Linux is still a federal crime in the United States, because the LoC exemption only applies to taking small excerpts of DVDs for academic or documentary purposes.

  254. OT but interesting for the economically minded here. Scientists have discovered that “small-brained, infinitely greedy monkey” is a much more useful model for human economic behavior than “rational utility maximizer”:

    http://www.zmescience.com/research/how-scientists-tught-monkeys-the-concept-of-money-not-long-after-the-first-prostitute-monkey-appeared/

    ‘The capuchin has a small brain, and it’s pretty much focused on food and sex,” said Keith Chen, a Yale economist who along with Laurie Santos, a psychologist, are the two researchers who have had made the study. ”You should really think of a capuchin as a bottomless stomach of want,” Chen says. ”You can feed them marshmallows all day, they’ll throw up and then come back for more.”

  255. @Jeff Read
    “Scientists have discovered that “small-brained, infinitely greedy monkey” is a much more useful model for human economic behavior than “rational utility maximizer””

    I think humans are much more like “monogamous” flocking birds, like crows, eg, Jackdaw. The social structure of monkeys is completely different from those of humans. But any improvement over “rational utility maximizers” is good news.

  256. We’re drifting off-topic here, but would you rather live under a government and economic system that considered you a “small-brained, infinitely greedy monkey” or a “rational utility maximizer”?

  257. @Jeff Read:

    > LLVM and CUPS became really great after Apple got involved in them.

    Sure. Apple hired the main developers (and in the case of CUPS bought the company in the process). But IMO it’s more a situation of Apple recognizing good stuff and then properly funding it than providing any other secret sauce.

    > There are worse things to happen to open-source projects than to have Apple sponsor them (or even take them over).

    Again, Apple’s smart enough to recognize that the motivations of some of the best engineers aren’t purely financial.

  258. @PapayaSF
    Watced television lately? Or listened to a politician campaigning?

    Neither seem to assume their audiences can beat a small monkey.

  259. @Jeff, Winter

    The two concepts are only exclusive if you define rationality as level, clear headed, long term thinking (which is indeed what most people think of when you say “rational”. On the other hand, the economist version of “rational” might best be described as “infinitely greedy”

    “The “rationality” described by rational choice theory is different from the colloquial and most philosophical uses of the word. For most people, “rationality” means “sane,” “in a thoughtful clear-headed manner,” or knowing and doing what’s healthy in the long term. Rational choice theory uses a specific and narrower definition of “rationality” simply to mean that an individual acts as if balancing costs against benefits to arrive at action that maximizes personal advantage.[4] For example, this may involve kissing someone, cheating on a test, buying a new dress, or committing murder. In rational choice theory, all decisions, crazy or sane, are postulated as mimicking such a “rational” process.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_choice_theory

  260. >The “rationality” described by rational choice theory is different from the colloquial and most philosophical uses of the word

    Furthermore, rational-choice theory doesn’t even require that people be efficient utility maximizers (“infinitely greedy”) a priori. The market not only seeks efficiency, it selects for efficiency and teaches efficiency – the hard way. This is a subtle but important point, which explains the observation of behavioral economists that departures from rationality are easier to elicit in a lab than they are to observe in the wild.

  261. “I doubt that most people posting to this blog have a daytime job. Eric doesn’t. Russell Nelson doesn’t. Neither does Jay Maynard. Therefore, they have the time and mental energy to administrate a linux box.”

    I can’t speak to “most”, but I have a full-time day job, and my primary desktop runs Linux (and it’s not dual-boot Windows). I upgraded it to Maverick not so long ago, and I build FlightGear from source from scratch.

    But no, I’m not the typical end-user.

  262. ESR:> The market not only seeks efficiency, it selects for efficiency and teaches efficiency – the hard way.

    I submit that this method of teaching efficiency is actually the easy way, not the hard way. The hard way is the system that portrays various goods and services as gleamingly efficient by concealing their costs behind a delay mechanism, lasting sometimes for years or even generations, after which point they are ruinously hard to compensate for (and typically by other parties).

    Libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, always demanding their efficiency feedback up front, where it’s easy. Lazy jerks…

  263. “But a friend of mine once told me that GIMP was just the ghetto version of Photoshop, and a similar analogy applies to Android. It’s the ghetto version of iOS. You really can’t expect it to have the same cachet — or legitimacy — that iOS has.”

    Anyone have figures on the size of the GIMP user base vs. the Photoshop user base?

  264. “I doubt that most people posting to this blog have a daytime job. Eric doesn’t. Russell Nelson doesn’t. Neither does Jay Maynard. Therefore, they have the time and mental energy to administrate a linux box.”

    I can’t speak to “most”, but I have a full-time day job, and my primary desktop runs Linux (and it’s not dual-boot Windows). I upgraded it to Maverick not so long ago, and I build FlightGear from source from scratch.

    But no, I’m not the typical end-user.

    You and me both, Cathy.

    I have a full-time day job, and I run a Linux desktop. Arch Linux to be specific, it’s the closest thing to my beloved Slackware that has an extensive package collection and real package management.

    Now here’s the thing you have to know about me. I’m idiosyncratic as bugfuck, most likely one of those “shadow autists” that Eric has mentioned in the past. I’m easily distracted, and my fine motor skills are shot to shit. I go into fits if any of the following happen:

    * I have to shuffle overlapping windows

    * I have to navigate through directories to get to the file I want and then frob it around with the mouse to move, copy, or do some other action on it

    * My directories are called “folders”

    * My actual programs have to share RAM with all this GUI shit, possibly leading to swap thrashing if I forgot to throw in a few extra GiB this year

    * Mysterious unknown processes run in the background to automatically scan for viruses, look for wireless networks, or any other shit I’m perfectly capable of doing myself (and therefore automating on my own terms)

    * My computer is at actual significant risk of getting a virus

    * Mysterious unknown TCP/IP ports are left open for God knows why (My Debian box got the shit rooted out of it for this reason)

    * In general I can’t just blurt my intent into a command line and I must click, double click, drag, drop, swipe, gesture, navigate through menus, etc. to do a thing that I want to do

    So no, Windows is not for me. Not even Mac OS, as wonderful and impeccably designed, is for me. (Though I am capable of coexisting with Mac OS much more than with Windows.) Give me an OS that gives me the essentials and then leaves me the fuck alone for the most part. Being left alone when needed is as valuable a quality in operating systems as it is in people. That means Linux or BSD, no “desktop environments”, no meta-fucking-phors getting between me and my programs and my shit. Since I spend all day and often some of the night talking to computers, it’s extremely important to me.

    I realize that I am not most people. Hell, I’m not even most hackers. Most of them can’t stand this shit. Even the ones I know with super saiyan command line powers would rather just click on a shiny thing and be done, but whenever I have to reach for my mouse I find myself wanting to reach for a revolver. So yes, the reason why 1995 was my “year of the Linux desktop” is because something went wrong in my brain when my dad brought that Tandy Model 16 home and booted XENIX on it. That year will probably never come for 99% of the human population. I put Ubuntu on a spare laptop for my dad. He’s frustrated as fuck with it, and keeps mentioning he can’t wait to put Windows 7 on it so he can actually use it.

  265. On the other hand, the economist version of “rational” might best be described as “infinitely greedy”

    And, as per Adam Curtis, the only people who think this is rational are economists and psychopaths.

  266. People on Smartphones can ask a question of Siri in 2~3 seconds as opposed to typing that question in Google within 10~20.

    I can type way faster than i can speak, even on my smartphone. And thats even assuming it can understand me, which i understand Siri wouldn’t (curse me and my non-american accent).

  267. Someone wrote:
    > small-brained, infinitely greedy monkey

    Whenever someone talks about “greedy” it causes a visceral reaction in me. What “greedy” means most of the time is “wants more than I think he should have.” I’m not exactly sure what “greedy” Wall St. bankers are. Apparently, seeking wealth for their shareholders is a bad thing. Apparently unions are greedy because they want to get the best deal for their members. Greedy usually means “I want some of his stuff”, which is a curiously backward way of looking at things, if you think about it.

    Westerners really have no right to accuse their fellows of greed, since plainly we all have vastly more than we need, in a global and historical context. The desire to improve yourself, to get richer and increase the resources available to you is the driving force that makes everyone rich. As Gordon Gecko says — Greed is good.

    Greed is one letter away from green. Green with envy that would be.

  268. > (Though I am capable of coexisting with Mac OS much more than with Windows.)

    Set MacOS X up with Terminal.app, and you’ll be happy.

    Yes, you can administer a Mac from the CLI.

  269. With respect to “greedy little monkeys”, I seem to agree with all commenters.

    The point is that it is difficult to define the “utility” that should be maximized. A person who spends every waking minute of his life amassing money, but none in spending it, seems to have maximized the amount of money. But what is the utility in that?

    Now, what kind of animal is known for amassing useless, shiny objects? :-)

    If you look at real-life utility, then we are talking about things people call “happiness”. So what are the economics of happiness? That is spending time with an extended family and friends. People tend to become happy when they can support family and friends and can spend time with them. The whole status game is part of that drive (and getting better partners too). Monkeys do not have the nuclear/extended type of family that humans have. Male monkeys rarely assist in the care for their young, nor do they spend time with their grand children.

    Funnily, nesting birds do. Studies of interactions inside nesting colonies read like genuine soap operas. That is why I think birds are a better model of human social and economic life than monkeys.

  270. @Jessica
    “What “greedy” means most of the time is “wants more than I think he should have.” I’m not exactly sure what “greedy” Wall St. bankers are.”

    For this you should go to the classical use of the word “greed”. Take any religious text.

    Greed is not “envy”. Greed is wanting more than you can ever use. Greed is anti-social. It is not sharing your wealth with those close to you.

    Scrooge was greedy, because he amassed money, but did not use it. The last part was crucial. If Scrooge had squandered all his money on vanities or vices, he would not have been greedy. And we could have understood him better.

    Deep down, greed is caring more about things than about people. In a clinical sense, it can be a type of phobia (OCD) caused by the inability to handle fear and insecurity.

    How to apply this to people working on Wall street or in the banking sector is left as an exercise for the reader.

  271. Combining PC and smartphone marketshare to show that MS has a monopoly (70%) in smartphones is ludicrous. Likewise combining PC with smartphone OS to show that MS has a monopoly is mobile OS (89%) is stupid.

    MS isn’t a patent troll because it uses the patents it has in products. Patent trolls have no products and are immune to patent countersuits. Defensive patent portfolios have no value against patent trolls. They do against companies with products like Apple, Google and MS.

    Open Source is not immunity to patent infringement. As a software practitioner I’m of mixed minds about software patents. They make life annoying, mostly because there are many bad software patents out there. On the other hand there’s nothing less important about software that it deserves less than equal IP protection treatment than hardware. If specific hardware implementation can be patented then so should specific software implementations to a problem also be patentable.

  272. @Nigel
    Having a monopoly is not illegal. Using a monopoly in one market to drive out competition in another is illegal. In this case one of the accusations is that MS uses their PC monopoly to force companies that produce PCs to stop competing in the mobile phone market. Patents are just a pretext in this market.

    However, for all practical purposes, MS have no foothold in the mobile phone market. So they use their (PC!) patents to extort money from those who DO sell mobile phones.

    Btw, “patent troll” is not an official term. I specifically used “troll” and not the legal term “non performing entities”. Troll has a wider meaning than the strict legal term. Moreover, the problem is not only the bad patents, but also the completely broken legal system in the USA. If you can be bankrupted in court even if you are known to be completely innocent, the legal system is broken. See SCO for an example.

  273. @Winter

    >The point is that it is difficult to define the “utility” that should be maximized. A person who spends
    >every waking minute of his life amassing money, but none in spending it, seems to have maximized
    >the amount of money. But what is the utility in that?

    And this is where I fundamentally depart from central planners. There is no universal “utility” that applies to all people every where. People define their own “utility” based on social and personal beliefs and pressures, and this is exactly how it should be. A person who spends their days amassing money but spending none of it, might derive utility from pretty much “playing for high score”, or perhaps from the feeling of security that having massive wealth can bring, or from being able to leave for their offspring. Just because it doesn’t make sense to you or to most people doesn’t mean that the person acting isn’t gaining utility, nor does it mean that they are not acting in a “rational” sense based on their point of view.

  274. @tmoney
    “People define their own “utility” based on social and personal beliefs and pressures, and this is exactly how it should be.”

    Indeed, but then you will have some difficulty in deriving a general theory of economics. Especially the part of efficient markets could get a beating if utilities do not behave in certain ways.

    For instance, most economic theories are based on the assumption that things you have more of than you can use will have diminished utility. If this is not true for things like money, houses, cars etc (you want more the more you have), I doubt whether markets would end up in an efficient equilibrium.

    But het, I am no economist.

  275. @winter and arguably Google is using their search monopoly to dump free Android onto the smartphone market. MS using their patents against another multi-billion dollar company is not something I find a big deal. Especially since Google can license Android if it so chooses with everyone except Apple.

  276. @Nigel
    “@winter and arguably Google is using their search monopoly to dump free Android onto the smartphone market.”

    Which is to show that you are not reasonable.

    Your arguments against Google are legal non-sense. MS has been convicted for abuse of monopoly on every inhabited continent. Google not. Moreover, MS does engage in acts to restrict competition, Google Android increases competition. Nothing Google has done with Android so far breaks any anti-trust law in the world, even if Google had a monopoly in the search market.

    @Nigel
    “Especially since Google can license Android if it so chooses with everyone except Apple.”

    More evidence that you are not interested in a reasonable discussion. This is nonsense on so many levels.

    If, and only IF, Google manages to deny Apple an OSS license to Android (note the Open Source part), you might have a start of a point. On the other hand, we all expect Google to help Apple implement Android.

  277. @winter you can simply call me not reasonable or address the point.

    Besides, that Google hasn’t been convicted in the past doesn’t mean that it can’t be engaging in anti-competitive practices now. Giving away product for free because they can afford to in order to capture market share doesn’t increase competition but drastically reduces it.

    To a certain extent Apple does this as well with content. It tends to sell content at break-even to make their ecosystem more attractive. The difference is that Apple isn’t leveraging a monopoly in hardware to give away software so it’s somewhat less of a concern. But it does make it harder to compete if your business model depends on making money by selling content or software…like MS or Amazon…or Walmart for that matter in music.

    It isn’t nonsense that Google COULD have licensed Java from Sun and now Oracle. It isn’t nonsense that Google COULD indemnify Android users against IP infringement. After all, MS does so. It simply made the business decision not to…probably from the knowledge (as shown in the internal emails) that infringement was likely and they SHOULD licensed IP as needed. At least Java from Sun. My impression is that it would have been relatively cheap given that Sun had a weak position. Rather than doing the right thing they figured that Sun would never sue and infringed anyway. Rather than doing the smart thing and BUYING Sun they let Oracle buy it. Ellison revels in being hardcore competitive…he’s no Jonathan Schwartz.

    The only one that might not license to Google is Apple. So there it will have to depend on defensive patent portfolio and counter suits to compel Apple to cross license. With Jobs gone, that might not be an absolute that they wouldn’t license. Could be that Cook views this as a distraction that $5B would solve.

    It strikes me that had Google taken the high road and sought out licenses pre-emptively that it would have spent less money than it has to date defending Android by buying patent portfolios and Moto. Then Apple would have been the lone outlier holding a personal grudge.

  278. @winter I realize that sentence was written poorly…I meant that Google could license IP FOR Android from everyone BUT Apple.

  279. Winter Says:
    > Take any religious text.

    I think you will find that appeals to religious texts don’t carry much weight with me. The rantings of the delusional ancients doesn’t seem to me to be a good source of life guidance.

    > Greed is not “envy”.

    Perhaps you missed my point. I’m not saying that greed is envy, what I am saying is that accusations of greed mostly come from the envious. People who are satisfied with their lot in life don’t spend significant time commenting on other people’s lives.

    > Greed is wanting more than you can ever use.

    Based on whose judgement? How much utility do you need to get out of your last marginal dollar before it tips from “he deserved it” to “greedy bastard”?

    > Greed is anti-social. It is not sharing your wealth with those close to you.

    This, to me, is a statement that separates you from me. To you it is axiomatic, to me it is axiomatically wrong. Way to boil it down to the essentials.

    > Scrooge was greedy, because he amassed money, but did not use it. The last part was crucial. If Scrooge had squandered all his money on vanities or vices, he would not have been greedy. And we could have understood him better.

    But Wall Street bankers and miscellaneous other anti-heroes don’t put their money under the mattress. They buy things, or invest in companies. The first makes the seller richer, the second creates new companies, new wealth and new jobs. Their investment in a medical company means that Tiny Tim gets a new crutch! Way to go Scrooge!

    > Deep down, greed is caring more about things than about people. In a clinical sense, it can be a type of phobia (OCD) caused by the inability to handle fear and insecurity.

    It seems that “The New Thing” is to blame anything one disapproves of on a clinical disorder: He’s not bad, he’s just crazy. I think that is silly. On the contrary, the desire to accumulate resources is at the very heart of the human condition. It is not the only thing for sure, but it is in our very nature. It is the desire to scrabble out of the dirt into the shining city. To reject acquisitiveness in favor of putatively higher goals is a privilege limited to the hyper wealthy societies we live in.

    We might tutt tutt at greed, but the fact is that the greed of our ancestors has made us all wealthy.

  280. Bryant Says:
    > This, btw, is my idea of a significant development: http://www.republicwireless.com/
    > Couple of big catches (they’re running over Sprint’s cellular network, no international calls), but it’s the right direction.

    And a WSJ outlet notices also:
    http://allthingsd.com/20111111/republic-wireless-explains-its-intriguing-yet-controversial-hybrid-calling-plans/

    If this works:
    – Most users cooperate by trying to find Wi-Fi for long outgoing calls or heavy data usage (For example, in Philadelphia a Comcast Internet subscriber can find a free hotspot pretty easily http://comcast.cellmaps.com/wifi.html)
    – Only the truly abusive cellular users get terminated (say over 100 Minutes or 1 GB more than month per year)
    – They do not go bankrupt
    I think this could revolutionize the industry. Why would a price-sensitive urban user go anywhere else?

  281. @Jessica
    “> Greed is anti-social. It is not sharing your wealth with those close to you.

    This, to me, is a statement that separates you from me. To you it is axiomatic, to me it is axiomatically wrong. Way to boil it down to the essentials.”

    Same words, different meanings. Btw, not sharing (some of) your wealth with spouse, children, and parents is generally seen as a vice. That is an observation which is true whether or not you or I share this feeling (I do share the feeling).

    I am referring to “greed” the concept of a human vice that can be found in ancient texts. In those ancient texts, exemplified in well known religious texts, the concept “GREED” is defined by two traits:
    1 The craving for and the hoarding of wealth beyond any reasonable personal need
    2 Valuing the possession of wealth above all other human relations and activities

    Greed is a vice because it makes people unhappy and anti-social. If you want an illustration, take Scrooge from the original Dickens Christmas Carrol. Note that Scrooge was unhappy and “evil”, not because he did amass lots of money, but because he did not use it and he valued it above social contacts. At the end, he became happy, not because he changed his business activities, but because he changed his attitude towards money and people. Greed is anti-social because it a greedy person values things (wealth) more than people and acts accordingly.

    The definitions:
    Intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food
    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=greed&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=PUO9TpKEGtGWOtyn0MQB&ved=0CB4QkQ4

    Personally, I do not see the point in the extended definition of “deserves”. But then, English is not my native language.

  282. @Jessica
    “But Wall Street bankers and miscellaneous other anti-heroes don’t put their money under the mattress.”

    Actually, at least one of them did exactly that (a long time ago, one employee died and they found $600,000 under her mattress).

    But I was talking about definitions of greed. I did not apply it to bankers (that was left for the reader) or any other group. Personally, I think other vices are at play with investment bankers (eg, more like gluttony, status games). You should try not to read too much into my words.

    Greed as a vice does exist. It is not that visible because greedy people prefer to stay in the background.

  283. JonCB: “I can type way faster than i can speak, even on my smartphone.”

    I’m not saying I don’t believe you, but can you double-check that statement? According to Wikipedia, audiobooks hit around 150 wpm. 100 wpm is very fast typing speed. With Swype, you get above 40 wpm on a smartphone.

  284. Winter Says:
    > Same words, different meanings. Btw, not sharing (some of) your wealth with spouse, children, and parents is generally seen as a vice.

    I’m sure you will agree that that is a different issue — namely fulfillment of obligations. If you make a marriage agreement with a person, or if you engage in the tacit agreement related to children, then you do have a legal obligation to share some of your wealth. FWIW, it is common amongst rich folks to indicate that their wealth will go to charity, and they will pay their kids through college, based on the belief that striving for success is a healthy thing.

    > 1 The craving for and the hoarding of wealth beyond any reasonable personal need

    But reasonable is always a value judgement. I don’t know for sure, but I bet you are like most people on this blog and have several computers in your home. I know I do. I bet you have several Terabytes of disk space available to you. There are many people who would think that is entirely unreasonable.

    Compared to where you live, houses and apartments here in the US are gigantic. The average home in the US is, I’d guess, probably twice as large as a Dutch home. It isn’t uncommon for Americans to have rooms in their homes that they hardly ever use. Is that above reasonable personal need? Most American’s don’t think so.

    > 2 Valuing the possession of wealth above all other human relations and activities

    But that is a value judgement too. There are many people who prefer things to people. I’m not one for sure, but in my industry, lots of guys (mainly guys) enjoy their relationship with their computer more than their friends. Who are you to say that is wrong?

    > Greed is a vice because it makes people unhappy and anti-social.

    In-laws make people unhappy and anti-social. Does that mean your mother-in-law is a vice too? (You don’t have to answer that :-) The point being that that might be true for some people but it is not true for everyone.

    On the contrary, I think greed can make people happy. I am reminded of the toast Seven of Nine made to Tom and B’Elana’s new baby in Star Trek Voyager: “May all your dreams come true; all except one so that you always have something to strive for.”

    I think that is a great sentiment. Sometimes it is the journey not the destination.

    > But then, English is not my native language.

    Its is a lot better than my Dutch. All I know from Dutch is “Vrolijk Kerstfeest”, which is both cheery and useful, but somewhat limited for deep conversation.

  285. @ Winter,

    You have an interesting bit of contradiction happening here. At first you say:

    “If Scrooge had squandered all his money on vanities or vices, he would not have been greedy. And we could have understood him better.”

    but then you say :

    “Greed is a vice because it makes people unhappy and anti-social. If you want an illustration, take Scrooge from the original Dickens Christmas Carrol. Note that Scrooge was unhappy and “evil”, not because he did amass lots of money, but because he did not use it and he valued it above social contacts.”

    It’s odd then that your particular concern is not with the squandering of money on vices, but on one particular vice, that of being greedy, especially since having or wanting money is not a prerequisite for being greedy.

  286. @Jessica
    All morals are value judgments. Calling something a vice is a moral judgment. Good and evil is a moral judgment.

    And where did I say rich people are necessary greedy? Or that poor people cannot be greedy? Your prejudices are showing.And if you think greedy people can be happy, you obviously do not have met a real Scrooge. Real greed is more in line with a neurosis.

    @tmoney
    “It’s odd then that your particular concern is not with the squandering of money on vices, but on one particular vice, that of being greedy, especially since having or wanting money is not a prerequisite for being greedy.”

    Eh, what is your point?

    Squandering money on vices can be a vice (almost by definition it is). But it is not the vice of greed. What is wrong with that logic? And normally, greed is centered on wealth.

  287. @Jessica
    Although it is very early, “Vrolijk kerstfeest” to you too. ;-)

  288. Winter Says:
    >Although it is very early, “Vrolijk kerstfeest” to you too. ;-)

    Early? Not here in the US. They were selling Christmas trees before Halloween. Greedy bastards :-)

  289. Winter Says:
    > All morals are value judgments. Calling something a vice is a moral judgment. Good and evil is a moral judgment.

    Of course, and that is why your absolute claims like “Greed is a vice because it makes people unhappy and anti-social” you are going to have to do better than assertion.

    > And where did I say rich people are necessary greedy?

    I don’t believe I said you said that.

    > you obviously do not have met a real Scrooge. Real greed is more in line with a neurosis.

    I’ve met Wall St. bankers. They seemed very nice to me. I don’t doubt there are some people who are have mental problems which encompass excessive acquisitiveness, but outliers are not really the subject at hand, and in truth, greed in not their problem.

  290. In defense of Scrooge, his alleged vices were that he chose to shun human contact, disparage christmas, and spend as little of his money as possible. In this words of Thomas Jefferson, this neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Dickens makes no allegation that kratchet was forced to work for Scrooge, nor does he say that Scrooge gained his money dishonestly.

    Now, economically speaking, a miser is a good neighbor: he is paid for whatever goods and services he may produce, and instead of spending all he can, consuming resources and driving prices up, he postpones consumption, which means there’s more for everyone else. Contrast the miser with the spendthrift who borrows money, squanders it, and leaves it to someone else to take the loss.

  291. @Some guy
    Is political incorrectness mandatory nowadays?

    Else I cannot explain why it is so difficult to understand the theme of Dickens’ short story.

  292. Some Guy Says:
    > In defense of Scrooge

    You forgot to mention that he only wanted to put one lump of coal on the fire. So he was an early advocate or reduce, reuse, recycle.

  293. @Jessica and Some

    So we can say that Libertarians are people who think Scrooge was right from the start and changed for the worse?

    At least that is a simple and easy to understand message.

  294. No, not really. Scrooge’s tale is neutral with respect to libertarians. Scrooge decided to hoard the money he had made over his life, until one day he decided to start spending the money he had made over his life.

    In American liberal terms, that’s somewhere around the equivalent of getting up one day and deciding to use a different color recycling bin.

  295. Scrooge decided to hoard the money he had made over his life, until one day he decided to start spending the money he had made over his life.

    And in both cases, it’s his own business to dispose of his cash as he sees fit.

  296. Winter Says:
    > So we can say that Libertarians are people who think Scrooge was right from the start and changed for the worse?

    Libertarianism has nothing to say on this matter. I doubt you are calling for government intervention in Scrooge’s live, pre or post his ghostly intervention, and libertarianism is basically a philosophy of government (or lack thereof.)

    To put it another way, just because I advocate the legalization of prostitution, pot, gay marriage or drilling in Alaska, doesn’t mean I want to participate in any of those activities, nor that I think they are necessarily a good idea.

    As a whole person more than just a political animal, I’d have to say that Scrooge’s life pre ghost wasn’t portrayed as very nice. But Dickens certainly had an ax to grind, so whether it was realistic, or whether “greed” was the cause of Scrooge’s bad life is a matter of conjecture (especially since I haven’t read the book since High School.)

    However, to attribute the recent collapse of the economy to “greedy Wall Street bankers” as everyone from Barak Obama to Sarah Palin did, is plain silly. It is little more than the two minutes of hate for Emmanuel Goldstein, another book I read in High School; one much more impactful and insightful than a cheery Victorian Christmas tale.

    Nonetheless I say: God Bless ‘Em! Every One!!

  297. @Jessica
    I always understood that the bankers did what politicians had asked them to do. So, personally I blame these politicians more than their hired guns.

    But to go into that requires more space than I have in this small margin.

  298. Winter Says:
    >I always understood that the bankers did what politicians had asked them to do. So, personally I blame these politicians more than their hired guns.

    I think there is a lot of truth to that, though obviously you didn’t capture the whole truth in one sentence :-) But I’ll largely concur.

    > But to go into that requires more space than I have in this small margin.

    Yes, I think a couple of 1000 page books might cover it. Let me know when you are done — email me the PDFs.

    :-)

  299. I always understood that the bankers did what politicians had asked them to do.

    More like, they’ve been colluding since Hamilton’s time to rob the public with various schemes involving manipulation of the currency.

  300. @Some Guy
    “More like, they’ve been colluding since Hamilton’s time to rob the public with various schemes involving manipulation of the currency.”

    I think this is wrong. On every level (history, politics, economics, and banking). And you obviously are unaware of Popper’s “The poverty of historicism”, because it is wrong philosophically too.

  301. Groklaw has the complete set of documents from B&N verus MS. It gives you everything that is known about MS patent tactics.

    Barnes & Noble Exposes Microsoft’s “Trivial” Patents and Strategy Against Android ~pj
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2011111122291296

    Simply put, Microsoft is attempting to monopolize the mobile operating systems market and suppress competition by Android and other open source operating systems by, inter alia, demanding oppressive licensing terms directed to the entirety of Android, asserting this dominant position over Android on the basis of patents covering only trivial design choices and entering into a horizontal offensive patent agreement with Nokia….

    Instead of focusing on innovation and the development of new products for consumers, Microsoft has decided to invest its efforts into driving open source developers from the mobile operating systems market. Through the use of offensive licensing agreements and the demand for unreasonable licensing fees, Microsoft is hindering creativity in the mobile operating systems market…. Through the use of oppressive licensing terms that amount to a veto power over a wide variety of innovative features in Android devices of all kinds, as well as its prohibitively expensive licensing fees, Microsoft is attempting to push open source software developers out of the market altogether.

    In the comments section it is discussed how the MS patent deals might be partly responsible for the update problems of Android.

  302. @bryant

    One network effect often glossed over here is that the fact that the 3GS is a consistent top seller and the 4 and 4S are largely the same is that accessory makers can expect a good ROI on making top quality accessories for Apple devices.

    “Even as smartphone prices continue to decline, the accessory attachment rates for smartphones in Q3 was unchanged since last year,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. “This indicates further opportunity for retailers to improve revenue numbers by focusing marketing efforts on selling more accessories.” The top U.S. mobile accessories brands in Q3 were Zagg, Otter Products, Just Wireless, Motorola, and Incase Designs.”

    That also leads to increased brand loyalty.

  303. Engadget Kindle Fire review. Meh, looks like I’m going Nook Tablet for $50 more. It should be a lot more rootable with the SD card. They’ll still sell millions.

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/14/amazon-kindle-fire-review/

    One interesting tidbit:

    “We downloaded a few photo-heavy folios, like Esquire and House Beautiful, to sample the reading experience and in general found it to be good — but not great. Here the 7-inch display becomes a bit of a problem, just feeling a little too small and not packing enough pixels to clearly render small text. We constantly found ourselves zooming in and out to read. You can switch over to Text View, which pulls all the text out into a much more enjoyable full-page view — but then you lose all the beautiful formatting and presentation that make magazines so engaging in the first place.”

    Looks like the larger tablet format is better for magazines.

  304. Winter quotes:
    >Simply put, Microsoft is attempting to monopolize the mobile operating systems market… Instead of focusing on innovation and the development of new products for consumers, Microsoft has decided to invest its efforts into …

    Winter, given that you evidently disapprove of this, and given that what is described here is the absolute purpose of patents (to grant limited time monopolies), would you agree with me that the world would be a much better, more innovative place without patent law?

  305. @Nigel — I’m not sure that matters from a profit/marketshare point of view, except for the accessory makers. It is true that there will generally be a more vibrant accessory ecosystem on the Apple side of the house. Does that really affect iPhone sales, though?

  306. >Weird, lost a comment. Did I break a rule?

    No. Probably WordPress’s spam filter silently ate it. This happens occasionally.

  307. @bryant It means the Apple devices tend to have a larger and more vibrant 3rd party accessory market. Does that really affect iPhone sales? Eh.

    Certainly if you have a lot of 30 pin dock accessories lying around you’re more inclined to buy another iPhone as opposed to something else.

  308. I’m not convinced that the installed base of 30 pin dock accessories is large enough to make a difference.

  309. @Jessica
    Given all the research I have seen: Yes, the world would be a bettet place without patents.

    Even the drug companies spend more money on marketing and legal than on research.

  310. >No. Probably WordPress’s spam filter silently ate it. This happens occasionally.

    Eric,

    Your spam filter might be going skynet on us, I’ve posted 2 comments that have been eaten in this post. I ignored the first assuming I might have miss clicked, but now that others seem to have the issue, I thought I might point it out. Or have I angered the gods that be?

  311. @Bryant:

    The NPD survey 59% smartphone sales number tracks the Verizon 59% postpaid smartphone sales number quite well. AT&T’s is a bit higher, but that’s to be expected due to their long exclusive on the iPhone before any decent Android phones were out — all the early-adopter high-end smartphone customers went to AT&T. I think AT&T’s excessive 67-70% smartphone sales get evened out a bit by industry-wide prepaid non-smartphone sales.

    There’s no question that the iPhone 3GS has been a good seller. But I’m curious how much of the money goes to Apple. As we discussed on this blog several months ago, it’s a little hard to square what we can discern of Apple’s ASP against the number of phones supposedly sold. A healthy refurbished market would go a long way towards explaining that discrepancy.

    @Nigel:

    I’ve already preordered two Nook Tablets.

    @Bryant/Nigel:

    Certainly, a retailer might be more willing to allocate more shelf space to Apple accessories, given the larger installed base of phones (more possible customers per accessory). Of course, this is tempered somewhat by the fact that a lot of Apple customers are simply going to go to the Apple store…

    I can see an advantage for Apple here, just not sure how big it is or how to measure it.

    @Jessica/Winter:

    Everybody hates monopolies except the monopolists. The doctors love the AMA, the lawyers love the ABA, the teachers love their unions, etc. Every monopoly pits the short-term interests of its constituency against the short-term interests of society as a whole. The theory is that they are supposed to balance out by working for the long-term interests of society as a whole. Not working so well in most of those cases, IMHO.

  312. >Your spam filter might be going skynet on us,

    Or my efforts to winnow the chaff may be failing. There’s been a huge surge in spam volume this last week; this makes it less likely that I rescue stuff that has been mistakenly spam-binned.

  313. @Patrick: if I’m not mistaken, the Q3 3GS sales predate the new, non-refurb 3GS pricing, too. I think with that pricing in place the refurb market goes away — how do you sell a refurb cheaper than the new unit cost of $0 (with contract)? AT&T certainly isn’t going to push non-contract phones. So we may see some clarity in the next quarter.

    Percentages would be fascinating. It’s entirely plausible to me that Apple is accepting a lower margin on the 3GS in exchange for maintaining whatever percentage of overall market share they think they need to sustain the ecosystem.

  314. @Bryant:

    how do you sell a refurb cheaper than the new unit cost of $0 (with contract)? AT&T certainly isn’t going to push non-contract phones. So we may see some clarity in the next quarter.

    Phones are still relatively fragile. IIRC, several months ago, I found some data indicating that 28% of all iPhones were killed within the first two years, with (I think) 19% of those killed by things that wouldn’t be under warranty.

    So people need replacement phones, and that’s probably where all the refurb/used phones are going these days. But 28% in two years is pretty big — as the market approaches steady-state, that approaches 3.5% per quarter, which is a lot of phones.

    Depending on how NPD conducted their study, those phones may or may not be included in their numbers, and a used/refurb replacement might not count in Apple’s numbers. I suspect that there are more refurb Apple than Android sold the simple reason that a new replacement Android phone can be had for not much money, even off-contract.

    Percentages would be fascinating. It’s entirely plausible to me that Apple is accepting a lower margin on the 3GS in exchange for maintaining whatever percentage of overall market share they think they need to sustain the ecosystem.

    Agreed. Doubt we’ll see that data directly. We’ll have to try to back it out from all the other variables that go into margins.

  315. @Patrick:

    It’s not just ICS source available, they also released Honeycomb.

    “This release includes the full history of the Android source code tree, which naturally includes all the source code for the Honeycomb releases. However, since Honeycomb was a little incomplete, we want everyone to focus on Ice Cream Sandwich.”

  316. >Some people will be enjoying a crow sandwich tonight.

    Nah. Apple fanboys are incapable of being embarrassed by mere facts, their faith is pure. They’ll just ignore or minimize this.

  317. @patrick – I’m waiting for cyber monday since that’s not far away. B&N might drop their price to $200…or at least include some free books or something. If I get a chance, I’ll head over to the local B&N to play with one, they’ll have them tomorrow right?

    @esr – It’s great that Google released ICS and Honeycomb. In my opinion it remains to be seen if Baidu and Amazon successfully forks Android how long they continue to do so under Apache. I could easily see them going GPL 2.0 for new source releases and giving close hardware partners a different license.

    That would effectively make any new code useless to folks like Amazon but still be open source. That’s probably more likely than closing the source entirely. Baidu probably wouldn’t care. Google suing Baidu in China would probably be highly amusing to the Chinese.

  318. @Greg:

    > It’s not just ICS source available, they also released Honeycomb.

    Yeah, I noticed that (and even put it on my G+ page at the same time) but neglected to put it here. I guess I just assumed that Eric’s audience would assume that the entire repository history would be available…

    @Nigel:

    I think it’s the Kindle Fire available tomorrow, Nook Tablet available on the 18th, if I remember right. I wasn’t going to bother playing with one because I’ve already played with the Nook Color, and I’m convinced that the Tablet will be just fine, and I thought I’d go ahead and get mine without having to take a trip to the store (shipping is free for preorders, in any case). I could be wrong, but unless their sales are abysmal, it’s difficult for me to imagine a huge price drop exactly one week after release. Maybe a free book or two, or a movie, but that would be to lure you into the store, and they’d probably do it for all Nook Tablet owners.

    > I could easily see them going GPL 2.0 for new source releases and giving close hardware partners a different license.

    I have a visceral dislike of the GPL for libraries (if you’re going to give it to me, just give it to me; if not, then don’t) but not for complete programs/systems. The former are things I invest time in and add to my programming toolkit; the latter are things I invest time in and add to my productivity toolkit. In either case, I’m not interested in expending a learning curve on something that’s not general purpose enough to be used in several different scenarios, and the license definitely impacts that for code pieces that I might use; not so much for complete programs.

    Interestingly, though, for the way Google develops, you are quite right — GPL would work just fine. And at this point, the hardware vendors wouldn’t care — the software and Google are a known quantity to them. But… I think the current Apache license has much better patent protection than GPL v 2.0, so that’s got to play into the equation.

    > Google suing Baidu in China would probably be highly amusing to the Chinese.

    FWIW (which may not be much) I’ve seen articles that say that the Chinese are taking intellectual property a lot more seriously than they used to. I’m sure they still have a long way to go. I’m equally sure that Google probably doesn’t care all that much as long as they’re effectively locked out of the Chinese search market anyway.

  319. @me: Crickets chirp while the critics find something else to focus on.

    @inkstain: Some people will be enjoying a crow sandwich tonight.

    Meh. We should have known better. I forgot that every new release is an excuse to ramp up the fragmentation drumbeat machine again.

  320. I never cared whether they released the sources or not. My knocks on Android are:

    1) Dismal security (is it safe to install that app, from the OFFICIAL google app store? Take your chances.)
    2) Java,
    3) “You want an Android version? Which Android?” (same as it always was with Java phones),
    4) Poor UI quality (I mean come on, smooth scrolling isn’t that hard to do),
    5) Flash (it’s a bug, not a feature. Thank gawd that Adobe threw in the towel and we don’t have to hear the pundits bitch about it anymore),
    6) “Want updates? Fuck you, buy a new phone!”

  321. There’s no question that the iPhone 3GS has been a good seller. But I’m curious how much of the money goes to Apple.

    According to Asymco, Apple’s earning 66% of the profit in the mobile phone business, on about 5.6% of the unit volume. So, I’d say that Apple’s getting a hefty markup over their COGS, even when it’s the carrier and not the user fronting the money.

    http://www.asymco.com/2011/07/29/apple-captured-two-thirds-of-available-mobile-phone-profits-in-q2/

  322. @Some Guy
    So you found the 6 reasons why Android outsells iPhone 2:1?

  323. @winter,

    There’s only one reason why Android outsells iPhone. Apple still can’t make enough iPhones to meet the demand.

  324. @Some Guy
    “There’s only one reason why Android outsells iPhone. Apple still can’t make enough iPhones to meet the demand.”

    That must be the explanation. Nothing else would make sense, would it?

  325. Deny it all you want, it’s a fact. There are still a lot countries where the 4S isn’t on sale because they still can’t make enough.

  326. @patrick I have a visceral dislike of GPL as well (not just for libraries) but tend to keep my mouth shut about that since it tends to cause excessively stupid statements by proponents and excessive eye rolling by me.

    On the other hand it’s a wonderful license for companies to beat other companies into submission with via dumping. I guess I still find it irksome that IBM and HP managed to do so against Sun. That Schwartz was an idiot helped them greatly. And now look who owns Java…so now Java is effectively a dead language for desktop apps.

    That Google wasn’t smart enough to buy Sun irks me even more. Not that they’d have any more of a desktop focus but still. If Oracle’s suit is successful it ranks up there with RIM letting HP buy WebOS. It wont cost Google as much as its costing RIM but still insanely short sighted and really part of Google’s DNA regarding other people’s IP.

    @someguy there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Java other than it’s crufty with some age and Sun mismanagement. I prefer C# but Java will do. That I feel that the Android platform sucks in comparison to the iOS platform has nothing to do with Java and everything to do with the relative stability and refinement of the respective SDKs. I still find ObjC syntax weird.

    Oh and if Apple had an infinite supply of iPhone 4S, android would still outsell the iPhone. Just at a much much lower ratio. :)

  327. Some extra studies on the cost of patent abuse:

    Study: Patent trolls cost a half a trillion dollars in “lost wealth”
    http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Study-Patent-trolls-cost-a-half-a-trillion-dollars-in-lost-wealth-1379223.html

    In a study by researchers at the Boston University School of Law, it is estimated that non-practising entities, also known as NPEs or “patent trolls”, were responsible for half a trillion dollars in lost wealth between 1990 and 2010.

    …..

    Overall, the paper concludes that NPE patent lawsuits and the related loss of wealth harms society and increases the incentive to get “vague, over-reaching patents” instead of incentivising real innovation.

  328. @Nigel:

    > I have a visceral dislike of GPL as well (not just for libraries)

    I used to feel that way about programs, too, but among all the crapware, there are enough (only a few, but still enough) really nice GPL programs that arguably wouldn’t have been written without the GPL (because the authors are so vocal about their choice of license), that the GPL on a program doesn’t automatically cause my gag reflex to kick in any more.

    This doesn’t mean that I actively contribute to any GPL projects. There are two kinds of GPL projects — the great ones in general don’t need my help, except for perhaps the occasional bug report. The bad/marginally OK ones are run by people who either are not very good and aren’t going to listen to reason (enhancements / bugfixes) anyway (of course, this is somewhat orthogonal to choice of license), or who are attempting to leverage the “viral” nature of the license to garner lots of contributions in a Tom-Sawyer-esque fashion. I don’t play those kinds of games.

    But the worst are the libraries. Honest to god, I once saw a badly written 15 line Python snippet (freshly written, not extracted from preexisting code) with a GPL license slapped on. Talk about the tail attempting to wag the dog!

    Having said that, if there was a GPL program that did 99.5% of what I needed, I’d probably gladly contribute 0.5%. But if the program only does 90% of what I need, I’d rather find a permissively licensed program that does 85% of what I need and start contributing to that…

    @Some Guy:

    > There’s only one reason why Android outsells iPhone. Apple still can’t make enough iPhones to meet the demand.

    I’m confused. I thought Apple locked up so much of the supply chain that absolutely nobody else could ever possibly compete against them ever again…

  329. I’m confused. I thought Apple locked up so much of the supply chain that absolutely nobody else could ever possibly compete against them ever again…

    There’s only so much “supply chain” in the world producing quality parts. The gap between this capability and the demand is being met by second- and third-tier manufacturers supplying crap parts. Apple won’t do business with those for obvious reasons.

    Nah. Apple fanboys are incapable of being embarrassed by mere facts, their faith is pure. They’ll just ignore or minimize this.

    Because your average owner of a 2010 HTC Evo 4G or a Samsung Epic 4G, is ttly gonna git pull the ICS repo, compile from source and flash their phone with the new ROM.

    New releases mean precisely dick without updates for existing phone owners. The vast bulk of Android users are being left in the cold. Meanwhile, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 users can upgrade to iOS 5 easily, without carrier intervention,

  330. I imagine the number of Apple fanboys embarrassed by the ICS source release is fairly similar to the number of Android fanboys embarrassed by the continued success of the iPhone 4 after “Antennagate.” It turns out that there are stupid people who like both iOS and Android. Confusing your favored platform with moral superiority is probably unwise.

  331. Apple fanboys don’t give a shit whether it’s open or closed source. Oh wait, that’s just about everybody.

    Eric is confusing “Apple fanboys” with the trolls on this blog who were trying to tell us that because of the Honeycomb kerfuffle Android was as effectively closed-source as iOS. It’s wrong, and they’re wrong, but that argument doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that Apple is making HUGE profits YoY and even MoM, has upstream suppliers and developer mindshare sewn up, and is once again revolutionizing how we use computers with the advent of Siri — while Android manufacturers are struggling and the platform itself just now got to where iOS was in the 3GS era.

  332. @Jeff Read:

    There’s only so much “supply chain” in the world producing quality parts. The gap between this capability and the demand is being met by second- and third-tier manufacturers supplying crap parts. Apple won’t do business with those for obvious reasons.

    What a load of bollocks. Apple was quite happy to use Samsung parts until Samsung started competing with them. Are you telling me that Samsung can’t build good stuff, or somehow can’t buy whatever good stuff it doesn’t make on the open market? How does Samsung manage to consistently rank really high in quality and customer satisfaction for its products?

    What matters is that Apple is making HUGE profits YoY and even MoM,

    Yes, that matters to Apple. Not to me. But you know this is well-trod ground.

    has upstream suppliers and developer mindshare sewn up

    Hardly. The upstream suppliers know Apple thinks of them as interchangeable commodity suppliers who will be replaced on a single misstep, which might even be political. The developers develop for both platforms.

    and is once again revolutionizing how we use computers with the advent of Siri

    This was coming. It’s not surprising that Apple is on the forefront. But they won’t be alone long.

    — while Android manufacturers are struggling and the platform itself just now got to where iOS was in the 3GS era.

    Apple had 4G in the 3GS era? Why did they drop it?

  333. Re: developer mindshare.

    The only category of developer mindshare that Android had a hard time pulling was that of the companies wedded to DRM. But now that’s flipped: Netflix brought out their newest shiny app on Android before bringing it out on iWhatever:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/243888/netflix_goes_androidfirst_with_tablet_app_redesign.html

    According to a new Gartner report, 52.5% of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q3 were Android. I’m sure that won’t sway any developers, though.

  334. @jeff

    Because your average owner of a 2010 HTC Evo 4G or a Samsung Epic 4G, is ttly gonna git pull the ICS repo, compile from source and flash their phone with the new ROM.

    The number of folks that CAN do what you suggest is exceedingly small. Smaller still is the number of folks who could do such a thing WOULD do such a thing. But…the obvious rejoinder is cyanogen…even then while the average Evo or Epic owner isn’t going to root and load up CM7 a far larger population CAN do such a thing. And those guys need the ICS source.

    Me, not only couldn’t I be bothered I actively prefer NOT to mess with that in day to day use of my phone and tablets. At most I’ll root my Nook or Touchpad to have an Android development tablet target…being too cheap to buy a Galaxy Tab I won’t use for much else than small personal dev projects.

  335. @patrick

    What a load of bollocks. Apple was quite happy to use Samsung parts until Samsung started competing with them. Are you telling me that Samsung can’t build good stuff, or somehow can’t buy whatever good stuff it doesn’t make on the open market? How does Samsung manage to consistently rank really high in quality and customer satisfaction for its products?

    I don’t recall that he mentioned Samsung at all. In fact Samsung is among the few companies that actually produce high quality products. There’s only so much they and Apple’s other suppliers can actually supply.

    That said, Apple isn’t dumb enough to pay for production capacity to meet peak volume that occurs right at launch. They’ll scale for the steady state of sales where backlog is 1-2 days before shipping and have as much stockpiled for launch as is practical.

    Yes, that implies that even if they could make an infinite number of high quality iPhones their CURRENT sales given their CURRENT sales channels could probably only move a few million more additional handsets at far higher costs. Cooks not going to do that. He’d going to continue to grow apple retail channels and partnerships so every year they keep increasing handset sales at above industry rates.

  336. @patrick Netflix is running scared of Amazon Video after the beating they took over the dvd debacle. Apple/iTunes can’t hurt them as they don’t do all you can eat streaming.

    Amazon, on the other hand, can gut them. With the Fire they have the perfect platform to do so. Me, I’m going to be mildly annoyed I can’t get Amazon Video on the Nook but will be damn happy to get Netflix.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if B&N passed Netflix some money to update the app RIGHT NOW, HURRY PLEASE! I sure as hell would…they’ve been touting Netflix and Hulu to counter Amazon Video. I’m thinking that’s a losing strategy in the long run even if I think their tablet is better. It’s not like they have a lot of options though.

  337. Patrick Maupin Says:
    > The only category of developer mindshare that Android

    Actually I think the real challenge for developers, from what I hear anyway, is that the culture of iOS is much more oriented to paying those $1.99 per app prices. Basically, 99% market share times $0 per unit is still 0 total. Of course I exaggerate, and there are lots of people making big money on Android through paid and through advertising. However, I think the general perception is that is it harder to make a living selling android apps.

  338. @jessica it’s pretty hard making a living selling apps period. It appears a bit easier on iOS…as long as you have a decent app.

    If you can move hundreds of thousands or millions of downloads you’re going to make money regardless of whether you monetize via app sales or ad revenue.

    If you move only hundreds or thousands of downloads…the app sale model works a hell of a lot better. I paid $3 for a niche game just because I like 4x space games. The market for that is relatively small but fairly devoted since there’s only a handful of options on any app store. I think the guy said like 400 users that updated to the latest version so total sales is probably in the low thousands.

    Which sounds pretty crappy but for what is effectively a 48 hr coding challenge game refined over time isn’t too shabby. More than ad revenue will generate.

    This is a game I gave a scathing review too. Which I’m going to update to be somewhat nicer but I was happy to pay him $3 for what I kinda thought was only a $1 quality game.

  339. Indeed, Jessica. Apple customers seek quality, and are willing and happy to pay for it. That’s why Apple attracts so much top talent: developers go where the money is. Having skin in the game also incentivizes quality on the developers’ part, and that’s a big reason why Mac OS is eating Linux’s desktop share.

  340. they’ve been touting Netflix and Hulu to counter Amazon Video. I’m thinking that’s a losing strategy in the long run

    Or even the short run. Netflix and Hulu are on the Fire, too. In the long run, Amazon might close down on this sort of thing, but right now, there isn’t any content that’s available for the Nook Tablet that isn’t available for the Kindle Fire.

  341. Spam filter’s been busy. I’ve tried to say the same thing multiple times. Think it doesn’t like the headline name of the article I’ve been trying to reference.

    In any case, Apple development is a crapshoot, and more developers are recognizing this. Jeff, how many outstanding 3rd party apps can you name on iPhone that aren’t on Android and have zero reasonable substitute?

  342. “Jeff, how many outstanding 3rd party apps can you name on iPhone that aren’t on Android and have zero reasonable substitute?”

    Just about every music creation app available for iOS is an easy place to start.

  343. @Tim F:

    How can “just about every music creation app” all be “outstanding?”

    I gave some specific examples of music creation apps. If you can’t do so, that says more about you than about me…

  344. Patrick,

    Most games from big-name publishers qualify. iOS is rapidly becoming a triple-A platform with support from major game studios. Nintendo’s investors are shaking in fear right now because the company has actually posted losses for the first time in forever. Why? The iPhone. Not “smartphones” — the iPhone.

    Android gaming is still largely a joke. Part of this is because virtually all serious game development is done in C++; and writing a C++ app is a bitch on Android, impossible without going through the shit sandwich that is JNI. Going with the Dalvik VM strategy was really a self-foot-shooting move on Google’s part, though they probably won’t appreciate how much of one until Oracle comes to collect…

  345. Jeff Read Says:
    > Indeed, Jessica. Apple customers seek quality, and are willing and happy to pay for it.

    I could propose an alternative cause: namely that Apple customers are used to paying through the nose, and this is just more of the same. Given that the Apple App Store is filled with bucket loads of crappy apps, along with many diamonds, that seems a more realistic explanation view than yours.

    However, I don’t think that is the real reason. I think it is more that the Android store was playing catch up, and second-in-line often competes of price. But there could be other reasons, I don’t claim to have the answer. For sure, it is now a feedback loop.

  346. @Jeff Read
    > Nintendo’s investors are shaking in fear right now because the company has actually posted losses for the first
    > time in forever. Why? The iPhone. Not “smartphones” — the iPhone.

    I’m sure it had nothing to do with flagging Wii sales and a lackluster 3DS release due to high pricing and a lack of compelling launch titles. Nope, HAD to be the iPhone, 100%.

  347. @Jeff Read:

    There is no question that Google had other priorities besides low-latency audio and other features that make coding games (and, yes, Tim F., music synthesis apps) easy.

    Theoretically ICS is supposed to help this. We shall see.

    But the real question is: are the games and music apps manufacturers going to sit on Apple and not bother with Android? Certainly some are, but that just leaves a bigger opening for those who aren’t.

    It will probably always be that, at any point in time, you can point to where Apple is in the lead, just at any point in time, you can point to where Android vendors are in the lead (4G, anyone?). It is highly unlikely that Apple will claim the general public lead at this point, but it is entirely likely that they can leverage their desktop goodwill with, e.g. the music creative types, to continue to lead in particular categories. But, unlike you, I expect that lead to diminish over time, not to grow.

  348. Amplitube, Rebirth, Korg iElectribe, Korg iMS, GarageBand, Capo, MorphWhiz and all the various projects of Jordan Rudess, Audiobase Sample Player, Scorch, Symphonix Evolution, iGog, Seline HD, Yonac miniSynth, AppBC touchAble (an Ableton controller)… for a start.

  349. I’ve seen little attention paid to music in the Android SDKs beyond them ripping out javax.sound.midi from Android 1.0 to cover up the theft. But maybe I’ve missed something with ICS.

    “There is no question that Google had other priorities besides low-latency audio and other features that make coding games (and, yes, Tim F., music synthesis apps) easy… But the real question is: are the games and music apps manufacturers going to sit on Apple and not bother with Android?”

    I thought the point was there was an equal, better, or sufficient substitute in the Android world for any iOS app. It’s simply my contention that the platforms can present unique differences which will lead to stronger, irreproducable apps in certain fields. Would I try to make a music app for Android with no support for dynamic midi production, nevermind the fuller SDK hooks expected by music app developers? Nope, not at all — doable sure, but nope, wouldn’t bother.

  350. @someguy
    “There’s only one reason why Android outsells iPhone. Apple still can’t make enough iPhones to meet the demand.”

    that’s one reason. but it sure as hell isn’t the “one” reason.

    android has more models, more carriers, and has cheaper options.

    that pretty much covers it.

  351. “According to a new Gartner report, 52.5% of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q3 were Android.”

    Sweet. So the magical unicorn 50% threshold has been reached. So the predicted iOS disruptive collapse has begun.

    esr – So we should see this in the Q4 #s, right?

  352. Patrick Maupin,

    What you don’t know about audio software development could fill volumes.

    In audio, the latency between when an event comes in and when the CPU can be grabbed to process it must a) be deterministic and b) be as low as possible. For years the Atari ST was the go-to platform for serious audio work, thanks to its built-in MIDI controller and world-class software like Creator/Notator — the ancestor to Apple’s Logic — which for the first time in history allowed musicians to score music simply by playing it. There was an industry shift to the Mac in the mid-nineties. Apple was determined to keep this core market segment, so they acquired the rights to Logic and also put special features in Mac OS X such as special high-priority interrupt-driven threads to deliver the deterministically low latency that’s absolutely required in pro audio.

    As far as I know, Mac OS X is the only moder, widely-used commercial operating syatem to support this feature. It was probably inherited by iOS.

    So no, unless Google really decides to focus on this market and adds similar support (probably treading all over even more of Apple’s patents in the process), the chances that audio apps as good as on iOS will appear on Android are slim to none.

  353. >esr – So we should see this in the Q4 #s, right?

    There’s no guarantee the effects will be visible that fast. The way this has worked in other, similar, markets, is that developers cross the minority platform off their target list, which lowers its value to users, which turns off more developers, rinse, lather, repeat. In the earliest stages the erosion of support is invisible; then it’s slow; then it accelerates. By the time the erosion is obvious and rapid, it’s normally irreversible.

    It’s difficult to know how the timing will play out in this case. Apple’s dominance of the tablet market will slow the process initially, but that may only be setting up a faster crash once there are Android tablets that don’t suck at sub-iPad prices.

  354. @Patrick Maupin

    Regarding development. If you have an app that needs eyeballs (free apps), I think you have to go android + iOS. If you have an app that you need to charge for, iOS only can make sense. Fact is, iOS users spend more and are more likely to buy apps. But obviously doing both is preferable….

  355. >developers cross the minority platform off their target list, which lowers its value to users,

    right, but you realize that ‘minority platform’ is assessed in terms of the amount of available sales dollars, not the total number of customers, right? Right now, android is the minority platform if you’re charging money for your apps, because there is more than eighteen times as much profit to divvy up in the iOS app store. That’s despite the fact that apple has around 28% of android’s market share. Assuming that the spending behaviour of android and iOS owners won’t change radically, iOS has to go down to about 1.6% market share before it becomes a less profitable platform for developers. And I know you don’t think that’s about to happen, since you hotly denied it upthread.

    Now, you can accuse me of goalpost shifting here, and no doubt you will, but just stop and think about it for a second first. That would be great. Just reflect on it for one second.

    (If you’re making free phone apps for Twitter or Facebook the situation is quite different, of course.)

  356. @Jeff Read:

    What you don’t know about audio software development could fill volumes.

    Sorry, but you don’t know jack shit about what I know or not about audio.

    @phil:

    > If you have an app that you need to charge for, iOS only can make sense.

    Sure, but you have to be extra-careful about disruption from the bottom.

  357. Gartner also said “Gartner believes Apple will bounce back in the fourth quarter because of its strongest ever preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first weekend after its announcement. Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple, representing 16 percent of overall sales and showing that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets, especially now that the 3GS and 4 have received price cuts.”

    What, did people stop reading as soon as they hit a sentence they could crow about?

  358. >Now, you can accuse me of goalpost shifting here,

    In multiple ways, actually. But one will do for all: you’ve confused gross revenue with net to developers, which screws up your ratio calculation.

    “The average iOS app maker, meanwhile, only receives about $8,500 from Apple per year. Google Android’s App Market pulled in $102 million total last year, and those apps have generated just $2,500 per app for developers on average.” So, assuming the payoff distributions are roughly similar Gaussians, the actual ratio is therefore in the neighborhood of 3.4:1, not 18:1.

    A little algebra then tells us that iOS becomes a losing proposition at below 22% market share rather than 1.6%. The fact that Android is growing share more than twice as fast as Apple predicts that this 22% threshold will be reached; my best guess for that would be sometime in late 2012.

    So at 27.1% and stalled, Apple is on thin ice according to your own logic.

  359. @Bryant:

    What, did people stop reading as soon as they hit a sentence they could crow about?

    No, people stopped reading when the text segued from “here’s what happened” to “here’s what we think is going to happen.” Seriously, all the people here complaining about how broken esr’s predictions are ought to go read some of the more entertaining historic predictions from the paid professionals. (Hint: they are paid by companies that would like to sway public perception.)

    http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2009/10/08/gartner-declares-android-a-second-place-winner-in-2012-why/

  360. > In multiple ways, actually. But one will do for all: you’ve confused gross revenue with net to developers, which screws up your ratio calculation.

    So what you’re saying here is that there are about 5x more developers developing for iOS than android, which means you have more competition in your attempt to get a slice of a much bigger pie. That’s true (and it supports my claim that Android is the minority developer platform, so thanks). But your math is still way off: if the net revenue ratio per developer is 3.4:1 while iOS has 28% of Android’s market share, that means that as a developer you can rationally stay on iOS until it’s around 8% of android’s market share and the ratio is 1:1. That is a lot lower than 22%.

    Anyway, boring internet pedantry aside, in both my calculations and yours, there is no sensible way to claim that Android is the majority developer platform, or that it will soon become the majority platform. Developers will stay where the money is, and iOS customers are worth 18x as much to developers as iOS customers. If there are so many developers on iOS that the net developer revenue is diluted too much, some will move over to Android, but I see no evidence that the number of developers is growing faster than the number of smartphone owners.

    I’ll also say this: that 3.4 to 1 ratio is surprisingly high. In every situation, on every system, the market equilibrium should be 1:1, no matter what the install base. If I’m an Android developer right now and I’d be making 3.4x as much money on iOS, I should develop for iOS instead. And if I stick around, others should jump ship until the Android developer-base is small enough for it to reach developer-revenue parity with iOS. I can only surmise the reason that most people keep making Android apps is that they are also making iOS apps.

  361. >I can only surmise the reason that most people keep making Android apps is that they are also making iOS apps.

    Whereas I think they’re seeing the same future I am and betting on Android because they know iOS is only a good bet in the short term. I don’t know how you got your 8%, but I think your reasoning is faulty.

  362. @Bennett and esr:

    I think I figured out how to get the article through the spam filter. I can shorten the URL — don’t need the full title. The spam filter apparently doesn’t like the “C” word in the article title. I think the article is highly relevant to your ongoing discussion.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1792313/

  363. About the difficulty of predicting, especially predicting the future. Here is an ongoing example: The fall of MS next year.

    Some people have whacked around about MS going to break-up next year or so (yes, I entered that game too). The point was, that MS is a money machine with only two profitable devisions, which both had no future: Windows and Office (XBox will never repay it’s cost). The “no future” part was easy, ARM powered phones and tablets are replacing desktop computers and laptops, and MS have no presence in the ARM market.

    Without their monopolistic 80% margin on Windows and Office, and no credibility of retaining their monopoly, MS the Software Monopoly is doomed. Easy. Now you just have to predict when the shareholders will get the message. That was easy too. The moment the shareholders realize Windows Phone is a not-run failure, they will realize they need to liquidate the company.

    That would be around now, ie, this winter.

    Run the logic through, and you can easily predict MS will start to sell of money losing parts next year. That sounded ludicrous in 2010, but the logic was there for everyone to see.

    And now, MS shareholders have seen the light at the end of the tunnel: An incoming fast-train.

    Microsoft shareholders question company’s large stash of cash
    http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2011/11/microsoft-shareholders-question.html

    Two shareholders during a question/answer session asked why the company is holding cash instead of reinvesting or paying higher dividends to shareholders.

    ….

    Another shareholder suggested splitting up the company. Ballmer appeared to scoff at the notion and pointed to the company’s collaboration on projects like Office and Kinect.

    He said he thinks the continued success of Office and Windows and the growing financial influence of Xbox and Windows Phone will keep the company profitable into the future.

    (emphasis mine)

    Ballmer shoots down Microsoft breakup advice
    Shareholders fractious over investment returns
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/15/ballmer_plans_break_up_microsoft/

    Ballmer and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates faced a fractious audience, with many stockholders expressing their displeasure at the company’s poor stock price and returns. One member asked it there would be merit in spinning off some of the businesses, à la EMC and VMware, but Ballmer was quick to shoot that idea down.

  364. @Patrick Maupin
    “The spam filter apparently doesn’t like the “C” word in the article title. I think the article is highly relevant to your ongoing discussion.”

    I was struck by the following quote:

    As Daniel Wood, owner of indie app studio Runloop, explains it, “Apple has done the seemingly impossible: they’ve made developing cool. A few years ago the man on the street didn’t want software, or talk about software. Now suddenly everyone’s like, ‘Have you seen this app, have you seen that app? It makes your face into a fat person!’ People have been trying to do this for ages, make programming cool. They used titles like ‘creative developer,’ but it basically just means programmer. Somehow Apple did the impossible.”

    This is odd, because this was always the case in the FLOSS world. Linux Mint is probably the second most popular Linux distribution. It is produced by a core team of only 6 developers. I know many popular and important programs developed by one or two people. “Apps” have been cool in the FLOSS world, and *nix in general from the start. It used to be the same in the early MS DOS world. Until MS Windows destroyed the market.

    So it seems the severe drought of the Windows Years are finally over.

  365. @winter ah…he’s stating that Apple has made developing cool to the non-geek. Primarily because it’s now a very visible item in day to day life on a device carried, essentially, 24×7.

  366. @Nigel
    “Primarily because it’s now a very visible item in day to day life on a device carried, essentially, 24×7.”

    That was very much the attitude as in the 1980 where DOS programs had the same kind of appeal. Or in the DotCom days, where you had the same feelings towards web developers.

    In my opinion, what changed was the way distribution of programs was cut off in the 1990s. Neither Windows nor Apple OS6-X had a concept of repositories. Windows program installation has always been a fickle and dangerous endeavor. Once installed, getting rid of a program was as dangerous as installing it. Mac programs were much easier. But it was still hunt down, select, download unpack, and install. And no easy centralized way to uninstall.

    Compare that to, say, using synaptic. Early Linux was a disaster too (dependency hell, I wrecked several installations of Red Hat, SUSE, and Knoppix derivatives). However, for years now, Linux repositories have worked like a dream, with loads and loads of “Apps” avant la lettre.

    What Apple resurrected was a centralized distribution channel like Debian and Fedora have. And a (Linux Mint like) distribution channel was the only thing needed to fire off the developers again.

  367. @winter Well, if you want to compare linux package repos to the app store feel free. I think it’s a little silly given the relative reach of the two and one actually generates revenue for the dev and the other doesn’t. Revenue fires up developers almost as much a shiny. The iOS platform has both.

    In the 1980s the household penetration of PCs was far lower than that of smartphones today. And the phone is probably one of the more personal tech items people own.

    Besides, his point is that devs are fired up but that the average joe on the street is fired up. I think he’s overstating the case but whatever.

  368. @Patrick: “No, people stopped reading when the text segued from ‘here’s what happened’ to ‘here’s what we think is going to happen.’”

    Nope. It’s “here’s what we think happened” to “here’s what we think is going to happen.” Gartner didn’t source their assertions about Q3 sales, which makes them exactly as reliable as their predictions. It’s all the same research. If nothing else, note that the Gartner claims don’t match the Comscore numbers.

    I dunno, I’m still waiting to see the Comscore numbers for October and November.

  369. @Adriano:

    > I’m sure this can always be interpreted as “But Google is not evil(TM), because you can buy a free phone from them!”, or something.

    No, this is interpreted as “With google, enough stuff at the bottom of the OS is open source that you can easily find and debug stuff like this and know when you’re being screwed with. With iOS, who knows?”

  370. @Nigel
    “I think it’s a little silly given the relative reach of the two and one actually generates revenue for the dev and the other doesn’t. ”

    I forgot, money is the only thing that counts. So the Appstore is an original invention of Apple and incomparable to, say, the Software Center in Linux Mint, because the Appstore makes a profit and Linux Mint’s Software Center never did.

  371. @Bryant:

    > It’s “here’s what we think happened” to “here’s what we think is going to happen.”

    That’s a fair point, but they have a much better track record on what happened than they do on what’s going to happen. IMO, it’s their track record on what happened that lets them try to sell influence about what’s going to happen.

    > Gartner didn’t source their assertions about Q3 sales, which makes them exactly as reliable as their predictions.

    No it doesn’t. Consumer polls are the best example of this. If you ask somebody what they did, then (unless its embarrassing) they are likely to tell you the truth. If you ask somebody what they are going to do they you get a bunch of fuzzy wishful thinking. We have had numerous examples of this over the last couple of years here. My all-time favorite is this one:

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/02/05/survey-44-of-verizon-android-users-likely-to-switch-to-iphone-on-day-one/

    > It’s all the same research.

    No, it’s not. That’s fuzzy wishful think on your part.

    > If nothing else, note that the Gartner claims don’t match the Comscore numbers.

    They have matched reasonably (on what happened, not what will happen) every time I’ve looked seriously. But what are you talking about here? Give me a concrete example of apples-to-apples comparison with comscore and gartner numbers for the same thing don’t match. But please note that the gartner numbers here are international and current sales and that the main comscore numbers we track are domestic and installed base and based on a three month moving average.

  372. @winter nice clipping of my comment. I don’t really care who invented what first to be honest. I care mostly who’s more useful. Thus putting Mint’s Software Center in the same category as either the App Store or Android Market is laughable. ESPECIALLY in the context of what making developers cool to average users.

    And to make your day brighter:

    “* Windows Phone 7 separated from the pack to become the clear number three mobile platform this quarter. The OS climbed 8 points to 38% of respondents saying they are ‘very interested’ in the platform, the highest ever for Microsoft.

    * Microsoft is enjoying symbiotic success with Nokia. When asked why developers are more interested in Windows Phone 7 now than a year ago, a plurality (48%) said it was the Microsoft/Nokia partnership. Nokia also received high marks from its new Lumia Windows Phone 7 smartphone announcement last month, with 28% of developers saying they are ‘very interested’ in developing for the device. This is more than double the interest in Nokia’s own Symbian and MeeGo OSes since Appcelerator began reporting mobile platform interest in January 2010.”

    http://www.appcelerator.com/company/survey-results/mobile-developer-report-nov-2011/report/

  373. @Nigel
    “The OS climbed 8 points to 38% of respondents saying they are ‘very interested’ in the platform, the highest ever for Microsoft.”
    “When asked why developers are more interested in Windows Phone 7 now than a year ago, a plurality (48%) said it was the Microsoft/Nokia partnership.”

    A good one. The best joke of today! People must be very, very interested not to buy the stuff. Moreover, MS marketing must be very desperate when they have to rely on “interest”. And even then, only a third of the respondents can be brought to say they are “very interested”.

    (not really most funny, I liked this one even better
    http://work.failblog.org/2011/11/15/job-fails-if-the-internet-was-a-gun-itd-be-an-rpg/
    )

  374. @Nigel:

    The appcelerator survey is useful, but you have to remember that it’s a company that is building cross-development tools surveying their customer base. If I’m a customer and things are going reasonably well for me for iPhone and Android, and somebody asks me whether they should invest their time making it possible for me to push a single button and churn out a Windows Phone app from my source code, I’d probably say “sure! (If, somehow that takes off, and you’ve made porting my app painless, how can I lose?)”

  375. @winter it seems patrick actually reads links and you don’t. MS marketing isn’t involved.

    @patrick sure, on the other hand if you don’t think the platform has any value you probably want them to concentrate on something else vs the off chance it gains any share. For example Blackberry interest declined…

    Besides, as a survey it’s value is limited to seeing what changes from the last survey and values relative to each other. The actual percentage values are mostly meaningless…

  376. @Nigel
    Indeed I did not read the link. But I did recognized the angle which I saw often played when people refuse to buy a product or service.

    But this time MS seems not to be involved. Curious, I was under the impression that MS have to pay people or sue them to get anyone involved in WP7.

    How could I be so wrong?

  377. @winter I realize that your question was meant to be rhetorical but frankly being blind to an (self imagined) enemy’s strength is plain stupid.

    There are many fans of MS products that are neither stupid, deluded nor evil. There is a large body of XNA developers that like the platform. MS caters to developer needs well and have a mature and very nice tool chain for development. MS APIs tend to be top notch and very stable until they make a big switch. MSDN support is very nice from what I remember.

    From this developer’s perspective WP7 sits nicely between the Apple and Android opposites. I’ll eventually develop for all three. Which platforms have you tried?

  378. @Nigel
    Where did I deny any of your assertions. I have no opinion on the technical merrits of any phone system. Except that WP7 trailed iOS and Android in important aspects.

  379. @Nigel:

    > For example Blackberry interest declined…

    Sure. Even when somebody’s offering to do stuff for me essentially for free, if they ask me to help them prioritize, I will. Microsoft is the great semi-unknown, dark-horse-with-royal-pedigree, that (like Android) works with multiple manufacturers, (unlike Android) seems to be able to strong-arm some of them into shipping product based on nebulous patent threats, and (like Apple) has a huge pile of cash as well as a huge manufacturing capacity (in the form of Nokia).

    While Blackberry has been bleeding market share and units in the wider market for months and is even now now starting to lose marketshare (if not actual units yet) in their core business market.

    > hey, hows your Nook? Did you get it yet?

    Nah, I both preordered fairly late, I think, and opted for the free shipping. Haven’t gotten a ship notice yet.

  380. @winter I was addressing your snarky comment “Curious, I was under the impression that MS have to pay people or sue them to get anyone involved in WP7.”

    The answer is lots of people like MS platforms without being either paid shills or stupid.

  381. Nokia’s Lumia line, from the reviews I’ve read, are damned good smartphones.

    Microsoft has a chance to catch up and compete with the big 2. It could even win dev mindshare away from Android with the quality of its toolset.

  382. >The answer is lots of people like MS platforms without being either paid shills or stupid.

    [citation needed]

    :-)

  383. >Nokia’s Lumia line, from the reviews I’ve read, are damned good smartphones.

    They’re pretty, I’ll give ‘em that. But they’re overpriced, underpowered, and feature-light. Midrange Androids are better value and will wax them easily.

  384. @esr :-) Shall I cite Miguel? I’m thinking that quoting a much derided Open Source Heretic is probably not what you had in mind…I recall some folks calling him the Grima Wormtongue of FOSS…

  385. [citation needed]

    :-)

    Oh, come, Eric. It’s a little hard for me to believe that Jessica Boxer’s appreciation of Microsoft tools, technologies, and platforms is anything but sincere and well-informed.

  386. I looked a little closer at the new gartner report. Nothing particularly unexected there. Amusing that for at least the second quarter in a row, Bada is outselling anything Microsoft-based. I’m still impressed with Samsung’s execution — they have been consistently increasing total handsets for several quarters in the face of a huge and rapidly declining dumbphone business.

    http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1848514

  387. @Nigel
    “The answer is lots of people like MS platforms without being either paid shills or stupid.”

    Ah, here is the divergence. My “snarky” comment was not about “liking”, but about putting your money where your mouth is. People who hate MS Windows have been known to develop for it, while people who love Linux have been known not to develop for Linux.

    Experience has shown (the empirical stuff), that far too few people develop for WP7 without incentives from MS. Far too few handset makers produced WP7 phones without strong incentives from MS. This all is caused by consumers rarely buying WP7 phones. If anything, only the fact that too few consumers like WP7 phones enough to buy one is about “liking”. The quality and shine of MS development tools are completely irrelevant to consumers and sales.

    In other words, WP7 is Bing all over again.

    It is an empirical fact that without strong incentives from MS, hardly any WP7 phones are produced and hardly any software is written. If you claim otherwise, citations are needed.

  388. @patrick given the numbers that Samsung ships I’d expect Bada to keep growing at the same pace until it hits around 50% of Samsung shipments. Figuring the mix ends up being 30% bada feature phones 20% bada low end smartphones and 50% android/wp7 medium to high end smartphones for them.

    Just ballpark gut estimates not based on anything in particular. But if it becomes true AND Samsung holds share then Bada will be the #2 smartphone OS. Bada 3.0, however, seems to be pushing upward and maybe not as featurephone hardware friendly.

    Should be mighty interesting…

    Meltemi might also have pretty high share since it’s the S40 replacement. But as the S40 replacement it wouldn’t get counted as a smartphone. Still, I would expect it to have apps and be pretty close to low end Bada…

    Nokia can make decent feature phones even against Samsung. I figure Nokia to be #2 but still moving 100M+ handsets by this time next year even if their WP7 phones are stinkers…which I doubt.

  389. @winter there’s an active XNA indie dev community. MS’ incentives are free dev tools, solid SDKs and an ecosystem to sell to.

    They hit 30K apps in August for the WP7 Marketplace.

    “Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has taken nearly 10 months to reach 30,000 apps since launch. Apple’s iPhone App Store took just over 8 months and Google’s Android store took 17 months to reach the same amount.”

    http://www.winrumors.com/windows-phone-7-marketplace-hits-30000-applications/

    They hit 40K apps recently

    “The rate of growth has accelerated since late October, when Microsoft hit 35,000 apps, to push the Marketplace onto 40,000 apps. All About Windows Phone reports that their own tracking software indicates 40,189 items have been published to the Marketplace. 10,882 apps were added in the last 90 days and 4,770 were added in the last 30 days alone. The apps come from over 10,000 publishers. The site estimates that the Marketplace will reach the 50,000 app mark by January 2012.”

    http://www.winrumors.com/windows-phone-marketplace-reaches-40000-applications/

    Current realtime stats – 38614 with 5427 inactive (in august this site was reporting 29,465 with 4,518 inactive):

    http://wp7applist.com/en-US/stats/

    So where are YOUR citations that “hardly any software is written” for WP7? Empirical facts my ass. You and Jessica are great at demanding others provide citations but have been prone to throw out unsupported assertions as “facts” about certain topics.

    Even on the hardware front there’s signs of life:

    “British carrier Orange announced on Wednesday that the Nokia Lumia 800 had broken all previous preorder records for Nokia devices.

    The Lumia 800, which went on sale in the UK on Wednesday, has seen a phenomenal amount of interest from Orange UK customers.”

    http://www.winrumors.com/nokia-lumia-800-breaks-preorder-records-for-nokia-devices-at-orange-uk/

    If nothing else, sales are not likely to be all THAT bad if they are outselling their old top end handsets back when they were top dog. We should see the US launch phones at CES. There is at least one new phone that got accidentally leaked in a promo video with a 4″ screen. MS will be making a big push at CES as well and AT&T appear to be on board.

    MS really needs to bump their hardware specs faster. They really should allow dual core in Tango vs Apollo. Mid-2012 is a bit late.

  390. @Nigel,

    How much did MS pay for Nokia to produce WP7 phones? That was in the billions.

    Below are a number of links specifying monetary incentives (both carrot and stick) for developing WP7 phones and apps. In short, I can list citations. And MS WP7 is so impopular that people have to be paid or arm-twisted to develop for it. (period)

    Nokia paying developers to build Windows Phone apps
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/30/tech/mobile/nokia-windows-phone/index.html

    Windows Phone Apps Developers win out with Windows Phone 7
    http://www.corporaterewards.co.uk/reading-room/press-area/microsoft-supplier-incentive/

    Microsoft UK has recently launched a new reward programme, THINK.DEV Rewards, for all developers interested in creating and submitting original apps for Windows Phone 7.

    Microsoft signs Android patent and Windows Phone marketing deal with Samsung
    http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-signs-android-patent-and-windows-phone-marketing-deal-with-samsung/

    The agreement will see Samsung licence Microsoft’s patent porfolio to cover the company’s use of the Android operating system. Microsoft will receive royalties from Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets running Android. Microsoft and Samsung have also agreed to develop and market Windows Phone further.

  391. And in the department of “Patents against innovation”, another entry by Apple

    Look out! Here comes Apple’s killer location-services patent
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57326207-37/look-out-here-comes-apples-killer-location-services-patent/

    Even more, it could bring some important activities of other companies [than Android], such as Facebook and Foursquare, under Apple’s purview — which is another way of saying that Apple might be able to tell these companies to pay up if they wanted to use location services.

  392. I can list citations. And MS WP7 is so impopular that people have to be paid or arm-twisted to develop for it. (period)

    Oh bullshit. There are 40,000 apps out there. That Nokia paid some AAA app devs to port their apps to their new flagship phone is no different than Amazon paying AAA app devs for exclusives and offering them the same kind of incentives when they were launching their app store.

    Or Google passing out Android phones like candy every time they showed up to an event. I knew devs with multiple free phones from Google.

    Not to mention that even iOS had a $100M venture fund announced the same day as the iPhone SDK to jumpstart app development on that platform. It looks like 588 companies applied for funding from the accidental data dump of their DB.

    The ONLY thing your links show is that MS and Nokia are doing the same things every major sane tech company does to jumpstart a platform/product by increasing dev interest. Not that the platform is so unpopular that most devs have to be paid to develop for it.

  393. @Nigel
    “The ONLY thing your links show is that MS and Nokia are doing the same things every major sane tech company does to jumpstart a platform/product by increasing dev interest. Not that the platform is so unpopular that most devs have to be paid to develop for it.”

    Except, that MS had to buy Nokia before they would produce the phones, and that MS is going the round to use patent law to force Android handset makers to build WP7 phones. There is also a difference in distributing hardware and SDKs and paying people to develop software. There are developers working on WP7 software spontaneously. But there are simply not enough of them to make the platform stick.

    And people do not buy Windows Phones. Maybe if MS subsidizes the phones enough, they might buy them. And all this “Ahh, the new Nokia phone will be a hit” is just wishful thinking. We do not know whether they will sell well because they are not available yet. We heard the same stuff when WP7 was released, and no one showed up to buy them.

    Here too, seeing is believing. Nokia might outsell all other handsets, or it might flop. We simply do not know yet.

  394. Btw, if the NoWin phone flops, it is curtain for Elop and Ballmer. Heck, that would be curtain for Nokia and MS.

    So we can be sure the NoWin phone will sell. Even if MS have to pay users to buy it.

  395. Winter Says:
    > Btw, if the NoWin phone flops, it is curtain for Elop and Ballmer. Heck, that would be curtain for Nokia and MS.
    > So we can be sure the NoWin phone will sell. Even if MS have to pay users to buy it.

    In the US, postpaid phones are often offered at a nominal price, free with mail-in rebate, or even entirely free.
    And the big carriers like the postpaid model.

    If indeed MS were to pay users (via a heavily-subsidized device), they would really energize the prepaid market.

  396. There is also a difference in distributing hardware and SDKs and paying people to develop software. There are developers working on WP7 software spontaneously. But there are simply not enough of them to make the platform stick.

    Yet another unsupported assertion. There are 10,731 different WP7 developers who have published (not just registered) apps on the market. Thats about the same number of Android devs last year in July 2010.

    http://blog.appstorehq.com/post/760323632/ios-vs-android-over-1-000-developers-including-some

    If there are “simply not enough” WP7 developers this year then there wasn’t enough Android developers last year.

    People haven’t bought WP7 phones much yet, that’s true. Then again it was a less than stellar product at launch. It’s improved quite a bit and with the right advertising campaign Nokia can do well in a US launch. The hardware is very nice looking and the build quality is very solid and WP7 seems to work pretty well on it.

  397. @marco It strikes me as far more likely that they’ll offer a higher commission rate/sales incentives to AT&T and other retail stores to make sure that what has been happening in some places (sales guys actively discouraging WP7 handsets) stops.

  398. CarrierIQ or its ilk are almost certainly not on the iPhone. Apple cares more about its users than that. To Google, end users are the product; they don’t have your back.

  399. @Nigel
    “@marco It strikes me as far more likely that they’ll offer a higher commission rate/sales incentives to AT&T and other retail stores to make sure that what has been happening in some places (sales guys actively discouraging WP7 handsets) stops.”

    If MS do another Bing and spend $5B, they can give away 100M handsets. Then they will be a serious third contender.

    But the shareholders might not allow Ballmer to do another financial Bing.

  400. Winter Says:
    > @Nigel
    > “@marco It strikes me as far more likely that they’ll offer a higher commission rate/sales incentives
    > to AT&T and other retail stores to make sure that what has been happening in some places (sales
    > guys actively discouraging WP7 handsets) stops.”
    >
    > If MS do another Bing and spend $5B, they can give away 100M handsets.
    > Then they will be a serious third contender.
    > But the shareholders might not allow Ballmer to do another financial Bing.

    Imagine MS teaming up with Republic Wireless
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3894#comment-337642
    But with a device for 49.99 USD instead of 199 USD.
    Since they stress Wi-Fi, then the action might be more about apps than voice calling.
    I could see that generating a whole lot more buzz than seeding some cooperative marketing dollars to retailers.

    And if not Republic Wireless, how about Virgin Mobile where a fairly low-end Android device is 129.99 USD?
    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/lg-optimus-v-phone.jsp
    I think undercutting the pre-paid market is less disruptive, but might feel safer to MS execs.

    While Winter might be right, I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part and Ballmer is just the guy to do it.

  401. @ Patrick
    >The eff doesn’t appear to share your rosy view of Apple’s intentions:

    The EFF doesn’t view anyone’s intentions as anything other than malicious. Seriously, their firing up the warning bells and crying from the rooftops over simple advancements in security software. Every argument they make could be used equally against any electronic surveillance system. Ultimately the evil is not in the technology, but in how its used. Sorry, but the EFF’s hyperbole in that article sounds exactly to me like the rantings of gun banners around the world. The technology could be used for evil, therefore it is evil is not a valid argument.

  402. @Marco:

    > I think undercutting the pre-paid market is less disruptive

    I actually disagree on this. Prepaid is in a huge position to eat away at postpaid. Republic Wireless has the right idea, and if MS joined them and accelerated it, it would be great.

    Unfortunately (for MS), I don’t think that would help them too much long-term. Certainly they can help wrest margin away from the carriers and help to relegate them to commodity bit-transport status. But they won’t be able to keep too much of that value for themselves — it’s going straight into the consumers’ pocket.

    Bearing that in mind, Microsoft is more apt to be looking for some super-sekret way that the carriers can actually seek more rent rather than less, for a small on-going cut to Microsoft.

  403. @tmoney:

    > The technology could be used for evil, therefore it is evil is not a valid argument.

    You’re missing step 2:

    1) The technology could be used for evil.
    2) It was invented by a known evil corporation.
    3) Given their track record, they almost certainly plan to use it for evil.

  404. @ Patrick

    And what track record is this? I’ve asked this before and still haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer. What track record is there to suggest that Apple will use this technology to spy on their users and report them to the police (as the EFF claims) or even prevent them from jailbreaking their phones? I realize that you an I have vastly different definitions of “evil” (where you seem to think a company not supporting an unsupported feature is evil, and I don’t) but you should at least be able to present me with some logical chain that shows a trend of Apple using secret spyware to lock their users out of their devices.

  405. @Nigel
    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely (just as PowerPoint)

    We love FLOSS, because we know that at some time, those who lead Google or their counterparts at any other powerful company or institution will become power hungry and will abuse the company for their own benefit. And if the current “leaders” will not do it, then they will be replaced by those who will (eg, Woz or Paul Allen among many).

  406. @ Patrick

    So nothing that gives any indication Apple would use this to lock users out of their own phones or in general spy on them, report them to the police and keep them from jailbreaking their phones?

  407. @tmoney:

    You seem to forget that Apple fought the DMCA phone jailbreaking copyright ruling tooth and nail. We discussed that plenty before. Also, Apple and MS are two of the big fish in the BSA, which is, as we speak, lobbying heavily in favor of SOPA.

    Nope, no evil there.

  408. @Patrick
    I remember a Sony executive who promised in the 1990s to bring down the Internet.

    Almost there

  409. @ Patrick

    I’m not asking you to give me examples of what you consider to be Apple’s evil behavior, I’m asking for what track record suggests that Apple will use spyware to lock users out of their own phones and report them to the police.

  410. @tmoney:

    > I’m asking for what track record suggests that Apple will use spyware to lock users out of their own phones and report them to the police.

    I don’t know what they will or won’t do. I’m sure it will all be very calculating, whatever it is. But they don’t respect their customers.

  411. Geez, in terms of corporate evilness MS and Apple are angels. In comparison try the corporate negligence that caused Bhopal. Or Enron. Or a host of other companies that actually, you know, cause harm to people.

  412. in terms of corporate evilness MS and Apple are angels. In comparison try the corporate negligence that caused Bhopal. Or Enron.

    As a consumer, it’s a little difficult for me to decide not to do business with Enron or Union Carbide. And while Apple’s explosion by proxy certainly pales in comparison to Bhopal, the dead are, you know, still dead.

    Or a host of other companies that actually, you know, cause harm to people.

    Well, in this country, Apple files trumped up criminal charges against some and intimidates people by threatening to have their relatives deported. It’s only in other countries where they can have their proxies abuse people enough to get them to commit suicide.

    JD Powers and Apple customers disagree.

    Absolutely. What they think are Apple’s true colors, I think is a thin veneer. And we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

  413. “Apple fans will want to spin the flat Apple share numbers as people holding off purchases for the 4S, and will predict a big spike in Apple’s October numbers. The trouble with this a narrative is that we could equally interpret the fall-off in Android share growth as people waiting for Android 4 – and meanwhile, the ratio between share growth rates has actually increased in Android’s favor.”

    Apparently Apple fans may have been right. It’ll be interesting to see if the surge is replicated in the US, and it’ll be interesting to see how much drop off there is. A lot of stores sold out of the 4S on Black Friday, but that again is a single data point.

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