The Smartphone Wars: Dinosaurs mating?

Just when you thought the smartphone industry couldn’t get any more soap-operatic, everybody’s favorite pair of aging drama queens – Microsoft and Nokia – may be at it again. There’s a rumor, from a gossip with a good track record, that Microsoft intends to buy Nokia’s Smartphone division.

Inexplicably, there are even some people writing about the rumor who think this might even be a good idea. I mean, a good idea for Microsoft. It probably really would be a good idea for Nokia – they’d get shut of their idiotic alliance with Redmond and unload a crappy, chronically underperforming division for a pile of cash (the rumormonger says $19 billion).

But for Microsoft? Nokia’s brand strength was probably the only thing keeping Windows-phone share as high as 5.2%. It hasn’t been Microsoft’s software doing it, that’s for sure. Botched upgrades and a pathetically weak app ecosystem have only been the most obvious problems.

If Microsoft bought Nokia’s smartphone division, they’d mismanage it into smoking rubble within two years. “But wait, Eric…” I hear you cry, “they haven’t done too badly with the X-Box!” Quite right they haven’t – but that’s because Microsoft runs that division as a cash generator, mostly hands off.

Smartphones, on the other hand, are strategic. That means that if Microsoft buys itself a smartphone division, Steve Ballmer’s going to poke his prong into it. Repeatedly. To, um, what’s the B-school jargon? “Maximize the synergies”. They might even be treated to more demented-monkey ranting. Two years. Smoking rubble.

On a different subject, what are we to make of the latest comScore figures? I have to say I don’t know. Android has fallen off the roughly 2%-per-month rate of share increase it had been sustaining for 18 months. Even at the lower rate, though, it’s still probably going to surpass 50% U.S. market share within a month or two – actually, some of the more excitable market-research outfits think it’s already there.

Apple fans would like the reason for the slowdown to be Apple, but there hasn’t been any corresponding improvement in Apple’s relative position. Both Android and Apple now seem to be tracking overall smartphone market growth pretty closely. Neither the iPhone 4S nor Android 4.0 shows any sign of being a game-changer.

The most likely possibility is that the U.S. smartphone market has reached a sort of initial saturation point – that while there’s still growth in the offing, the first frantic rush to smartphones has finally spent itself.

I rate this only “likely” because the holiday sales figures could still shock everybody. Apple had a flat month in September which might have been people deferring purchases until they could get a 4S; it’s just possible that the larger Android wobble was their considerably larger prospective-buyer pool holding out for Ice Cream Sandwich – currently only available on a Verizon phone.

The saturation theory has a near-term consequence we can watch for: decreasing consumer willingness to pay premium prices for high-end smartphones. Watch for the more market-savvy vendors to start emphasizing value pricing and low-end to midline products more in 1Q2012.

The purchase-deferral theory has a more obvious near-term consequence we can watch for, too; huge Christmas-morning sales for Verizon. Andy Rubin was on G+ talking up Christmas activations recently, which suggests that Google thinks it’s going to have a good story for its next quarterlies.

Meanwhile, the non-sucky low-cost Android tablets that I was predicting six months ago are beginning to trickle in now, two months later than I was expecting but hey, prediction is hard. There’s a fair amount of buzz about Velocity Micro’s T507, an Android 4.0 tablet with a 7-inch display for $150.

Significantly, this is less than an iPad. The vendors may be getting a clue that to complete with Apple they have to offer something as good for less money. “Premium” pricing simply will not work in that market, not for anyone but Apple now and probably not even for Apple in the longer-term future.

I don’t want a T507. But the specs on it hint that we’re only one product-development cycle – three or four months – from something I and a whole lot of other people will want. If the iPad’s product manager isn’t starting to get nervous about this, he should be fired and replaced with somebody with enough sense to be worried.

304 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: Dinosaurs mating?

  1. What makes you think that a 7″ $150 tablet is going to be “as good” as a 10″ $500 iPad? Perhaps “good enough” for some people and some uses, but that’s all. As we’ve seen from all challengers so far, iPads are so well designed and manufactured that nobody has been able to make anything equivalent and sell it at a profit. (Come to think of it, is there any tablet on the market today equivalent or superior to an iPad, at any price?) Something “as good” as an iPad, even with a 7″ screen, is simply impossible to manufacture and sell for $150 at a profit today. (Eventually, sure: Moore’s Law and all that.)

    I suspect Apple is not nervous at all. They have shown themselves to be excellent at planning ahead. I’m sure they anticipated sub-standard knock-offs and doubt if they see them as much of a threat (check the Amazon reviews for Velocity Micro’s various tablets). And by the time a real Android equivalent to an iPad 2 comes along, there will be an iPad 3. Android has a much harder row to hoe in tablets than in phones.

  2. Why would MS actually care about Nokia? They’re earning more money on Android phones than on WP7 phones…

  3. Nokia has lots of patents, and Microsoft would undoubtedly like to have its way with them.

  4. Not gonna happen. Here’s my prediction.

    I also predict Symbian continuing to exist in spite of all death threats, and more Linux phones by Nokia.

    Wishful thinking? Maybe…

  5. OMG, only now I saw that the site you linked to, the “gossip with a good track record”, is just some guy reporting something that Eldar Murtazin tweeted out of his ass!!!

    Nothing to see here, folks…

  6. @K

    Because Android doesn’t lock users into Windows Office/Server/etc. And they don’t want to reveal a chink in the armor in the corporate world. They’re afraid if people use a different OS on phones doing real work they’ll realize they might not need Windows on the desktop either. They’re not worried about making money, they’re worried about losing money.

  7. B-school jargon? “Maximize the synergies”

    My first thought was you meant /b/ from 4chan… for which “Poking his prong in it repeatedly” is just as likely to be jargon.

    (Come to think of it, is there any tablet on the market today equivalent or superior to an iPad, at any price?)

    Asus Pad Transformer. Hands down.

    And by the time a real Android equivalent to an iPad 2 comes along, there will be an iPad 3. Android has a much harder row to hoe in tablets than in phones.

    Hey i’m sure i’ve heard this tune before… isn’t the next chorus something about only being one provider? Or is that the one afterwards?

  8. The people who think it would be a good idea for Microsoft, I expect, are the same ones that think the Apple iPhone integration model has proven itself superior to any alternative, and that Google conceded that by buying Motorola. Those same people probably thought burning the PlaysForSure effort on the altar of the Zune was a smart move, too.

  9. @k:

    Why would MS actually care about Nokia? They’re earning more money on Android phones than on WP7 phones…

    Because Microsoft’s business model has little to do with earning cash. If Microsoft concentrated on earning cash, they’d probably be less of a nuisance. :) No, Microsoft always seeks total domination. The problem for them is that they are failing at doing exactly that, despite sitting on assets of over a hundred billion dollars and having some of the brightest minds in the industry (Ray Ozzie, for example) working for them. That’s mostly because their CEO, Steve Ballmer, is, in fact, a moron.

  10. Pretty easy conclusions. Apple’s dominance in tablets makes up for Android’s dominance in smartphones. iOS continues to be a good target for developers who want to make money. Android continues to be a good target for developers who want to make money. Long term prospects are, as always, hard to predict, but in a year I expect both platforms to be in about the same place as far as tablets and smartphones go.

    If there’s a change, it’ll be due to either a) bad patent/copyright laws or b) Amazon getting disruptive. Any Amazon disruption is just as likely to affect Android as it is to affect Apple.

  11. >Nokia’s brand strength was probably the only thing keeping Windows-phone share as high as
    >5.2%. It hasn’t been Microsoft’s software doing it, that’s for sure. Botched upgrades
    >and a pathetically weak app ecosystem have only been the most obvious problems.

    Any reasoning behind this assertion? I’ve mentioned before that the current windows phone software is actually pretty decent, and it seems to me that nokia doesn’t really have the huge brand name support over here in the US as it might elsewhere. I agree that without a strong app ecosystem the windows phone isn’t likely to go far, but I don’t think it’s riding solely on the strength of the nokia brand either.

  12. If Nokia sells off its smartphone division, what will they have left? Dumbphones are going away as the smartphones get cheaper.

  13. Verizon sold 4.2M iphones last quarter doubling their sales in the 3rd qtr. That must have impacted android growth on VZW.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-04/verizon-wireless-iphone-sales-doubled-to-4-2-million-units-last-quarter.html

    I don’t believe that they are stealing iPhone users from AT&T given that AT&T was also showing record smartphone sales driven by the iPhone in Q4.

    http://techgoonies.com/2011/12/07/att-set-to-break-record-smartphone-sales-in-4th-quarter-thanks-to-iphone/

    MS buying Nokia seems unlikely given their already fairly tight control over hardware specs. There are nearly no advantages and a lot of downside.

    If anything MS should buy Good (www.good.com) and lock up the enterprise market for WP. That would give them 10% market share fairly quickly by taking much of the BB enterprise share away from the flailing RIM. Whatever you think of WP it’s light years ahead of what RIM has and just lacks the good enterprise support inherent in RIM’s OS and services. Even more so if they discontinued iOS and Android support for Good For Enterprise…a lot of BB to iPhone/Android deployments rely on Good for enterprise management.

  14. I’ve been keeping an eye on http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Archos-Honeycomb-Archos-70b-Kindle-Fire-Amazon,news-13618.html, which might suck a bit less than the Velocity resistive screen tablets.

    I’m going to be buying a tablet in the next few months, mostly to see what the fuss is about. Those who don’t have tablets don’t see the need, and those who do seem to be unable to give them up, so perhaps it’s an experience vs. specification issue. I suspect it will be more than a toy for me — my phone can already give me SSH access to my servers but I’d definitely like a larger screen and better external keyboard support. I’m hoping I can put together a good mindmap workflow, but anything that cannot run Emacs will not be my primary productivity tool.

    As for there being anything out there as good as iPad — kudos to Steve — the man had VISION and taste. Alas, Steve is dead. The one time that Apple tried living without him — they sucked. As far as I’m concerned, Apple’s past behavior is of only limited predictive value for the future.

    I haven’t played with *any* of the currently offered tablets for real, but I’ll likely go for an ASUS Transformer Prime. From reviews the Prime, Xyboard and Galaxy Tab 10.1 can all compete well with the iPad from an “experience” perspective. Of course, for anyone who’s bought into the Apple ecosystem an iPad is an obvious choice — Apple makes it terribly easy to stay in their tent. Personally, I’ve bought into the OSS ecosystem, so !iPad seems to be the better choice.

    I’ve found the iPad vs. non-iPad religious wars often boil down to the Apple fans loving the integration with their iPhone and iBook and iLives and seem to be offended that others do not value the ecosystem that they value so highly. I, amongst others, am claustrophobic in Apple’s walled garden regardless of how pretty green the grass might be.

  15. @Nigel — see also this chart.

    @Dewey — yeah, I was a skeptic about tablets. Bigger ssh viewport was a big deal for me. I think you’re half right on the religious wars, but my experience is that Android fans are also dismissive of the idea that anyone could make a rational choice to hang out in the walled garden. Certainly some people don’t make that choice rationally. Some, however, do. And if the garden ever gets too onerous, I’ll leave.

  16. Eric,

    Sorry… but you’ve gotten a lot of this wrong. Upgrade woes? That happened exactly once, on exactly one phone (Samsung Focus) and has since been fixed. Since, WP7 upgrades have gone really, really smoothly, and to all the devices. This is actually an advantage the platform has over Android — many devices that were only released 9 months ago will NEVER get Ice Cream Sandwich (which I have to say, they’re missing out — ICS is amazing on the Galaxy Nexus! You owe it to yourself to get one — the international version supports both AT&T and T-Mobile HSPA bands).

    Also, Nokia has not yet had any real effect on WP7 sales, especially in the US. The partnership has done nothing for either. Both are playing the long game, and Microsoft has BILLIONS to burn on this. Look at the original Xbox — it was a huge net loss for MS, but it paid off with the 360. I still think that the key to MS’s success is integration with the 360 as a gaming/media center with great online services. Again, if MS keeps going and spending lots of money on both platforms, they likely won’t achieve dominance, but I could see WP7 getting to double-digit marketshare by mid 2013.

    Microsoft’s biggest issue right now is blah hardware — basically, Android’s sloppy seconds. They only support 2 specific SoC’s, and a single resolution — and that’s why it’s easy for them to upgrade every device. In a world where both high-end Android and iOS devices are well over 300ppi, being stuck at 800×480 resolution is a great way to make otherwise decent hardware look cheap in comparison. The other big issue is lack of carrier push, especially in the US. Carriers really push Android the hardest, because they can put all their crapware customization on them, and make more money. iPhones sell themselves. WP7 phones sit in the back of the store.

    I’m a huge fan of Android — I imported a Galaxy Nexus one week after it was available, and you can pry that out of my cold, dead hands. But WP7 is actually really, really nice from an end-user perspective in a lot of ways, particularly if you discount the mediocre selection of apps available right now. I think it will be successful (a solid #3) in the long run, if for no other reason because of Microsoft’s cash and persistence.

  17. Because Android doesn’t lock users into Windows Office/Server/etc. And they don’t want to reveal a chink in the armor in the corporate world. They’re afraid if people use a different OS on phones doing real work they’ll realize they might not need Windows on the desktop either. They’re not worried about making money, they’re worried about losing money.

    Until someone comes up with a replacement for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft will not lose traction in the business world. Hint: OpenOffice is not a suitable replacement.

    You’d be surprised at what a significant chunk of the world’s economy literally runs on Excel spreadsheets.

  18. I’m a huge fan of Android — I imported a Galaxy Nexus one week after it was available, and you can pry that out of my cold, dead hands. But WP7 is actually really, really nice from an end-user perspective in a lot of ways, particularly if you discount the mediocre selection of apps available right now. I think it will be successful (a solid #3) in the long run, if for no other reason because of Microsoft’s cash and persistence.

    Eric has been making “Imminent Death of Microsoft Predicted!” style prognostications since the late nineties. It never pans out. Remember how Linux on netbooks was supposed to spell the doom of Microsoft? Then virtually overnight, netbooks went from 0% Windows to 90% Windows. Then with the release of the iPad, they ceased to be relevant anyway.

  19. As for there being anything out there as good as iPad — kudos to Steve — the man had VISION and taste. Alas, Steve is dead. The one time that Apple tried living without him — they sucked. As far as I’m concerned, Apple’s past behavior is of only limited predictive value for the future.

    It is more likely this time around that Steve’s lieutenants will steer the company in a manner close to his original vision than when Sculley was leading.

    Even under Sculley, there was the Newton, which created the PDA category (“PDA” itself is an Apple-ism) that would give rise to modern smartphones; and the PowerBook, a groundbreaking laptop design which everybody copied and still does copy. (The moment the laptop industry stops copying the PowerBook is when they all start copying the MacBook Air, a transition which is now underway.)

    I have no doubts about Apple’s capacity to remain original and revolutionary.

    I’ve found the iPad vs. non-iPad religious wars often boil down to the Apple fans loving the integration with their iPhone and iBook and iLives and seem to be offended that others do not value the ecosystem that they value so highly. I, amongst others, am claustrophobic in Apple’s walled garden regardless of how pretty green the grass might be.

    The Apple ecosystem is precision engineered to dovetail effortlessly with a human life. Other systems, not so much. Plenty of rough edges, even on Windows, though Windows has the advantage that it’s nearly guaranteed to work with every piece of hard- or software you’re likely to buy.

  20. I have no doubts about Apple’s capacity to remain original and revolutionary.

    You’re probably right, but at this time it remains unproven. Jobs + Cook was a phenomenal combination for the last decade. Jobs’ big role was as the guy that said no. I have no doubt that they’ll still make great, well-designed products, but they might be mixed with a higher percentage of duds along the way. But who knows — it’s for Apple to prove us right or wrong.

  21. Because Android doesn’t lock users into Windows Office/Server/etc. And they don’t want to reveal a chink in the armor in the corporate world. They’re afraid if people use a different OS on phones doing real work they’ll realize they might not need Windows on the desktop either. They’re not worried about making money, they’re worried about losing money.

    The single biggest blow Google — or anyone — could do to Microsoft is to crush office. I really, really wish that Google Docs could replace MS office in meaningful ways for documents that need any real formatting. Great for sharing info, shit for anything else. So many companies — mine included — are dumping Exchange/Outlook for Google Apps (mostly, Gmail and Google Calendar) because they’re fast, easy, and CHEAP. But Word and Excel have no real competitors. PowerPoint’s only viable competitor is Mac Only (Keynote — it’s actually vastly superior to PowerPoint in every measurable way, except being Mac only).

  22. Asus Pad Transformer. Hands down.

    The Amazon page for it still lists it as running Honeycomb. Is it upgradable? And the customer reviews, while generally positive, aren’t as positive as iPad reviews.

    Jobs knew for a long time that he wasn’t going to be around forever. He’s been training people in his “way” for years. With Apple a raging success, there’s no reason to think they’d revert to their old ways.

    This is funny, though.

  23. >The Amazon page for it still lists it as running Honeycomb. Is it upgradable?

    Yes, Asus is explicitly advertising this.

    >And the customer reviews, while generally positive, aren’t as positive as iPad reviews.

    Asus isn’t attended by a cult of quasi-religious fanatics, either. Possibly these facts are connected.

  24. @Aaron Traas and @Jeff Read

    The single biggest blow Google — or anyone — could do to Microsoft is to crush office. I really, really wish that Google Docs could replace MS office in meaningful ways for documents that need any real formatting.

    If the only criteria for a Microsoft Office replacement is pixel-for-pixel faithful reproduction and rendering of all formatting in existing documents, then it will never happen. However, I have proof that this is not the case. Because if it were, no one would ever upgrade their Microsoft Office version, because even Office itself doesn’t do that in succeeding version.

    IOW, you two have total logic fail.

  25. @papayasf

    Printers are the future, but they will be printing objects. Look out for Apples ObjStore.

  26. > He’s been training people in his “way” for years. With Apple a raging success, there’s no reason to think they’d revert to their old ways.

    Even assuming the improbable (that there’s been an absolutely perfect transmission of his “way” that the new leaders will perfectly execute without his guidance), the new people do not have Jobs’s reputation, and thus do not have Jobs’s level of credibility with the stockholders, and thus will be operating under tighter stockholder second-guessing than Jobs.

  27. Asus isn’t attended by a cult of quasi-religious fanatics, either. Possibly these facts are connected.

    I’ve spent a large amount of time with both an iPad 2 and a Honeycomb tablet. I can say from an end-user perspective, the iPad 2 is better, for the following reasons:

    1) better tablet-optimized apps. This is a chicken-egg thing that will work itself out, particularly as ICS makes it to more phones.
    2) better video playback performance on iPad
    3) 4:3 is a better aspect ratio for a ~10″ device than 16:9.
    4) Honeycomb was a bit crashy (at least on the Xoom Wifi)

    The Android tablet I’m most interested in: Amazon Kindle Fire, but only once Cyanogen 9 is released for it. Love the size/form factor, like the feel of the hardware (except the placement of the power button and the lack of hardware volume buttons… ugh), and LOVE Ice Cream Sandwich on my Galaxy Nexus.

    And I have to say, though I strongly prefer Android, and ICS has way more polish than Gingerbread, it’s still a pretty geeky device. Some of the settings really aught to be hidden unless the user enables some sort of “advanced” or “developer” mode. It’s… pretty nuts the level of customization you can do. All of which I personally love, but it makes some peoples’ heads spin.

  28. >3) 4:3 is a better aspect ratio for a ~10? device than 16:9

    This is the only one on your list that bothers me at all. I want one mainly for casual browsing, and I like 4:3 better for that. Was this “Honeycomb tablet” a Transformer?

  29. No — the Honeycomb tablet in question was a Motorola Xoom. Honeycomb, in general, only supports 1280×800 resolution, which is ~16×9. Great for viewing video, but kinda crummy for web browsing. Mostly, because it’s too wide in landscape, and awkward to hold in portrait.

    Surprised that #4 wasn’t an issue — software instability is a big deal to me. The fact that multiple apps caused the device to hang and need to pull the battery.

  30. “The vendors may be getting a clue that to complete with Apple they have to offer something as good for less money.”

    I still fail to understand how you assume that tablet pricing is due to vendor’s obtuseness rather than real cost constraints. Everybody knows by now that Apple limits their costs by trying to limit their outsourcing of components when they can and by placing aggressively large orders when they can’t. For Pete’s sake, Amazon sells the Kindle Fire basically at cost and it is still 200$.

    ““Premium” pricing simply will not work in that market, not for anyone but Apple now”

    How large is your estimate of Apple’s margins on iPads?

  31. Frankly, I’m looking forward to the same pundits who decried Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobile to laud the rumors of Microsoft / Nokia as if it was the most brilliant move they’d heard.

  32. This is the only one on your list that bothers me at all. I want one mainly for casual browsing, and I like 4:3 better for that. Was this “Honeycomb tablet” a Transformer?

    This is one of the things that initially irritated me about the Thrive but that I love now; for anything that will reflow properly (Web pages, ebooks), the longer form factor in portrait mode is excellent for reading text.

  33. >How large is your estimate of Apple’s margins on iPads?

    No need to estimate. iSuppli did a teardown and told us in 2010 that the iPad cost $260 to build while costing $499. That’s $239 above the build price.

  34. >Surprised that #4 wasn’t an issue

    It would be, but I guessed you were seeing teething troubles from an early build.

  35. An iPad may cost $260 to build, but more to design, build, ship, and support.

    Asus isn’t attended by a cult of quasi-religious fanatics, either. Possibly these facts are connected.

    Absolutely. Of course that could be because Asus doesn’t design and build products that inspire quasi-religious devotion….

  36. >I still fail to understand how you assume that tablet pricing is due to vendor’s obtuseness rather than real cost constraints.

    There are real cost constraints, all right, but also a lot of these devices are being marketed as though the vendors think they can charge a premium for status toys.

  37. It would be, but I guessed you were seeing teething troubles from an early build.

    Nope — it’s Android 3.2 on the Motorola Xoom Wifi. Not an early build at all. This happened just weeks ago — the last time I used the device. I have limited experience with Honeycomb tablets other than the Xoom line which my company uses for development. I also make sure to use the heck out of our development devices — bring them home for weeks at a time to really get to know them. I’ve probably logged over 40 ours as a user of each of the following devices that we got in at work:

    - Nexus One
    - Nexus S
    - iPod Touch (2nd generation)
    - Blackberry Torch
    - iPad (both Wifi 16GB and 3G 64GB)
    - iPad 2 (3G 32GB)
    - Motorola Xoom Wifi
    - ViewSonic G Tab (running both 2.2 and Cyanogen)
    - Dell Venue Pro (Windows Phone 7)

    Also, I own both a Samsung Captivate and Samsung Galaxy Nexus (as well as a Microsoft Kin One, but just as a joke).

  38. @Nigel:

    I don’t believe that they are stealing iPhone users from AT&T given that AT&T was also showing record smartphone sales driven by the iPhone in Q4.

    I agree. IMO, most of the Verizon iPhones were probably the pent-up demand from people who thought they were waiting since last Feb. for the iPhone 5, while most of the AT&T iPhones were probably upgrades.

    The Verizon news shows they are having the same problem as Sprint — the more iPhones they sell, the worse their margins. And they sold enough iPhones to drop gross margins from the third quarter’s 47.8% down to 42 or 43 percent. It will be interesting to see if the carriers get tired of giving Apple all the margin and start raising prices on iPhones, or whether the extra subscribers are really worth that much. The postpaid subscriber and churn numbers should be interesting when they come out.

  39. For reasons that have been discussed multiple times on this blog, I don’t put a lot of stock in surveys that ask consumers what they are going to do, as opposed to what they have already done. Nonetheless, sometimes you can find some useful information in those surveys. If the following survey is at all accurate (good sampling methodology, etc.) it at least shows that a lot more people these days are aware that Android is a possibility for their next smartphone.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/01/05/urnidgns852573c400693880002576a1007375a-idUS156350645820100105

  40. “An iPad may cost $260 to build, but more to design, build, ship, and support.”

    Well, with Android tablets we can scratch design and support, so $260 is probably a reasonable number ;)

    Asus and Acer already undercut Apple by about $100 to no effect. If we take the iSuppli number, that leaves ~$299 as a price floor. Will we eventually see competitors go there? Maybe they insist on “premium pricing” because they are loathe to turn this new area into a razor-thin margin segment like all of the others.

  41. Re “Dinosaurs Mating”…

    As far as MS buying the smartphone unit from Nokia (or for that matter buying RIM) goes, there are three business reasons I can see in favor of it and an uncountable number of reasons against it.

    The three reasons in favor of this type of vertical integration are that (1) Apple has been successful doing it, (2) Google is about to do it with Motorola, and (3) we can’t see any other way to make money in the mobile segment.

    The logic is flawed. The first and second shouldn’t matter, but they do constitute a form of peer pressure which managers can use to rationalize things.

    Number three is the big and real reason Microsoft might consider something like this, even though the logic is a result of desperation. It is simply not possible for Microsoft to sell enough Windows Phone licences to OEM’s at a high enough price for Windows Phone to become a “feed the baby” breadwinner in the Microsoft household. Even if they captured a 40% share of a billion phone per year market at an ASP of $10, that comes to a gross of $4 billion dollars per year, with a net in the $3 billion range. That is good money for just about anyone, but not for Microsoft. Windows and Business divisions generate $6 billion dollars per quarter in net income, $24 billion per year!

    Steve Ballmer’s pocket calculator is at least as good as mine, so I assume he has access to these numbers as well. Microsoft has been trying to emulate Google’s model of providing free candy with paid advertising on the wrapper but all it has done is cost the Online Services division $2 billion dollars per year in losses for the past several years. Again, it is simply not possible for Microsoft to generate meaningful profits in the mobile segment by selling operating systems at the current market price (which they helped establish back in the Windows Mobile days!).

    So what to do? Inside the Redmond Reality Distortion Field I speculate that there is a rising sentiment that the money is in the hardware. In that they are correct. No one is generating profits by selling mobile operating systems these days. But for reasons obvious to everyone outside the Redmond Reality Distortion Field, it’s a terrible reason to buy a smartphone manufacturing division from someone else. A business that you aren’t good at running. A business that is crippled with its own problems. A business that you’ll pay too much for. A business whose most valuable asset (the brand name) won’t become yours. (According to Eldar Murtazin’s posting)

    But if you’re inside the Redmond Reality Distortion Field, you’re in the same place where paying $8 billion dollars for Skype made sense.

    Anything can happen.

  42. “It is more likely this time around that Steve’s lieutenants will steer the company in a manner close to his original vision than when Sculley was leading.”

    Agreed. I expect they learned lessons from Sculley’s tenure. I still question applicability to the future. Steve had something fairly unique. Just because he trained LTs doesn’t mean they have it, too. Steve built his position over years — both completing his vision with Apple products *and* training Steve-observers to behave a certain way. He left Apple in an excellent position and from what I can tell was conscious of what he was doing. Perhaps that will be enough.

    “The Apple ecosystem is precision engineered to dovetail effortlessly with a human life.”

    Actually, that’s the very assumption with which I take issue. The Apple ecosystem is precision engineered — agreed, and well engineered at that. I find the bit about “with a human life” to be overly general. Or, put another way, I find their view of “a human life” to be rather too narrow. I find the common Appleist assumption that I should change my life so it fits with what Apple produces to do be, at best, a null argument.

    I want my computers to work for me rather than changing my life so that it fits with Apple, or waiting for the next way for Apple to make my life easier/better/whatever.

    Certainly the Apple view of life works well for many people, perhaps most, and I certainly don’t mind them engineering for the majority of the population. If I weren’t around I would recommend my wife buy into it. However, for me it is more important that I have power to make things work for me than it is that they work well out of the box.

    I will point out that I don’t consider this an “Apple vs. Windows” thing — given only those choices I might very well chose Apple also. At this point, however, I use Windows with Cygwin, OpenOffice, Freemind, and I use Linux with OpenOffice, Freemin (and VMs running Windows)

  43. >But if you’re inside the Redmond Reality Distortion Field, you’re in the same place where paying $8 billion dollars for Skype made sense.

    Good analysis. I agree with all of it except the implied assumption that Microsoft isn’t willing to lose money on the smartphone business. From their point of view it’s a vital flank guard for the Windows and Office business, a way to keep customers relying on that software suite as more computing moves to mobile devices.

    Yes, there are lots of reasons Office on a mobile device would rather like an elephant attempting rear entry on a hamster, but…as you say, Redmond Reality Distortion Field. They might be willing to eat $2 billion a year in losses if they think that’s protecting $24 billion a year.

  44. I like the Transformer Prime but the locked bootloader leaves me on the sidelines as with the Nook Tablet. The Kindle Fire is just too meh hardware wise.

    I guess locked bootloaders are being required by content owners/distributors which is both understandable and a shame. I want Netflix at the highest rez but if I’m stuck with a locked bootloader the amount of tinkering is limited. I can live with a locked bootloader for a $250 device but not if they go out of their way to eliminate rooting (Nook Tablet) and sideloading from the market.

    For something priced like the Transformer? No way. I’d rather have an iPad or a Macbook Air.

  45. @esr Office is on WP already. Mobile Office anyway. As I said on my blog they should go after the business market by buying Good and making a little device to connect to business projectors that you can stream your PPT presentation from your phone via adhoc wifi. With that little device and a BT keyboard you can use your phone as a laptop in your hotel (HDTV as your monitor). So long as the fonts are scaled to be readable by the average HDTV that’s good enough for most mobile business users.

    WP is already good enough on the consumer front but not so good that it’s going to make much headway against Apple or Android.

  46. Yes, there are lots of reasons Office on a mobile device would rather like an elephant attempting rear entry on a hamster, but…as you say, Redmond Reality Distortion Field. They might be willing to eat $2 billion a year in losses if they think that’s protecting $24 billion a year..

    Trust me – office on mobile has lots of value iI edit documents and spreadsheets all the time on my phone. Lots of other people are starting to as well . More important for Microsoft is Exchange and Sharepoint integration.

  47. 4:3 is a better aspect ratio for a ~10? device than 16:9

    Consider a standard US letter-size sheet of paper, 8.5″ x 11″. Allow a half inch margin, and you have 7.5″ x 10″, with a 12.5″ diagonal measure. That is exactly 3:4 in Portrait Mode. As an e-reader, that aspect ratio is indeed optimal, as documents tend to be formatted in that size.

    (Legal-size with the same margins is 7.5″ x 13″, which is 9:15.6. So lawyers might prefer 9:16?)

  48. >>I’l look at it. But, um, it would be extra work, and for what benefit?

    Mainly for making sure beliefs pay rent and hold pundits accountable for their beliefs. If you don’t make bother to record your predictions though, I will record whenever you blog something that could be a prediction.

  49. Eric, the bootloader unlocker probably permanently disables playback of some media, because of the DRM issues inherent in being able to boot arbittrary OS’s.

    Locked bootloaders are going to become the default — if not the only choice — on PCs, smartphones, and tablets for just this reason.

  50. >Mainly for making sure beliefs pay rent and hold pundits accountable for their beliefs.

    If you can come up with some way to make my beliefs pay me rent, I shall be much interested.

  51. >Eric, the bootloader unlocker probably permanently disables playback of some media, because of the DRM issues inherent in being able to boot arbittrary OS’s.

    Yes, probably, for about two weeks. Once the lock on the bootloader is breached, the media lockout won’t be technologically defensible.

  52. > Maybe they insist on “premium pricing” because they are loathe to turn this new area into a razor-thin margin segment like all of the others.

    Sure. And while they’re chasing the chimera of fat margins and failing to sell, someone willing to take thin margins will inherit the market.

  53. >Sure. And while they’re chasing the chimera of fat margins and failing to sell, someone willing to take thin margins will inherit the market.

    Precisely. That’s what markets do,

  54. > Yes, probably, for about two weeks. Once the lock on the bootloader is breached, the media lockout won’t be technologically defensible.

    What makes you say so?

    Both XBox360 and PS3 are jailbroken (you load whatever OS you want albeit in PS3 case you need older version of Cell firmware). Both can not be used with NetFlix when jailbroken. And they were jailbroken for years.

    Of course Wii CAN be used with Netflix when jailbroken (and jailbroken PS3 can be used in PS2 mode with Netflix) thus I’m not saying that it’ll not be possible for sure with Transformer Prime but why do you think it’ll follow in footsteps of Wii, not footsteps of PS3?

  55. Only if all else is equal, and it rarely is. True, competition drives down profits, but markets are not necessarily dominated by those with the thinnest margins, and from what I can tell the opposite is more often the case: e.g.: smartphones are now dominated by Apple and Samsung, with Apple hugely profitable and Samsung not doing badly at all. Are the dominant car companies those with the thinnest margins? Publishing companies? TV networks? Perhaps grocery store chains.

    A company with fat margins can use the money to research and develop clearly superior products, and take big risks, in ways thin-profit companies cannot.

  56. @esr:

    Yes, probably, for about two weeks. Once the lock on the bootloader is breached, the media lockout won’t be technologically defensible.

    Security theater is not just for airports any more.

  57. Honeycomb, in general, only supports 1280×800 resolution, which is ~16×9. Great for viewing video, but kinda crummy for web browsing. Mostly, because it’s too wide in landscape, and awkward to hold in portrait.

    I would disagree with the “too wide in landscape” bit. I’ve done most of my web browsing in the past 2 or 3 years (which has, though, been on PC’s and not tablets) on a 16:9 screen (and most of my time on 16:9 has been at 1280:800), and I find that it works quite well.

    Part of this may be that I find it more obnoxious to have to scroll horizontally than vertically. A screen that’s too narrow for a page bothers me a whole lot less than a screen that’s too wide.

  58. >Good analysis. I agree with all of it except the implied assumption that Microsoft isn’t willing to lose money on the smartphone business.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that they aren’t willing to lose money in mobile, they certainly are. But the reason behind it is crucial. Why are they willing to invest/lose money in mobile?

    The answer lies in the distinction between investing in something new (for future benefit) versus investing in insurance (to protect something that you presently have). Depending on which one you are spending money on, your mindset is a little different. In the case of investing for the future, your optimal investment level (and your willingness to invest it) is driven by your expectation of future profit. In the investing for insurance case, your investment level (and your willingness to invest it) is driven by the minimum cost required to provide the desired level of protection to the existing asset.

    I think mobile has given Microsoft a splitting headache. There are elements in the company that want to be original and creative and win, but whatever they do has to somehow protect , extend, or augment the primary franchises, and can’t cost too much since there’s no money in it anyhow. Those restrictions tie their best hand (the one with the knife in it) behind their back. And they came to a gunfight.

  59. Vizio, a bit over a day ago, on its decision to enter the computer market (in the Financial Times):

    “People ask why we’re taking on an industry that has tough margins, a lot of long-established competitors, and is relatively stagnant, but we say that’s exactly what the TV business was when we entered that market,” said Matt McRae, Vizio chief technology officer, in an FT interview ahead of the show.

    Vizio today, on its experience in the tablet market (in the Wall Street Journal):

    The company expanded its lineup to include an 8-inch tablet, which uses Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system. Vizio said its supply of the device—priced at $329, compared with the $499 entry price for Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad—quickly sold out after the debut in August, marking unusual demand in a crowded market where few iPad rivals have done well.

    “We underestimated demand,” Mr. McRae said

  60. >why do you think it’ll follow in footsteps of Wii, not footsteps of PS3?

    Because it’ll attract a superior class of riff-raff.

  61. >Congratulations, you’ve finally made the big time; you’ve been mentioned on Hacker News!

    Ye gods. Are they that snotty and given to posturing all the time? I hope not…

  62. @esr

    Ye gods. Are they that snotty and given to posturing all the time? I hope not…

    Actually, yes. :)

    It’s kind of strange to me that they are posting a link to TAOUP as if it is ‘news’, but I suppose there must be people who are only just hearing about it.

  63. Do actual hackers read Hacker News? (Just asking, ’cause I’m not a hacker by esr’s definition, and wouldn’t really know.)

  64. @LS

    Do actual hackers read Hacker News? (Just asking, ’cause I’m not a hacker by esr’s definition, and wouldn’t really know.)

    Depends what you mean by an ‘actual hacker’ I guess. I think it’s just the usual programmer/nerd crowd with a bias towards people involved in VC-backed startups (and wannabes).

  65. “Sure. And while they’re chasing the chimera of fat margins and failing to sell”

    Not saying it is the right strategy. It does appear to be corporate SOP.

    “someone willing to take thin margins will inherit the market.”

    They may inherit the market *share*, but you can’t buy groceries with share. You need money.

  66. >They may inherit the market *share*, but you can’t buy groceries with share. You need money.

    Yeah, well, you can’t make money on share you don’t have, either. Which is what the would-be vendors of tablets priced higher than iPads are finding out.

  67. Just thought I’d mention that there’s a puff piece on Microsoft’s Windows Phone efforts on page one of today’s Sunday NY Times business section. No solid info there IMHO, though maybe someone else would be better than me at reading between the lines.

  68. @esr

    Which is what the would-be vendors of tablets priced higher than iPads are finding out.

    As are most of the vendors of tablets priced lower than the iPad.

  69. A report by Canaccord Genuity predicts that Apple will report sales of 30.1 million iPhones for the holiday quarter, a jump of 31 percent over Apple’s sales in the third calendar quarter. The firm says companies selling Android products will report shipments of an estimated 68.9 milllion devices, representing growth of 17.3 percent over the previous quarter.

    http://www.bgr.com/2012/01/06/iphone-4s-remains-best-seller-at-top-three-carriers-in-december/

    @esr> If you can come up with some way to make my beliefs pay me rent, I shall be much interested.

    If you were really that confident of your belief that Apple will surely die soon, you could just generate a bunch of naked puts on AAPL.

  70. Note that I wouldn’t recommend it. You are, in all likelihood, quite wrong about Apple, (the analysts are predicting a record-breaking quarter) and AAPL has been on a tear over the last week.

    I’d hate to recommend something that gets you into the mother of all short squeezes.

  71. The race to market seems to be over in most parts of the world. In the US, Android and iOS seem to be joint winners. In Northern Europe (Alps and north), Australia and New Zealand iOS is the clear winner, while Android wins the day in Latin America, Southern Europe, the former Soviet satellites, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. Canada and the UK are anomalies with big Blackberry marketshares.

    The bits of the world that are still up for grabs are Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Would this really be good enough for Microsoft? They still have to compete with all the other brands. They may have to do it without the Nokia brand, which is very strong in these markets.

    There are only 2 ways to get market share in the already mature markets. One is to sell a more attractive product than the established brands. I’ll believe that when I see it – especially from Microsoft. The other option is to buy marketshare. While MS has a huge war chest, it would be prohibitively expensive to purchase both customers and applications that would make them happy.

    I’m in the process of building a marketing strategy for a language teaching app, and Android comes first on our list, then iOS. Everyone else pays us to develop for their platform.

  72. >Canada and the UK are anomalies with big Blackberry marketshares.

    Yes, that was true until a month or two back in he U.K., but Android is surging there. Apple may maintain a minority position, but Blackberry is likely going to get kerb-stomped over the next quarter. The fact that it was a flash-mob organizing tool for the yobs behind the London riots has been much bruited about in the British press and is certainly not helping.

  73. @Larry Yelnick:

    > If you were really that confident of your belief that Apple will surely die soon, you could just generate a bunch of naked puts on AAPL.

    I think you mean naked calls…

  74. > I think you mean naked calls…

    I understand why you think that, but Eric is only going to be able to sell puts to his fellow Android fanboys. Since he doesn’t want to actually OWN AAPL…

  75. >Eric is only going to be able to sell puts to his fellow Android fanboys.

    It is mistaken to describe me as an Android fanboy. Android’s success is only interesting to me insofar as it prevents closed-source lockdown of the most important end-user computing devices of the future. I would be equally happy if something else open-source were winning – MeeGo or whatever.

    An actual Android fanboy would regard other open-source smartphone OSes as threats to the one true way. Beware of projecting.

  76. If you were really that confident of your belief that Apple will surely die soon,

    It says a lot about the psychology of Apple fans that they can read statements thatnetwork effects will make Android the overwhelmingly dominant smartphone OS like they made Windows the overwhelmingly dominant desktop OS, and somehow come to the conclusion “You’re claiming Apple will surely die!”

    Apple survived the II getting displaced by the IBM PC as the top business PC, and Apple survived the Mac getting displaced by Windows PCs as the top GUI-using system, and AAPL went on to its current prosperity; saying Apple is going to wind up down to 10%-or-less marketshare on smartphones is not a prediction that “Apple will surely die”. A massive marketshare collapse by Apple in 2012 (25% to 10%) could, simultaneously, include an absolute iPhone unit sales volume increase. That would require some really big smartphone market growth, but there are still lots of featurephones out there. And it wouldn’t say anything about the 2012 prospects of the iPad, since the table market is fairly obviously trailing the smartphone market.

    Indeed, given what seems to be the infinite transferability of Apple zealotry (there is no more continuity between a Mac Plus and an iPhone than the Mac Plus and an Android phone), only someone who was particularly idiotic (say, John C. Dvorak) would assume the total collapse of any or all existing product lines would doom Apple.

    (That transferability is, in fact, the most weirdly cult-like characteristic of Apple fandom, I think. I’ve met fans of Thinkpads, and Model M keyboards, and OS/2, and even simultaneous fans of all three, but never one who then decided that meant he should cheer the victories of Deep Blue, Watson, or sales of POWER systems. If Apple released its own powdered drink mix, how many Mac users would stop drinking Kool-Aid?)

  77. >That transferability is, in fact, the most weirdly cult-like characteristic of Apple fandom

    Speaking as a huge fan of Thinkpads and Model M keyboards…yeah.

    But I understand it, I think. Apple fanaticism is at least in part a form of identification with the imaginary tribe of Cool Kids, those who posess virtue because they grok the ineffable hipness of it all. Like jazz snobs.

  78. Not quite a Finnish dinosaur mating but something slightly stranger: a giant president Tarja Halonen and a giant Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip do Tallinn, King Kong -style. Press the button for English subtitles. The soundtrack is naturally Sibelius’s Finlandia.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2adV6PkgFNA

    (Halonen’s second term will end in March (if she doesn’t get skewered in a sword fight first). Finland will have the first round of presidential elections on the 22nd of this month.)

  79. Perhaps I am stating the obvious here, but Nokia’s both brand strenght and expertise is generally in serving that older population who don’t really like smartphones, who want their phone to have a limited number of easy-to-use built-in functionality accessible through a menu system to which they got used to in the last 10 or so years and through actually tactile feedback buttons, not a touchscreen. Now I am not saying it is not possible to provide a smartphone that still sports enough buttons and uses the old menu system as much as possible etc. but this is no synergy at all, it is the marrying of two different and incompatible concepts that can only result in something expensive but mediocre at best and annoying at worst.

  80. >I agree with all of it except the implied assumption that Microsoft isn’t willing to lose money on the smartphone business. From their point of view it’s a vital flank guard for the Windows and Office business, a way to keep customers relying on that software suite as more computing moves to mobile devices.

    In related news, the Microsoft Dynamics (ERP etc.) business stream has been dancing a strange on-and-off dance with mobile devices (not necessarily phones but also f.e. Symbol devices for the warehouse and shop floor) for a long time, releasing all sorts of products and development frameworks to cancel them after a while. The boys in Vedbaek really want every salesperson to run around with a phone running Navision and put on sales orders and look at inventory on the go, but never really seem to be sure how to accomplish this. This might be a part of it.

  81. > Android’s success is only interesting to me insofar as it prevents closed-source lockdown

    Were this true, I think you would be more wary of > 50% market share.

    I run a Model M keyboard on my Mac. Literally the best Unix desktop/notebooks you can buy, and you don’t have to fsck with them (much). Way better than a Stinkpad.

  82. >Were this true, I think you would be more wary of > 50% market share.

    Logic fail. 100% market share for an open-source system wouldn’t worry me, in fact I’d be delighted.

  83. Were this true, I think you would be more wary of > 50% market share.

    Why? If Google got 99% marketshare and became abusive, who cares? It’s open source — you fork the OS.

    This is actually why I wish there were more viable alternatives to the Google Market — that’s Google’s only real power to lock things in. Amazon made a good attempt, but the Amazon Appstore is crap. Almost nothing there that isn’t on the Google Market, and the selection, overall, is poor. Fdroid has stagnated. Getjar is confusing.

  84. @Larry Yelnick:

    If you were really that confident of your belief that Apple will surely die soon, you could just generate a bunch of naked puts on AAPL.

    I think you mean naked calls…

    I understand why you think that, but Eric is only going to be able to sell puts to his fellow Android fanboys. Since he doesn’t want to actually OWN AAPL…

    That’s the stupidest thing I’ve seen this month, so I’ll just assume you’re embarrassed by your small mistake and are trying to build a joke around it.

  85. @shenpen:

    > Nokia’s brand strength and expertise are generally in serving that older population who don’t really like smartphones…

    There’s a bit more to it than that. They have a good presence in developing markets where battery life matters, and they have the manufacturing and distribution clout to ship 100 million handsets a quarter. Only Samsung comes close to that.

  86. > It’s open source — you fork the OS.

    One might openly wonder how well this worked for linux. Or Unix before that.

  87. > One might openly wonder how well this worked for linux.

    So far pretty damn well.

    > Or Unix before that.

    Don’t equate different implementations as forks. But still pretty damn well given OS X/iOS.

  88. Re: MS buying Nokia Smartphones (didn’t they already bought that?)

    My prediction would be that the shareholders stink over the $8B buy of Skype would come back trippled. I still think Balmer will not be CEO by the end of the year. $19B is almost the complete anual net profit of MS. And that for a money losing business with no prospects whatsoever. If MS felt they needed to protect Office income, they could very well use that money to plaster the world with iOS/Android Office apps. Also, for $19B, MS can give away 80 million handsets for free.

    My prediction was always that MS will start divesting money losing divisions this year. Trying to buy into a completely new industry, hardware at that, just reeks of desperation. So I see no reason to change my view.

    If Nokia sells their Smartphone business to MS, they can then turn around and start selling low-cost Android “feature” phones. They have the know how and the capacity.

    Btw, if all current feature phones are converted to smartphones in the next 18-24 months, the smartphone market will double in size this year AND next year. MS are in no position to profit from that this year. And next year, there will be 500M Android phones and 250M iPhones to compete with. There position is so hopeless.

    MS only hopes are:
    1) Make a genuinely spectacular smartphone
    2) A miracle

    I think 2) has the best odds, given MS past track record.

  89. > So far pretty damn well.

    So this is the year of the Linux Desktop?

    The larger question of forking Android, the very elephant in the room, is what happens if Samsung, for whatever reason (Motorola acquisition, anyone?), forks Android?

    Samsung ships close to 55% of all Android phones. The back-of-the-envelope math says they shipped 35 million smartphones in Q4. Mean
    HTC and Motorola both had a down quarter. HTC’s unit volume was 10 million units, down from 13.2 million in Q3; Motorola shipped 10.5 million units in Q4, down from 11.6 million in Q3.

  90. @Bryant
    So do you dismiss these numbers? Even the dominant 60-26 Android to iOS share in the previous quarter? Or do you just like to cherry pick the numbers that suit you?

  91. No, that seems pretty plausible to me. Apple’s share in Q3 was lower than I would have guessed, but of course I have some cognitive bias like everyone else in the world. I’ve been on board with the theory that iPhone 4S demand pushed Apple’s numbers down during Q3, and I expected actual sales to push Apple’s percentage up a ton in Q4. NPD is tracking market share by sales, not overall market share, which explains why their numbers look different than Comscore’s. It will be interesting to see what happens this quarter.

  92. The larger question of forking Android, the very elephant in the room, is what happens if Samsung, for whatever reason (Motorola acquisition, anyone?), forks Android?

    How is that an “elephant in the room”? I can see this being potentially temporarily bad for end users, as it may add confusion, but in the long run, who cares? Amazon forked Android, shipping a highly modified version without the Market, and the Fire is Amazon’s biggest selling single item. That’s a feature of open source, not a bug. It means that if Google starts selling our data to terrorists to fuel Schmidt’s $800K-per-day faberge egg habit, the world can collectively say “screw you” to Google, and take the whole ecosystem they invested in and keep it going. Like, for instance, what happened with OpenOffice.org — Sun got bought by Oracle, Oracle went full evil, and the community dumped Oracle and formed LibreOffice.

  93. >more bad news for the android fanboys:

    And yet, after all your huffing and puffing, CES’s own stats say Android is still selling more new phones than Apple. So its marketshare lead is still increasing.

    The more interesting news from that article is the hint that demand for dumphones is collapsing.

  94. @esr: “And yet, after all your huffing and puffing, CES’s own stats say Android is still selling more new phones than Apple. So its marketshare lead is still increasing.”

    All I’ve ever argued is that this iPhone “disruptive collapse” prediction you made has no legs. Ever since you made the prediction, the iPhone’s marketshare has kept increasing. And the trend continues. And your response? Doubling down on wrong.

  95. >All I’ve ever argued is that this iPhone “disruptive collapse” prediction you made has no legs.

    Sustainers always have their best quarter just before the bottom falls out. Yes, I could be wrong, but bear in mind that I called Android’s rise correctly two years in advance and showed my work. That is, I not only said it would happen but I explained why, and my “why” was borne out by events. Until you’ve done as well, implicitly claiming that no Apple collapse will ever happen is probably not wise of you.

  96. > Sustainers always have their best quarter just before the bottom falls out.

    For the much same reason that your car keys are always in the last place you look. Things are great, and then the poop hits the fan. In retrospect, the previous quarter was the ‘best ever’.

    > I explained why, and my “why” was borne out by events.

    You have not offered proof that your version of ‘why’ is the correct one. You made a call that many others made at the same time (some even before). There is an increasing amount of offered theory that the new ‘rise’ of iPhone against Android (suggested by the early Q4 returns) in the US is its presence on all but one of the major carriers.

    If that happens (and continues), your offered explanation will be easily dismissed.

    > Amazon forked Android, shipping a highly modified version without the Market.

    Yes, and Samsung has been shipping its own ‘Market’ app on every Android phone that it produces. Rather than being Windows .vs Apple, Android has a real chance of discovering the path that Unix took in the 80s.

  97. Look at the data (link): iOS is closer to Android than it has been at any point in the past year-plus. Where was the huge surge last year for the iPhone 4?

    Now that Apple has the largest U.S. carrier (and Sprint, the third largest) on board to sell the iPhone, it’s a more level playing field.

    Look at the data again (different link) and note the little chart where the top three phones by volume: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS. (The 3GS is two years old!) Fourth place: Samsung Galaxy S 4G

  98. Yes, and Samsung has been shipping its own ‘Market’ app on every Android phone that it produces. Rather than being Windows .vs Apple, Android has a real chance of discovering the path that Unix took in the 80s.

    As long as Apple (or some other company with a data-jail strategy) doesn’t completely dominate, who cares? I’m concerned with being able to access my damn files. And this goes beyond phones — my gut tells me that the smartphone will evolve into what becomes our primary computing device. That being a crazy data jail where I can’t access my files without jailbreaking is unacceptable to me. I honestly don’t care who has the #1 selling phone, what each manufacturer’s profit margins are, or whatnot — I care that at least one viable platform is open-source and allows me to easily leave and take the software I’ve written with me if the company goes belly up, becomes too evil, becomes too expensive, goes in a direction I don’t like, etc.

  99. Which of your files can you not access without a jailbreak?

    One more point, Open Source does not assure that you can leave and take your software with you. Free Software does that. Open Source is a development model designed to leverage economic forces.

  100. > Which of your files can you not access without a jailbreak?

    Any and every file on the device. It is my device, is it not?

    > One more point, Open Source does not assure that you can leave and take your software with you.

    Don’t be pedantic.

  101. Which of your files can you not access without a jailbreak?

    Ok… true story… I went on a trip with an iPad. A friend of me wanted to send me a video, so he put it on a web server and gave me the URL. I opened the URL in the browser, and after the download, I was unable to add it to the video player app, or access the file in any way. The only way I was able to view it was to find a video downloader app in the App Store, and I had to download this 300MB file again, and even then, I could only play the video in the video downloader app.

    And what if I wanted to get the file off of the device? How the hell would I do that? The video downloader app “owned” the video file, and it was unavailable to any other app on the system.

    I can understand putting a layer on top of the filesystem to hide it from novice users — I don’t mind this sort of thing at all, so long as there’s an easily discoverable way (like an option in the preferences for “advanced mode”) that allows expert users to do what they need to. On Android, I have so many options — there are file managers, there’s terminal emulators like ConnectBot, there’s the “share” feature in many Android apps whereby an app can try and send a file to another app. Do most people use file managers or terminal emulators? Nope. People like me can, however.

  102. One more point, Open Source does not assure that you can leave and take your software with you. Free Software does that. Open Source is a development model designed to leverage economic forces.

    No — it doesn’t frakkin’ matter. As long as the source is released under a sufficiently permissive license, I can fork it. I’m talking about the pragmatics, not politics of the issue. The fact that I’ve been able to download the sources of CyanogenMod, which in turn is based on AOSP, make a few changes, and compile it for my Captivate speaks volumes to my ability to use software that I write. I’m working on a couple of Android apps right now, both personally and professionally, and I can insure my time investment developing for the ecosystem isn’t wasted. I’m developing for iOS as well, and to me that’s a scarier proposition; if Apple deems my software at any time “inappropriate” or in violation of its terms, which it can change at any time, it’s barred from entry into the App Store, which is the only legitimate way to get software onto the devices. Google could do the same, true, but then I could submit to Amazon. Or offer for download on my website. Or whatever. The Android Market isn’t the only point of entry into the system. And if Google decides to make it so, Amazon or Samsung or HTC or whoever can fork the current version of Android that doesn’t have that restriction, and remove it. Each of them can create their own app store. That’s, frankly, great!

  103. > and even then, I could only play the video in the video downloader app.

    Linux used to be like this. Eric used to say a lot about the codec problem on linux. Or we could discuss DIVX .vs DVD encoding. Do you remember the noise about being able to play DVDs on a linux notebook?

  104. Linux used to be like this. Eric used to say a lot about the codec problem on linux. Or we could discuss DIVX .vs DVD encoding. Do you remember the noise about being able to play DVDs on a linux notebook?

    That’s an apples vs. goats comparison. There’s no issue with CODEC support — it was low-profile h.264 in an MP4 container with no DRM — perfectly supported by Apple’s video player. I couldn’t get the downloader or browser to send the file to the video player, which would only play videos that were synced with the evil beast known as iTunes. I.e., a data jail. Files are owned by applications, and can’t be shared with other applications. And yes, I’m aware that the average user thinks that their word processing documents are stored in Microsoft Word, or that the “E” icon on their desktop is “the Internet”. Maintaining that illusion on the surface is fine, but there’s simply no reason to not allow those with a little more knowhow as to what a file is to access, you know, a file.

  105. “I was unable to add it to the video player app, or access the file in any way.”

    it wouldn’t play in the browser?

  106. “someone willing to take thin margins will inherit the market.”

    Thin margins is one thing. No margins another.

    How do you compete against amazon that makes its money selling product on the low end and apple willing to pay billions to build the supply capacity to produce the volumes they need on the high end? They can invest billions because they will move millions of iPads and the ROI is commensurate with the risks. Apple in being willing to fund production capacity in key areas means there may even be components not available to competitors.

    The middle ground is mighty thin. Even for someone like samsung.

  107. > One more point, Open Source does not assure that you can leave and take your software with you.

    Open Source assures that you can leave and take your data with you.

  108. @Larry Yelnick:

    The larger question of forking Android, the very elephant in the room, is what happens if Samsung, for whatever reason (Motorola acquisition, anyone?), forks Android?

    Why the hell would they bother? They’ve already got their own proprietary smartphone platform that sells better than anything Microsoft can produce…

  109. @phil:

    more bad news for the android fanboys:

    Umm, no, that’s not bad news. It’s expected that lots of AT&T subscribers will upgrade their iPhone whatever to the latest, and that lots of Verizon people who were waiting for the iPhone 5 will go ahead and sigh and buy the 4s. It’s also expected that low-priced older iPhones will still wow ‘em at AT&T and (now) Verizon, and that Apple will try really hard to maintain their share in the US by pumping out older phones at low prices.

    What’s curious is why it’s so important to report the two months where the spike of the 4s hit, instead of the entire quarter. Did Apple really do that well all quarter, or did they pay extra for an early report? We’ll know for sure before March…

  110. > Open Source assures that you can leave and take your data with you.

    [Citation needed]

  111. > It’s expected that lots of AT&T subscribers will upgrade their iPhone whatever to the latest, and that lots of Verizon people who were waiting for the iPhone 5 will go ahead and sigh and buy the 4s.

    to say nothing of the addition of Sprint/Nextel, and Cellular South/C-Spire as carriers and the vastly expanded channels that now carry iPhone 4. Walmart, Best Buy, snf s few US regional supermarket chains sell iPhone and other iOS devices. Toys-R-Us sells the iPad and iPod Touch.

    > It’s also expected that low-priced older iPhones will still wow ‘em at AT&T and (now) Verizon, and that Apple will try really hard to maintain their share in the US by pumping out older phones at low prices.

    But with Microsoft rumored to SPIF phone store employees who sell Windows phones, soon customers will expect to be paid to take the trash out of the store.

  112. “Many Android devices have locked bootloaders.”

    This is not news. It appears to be an attempt to pander to the **AA. Many Android vendors who have locked bootloaders will tell you how to unlock them, but then your netflix/google video/whatever will try to not run. Of course, there will be patches for that…

  113. >“Many Android devices have locked bootloaders. ”

    The trend is away from them, however. For example, T-Mobile went to locked bootloaders and then reversed itself under consumer pressure. As I noted previously, Asus has promised an unlock for the Transformer. And Samsung, the leading vendor? Its announced policy is “unlocked bootloaders unless Google requires locking” – and Google doesn’t.

  114. >It appears to be an attempt to pander to the **AA. [...] Of course, there will be patches for that…

    Yes. And the handset makers are in an interesting position, because their optimal strategy is to pretend to the MAFIAA that they’re selling fully locked-down devices, then install only weak “security” and blame the resulting breaches on clever hackers. In this way they avoid decreasing the value of their devices and save on NRE. The MAFIAA gets hosed, but nobody other than the MAFIAA considers this a bad outcome.

  115. >. A massive marketshare collapse by Apple in 2012 (25% to 10%) could, simultaneously, include an absolute iPhone unit sales volume increase.”

    I wager 57% confidence by the end of this year that Apple’s market share will collapse by the end of this year. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/5287

  116. I went on a trip with an iPad. A friend of me wanted to send me a video, so he put it on a web server and gave me the URL. I opened the URL in the browser, and after the download, I was unable to add it to the video player app, or access the file in any way.

    Whenever I click on a video link the browser automatically plays the video. I don’t even recall being able to download the video in any way via safari or my alternate browser. Maybe that’s something I missed.

    I couldn’t get the downloader or browser to send the file to the video player, which would only play videos that were synced with the evil beast known as iTunes. I.e., a data jail. Files are owned by applications, and can’t be shared with other applications.

    First, you have to show me how to download in safari.

    Second, that the video player would only play videos it has loaded isn’t a data jail. Being unable to get your video OUT of the video player would be a data jail.

    Third, files owned by applications CAN be shared with other applications that have associated itself with that file type since iOS 3.2 (CFBundleDocumentTypes). For example I just test downloaded a movie trailer using GoodReader. I can “Open With…” several other apps including FileBrowser, VLC and something else I forgot that knows how to handle .mov files. The native video player app isn’t associated with .mov files and so isn’t listed under the “Open With…” option.

    As a note, the iPad launched with iOS 3.2.

    And what if I wanted to get the file off of the device? How the hell would I do that? The video downloader app “owned” the video file, and it was unavailable to any other app on the system.

    iTunes will show you the files in the app sandbox and you can drag them to your desktop if the app had enabled file sharing support (UIFileSharingEnabled). This is up to the app developer and I’d complain to the one you bought your video downloading app from if he or she didn’t enable this. This was also made available in 3.2.

    Data jail and walled garden are not the same things. I can’t think of any significant data I can’t get off my mac or my ios devices and onto a PC. Some DRM’d movies I suppose but that’s kinda expected and would happen on the PC as well. They would never be on linux in the first place.

    Sun got bought by Oracle, Oracle went full evil, and the community dumped Oracle and formed LibreOffice.

    You’ll have to remind me when Oracle was not full evil. I like Ellison but Oracle has always been full evil and revels in it.

  117. @steven

    No, amazon is an example of someone willing to take no or slightly negative margin on hardware in order to make money selling content.

    I don’t feel that iSupply can accurately estimate BOM cost down to the dollar much less penny but their analysis indicates that the Kindle Fire today costs Amazon $209.63 with a BOM of $191.65. It’s only after they factor in digital content sales that they believe that Amazon makes any profit from the sale of the Fire.

    “If doing this means that Amazon must take a loss on the sales of digital content and tablet hardware, it will be well worth it in the end.

    This business model is unique to Amazon. No other tablet brand or e-book reader operates such a broad retail service, which generated $34 billion in revenue in 2010. Conversely no other retailer can offer a tablet specifically designed to promote sales of its goods.”

    http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/Amazon-Sells-Kindle-Fire-at-Low-Profit-Margin-to-Promote-Online-Merchandize-Sales.aspx

    So if you can’t make money this way and Amazon can beat your material costs via bulk component purchases like Apple where are your margins? Amazon took all the air out of the 7″ android tablet market.

  118. In fact, that’s exactly how it works.

    Wrong. You can access a file if you can program AND you have a Mac with Xcode, and:

    1) you have a jailbroken device
    – or -
    2) you pay Apple for a developer account, and wait around to be approved

    How does an advanced USER access a file? Or someone unwilling to void their warrantee and someone who has been rejected for a developer account? You should be able to access a file ON THE DEVICE without coding. You should be allowed to transfer it off either via cable or network. You simply can’t do that.

  119. Data jail and walled garden are not the same things. I can’t think of any significant data I can’t get off my mac or my ios devices and onto a PC. Some DRM’d movies I suppose but that’s kinda expected and would happen on the PC as well. They would never be on linux in the first place.

    I’m sorry, but having no direct access to the filesystem on the device without tethering it to iTunes is fucking unacceptable. Again, these devices are becoming more capable as primary devices. I’ve never used iTunes outside of activating an iOS device, or getting it’s UUID. I have a Mac Mini at work I use to do this.

    On Android, from day 1, you never, ever, EVER had to connect the device with a PC. Never. Yeah, iCloud fixes a lot of this, but I still can’t access a file unless an app specifically allows it. If I can’t have direct access to the file system via some sort of on-device file manager or terminal, the OS is broken.

  120. Why I Hate Android

    http://parislemon.com/post/15604811641/why-i-hate-android

    I my dislike for Android is not as visceral as MG Siegler but this posting shows that for true hatred often betrayed love is part of the equation. One thing I DO agree with…arguments that Android is “open” is meaningless to me given the power that Google gave back to the carriers. Every aspect of “open” in android has pretty much been perverted by the carriers save for a full on frankenfork.

    MG’s bitterness is understandable. Google’s shift on net neutrality and jumping into bed with Verizon was a clear betrayal of the “do no evil” ideal.

    “I think about these things everyday that I see positive news about Android. It’s so wonderful that the platform which helped cripple Net Neutrality and is keeping the evil carriers in control is taking off. Make no mistake: Android is now the carriers’ best friend…

    All of this backstory knowledge fuels my rage. When I see Google talk about how “open” the platform is, setting it up as the foil to the “closed” (and framed as “evil”) iPhone, I want to scream and rip someone’s head off. It’s not only the most extreme example of being disingenuous that I can ever recall seeing — it’s nuclear bullshit.

    Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers. Google set off to help in this goal, then stabbed us all in the back and went the complete other way, to the side of the carriers. And because they smiled the entire time they were doing it and fed us this “open” bullshit, we thanked them for it. We’re still thanking them for it!”

    I like a lot of folks at Google. Google itself? Not so much. I’d much rather deal with Oracle frankly. Sharks are dangerous but their nature is obvious.

  121. “If I can’t have direct access to the file system via some sort of on-device file manager or terminal, the OS is broken.”

    Bingo! That’s at the top of my very long list for getting rid of my iPhone and moving to Android.

  122. Nigel: “Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers.”

    I agree with that, but it’s a cruel world. What’s Apple done for me lately?

  123. @aaron so stick it in dropbox. That was the other app that I could open with on a .mov file. That you don’t like iTunes doesn’t mean that the capability doesn’t exist.

    You can also use Air Sharing HD, Cortado Workspace, Filamente – SharePoint Client, FileMagnet, iCMS, SharePlus Office Mobile Client, SugarSync.

    I like and use FileBrowser. I can connect to my mini and my network file share.

    If you think that the OS is broken because there’s no direct access to files then your definition of broken is broken. Apple doesn’t provide direct access to minimize problems and to improve security.

    I refrained from calling bullshit previously but given your apparent need to be affronted by Apple’s technical choices I’m wondering now how realistic your “the only way I was able to view it was to find a video downloader app” scenario really is. By default any playable video format simply plays when you click the link. You don’t even get a download option in safari although I think you can in the Atomic browser.

  124. Wrong. You can access a file if you can program AND you have a Mac with Xcode, and:

    1) you have a jailbroken device
    – or -
    2) you pay Apple for a developer account, and wait around to be approved

    How does an advanced USER access a file? Or someone unwilling to void their warrantee and someone who has been rejected for a developer account? You should be able to access a file ON THE DEVICE without coding. You should be allowed to transfer it off either via cable or network. You simply can’t do that.

    Utter FUD. You can access many app document files via itunes. You can also access files and pretty much the whole file system without itunes using various transfer tools like DiskAid or PhoneView. These have been around a long time.

    If you need/want root access to files, yes you need to jailbreak.

    An “advanced user” can Google “accessing ipad filesystem”.

  125. @Nigel

    Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers.

    No, Apple has put it back in the hands of Apple.

  126. And then there’s news that Tizen screenshot has surfaced, apparently running on an unknown Samsung ‘I9500′ (or so reports Engadget)

    (Tizen, for those unfamiliar, is MeeGo continued after Nokia abandoned it…)

  127. >(Tizen, for those unfamiliar, is MeeGo continued after Nokia abandoned it…)

    I can’t easily imagine Tizen getting any traction. But I’d love to be wrong about that.

  128. [blockquote]All of this backstory knowledge fuels my rage. When I see Google talk about how “open” the platform is, setting it up as the foil to the “closed” (and framed as “evil”) iPhone, I want to scream and rip someone’s head off. It’s not only the most extreme example of being disingenuous that I can ever recall seeing — it’s nuclear bullshit.[/blockquote]

    No it’s not. As critical as net neutrality is, the user’s control over their own device still trumps it. I’ll take a bad link between good endpoints before a good link between bad endpoints any day. Even if Google fully sold out WRT net neutrality (which would be very evil, but which they almost certainly won’t do as their own business model depends on net neutrality too much), I’d still take Android over iPhone anyday. Whether I can trust my bought-and-paid-for device, whether or not I’m using the network, is more important than whether I can trust the network or whether I’m getting hosed on network access costs.

  129. @Michael Hipp No, Apple has put it back in the hands of Apple.

    Do you remember the days when you could only put songs on your phone view things like the Verizon music store? Some of this control now resides with Apple, but some is definitely in the hands of the consumer. Certainly more than back in the pre-iPhone days.

  130. Utter FUD. You can access many app document files via itunes. You can also access files and pretty much the whole file system without itunes using various transfer tools like DiskAid or PhoneView. These have been around a long time.

    If you need/want root access to files, yes you need to jailbreak.

    An “advanced user” can Google “accessing ipad filesystem”.

    I did this, last June. I got no where. Someone recommended installing the downloader app that I downloaded. And I wanted to specifically download the file so I could view it later, not stream it, and the person who sent it to me had a web server that wasn’t configured correctly, so Safari downloaded it, and then didn’t know what to do with it.

  131. If you think that the OS is broken because there’s no direct access to files then your definition of broken is broken. Apple doesn’t provide direct access to minimize problems and to improve security.

    I’m sorry, but an OS that doesn’t allow you to access user files IS broken by design. Files are fundamental to how it works. And I don’t care at all about whether I can do it with iTunes or some other program existing on another device or not — I should be able to do it on the device. And I tried a few things that claimed to be file managers to no avail.

    Files are basic. They should be treated as such.

  132. ” I should be able to do it on the device ”

    what were you trying to do to the file?

  133. what were you trying to do to the file?

    Move it around so that other applications could easily see it. Particularly the video player application. Or just access it as a file, and open it in an arbitrary application. It doesn’t frankly matter what I was trying to do, I should be allowed to manage my own files.

  134. @Aaron Traas “I’m sorry, but an OS that doesn’t allow you to access user files IS broken by design. ”

    I think having a file nav on a “post pc” device means it’s not a “post pc” device. tablets/smartphones are becoming more like appliances than PCs. this is part of the reason they have taken off.

  135. @aaron So lets recap. Your friend screwed up posting the video file so it didn’t appear to be a video file to safari and so you asserted it is impossible to view videos from the net without downloading a specialized video download app. This is clearly false given I’ve played many video files directly from web links to the files.

    Then you assert that you could not send this downloaded file from one app to another and therefore it is impossible to do on iOS. Except for the fact that there are clear API calls to do exactly such a thing and many many other folks do this on a daily basis. Your failure to solve your problem does not mean there are no simple and commonly used ways to accomplish what you wanted.

    So because of your failure to do things that an “advanced user” should be expected to be able to figure out you assert that iOS is “broken” because you can’t manually manage your files. I would suggest that if you were allowed to manually manage the iOS file system you’d have bricked your iPad by now.

    And then you’d be complaining that iOS is no more stable than Android because last June, while you were trying to play a video file from a broken web server, you bricked your iPad moving files around manually.

  136. @phil there is little need to manage your files on the ipad given the app centric paradigm and they are able to meet a large percentage of user needs. Hence the label of post PC device. Manually managing your file system is a PC era kinda thing.

    However, Aaron asserted it was impossible to do so EITHER on the device OR via the PC. There is clearly a way to do so on the PC/Mac WITHOUT jailbreak. And frankly, jailbreaking iOS is no more onerous than gaining root on many android devices and then you have access to the whole file system anyway.

    Adding the requirement of no jailbreak is simply an artificial one.

  137. “I’d still take Android over iPhone anyday. Whether I can trust my bought-and-paid-for device, whether or not I’m using the network, is more important than whether I can trust the network or whether I’m getting hosed on network access costs.”

    Jon, in what way can you not “trust” your iPhone vs an Android phone?

    Given 5 years, 5 handsets and 5 iOS revisions the fact that you can still jailbreak your iPhone pretty much indicates that you ability to jailbreak isn’t likely to go away anytime soon and not likely at all with the current hardware devices.

    And if you jailbreak you have unfettered access to your device.

    Net neutrality isn’t just access costs but access itself to competing services. Imagine not being able to access Netflix from Comcast networks. Or no access to ESPN.com from Verizon because they wanted to push their own sports site.

  138. @Nigel…. ah, yeah you have to register for certain file types in IOS. I misunderstood.

  139. >Files are fundamental to how it works.

    Except it isn’t. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but both Android and iOS by default hide the file structure, because ultimately files are just placeholders for data and it’s the data that’s important. Gmail became popular in part based on the idea that it was the data, not the files that mattered when they decided that instead of having “folders” to organize all your emails like you do for files on your computer, you would simply tag your emails and let gmail put them where it will, trusting that gmail will present them to you when you want them.

    iTunes is another example of this. I let it manage the music on my computer (and to be fair, I use a mac so my version of iTunes doesn’t suck). I could care less where it’s storing the files, whether it’s in a massive single file, individual MP3s, a database or split into billions of tiny 1k files, it really doesn’t matter to me provided that I can still get the data, which is the individual songs.

    Similarly, without downloading a third party app, android hides he file system and attempts to do the same thing with intents, where the file doesn’t actually matter, only the data itself.

    As a general rule most users don’t give a damn about the files, it’s the data within those files they’re concerned about. Now it’s fair to say that in your scenario, the iPad failed to make the data accessible to you, but that is independent from allowing you access to the file system.

  140. And to head off the claim that I’m making a distinction without relevance, consider if for reasons of speed, Apple (or Google) decided that storing actual user data in a database was more efficient and faster than using a normal filesystem. In such a scenario, you could have all the access in the world to the file system and still not be able to get your specific piece of data.

  141. @tmoney
    >iTunes is another example of this. I let it manage the music on my computer
    >(and to be fair, I use a mac so my version of iTunes doesn’t suck).
    >I could care less where it’s storing the files, whether it’s in a massive
    >single file, individual MP3s, a database or split into billions of tiny 1k files,
    >it really doesn’t matter to me provided that I can still get the data,
    >which is the individual songs.

    So a ‘post-PC’ device needs a PC to be fully functional?

  142. Total non sequitur here but maybe someone here has done this before. I downloaded dos box .74 and im trying to run a downloaded copy of Dark Sun: Shattered Lands. I cant find the executable file, or if I have, I cannot get the file to execute. After mounting my drive, I just get a “cannot change to X” message for every file I try. Other nerds have succeeded with these downloads so what am I missing? All of the other games I got to work on dosbox are old CD’s, is there something else I need to do with downloaded programs?

    So im typing something like:

    Mount c c:\file name enter
    c: enter
    cd\eight character file address enter

    and I always get the message:

    Cannot switch to (eight character file address)

  143. Is intentionally missing the point part of your strategy to refute the argument?

  144. @Tom Forest “So a ‘post-PC’ device needs a PC to be fully functional?”

    no.

  145. > I can’t easily imagine Tizen getting any traction. But I’d love to be wrong about that.

    You can’t imagine it, because you can’t fathom, or perhaps do not want to accept or admit, that Android is fundamentally broken when it comes to being “open”. It’s not open, but you, and several million individuals like you, swallowed the PR as though it were a tasty confection. Cupcake? Doughnut? Eclair? Froyo? Honeycomb much?

    A couple things have to happen in order to put a phone into tens of millions of customer hands. First, the OEMs have to decide to build it, and second, the carriers have to decide to sell it, and finally, the customer has to decide that this is the phone she wants. Many people have selected carrier first, and are therefore limited to the handsets available at that carrier. Most then buy on perceived price. The manufactured BOM cost of most handsets is roughly the same. Bigger, nicer screens cost more, and more flash/ram costs more, but these are all customer visible. Newer CPUs tend to cost more, but nearly every OEM is selecting from the same set of support chips. At the end of the day, the cost of Android and Apple (and Tizen, and the new mobile / tablet offering from Ubuntu) hardware is roughly the same.

    All it takes is the carriers deciding they don’t need or want Android before the supply chain dries up, and Android phones are priced out of the running.

    This is a very fast moving industry, subject to consumer / fashion whims. (Witness the recent comeback by Apple.) Samsung is making obvious moves to become much more Apple-like. Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility will make it much more Apple-like.

    There are even recent rumors of Intel acquiring (more likely merging with) Qualcomm. Were that to happen, why wouldn’t the natural result be that Tizen is pushed to the forefront in a bundle deal (qualcomm radios, intel cpus & flash) supported by a marketing program that rewards OEMs and carriers for also using Tizen on the device?

    It wouldn’t take much of a shift for many carriers, especially US carriers.

  146. The first ad for the first Nokia Lumia (smartphone) in America, has dropped. Caveats: it’s for the Lumia 710, not the 900, and it’s for T-Mobile, which seems to want to become the MySpace of carriers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDECIwJPWBk

    Seems that the wrath of the Gods
    Got a punch on the nose and it started to flow;
    I think I might be sinking.
    Throw me a line if I reach it in time
    I’ll meet you up there where the path
    Runs straight and high.

  147. There are even recent rumors of Intel acquiring (more likely merging with) Qualcomm. Were that to happen, why wouldn’t the natural result be that Tizen is pushed to the forefront in a bundle deal (qualcomm radios, intel cpus & flash) supported by a marketing program that rewards OEMs and carriers for also using Tizen on the device?

    Because Intel doesn’t have a chip capable of competing with ARM in the smartphone arena. Even the Intel Atom chips are too power hungry and run too hot. Maybe if Intel dumps some significant cash into R&D to develop a better mobile CPU, but I don’t see any fruit from that happening anytime real soon.

  148. And, BTW, there are various reasons why Intel’s new “Moorestown” line of CPUs aren’t and won’t succeed. Most of them are due to market conditions. Which is all besides the point, because it’s not the hardware that counts. (Ask Apple)

  149. @tmoney: And to head off the claim that I’m making a distinction without relevance, consider if for reasons of speed, Apple (or Google) decided that storing actual user data in a database was more efficient and faster than using a normal filesystem. In such a scenario, you could have all the access in the world to the file system and still not be able to get your specific piece of data.

    The filesystem is a database.

    The real argument is over levels of abstraction, and hiding complexity. Is your OS essentially just a kiosk that hides everything from you, and only allows you to do certain things that it exposes knobs for (what seems to have picked up the buzzword term ‘post PC’, though that’s historically ignorant)? Or does you OS allow you deeper access, behind the kiosk faceplate?

    Trying to hide all the complexity from users has been tried and hasn’t ever really worked. (Well apparently, arguably until iOS.) But that approach has a history of badness (very early MacOS, Win95 come to mind) that leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

  150. The real argument is over levels of abstraction, and hiding complexity. Is your OS essentially just a kiosk that hides everything from you, and only allows you to do certain things that it exposes knobs for (what seems to have picked up the buzzword term ‘post PC’, though that’s historically ignorant)? Or does you OS allow you deeper access, behind the kiosk faceplate?

    The argument is over how much complexity/little abstraction the user is willing to put up with. Most users vastly prefer the “kiosk” approach over the “let you get in and play with the fiddly bits” approach. They don’t care about the fiddly bits. And honestly, you shouldn’t ever, ever have to. Not if your OS is designed properly.

    Files are an accidental abstraction. To mst end users, they are a pain in the ass at best. Users think in terms of “photos”, “movies”, “documents”. They don’t care where in some sort of (again abstract) flat, hierarchical, 3-dimensional, space these things are stored. They just know they have pictures on their computer/phone. iOS and iTunes provide this level of abstraction and let you access these objects by more than just their names. The iTunes managed approach to music has proven phenomenally successful, and driven virtually all competitors out of the market. An iTunes library is immensely more powerful and easier for average users to get a handle on than a directory full of mp3s.

    Now tell me again that you need access to your files.

  151. @Jeff:

    Blather on as you will about what you assume to be true of the behaviors and mindset of “users”, but don’t try to tell individuals what they think and want. That’s bad form.

  152. cd\eight character file address enter

    and I always get the message:

    Cannot switch to (eight character file address)

    ‘cd’ means change (working) directory, it won’t work on files

    to run a file, just type its name at the prompt and hit enter.
    That’ll work if the file is in your current directory (and is executable)

    use cd to change directories (and : to switch to a different drive, as with the c: you did. cd doesn’t work across drives)
    use dir to see files and subdirectories in your current directory

    to run a game, that’s all you need.
    more here: http://www.computerhope.com/msdos.htm

  153. And yet, after all your huffing and puffing, CES’s own stats say Android is still selling more new phones than Apple. So its marketshare lead is still increasing.

    That doesn’t follow. Lets just make the situation more extreme:

    Assume that A had 1,000,000 units out there and B had one unit. A’s market-share is 99.9999%
    Assume now that A sold 2m units while B only sold 1m units. A’s market-share is down to 66.7%.

    You have Android at 46.9 to Apple at 28.7. A slight advantage in sales would cause Android’s lead to decrease.

  154. And what if I wanted to get the file off of the device? How the hell would I do that? The video downloader app “owned” the video file, and it was unavailable to any other app on the system….
    I can understand putting a layer on top of the filesystem to hide it from novice users — I don’t mind this sort of thing at all, so long as there’s an easily discoverable way (like an option in the preferences for “advanced mode”) that allows expert users to do what they need to.

    I hate to tell you this but that’s exactly what they do do. There’s like 50 different ways to seeing stuff at the darwin directories level. I personally picked phoneview because it unifies the interface so I can manipulate things like SMS messages the same way I would files. But… yeah they do protect novices from shooting themselves and offer all sorts of ways for more advanced users to manipulate directly.

    And if you have developer tools it is even easier.

  155. I’m sorry, but an OS that doesn’t allow you to access user files IS broken by design. Files are fundamental to how it works. And I don’t care at all about whether I can do it with iTunes or some other program existing on another device or not — I should be able to do it on the device. And I tried a few things that claimed to be file managers to no avail.

    Files are basic. They should be treated as such.

    No files are not basic to how the whole thing works. The direction Apple is moving towards even in OSX is eliminating the naive end user’s direct access to the filesystem so as to allow for advanced features. Autosave and resume are the first two of these. Apple doesn’t want naive end users mucking around directly with files anymore than they want them mucking around with the inode tables.

    Apple’s strategy has been clear for over a decade. Create a GUI with a unified look and feel. Allow access at the Darwin level for programmers and advanced end users. That is precisely the situation on iPhones.

    And finally, iPads are not sold as primary devices. Apple does not advertise them as primary devices. It is not a design flaw that iPads do not support something that Apple doesn’t want you doing. Anymore than the lack of good attachments for hand-gliding is a design flaw.

  156. “A couple things have to happen in order to put a phone into tens of millions of customer hands. First, the OEMs have to decide to build it, and second, the carriers have to decide to sell it, and finally, the customer has to decide that this is the phone she wants. Many people have selected carrier first, and are therefore limited to the handsets available at that carrier.”

    Don’t you see that this model is fundamentally broken? This is the pre-breakup AT&T phone model.

    It makes no sense for service providers to limit the models of phone that can run on their network. It only serves the perceived short-term business need for provider control, and consumers *hate* that they don’t have the control themselves.

    Yes, this is still true today. I’m really ticked that I am limited to the phones that Virgin Mobile USA sells. But long term, I have no doubt that the model will look more like landline service does today; AT&T (my local landline carrier) doesn’t care whether the physical phone on the line was bought at Walmart or a specialty store, whether it was made in the U.S. or overseas, branded or generic. All they rightly care about is whether it uses the right protocols (e.g., touch tones).

    Likewise, it’s just a matter of time before the providers wind up supporting a protocol instead of specific models of phone. Then it’s up to the manufacturers to support that protocol correctly. Bluntly, it’s none of the provider’s business what the parts of my phone that don’t directly interface to the network are doing or running, just as Microsoft doesn’t care where I bought my PC or who manufactured it.

  157. @Morgan Intel is, IIRC, a full ARM licensee. Meaning they can fab ARM chips any time they’d like although Otellini has categorically stated they have no plans to.

    Unless, perhaps, Apple comes calling needing someone else besides Samsung and TSMC as suppliers.

    As for whether or not Atom is going to be competitive, probably not at 45nm. But intel intends to push toward 32nm with saltwell, 22nm with silvermont and 14nm with airmont.

    There will be danged few foundries at 14nm if Intel can get there in the timeframe they are stating. With a couple process node advantages I can see Atom comparing favorably to ARM. They have 14nm test chips in the labs and appear on track for 2014 14nm fabrication.

  158. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but both Android and iOS by default hide the file structure

    Bullshit. What about the bundled “downloads” app, that shows a list of the files you’ve downloaded, and allows you to open them in any application that will accept them? What about the file managers that come on most devices? What about the hundreds of free file managers in the market, that you don’t need root to use? What about the ability to plug it in to any computer using either MTP or as a USB storage device, and have access to all user files, including music, videos, etc?

  159. Ah, to clarify 2014 14nm fab in general…I recall reading somewhere that airmont got pushed a year.

  160. Then you assert that you could not send this downloaded file from one app to another and therefore it is impossible to do on iOS.

    No, impossible to do with the tools that come with the device. Or find an easier way to do so with a quick Google search. I shouldn’t have to spend hours researching and then purchase a specialty app to do a very, very simple thing.

    Your failure to solve your problem does not mean there are no simple and commonly used ways to accomplish what you wanted.

    This whole thing sounds an awful like something that Android apologists get accused of regularly — the statement of “you’re using it wrong. Use it the way it was designed to be used.” It’s a fucking cop-out, regardless of who uses it.

    And again, accessing a video file I downloaded in Safari (which it did, in fact, download, and then it told me effectively it didn’t know what to do with it) is something only an advanced user should be able to do?

    So because of your failure to do things that an “advanced user” should be expected to be able to figure out you assert that iOS is “broken” because you can’t manually manage your files. I would suggest that if you were allowed to manually manage the iOS file system you’d have bricked your iPad by now.

    Really? Like all of the Android devices that I’ve got root on or installed new ROM’s on that I’ve compiled/modified myself that I haven’t bricked?

    And then you’d be complaining that iOS is no more stable than Android because last June, while you were trying to play a video file from a broken web server, you bricked your iPad moving files around manually.

    User files, not system files. Apples and oranges. No, you shouldn’t be able to move apps, system files, system data, etc., around without root. You know, like a normal OS.

  161. Now tell me again that you need access to your files.

    Because when I want to do something that doesn’t have a use case designed for it in the OS or whatever, I can. No company, not even Apple, can anticipate anything I would need to do with a device. That’s why I need access to my files.

  162. I think having a file nav on a “post pc” device means it’s not a “post pc” device. tablets/smartphones are becoming more like appliances than PCs. this is part of the reason they have taken off.

    Bullshit. A tablet, a smartphone, etc. is a PC. It’s just a very tiny, pretty PC that uses touch as it’s primary user interface. That’s stupid Apple marketing nonsense. If anything, phones will replace PC’s. That’s when data jails become scary.

  163. @aaron Trass:

    Bullshit. A tablet, a smartphone, etc. is a PC. It’s just a very tiny, pretty PC that uses touch as it’s primary user interface. That’s stupid Apple marketing nonsense. If anything, phones will replace PC’s. That’s when data jails become scary.

    You do understand you are contradicting yourself. On the one hand you are complaining that Apple is building these devices as secondary devices designed to be used in conjunction with PCs. On the other hand you are arguing that these devices are in fact full featured PCs.

    Apple has consistently indicated these are secondary devices. There is no data jail. You can move files off an on easily, using the tools and techniques that Apple supports: iTunes, developer access, OSX access systems… What you are saying is that you think Apple is “jailing your data” because they aren’t providing mechanisms allowing you to manipulate your data with capacities they openly and officially don’t support, using a paradigm they openly and officially discourage; but instead are providing mechanisms to do the same things consistent with the paradigms they do support.

    That’s like calling a PC a data jail because it doesn’t respond to commands from a flute but instead requires a mouse and keyboard.

  164. @Cathy –

    You are absolutely right it will look like that long term. And the carriers don’t want the system to look like it does. Here is there problem.

    1) Americans are willing to spend more per month than up front. That is they will pay $30 / mo for 2 years much more comfortably than $720 or even $500 up front. Hence they carriers want to prorate all costs out monthly.

    2) Consumers using newer and better devices cause them to appreciate the total service more than just the cost of the device. That is if the carrier spends $240 extra upfront ($10 / mo) the consumer often experiences $20 / mo in extra value. Hence carriers want to put in consumers in expensive phones.

    3) Americans underestimate how much the device plays into their total experience. They given their own control would put themselves in cheaper phones. Hence the carriers need to hide the cost of the phone inside the cost of the service.

    The carriers would love to not be dealing with this nonsense. But you sell to the population you have, not the population you wish you had.

  165. >Bullshit. What about the bundled “downloads” app, that shows a list of the files
    >you’ve downloaded,

    Is this something new? On my LG Optimus V, which is arguably as close to stock 2.2 as you can get without a google phone, the only “downloads” app is a virgin mobile crapware app which lets me see the things I buy and download from virgin mobile. If this is a new app, I wouldn’t know because despite being released after 2.3 there are still no official updates for my phone. And yes, I know I could void my warranty, root my phone and install a third party mod, but then again, I could also jailbreak my iPhone.

    >What about the file managers that come on most devices? What about the hundreds
    >of free file managers in the market, that you don’t need root to use? But beyond that, that doesn’t change the argument that the default behavior of the device is to hide the file system. Compare booting an android or iPhone to booting windows or OS X.

    I thought if the OS didn’t provide you with the access, it was broken?

    >What about the ability to plug it in to any computer using either MTP or as a USB
    >storage device, and have access to all user files, including music, videos, etc?

    Which would have done you what good in the scenario you outlined above where you were attempting to watch a video?

  166. >> Likewise, it’s just a matter of time before the providers wind up supporting a protocol instead of specific models of phone.
    > And the carriers don’t want the system to look like it does. Here is there problem.

    No. The carriers don’t want to be a dumb pipe. The want to sell “Value Added” / “differentiated” services and price discriminate across different market segments in order to maximize revenue and increase shareholder value.

    Or something like that.

  167. > Americans underestimate how much the device plays into their total experience. They given their own control would put themselves in cheaper phones.

    I’d generally agree with that, but even assuming it’s the responsibility of the carriers to enlighten us, they’re going about it the wrong way. When crappy phones are “free” on contract and good phones are $200, I’d expect more people to go for the crappy ones than if the prices were $400 and $600 respectively (with correspondingly cheaper monthly plans).

    > The carriers would love to not be dealing with this nonsense.

    That I doubt. They love the contract lock-in.

  168. >When crappy phones are “free” on contract and good phones are $200, I’d expect more people to
    >go for the crappy ones than if the prices were $400 and $600 respectively (with correspondingly
    >cheaper monthly plans).

    It’s a lot easier to spontaneously pay $200 than $600. Of course there is a point where as the numbers get bigger, that extra $200 gets smaller, but we’re so used to seeing free and $50 phones from carriers that $600 is just a big sticker shock. When I was working for apple, I’d say that one of the top 5 complaints I heard when the first iPhone went on sale was how expensive it was and how they should offer it with a contract discount. Of course the flip side of that was when they did start offering it with a contract discount they had to then deal with early upgrade crap and the fall out from customers who would break their devices (and I mean really break them) and be shocked when their $200 phone was suddenly $600 because that’s the off contract price.

  169. @arraon traas

    “Bullshit. A tablet, a smartphone, etc. is a PC. It’s just a very tiny, pretty PC that uses touch as it’s primary user interface. That’s stupid Apple marketing nonsense.”

    This type of thinking is one of the main reasons all tablets before the iPad failed. You just don’t get it.

  170. Well to be fair, in the most literal sense a tablet and a smart phone are PCs where PC literally means personal computer. Of course, in that same sense, my TI-83 is a PC, as is my Playstation, Wii and Asus router. Of course, with very few exceptions, I don’t see anyone complaining that you can’t directly access the file system on any of those devices.

  171. Meanwhile, LG signs an Android licensing deal with Microsoft. This makes me sad. (Sigh. Remember when Google’s Motorola buy was a masterstroke that would get rid of this problem?)

  172. I didn’t know that we were holding the “No True Scotsman” Olympics here.

  173. @Larry Yelnick:
    “No. The carriers don’t want to be a dumb pipe. The want to sell “Value Added” / “differentiated” services and price discriminate across different market segments in order to maximize revenue and increase shareholder value.”

    The carriers want to sell customized services, not physical products. That’s not their core business. Much of the phone software corruption the carriers have done is in a poorly-executed effort to to make it easy for them to do this. Remember the PS2? If I recall correctly, IBM designed a bus that was faster than they anticipated the next generation of machines needed, but deliberately crippled the first PS2 generation, planning to un-cripple it later and charge more.

    To continue the landline analogy, the local providers can sell call-waiting, call-transfer, voicemail, call-forward-busy, conference-calling, etc. without ever needing to control the sale of the actual physical phone.

    Of course, some of us want our carrier to be a dumb pipe, and I’m confident there’s a sizable market and profits for the carrier who can figure how to be the Walmart of the phone business (ubiquitous, low-margin but profitable, huge, and value rather than premium).

  174. CD — Americans underestimate how much the device plays into their total experience. They given their own control would put themselves in cheaper phones.

    @Brian_2I: ’d generally agree with that, but even assuming it’s the responsibility of the carriers to enlighten us, they’re going about it the wrong way. When crappy phones are “free” on contract and good phones are $200, I’d expect more people to go for the crappy ones than if the prices were $400 and $600 respectively (with correspondingly cheaper monthly plans).

    The subsidies on paid for phones are larger than on cheap phones. The carriers, rightfully, believe that people who pay for phones are less price sensitive and therefore they will make more money elsewhere. So for example a free phone (with data plan) might be $13 / mo ($312) while a $300 phone might be $18 / mo ($432+300=$732).

    And the customer while they would love the $732 phone experience just wouldn’t pay for it. In fact they are much more upset about even the $312 / mo than they would be paying an extra $15 / mo for their phone bill.

    CD — The carriers would love to not be dealing with this nonsense.

    That I doubt. They love the contract lock-in.

    Good point. They do like the lock in. I’m not sure though that them having to bill and have financial risk is worth it in exchange for slightly more stable revenue figures.

  175. Larry Yelnick Says:
    > No. The carriers don’t want to be a dumb pipe.

    This has to be driven by the consumer. Otherwise:

    _U.S. Carriers Don’t Want Stock Android Phones_

    Android handset makers: Here are our phones. How would you like us to change them so that you will sell them?
    Microsoft: Here’s $200 million. Please sell our phones.
    Apple: Here is our new phone. It comes in black or white. We will let you sell it.

    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2012/01/11/stock-android

  176. Note that the exclusive carrier lock in is not global. Eg, in Europe every phone has to be accepted. And unlocking a phone on contract is perfectly legal(and can be done at market stalls and phone shops).

    As the USA is only a third or less (and declining) part of the global market, the influence of the US carrier shenanigans can only decline. In the end it will go the way of the original cell phone markets. The global competition will simply sideline the divided walled gardens of the USA.

  177. JonCB Says:
    >January 8th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    > > Australia and New Zealand iOS is the clear winner

    >[Citation Needed].

    >The Sydney Morning Herald (via IDC) says you’re full of shit. ZDNet (via Kantar) says you’re about 6 months out of date.

    http://gs.statcounter.com

    Set it to show mobile OS for Australia and NZ. In Australia iOS has something like 70% of the market counting usage. In NZ it is a bit lower and Android is still catching up there.

    While current sales matters most to manufacturers, app developers and other support service vendors care more about actual usage. Aussie land is not for me until I have an iOS app or Android builds more market share.

  178. @aaron

    No, impossible to do with the tools that come with the device. Or find an easier way to do so with a quick Google search. I shouldn’t have to spend hours researching and then purchase a specialty app to do a very, very simple thing.

    It is clearly not impossible since people do it all the time. The reason it was “impossible” for you is because you had a damaged file. The data was there but the metadata (in this case likely in the form of the file extension) was bad. You DO NOT have to buy a specialty app to do play a video natively in the browser. This is a falsehood.

    Your friend screwed up serving the file. This is hardly a normal use case. Even in your case, the file was likely sitting in Safari waiting to be downloaded to a PC since you had no apps that was registered for that file type.

    This whole thing sounds an awful like something that Android apologists get accused of regularly — the statement of “you’re using it wrong. Use it the way it was designed to be used.” It’s a fucking cop-out, regardless of who uses it.

    No, it’s not. You keep saying that the platform cannot do X period. When I point out that you can in fact do X and it’s commonly done in many apps you move the goalposts. It’s a fucking cop-out not to be able to admit you’re wrong.

    The fact is that many apps can natively “share” feature in many Android apps whereby an app can try and send a file to another app (your words) because it’s baked into iOS. Kinda like android.intent.ACTION_SEND.

    In YOUR case, because you had a munged file, none of the apps were registered to handle that kind of document. This is how you do it in iOS:

    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2774343/how-do-i-associate-file-types-with-an-iphone-application/2781290#2781290

    Also you claimed that there was no way to get a file OFF your phone without some convoluted need for jailbreak and XCode. This is another falsehood. You can use iTunes or some other program to pull it off. Without jailbreak or XCode.

    And again, accessing a video file I downloaded in Safari (which it did, in fact, download, and then it told me effectively it didn’t know what to do with it) is something only an advanced user should be able to do?

    Yes, because you had a broken file. Without knowing what kind of file it was it didn’t know what apps could do something with it.

    In the normal case videos load and play just fine in the browser. If you want to download the file there are many many common iOS apps that will do so for you, play it and save it for you to move to your PC or mac later. Actually Safari will as well. If you open iTunes I believe that Safari shows up in the file sharing area.

    That you don’t want to use the user friendly tool provided to move files on and off your iPad isn’t Apple’s fault.

    User files, not system files. Apples and oranges. No, you shouldn’t be able to move apps, system files, system data, etc., around without root. You know, like a normal OS.

    And you can in iOS and on the Mac and PC. There are many file management apps for iOS. I provided many in this thread that can synch with file shares, local storage and accept files from other apps for management.

    There are some constraints such as sandboxing for security. But properly formatted files where the system can determine the type can be easily transferred between compatible apps. File management apps pretty much register for every file type they can.

  179. @Nigel:

    Also you claimed that there was no way to get a file OFF your phone without some convoluted need for jailbreak and XCode. This is another falsehood. You can use iTunes or some other program to pull it off. Without jailbreak or XCode.

    Where do I get iTunes for Linux?

  180. @tmoney:

    > http://packages.ubuntu.com/lucid/ifuse

    Ahh, yes. Another samba-esque cat-and-mouse reverse-engineering spy-vs-spy game.

    Apple probably doesn’t care about the small number of linux users talking to their devices, so it’s probably all well and good until somebody uses the other side of the reverse-engineered protocol to make non-iWhatever devices work with iTunes. A repeat of the palm pre action, no doubt.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if iOS were more fragmented, like Android. Then Apple would have a tougher time “upgrading” the protocol…

  181. Where do I get iTunes for Linux?

    Well first off the best management machine for iOS is OSX. Apple brags about their degree of integration, for example their latest commercial iCloud. While they make some of this integration available under other situations they are offering an integrated experience.

    gtkpod offers many of the features of iTunes for Linux. Rhythmbox and Amarok are working on the libgpod library which is the open source access library…. I imagine Apple might even be able to be convinced to help out on libgpod. The situation is getting better, but it is likely that Linux will be behind. If you are a Linux user Android is likely the far better option.

  182. Where do I get iTunes for Linux?

    Just get a Mac, dude. Seriously.

    Many, if not most, hardcore Unix hackers these days have Macs as their personal machines; in addition to the higher integration mentioned by CD-Host, the overall quality of Macintosh is better: the hardware is top-notch and the software is both easier to use and runs more software than Linux.

    Linux on the desktop is a hard sell in a world that has OS X.

  183. @Patfick Maupin
    “Where do I get iTunes for Linux?”

    Haha. Yep, for the <1% of PC users who choose Linux, they can't.

  184. > Linux on the desktop is a hard sell in a world that has OS X.

    Conversely, your World of All Things Apple is a hard sell on my desktop that has Linux.

  185. Selling Linux in a world with OSX should be easy. Most (90%+) of people prefer Windows over OSX.

    At least that is what sales statistics show. And you seem to believe in these statistics.

    As a replacement for Linux I find OSX infuriating. Macports always seem to break, and everything I need to do proved to be a problem.

  186. I have this sneaking suspicion that one’s choice of desktop OS isn’t really a moral signifier. OS X fits my needs better than Windows or Linux, right now. Could change if Darwin gets less accessible. Of course, I’m also one of those whackjobs who thinks that people who self-identify as communists still have interesting things to say about politics.

    Macports, btw, sucks. Brew is not much better.

  187. @Winter “Selling Linux in a world with OSX should be easy. Most (90%+) of people prefer Windows over OSX. At least that is what sales statistics show. And you seem to believe in these statistics.”

    It is bad business to support consumer software on a fiddly/fragmented OS that has <1% marketshare. Hence no MS Office, no Photoshop, no iTunes, no . Every printer you buy doesn't ship with drivers for linux. etc. Even your beloved Google doesn't have Linux versions of Picasa or Sketchup.

    BTW, there are other options other than macports: Homebrew/Fink

  188. Oh, and another advantage OS X has: a real native GUI layer, with X11 as an (ugly) bag on the side of that.

    Though honestly, it’s time to bin X11 for good. Linux has relied on it as a graphical abstraction architecture for too long, and it’s proving a costly liability. As for network-transparent graphics, Microsoft’s RDP has proven a far better solution.

  189. >>Mainly for making sure beliefs pay rent and hold pundits accountable for their beliefs.
    >If you can come up with some way to make my beliefs pay me rent, I shall be much interested.
    esr, I don’t know whether you’re already aware of this, but I haven’t seen it said above: this was probably a reference to Eliezer Yudkowsky’s “making beliefs pay rent in anticipated experiences”. If you haven’t read EY/lesswrong, you should – but I think you possibly have, because he’s hot on ev-psych and you seem to be too (there are other parallels as well).

  190. >If you haven’t read EY/lesswrong, you should

    Eliezer and I are friends. We’ve influenced each others’ writings. I understood the reference that was probably intended.

    My point – which I probably should have made explicitly rather than with veiled sarcasm – is that PredictionBook doesn’t make beliefs pay rent. By the time you have formulated a prediction you can put on the site, the beliefs that give rise to it have already “paid rent” in Eliezer’s sense, which is exactly that they generate predictions about future experience. PredictionBook also doesn’t make beliefs pay rent in the normal sense; I can’t make money there by being right.

  191. @Jeff Read:
    “Though honestly, it’s time to bin X11 for good. Linux has relied on it as a graphical abstraction architecture for too long, and it’s proving a costly liability.”

    Jeff, I’m curious to hear an example of an Open Source technology that you think could and should replace X. I can’t think of one, but I know that I am not up to date on work in this area.

  192. > Jeff, I’m curious to hear an example of an Open Source technology that you think could and should
    > replace X. I can’t think of one, but I know that I am not up to date on work in this area.

    Wayland is supposed to be the up-and-coming hotness. I’m mildly skeptical, but who knows? Network transparency is planned as a ‘maybe.’ I find proper transparency to be vital to my own day-to-day use, and not in the windows remote desktop sense. I much appreciate being able to run a specific program on a remote system and have it display locally.

  193. Jeff, I’m curious to hear an example of an Open Source technology that you think could and should replace X. I can’t think of one, but I know that I am not up to date on work in this area.

    Wayland is showing a lot of promise, but is still alpha-quality and Linux-only. In Wayland, each app gets a framebuffer to draw in (or possibly more than one), and the WM composites them all together with OpenGL ES. This is all done locally; no over-the-wire network protocol yet. In a nutshell, it’s Quartz Extreme. Mark Shuttleworth has already committed to replacing X with Wayland as the primary graphics architecture for Ubuntu. (All your old programs will still run; an X11 implementation will serve as a client of Wayland.) Even still I’d say it’s maybe five or so years between now and when Wayland is ready for prime time (they have to retrace a lot of Apple’s steps in order to get to bug-free compositing window management).

    In the meantime, the hacker elite will be using Macs and have all this niftiness already.

  194. Nigel:

    “data jail” == fosstard for “does not do the expected thing in MY command-line-based workflow”.

  195. @Jeff the reason I run osx after decades of unix and linux is a fervent desire to escape the command-line-based workflow and still be able to do unixy stuff when I needed to (yes, on the command line).

    Wayland has all the earmarks of another PulseAudio fiasco…I can imagine the jump to Wayland might be more half-baked than usual.

    Someone needs to explain to me how anyone thinks putting the wayland preview into 12.04 LTS is a good idea. My understanding is that they want to nest the X.Org server inside wayland for a X on Wayland hybrid. Really? On a LTS release? Not that anyone should be running Ubuntu LTS for enterprise but still. That’s going to be huge potential for breakage on the release that folks pick for more stability, long term support and generally is the basis for the server edition. Really? THAT’S the plan?

  196. @ Jeff

    That’s not particularly fair or nice. Data jails are certainly something to be concerned about, but how much concern should be shown I think rests on a continuum and goes back to what I was talking about before where the data not the files actually matter, and in the case of the iPhone, how much of a data jail your iPhone is depends almost entirely on the applications you use, this is in part because Apple has chosen to hide the file system.

    I think part of the reason this is such a huge concern is because how much up until recently the OS has mattered for access to data. You can not access any data within most OSs without interacting with the OS (or at least what to the user is the OS, Explorer in windows, Finder in OS X, Gnome, KDE, or your given shell choice in *NIX). While the idea of applications being their own data islands is hardly new (see the original Palm PDAs, which reminds me, I don’t recall so much handwringing over the fact that you couldn’t access the file system on your palm, but maybe I just missed it), the ability for those apps to reliably share their data is fairly new. This new mode of interaction on smart phones, where the app pushes the data to another app rather than using an app to pull data from the OS is a different way of thinking compared to the old way of loading generic files on a device and having apps pull the data in.

  197. >Someone needs to explain to me how anyone thinks putting the wayland preview into 12.04 LTS
    >is a good idea. My understanding is that they want to nest the X.Org server inside wayland for
    >a X on Wayland hybrid.

    Eh, as long as they have a strict cutover planned, it’s not a horrible idea. The problem is, even if they had a strict cutover planned, Ubuntu doesn’t have the ability to tell developers to move along or get bent like Apple or Microsoft does.

  198. @Jeff the reason I run osx after decades of unix and linux is a fervent desire to escape the command-line-based workflow and still be able to do unixy stuff when I needed to (yes, on the command line).

    What command-line based workflow? I can’t think of much that I can’t do without a Terminal on my Ubuntu Lucid system here.

  199. > The problem is, even if they had a strict cutover planned, Ubuntu doesn’t have the ability to tell
    > developers to move along or get bent like Apple or Microsoft does.

    I think this is a red-herring problem. There can’t be too many developers out there who still work strictly in X11. The pool of developers who would need to begin migrating support to wayland would really be limited mostly to the wx/gtk/qt/sdl/etc’s of the world.

  200. @Jeff Read:

    Even still I’d say it’s maybe five or so years between now and when Wayland is ready for prime time (they have to retrace a lot of Apple’s steps in order to get to bug-free compositing window management).

    Wayland will be running by end of 2012. Qt with a backend rendering to Wayland (already exists) will be vastly superior to anything Apple. We’re not far at all from the day when BOTH AAPL and MSFT will be f__ked — for good.

    As for network transparency, I couldn’t give a rodents rear end about network transparency of the like implemented by X. Every other network transparent implementation wins including RDP. As far as I am concerned nothing has retarded unix and the unix takeover of desktops in particular as much as X.

    When Ubuntu runs on wayland, it will be a vastly superior system to OS X in EVERY respect.

  201. @jsk:

    I much appreciate being able to run a specific program on a remote system and have it display locally.

    And the price paid for that with X is everthing from POS fps and video performance, to horribly unsnappy GUIs. No thanks. VNC can still do the job if I need something running remotely.

  202. @uma
    > And the price paid for that with X is everthing from POS fps and video performance, to horribly unsnappy
    > GUIs. No thanks. VNC can still do the job if I need something running remotely.

    My environments are highly distributed and I am essentially ALWAYS running something remotely.

    A real-world example: my workstation @ work sits on its own private network, with a single hop-box between it and the network where all the systems I manage live. one of those systems runs an old version of veritas netbackup (bleh), and I have to access it via gui. since i want persistence I do in fact run that gui in a vnc session. but to access that vnc session, I have two choices:
    run a series of ssh port forwards back to my workstation (a total of three hops and time-consuming to configure), OR I could just use X11 forwarding, ssh up to the first system in the network with the vnc session, and run vncviewer there X-forwarded back to my workstation.

    That’s just a single example of how I use it, and I do in fact use it frequently and in ways that preclude simply sharing desktops or running remote sessions. Of course I do still use vnc, NX, and whatever else. X forwarding is another tool, and has a scope of use that can be important to some of out there.

    X is clunky, yes. I hope Wayland, if it becomes the New Thing, gets client display forwarding in some fashion after not too long. It’s just too damn handy.

    I dream of Plan 9′s method somehow magically appearing in Linux, but alas…

  203. We knew this was comming. Scorpion and the Frog:

    Microsoft confirms UEFI fears, locks down ARM devices
    http://www.softwarefreedom.org/blog/2012/jan/12/microsoft-confirms-UEFI-fears-locks-down-ARM/

    The Certification Requirements define (on page 116) a “custom” secure boot mode, in which a physically present user can add signatures for alternative operating systems to the system’s signature database, allowing the system to boot those operating systems. But for ARM devices, Custom Mode is prohibited: “On an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enable.” [sic] Nor will users have the choice to simply disable secure boot, as they will on non-ARM systems: “Disabling Secure [Boot] MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems.” [sic] Between these two requirements, any ARM device that ships with Windows 8 will never run another operating system, unless it is signed with a preloaded key or a security exploit is found that enables users to circumvent secure boot.

  204. Winter,

    Undefended territory is forfeit to the enemy.

    Nobody gives a shit about general purpose computing. Nobody, that is, except for nerds, who — as Representative Lamar Smith pointed out — are politically insignificant.

  205. >Nobody gives a shit about general purpose computing.

    Nobody except every Fortune 500 company that runs a server room.

    Doctorow is, as he often does, hyperventilating a bit. General-purpose computing is in no danger – between corporate server rooms and ubiquitous hackable smartphones, there is a political coalition quite sufficient to defend it.

  206. @Jeff Read
    Nobody gives a shit about freedom. Only an insignificant number of nerds.

    This is the position of the Chinese Communist party. Give them bread and games and they have all they want is an even older truism.

    The fact that most people do not care does not mean it is not important (eg, the levies in new orleans).

  207. >Nobody gives a shit about general purpose computing. Nobody, that is, except for nerds, who — as Representative Lamar Smith pointed out — are politically insignificant.

    So insignificant that as of earlier today SOPA is tabled and probably dead. Jeff Read’s record of being almost magnificently wrong in every single political pronouncement remains unblemished.

  208. Here we see why FLOSS is important. FLOSS in action:

    CyanogenMod, the free/open port of Android, gains traction
    http://boingboing.net/2012/01/14/cyanogenmod-the-freeopen-por.html

    I really like the way that CyanogenMod exerts force on the Android ecosystem: back when Google was unwilling to ship a tethering app (even for “Google Experience” phones like the Nexus One), CyanogenMod gave users the choice to tether. I think that the number of users who went to the fork freaked out both Google and the carriers, and in any event, tethering quickly became an official feature of Android.

    ….

    Now CyanogenMod is toying with the idea of a Banned Apps store, consisting of apps that were banned from Google Marketplace for “no good reason” (generally because they threatened Google or the carriers in some way). It’s hard for users to get upset about functionality restrictions that they don’t know about, but once their friends get the ability to do more, they’ll clamor for it, too.

    ….

    Given the success of CyanogenMod, it should be no surprise that the project is continuing to evolve and grow into new areas. Koushik Dutta, one of the CyanogenMod team members, would like to see an App Store for root apps and apps that are “getting shut down for no good reason.” The idea seems pretty handy from a user perspective, and as Dutta points out, could even help fund the CyanogenMod project.

  209. So insignificant that as of earlier today SOPA is tabled and probably dead.

    News to me. What I’ve been hearing of is bromides from the President’s office about supporting an innovative internet while still providing tools to combat piracy; and a few not-quite-rejections from former supporters of SOPA. Far as I know, the bill still goes to a vote on Wednesday.

    Even if it’s tabled now, there’s a good chance it’ll end up as one of the “other purposes” of a veterans’ health care appropriations bill or something. I don’t see Hollywood backing down on their lobbying efforts for copyright maximalism because a few kids got angry on Reddit.

  210. @Jeff Read
    SOPA (Stop Online Political Activity) is an attempt to (re-)introduce censorship.

    There is absolutely nothing new to attempts to introduce censorship. Every power that ever existed has attempted to extend censorship to every domain in life. Civil wars have been fought to abolish censorship. The fight against censorship is an eternal one.

    And the arguments have always been the same: “We must protect the stupid masses against dangerous ideas”. The danger always being that the stupid masses organize to get a say in the deal.

    This idea that “information is dangerous” has even become part of USA folk culture, eg, the “dangerous knowledge” in the Star Wars movies. The whole fight against “intercourse” education in school is based on the premises that children are better off if they remain ignorant.

  211. As a member of the Walkman generation, I have made peace with the fact that I will require a hearing aid long before I die, and of course, it won’t be a hearing aid, it will be a computer I put in my body. So when I get into a car — a computer I put my body into — with my hearing aid — a computer I put inside my body — I want to know that these technologies are not designed to keep secrets from me, and to prevent me from terminating processes on them that work against my interests. [vigorous applause from audience] Thank you.

    I prefer to know that these technologies are designed to be rock solid and very secure. The last thing I want is some idiot hacking my car and nuking the brakes. At no time while I’m driving will I ever want the ability to terminate processes on the car. Ditto for any hearing aid.

    The closest approximation that we have to this is a computer with spyware — a computer on which remote parties set policies without the computer user’s knowledge, over the objection of the computer’s owner. And so it is that digital rights management always converges on malware.

    Except it often is with the computer user’s knowledge and permission. If I want Netflix I will happily accept the DRM that it requires to run if the DRM isn’t intrusive or disruptive to anything else I’m doing. Likewise I prefer U-EFI because I don’t want anyone to be able to insert a rootkit on my machine.

    Can these technologies be used for the wrong things? Sure. But so can a lot of other technologies.

    In any case, moving toward more secure computing does not necessarily mean the death of general purpose computing.

  212. @tmoney and jsk

    My point is that the first iteration of Wayland is likely to buggy and introduce problems. This is the last thing you want in a LTS release.

    Given how well the audio transition went for Ubuntu what gives anyone the idea that the Wayland transition, especially this first X on Wayland build, is going to be any better?

    @uma

    Righto, 2013 will be the year of the linux desktop due to the superiority of Wayland. ROFL. I think when Jeff said 5 years he meant before wayland was stable enough to want to use. It took Ubuntu a couple three years to unbork audio…it never ever should have been in 8.04 LTS. Folks that only run LTS revs were essentially screwed until 10.04. Just like 12.04 users will get screwed until 14.04.

    So it is hilariously amazing to me that anyone would consider for one minute pushing any form of Wayland into 12.04 instead of 12.10. Are these people stupid? Because it’s not as if 2008 is in the distant past that no one can remember.

    But that’s the plan and indicates to me that neither Apple, nor Microsoft has anything to fear from Ubuntu.

  213. @Nigel
    > My point is that the first iteration of Wayland is likely to buggy and introduce problems. This is the last thing you
    > want in a LTS release.

    > Given how well the audio transition went for Ubuntu what gives anyone the idea that the Wayland transition,
    > especially this first X on Wayland build, is going to be any better?

    No doubt; I intend to stick with X for some time, as despite its flaws it works marvelously for my needs. I consider all of Ubuntu to be a mass of awful decisions and every time I have attempted to use it I have spent more time trying to get things to work than actually using it. I will stick with my Slackware and be more than happy. If Wayland does become the next big thing, it will get pulled in when it’s ready.

  214. This idea that “information is dangerous” has even become part of USA folk culture, eg, the “dangerous knowledge” in the Star Wars movies. The whole fight against “intercourse” education in school is based on the premises that children are better off if they remain ignorant.

    Americans haven’t internalized it to the extent of some European countries, where displaying a swastika is illegal and the characters of Team Fortress 2 bleed oil and cogs instead of blood and guts, because of institutionalized fears about what would happen if anyone — not just kids — were exposed to violent video games. To me, that crosses a line into arbitrary and unnecessary nanny-state-ism.

    Except it often is with the computer user’s knowledge and permission. If I want Netflix I will happily accept the DRM that it requires to run if the DRM isn’t intrusive or disruptive to anything else I’m doing. Likewise I prefer U-EFI because I don’t want anyone to be able to insert a rootkit on my machine.

    Hence my statement that no one gives a shit about general purpose computing. Restricted computing offers consumer benefits and access to things they wouldn’t otherwise have. The home video game industry only really took off when there were centralized controls on what could run on the systems.

    Of course the government and Corporate America want to be able to run general purpose computers. But GP computing only for the elite is hardly a desirable situation; and you can bet your ass there are computations Corporate America doesn’t want you to run. That’s why recent versions of Microsoft Office ship with DRM protection.

  215. Nigel says: At no time while I’m driving will I ever want the ability to terminate processes on the car.

    I can see it coming. I predict that, before too long, auto makers will be required to add a feature that closes the car’s throttle in response to a coded signal from the police. Stolen cars will also have the ability to be bricked remotely.

  216. @LS

    That’s only the tip of the ice berg. How about your car advertising its maintenance status over any available network so you can be targeted with “time to change your oil” ads? Plus, it’s inconvenient for government agencies to have to send someone to crawl under your car to place a gps tracker, so why not use the installed systems on the car? We are going to see a lot of this, and the implications are frightening.

    I have a 1964 Chevy pickup that might become a daily driver again. The only wireless network in it is the one that happens when the wiring under the dash catches fire, as it has done once or twice on me. Plus, it doesn’t have (and isn’t required to have) seat belts, which makes it easier to get out fast when the wiring harness shorts out.

  217. @Nigel:

    iTunes hovers in the Bronze/Silver level of compatibility. Was that supposed to be a gotcha?

    Have you ever actually used anything in the bronze level of compatibility?

    And that’s ignoring all the other open source tools to deal with iOS devices.

    I’m not ignoring those. I already pointed out that their functionality could be decimated on a whim by Apple.

    Folks may not like iOS or Apple’s walled garden or the designed iOS workflow but calling the iPad a data jail is simply FUD.

    It’s a minimum security facility, but the authorities could tighten up their control at any time.

  218. > their functionality could be decimated on a whim by Apple.

    (most likely, as collateral damage, when Apple is fighting other device manufacturers who want to piggyback on the iTunes ecosystem)

  219. I can see it coming. I predict that, before too long, auto makers will be required to add a feature that closes the car’s throttle in response to a coded signal from the police. Stolen cars will also have the ability to be bricked remotely.

    OnStar has this capability right now. The cops get the coordinates of the stolen car, get visual contact with it, and the OnStar people send a command that slowly reduces the maximum speed the car can go. The cops get right on the car’s ass and the perp drives to the shoulder as the speed drops to single digits, then parks, waiting to be cuffed and hauled away.

    All it will take is for some photogenic kid to be in the back seat of a carjacked vehicle that doesn’t have OnStar, and you have your poster child.

  220. So apparently, Woz prefers Android.

    For some reason it’s not terribly surprising, but still refreshing, to learn that this paragon of geekdom prefers the more open nature of Android.

  221. @ Jeff Read

    Nice editorializing in your link, but that’s not quite what he says, or does.

    ““My primary phone is the iPhone, I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do,” said Woz.”

  222. @Jeff Read
    At the end of WWII, Germany (the allied forces) were put to the choice to kill or incarcerate all those who held nazi sympaties or to kill the nazi ideas. They chose the latter to the extend possible.

    The rest of the discussion harks back to the old question whether a slave who is left to do what he wants to do by his master is a free man. He is not as he is only free as long as his master lets him.

  223. >>Mainly for making sure beliefs pay rent and hold pundits accountable for their beliefs.
    >>If you can come up with some way to make my beliefs pay me rent, I shall be much interested.

    I actually worked on a (play-money-based) social prediction market for exactly this purpose — a little like PredictionBook, but based on betting your friends on predictions on a variety of topics. It’s on the back burner at the moment because it was hard to get our initial users to play. Unfortunately, the straightforward ways of getting your beliefs to literally “pay rent” are illegal under US gambling law, so motivating people to come up with predictions is hard. Prediction markets are kind of a hard problem in general; InTrade is consistently wrong because it’s too illiquid. Internal prediction markets within companies (such as banks) tend to fail due to lack of participation. You could harness collective wisdom in really interesting ways if you could just get people to make bets… but getting them to actually do it is hard.

  224. Sarah,

    I’m really, really scared of what might happen if the idea of a “prediction market” really takes off. Like some tycoon financing successful terrorist attacks against the USA because he made a long-odds bet with his buddies on the rise of Islamic extremism as a dominant political force.

  225. The stock market fell almost 1400 points in the first week of trading after 9/11. That’s a predictable reaction. If you’re in a position to finance successful terrorist attacks, you don’t need a prediction market to make money. It’s also a stupid idea, because you’re increasing chaos and in the medium to long term, chaos is bad for business.

  226. @phil:

    Here’s the original report:

    http://www.bgr.com/2012/01/18/iphone-share-among-recent-smartphone-buyers-nearly-doubles-in-q4-nielsen-says/

    Can you explain why one graph shows 44.5% purchased an iPhone over the 3 months leading up to the December survey, but in (apparently) the same 3 months, only 37% of acquirers bought a phone that runs iOS? Or why 46.9% purchased an Android phone, but during the same 3 months, 51.7% of acquirers bought a phone that runs the Android OS?

    It appears that the 37/51.7% numbers are approximately averages of the other numbers, but does that mean that the other numbers are really monthly numbers, or that the 37/51.7 numbers actually average over around 5 months, with a weighting towards the center?

    I have no problem believing that Apple is doing really well with the confluence of Christmas shopping season and the 4S rollout, but am puzzled about exactly how well.

  227. MS and Nokia are targeting the High end, high profile phones.

    Given MS’ history, it would be a first if they really succeeded. But if MS are willing to spend another $20B to save Ballmer’s job, they can go on for a long time. (actually, I expect Ballmer to retire this year)

    Nokia, Microsoft Build ‘Beachhead’ in War of the Mobiles

    Further, the new Lumia takes advantage of AT&T’s 4G LTE network, hopping on the trend of super-fast high-end devices. Unlike the Lumia 710 — a modest device priced at a relatively cheap $50 on contract which Nokia introduced earlier in the year — the 900 will be the premium option for consumers who want a fast device with a different look than Android or iOS.

    I am a little puzzled about “consumers who want a fast device with a different look than Android or iOS”. What kind of people would that be?

    Btw, this hooks into the UEFI bootlocking story I linked to above. The last thing MS can tolerate is “consumers who want a different look” putting Android on these heavily subsidized Lumia phones. It would be even worse if people found out the Lumia would be a much better phone when running Android. If you want this very cheap high end phone, you will have to tolerate WinPhone.

  228. @Patrick
    “but am puzzled about exactly how well.”

    That seems to be exactly the whole point of these numbers.

  229. @Patrick Maupin

    “Can you explain why one graph shows 44.5% purchased an iPhone over the 3 months leading up to the December survey, but in (apparently) the same 3 months, only 37% of acquirers bought a phone that runs iOS? Or why 46.9% purchased an Android phone, but during the same 3 months, 51.7% of acquirers bought a phone that runs the Android OS?”

    The 44.5% graph is of recent purchases. The other is of smartphone share of all phones currently in use.

  230. @Louis4:

    > The 44.5% graph is of recent purchases. The other is of smartphone share of all phones currently in use.

    Please re-read the chart carefully and try again. Thank you for participating.

  231. Hrm. From the text: “Among recent acquirers, meaning those who said they got a new device within the past three months, 44.5 percent of those surveyed in December said they chose an iPhone, compared to just 25.1 percent in October.” So that says to me that each monthly figure in the last graph has a different sample population:

    October: people who bought in August-October
    November: people who bought in September-November
    December: people who bought in October-December

    That would imply that the December numbers are the ones that really reflect the 4S launch.

    The 37% number is close to the average of the three monthly numbers, but is that really a useful number? Patrick’s guess about a five month average seems right to me, but I don’t know if it’s actually useful to combine the three month samples like that. Possibly someone being overenthused with the infographics.

  232. @Bryant:

    First of all, I posted the wrong link (reposted BGR). Here’s the original:

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/more-us-consumers-choosing-smartphones-as-apple-closes-the-gap-on-android/

    In addition to the lack of clarity on the smartphone breakdown, there are other problematic statements in the article, such as the statement “As of Q42011, 46 percent of US mobile consumers had smartphones, and that figure is growing quickly. In fact, 60 percent of those who said they got a new device within the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.”

    A quick thought experiment shows that the 46% and 60% numbers are only tenuously related. If most new smartphones are purchased by people who already own a smartphone, that won’t budge the 46% number, and would just mean that smartphone owners upgrade more frequently.

    If there were very few sales in the quarter, than the 46% number won’t budge, either. It’s entirely possible Nielsen has data supporting the conclusion that the 46% number is “growing quickly” although (a) they don’t share any of that data with us, and (b) they don’t even bother to quantify “quickly”.

    One reason I mention this is that smartphone usage “growing quickly” doesn’t seem to match what we’ve been seeing in the comscore numbers — smartphone growth seems to be slowing somewhat according to those.

  233. Yeah, I was working from the original. I find around here it’s always good to track back to the original source — people on both sides of the argument have this tendency to skim one link deep if it supports their prejudices.

    What am I missing about smartphone usage growth? I did a quick graph based on Eric’s data file and the trend’s been pretty linear since December 09. I’m not charting against total cellphone users because Comscore doesn’t seem to report that. Asymco has a nice chart here but the data’s unsourced.

  234. @Bryant:

    > What am I missing about smartphone usage growth?

    Maybe nothing.

    > I did a quick graph based on Eric’s data file and the trend’s been pretty linear since December 09.

    Linear or slightly sub-linear. Either way, that’s a declining growth rate (as a percentage of installed base of smartphones).

    > Comscore doesn’t seem to report that.

    They do, but who knows where they get their total from? It seem suspiciously flat. (Hint: they report it in the text, not in the graphs.)

    > Asymco has a nice chart here but the data’s unsourced.

    A quick glance at the actual numbers in their chart would seem to show that (if accurate) the asymco chart shows global sales, vs. comscore’s domestic installed base.

    If we assume that Nielsen’s 37% number (percentage of recent smartphone acquirers who use Apple) is the average of their most recent three months, and that likewise their 30% number (percentage of all smartphone owners who use Apple) is likewise an average of the most recent three months, then they track Comscore pretty well (as they seem to have in the past as well) — Comscore’s 3 month average ending in November showed Apple with 29% of the installed base.

    So Nielsen gives some information on both domestic sales and on domestic installed base, but no information correlating the two. For example, it would be nice to know, for all the people buying an iPhone 4s, did it replace another iPhone? Or an Android phone? or a dumbphone? or a landline? or are they a brand new customer?

    Without that, it’s hard to predict how new sales affect the installed base and ecosystem, so you wind up waiting another month or 3 to correlate other numbers. If history is any guide, I would have to guess that a lot of the initial 4S sales were to the Apple faithful.

    The most interesting statement I saw in the Nielsen report was “57 percent of new iPhone owners surveyed in December said they got an iPhone 4S,” meaning, of course, that 43% of people who acquired iPhones in that time period didn’t get the 4S.

    Assume for a moment (bad assumption due to holidays, but still a starting point) that the sales were spread evenly over the time period. Now assume that the survey took place evenly over the month of December. This means that around 1/3 of surveyed recent acquirers got phones in October, 1/3 in November, 1/6 in December, and 1/6 in September, or that around 1/3 of them acquired their iPhone before the 4s was available.

    No matter how you slice it, this implies that a lot of non-4S phones were sold after the 4S was available. It would be interesting to know how many 4S phones would register twice with Nielsen — once as the 4S being sold, and the other as the older iphone it replaced was reported as a “new” phone by whoever received it from the original owner. That’s another piece of information Nielsen could pick up on the survey — “was your new phone brand new or refurbished?”

  235. It’s entirely possible Nielsen has data supporting the conclusion that the 46% number is “growing quickly” although (a) they don’t share any of that data with us, and (b) they don’t even bother to quantify “quickly”.

    Because they want to charge lots of money for that report…

  236. @Nigel:

    > Because they want to charge lots of money for that report…

    Sure. I realize we only get the scraps.

    But… We always seem to get the same scraps. You’d think it would be better advertising if they shovelled out some different scraps every now and then just to show that they understood a bit more about what they purport to be measuring.

  237. Uh, did you read the article? Year-on-year net income was up nearly 10%. Very odd result for “not growth”.

    The one really interesting thing in there is that Google is charging less for add placements, which would seem to indicate some increased competition.

  238. This is walled garden for you.

    The Unprecedented Audacity of the iBooks Author EULA
    http://venomousporridge.com/post/16126436616/ibooks-author-eula-audacity

    IMPORTANT NOTE:
    If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

    And in section 2:

    B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:
    (i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
    (ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

    I disagree with the author though on:

    In other words: Apple is trying to establish a rule that whatever I create with this application, if I sell it, I have to give them a cut. And iBooks Author is free, so this arrangement sounds pretty reasonable.

    I do not find it reasonable. I still remember the horrible days when every compiler had such conditions in their license. I still hate those provisions.
    (note: reasonable != legal != moral)

  239. I think this article gives a more balanced and realistic view of the iBooks EULA

    Apple’s mind-bogglingly greedy and evil license agreement
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/apples-mind-bogglingly-greedy-and-evil-license-agreement/4360

    I read EULAs so you don’t have to. I’ve spent years reading end user license agreements, EULAs, looking for little gotchas or just trying to figure out what the agreement allows and doesn’t allow.

    I have never seen a EULA as mind-bogglingly greedy and evil as Apple’s EULA for its new ebook authoring program.

  240. The iBooks EULA is crappy. When I compare your terms to Amazon, and Amazon comes out looking better, you’re way over the line.

  241. OK, serious question. Communist China is kicking ass on prices. Certainly US and European vendors are not operating in a completely free market; there are regulations, etc. But still — should we conclude that regulations are actually worse for businesses than communism?

  242. >I do not find it reasonable. I still remember the horrible days when every compiler had such
    >conditions in their license. I still hate those provisions.

    It’s a crappy provision to be sure, but not unprecedented, and the hyperventilating across the intertubes while not unexpected is still annoying. To me the clause doesn’t read as any more evil than the thousands of softwares out there with discount or educational or alternate licenses which allow for the use of the software to create content, but only in limited and non commercial applications. For example: http://www.princexml.com/license/, or http://itextpdf.com/terms-of-use/

    From a higher level view, I can imagine something like this becoming a way that content production software companies begin licensing software. Imagine instead of having to pay thousands of dollars for an Adobe suite or a movie editing suite, you could pay a per project fee instead. Big companies would rather pay upfront, but your independent guys might rather pay $20 per project rather than outlay $3,000. I don’t think Apple’s version would be the version used, as I don’t see Adobe setting up an artists market place, but I could certainly see this as being a new way of “selling” content creation software.

  243. All that said, it is a pretty crappy provision, and I imagine that it will make this authoring tool DOA for a lot of independent publishers.

  244. Bryant Says:

    > OK, serious question. Communist China is kicking ass on prices.
    > Certainly US and European vendors are not operating in a completely free market; there are regulations, etc.
    > But still — should we conclude that regulations are actually worse for businesses than communism?

    Worse for non-profits also?
    http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/509

  245. @tmoney — you know, yeah. If Apple had simultaneously rolled out a for pay license that doesn’t have the same limitation, I bet they’d have blunted a lot of the anger.

    Although either way I’d be pissed off that they’re not working with standards. iBooks Author doesn’t create ePubs, it creates these weird quasi-ePubs that aren’t 100% compatible. It’s the same ploy Microsoft likes to use and I don’t like it any better coming from Apple.

  246. @Bryant
    Under what kind of definition is China Communist?

    It is a dictatorship. But current policies do not look like anything Mao,.Lenin or Marx ever preached.

  247. @Patrick
    As all phones seem to be produced in China it is to be expected that they start to market them too.

    That is also in line with goverment policy and popular demand.

    But “we” expected a cut throat competition on Android with razor thin margins for years (that is eric predicted it).

    Nice to see it born out.

  248. Not particularly by my definition, Winter, but I didn’t particularly want to get into that debate. Eric thinks of ‘em as “Communist China” and I figured I’d go with that for the sake of argument. Me, I think it’s a dictatorship, but the core of the question doesn’t particularly change.

  249. >The expected increased competition enabled by Android is having the expected results:

    Indeed. I predicted on this blog that ZTE and Huawei would go big in the low-cost Android market. All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

  250. @esr
    “Indeed. I predicted on this blog that ZTE and Huawei would go big in the low-cost Android market. All is proceeding as I have foreseen.”

    Including the Android tablet market?

  251. >Including the Android tablet market?

    Yes, though in tablets more slowly than I expected. I thought the tablet market would be where it is now three months or so sooner.

  252. “All that said, it is a pretty crappy provision, and I imagine that it will make this authoring tool DOA for a lot of independent publishers.”

    Much like the app stores’ even worse provisions drove away independent developers.

    “Although either way I’d be pissed off that they’re not working with standards. iBooks Author doesn’t create ePubs, it creates these weird quasi-ePubs that aren’t 100% compatible. ”

    And yet both their ebook reader and their ebook store also support the epub standard and have since the beginning. If only we could somehow devote some of the energy we use in bitching about the EULA of software that apple does not force you to use into creating an awesome epub creation tool…

  253. @Winter

    Oops, missed that! Also I should note that those numbers I quoted were for December only, and not an average of the three months as I erroneously implied.

    It will be interesting to see if these changes are reflected in the com score numbers when they are next released.

  254. @Tom
    “Also I should note that those numbers I quoted were for December only, and not an average of the three months as I erroneously implied.”

    The information about what these numbers actually mean is so convoluted that an extended analysis is needed to disentangle it. It might end up as an example for “How to lie with statistics”, Advanced course.

  255. More market research with the original source hidden behind a paywall:

    Android share doubles iPhone in U.S., Samsung most popular vendor
    http://www.bgr.com/2012/01/20/android-share-doubles-iphone-in-u-s-samsung-most-popular-vendor/

    A new report from market research firm iGR states that 47% of U.S. smartphone owners have Android devices while 24% own Apple’s iPhone. The company also found that Samsung is the most popular brand among Android users in the U.S. followed by Motorola, HTC and LG. Less than half of Android users researched the mobile OS before purchasing their smartphones according to the study, and 27% said Google’s reputation was a key factor when they made the decision to purchase an Android phone.

    Android is now eerily close to the 50% of USA user base of Eric’s predictions (originally expected in November). With the bottom falling out under RIM, that could be reached this month. For the USA, the wait is for those all elusive December numbers.

  256. > Android is now eerily close to the 50% of USA user base of Eric’s predictions (originally expected in November).

    Comscore (the basis for Eric’s predictions) say that as of November, Android is 46.9% while iPhone is 28.7%. In October Android had 46.3%, while iPhone had 28.1%, and in September, Android had 44.8% and iPhone 27.4%.

    Remember that these are 3 month averages for the preceding 3 months.

    It is obvious to anyone who wants to look that the combination of iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 @ $99, iPhone 3GS @ $0.99 on At&T, (projections are that 44% of iPhone sales during Oct-Dec are iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4) and the addition of Sprint (and CSpire) leading to iPhone selling alongside Android-based phones on all three major carriers, has restored Apple’s ‘game’ in capturing US market share.

    Apple announces results tomorrow, and while Google missed the street’s estimates by a wide margin, Apple is expected to announce a blowout quarter. Analysts are forecasting, on average, quarterly iPhone sales of a little more than 30 million units, world-wide. Comscore estimates that 91.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphone as of November, up from 90 million in the end of October, and 87.4 million at the end of September.

    4 million smartphones total gain in Oct/Nov, and Apple had less than 2 million of these, meanwhile, analysis estimate 15X this number, world-wide, with only another month of sales.

    Something doesn’t mesh.

  257. >It is obvious to anyone who wants to look that [foo] has restored Apple’s ‘game’ in capturing US market share.

    Riiiight. I’ve been hearing this, for different values of foo, after every random statistical fluctuation since early 2010. *Yawn*.

  258. @Larry
    “has restored Apple’s ‘game’ in capturing US market share.”

    China does not only produce most (almost all?) smartphones, they currently are the biggest markets for Smartphones
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Latest-News-Wires/2011/1124/Smartphones-Biggest-market-now-China-not-US

    The firm’s research found that smartphone shipments reached 23.9 million units in China during Q3, while the U.S. had 23.3 million units shipped.

    Even more telling is how those sales compared to the past quarter: China grew 58 percent, while the U.S. fell 7 percent.

    Why anyone can believe the Chinese will be satisfied with the crumbs Western marketing firms will pay them to make their phones is beyond me (ignorance, delusions?). It has been standard government policy in China to upmarket the production and get Chinese companies to design and market their own products and brands. And the Chinese populace is nationalistic enough to actually look for an excuse to buy “local brands”.

    In the end, whatever Apple can do with the Apple 4S/5/6, at some point a Chinese brand will overtake them. Even if Apple pulls it off now, they won’t be in this game for long.

    Android is different. The Chinese are not yet on steam on software (they could team up with the Indians though). But even after they get into the software game, Android is FLOSS, and forking it will always be the better option than writing a new OS from scratch. And forking is expensive in many ways, so the economic pressure will be to push changes back into mainline. And if they really want, the Chinese can take over Android and maintain the mainline themselves.

    As usual, those interested in FLOSS are only mildly interested in financial quarter result. I, for one, could not care less about how much money Apple rakes in versus Google (except that I hope Google rakes in enough to continue their work for a while).

  259. > I’ve been hearing this, for different values of foo, after every random statistical fluctuation since early 2010. *Yawn*.

    Just as “this will be the year of the Linux desktop” rings hollow, until one day, it doesn’t.

  260. Comscore reported 4 million smartphones total US gain in Oct/Nov, and Apple had less than 2 million of these.

    Verizon just reported 4.3 million iPhone activations in Q4.

    Puts some doubt on the Comscore numbers, no?

  261. > Puts some doubt on the Comscore numbers, no?

    No, it puts doubt in:

    a) your understanding of how the comscore numbers are calculated; and

    b) your understanding of how many of those iPhones were upgrades for people who already had iPhones.

  262. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  263. > a) your understanding of how the comscore numbers are calculated; and

    comscore? they ask a couple people, and then guess how to make it fit the bigger picture.
    Verizon: they’re bound by law to tell the truth on this stuff.

    > b) your understanding of how many of those iPhones were upgrades for people who already had iPhones.

    Oh, I see.

    Nevermind that iPhone outsold all other smartphones on Verizon during the Oct-Dec period.

  264. > comscore? they ask a couple people, and then guess how to make it fit the bigger picture.

    Yeah, but they don’t release the numbers until a lot later, and they are for a 3 month moving average. So your assertion that what happened last quarter “puts some doubt in” their numbers “puts some doubt” in your understanding of what they do.

    > Verizon: they’re bound by law to tell the truth on this stuff.

    No, they’re not. Oh, sure they can’t tell out and out lies. But they can lie by omission. There is no law that they even have to tell you how many iPhones they sold. BTW, did they tell you how many of them were discounted old ones?

  265. > But they can lie by omission.

    Someone needs to go to school on Sarbanes-Oxley section 302.

    > BTW, did they tell you how many of them were discounted old ones?

    Do you perhaps mean the iPhone 4 that went on-sale at Verizon earlier this year, which runs the latest iOS from Apple?

  266. > Someone needs to go to school on Sarbanes-Oxley section 302.

    I know all about Sarbox. But companies can often get away with saying nothing when the whole world assumes something that’s not true about them.

    > Do you perhaps mean the iPhone 4 that went on-sale at Verizon earlier this year, which runs the latest iOS from Apple?

    Yes, those. I have maintained for a very long time on this very blog that Apple can sell pretty much as much junk as they want, but they might not get the margins they want. The thing that has become apparent over the last couple of quarters is that (at least for the moment) they can even get pretty good margins when they lower their prices, at the expense of the US carriers.

    They play this game so well that it costs carriers a lot more to sell an Apple phone than to sell an Android phone.

    Which is probably why they raked in more than 40% of domestic smartphone sales and less than 20% of global smartphone sales last quarter.

  267. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/25/apple-google-microsoft-idUSL5E8CO4QP20120125

    “Demand for the iPhone 4S helped Apple’s U.S. share of the smartphone market climb to 44.9 percent in the last quarter of 2011, Kantar said, doubling from the same period a year ago and gaining a very slight edge over Google’s platform. Android slipped to 44.8 percent from 50 percent during the quarter.

    Apple’s success isn’t isolated to the U.S., either. Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar’s global consumer insight director told Reuters, ”overall, Apple sales are now growing faster than Android across the nine countries we cover,” which include the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil and Mexico, among others.”

  268. Apple’s success isn’t isolated to the U.S., either. Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar’s global consumer insight director told Reuters, ”overall, Apple sales are now growing faster than Android across the nine countries we cover,” which include the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil and Mexico, among others.”

    This is true. But if you read between the lines, Kantar hides a lot of numbers and seems to be saying, e.g. that a growth from 1 to 2% market share is “faster” than a growth from 35 to 38% market share. If you can find, e.g. Apples to Android comparison for the UK from them, that would be interesting, but I see their Apple numbers, but not their Android numbers.

    Also, Kantar is one of those outfits that seems to be calling for MS to have 10% share RSN.

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