The Smartphone Wars: The Limits of Lawfare

It’s beginning to look like Apple’s legal offensive against Android might backfire on it big-time. Comes the news that Judge Koh has declined to suppress evidence that Apple may have copied crucial elements of the iPad design from prototypes developed by Knight-Ridder and the University of Missouri in the mid-1990s.

Those of us aware enough of computing history to be aware of early work by XEROX PARC and others have always been aware that Apple’s claims of originality were highly dubious. Apple’s history is one of adroit marketing and a facility for stealing adapting ideas from others, wrapping them in admittedly excellent industrial design, and then pretending that all of it originated de novo from the Cupertino campus.

The pretense has always galled a little, especially when Apple’s marketing created a myth that, footling technical details aside, the whole package somehow sprang like Athena from Steve Jobs’s forehead. But it didn’t become intolerable until Apple began using lawfare to suppress its competition.

The trouble with this is that there’s actually a lot of prior art out there. I myself saw and handled a Sharp tablet anticipating important iPhone/iPad design tropes two years before the uPhone launch, back in 2005; the Danger hiptop (aka T-Mobile Sidekick) anticipated the iPhone’s leveraging of what we’d now call “cloud services” in 2002-2003; and of course there’s the the Sony design study from 2006, described by one of Apple’s own designers as an important influence.

If only Apple were honest about what it owed others…but that cannot be, because the company’s strategy has come to depend on using junk patents in attempts to lock competitors out of its markets.

On one level this is understandable. The iPhone’s global market share has been plummeting – hammered nearly everywhere but the U.S. by Android, and apparently sustained in the U.S. only by carrier subsidies that at least one carrier (AT&T) has has wearied of paying. The Google Nexus 7 has recently taken off fast enough to pose a real threat to the iPad’s tablet dominance, and that problem will only become worse as other Android vendors meet or exceed the price-performance benchmark that it sets.

But lawfare is a brittle counter-strategy. Patents are more effective as threats than if you have to invoke them in court. In the presence of prior art, every patent lawsuit carries a risk that your weapon will blow up in your face. This happened to Oracle in its attempt to extract rent from Android; their case was found to be sufficiently without merit that the main argument left in play is now over how much of Google’s legal fees they’ll have to reimburse.

Apple may well be headed for a similar bruising – the fact that an amiable-looking professor is going to be able to show the jury two-decade-old mockups that remarkably resemble an iPad is certainly not a good sign for them.

The underlying problem, of course, is that the U.S. patent system is hideously broken. Despite some recent signs of sanity (in re Bilski) it is still far too easy for well-lawyered-up companies to cartelize markets, stifling innovation and suppressing consumer choice. It’s too much to hope that this will be fixed soon, but if Apple’s junk “design patents” are taken away from it, at least one great wrong perpetrated on Alan Kay and Doug Engelbart and the other pioneers who actually invented the “Apple Interface” will have been partly righted.

586 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: The Limits of Lawfare

  1. I think there is genuine invention at Apple like bounce over-scroll and slide to unlock. I certainly don’t think those things are fundamental to the smartphone but they important to the specific UI of the iPhone and Android. And I do think using them represents copying. Just the most basic look and feel stuff like a 4x(4+1) grid of icons or samsung dropping their XY style icon style selection for icon depressed look are indicative of too much copying. People should had to invent something else. So I disagree these patents of Apple’s are entirely junk.

    And I do believe that the MeeGo N9, while a dead product does actually present the world with an interface that is superior, especially for multitasking and independent (even by Apple’s admission). There is no good reason for this not to be the GUI for Android and too have two really different GUIs each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

    As far as Apple’s tactics in making ridiculous claims to how broad FRAND patents law is, that they have unlimited right to create their own license terms rather than following the norms. I hope they lose and lose badly. Cross licensing agreements under a FRAND system create a semi-open system where innovators are compensated and at the same time innovation can continue without permanent monopoly. It is in everyone’s interest that Apple lose most of this suit.

    So I think the best for everyone is that Apple win on the look and feel stuff, but win a small amount of damages for the violation and have to pay fines far exceeding those damages for blocking competitive devices.

  2. Patent laws are hideously dysfunctional? Of course, it been used to crush competitions(even other monopolies) for a long time. It’s always dysfunctional. You should read Tim Wu’s The Master Switch.

    It’s full of gold like the Hollywood Jews rebelling against the Edison Trust, develop the American cinema culture we all comes to love, and then eventually becoming the media cartel that control the theaters. Eventually those cowardly Jews got confronted by a Catholic douchebag who wants things like “respect authority, marriage is scared” and all that bullshit and caved in. Only in the 70s when they said no to private censorship did we see the renaissance of the movie.

  3. @esr

    >pretending that all of it sprang de novo from the Cupertino campus

    Really?

    ““Good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” – Steve Jobs

    >because the company’s strategy has come to depend on using junk patents in attempts to lock competitors out of its markets

    The company has been engaged in highly dubious patent lawsuits for some time now, but to say that their strategy *depends* on using patents to ‘lock competitors out of its markets’ is wrong. The only product that I am aware of that has been ‘locked out’ is a Samsung tablet that wasn’t selling anyway. Their strategy is to make outstanding products that people will pay money for.

    >The iPhone’s global market share has been plummeting

    The IDC press release you reference shows iOS global marketshare experienced a year-over-year increase of 27.5%. Android has a far higher share and is increasing that share much faster (yoy increase of 106.5%) but to say that iOS’ global marketshare is plummeting is wildly inaccurate.

    >that at least one carrier (AT&T) has has wearied of paying.

    The article you link to says that Apple handsets accounted for 72% of all handsets activated by AT&T in Q2 this year. It also quotes the company as saying:

    The idea that we would steer any customer away from a particular device couldn’t be more farfetched. Our reps do what it takes to align customer needs with the best device for them. iPhone remains one of our most popular devices, which doesn’t happen by steering people away from it. Our reps are encouraged to try all devices so they are more knowledgeable on our industry-leading smartphone lineup.

    So, your claim seems highly dubious at best.

  4. Looking more closely at the IDC release it looks like I misread it. I believe that the 27.5% increase I quoted actually refers to a year-over-year increase in shipments, not marketshare. Reading the table less hastily it appears that iOS global marketshare last quarter was 16.9%, compared with 18.8% for the same quarter last year. So, they shed 1.9% of the market. Still, hardly ‘plummeting’.

  5. It’s too much to hope that this will be fixed soon, but if Apple’s junk “design patents” are taken away from it, at least one great wrong perpetrated on Alan Kay and Doug Engelbart and the other pioneers who actually invented the “Apple Interface” will have been partly righted

    No, no, no.

    1) Apple licensed GUI tech from Xerox in a deal that, afaik, involved a grant of Apple stock to Xerox.

    2) Apple made SUBSTANTIAL improvements to the Xerox user interface. The menu bar, pop-up menus, direct manipulation, drag ‘n’ drop, spatial Finder, etc. were all Apple innovations.

    The Apple UI is just that — the Apple UI. If a person familiar with modern UIs were to find themselves in front of a Xerox Star they probably couldn’t operate it without a steep learning curve. Put that same person in front of a 1984 Macintosh and they’d be able to use it just fine. The key UI tropes behind the modern GUI were almost all developed at Apple for the Mac. Again, the factoid I keep mentioning: the existence of the File / Open command is due to the Macintosh’s 128k memory limitation! Originally all file commands were going to be implemented through the Finder, but a 128k Mac couldn’t keep Finder and any significant other application in memory at the same time, so Apple put Open and Save commands on the File menu, which have been copied and copied ever since.

  6. @esr: “The iPhone’s global market share has been plummeting – hammered nearly everywhere but the U.S. by Android, and apparently sustained in the U.S. only by carrier subsidies that at least one carrier (AT&T) has has wearied of paying.”

    I’ve gone around this elsewhere. the iPhone may indeed be losing market share. So what?

    The iPhone is the single most popular smartphone in the world. All other manufacturers would probably *kill* to have a single model even half as popular. (Name me one other phone that is even in the iPhone’s ballpark in terms of sales.)

    Apple has something more important than market share. They have enormous revenues and profits. (Nokia still has large market share, but they may not even survive.)

    Market share is meaningful only insofar as it translates into revenues and profits. Selling more widgets than anyone else doesn’t help you if you’re losing money on the sales – that enormous market share simply becomes a weight dragging you down to insolvency.

    And while Android has increasing market share, it’s fragmented over how many makes and models?

    “Apple’s history is one of adroit marketing and a facility for stealing adapting ideas from others, wrapping them in admittedly excellent industrial design, and then pretending that all of it sprang de novo from the Cupertino campus.”

    Not just excellent *industrial* design. (Though I give them major points for demonstrating that products should *look* good as well as perform well.)

    Jobs and Apple have never been great innovators. All of the markets Apple currently dominates existed before Apple entered them, and had existing products Apple had to compete with. Their strength has been in refining existing concepts. Apple has taken existing concepts and refined them to the point where they became the standard for How This Is Done. They have a fanatical emphasis on UX, and it has paid off in sales. Apple products generally not only look good, but behave as the user expects them to behave, doing what the user expects they will do when an action is selected. Apple’s reputation for ease of use stems from this – determine what the user thinks should occur when an action is chosen, and see that the product does just that,

    Android has the underlying functionality to do what iOS does, but few Android devices have a fraction of Apple’s polish.

    Apple’s current resort to the courts is driven by corporate ego, not fundamentals. I’d bet that if Apple never initiated these actions, it would have made no difference to their sales, revenues, or profits. They just can’t tolerate the idea that anyone else is trying to compete with them. Hubris is followed by nemesis, and we may see that unfold in the courts.

  7. “I think there is genuine invention at Apple like bounce over-scroll and slide to unlock.” – CD-Host

    I guess if you think that slid to unlock is such a genuine Apple invention, you aren’t much of a designer or engineer. Given the problem of pocket dialing, using a touch screen as a tool, this is probably the most obvious solution. If nobody used it before, it was probably because they thought that a slide could still happen as a pocket dial.

    Oh wait, slide to unlock had been used on a few devices before Apple ‘invented’ it. http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/10/26/slide-to-unlock-patented-by-apple-despite-prior-art/

    Even if that doesn’t do it for you as prior art, I still maintain that it would have happened anyway, because it is obvious. There must be some kind of obviousness threshold for design. This is subjective, so not my best argument.

    CD-Host goes on to describe how google should have copied meego instead of ios. The sort of brilliant malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.

    Then FRAND distraction. Not even going there.

    Tom likes to use numbers; Apple sure is doing well on its home turf (by some stats). Too bad about all the other data linked, completely ignored and not rebutted (CNN article in particular).

    Jeff rounds off the early fanboy commentary with a nice analysis of how Xerox’s UI really did suck and Apple made it rock, and everybody is now copying Apple and the fact that Apple copied Xerox really doesn’t matter because what they copied isn’t easily recognised by laymen.

    No attacking the sidekick for sucking? No accusing Roger Fidler of some kind of fraud? Or calling his ‘tablet’ too big? Or mentioning him at all? Come on, that photo is pretty awesome.

    I didn’t mean for this comment to come off so bitter, but it was just such a great, concise and well sourced article by esr that I expected a better apple fan response.

  8. “Apple has something more important than market share. They have enormous revenues and profits.”

    “Market share is meaningful only insofar as it translates into revenues and profits.”

    So wrong I shouldn’t even have to explain why around here. Profits sure are great, but market share leads to network effects, developer interest, etc.

    Isn’t this obvious? You seem like a smart guy. You can realise that “one other phone” can’t compete with the ‘one’ phone known as ‘iphone’ for market share.

    “Their strength has been in refining existing concepts.”
    This at least we can agree upon.

  9. @naka
    I guess if you think that slid to unlock is such a genuine Apple invention, you aren’t much of a designer or engineer. Given the problem of pocket dialing, using a touch screen as a tool, this is probably the most obvious solution. If nobody used it before, it was probably because they thought that a slide could still happen as a pocket dial.

    Nobody used it before now its used. There were years of pocket dialing phones. That’s meets the criteria for a patent. And incidentally MeeGo, uses double press to unlock proving that wasn’t the only solution.

    As for your prior art, look at your video again that’s powerbutton + sweep not sweep alone. And yes there is a “obviousness” criteria. The problem for Samsung is there were thousands of phones that didn’t use this method that could of. Samsung has to prove by preponderance of the evidence why this was obvious despite the fact others didn’t use it. For example they could call large numbers of engineers from various companies and determine that they all considered sweep to unlock and rejected it. But if something like that isn’t true, then Samsung violated Apple’s patent and they can either:

    a) Use some other mechanism for future phones
    b) License the technology from Apple

  10. In my opinion, slide to unlock is a junk idea. To me, this is slide to unlock:

    http://www.traditionaliron.com/Tools/Images/Door%20bolt.jpg

    In my opinion, Apple copied from humanity: they drew a stylized bolt on the screen, went to the USPTO and called it a day. It’s an obvious, blatant copy of a commonplace idea. The worst of all is that they worded it so broadly that anyone who wants to virtually use a bolt must pay Apple royalties.

    Apple has a valuable ability to group commonplace ideas and package then into something bigger than its parts. In my humble opinion, the iPhone was that. If not for it, I’d still be using bulky keypad Nokias with small screens and obtuse UX paradigms. It think it’s the most influential device in recent years. But then again, it’s another issue altogether if they can appropriate a public domain idea and patent its digital representation. They should not be allowed to patent a virtual bolt.

    Oh wait, it’s so broad it covers much more than a bolt. Cut to unlock, unzip to unlock. Any other real world idea that someone may invent would also infringe.

  11. naka,

    More developers are still interested in iOS than Android, despite the latter’s greater market share. In fact, game developers are abandoning Android en masse because Android development is vastly more work for vastly smaller revenues. In addition to the multitude of devices and subtle incompatibilities and attendant fragmentation, piracy is negligible on iOS but rampant (90% or so) on Android.

    It takes more than ubiquity to attract developer interest. Your platform must also be easy to develop for and easy to make money on. On these counts iOS wins, hands down.

  12. As an Android user, I’m happy that Apple made the iPhone, which single-handedly changed the direction of smartphone UI’s. Whereas Google was previously chasing after the space RIM and Microsoft had carved out in the smartphone world, they quickly switched gears towards large-screen multitouch devices with soft keyboards. And so did everyone else except RIM.

    That being said, very little about the iPhone was truly novel; the novelty was putting it on a smartphone. And said novelty was an inevitability — maybe not for a few more years, but the combination of capacitive multitouch screens and fast SoC’s means that it would have just happened.

    There are two parts to this case that I see potentially going toward’s Apple’s favor:

    1) trade dress infringement. Not the crap about having a plain rectangular screen and round corners, but the stuff about icon design. Samsung shamefully copied Apple’s icons on the SGS I and II, and changed the home screen to look as much like iOS as possible. I think they should be smacked down for this.

    2) The bounce-back overscroll functionality detailed in the ’381 patent. It’s pretty unique. Also, Android 2.3 and later don’t contain this functionality, likely due to some dialog between Apple and Google’s lawyers. Samsung added it back in, however.

  13. Pingback: ESR on the limits of “lawfare” for Apple « Quotulatiousness

  14. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow, to see what specific not-standard-essential patents Google-Motorola is calling out against the iPad, iPhone, and even some Macintoshes in the Friday ITC filing.

  15. @naka: ““Market share is meaningful only insofar as it translates into revenues and profits.”

    So wrong I shouldn’t even have to explain why around here. Profits sure are great, but market share leads to network effects, developer interest, etc.

    Isn’t this obvious? You seem like a smart guy. You can realise that “one other phone” can’t compete with the ‘one’ phone known as ‘iphone’ for market share.”

    I reiterate what I said. Consider who has market share, and who has profits. I think (without Looking Stuff Up) that Nokia may still have the largest market share, in terms of numbers of phones out there, but what good does that do them? Right now, people are making bets on whether they’ll *survive*, and whether betting the company on Windows Mobile was a good idea. (I think they might do better than detractors expect, though whether they’ll do well enough is another matter.)

    Nor does market share automatically confer the network effects you mention. Developers, for example, want to *sell* software, and will develop for the platforms they think will generate the most sales. Right now, that appears to be the iPhone and iOS. Part of it is iPhone popularity, and part of it is how easy it is to develop for the platform. iOS appears to have an edge over Android.

    And as for comparisons, you can’t compare apples and oranges. I don’t think it’s meaningful to compare iPhone sales to all Android devices and crow that Android is doing better.

    I don’t expect any single phone from another manufacturer to compete with the iPhone on sales volume, but that’s more or less the point. I’m waiting to see an Android phone that *can* go head to head with the iPhone. I think such a thing is possible, but I don’t think any manufacturer is doing it.

  16. >Those of us aware enough of computing history to be aware of early work by XEROX PARC
    >and others have always been aware that Apple’s claims of originality were highly dubious.
    >Apple’s history is one of adroit marketing and a facility for stealing adapting ideas from
    >others, wrapping them in admittedly excellent industrial design, and then pretending that all
    >of it originated de novo from the Cupertino campus.

    Except the part where the PARC influence is a well known part of Apple history, or the part where Apple paid for what they took from PARC.

    >and of course there’s the the Sony design study from 2006,
    >described by one of Apple’s own designers as an important influence.

    What Sony design study? Do you mean the mock up that an Apple designer drew when asked the question “What might a Sony designed phone look like?” Or do you mean the interview where a Sony executive was talking about Sony’s original design ideals when their design department was founded in the 70′s, and how the Apple iPod is influencing that today?

  17. @esr> Comes the news that Judge Koh has declined to suppress evidence that Apple may have copied crucial elements of the iPad design from prototypes developed by Knight-Ridder and the University of Missouri in the mid-1990s.

    Yet Patrick thinks she is biased.

  18. I am so disappointed in you Eric. Narry a mention of Google/Motorola’s new lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement.

    Remember, these were for defensive purposes only.

    “Don’t be evil.” LOL

  19. >Remember, these were for defensive purposes only.

    I’m confused. Given that it’s Apple they’re suing, how does this not count as defensive?

  20. @Jeff Read:

    Apple licensed GUI tech from Xerox in a deal that, afaik, involved a grant of Apple stock to Xerox.

    That’s not exactly how I remember history.

    More developers are still interested in iOS than Android, despite the latter’s greater market share.

    I have a cite that says otherwise.

    In fact, game developers are abandoning Android en masse because Android development is vastly more work for vastly smaller revenues.

    Same cite says otherwise. (I know there is some other anecdotal evidence out there, but if some developers get too big for their britches and abandon Android, that won’t necessarily have too big an effect on the entire ecosystem.)

    In addition to the multitude of devices and subtle incompatibilities and attendant fragmentation, piracy is negligible on iOS but rampant (90% or so) on Android.

    You’ll need to provide a cite for this assertion. And please don’t do an RIAA thing — if you actually find a verifiable number, please provide a cite that shows that those are lost sales.

    It takes more than ubiquity to attract developer interest. Your platform must also be easy to develop for and easy to make money on. On these counts iOS wins, hands down.

    Again, my cite says that Android is easier to develop for than iOS. Do you have a different cite?

  21. @R. Duke:

    Yet Patrick thinks she is biased.

    I said that on the evidence, she may be. OTOH I’ve been wondering a bit lately if something else was going on. For example, maybe the magistrate was biased, and she only heard a lot of stuff second-hand, and started out prejudiced.

    On the other other hand, some of the things she’s done in the courtroom still do seem quite prejudicial to Samsung. No rational being could argue that the failure to suppress this evidence is prejudicial to Apple, yet a clear and convincing case could be made that suppressing it would be extremely prejudicial to Samsung, and the judge may not want to go that far. Also note that Apple’s attorneys apparently sprung the request on her at the last minute and in the same breath with her refusal she said they should have brought it up much earlier if it were important.

    So I don’t know if she’s biased, but a failure to tilt things completely certainly doesn’t prove that she’s not tilting things at all.

    Remember, these were for defensive purposes only.
    “Don’t be evil.” LOL

    You realize that Apple is currently suing Google’s Motorola subsidiary and lots of google’s licensees over lots of really stupid shit, right? You don’t have to be Jesus to not be evil, and so far (e.g. Oracle) Google’s doing a great Disney protagonist impersonation of helping its evil opponents to hoist themselves on their own petards.

    @DMcCunney:

    Apple has something more important than market share. They have enormous revenues and profits.

    Yes. Arguably way too much, based on the size of their investment in rent-seeking.

  22. >I have a cite that says otherwise.

    I think the most interesting thing that infographic reveals isn’t that Android’s developer mindshare is higher but that it’s gaining developers faster. This looks like exactly the sort of runaway effect I expected to see once Android market share went over 50%.

  23. >That’s not exactly how I remember history.

    You might also remember that that suit was thrown out. I am unfortunately unable to locate any further information with regards to Xerox’s promised appeal.

  24. @tmoney:

    > You might also remember that that suit was thrown out.

    Yes, I do remember that. But I don’t remember that being because Xerox had already been compensated.

  25. >Remember, these were for defensive purposes only.

    And when Google uses the patents to go after any company whose CEO didn’t pledge to spend “every penny” of his company’s “$40 billion in the bank” in order “to go thermonuclear war” to “destroy” a Google product, you’ll possibly have a point.

    Instead, they’re using them against Apple. Which means, in self-defense against someone waging a war on Google.

  26. Regarding: “great wrong perpetrated on Alan Kay and Doug Engelbart and the other pioneers who actually invented the “Apple Interface” will have been partly righted.”

    What great wrong, exactly? Alan Kay came to work for Apple as an “Apple Fellow” (meaning he got to work for a decade or so in the research division on anything he was interested in), got all kinds of awards, and generally got all the credit that seems appropriate. In his estimation, not just mine. To wit:

    “I have been given proper credit for my research and so have the other principal contributors to personal computing and Internetworking. We’ve all been given the major awards in our fields, honorary degrees from universities, elected as fellows to the major professional societies, etc,” Kay said.

    (source: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/alan-kay-steve-jobs-ipad-iphone,10209.html )

    As for Englebart, his preferred interface wasn’t much like the Apple Interface at all. For instance, he was convinced everybody would be using a mouse in one hand and a one-handed *chorded keyboard* in the other – that would be a very different world, but didn’t happen.

    It’s also worth noting that Englebart had a really cool overall worldview, but many of the specific elements in it weren’t actually original to him (or his group) or done best in his version of them. His group suffered from a rather powerful Not Invented Here syndrome, so they could truthfully say “we developed this” even when somebody else had developed it better elsewhere. There’s some similarity to Jobs, in that if you’re a good marketer/popularizer of some new technology, people tend give you more credit than is actually due for having “invented” it.

    (full disclosure: some of my perspective on Englebart comes from my dad, who had to shut down the ARC group at SRI because it was too expensive and not producing enough that was commercially viable. Great demos notwithstanding)

  27. @Tom
    > ““Good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” – Steve Jobs

    I’m confused by your point here Tom. Jobs claims the right to “steal” other artists work, yet when someone “steals” his work it is lawsuit city.

    Sounds about par for the course for the reality distortion field.

  28. >Regarding: “great wrong perpetrated on Alan Kay and Doug Engelbart and the other pioneers who actually invented the “Apple Interface” will have been partly righted.”

    I’ve met and measured both Kay and Engelbart (I stayed at Doug Engelbart’s place on one of my trips to the Valley). I guarantee you neither of them did all that work so Apple could mount lawsuits over obvious shit like roundrects or live-linking phone numbers to a dialer. I also guarantee you that whatever they may have said, neither of them is happy with the way Apple promoted Jobs as the true design visionary behind the UI.

  29. > I’m confused. Given that it’s Apple they’re suing, how does this not count as defensive?

    Who else would they sue, Microsoft?

    I guess we’re about to find out if they a pile of crap or not.

  30. I’m still in the shopping stage, but I added a new criterion: no bare feet. All those videos of people putting their smelly, sweaty, fungus-infected feet near each other’s heads ewwww… shoes, please. That probably gives some Chinese style, they are more into shoes than the Japanese ones.

  31. @R. Duke:

    > I guess we’re about to find out if they a pile of crap or not.

    Google has gained an, uh, appreciation of the power of patents that may not have entirely seeped into the general consciousness yet. It can cost millions to defend against even a crap patent, and during the years before its all sorted out, you get to hear the other side bitching and moaning about how you’re stealing their preciousss intellectual property.

    Apple’s getting a tiny taste of their own medicine during the Samsung trial, but Google’s working on giving them the full dose they’ve been dishing out.

  32. The angle that Apple is attempting to use will fail because the only reason that phones and tablets of this kind have any market at all as of 2012 is because of the following technology improving dramatically over the last 5 to 10 years: wireless networking, LCD displays, touch screen panels, flash memory capacity, CPU performance and power consumption, battery life. The reason that tablets and phones exist today is simply because all of those technologies have become dramatically better in cost/performance ratios. Slide to unlock is an idea that has been around since the first time a human corralled and animal in a pen. It’s ridiculous to think that Apple would try to make a case out of such a utilitarian idea that applies even to the very belt that holds my pants up.

  33. The problem, ESR, is not that Apple looks a little like other GUIs or designs, the problem is that Samsung products are just exactly as Apple’s.

    You walk about Xerox Park, Mac OS and OSX looks a litle like Xerox’s but it is not the same. And remember that the Xerox was not finished and that they showed to Apple knowing the consequences.

    So you Apple suing Samsung because the phone looks like exactly as Apple, and then you have Samsung and Google suing Apple regarding software patents.

    I may support a patent lawsuit when there is a picture or hardware that you can touch, but I can not support a lawsuit that talks about “watching video on mobile, sending notification to a device, using the 3G standard, etc”

    I can hate Apple, but Samsung’s and Google’s actions are much more hatetable (if that word exists).

  34. In my opinion, Apple copied from humanity: they drew a stylized bolt on the screen, went to the USPTO and called it a day. It’s an obvious, blatant copy of a commonplace idea.

    I agree with you. But no one for two decades of cell phones had thought to use a virtual bolt. That’s invention. The requirements for a patent are not that one has to come up with an idea so earth shattering that no one had ever considered anything remotely like that ever before. The requirement is just that the average expert wouldn’t have thought of it. And given that lots of experts didn’t think of it…

  35. Some control freak named Matt Gemmell is trying to argue that Android is designed for stealing, simply because you can sideload apps.

    He’s potential software authors know that side loading leads to lots of piracy and hence lower revenues. What’s good for users may not be good for authors. (And that’s assuming easy installation is even good for users, which I’m not sure of).

  36. @Patrick> but he sure as hell doesn’t seem to believe in the bazaar:

    Nor should he. The bazaar sucks. http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2349257

    quoting:

    That is the sorry reality of the bazaar Raymond praised in his book: a pile of old festering hacks, endlessly copied and pasted by a clueless generation of IT “professionals” who wouldn’t recognize sound IT architecture if you hit them over the head with it. It is hard to believe today, but under this embarrassing mess lies the ruins of the beautiful cathedral of Unix, deservedly famous for its simplicity of design, its economy of features, and its elegance of execution. (Sic transit gloria mundi, etc.)

    Interesting to note: iOS and Android are both cathedrals.

  37. Patrick Maupin,

    On what basis do you label Matt Gemmell a control freak?

    You know, just like every desktop OS out there.

    He’s absolutely right. The openness of desktop operating systems, combined with the ubiquity of high-speed internet access, has been a disaster from a piracy standpoint. Why buy it when you can torrent it, amirite?

    But the problem is, developers need to make money. Vastly more devs are more interested in putting food on the table than they are in bazaars or many eyeballs or software freedom. For these devs, closed platforms are a boon. The iPhone and iPad are doing for general apps what the NES did for video games: by offering a closed platform with a single distribution method, users are assured of some degree of quality and devs are assured their stuff won’t be pirated because the platform itself obstructs piracy.

  38. @Lars

    Shitty article. In summary, “I didn’t like CatB, I’ve used FreeBSD for 13 years and it is a complex mess, and also autoconf blows! Therefore the bazaar model sucks.”

    Lame.

  39. Interesting to note: iOS and Android are both cathedrals.

    Huh? iOS is a bazaar. First start with the core of BSD. Then add an object oriented framework model and GUI. Then mix in elements from OS9. Then throw on another GUI based on hardware acceleration. Then mix in a video framework, sound framework, and data framework that all developed independently. Then port it over as the application system on a music player. Then add a bunch of phone functionality no one ever considered which includes things like externally generated messaging….

    iOS may be more organized and managed than Linux but this is not a Cathedral.

  40. @patrioticduo
    >… [iPad built on the many advances in tech and they claim slide to unlock]

    This is a fabulous analysis patrioticduo. It is like a kid who gives his dad a new cell phone, who painted a smiley face on the box. “Look dad I made this super cool smiley face cell phone for you.”

    Is there anyone who actually creates and writes programs for a living who things like slide to unlock is some brilliant innovation rather than the typical thing they invent four times a week?

    As patrioticduo illustrates, if every good idea was patented and had those patents litigated then everything would be burdened with gigantic layer upon layer of patent royalty fees and society would grind to a halt.

    It is just as well the patent courts are run buy the a breathtakingly inefficient court system. Even introducing the tiny, minuscule efficiency of patent trolls causes it to buckle at its knees.

  41. >Huh? iOS is a bazaar

    No, it is not. It lacks the essential features: open source and decentralized peer review.

  42. >Shitty article. In summary, “I didn’t like CatB, I’ve used FreeBSD for 13 years and it is a complex mess, and also autoconf blows! Therefore the bazaar model sucks.”

    Yes, the argument is logically defective in that way. But there is a larger problem with Kamp’s implicit assumptions, which his belief that at the scale of Linux or *BSD anything but “chaos” is even possible. No single person can be responsible for quality in artifacts this large because no human being can handle that kind of complexity.

    The real choice, therefore, is between chaos managed competently and openly by a transparent social process, or the illusion that some individual has control.

  43. So here is a great article on this whole thing (ht /.)

    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/who_cares_if_samsung_copied_ap.html

    Money quote:

    … in the context of the Apple/Samsung trial, … If you go back to the mid-1990s, there was their famous “look and feel” lawsuit against Microsoft. Apple’s case …: “we innovated in creating the graphical user interface; Microsoft copied us; if our competitors simply copy us, it’s impossible for us to keep innovating.” Apple ended up losing the case.

    But it’s what happened next that’s really fascinating.

    Apple didn’t stop innovating at all…

  44. @esr> No single person can be responsible for quality in artifacts this large because no human being can handle that kind of complexity.

    I call fallacy. Certainly no single human can deal, but groups of people can. Thus proprietary operating systems can (and do) prosper, sometimes by leveraging an ‘Open Source’ base with a proprietary presentation layer.

    That this angers you is of no consequence.

  45. @CD-Host

    > I agree with you. But no one for two decades of cell phones had thought to use a virtual bolt. That’s invention. The requirements for a patent are not that one has to come up with an idea so earth shattering that no one had ever considered anything remotely like that ever before. The requirement is just that the average expert wouldn’t have thought of it. And given that lots of experts didn’t think of it…

    But they did think of it. If you ever played games, or used a Palm you’d know.

    Slide to unlock using a mouse has been in place since ever, in both games and applications as well. Granted, applications had a hard time time _justifying_ slide to unlock, since, considering the alternatives for a keyboard/mouse system, there were better, more quicker ways (password, click combination etc.). Sliding with a mouse takes longer than clicking without additional benefit in computers (the mouse position is what defines the safety threshold of that unlock method). But with games, the immersible experience _required_ the mimetic recreation of the bolts. After all, how would you unlock in Alone in the Dark, for example? With digital keypads in an abandoned attic? No.

    But, like I said, there is previous art, so it’s not their “invention”. You can argue about first to patent or whatever, and I may agree, but not on invention. That Neonone phone or something had the same way of unlocking: you slided from the home button up (or was it right?) to unlock the device. Palm Pilots had the feature to start drawing a target with the pen, and slide to the right to unlock a password wallet. You started next to the ABC icon on the stylus area, and drew a series of “sliding to unlock”, similar to a pin door.

    When the technology caught-up, and the feasibility of sliding to unlock increased in order to better replace clicking and pointing or pressure-slide (resistive screens), we saw a more disseminated usage. But it was used before. So, I reject the possibility of it being a true invention. A virtual bolt on cell phones was nothing new.

    Apple’s merit has always been to use existing individual ideas and package them into a whole bigger than its parts. The virtual bolt is not new, is not theirs, the iPhone is [ * ]. Thus, it seems to me that they can’t (or shouldn’t, in case they can) patent the individual ideas, much less so broadly that it blocks anyone else from using those same preexisting and used ideas as well.

    Can you imagine if Benz had patented the Benz car so broadly that nobody could create anything like a car? Wow, considering today’s practices, it’s possible Benz would have outlawed the horse cart. After all, it can also be three-wheeled, it moves forward (or back) carrying people, works by a act of force consuming energy, and has, lol, horse powers in it! :-)

    [ * ] => That’s why I’m far more open to the Apple’s trade dress suits: after all, Samsung did use (Galaxy S) black touch screen phones with a rectangular drawing in a central button, paired with central speaker grills and a top left back camera. But slide to unlock? No, nothing new.

  46. @Jessica

    >I’m confused by your point here Tom. Jobs claims the right to “steal” other artists work, yet when someone “steals” his work it is lawsuit city.

    My point was to rebut this:

    >The pretense has always galled a little, especially when Apple’s marketing created a myth that, footling technical details aside, the whole package somehow sprang like Athena from Steve Jobs’s forehead. But it didn’t become intolerable until Apple began using lawfare to suppress its competition.

    Apple’s litigation aside (and I have long said that I disagree with it) I am not aware that Apple has ever been particularly boastful that its ideas sprang ‘de novo’ from Cupertino. In fact, Steve Jobs has often and publicly cited Alan Kay as an important influence and has never been shy about admitting that he ‘stole’ ideas.

  47. >Certainly no single human can deal, but groups of people can.

    True, but this is not relevant to the claim Kamp was making. His argument was defective; you are changing the subject to avoid the defect.

  48. D.C. –

    I never played Alone in the Dark. But Alone in the Dark wasn’t responsible for unlocking a device. I did use a Palm, I loved my Palm V and carried it everywhere. And locking the device meant using the security application. There was no slide to unlock.

    There has been a trial on this. Samsung aren’t fools if there was good prior art they would have mentioned it at trial.

  49. @Tom
    > My point was to rebut this:

    OK, got it. So what you are saying is that you agree with me that Apple are a bunch of raving hypocrites? And their pathetic protestations of mean people stealing their stuff is so much cow manure?

    I presume you well attested moral sensibilities will prevent you from doing business with such a dishonest company? :-)

  50. Great Artists steal the essense, file off the serial numbers, and build it into something new.

    When competitors copy user interface details I can see why Apple management would get annoyed.

    I do think that all this litigation distracts senior management from work that are more important to their companies. Senior management time is the most valuable in the company. at least judging by their compensation. They need to concentrate on company business. If I were a major Apple shareholder I’d ask pointed questions about it.

  51. I mentioned to separate adequacy from innovation, not to say that games are prior art to this. Point is on some UIs it made sense to use slide to unlock, on others not so much until touch screens appeared.

    We don’t know all the details about the suit. I know HTC already had victories worldwide over exactly this, and that I used sliding to unlock password managers in Palm (sorry, but I did). Obviously we came to a halt over what could/should be patentable, so let’s just agree to disagree.

    Thanks honestly for the polite argumentation, its pretty rare these days.

  52. @Jeff Read:

    > On what basis do you label Matt Gemmell a control freak?

    On the basis of the two of his articles I read. One was about how the OS needs to be locked down or nobody can make money (demonstrably false), and the other was about how users are abused unless goodness springs fully grown from the mind of a genius UI designer, and how evolutionary growth and experimentation is terrible.

    Note that his articles are sprinkled with enough valid observations and truth that one might be misled into following one of his logical fallacies if one is not careful.

    >> You know, just like every desktop OS out there.

    > He’s absolutely right.

    No. He’s not. The desktop OSes were not “designed” for piracy. And neither was Android. He makes multiple conflicting arguments here. The worst conflict is “It’s easy to do the right thing and buy stuff for a buck with Android” combined with “Piracy is done because it’s convenient.”

    Sorry, the piracy looks a lot less convenient than doing it the right way. And he acknowledges that a lot of piracy happens in far-off places (where, btw, they might not have a buck) but, like you, doesn’t give any sort of evidence about what percentage of piracy is truly lost sales.

    > The openness of desktop operating systems, combined with the ubiquity of high-speed internet access, has been a disaster from a piracy standpoint.

    The fact that anybody can rent a truck, combined with the ubiquity of the federal highway system, has been a disaster from an illegal drug and Oklahoma bombing standpoint. Sorry, what’s your point again? Oh, yeah — the modern minivan is a Japanese plot to lead us to the present day version of the opium wars. Sure, whatever.

    > Why buy it when you can torrent it, amirite?

    I have no direct personal knowledge of anybody who pirates software.

  53. @esr> True, but this is not relevant to the claim Kamp was making. His argument was defective; you are changing the subject to avoid the defect.

    This article concludes that quality only happens if someone takes responsibility for it. Yes, but cathedral’s are not (perhaps “not only”) about one person taking responsibility for quality. They are about a priori design. Quality control can happen ex post facto but you can’t create architecture after the fact while standing waist deep in the mud.

  54. @Patrick> I have no direct personal knowledge of anybody who pirates software.

    Such a lawyer answer you’ve offered.

    Perhaps you should ask your kids where they got their Android apps.

  55. “Can you imagine if Benz had patented the Benz car so broadly that nobody could create anything like a car?”

    Actually, if you are familiar with the early history of the car, this is almost exactly what happened in the U.S. Only it wasn’t Benz that did it, but a man named George B. Selden.

    He successfully patented not a specific design of motorcar, but the very concept of a car powered by an engine. Since he never went into production of any type of car, I label him a patent troll. Instead, he collected royalty payments from all the actual hardware-building car companies. Look up “Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers.” And note that he extended the patent lifetime by 16 years through the use of amendments.

    In the end, Henry Ford challenged him and won on a technicality. Selden had specified a 2-stroke engine in his patent, while Ford (and pretty much everyone else by 1911, when the case was decided) used a 4-stroke. Of course, since the decision came with only one year remaining on the patent, a lot of damage had already been done.

    Or look at the cutthroat war between the Wrights and Glen Curtiss, which made it almost impossible for anyone (including the two principals) to build airplanes legally. It was finally ended not in the courts, but (on the eve of World War 1, with a sudden need for military aircraft in quantity) by the U.S. government pressuring the industry to form a patent pool.

    Problems with abuse of patents did not begin with software.

  56. >Quality control can happen ex post facto but you can’t create architecture after the fact while standing waist deep in the mud.

    I have sad news for you. At scale, you can’t “create architecture” at all – the planning problem is too hard. All you can do is make sure that the components small enough to be plannable are clean and hope for good emergent behaviors from the whole system.

  57. On the basis of the two of his articles I read. One was about how the OS needs to be locked down or nobody can make money (demonstrably false),

    Tell that to a PC game developer. In the mid-00s they all switched focus to consoles because piracy was eating their lunch.

    The one thing that may have saved PC gaming, as much as people may hate it, is DRM — or, in other words, implementing a hacky version of the lockdown that the OS vendor didn’t provide.

    and the other was about how users are abused unless goodness springs fully grown from the mind of a genius UI designer, and how evolutionary growth and experimentation is terrible.

    He didn’t say that. He said the UX needs to be designed. Evolutionary growth and experimentation are fine for trying out new ideas and prototyping, but at the end of the day, the finished product needs to reflect conscious thought about what real people in the real world will experience using the product, their mental processes, etc.

    Otherwise it’s not a finished product. It’s a toy, demo, or prototype.

    If conscious thought into human factors weren’t important, X11 would be enough for everybody. The marketplace decided it isn’t. The money favors designed user interfaces. The most valuable company in history built its entire business on consciously designed user interfaces.

  58. @Lars:

    I have no direct personal knowledge of anybody who pirates software.

    Such a lawyer answer you’ve offered.

    I’m just trying to be clear. I wouldn’t be surprised if I know people who pirate software. But I don’t know who they are or what they pirate or why.

    Perhaps you should ask your kids where they got their Android apps.

    My kids have AppleCrap. And I do tech support. That’s one of the reasons I hate them so much.

  59. @Jeff Read
    > Tell that to a PC game developer. In the mid-00s they all switched focus to
    > consoles because piracy was eating their lunch.

    Important correction: because their publishers told them piracy was eating their lunch. Besides, the publisher-induced DRM was never intended to prevent piracy, but rather used sales. The move to consoles was motivated more because that was becoming the dominant market (thanks, Halo!) than out of purely anti-piracy sentiments.

    > The one thing that may have saved PC gaming, as much as people may hate it, is DRM

    Haaah, are you kidding? The one thing that saved PC gaming was Steam, and it had fuck-all to do with DRM and everything to do with ease. Yes it supports DRM; that means much less than the profits from all the users who could now buy quickly and easily.

  60. @Jeff Read:

    One was about how the OS needs to be locked down or nobody can make money (demonstrably false),

    Tell that to a PC game developer. In the mid-00s they all switched focus to consoles because piracy was eating their lunch.

    Fine. If they want to start developing on general purpose computing devices again, then perhaps they should find a different model. But turning a general purpose computing device into a game console is probably not in society’s best interest, so I don’t give a rat’s ass if they have a hard time selling games.

    The one thing that may have saved PC gaming, as much as people may hate it, is DRM — or, in other words, implementing a hacky version of the lockdown that the OS vendor didn’t provide.

    At the end of the day, DRM doesn’t work. Well, maybe it does, but it’s all about percentages. Google has made it much easier to get something legitimately than to get it illegitimately, and they have done so in a manner that doesn’t make it not a general purpose computing device. And you still haven’t provided any sources for your 90% piracy claim.

    and the other was about how users are abused unless goodness springs fully grown from the mind of a genius UI designer, and how evolutionary growth and experimentation is terrible.

    He didn’t say that. He said the UX needs to be designed. Evolutionary growth and experimentation are fine for trying out new ideas and prototyping, but at the end of the day, the finished product needs to reflect conscious thought about what real people in the real world will experience using the product, their mental processes, etc.

    He talked about design decisions posing “risk” to users, but that it was sort of OK if the “risk” could only possibly affect a small number of users. Your mileage obviously varies, but if he’s so worried about users being exposed to a bad UI, that is the hallmark of a control freak.

    If conscious thought into human factors weren’t important, X11 would be enough for everybody. The marketplace decided it isn’t. The money favors designed user interfaces. The most valuable company in history built its entire business on consciously designed user interfaces.

    Yes, and they also do the experimentation. You know, on real users. I wonder how many users were harmed in the production of iOS. I can’t wait for the class action suits.

  61. naka said: So wrong I shouldn’t even have to explain why around here. Profits sure are great, but market share leads to network effects, developer interest, etc.

    Except it sure as hell doesn’t seem to have for Android.

    “Market share” is not magic that creates network effects and developer interest by itself.

    Given the exceptionally low (in comparison) difference in willingness to pay for software in the Android marketplaces vs. the iOS Store, and the vastly greater version fragmentation in the wild, it’s hardly surprising that developers are comparatively ignoring Android.

    There’s no money in it for them, despite “marketshare”.

    You don’t get network effects and developer interest when every phone is so mangled by the carriers and so variously spec’d that developers have to test against a few dozen phones to even have a chance, and can’t make a lot of assumptions about… anything.

    (I’d respond to ESR’s snark about “innovation” except others, like Mr. Read and Mr. Oliver, have already done so. For a company that supposedly doesn’t do UI innovation they sure seem to churn out the most consistently superior UI in the world, and everyone else seems to copy what they produce, rather than the reverse.

    The ironic – in this context – exception being Microsoft, who aren’t afraid to innovate; see Windows Phone, which for all its flaws and failures actually tried something new.)

    I agree that most software patents should be abolished, but that would still leave perfectly good trade dress attacks on outfits like Samsung, who at their worst quite frankly probably deserve it. Or, for that matter, those occasional Android Apps who just steal Apple icons outright…)

  62. (To clarify on my above post, it’s not that it’s inherently impossible to get network effects or developer interest in Android.

    It’s that the way the makers (because of the carriers) and the carriers have smashed it all around that it’s not happening.

    If Google had the leverage to enforce a smaller set of specs to reduce testing load, and to ensure some UI consistency out of the box, and made the store experience superior, they could very likely have gotten the network effects and willingness-to-pay factor there that has made iOS king of the developer interest and developer revenue hill.

    Google either doesn’t have the leverage or, more likely, doesn’t want to use it – after all, Google wants search revenue, and doesn’t give a damn about developer interest.

    Thus they don’t really care that so many Android phones are used like feature phones and nobody ever even installs an app on them, let alone buys one – as long as someone uses Search occasionally.

    Apps don’t make Google money. Search makes Google money. Android is for making Google money. Thus…)

  63. @Sigivald:

    … it’s hardly surprising that developers are comparatively ignoring Android.

    Either you or Jeff Read is going to have to give a good cite for this. Yeah, the appcelerator survey shows Apple ahead, but that survey is of their customers — in general, people writing crappy, non-native apps. That these apps sell better on iOS is certainly a testament to the thesis that iUsers have more money than sense or taste, but it is in no way a broad-based developer survey like the VisionMobile one tries to be. (How well the VisionMobile one succeeds, I don’t know, but they do come up with radically different answers.)

  64. Eric, with all due respect, you are totally wrong about the 2006 “Sony design study.” You do read the comments on your blog, right? As tpmoney says above and as I and numerous others said in the previous thread, that is an Apple design study, in which an Apple designer mocked up what he imagined a Sony phone would look like. The Apple designer simply placed a Sony logo on it. Sony had nothing to do with it beyond that. Apple did not “steal” that from Sony.

  65. > At scale, you can’t “create architecture” at all – the planning problem is too hard. All you can do is make sure that the components small enough to be plannable are clean and hope for good emergent behaviors from the whole system.

    Quote of the day. This goes on a banner in my office.

  66. Put that same person in front of a 1984 Macintosh and they’d be able to use it just fine.

    I’d argue that if you put a person used to modern UI’s in front of MacOS 9 they would be confused and perplexed. Note i’m not intending to pick on MacOS here, but i think you underestimate the differences between a recent UI and one from even 10 years ago.

    If for no other reason than things would frequently die for lack of memory on base settings and they wouldn’t be able to fix it.

  67. Tell that to a PC game developer. In the mid-00s they all switched focus to consoles because piracy was eating their lunch.

    The one thing that may have saved PC gaming, as much as people may hate it, is DRM — or, in other words, implementing a hacky version of the lockdown that the OS vendor didn’t provide.

    Do you actually play PC games? Because your last comment is either massively disingenuous or completely ill informed.

    DRM has uniformly failed in pc gaming. The closest to succeeding was “Starforce” which termed “Starfuck” in the gaming community because under the wrong circumstances would destroy dvd drives. Everything else had standard patches to get around.

    There is only one thing that has “saved” PC gaming, Online gaming. Where DRM fails is that it has to work in an environment that is effectively hostile. If i overwrite the DRM dll with a broken one that reports “Ok”, there’s not a whole heap that the DRM scheme can do about it. But in online gaming i can require someone to log-in before i give them content and i can require them to give me a product key before i give them a log-in.

    On the flipside, selling things on Steam is pretty much the highlight of pc gaming not because of a lack of piracy (there’s standard patches for steam DRM as well) but because of the low barrier to entry and the long tail of commerce. In fact the guy who owns and runs steam, Gabe Newell, has said that piracy is not a problem. That if you’re getting pirated it’s because your service is no better than what the pirates are giving.

    DRM has nothing to do with it.

  68. I have a comment awaiting moderation but i forgot to mention this…

    Tell that to a PC game developer. In the mid-00s they all switched focus to consoles because piracy was eating their lunch.

    “All” is a massive over-statement. A lot did but piracy was such a small part of that discussion. The more important point is that there are a LOT of console players and not catering to them is leaving a large pile of money on the table.

    The problem is that if you’re building for consoles, you’re building for a static machine (which is good) that is almost obsolete before it hits the shelves (which in gaming is very bad). After the first year or so, console gaming ALWAYS holds back PC development where portability is a concern and in an industry where pushing a slightly nicer model is the difference between top 5 and bottom 100… being stuck with a 7 year old graphics card for another year and a half (currently rumour is christmas, 2013) is a losing proposition.

    Ultimately what it comes down to is this. If you want to play the same big budget game over and over again, go console. If you actually want new gaming experiences, get a PC and Steam.

    Some other interesting points about gaming on consoles vs PCs
    * Piracy isn’t dead on consoles. Just a little harder (and thus rarer).
    * You’d think that if it was so much easier to develop for and so much less piracy, that they could make games cheaper. And yet in AAA console games sell for AU$10 more than on PC every time.

  69. @Jessica

    >So what you are saying is that you agree with me that Apple are a bunch of raving hypocrites? And their pathetic protestations of mean people stealing their stuff is so much cow manure?

    I agree that they are hypocritical. I think if they were really honest they would say that they understand that the creative process does not happen in a vacuum, and that the various players in the industry are constantly influencing each other. That’s the way things work.

    Instead they have chosen to sue some of their competitors, and in order to justify this action their PR bots are talking about copying and stealing. It’s partly about competition, but it’s also partly about a legacy of anger left by Steve Jobs against Google and the perceived betrayal of Eric Schmidt. I think it’s petty, unproductive, a waste of time, bad PR, and unlikely to succeed. It’s also certainly not morally laudable.

    But let’s get real. No big company’s history is completely free of morally dubious behaviour (Google’s certainly isn’t). On the great ladder of corporate wrongdoing, a few misguided IP lawsuits ranks pretty low.

  70. As I have mentioned a couple of times over the past few weeks, Koh seemed biased against Samsung, but I wasn’t sure if that was her or mostly those around her, such as the magistrate and the appeals court. I think we are getting evidence that it was mostly those around her. For example, IIRC the magistrate wasn’t going to let Samsung present Fidler as evidence, and wasn’t going to allow Samsung an offsetting adverse jury inference against Apple, and the appeals court practically directed her to issue an injunction against Samsung.

    But, since the start of the trial, I think the lightbulb has switched on over Koh’s head — she’s paying a lot more attention, and slowly starting to do the right thing. Whether it’s because she realizes that Samsung was getting a raw deal from the magistrate (and her, earlier) or whether she simply realizes the entire world is watching, I can’t say:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120820111527257

  71. @Tom:

    No big company’s history is completely free of morally dubious behaviour (Google’s certainly isn’t). On the great ladder of corporate wrongdoing, a few misguided IP lawsuits ranks pretty low.

    Your mileage obviously varies, but IMO Apple’s bogus IP suit is much worse than anything google has done. Most of what google has done (that I remember) falls into one of two categories — violating stupid anti-consumer laws (such as the ones about Canadian pharmacies), or collecting data that others misguidedly thought was secret.

    The thing about google is that when they collect data, AFAIK they don’t share it. That’s the important thing. I get lots of spam email from other organizations that pass my data around, but google just doesn’t do that.

  72. “Ultimately what it comes down to is this. If you want to play the same big budget game over and over again, go console. If you actually want new gaming experiences, get a PC and Steam.”

    My husband spends a significant amount of time beta-testing third-party-created levels for PC games such as Thief, and providing feedback to the creator. Good luck finding a similiar oppotunity in the console community. (Can the console gaming world even be a considered a “community” in the hacker sense?)

  73. @Tom> On the great ladder of corporate wrongdoing, a few misguided IP lawsuits ranks pretty low.

    We have a very different perception of these things then. IP lawsuits rob us of the future. They prevent innovation and rob us of choice. This is true even if they are completely lacking in merit. They are using the force of government to prevent new products, to crush small spunky start ups, and rob us of our health and happiness.

    They are about as bad as it gets. Not wanting to be dramatic but IP lawsuits and the infrastructure they represent, especially in the medical industry, kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.

    What the heck did google ever do on that scale? Published some photos of car license plates on a public highway? Link to some pharmacies?

  74. @Jessica

    >We have a very different perception of these things then. IP lawsuits rob us of the future

    Yes, yes, yes. But we’re not talking about IP lawsuits in general, we’re talking about *Apple’s* IP lawsuits. Apple hasn’t denied us any life-saving medicine or robbed us of the future or anything quite so dramatic. They have denied some people some relatively uninteresting and unimportant gadgets. It’s douchey behaviour, no doubt. They should be criticised for it. But let’s not get carried away here.

    >What the heck did google ever do on that scale?

    Censorship [http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/06/foghorn/google-censor-firearms-related-shopping-results/ , http://factnet.org/node/1440/

    Privacy [http://news.sky.com/home/technology/article/15547473 , http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19200279

    General douchery [http://boingboing.net/2012/01/13/google-fraudulently-solicits-f.html]

    Bogus patent litigation: [http://m.techcrunch.com/2012/08/18/motorolas-patent-lawsuit-against-apple-targets-siri-location-reminders-email-notifications-more/]

  75. @Tom:

    Apple hasn’t denied us any life-saving medicine or robbed us of the future or anything quite so dramatic.

    This is bullshit. Apple and Microsoft are working in concert to do their best to raise the cost of smartphones in general. And, believe it or not, in lots of places, smartphones are society-changing, lifesaving devices, in lots of ways.

    Censorship [http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/06/foghorn/google-censor-firearms-related-shopping-results/ , http://factnet.org/node/1440/

    While it's disturbing that google has been brainwashed or cowed into not selling firearms, it's hardly censorship. Google has a much better track record on censorship than many internet companies. Who else pulled out of China? Who else helped to set up chillingeffects.org?

    Privacy [http://news.sky.com/home/technology/article/15547473 , http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19200279

    The buzz thing was apparently a technical mistake. The Safari thing -- it's no wonder the government settled, because it's likely they would have lost in court. As I said, AFAIK, your information is generally safer with google than anybody else.

    General douchery [http://boingboing.net/2012/01/13/google-fraudulently-solicits-f.html]

    That particular douchebag was apparently fired:

    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_fires_kenya_lead_over_mocality.php

    I mean, really, one “general douchebag” loose cannon example from a far-flung outpost? Is that all you got?

    Bogus patent litigation: [http://m.techcrunch.com/2012/08/18/motorolas-patent-lawsuit-against-apple-targets-siri-location-reminders-email-notifications-more/]

    You are apparently seriously avoiding paying attention to google’s predicament, which requires you to studiously ignore comments you disagree with on this very blog post. When bogus litigation could cost you millions (billions?) of dollars, responding with your own bogus litigation to try to force a truce is only prudent. As Stephen Ehrbar said in an earlier comment:

    And when Google uses the patents to go after any company whose CEO didn’t pledge to spend “every penny” of his company’s “$40 billion in the bank” in order “to go thermonuclear war” to “destroy” a Google product, you’ll possibly have a point.

  76. @Tom
    > Yes, yes, yes. But we’re not talking about IP lawsuits in general,

    But hold on, if Apple can get away with that crap than Baxter Healthcare can too. And you are so mistaken about uninteresting gadgets. The IP minefield robs us mainly of the easily squishible startups who are the source of a lot of the truly innovative ideas. If you what to know what I am talking about consider the 3D printer world. So much opportunity buried under so many piles of patents that people don’t even try.

    I do find the things you complain about interesting. Firstly that they complied with a legal notice to take a link out of their database. Somehow you think that google not linking to a particular web site is somehow censorship. If find that just plain silly. Google has a right to put whatever they want on their database, unless you have some crazy idea that it is a public utility.

    Second they didn’t comply with what Apple wanted them to do in terms of cookie management? Again, they didn’t say they weren’t going to track the traffic going over their servers, Apple did. The fault here is that Apple’s software had a bug that failed to honor their commitment to the user. They are google’s servers, why are they bound by Apple’s claims of privacy. (I don’t know much about this case, just what I read in the article you linked to.)

    In regards to the Mocality thing, based on the article you linked to it was a group of rogue employees who did bad stuff, and they claim “appropriate action will be taken.” Bad stuff happens, it is unfair to tar the whole company with the bad actions of a few rogue employees.

    And FWIW, I think it is perfectly legitimate to use IP counterlawsuits to try to kill off patent trolls like Apple. In fact, it is really the only defense available sometimes.

    Not that I think Google are faultless, it is unfair to compare them as equivalent to the manifest evil actions of Apple.

  77. I thought the dickwads at Apple couldn’t piss me off any more than they already have, but they surprised me and figured out how — they recently started spamming me, with junk from both apple.com and itunes.com.

    WTF, Apple? Not satisfied with copying tech and calling it your own, you now have to copy the pr0n and v1agr4 peddlers? Is that really the “look” and “feel” you’re aiming for?

  78. > [Apple] recently started spamming me, with junk from both apple.com and itunes.com.

    The problem is, you’re an Apple hater. If you buy an iPhone or Mac, this stops until its warranty expires. Apple Care only costs $99 for two years. Seems worth it, no?

  79. > Apple and Microsoft are working in concert to do their best to raise the cost of smartphones in general.

    First World Problems.

    > your information is generally safer with google than anybody else.

    OIC. It’s not like your information is the base material for Google’s primary product. Nothing to see here, folks. Move on!

    Because Google obeys the law, all the time, every time!

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57496634-93/judge-google-didnt-comply-with-disclosure-order-in-oracle-case/
    (There are easily ten more current examples of Google’s law-breaking. You can find them quite simply should you care to look.)

    > And FWIW, I think it is perfectly legitimate to use IP counterlawsuits to try to kill off patent trolls like Apple. In fact, it is really the only defense available sometimes.

    Apple is not a patent troll. Patent trolls are Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) who buy up patents and then park them in a holding company that produces nothing but lawsuits. These companies have no intention of practicing the patented invention(s). As such, they are immune to the typical defense of counter-suing your patent-invoking competitor for infringing your patents, which is what Apple, Motorola/Google, Samsung, HTC, and Nokia are all doing.

    The oft-cited example of (real) patent trolls are Paul Allen’s Interval Licensing and Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures. Another is NTP (who took $612.5 million from RIM). Two that are perhaps more familiar to Eric and others here are Asure Software (formerly Forgent Networks, and before that Compression Labs) and Global Patent Holdings, both of which sued over JPEG. (Both had the patents in dispute invalidated, but that’s not the point.)

    Google faces a significant challenge from a real patent troll. Vringo owns the patents from Lycos, and recently bought up a significant fraction of the Nokia portfolio. Vringo is a reverse merger of IP Engine, who filed suit last September. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aol-google-iac-gannett-and-target-charged-with-infringement-of-search-engine-patents-by-ip-engine-inc-129886568.html

    The trial is expected to start in October. (AOL settled on August 6.)

  80. @R. Duke:

    The problem is, you’re an Apple hater. If you buy an iPhone or Mac, this stops until its warranty expires. Apple Care only costs $99 for two years. Seems worth it, no?

    $50/year would certainly be worth it if Apple somehow managed to make all my spam disappear. But even if they could, that’s not how Danegeld works, and that’s why we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    Speaking of negotiation, I tried both replying to the email, which just netted me with a reply with various links for different possible problems I might be having (“You need to stop spamming me NOW!” not being among them), and I tried hitting the unsubscribe button, which brought me to a screen with a list of possible things I might be interested in, whereupon I unchecked all of them and pressed the submit button, which netted me this gem:

    An unexpected error has occurred. Please note the exception listed below and try again. java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException: null

    I’m sure this is because I don’t let companies that spam me execute scripts on my computer, but that’s one thing the CAN SPAM act doesn’t actually say I have to do. So I phoned Apple, and 4 customer service people later, I was talking to Kelly, who assured me that she could do absolutely nothing for me and it all had to be done electronically. We went through several possibilities, like the Apple ID thing: “It wants my Apple ID user name. I don’t have one.” “You know, the user name you used for iTunes.” “What’s iTunes?”

    I could probably have stopped the torture by forwarding the email to her and letting her click on the button and execute the script on her own computer, but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, I have a callback scheduled with a higher level specialist tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes.

  81. @ Patrick and R. Duke,

    Not sure what you guys have done differently, but I rarely get an email from Apple. I think I get about 2 per year, once around Back to School time, and once around the holidays letting me know what special they’re running. Maybe turn off emailings at https://myinfo.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyInfo?

  82. @tmoney:

    For some reason, I have a comment in the moderation queue, but tl;dr I don’t have an Apple account, I’ve never done any business with Apple, I don’t use iTunes, and I never received any email from them until last month.

    I think someone else probably mistakenly signed up with my email account, but they just started sending me spam, and the unsubscribe button doesn’t work, probably because I don’t enable javascript for spammers.

  83. probably because I don’t enable javascript for spammers.

    That’ll do it.
    Javascript is the new cookies. Apparantly a “good web presence” is impossible with javascript.

    I think it’s probably more accurate to say a “complete and thorough violation of my privacy” is impossible without javascript but you say potatoe…

  84. As someone who doesn’t go out of his way to be an annoyance to Apple…

    Apple has your email associated with various accounts. They have been unifying these accounts into an apple id. The degree of notification you get is based on your Apple id. You can set that anywhere from none to getting frequent updates. Which is pretty much in line with what dozens of other companies do.

  85. @R. Duke:

    your information is generally safer with google than anybody else.

    OIC. It’s not like your information is the base material for Google’s primary product. Nothing to see here, folks. Move on!

    Obviously it is the base material for how they make money. But they’ve managed to monetize it without the intrusiveness or sharing it with spammers of facebook and others.

    Because Google obeys the law, all the time, every time!

    Better than most companies.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57496634-93/judge-google-didnt-comply-with-disclosure-order-in-oracle-case/

    First of all, that’s not breaking the law. Second, there was a sentence in google’s reply that they didn’t pay anybody in any of these categories. Third, the judge’s order was a bit unclear and open to interpretation, and unlike Oracle, google pointed this out and said they would be quite happy to provide whatever information the judge wanted but they needed some clarification.

    (There are easily ten more current examples of Google’s law-breaking. You can find them quite simply should you care to look.)

    You have to show me at least one example before I’ll take your word there are ten more.

  86. You’d think that if it was so much easier to develop for and so much less piracy, that they could make games cheaper. And yet in AAA console games sell for AU$10 more than on PC every time.

    Console games have to pay license fees to console manufacturers. PC software isn’t paying license fees to Microsoft or Intel.

  87. @CD-Host:

    As someone who doesn’t go out of his way to be an annoyance to Apple…

    I don’t think commenting on this blog qualifies as going out of my way to be an annoyance to Apple. OTOH they are doing a fine job of annoying me.

    Apple has your email associated with various accounts. They have been unifying these accounts into an apple id. The degree of notification you get is based on your Apple id. You can set that anywhere from none to getting frequent updates. Which is pretty much in line with what dozens of other companies do.

    Maybe you weren’t paying attention or didn’t believe me. I HAVE NEVER DONE BUSINESS WITH APPLE. (Other than driving down to the Apple Store to help my daughters to deal with clueless idiots at the “genius bar”.) THEY DON’T HAVE MY NAME. I HAVE NO APPLE ID. THEY NEVER EVER SENT ME EMAIL UNTIL LAST MONTH, WHEN THEY JUST STARTED SPAMMING ME OUT OF THE BLUE WITH AN OPT-OUT LINK THAT DOESN’T WORK.

  88. Maybe you weren’t paying attention or didn’t believe me.

    The latter. I think you likely don’t remember. Apple doesn’t buy email lists. At some point you either request updates or had one of their very many accounts.

  89. @CD-HOST:

    I’m not suggesting they bought an email list. I’m suggesting some other person, who is perhaps ‘pmaupin1′ or ‘pmaupin10′ gave their email address to some apple “genius” who lost the digits.

    This has happened to me before. For awhile I was getting spam from best buy for “Peter Maupin.” But at least they said who they thought they were communicating with, and I was able to get it fixed by replying to the email.

    The largest tech company on the planet, lauded for their intuition and user interface, can’t get the right email address, can’t indicate who the hell they think they are communicating with, and can’t fix it to stop sending me spam.

    At some point you either request updates or had one of their very many accounts.

    No. Seriously.

    Now, if I think back to deep dark history, I must admit I did do a tiny bit of coding on a Mac for a company I used to work for. In 1987. But somehow, I don’t think I had a gmail account back then.

  90. > and can’t fix it to stop sending me spam.

    Facts not in evidence. You suggest that the reason the link in question doesn’t work is perhaps because you disabled javascript. Without attempting the link with javascript enabled, there is no way of knowing that they can not solve it (I’m also assuming you haven’t actually given a call to anyone at apple, nor likely emailed anyone there either). I get the frustration, but as you said, it was likely a mistake, and if you aren’t willing to contact Apple to get the mistake corrected, whether via using the self remedies they provide, or contacting an Apple rep, then there’s really nothing they can do to solve the issue, since they don’t know there is an issue at all.

  91. > Not sure what you guys have done differently, but I rarely get an email from Apple.

    I read Duke’s response as somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

  92. > I could probably have stopped the torture by forwarding the email to her and letting her click on the button and execute the script on her own computer, but where’s the fun in that?

    I think Kelly understood the situation, and was perhaps engaging in her own brand of fun with Patrick. She (?) likely closed the case with “problem found between chair and keyboard.”

  93. > I HAVE NEVER DONE BUSINESS WITH APPLE.

    Though you earlier state, “My kids have AppleCrap. And I do tech support.”

    Who purchased the “AppleCrap”, Patrick?

    Assuming your children have not yet reached the age of majority, you are responsible for your children’s behavior. Perhaps they used your address, and signed you up? Perhaps it was your spouse?

  94. @tmoney:

    (I’m also assuming you haven’t actually given a call to anyone at apple, nor likely emailed anyone there either).

    Bad assumption. I first tried to respond to the email, but I got a generic response with a list of links that had no bearing on my situation. Then I called, and got bounced around to 4 different people. The last one tried really hard to give me the brush-off, but after about 45 minutes, she finally claimed that she would have a more specialized specialist call me back. That is supposed to happen about 10 minutes ago. We’ll see.

    I get the frustration, but as you said, it was likely a mistake, and if you aren’t willing to contact Apple to get the mistake corrected,

    Bad assumption. I’m trying to get them to fix it.

    whether via using the self remedies they provide, or contacting an Apple rep, then there’s really nothing they can do to solve the issue, since they don’t know there is an issue at all.

    They are trying really hard to act like it’s not a real issue. I spent over an hour on the phone with them last night (on hold for over half that time). They called me back today, and are supposed to call back again after they figure something out. We’ll see.

  95. @Lars:

    Who purchased the “AppleCrap”, Patrick?

    They did.

    Assuming your children have not yet reached the age of majority,

    Bad assumption. They are 25 and 22.

    you are responsible for your children’s behavior. Perhaps they used your address, and signed you up? Perhaps it was your spouse?

    None of the above.

    I think Kelly understood the situation, and was perhaps engaging in her own brand of fun with Patrick. She (?) likely closed the case with “problem found between chair and keyboard.”

    Frankly, she didn’t seem to understand much.

  96. @tmoney:

    For some reason, my comment to you got hung up in the moderation queue, but tl;dr. I had already emailed them and called them; they tried to brush me off, but finally agreed to escalate it.

    FWIW, I just got a call back today, and they claim they’ve fixed it but it might “take 10 days” for the emails to stop. They also were amazed that I’m using Firefox — apparently most of the people having trouble unsubscribing use IE. So (a) none of your comment has anything to do with reality, (b) an Apple employee just admitted to me that they aren’t smart enough to make a really simple unsubscribe button that works with any old browser, and (c) they’re too stupid to make it stop right away — either technically too stupid, or too stupid to realize that when people tell Apple to stop spamming them, the right answer is to stop spamming them.

  97. Looks like it probably was the magistrate judge who was biased against Samsung — among other things, Judge Koh wrote “Accordingly, the Court must conclude that Judge Grewal’s Denial Order was contrary to law.”

    Obviously, when something like that happens, and the first thing the judge sees is a stack of documents done by the magistrate, the judge is going to start off inheriting the magistrates biases. She has corrected some of the biases, but not all. If Apple wins, expect a major part of Samsung’s appeal to center around not being able to show the jury a phone that looked similar to the iPhone that was released before the iPhone.

  98. @Patrick> Looks like it probably was the magistrate judge who was biased

    Obviously. Any judge who finds for Apple must be biased. Project much?

    @Patrick> They are 25 and 22.

    Your adult children have you do the tech support for their Apple products? You must be a Genius(tm).

    @Lars> I read Duke’s response as somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    Indeed.

    @Patrick> If Apple wins

    If you really believe that Apple will lose, you should short AAPL.

  99. @R. Duke:

    > If you really believe that Apple will lose, you should short AAPL.

    Hmm, I don’t recall saying I believe that. Oh, yeah, that’s because I didn’t.

    I do believe that, despite the trial being in Apple’s backyard, Samsung probably has a better chance there than they would have in East Texas, especially with the jingoistic, moralistic preaching of Apple’s attorneys. I also believe that, no matter the outcome, an appeal will be filed, and that eventually some sort of truce will be worked out.

    And partly because of that belief, I don’t believe that the outcome of the trial will have that much effect on Apple’s stock price. (Might have a pretty good effect on Samsung’s, though.) The thing that will move the stock price is how well Apple seems to be selling their next iWhatevers.

  100. BTW, expectation of volatility seems heavily baked into AAPL options prices.

  101. If Apple loses the Samsung case . . . then what continues is the status quo, with Samsung selling phones just like it had been for the last few quarters. At a P/E ratio of 15, Apple is currently in the usual range for a stock valued on the assumption the status quo will continue (especially when you factor in the company’s $50 billion in current assets). That is, the P/E ratio reflects no significant expectation that Apple will soon see a significant improvement in its fortunes (like its biggest smartphone competitor having to significantly change its products, pay Apple significant damages, or pay any substantial royalties to Apple going forward). The standard analysis is that AAPL’s price already reflects the market expecting Apple will not win anything of significance the Samsung case.

    So, we’re left with some limited options when faced with someone saying “If you really believe that Apple will lose, you should short AAPL”. Said person might be painfully ignorant of finance. He might believe that Apple is just utterly unable to compete with Samsung’s superior phones, and is facing a total sales collapse in the next few quarters unless saved by the law from having to do so. Or he might be deliberately and consciously spewing utter bullshit.

    Which category are you in, R. Duke?

  102. Nice outcome in south Korea:
    Both Apple and Samsung lose. Both have products banned from the market.

    South Korea Court finds both Samsung and Apple guilty of infringement
    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/08/23/south-korea-court-both-guilty/

    But it could have a significant effect on Apple’s current and future lawsuits. Along with the infringement rulings, the court also found that there was “no way” that consumers would ever confuse Samsung and Apple products, and that Samsung didn’t copy iOS icons.

    And

    http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/24/samsung-v-apple-the-south-korean-verdict-is-in/

    The court banned sales in South Korea of Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2, Samsung’s Galaxy SII and Galaxy Nexus smartphones and Galaxy Tab and Galaxy 10.1 tablet computers.

  103. Somewhat off-topic: there’s an attempt among Nokia’s small investors to oust Stephen Elop. Tomi Ahonen has written an open letter of support, which contains a repeat of some of what ESR called “carpet bombing Elop”. Ahonen names Elop’s disastrous handling of carrier relations the thing that could be fixed quickly by hiring a new CEO from a telco. Believe that if you like. The letter:

    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/08/open-letter-to-nokia-shareholders.html

    (Ahonen wrote a Finnish version of the letter, too, for Finnish investors who might not bother with an English-language letter. Ahonen apparently doesn’t have a Finnish keyboard (he lives in Hog Kong), so the letter has a and o characters instead of ä and ö, and the Finnish reads like a bad translation in places.)

  104. Winter –

    Interesting article. I’m not sure how one could hold that Samsung didn’t copy Apple’s icons. It is one of their strongest points.

    Mikko –

    There is just no evidence for this boycott on a wide scale. One of the carriers Tomi mentioned early on in developing this theory was Verizon-USA. Verizon doesn’t carry the Lumia because it is GSM, they have repeatedly indicated they consider a Windows phone to be an important part of their offerings especially to business customers. So at least in this one case it was essentially pure fabrication.

    The second problem with Tomi’s theory that the burning platform’s memo is what killed Nokia, is that Nokia’s declining share starts happening several quarters before Elop and at the same time as RIM’s. I don’t think Elop has done a great job, I really do wish that Nokia was focusing on pushing Symbian and MeeGo as well as Windows and I wouldn’t object at all to him being fired. But Tomi is not helping by making stuff up.

  105. @CD-host
    Before the burning platform memo, Nokia had an uncertain future. After the memo, there was no future anymore.

    Tomi has played with many strategies that each had some possibilities. It is almost inconceivable that even doing nothing would have panned out as disastrous as the acts of Elop.

    The game was to convert Symbian users onto WinPhone. That would have given MS an instant 30% of the market. It would have allowed Nokia to get rid of costly OS and UI developement. However, as MS are utterly incompetent at anything but lies and deception, they failed completely. Consumers, sales channels, nor networks wanted the WinPhones.

    Nothing but an empty shell is left of Nokia. Disposed by MS, who will use Samsung to market WP8 phones.

  106. It’s not the burning platform memo per se that was the problem. When you release a memo like that, everybody will be watching, so what happens next takes on significant import. A memo like that screams “Hey, watch this, guys! I’m about to show you how it’s done!”

    Which could have been just the braggadocio needed, in the hands of someone sane, competent, and honest. (Elop is probably two of the above, but he’s definitely not all three, and I will leave the speculation as to which characteristic is missing to others.)

    There’s Osborning a product, and then there’s Osborning a company.

  107. Winter –

    I agree that’s Tomi’s theory but I don’t think that’s accurate.

    1) Symbian was primarily popular in the developing world and Asia. Microsoft is centered in the United States. If the goal was to convert Symbian users the MeeGo strategy, with its focus on unified Symbian / MeeGo development tools makes far more sense. I’d say in abandoning MeeGo Elop and the board had decided to treat Symbian as a legacy product where the goal was to sell Symbian as a short term cash source not a long term customer source.

    2) I don’t think we have any idea if the Windows phone failed. At the price point Nokia was selling these phones at they were effectively priced against high end Androids and mid range iPhones. The hardware on the Lumia was worse than what the competitors were offering and the software was a less mature platform. So far what we know is that Windows Phone doesn’t sell when its a worse deal based on software excellence. That’s it. Given that Lumia was able to sell out at about $100 less than originally anticipated price, it appears that Windows is not a total failure.

    I don’t see any signs of the sort of broad customer revolt and low ratings Tomi talks about. The phone got fairly good reviews, and customers seem to be willing to buy it at prices comparable to a mid range Android i.e. at around $300-400 they could move tens of millions. At $600 they have real problems.

    3) We have no evidence of sales channel or network resistance beyond what any new phone has. And for both examples Verizon-USA and the China telecom the issue is CDMA not some boycott.

    4) As for nothing but an empty shell being left of Nokia, I agree. But there are several things that led to that and most of them predate Elop:
    a) Symbian Belle not arriving on time (early 2011) (this is Accenture not Nokia’s fault)
    b) MeeGo not arriving on time (late 2011).
    c) Maemo failure
    d) Meltemi (replacement for Symbian not being ready Q4 2011.
    e) Nothing in the MeeGo pipeline after N9.

    The board had lost confidence in the Nokia staff by the time Elop got there. He, contrary to what Tomi writes, was not hired to fix execution problems. He was hired to outsource.

    I think Elop is probably telling the truth in his Business Week article. He needed cash badly and Balmer had cash. Balmer needed market credibility and an exclusive with Nokia gave him that. That’s a logical trade.

  108. > I don’t think we have any idea if the Windows phone failed.

    Heh… not to be rude or anything, but are you sure you’d recognize failure if it hit you on your head?

  109. @CD-Host
    “The phone got fairly good reviews, and customers seem to be willing to buy it at prices comparable to a mid range Android i.e. at around $300-400 they could move tens of millions. At $600 they have real problems.”

    The Zune had the same good reviews. And the Lumia failed even though people got them extra heavily subsidized and sometimes with a free XBox. They shipped 4 million NoWin phones in two quarters. At the cost of losing a multiple of Symbian sales, and the old MS phone.

    Symbian had life in it an a lot of sales. That all evaporated in consequence of a marketing disaster.

  110. @CD-Host
    “He needed cash badly and Balmer had cash.”

    What happened to the $8B cash reserve Nokia is supposed to have?

    This all does not square with Elop refusing to sell phone models that people actually scream for to be sold to them. Like the N9. Elop refused to sell the N9, even though everybody was raving about it and Stern magazine advised Germans to travel to Switzerland to buy one. The same with the Pureview.

  111. @CD-Host
    “The board had lost confidence in the Nokia staff by the time Elop got there. He, contrary to what Tomi writes, was not hired to fix execution problems. He was hired to outsource.”

    I would go one step further. Elop was intentionally hired to sell out to MS.

    That is what former MS execs are hired for in the first place. I would not be surprised if it would emerge that there were share swaps behind the scenes for major Nokia share holders. A few major Nokia share holders were relatively new USA investors who also have large bundles of MS stock. They have appointed board members.

  112. Heh… not to be rude or anything, but are you sure you’d recognize failure if it hit you on your head?

    Nope some products aren’t initially successful. Microsoft has a very long track record of coming into markets as a bit player and slowly becoming dominant over many years. Given their record I don’t see the initial failure of Windows 7 phone to be indicative of any information about what phone market share will look like 10-20 years from now. The only thing I’d be willing to say is that Windows 7 was not an initial smash success, but Microsoft rarely has those.

  113. What happened to the $8B cash reserve Nokia is supposed to have?
    Nokia trades on exchanges with pretty strict rules. Just walk through financial statements to see where assets went.

    This all does not square with Elop refusing to sell phone models that people actually scream for to be sold to them. Like the N9. Elop refused to sell the N9, even though everybody was raving about it

    Not really. Being able to sell a few million phones is far different than being able to sell a few hundred million. There were 3 phones in the MeeGo line between 2011 and 2014 (according to Elop). There just was not enough of a product pipeline. If he could get cash for mostly killing off the MeeGo / N9 that might have been worth far more than selling phones.

    I think the N9 is a great phone and incredibly innovative. A GUI that is arguably better than Apple’s, certainly more creative. You will see on this very threat that I argued this would be a good way for Android to go to avoid Apple’s functional patents. But today that N9 phone is selling for $400 retail even with limited supply. Before it was closer to $550. At $250 it would probably sell 100m phones but Nokia can’t make them that cheap. The N9 while a great product was not a product to save Nokia.

  114. Symbian had life in it an a lot of sales. That all evaporated in consequence of a marketing disaster.

    I don’t know what Symbian has to do with Windows phone. Nokia still sells Symbian in the Elop era.

  115. @Jessica

    >But hold on, if Apple can get away with that crap than Baxter Healthcare can too.

    Baxter can get away with it regardless. Apple’s lawsuits have no bearing whatever on whether the pharmaceutical industry can wage lawfare. Apple is responsible for its own lawsuits, not every IP lawsuit ever filed.

    >And you are so mistaken about uninteresting gadgets. The IP minefield robs us mainly of the easily squishible startups who are the source of a lot of the truly innovative ideas.

    Quite so, but, again, I don’t think that Apple’s suits have – so far – robbed us of anything particularly interesting. I grant you that they have had a negative effect, and again I am perfectly willing to be very critical of them for their behaviour, but I don’t think that they have ‘robbed us of the future’ or anything of this sort.

    >If you what to know what I am talking about consider the 3D printer world. So much opportunity buried under so many piles of patents that people don’t even try.

    So, again, this comes under the general heading of ‘the IP system is bad’. And I agree. But that isn’t Apple’s fault.

    > I do find the things you complain about interesting. Firstly that they complied with a legal notice to take a link out of their database. Somehow you think that google not linking to a particular web site is somehow censorship. If find that just plain silly. Google has a right to put whatever they want on their database, unless you have some crazy idea that it is a public utility.

    Of course they do, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t legitimate for us – as users – to complain when they do something that has the effect of arbitrarily excluding content from their product that it would be beneficial to have exposed. Google has the right to use its power to make it less likely for people to be exposed to certain opinions and information, but that doesn’t mean that we have to like it, and it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t complain loudly about it.

    >Second they didn’t comply with what Apple wanted them to do in terms of cookie management? Again, they didn’t say they weren’t going to track the traffic going over their servers, Apple did. The fault here is that Apple’s software had a bug that failed to honor their commitment to the user. They are google’s servers, why are they bound by Apple’s claims of privacy. (I don’t know much about this case, just what I read in the article you linked to.)

    Google deliberately used a technical method to workaround Safari’s cookie preferences. Every browser has a preference that lets the user choose whether to allow 3rd-party cookies to be set. Google managed to find a way to set 3rd party tracking cookies even when the preference was set to disallow third party cookies. I don’t see how this is anything but an unambiguously bad thing for Google to have done.

    I won’t go on, because I actually think that Google is one of the better companies out there with regards to moral behaviour. I think that their hacking of Safari to set tracking cookies is one of the worst things they have done, and, to me, ranks close to Apple’s IP shenanigans on the ‘corporate evil’ scale. But, of course, people have different values.

    My only point is that all companies sometimes do bad stuff. If I refused to interact with all the people and companies who had ever done something morally questionable I would have to lock myself in a box and become a hermit. I’d rather not do that.

  116. Nokia has been so heavily down-traded that it was valued at 70% of liquidation value at its lowest. The stock has recovered and trades at 23% over its bottom value. According to Swedish newspapers this is due to hopes being raised over the release of 2 new Windows phones in September.

    The only thing that stops me from buying put-options in Nokia is that there is a risk that Microsoft will put in a bid for the whole company in the near future. They’ll have to pay a decent premium to close such a deal quickly.

    In other news Nokia Publish, the Nokia appstore, just shot itself in the foot again. They have launched a new single-sign-on that they force all developers to use. Switching is a long and tedious process – more than an hour of work according to one of my colleagues.

  117. Samsung apparently just lost big-time.

    It will be interesting to see how the inevitable appeal plays out.

  118. “The pretense has always galled a little, especially when Apple’s marketing created a myth that, footling technical details aside, the whole package somehow sprang like Athena from Steve Jobs’s forehead.”

    Apple’s marketing has created no such myth. All but the most casual of Apple-observers are familiar with myriad stories of their products going over and over again to the drawing board and how some did start as a response to a competitor’s offering (that was deemed to suck in one way or another).

  119. “It’s beginning to look like…” Empty rhetoric

    “…declined to suppress evidence…” (linked even) Rhetoric [implied: the trial is rigged]

    “Those of us aware enough…” Rhetoric. Seriously? Does anyone really think that people don’t know about Xerox PARC, Kay, and innumerable UI and design contributors to Apple? Certainly not less so than all of Microsoft’s acquisitions and kills. Does anyone think Apple hasn’t owned these contributions? Both when they’ve said the competing contributor got it right or wrong? Sure, Apple has shaped and massaged their own story. Such is the legacy of all agents capable enough to do so. The fact is there is more ignorance in trying to deny Apple’s impact on technology than there is in respecting what they created, built upon, innovated, or made mandatory.

    “The pretense has always galled a little, especially when Apple’s marketing created a myth that, footling technical details aside, the whole package somehow sprang like Athena from Steve Jobs’s forehead.”

    Seriously, does this rhetoric ring true for anyone but the most misinformed or delusional? Seriously, I need to know.

    “because the company’s strategy has come to depend on using junk patents in attempts to lock competitors out of its markets.” I almost think this rhetoric is aimed at yourself more than your audience. Do you seriously believe Apple has no other strategy that litigating over “junk”? They are LESS strategic and visionary than every other player out there with no recourse but the legal system? Uh huh.

    “Apple may well be headed for a similar bruising…” Maybe.

    “…at least one great wrong perpetrated on Alan Kay and Doug Engelbart and the other pioneers who actually invented the “Apple Interface” will have been partly righted.”

    Now that’s just insulting. Suggesting that Apple has in anyway insulted or wronged Alan Kay and Douglas Engerlbart is the crudest, weakest, and trashiest of rhetoric.

  120. “Seriously, does this rhetoric ring true for anyone but the most misinformed or delusional? ”

    It sure is tedious to sweep all this straw from the floor. :)

  121. @Patrick
    It seems the jury did a rather shoddy job in calculating the dammages.

    The impression from abroad is (again) that US patent law is intended to protect *American* innovation, and nothing else.

  122. The impression from abroad is (again) that US patent law is intended to protect *American* innovation, and nothing else.

    While I more or less agree with the jury one good thing that could come out of this would be countries abroad putting US patent claims under greater review. Essentially total non recognition of the US patent office. Which likely would lead to patent reform in the US.

  123. @Winter

    >The impression from abroad is (again) that US patent law is intended to protect *American* innovation, and nothing else.

    That might be *your* impression, but I’m afraid you don’t speak for the whole of ‘abroad’.

    My impression is that US patent law, like most patent law, doesn’t protect any innovation at all, American or otherwise.

  124. My impression is that US patent law, like most patent law, doesn’t protect any innovation at all, American or otherwise.

    All right, it’s intended to protect the profits of major American companies (which happen to be big political contributors), and nothing else.

    Winter’s point remains the same: the laws are corrupt and self-serving and there’s no global perspective. And his opinion alighs nicely with most of the Europeans whose opinions I’ve heard on American law and politics.

  125. The Macintosh UI was actually more a uniquely Apple innovation than is commonly supposed.

    Time to face facts: Apple innovates, virtually everyone else copies. Except now the copiers are being called on it to the tune of (pinky to corner of mouth) one billion dollars.

  126. “the laws are corrupt…”

    Disagree, or at least, I would take American legal corruption over most any other nation’s legal corruption.

    “…and self-serving…”

    Again disagree, or at least, I would take America’s self-serving judicial system over most any other nation’s self-serving judicial system.

    “…and there’s no global perspective.”

    And I should care, why? My definition of nation is different than yours.

  127. @Tim F
    And, pray, which other judicial systems do yoi have experience with?

  128. It is now official, confirmed by the courts: Samsung tablet is the same as iPad, at half the price

    You cannot make this up
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/114476892281222708332/posts/246srfbqg6G

    Guy: “Wait, so what they’re saying is, Samsung is the same as Apple?”
    Friend: “I know, right? Makes me think twice about how much I paid for my Mac Book”
    Guy: “Seriously”

    The next couple wants to return their iPad for a Samsung

  129. There’s a ton more from TinyCo on their blog. Excellent stuff. Amazon’s app store is their best outlet, followed by the Apple App Store, followed by Google Play. Also interesting: Facebook users monetize a lot better than anyone else.

  130. Apparently, some companies are doing well with the Android freemium model:

    Yeah, and it sucks. “Free to play” a.k.a. “pay to win” is ruling the mobile app space, even on iOS.

    As more and more gaming companies discover that pay-to-win Skinner boxes are more profitable than traditional games, traditional gaming will be starved of resources.

    Valve may be made fun of for its TF2 hats, but they found a way to use the freemium model without resorting to charging people to fuck up game balance. But Valve is the black swan of the 2000s/2010s game industry.

  131. Slightly OT:

    Has anybody else looked at kivy, which supposedly allows cross-platform development in Python for Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, etc.?

    http://www.kivy.org (Warning: site seems to suck without accelerated graphics)

    Their Python for Android subproject seems very interesting:

    http://python-for-android.readthedocs.org/en/latest/index.html

    Unlike similar efforts it appears you can package up a python interpreter and python scripts into an APK that does GUI stuff on the smartphone.

  132. I think someone else probably mistakenly signed up with my email account, but they just started sending me spam, and the unsubscribe button doesn’t work, probably because I don’t enable javascript for spammers.

    You’d rather spend hours on the phone but not try to enable javascript to make the unsubscribe button work? LOL. That’s pretty damned stupid because Apple isn’t a spammer and you’re just being obstinate and eager to be offended by Apple’s nefarious tactics.

    Nice ruling regarding Samsung and amusing claim chowder fare for the post title.

  133. @jeff FTP/Freemium sucks ass. It depends on either “always online” or excessive DRM to work.

  134. @jeff Nope. I’ve modded iOS games. The DRM protects the core game executable but devs that leave a lot of things in the plists, config files, etc allows me to replace art, tune parameters, etc.

    For freemium they have to lock this stuff down so there’s no modding potential at all.

    Not that mods are a requirement but it does add to the game community and longevity. There are some amazingly cool skins out there as well as game balance tweaks that give you a whole new game experience and of course, some very well done user generated scenarios/maps/etc.

    Sufficient DRM that the dev has a viable business model that doesn’t involve ads and the user still having the ability to tweak aspects of the game play is a good balance IMHO.

    This is something that neither free as in beer (requires ad or freemium game business models) or free as in speech (no viable game business model at all) really allows.

  135. @Nigel:

    That’s pretty damned stupid because Apple isn’t a spammer and you’re just being obstinate and eager to be offended by Apple’s nefarious tactics.

    Did you miss the part where Apple sent me spam? What else is required in order to be classified as a “spammer?”

    BTW, I put spammy companies in two categories. The “illegitimate” companies are simply training fodder for the spam filter. The “legitimate” companies (those which might possibly be trainable) I attempt to help train. Clicking on the “opt-out” button is not my usual modus operandi because it validates the business model. I only was going to use it with Apple because I was sure it was an honest mistake. But when it didn’t work, well they obviously need remedial training in how to make opt-out work. And I was doing other things while I was on hold, like explaining to the FTC that opt-out buttons need to not execute code on my computer, and that Apple’s approach was a paradigm of how not to do it.

  136. @Patrick Given that you agreed that Apple didn’t buy your email from somewhere and that you believe that someone entered your address by mistake then Apple didn’t “spam” you.

    There exists various definitions of spam but they largely all include “unsolicited” and “indiscriminate” in the definition. Apple does not spam. It sends advertising emails to folks that sign up for such. It provides an opt out option that actually will opt you out as opposed to simply confirm that the spammer has found a valid email address.

    What happened was a mistake, not spam.

    The reason they were surprised that the opt out doesn’t work under Firefox is because the opt out does work under firefox. If you have javascript turned on.

    But whatever, enjoy wasting your time attempting to “educate” apple and the FTC. I’m sure that’s going to get things fixed right quick…I tried to “educate” Papa John regarding their disconnect between their website and point of sales system explaining what went wrong with an order. At least I got a free pizza out of the time spent which is pretty much all the response I expected. “This person is an idiot and wasting everyone’s time…corporate IT will fix this or not on their own schedule, we can’t do squat…lets send him a pizza and get him outta our hair and close the ticket”.

    Tilting at windmills without the potential pizza payout is highly sub-optimal. LOL.

  137. apple has won… samsung is in trouble…….

    Now the nuke will turn toward google?

    Is google scared they had to sue apple again?

    Android Over 60% market share yet most mobile money/profit goes to iphne and Ios !

    And yet android is still stuck at version 2.3…
    Honeycomb and gingeerbread is a failure!
    Will Icream Sandwich be as popular as Gingerbread?
    Doubt it… its Fragmentation for you!

  138. @Nigel:

    You’re right. Spam includes “unsolicited.” And I didn’t solicit anything. Which is why every single reasonable mailing list on the planet first sends out a “we don’t know if you subscribed to this, but if you did and you meant it, please click here” FIRST. Yes, I mean opt-in.

    Any company truly interested in best practices will work to train their users to engage in best practices. Best practices for users include not clicking on random opt-out links from email that they didn’t solicit.

  139. @Nigel> Nice ruling regarding Samsung and amusing claim chowder fare for the post title.

    we can’t hear you! lalalalala!

  140. @Nigel et al

    Median revenues on paid apps are less than $1000/ year. Development costs are over $30,000 on average.

    Investing in a lottery seems more prudent.

  141. @Winter:

    A lottery would be a great investment! Over here, though, the gummint has a monopoly on those and they _really_ don’t like competition.

  142. > Median revenues on paid apps are less than $1000/ year. Development costs are
    >over $30,000 on average.

    Point of order, comparing median revenue with mean development costs is lying with statistics.

  143. @winter There are many developers making a living solely on the basis of their Apps. There are many developers making a living at companies that develop apps. There are far more devs that have failed to achieve sufficient income based only on apps to quit their day job if that was their original goal.

    The same can be said of any entrepreneurial effort. 1 in 4 restaurants fail (or are sold) in their first year. 3 in 5 in the first three years.

    And it turns out that many of these failures are the result of a successful exit strategy.

    Given the immense time commitment that goes into owning a restaurant, it makes sense that some owners want out, even if they’re making money. And in fact, the number of profitable “failures” is not insignificant. A 2003 report from an economist in the SBA’s Office of Advocacy analyzed unpublished data from the U.S. Census and found that one-third of closed businesses were financially successful at closure.

    “It appears that many owners may have executed a planned exit strategy, closed a business without excess debt, sold a viable business, or retired from the workforce,” the report noted, adding that business-failure statistics might therefore present “much more daunting odds for business success than is actually the case.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2007-04-16/the-restaurant-failure-mythbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

    So your statement is equivalent to “Investing in a lottery seems more prudent than starting a restaurant”. Which is idiotic.

    I personally know several successful (as in still in business after 3 years) restauranteurs as well as several app devs. None have been able to quit their day job to write apps full time but they’ve gained app development experience and enough discretionary funds for toys (phones, tablets, TVs, laptops, etc) that didn’t have to come out of the monthly budget. And no, it didn’t cost them $30K but weekend and nights doing what many of us do anyway: code. And it’s fun.

  144. @Patrick,
    I spotted the error too late. Apple invested in the lottery, the developers in the tickets. :-)

    @tmoney
    True, but there are few data on developer costs. On the other hand, revenues have the long tail of a few million dollar successes and an ocean of failures. Developing costs are distributed much more symmetrically. Never zero, and very rarely in the millions. The equation does not change much if your developing cost is $10,000. Ignoring that is a rhetorical strategy.

    @Nigel,
    “There are many developers making a living solely on the basis of their Apps. There are many developers making a living at companies that develop apps. There are far more devs that have failed to achieve sufficient income based only on apps to quit their day job if that was their original goal.

    The same can be said of any entrepreneurial effort. 1 in 4 restaurants fail (or are sold) in their first year. 3 in 5 in the first three years.”

    Still, with a median yearly revenue of under $1000 for paid apps, and development costs in the tens of thousands for everyone, this means (much) more than half the paid apps never give a positive ROI. And the number of blazing successes are very very small.

    This does not contradict your claim that many app developers can live from their work. I think, e.g., the development of the Booking.com app, was profitable. But not because it people paid for it, but because it meant more people used Booking.com. Many apps are like that. They pay for themselves because they allow consumers to spend more money with companies.

    There is a lot of money to be made in mobile. Just not so much by selling apps in the app store. And yes, once in a while someone hits the jackpot. Just like in Las Vegas. But it is not the gamblers that get rich in Vegas casinos, but the owners.

  145. @Nigel
    Your response makes my point. Paid download apps are no better to pay the rent than writing books for a living. Starting a restaurant gives you much, much better odds, competing against some dozen(s) of competitors versus 100K of competitors.

    (previous comments seem to have been lost in the system)

  146. “Best practices for users include not clicking on random opt-out links from email that they didn’t solicit.”

    Best practices for users including not blaming a company for something someone using your computer did and then proclaiming it “unsolicited spam” when in fact a user (maybe not the owner) did solicit it.

  147. @Tim F.

    Best practices for users including not blaming a company for something someone using your computer did and then proclaiming it “unsolicited spam”…

    Best practices for trollers are that they should STFU when they haven’t been paying attention and don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. But this best practice is followed even less often than those others.

    - I run linux, and have since I got tired of viruses in 2000.
    - I always logout or lock the screen.
    - Nobody else ever uses my email.
    - Very seldom does anybody else even use my machine, because
    there are plenty of others about.
    - My entire family has been trained for years in proper computer hygiene,
    so as to limit any potential damage due to browser hijacking or other
    potential exploits.

    But just in case the troll has a point, I checked and the only emails to/from apple.com and itunes.com are, in fact, the spams in question, and my attempt to get them to stop via email.

    So either someone stealthily used my email for some reason and decided to erase all their tracks, or it has nothing to do with my email. The former possibility is exceedingly unlikely, since my wife also doesn’t use anything but Linux and neither of us use any Apple products, and since both my girls have their own iTunes accounts for their iWhatevers. The latter possibility doesn’t implicate my computer in the slightest any more than it would any other computer on the net. As I mentioned multiple times, I am sure that some idiot gave Apple the wrong email, but then Apple neglected to verify the address before they started spamming (yes, Nigel, spamming) it with useless advertising.

  148. Patrick, calm the F down; I am just basing my comment off of what you said — that someone else must have.

    An email trail won’t show someone signing up for newsletters via the web… which is the primary way you get on Apple email lists.

  149. @Tim F.:

    Patrick, calm the F down; I am just basing my comment off of what you said — that someone else must have.

    Ah. I see. You assumed I meant someone else in my own household, and I assumed you had read the entire thread on the subject. I guess we were both wrong. Sorry.

    An email trail won’t show someone signing up for newsletters via the web… which is the primary way you get on Apple email lists.

    Right. Which is why I thought it was silly you would assume my computer had anything to do with it.

    @PapayaSF:

    Well, I think I managed to do it via telephone. We’ll see. But that web page has the same issue as the link from the email. The “unsubscribe” button is attached to some javascript… Still, it’s probably a better way to do it generally than to go to some random email link, especially if the really malevolent spammers figure out how to UTF encode something that appears to be “apple.com.”

  150. Still, with a median yearly revenue of under $1000 for paid apps, and development costs in the tens of thousands for everyone, this means (much) more than half the paid apps never give a positive ROI. And the number of blazing successes are very very small.

    Bullshit. Development costs are not in the tens of thousands for “everyone”. I figure my leisure hours are worth a nominal $50/hour. A staff month is under $9K. My last app was not a staff month of effort and it was a spacecraft telemetry android app (which honestly sounds more impressive than it is…think glorified stock app that displays telemetry points instead of stock info).

    I wrote a little TKD app for my kid’s studio that used a bunch of video in iOS for the first half dozen TKD forms. That took a week maybe since I had the video footage already from the class DVD.

    Distant Star is a 4X IOS game that started as a 48 hour solo game design challenge done over weekends during the month of October 2011. It’s a fun little game and the dev parlayed that into a indie game studio with some other folks in collaboration. Win.

    http://blazinggriffin.com/2011/06/distant-star-a-retrospective-with-numbers

    These kind of 48 hour game coding challenges are common:

    http://gigaom.com/apple/app-developer-diary-part-6-the-48-hour-app/
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/10/i-think-theyre-mad-inside-the-48-hour-battle-to-build-the-best-video-game/

    So dev costs can be low and the barrier to entry is under a grand (mac mini + $99 dev fee). You just need a good idea in a good niche and the ability to execute quickly using existing assets.

    These aren’t games that will challenge AAA titles but nice little indie efforts that can sell a couple thousand copies if they are well done, fun and get decent word of mouth.

    This does not contradict your claim that many app developers can live from their work. I think, e.g., the development of the Booking.com app, was profitable. But not because it people paid for it, but because it meant more people used Booking.com. Many apps are like that. They pay for themselves because they allow consumers to spend more money with companies.

    This does not reflect my app purchasing history nor my observation of the iOS app market. In my opinion most iOS app devs are servicing a direct need…not acting as a loss leader for some other service.

  151. @James T. Kirk:

    I’m sure Apple is deeply interested in what happens in the second half of 2014. But I’m equally sure they are deeply interested in what can happen in 2013…

  152. I just got my hands on a Nexus 7, and I am loving it. This is the shot in the arm that Android needed in the tablet space because it is, in its essence, an iPad mini.

    As such it probably infringes dozens of Apple patents.

    Apple may not be content until Android devices all look like that clunky thing the FedEx man has you sign your name on. Even if that happens I’d still buy them out of morbid, morbid curiosity. But the Nexus 7 is here for now and it’s pretty sweet, easily a rival for Apple’s kit in terms of fit and finish.

  153. @Nigel
    If you say iPhone apps can be done cheaply, I won’t contest it. I only know of “averaged” statistics. What I was trying to say, is perfectly presented here:

    60% of the apps on the Apple App Store have never been downloaded
    http://mobileraptor.blogspot.ca/2012/08/60-of-apps-on-apple-app-store-have.html

    Adeven has free analytic service Apptrace which collects iOS app data in the 155 countries that support the App Store. A study conducted by Adeven shows that 60% of the apps on the Apple App store, around 400,000, have never been downloaded. I would think the situation is similar on Google Play.

    So there is less than 40% chance that your app will make any money. Unless you have ways to get attention.

  154. @winter If I were writing the 1900th flashlight app I might agree that my odds of making money were slim.

    Given it’s an ad company pushing its wares and it didn’t publish how it arrived at the 60% number that’s using a statistic that has nearly zero credibility and asserting that there is less than 40% chance that your app will make money is again lying by statistic.

    As a dev I see an ecosystem with a high attach rate, excellent demographics, good payout and low entry costs.

  155. @ Winter

    The Adeven “report” doesn’t pass the smell test. One, they have no way of knowing if an app has been downloaded other than the top 200 apps. Two, what are the odds that a developer wouldn’t have at least one spouse/partner/friend who would want to see their work?

    This company’s product is a competitor to the industry standard for iOS analytics, AppAnnie. So making hyperbolic claims with no backing evidence is how they’re trying to gain attention as well as more funding rounds. Note that if you follow that link to its source about

    I’m not saying all is rosy for every developer, but painting that the AppStore as a place where individual developers can’t make money is wrong.

  156. @Nigel
    “@winter If I were writing the 1900th flashlight app I might agree that my odds of making money were slim.”

    Simple marketing. A better mousetrap does not sell if nobody can find it. Even if your diet app has 100% guarantee of getting the user to a BMI 0f 22, it will still not be found in a list of 650,000 other apps. Every search term will result in a thousand hits.

    @Nigel and Pinhead
    “Given it’s an ad company pushing its wares and it didn’t publish how it arrived at the 60% number that’s using a statistic that has nearly zero credibility and asserting that there is less than 40% chance that your app will make money is again lying by statistic.”

    It is easy. Selecting (semi-)randomly from 650,000 apps is a process best described by the long tail Zipff’s distribution. If you do not believe this, you might need a remedial course in probability theory.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipf%27s_law

    Rank and fit the downloads of the most popular 100 (or 500) apps on a log/log scale and you get a straight line (maybe you need to cut off the most popular 10 or so). Extrapolate that line to where it crosses the 1 download and you get the number of apps that get at least 1 download. The remainder of apps get no download (downloads from the developers and their mothers do not count in marketing).

    Works too with words in texts, city sizes, income, etc.

  157. I’m part of a large scene of game developers, many of whom develop for iOS. If I look at all the games in the scene that I deem to be ‘good’ (not necessarily high-budget, high-polish games, but well-designed games) then around half made a good amount of money. Only a few hit the jackpot, but around half made enough to make it well worth their time.

    I have put three non-free games on the app store so far. Each was made in a very short space of time by a team of one or two. Two of them made a very nice amount of money. Perhaps lightning does strike twice, or perhaps it’s just not that much of a fluke.

    Democratized publishing models make it harder to stand out from the crowd — unlike using a publisher you have to do your own PR, your own marketing, and you have to do so against thousands of other people who are trying to drown you out. But if you make a really good app, and do a reasonable amount of PR and marketing (again using democratized platforms like Twitter or the web) then the odds are pretty great, and you don’t have to go through the immense mountains of bullshit that a traditional publishing model imposes on you. And you can compete on more-or-less even terms with giant software corporations. I think it’s great.

    (True, the freeware/OSS model imposes even less bullshit, but then it’s proportionately more difficult to monetize, and I think a democratized platform like Android or iOS strikes a nice balance between freedom and revenue)

    The app store is heavily loaded with hobbyist developers and hacks, much as you would expect in a democratized publishing model. I guess 95% (maybe more) of the apps on the app store have no chance of standing out from the crowd. But quality is a strong force that pushes a good app to the top of the very large, noisy pile. So I find it annoying when people perpetuate this myth that app development is like buying a lottery ticket — as though it’s a given that everyone writes apps that are equally horrible.

  158. i think battle between apple vs samsung and ios vs android will always continue. but i think i’m on apple side, think that apple spend alot of money and time to research and develope iphone,ios.. and samsung,android duplicated that.

  159. @aris:

    So you don’t think Samsung spends money on smartphone R&D?

    Or you don’t think Apple also does competitive analysis?

    Or you just don’t think, period?

  160. While we’ve been wrangling over the quality of oranges re: Apple vs. Samsung, iPhone vs. Android, etc., AntiSec has been harvesting iPhone/iPad UDIDs — straight off an FBI agent’s laptop.

    I’m becoming convinced that it is probably better for all of us if nobody carried a cellphone of ANY sort. You ARE being surveilled, and cellphones just make the watchmen’s jobs that much easier.

  161. Just a peek under the covers about Samsung’s PR practices:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/sep/03/samsung-tech-bloggers
    http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/09/02/heres-samsung-flew-bloggers-halfway-around-world-threatened-leave
    http://int13.net/france/blog/i-won-a-contest-to-go-to-the-london-olympic-games
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saBl2wY1uzo

    I would bust a few jaws, if I had to go through the crap that the Indian or French bloggers were put through by Samsung. If you read the comments on the sites, you’ll see comments from former employees who basically confirm that this behavior is par for the course from Samsung.

  162. @Jeff Read
    Keeping track of where your phone is is how the network can route calls to it. Keeping track of who you call is how they are able to bill you. These tracking operations have been fundamental to mobile phones from the start.

    What is new in this message is only the level of incompetence of the FBI. I am not sure wheter I rejoice or despare about it.

  163. It seems the endorsement by Apple has increased Samsung’s appeal:

    Galaxy S III Sales Top iPhone 4S in August
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409261,00.asp

    Those iPhone sales losses were Samsung’s gain. The Samsung Galaxy S III was a top-selling phone at all four U.S. carriers, followed by the iPhone 4S , the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S II , and the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, Canaccord analyst T. Michael Walkley wrote in a note to investors.

    Obviously, this is because … most Apple fans are likely waiting for the next-gen iPhone instead of buying the now 10-month-old iPhone 4S.

    I do have to give it to Apple, every single year they succeed to produce a new phone that is even more perfect than the previous perfect iPhone.

  164. Winter,

    Fine, let the network keep track of where my phone is and then flush the data after six months. LEAs have NO business rifling through that without a search warrant. And they certainly have no business grabbing millions of UDIDs with names, addresses, and phone numbers to peruse at their leisure.

    Oh, wait, that argument would fly over in Europe, but not here. Here in the U.S.A. we have constitutional privacy provisions on paper (U.S. Const. Amendment IV), but not in practice.

    hsu:

    I would bust a few jaws, if I had to go through the crap that the Indian or French bloggers were put through by Samsung. If you read the comments on the sites, you’ll see comments from former employees who basically confirm that this behavior is par for the course from Samsung.

    While it is horrid, I think I’d be much more outraged about this if it didn’t sound so much like, oh, every Japanese reality show ever.

  165. @Jeff
    “Here in the U.S.A. we have constitutional privacy provisions on paper (U.S. Const. Amendment IV), but not in practice.”

    You will have a hard time arguing we have neither constitutional protection in Europe (except for the British) nor protection in practice. Believing USA TLA agencies delete any data seems somehow naive to me.

    History has shown time and again that if sensitive data is collected, it is stored by “security forces” (who secure the appropriate elite). If the networks have the data, the NSA have them too.

    On top of this, there is absolutely no reason at all that an agent of the FBI stores millions of sensitive ID’s on a laptop he caries around.

  166. Winter, please don’t try to pick arguments where there are none. I’m saying that (continental) Europe has effective privacy provisions; the USA and really much of the anglosphere don’t. New Zealand was once something of an exception; it has since caved to US government pressure.

  167. @Jeff Read
    “I’m becoming convinced that it is probably better for all of us if nobody carried a cellphone of ANY sort. You ARE being surveilled, and cellphones just make the watchmen’s jobs that much easier.”

    It is much worse. You might not have to give up your phone, the watchmen can completely disable your phone for you.

    Apple patent could remotely disable protesters’ phone cameras
    http://www.zdnet.com/apple-patent-could-remotely-disable-protesters-phone-cameras-7000003640/

    But the patented technology may also be used to restrict protesters’ right to free expression in oppressive regimes around the world — if you haven’t checked recently, there’s plenty of them — by preventing camera images and video being taken at political rallies and events.

  168. I am starting to become really curious about the “rules” that trip off the moderation filter. Anyhow, the news is that Android daily activations are at 1.3M with a global installed base of 500M.

    Link and quotes awaiting moderation.

  169. Google Apple
    Jan 2012 48.6 29.5
    Feb 2012 50.1 ( 1.5) 30.2 (0.7)
    Mar 2012 51.0 ( 0.9) 30.7 (0.5)
    Apr 2012 50.8 (-0.2) 31.4 (0.7)
    May 2012 50.9 ( 0.1) 31.9 (0.7)
    Jun 2012 51.6 ( 0.7) 32.4 (0.6)
    Jul 2012 52.2 ( 0.6) 33.4 (1.0)

    Eric crowed in http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4265 that Android had “finally achieved majority market share in the U.S.” I don’t see the effect of breaking 50% that Eric predicted.

  170. @James T. Kirk (if that’s your real name):

    It’s instructive to look at what happens in countries where the market isn’t distorted by handset subsidies.

  171. @James T. Kirk (?)
    “I don’t see the effect of breaking 50% that Eric predicted.”

    The effect was huge. Apple tries to ban all Android phones from the USA. Sounds like a strong effect to me.

  172. >Apple tries to ban all Android phones from the USA. Sounds like a strong effect to me.

    Furthermore, figures from an infographic that was linked here a few days back do seem to suggest that the shift of developer investment away from Apple towards Android is accelerating. The thing to watch is not the absolute magnitude of the trend but its first derivative – if that continue to increase, Apple’s developer share will fall off a cliff before anybody really sees it coming.

    Apple fanboys don’t think this can happen. Apple’s strategists are smarter and are behaving as though it’s a threat they actively need to game against.

  173. @esr:

    Apple fanboys don’t think this can happen. Apple’s strategists are smarter and are behaving as though it’s a threat they actively need to game against.

    It will be interesting to see if their gamesmanship backfires. The Apple/Samsung brouhaha has seeped into the public consciousness in a way that’s not 100% good for Apple.

  174. @Patrick Maupid> The effect was huge. Apple tries to ban all Android phones from the USA. Sounds like a strong effect to me.

    Apple .v Samsung was filed in the spring of 2011. Eric’s comscore page shows that Android crossed Apple market share in Oct 2010. The lawsuit would seem to be a lot more about this event than Eric’s self-agrandizing 50% market share leading to a “super majority” (LOL) for Android.

    It takes a while to even prepare such a large lawsuit. It never was (and never will be) about 50% market share. If anything, the comscore data shows that Android has stalled at 50%, not accelerated past it.

    Patrick, the subsidies have little if anything to do with it. The top-end smartphones are still $200 – $300 at time of purchase.

  175. @Patrick Maupin> The Apple/Samsung brouhaha has seeped into the public consciousness in a way that’s not 100% good for Apple.

    You may wish to be careful of the obvious selection bias here.

  176. @Winter

    >The effect was huge. Apple tries to ban all Android phones from the USA. Sounds like a strong effect to me.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  177. @James T. Kirk:

    Patrick, the subsidies have little if anything to do with it. The top-end smartphones are still $200 – $300 at time of purchase.

    That’s the entire point. If there were no subsidies, then (a) the top-end $400-$600 Android phones would be cheaper than the $600-$700 Apple phones, and (b) the mid-tier $200-$400 Android phones would look like the bargain they are. In the unsubsidized markets where this holds true, Android is kicking some major ass, and not just with the mid-tier phones — the top-tier Android phones are doing better than iPhones.

    You may wish to be careful of the obvious selection bias here.

    I admit that all the evidence I have seen is anecdotal, but it’s anecdotal evidence about the reaction of non-technical people to the lawsuit. Starting with the fact that they even noticed the lawsuit, and subsequently noticed that Samsung makes things that Apple thinks are too close to Apples, but that are a lot cheaper.

    This is not a big deal for phones (because of the aforementioned subsidy), but could be huge for tablets. “Tablet” used to be synonymous with “iPad” in the eyes of many people. That is changing, and partly by Apple’s own hand.

  178. @Patrick Maupin> That’s the entire point. If there were no subsidies, then (a) the top-end $400-$600 Android phones would be cheaper than the $600-$700 Apple phones, and (b) the mid-tier $200-$400 Android phones would look like the bargain they are.

    Doesn’t follow.

    In a world where subsidies were suddenly illegal (or otherwise impossible), why wouldn’t Apple price at parity with Samsung, then make more on the product sale via after-the-fact purchases, and participation in the MRC paid by the customer to the carrier?

    In case you’ve forgotten, the original 2007 iPhone was purchased without a subsidy. On the original iPhone, Apple netted around $80 for every $399 iPhone it sold, and that’s not counting the $240 it made from every two-year AT&T contract an iPhone customer signed.

    Point is, your math doesn’t work, and the situation you describe has never existed.

  179. In a world where subsidies were suddenly illegal (or otherwise impossible), why wouldn’t Apple price at parity with Samsung, then make more on the product sale via after-the-fact purchases, and participation in the MRC paid by the customer to the carrier?

    So, you’re arguing that the reason the iPhone costs so much in the rest of the world is simply because Apple doesn’t want to leave domestic subsidies on the table? No, wait, you’re arguing that APple cares more about market share than unit profit? Then why don’t they price it the same as Samsung in other countries?

    In case you’ve forgotten, the original 2007 iPhone was purchased without a subsidy. On the original iPhone, Apple netted around $80 for every $399 iPhone it sold, and that’s not counting the $240 it made from every two-year AT&T contract an iPhone customer signed.

    1) Originally, it was $499 or $599 for an iPhone, not $399.
    2) In what universe does the $240 not operate (from the consumer’s viewpoint) as any other cellphone subsidy (by paying for a portion of the phone out of monthly fees)?

  180. @Tom
    “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”

    In the unlikely case that Apple marketing were unable to fit a straight line through a number of dots, someone might have send them a link to this blog.

    In other wordd, they saw it comming and were prepared.

  181. > So, you’re arguing that the reason the iPhone costs so much in the rest of the world is simply because Apple doesn’t want to leave domestic subsidies on the table?

    No, I’m arguing price elasticity of demand. Apple sells as many iPhones as they can make. Demand is high (much higher than for any Android phone), so the price can be (and is) higher. Dropping the price would just mean Apple leaving money on the table.

    Revenue is maximized when price is set so that the PED is one. Go read your Econ 101 textbook again.

  182. > You really believe price does not affect marketshare?

    Marketshare doesn’t feed the stockholders. Profits and positive cash-flow do.

  183. > 1) Originally, it was $499 or $599 for an iPhone, not $399.

    5 years ago, the price was dropped from $599 to $399 for the 8GB iPhone. (The 4GB iPhone was discontinued, and existing stock was moved at $299.)

    If you review what I said, “On the original iPhone, Apple netted around $80 for every $399 iPhone it sold”, you’ll see that it was a 100% accurate statement.

    Still, Apple saw $320 of profit (over 2 years) on every $320 (COGS) iPhone in the early days, and couldn’t sell them fast enough after that date, now 5 years in the past.

    Show me any Android phone that has returned 100% profit, ever.

  184. @JTK
    You statted pointing out eric was wrong saying a 50% US marketshare would be defining milestone for Android. You even quoted the newest ComScore numbers.

    And now you argue marketshare numbers are useless, net profits and margin the only things that count.

  185. > And now you argue marketshare numbers are useless, net profits and margin the only things that count.

    For shareholders.

    I pointed out the Eric was wrong. Android’s 50% marketshare didn’t result in the collapse of Apple. If anything, Android’s growth stunted around 50%.

  186. >Android’s 50% marketshare didn’t result in the collapse of Apple.

    Not yet. The runaway to supermajority status and defection of developers has to happen first. There are signs of the runaway in overseas sales figures, and signs of developers bailing out in at least one recent survey of their future plans.

    You fanboys have constructed a straw-man parody of my analysis in which >50% share leads to instant collapse, but it’s exactly a parody and a straw man. I never claimed it would be that fast or simple – in fact, I have refused to overinterpret momentary dips in Apple’s performance as the big event.

  187. @James T. Kirk:

    If you review what I said, “On the original iPhone, Apple netted around $80 for every $399 iPhone it sold”, you’ll see that it was a 100% accurate statement.

    Still, Apple saw $320 of profit (over 2 years) on every $320 (COGS) iPhone in the early days, and couldn’t sell them fast enough after that date, now 5 years in the past.

    Sorry, I can’t argue financials with someone who thinks that Apple only netted $80 per iPhone, while simultaneously admitting that the figure was 4X as high.

    Show me any Android phone that has returned 100% profit, ever.

    Or anybody who thinks that Apple’s profit on the original iPhone was 100%.

    Point is, your math doesn’t work, and the situation you describe has never existed.

    In fact, I should have stopped arguing when you said this, because obviously we use way different mathematics. But it’s all good. I’m a slow learner, but I will stop now.

  188. @esr:

    > The runaway to supermajority status and defection of developers has to happen first…. I never claimed it would be that fast or simple…

    Right, it will be neither fast nor simple. The thing is, Apple is doing really, really well in the domestic US market. And that’s a big enough market for them to keep doing well, I think, although they would have some major readjustments to make if the subsidies disappeared. Apple’s been hammering their suppliers for margin as if their life depended on it, and have been keeping prices high and have been busy socking away money for a rainy day (although their stockholders demanded some of it back).

    And, in the US (due to becoming available on a few more carriers over the last year), their market share is now rising faster than Android’s according to comscore:

    http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/9/comScore_Reports_July_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share

  189. ? And, in the US (due to becoming available on a few more carriers over the last year), their market share is now rising faster than Android’s according to comscore

    I’d rather you didn’t upset our host. Eric has yet to post the updated comscore data that issued a week ago. He must have his reasons for doing so, as historically he posted the updates to http://www.catb.org/esr/comscore/ within a day or two.

  190. >He must have his reasons for doing so, as historically he posted the updates to http://www.catb.org/esr/comscore/ within a day or two.

    I’ve been falling behind because I no longer trust their numbers – I blogged about this, and why, a few weeks back.

  191. @esr “I’ve been falling behind because I no longer trust their numbers”

    When the source you use doesn’t back your theories/predictions, you have to find another source.

    So what’s going to be your new source?

  192. @patrick maupin “I think, although they would have some major readjustments to make if the subsidies disappeared.”

    Yep. In US they are fine (at least until/unless subsidies get scaled back). Overseas, it’s tough. It’s like they need two pricing models. They need to accept much lower margins outside the US, but I’m not sure they can pull that off.

  193. >When the source you use doesn’t back your theories/predictions, you have to find another source.

    No, it isn’t that. The inconsistencies between their numbers and other market surveys like the Nielsen and Kantar numbers got too large to ignore. Now I don’t think I have any reliable source at all, and I’m not going to lean on (for example) Kantar’s numbers just because they show Android making huge gains. That really would be self-deception.

  194. @Eric
    I long ago switched to global numbers: Global iOS/iPhone/iPad sales as reported by Apple and activation numbers by Google. I think they currently are reasonably accurate. These will show global trends.

    Tomi Ahonen goes out of his way to summarize accurate summaries of quarterly numbers on his blog.

    None of these seem to require your help ;-)

  195. > No, it isn’t that.

    When problems with the comscore data were pointed out here on this very blog, your response was

    It wasn’t until July 2012 that you decided you couldn’t trust the comScore results. This after comscore showed Android sales dropping in June.

    You even went so far as to quote BoC. Dude! Android’s market-share and userbase growth is bucketing along at the same headlong pace it’s been hitting since June 2010. Bullets can’t stop it! Flamethrowers don’t faze it! History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men…

    Whoops! 50% market-share crossover for Android still looks like being sometime in October 2011.

    Prescient! (NOT!)

  196. @JTK
    Meanwhile, Andoid outsells iPhone 3:1 globally.

    So what was your message again?

  197. > Stuff like that in the daily newspaper is not what Apple wants to see.

    Don’t know why not. Seems like a fair comparison. Android has some advantages, iOS has different advantages. Each to their own, and everyone can choose…. unless Eric gets his way,

    … in which case, iOS won’t exist. <— this is the problem, kids.

    Still, tomorrow brings a new iPhone, and Andy will be switching bac. In doing so, he will write yet another article. 'Tis how these things work.

  198. @James T. Kirk:

    Stuff like that in the daily newspaper is not what Apple wants to see.

    Don’t know why not. Seems like a fair comparison.

    Exactly. Apple’s not about fighting fair, lately.

  199. > Exactly. Apple’s not about fighting fair, lately.

    Apple doesn’t care about your needs, Patrick.

  200. @JTK:

    > Apple doesn’t care about your needs.

    Duh. But “fighting fair” isn’t about my needs. If Apple’s not careful, they’re going to wind up hoisted on their own petard here, because a lot of their potential customers have an innate sense of fairness that isn’t all that different than mine.

  201. @JTK
    “Apple doesn’t care about your needs, Patrick.”

    Actually, Apple have spend a lot of effort to get an image of the cool, superior kid. But playing dirty because you cannot win on merit is neither cool nor a sign of superiority. It makes you look like MS. And that was exactly the hated bully Apple fans were fleeing. That behavior just might make Android look cool and superior.

    But most of all, Apple is showing it is vulnerable, and losing.

  202. @winter:

    > But most of all, Apple is showing it is vulnerable, and losing.

    Meh. I think the behavior of the lawyers is somewhat disconnected from market conditions. There are lawyers who are good, reasonable people who can help guide your conscience. Then there are the a-holes. Which is sometimes what you want or even need. The problem is that when an a-hole lawyer does good stuff for you, and you start to trust them and then you let them off-leash, they can wreak a lot of havoc:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/262202/apple_vs_apl_tech_company_sues_online_polish_grocer_over_logo.html

  203. Comment in moderation queue. I suppose that a hole, with a dash in the middle, is not nice language.

  204. On this whole samsung – apple issue, I have to think most people only casually follow the story – if at all. So IMO it will have very little effect on consumer buying either way.

    We will never know though…… hard to measure.

  205. Incidentally, in regards to this:

    >60% of the apps on the Apple App Store have never been downloaded

    and with the caveat that these are Apple’s numbers. Apple’s claim today is that 90% of the apps on the app store are downloaded every month.

  206. > If Apple’s not careful,

    always with the conditionals. sigh.

    > they’re going to wind up hoisted on their own petard here, because a lot of their potential customers have an innate sense of fairness that isn’t all that different than mine.

    In the US? Naw, I think they’re just after the new shiny for < $x.

  207. “No, it isn’t that. The inconsistencies between their numbers and other market surveys like the Nielsen and Kantar numbers got too large to ignore.”

    The Nielsen data for US smartphone market share very much agrees with the comScore data, and the Kantar data for the US isn’t far off (they actually have iOS at 35% and Android at 56%).

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/12/nielsen-has-android-near-52-percent-of-us-smartphone-share-in-q2/

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/03/android-smartphone-sales-led-by-big-screens-are-growing-everywhere-except-in-the-u-s-kantar/

  208. @JTK
    iPhone is on the road to iblivion. See, no conditionals.

    The iPhone x++ will be hailed as being an even more perfect phone than iPhone x. Still, global sales of Android will be 3+ times bigger over the next year. And in 2013 we will see iPhone (x++)++ and Android outsells it 4:1. Etc.

  209. New iPhone looks nice.

    Interesting that the 3GS was dropped instead of moved further down the food chain for the pre-pay market. I guess the 4 is probably the minimum they want to deal with going forward.

    400 million iOS devices sold to date. I don’t think that the iOS ecosystem will be in any kind of trouble for a while…especially sine the touch just got an nice update too. It’ll be iffy if I buy that or the expected iPad mini. Pocketability has a lot of value.

  210. Patrick Maupin: The thing is, Apple is doing really, really well in the domestic US market. And that’s a big enough market for them to keep doing well, I think.

    Unless they’re subject to a sudden extinction event due to an adverse court decision. That’s a big danger when you move your battlefield from the market to the legal system, you may win big, but you may also lose everything.

  211. @Harold Ancell:

    > Unless they’re subject to a sudden extinction event due to an adverse court decision.

    Yeah, that’s not going to happen to Apple. They’re “too big to fail.” And the ITC process, while faster than the regular courts, is subject to reviews based on the public interest, and there is a possible final appeal to the president.

    Best case, they could lose at the ITC and hightail it to the bargaining table and negotiate a truce. Worst case, they win at the ITC and keep bullying.

    But the court system won’t do them in directly. If there is a big win against them at the ITC, and enough people understand that they brought it on themselves, they could lose in the court of public opinion, but they’ll probably even be able to spin that as poor little Apple against all the rest of the world.

  212. > 400 million iOS devices sold to date.

    .vs 500 million announced Android devices ‘activated’.

    So much for the whole 3-4:1 prediction from ‘Winter’.

  213. @JTK
    So you did nit notive the differences in time?
    The 3:1 was last month. The 400M is since the iPod launch.

  214. Marketshare is like ‘eyeballs’ to a web startup. It’s interesting, but you can’t spend eyeballs (or marketshare).

  215. @James T. Kirk:

    You seem to be studiously ignoring about how the rest of us really don’t give a rat’s ass about how profitable Apple is or isn’t.

    And the whole thing with the GDP is entirely suspect, anyway. Some of those people would have bought other phones, some of them would have bought other stuff besides a phone. You can’t call every sales that anybody makes a “boost” to the GDP — that’s just ludicrously stoopid.

  216. @JTK:

    BTW, even if you considered that an iWhatever was always an extra new sale, by my calculation, to raise the 15 trillion annual US GDP by 0.5% at $400/phone would require 187 million extra (over and above what was sold the previous year) iWhatevers to be sold during a year, inside the US.

    I’m sure the iPhone 5 is that good.

  217. @JTK
    This winter, there will be more mobile phone subscriptions than human beings. Most humans will obtain a smartphone sometime during the next decade. These 5+B smartphones will *not* run iOS. Most likely, they will run Android.

    The mobile industry is on their way to become a $5T industry. Apple’s profits are just a footnote.

  218. @JTK
    As most Apple fanboiz, you seem to have a feodal serf attitude. Every product or technology must be subjected to some feodal lord in the shape of an all powerful company. An alternative is unthinkable.

    But it does not matter what type of Android by what company will drive the world’s smartphones.

  219. > crawl under a rock and die.

    Logically, Google’s next target is cyanogen mod.

  220. >So if someone took iOS, modified it so it didn’t use Apple’s app store, and placed
    > it on their own phone, do you think Apple’s response would be as mild as “we’re
    >not going to partner with you any more?”

    To be fair, apple’s iOS isn’t supposed to be open source or available for modification. On the other hand, Google has a definition of “open” for you, and when I last looked, it didn’t contain agreeing to never modify the os in away the google didn’t approve. I think this is mostly mountains out of molehills, but google brought this on themselves the same way apple brings mountains out of molehills on themselves everytime a vulnerability in os x shows up.

  221. >Logically, Google’s next target is cyanogen mod.

    Actually, if they’re targeting non compatible versions, their next logical target would be Amazon right? Though I don’t think amazon is OHA.

  222. @Spock:

    CyanogenMod and google will continue to enjoy a truce, I think. For one thing, cyanogenMod is completely compatible, the very thing google is looking for — not “stealing” people away from google’s ecosystem.

    @tmoney:

    To be fair, apple’s iOS isn’t supposed to be open source or available for modification. On the other hand, Google has a definition of “open” for you, and when I last looked, it didn’t contain agreeing to never modify the os in away the google didn’t approve.

    Right, and google hasn’t got a problem with anybody modifying it any way they want. Unless that anybody wants to keep partnering with google.

    but google brought this on themselves the same way apple brings mountains out of molehills on themselves everytime a vulnerability in os x shows up.

    Yes, it’s the same general concept, with the shills in the press jumping on how things aren’t as good as everybody assumed they were. The difference is that OSX vulnerabilities affect real people who may have been led to have too much faith in Apple’s ability to screen malicious apps, and google’s licensing affects big companies with executives who should fully understand google’s motivations or be fired, and high-dollar lawyers who should have figured out that the contract has some teeth in it.

    In other words, iOS exploits probably practically inevitable, and the “lack” of Android openness is a fictitious problem, manufactured by corporate interests working against google. I would hate to be Acer right now. Even after dumping the phone, I would imagine they are in google’s time-out corner.

  223. In which we find the answer to the question of how one can create a brand new app store for a derivative of Android:

    http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/09/15/aliyun-app-store-confirmed-to-be-distributing-pirated-android-apps-many-from-another-pirate-site/

    Yes, it’s terribly evil of google to attempt to deny customers to these Android liberators. And anybody who writes an app for Android should realize that, since Android’s open source and can be freely copied, all the apps must be freely copyable, too. WTF was Acer thinking?

  224. >Right, and google hasn’t got a problem with anybody modifying it any way
    >they want. Unless that anybody wants to keep partnering with google.

    And Microsoft doesn’t have a problem with PC vendors shipping with any OS that they want. Unless that vendor wants to keep partnering with Microsoft. And while I find both activities perfectly acceptable and within the rights of both companies, I suspect there are a number of people here (perhaps not you, forgive me I can’t recall your stance the last time it came up) that find what Google is doing now “not evil” but would be first in line for pitchforks with regards to Microsofts behavior with vendors.

  225. @tmoney
    Cyanogen an Amazon distribute adapted respins of Android. Legally, without interference from Google. They are not allowed to call it Android and they cannot use the services Google performes for Android.

    Even suggesting you can legally distribute your own respons of Windows is a joke.

  226. @tmoney:

    And Microsoft doesn’t have a problem with PC vendors shipping with any OS that they want. Unless that vendor wants to keep partnering with Microsoft.

    That’s completely different. Google lets Samsung ship their own stuff, Microsoft stuff, whatever. What they aren’t allowed to do is to spin up a an app store filled with pirated Android apps.

  227. >Even suggesting you can legally distribute your own respons of Windows is a joke.

    Which is why I didn’t suggest it.

    >That’s completely different.

    How so? Acer and Alibaba team up to create their own phone with their own OS based on android. Note they aren’t calling it android, and from what I saw, it wasn’t going to include the google app store either. Google says “if you want to continue to have access to android like the rest of our partners, you can’t ship this os and phone.”

    How is that completely different than Microsoft telling their vendor partners “If you want to continue to have access to windows like the rest of our partners, you can’t ship alternative OSes?”

    >What they aren’t allowed to do is to spin up a an app store filled with pirated
    > Android apps.

    So if piracy is the big issue, why all the bullshit about incompatibility?

  228. @tmoney:

    How is that completely different than Microsoft telling their vendor partners “If you want to continue to have access to windows like the rest of our partners, you can’t ship alternative OSes?”

    It will be the same when Google tells Samsung they can’t ship bada, or tells HTC they can’t ship Window Phone, or even tells Amazon they can’t ship Android any more. In short, never.

    It’s not really that difficult. If you’re going to fragment the google ecosystem, then go ahead and fragment it, but don’t expect any subsequent cooperation from google. How the heck you can equate this to anything Microsoft has done is beyond my comprehension.

    Everybody complains about google not having control of its branding. Google’s really only trying to control its branding here, and then everybody complains. Google’s not trying to make anybody do anything, but if you don’t play by their rules, then your devices can’t access the official app store. And the rules aren’t really that onerous, and don’t even require you to pay them.

    So if piracy is the big issue, why all the bullshit about incompatibility?

    For one thing, it’s much more diplomatic to accuse somebody of incompatibility than piracy. For another thing, the piracy could easily be temporarily fixed, but then once the phones ship, the fix could be removed.

  229. >It will be the same when Google tells Samsung they can’t ship bada, or tells HTC they
    >can’t ship Window Phone, or even tells Amazon they can’t ship Android any more.

    Or when they tell Acer they can’t ship Aliyun? Why is it different?

    >It’s not really that difficult. If you’re going to fragment the google ecosystem, then go ahead
    >and fragment it, but don’t expect any subsequent cooperation from google.

    I wasn’t aware they were expecting Google to cooperate with their fragmentation, just not to punish them in their other non-fragmentory operations.

    >How the heck you can equate this to anything Microsoft has done is beyond my comprehension.

    Because they seem pretty damn equivalent. On the one hand we have a market leader, who’s product you must ship to remain competitive, telling a 3rd party vendor that they must not ship an alternative OS, or they will lose access to a resource all of their competitors have. On the other hand, we have a market leader, who’s product (if you believe our esteemed host) you must ship to remain competitive, telling a 3rd party vendor they must not ship an alternative OS, or they will lose access to a resource all of their competitors have.

    >Google’s really only trying to control its branding here, and then everybody complains.

    I’m not complaining, I think Google should have done something like this (and stronger) long ago. I’m just enjoying a little bit of schadenfreude from Google’s high horse “The definition of open …” preaching coming around to bite them in the ass.

    >Google’s not trying to make anybody do anything, but if you don’t play by their rules, then
    >your devices can’t access the official app store.

    Except my understanding of the situation is not that Acer’s Aliyun devices won’t have access to the Google app store, but that if they ship Aliyun, Google will be revoking Acer’s partner access to Android for all of their devices, whether Google compliant or not.

  230. Or when they tell Acer they can’t ship Aliyun? Why is it different?

    Why is it the same? Or, more to the point, why hasn’t Samsung pulled a Microsoft and told their other partners they can’t ship Bada or whatever else they want?

    On the other hand, we have a market leader, who’s product (if you believe our esteemed host) you must ship to remain competitive, telling a 3rd party vendor they must not ship an alternative OS, or they will lose access to a resource all of their competitors have.

    Google never said they couldn’t ship an alternative OS. They even told the alternative OS people they’d work with them to make it compliant with the google store. Or what do you think the difference between this and Samsung’s situation is? And, btw, Microsoft never said they wouldn’t sell to whoever. They just upped the price. Google doesn’t charge anything.

    I’m not complaining, I think Google should have done something like this (and stronger) long ago. I’m just enjoying a little bit of schadenfreude from Google’s high horse “The definition of open …” preaching coming around to bite them in the ass.

    Ah, that’s why you think it’s the same. Well, whatever. BTW, I don’t think it’s biting that hard.

    Except my understanding of the situation is not that Acer’s Aliyun devices won’t have access to the Google app store, but that if they ship Aliyun, Google will be revoking Acer’s partner access to Android for all of their devices, whether Google compliant or not.

    Again, the Aliyun store is full of pirated stuff, and Aliyun doesn’t access google’s app store by default, so (a) do you really believe that google shouldn’t have tried to shut this down? and (b) what other leverage did they have?

  231. @tmoney:

    Here’s an article on this.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/09/google-blocked-acers-rival-phone-to-prevent-android-fragmentation/

    BTW, I didn’t correctly address this:

    , we have a market leader, who’s product (if you believe our esteemed host) you must ship to remain competitive,

    I don’t recall esr ever saying that you had to have access to google’s store to be competitive.

    I’m not even sure he believes that nothing can be competitive with Android. For example, BTG is an interesting technology, and I, for one, don’t recall any words he’s written that would have to be eaten if that took over the world.

  232. > Or, more to the point, why hasn’t Samsung pulled a Microsoft and told their other
    >partners they can’t ship Bada or whatever else they want?

    Assuming you meant Google and not Samsung, I couldn’t tell you. But just because they’re inconsistent doesn’t mean they’re not doing the same thing. Tell me what is the difference between Acer shipping say a Bada phone, and Acer shipping an Aliyun phone? Neither claims to be android, and neither one has an impact on the “Android” ecosystem, because neither one participates in it.

    > And, btw, Microsoft never said they wouldn’t sell to whoever. They just upped the price.
    >Google doesn’t charge anything.

    Upping the price would be losing access to a resource (that is, volume OEM pricing on windows) that their competitors have. As you point out, Google doesn’t charge anything, so they can’t “raise the price”, they can however deny Acer access to early partner versions, and the general Google compatibility / branding that their competitors would have. Again, two companies, two resources that are competitive advantages (or at least a disadvantage when you go without), and two refusals to allow access to that advantage if the 3rd party vendors don’t behave in certain prescribed ways.

    >Again, the Aliyun store is full of pirated stuff, and Aliyun doesn’t access google’s app store
    >by default, so (a) do you really believe that google shouldn’t have tried to shut this down?
    >and (b) what other leverage did they have?

    A) I believe that Google should have tried to stop the use of pirated Google apps, but I don’t think Google is responsible for shutting down a store containing pirated versions of other apps any more than I think Apple is responsible for shutting down Cydia because it has some pirated iOS apps, or the makers of BitTorrent are responsible for shutting down people that abuse BitTorrent for pirating software. Perhaps providing for better security / DRM to prevent easy pirating of the apps? Sure, but that’s not the same as trying to block an entire OS because of pirated apps.

    B) I’m going to assume that Google retains copyright and or patents on their various softwares that were being illegally distributed, I would recommend a lawsuit.

    >I don’t recall esr ever saying that you had to have access to google’s store to be competitive.

    I’m not talking about access to the Google app store. I’m talking about Android itself, and more specifically the partner level access that all the 3rd party vendors seem to value (with the possible exception of Amazon).

  233. >I don’t recall esr ever saying that you had to have access to google’s store to be competitive.

    You don’t recall me saying that for the excellent reason that I never have.

    >I’m not even sure he believes that nothing can be competitive with Android.

    I can certainly imagine something being competitive with Android at the things it does best. Maemo/Meego might have made a go of it if it hadn’t been sabtaged by the management of its own parent company. FireFox OS might anount to something yet.

    Mind you, I consider both eventualities highly unlikely, because I think positive externalities from the app store are quite important. But as a matter of indisputable fact, Apple’s vaunted app-store advantage didn’t keep Android’s market share from blowing past iOS’s in 2010, and I’m not going to rule out the possibility that Android itself could be outflanked from the greater-openness side.

  234. Incidentally Patrick, if you don’t find Microsoft denying volume OEM discounts to 3rd party vendors who shipped competing OSes something that Microsoft should not have been within its rights to do, then honestly you and I don’t have much to argue about, even if you believe that what Microsoft did is somehow worse than what Google is doing here, since in both cases I believe the companies in question are well within their rights.

    >I can certainly imagine something being competitive with Android at the things it does
    >best. Maemo/Meego might have made a go of it if it hadn’t been sabtaged by the management
    >of its own parent company. FireFox OS might anount to something yet.

    Surely though I think you would agree with the statement that for 3rd party smart phone vendors that shipping Android is a competitive necessity in the current market the same way that shipping windows computers was (is) a competitive necessity for 3rd party PC vendors? Certainly your analysis on Nokia and RIM both seem to suggest that you see embracing Android as the only way for those companies to survive.

  235. >Certainly your analysis on Nokia and RIM both seem to suggest that you see embracing Android as the only way for those companies to survive.

    Yes, but I wrote those implications under the assumption that Android was the only viable open-source alternative. I don’t think anything closed-source can make serious headway against Android’s advantages at this point, because no single source could possibly beat the Android army’s advantages of scale. But if something like FirefoxOS were to break through the statistical noise floor of around 3%, that’s potentially a multivendor competitor to Android and the whole game could change.

    Not a likely scenario; I think Google would have to become sufficiently over-controlling to piss off a lot of its partners first, and Google’s planners aren’t that stupid. But it’s not utterly impossible.

  236. But just because they’re inconsistent doesn’t mean they’re not doing the same thing. Tell me what is the difference between Acer shipping say a Bada phone, and Acer shipping an Aliyun phone? Neither claims to be android, and neither one has an impact on the “Android” ecosystem, because neither one participates in it.

    That characterization is completely wrong. There is no inconsistency in google’s actions. The Aliyun phone accesses a marketplace with, among other things, pirated versions of Google apps. Like google maps. I think their (public) response (so far) is rather mild, actually.

    Upping the price would be losing access to a resource (that is, volume OEM pricing on windows) that their competitors have. As you point out, Google doesn’t charge anything, so they can’t “raise the price”, they can however deny Acer access to early partner versions, and the general Google compatibility / branding that their competitors would have. Again, two companies, two resources that are competitive advantages (or at least a disadvantage when you go without), and two refusals to allow access to that advantage if the 3rd party vendors don’t behave in certain prescribed ways.

    Yes, but there is a difference in what behavior is required. One of them is highly anti-competitive; the other says “compete, but with other stuff. Or, if you want to compete with our stuff, make it fully compatible.”

    I believe that Google should have tried to stop the use of pirated Google apps, but I don’t think Google is responsible for shutting down a store containing pirated versions of other apps any more than I think Apple is responsible for shutting down Cydia because it has some pirated iOS apps

    And I believe google is entitled to reasonable self-help, like telling one of their partners they aren’t going to play ball any more if the partner insists on doing business with a sleazy pirate. (With copyright law being what it is, Acer itself would be on the hook for a lot of those violations if they actually sold the phone.) Compare and contrast this with Microsoft’s approach to companies like Ernie Ball. What google is doing is in no way obnoxious, no matter how you try to paint it as such.

    , or the makers of BitTorrent are responsible for shutting down people that abuse BitTorrent for pirating software. Perhaps providing for better security / DRM to prevent easy pirating of the apps? Sure, but that’s not the same as trying to block an entire OS because of pirated apps.

    You’re saying google doesn’t have to do this. But you haven’t said there is anything wrong with them doing it. And you can’t. Because there’s not. If the whole point of the OS is to free-ride with forked source and pirated apps, there is zero reason for google to turn the other cheek. Not being evil doesn’t require that you be freakin’ Jesus.

    B) I’m going to assume that Google retains copyright and or patents on their various softwares that were being illegally distributed, I would recommend a lawsuit.

    Lawsuits are slow and, in this instance, apparently unnecessary. Of course, if Alibaba keeps shooting off its mouth, they might get one just because. Salted earth and all that. I’d be for that. google probably won’t have to deliver the pain though — I understand the GPL ambulance-chasers are already salivating, and some of the Android app authors are already asking where they go to get relief. We haven’t heard the end of this yet, and IMO Alibaba’s not going to come off looking good. I think Yahoo already figured this out — they’re busy extricating themselves as quickly as possible from that deal.

    I’m not talking about access to the Google app store. I’m talking about Android itself, and more specifically the partner level access that all the 3rd party vendors seem to value (with the possible exception of Amazon).

    OK, which is it — Android’s in trouble because half the manufacturers are two generations behind, or Acer would be in trouble because they would only get the code one generation behind? Or, which is it — the partner level access is really valuable, or Acer doesn’t need it because they can rely on this Alibaba OS?

    But all sarcasm aside, I think you’re wrong about the perceived value to the manufacturers of the Google Play store vs. the partner level access. The play store is where it’s at, giving a cut of the proceeds to the manufacturers.

    Incidentally Patrick, if you don’t find Microsoft denying volume OEM discounts to 3rd party vendors who shipped competing OSes something that Microsoft should not have been within its rights to do, then honestly you and I don’t have much to argue about, even if you believe that what Microsoft did is somehow worse than what Google is doing here, since in both cases I believe the companies in question are well within their rights.

    I think you have too many “nots” there, but that’s not exactly what Microsoft did, because that would have been viewed as anti-competitive — Microsoft actually asked. And came up with a much more evil-genius workaround that got the government to leave them alone for far too long. They gave big discounts if you put MS on every single machine shipped. Had nothing to do with “volume” — a shop that shipped 10 PCs a month could get a better price than one that shipped a thousand, and the discount was big enough that a shop that was going to put MS on half its machines found it cheaper to put it on all its machines, thus raising the price on all the competitors in one fell swoop.

    Unfortunately, if we give the government the ability to create monopolies out of whole cloth (such as copyright), we have to rely on them to take care of some of the excesses. I view what Microsoft did and does as significant abuse of its government granted monopoly. Google? No way, at least not in this instance.

  237. no single source could possibly beat the Android army’s advantages of scale

    Sure, the “Android army” has “scale” in overall marketshare percentage, and maybe you also mean the decentralized group of people looking at and adding to the code. But in other types of scale, it looks like Apple has clear advantages.

    Hardware: Except for maybe Samsung (at times), no Android manufacturer buys components on Apple’s scale. E.g., even though there are more total backlights in Android phones, Apple has the scale advantage because they are selling much larger numbers of only a few designs.

    Hardware/software integration: A centralized OS plus a handful of hardware designs, all under one roof, has better scale than a swarm of companies and individuals cooperating and competing on hundreds of models any many different OS versions and forks. Again, Android diversity = fragmentation = less scale.

    UI: It’s just one walled garden, but Apple can focus vast amounts of effort on it. Android’s diversity inevitably means dilution of effort and thus less scale.

    Packaging/marketing/advertising/support: A handful of models beats hundreds of different models.

    And of course, Apple leads (by far) in revenue and profits, which I think counts as scale.

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone can consider “scale” regarding smartphones and conclude “Android clearly beats Apple.”

  238. @PapayaSF
    “Hardware/software integration: A centralized OS plus a handful of hardware designs, all under one roof, has better scale than a swarm of companies and individuals cooperating and competing on hundreds of models any many different OS versions and forks. Again, Android diversity = fragmentation = less scale.”

    Android leads in the adoption of new technology, with Apple playing catch up. Also, Android runs on orders of magnitude more hardware configurations. So, empirically Android displays an advantage of scale in hardware/software integration.

    Note that the stellar profits scale argument for Apple implies Apple does not spend much more on development (if not less).

  239. Assuming that this:

    “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

    is the definition of Android’s Open Source definition, what did Asus do wrong?

    It was only partially about pirated apps, quoting Rubin himself:

    Hey John Spelich — We agree that the Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem and you’re under no requirement to be compatible.

    However, the fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.

    If the Aliyun runtime, framework and tools are all based on Open Source Android, aren’t Asus within their rights to perform and promote this fork?

    Rubin will accomplish nothing here but to drive Aliyun underground, a cousin of the CEO of Asus will soon form a new company, Asys, with 3rd shift access to the same manufacturing and test lines that build Asus Android phones, only with the 3rd shift getting Aliyun. The phones will still be available in China and elsewhere in Asia.

    Andy Rubin has spent over $14B on Android, with less than $1B in return.

  240. @Winter: Well, that’s an example of what I mean by different meanings of “scale.”

    First, “leading on adoption of new technology” does not, in itself, have anything to do with scale (if I understand what esr means by the term).

    Running on more hardware configurations doesn’t seem to me to be an “advantage of scale” or an “economy of scale.” Quite the opposite. Which of these has the advantage (or economy) of scale?

    1) One hardware/software team working for the same company, solving power management issues on limited configurations of hardware, and these models each sell by the tens of millions, or

    2) Scores of teams handling power management, working for many different companies, on “orders of magnitude more hardware configurations,” the average model of which sells far fewer?

    I would think that the total numbers of devices in #2 would have to be vastly larger than #1, at least 10:1, in order for #2 to have any advantage of scale. Even then I am doubtful.

    I don’t understand your last sentence regarding profits.

  241. @PapayaSF
    “Well, that’s an example of what I mean by different meanings of “scale.” ”

    More deployment seems to equal bigger scale. And it is well known that you can only learn from your mistakes. More hardware diversity leads to more errors and bugs found. Furthermore, more coders working on the same project does not increase output (the Mythical Man Month). More coders on different (HW) projects does.

    The deployment of more coders in Android on more hardware platforms means more errors are made, and more experience is build. The FLOSS nature of Android insures a sizable flow of information between developers. One focus point of this information flow would be CyanogenMod.

    I would call this a scale model on Hardware: More hardware platforms leads to more experience, more knowledge, and a better OS. Application on Super-Computers adapted the Linux kernel into a fit for phones. That was unforeseen, but still Android is the result. Not having much experience outside i86 and desktops crippled MS Windows enough to delay any sensible application on phones. Apple used iPod and iPod touch to learn how to work on phones.

    The Software/Application side will have many more users, as there are more Android devices sold than iPhones. Another scale advantage of Android.

    @PapayaSF
    “I would think that the total numbers of devices in #2 would have to be vastly larger than #1, at least 10:1, in order for #2 to have any advantage of scale. Even then I am doubtful.”

    Samsung alone is larger than Apple. So they will have more developers than Apple working on a unified platform. By way of developer exchange (both information and “bodies”), the actual number of people communicating problems and solutions is much larger than any individual company can supply.

    @PapayaSF
    “I don’t understand your last sentence regarding profits.”

    You said increased profits are a scale advantage. But profits are only an advantage for tech development if they are reinvested. Apple simply hoards their profits as they have no productive use for the money. The same story as MS. As a result, profits are not a scale advantage as they do not in any way advance iPhone technology.

  242. @LeRoy:

    is the definition of Android’s Open Source definition, what did Asus do wrong?

    Probably nothing. Which is why they’re not being punished. Google Play Store != Android. Access to Google Play Store is a privilege. It’s not part of the open source part of Android. Revoking a privilege is not a punishment, no matter how the shills are trying to spin it.

  243. >Or, if you want to compete with our stuff, make it fully compatible.

    So then can we presume that “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make” is no longer the definition of “Open” that Google is operating by?

    > You’re saying google doesn’t have to do this. But you haven’t said there is anything wrong
    >with them doing it. And you can’t. Because there’s not.

    Absolutely agreed. Again, I believe Google is well within their rights to do what they have done. That doesn’t make the schadenfreude any less sweet. Also it is questionable as to whether Google wants to put themselves into the position of policing pirated android apps in third party stores.

    >But all sarcasm aside, I think you’re wrong about the perceived value to the manufacturers
    >of the Google Play store vs. the partner level access. The play store is where it’s at, giving
    >a cut of the proceeds to the manufacturers.

    I was unaware that manufacturers get a cut of the revenues from the Google App store. The best I can find is a reference on Google’s site that some portion of the 30% cut they take goes to the “Distribution Partner” and no further information or definition of that term. Certainly changes things if they do, but I would like a more concrete source.

  244. >Access to Google Play Store is a privilege. It’s not part of the open source part of
    >Android. Revoking a privilege is not a punishment, no matter how the shills are trying to spin it.

    Actually in this case, and given the reason it is being revoked, it’s the very definition of a punishment:

    “Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person, animal, organization or entity in response to behavior deemed unacceptable by an individual, group or other entity.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punishment

    Because remember, we’re not talking about Google telling Acer the Aliyun devices can’t have access to the Google Play store, that was already a given. What we are talking about is Google threatening to revoke that access from all current and future compatible devices that Acer makes. Seems to me that’s about as perfect an example of punishment as you can get.

  245. @tmoney:

    Believe it or not, if I don’t invite you over to play any more because I don’t like your behavior, that’s not a punishment. If I sue you or start telling other people bad stuff about you, that might be punitive, but even the telling bad stuff about you isn’t really punitive if I’m only doing it because you went to the world and screamed about how unfair I am first.

    And this isn’t an “authoritative imposition” even if I let all the other kids play at my house, so your definition doesn’t fly.

    The article you cite says:

    The authority may be either a group or a single person, and punishment may be carried out formally under a system of law or informally in other kinds of social settings such as within a family.

    Note that google is not an “authority,” this is not a “social setting” and to the extent the contract places it formally under any system of law, it’s still not a punishment — unless you consider every possible remedy for any possible contract breach to be a punishment.

    So play all the semantic games you want, but nothing obligates google to play, so if they decide not to, it’s not a punishment.

  246. > Believe it or not, if I don’t invite you over to play any more because I don’t like your behavior, that’s not a punishment.

    Membership in OHA is contractual. “Play dates” are not.

    If Asus isn’t in breech of the contract with Google over OHA, then Google’s behavior is punitive. The administrator of OHA is most certainly Google. Therefore Google is the authority in the relationship.

  247. Andy Rubin says:

    “We agree that the Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem and you’re under no requirement to be compatible.”

    “However, ” he continued, “[t]he fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

    Setting aside the Asus/Aliyun app store for a moment.

    What exactly is wrong with “Aliyun us[ing] the Android runtime, framework and tools”, as long as such activity is in compliance with the Apache license and GPL?

    The only thing I can see is if membership in OHA requires the member to not ship any non-compatible version of Android, but then we’re left with the task of defining Android.

  248. @patrick I have no idea why you are arguing that access to the Google ecosystem is not a key requirement for success in the Android market and that Google isn’t using that access via OHA as a big stick to keep Acer in line.

    They are well within their rights to do so. Whether it is a smart thing to do is a different story.

    If I were an android handset maker not named Samsung I’d be looking pretty hard at alternatives to staying in the OHA. The Chinese market is too huge to get locked out of and China is going to go the forked ASOP route between Baidu Yi and Alibaba Aliyun. Key to success isn’t just OS but ecosystem. In China Google doesn’t have it and the local internet companies do. If I’m getting the crap beat out of me by Samsung then launching with an ecosystem tailored for the local market might be the way to go to beat Samsung. Samsung has too much to lose going down the non-OHA route since they are crushing the competition in the Android market.

    This may have been an effective tactical move on Google’s part to stop one handset but from a strategic perspective going with Amazon/Yahoo in the west and Alibaba/Yahoo in China doesn’t look too bad. Especially with Amazon’s new Map API leveraging Nokia maps that pretty much completes the required ecosystem for Amazon (other than search…hence the need for Yahoo or Bing).

    The question is whether Amazon is willing to partner with companies like Acer to make Kindle Fire phones and tablets. If so, Google just turned a so-so strategic position into a bad one.

    At which point I would expect Google to take future versions of Android closed source or have to back off on threats like this.

  249. @LeRoy:

    Membership in OHA is contractual. “Play dates” are not.

    Right. But saying that you are going to terminate a contract if somebody doesn’t hold to their end of the bargain isn’t punitive.

    If Asus isn’t in breech of the contract with Google over OHA, then Google’s behavior is punitive.

    But that seems like an unlikely “if.” Because if that were the case, then Acer would have pushed back rather than rolling over.

    The administrator of OHA is most certainly Google. Therefore Google is the authority in the relationship.

    You admit it’s a contractual relationship, between consenting corporations, each with armies of attorneys, and you still claim that one of the parties has some sort of “authority” over the other?

    What exactly is wrong with “Aliyun us[ing] the Android runtime, framework and tools”, as long as such activity is in compliance with the Apache license and GPL?

    Nothing that I know of. Which is why google didn’t take any action against Aliyun. Apparently, they privately explained their interpretation of the contract terms to Acer, Acer explained the situation to Alibaba, Alibaba (co-owned by Microsoft partner Yahoo) bitterly and publicly complained, and then google publicly responded. AFAIK, google hasn’t even attempted to take any action against Alibaba.

    The only thing I can see is if membership in OHA requires the member to not ship any non-compatible version of Android, but then we’re left with the task of defining Android.

    Remember a couple of years ago when google vowed to take control of the fragmentation? I’m sure there are plenty of words in the contract that define Android well enough for them to take this action.

  250. @Nigel:

    I have no idea why you are arguing that access to the Google ecosystem is not a key requirement for success in the Android market and that Google isn’t using that access via OHA as a big stick to keep Acer in line.

    I think the access is huge. I’m the one that argued that the google play store was worth more to Acer than the early partner access, remember? And obviously it’s worth more than being able to sell a few off-brand handsets.

    I just don’t think it’s properly viewed as a stick. IIUC, money actually flows to handset makers from google (some percentage of Google Play sales, etc.). Seems like a carrot to me.

    They are well within their rights to do so. Whether it is a smart thing to do is a different story.

    If I were an android handset maker not named Samsung I’d be looking pretty hard at alternatives to staying in the OHA. The Chinese market is too huge to get locked out of and China is going to go the forked ASOP route between Baidu Yi and Alibaba Aliyun. Key to success isn’t just OS but ecosystem.

    I would imagine it’s part of an ongoing negotiation. Don’t be surprised if Alibaba actually winds up partnering with google in the future. Remember that Yahoo is mostly divested from Alibaba at this point, but in any case I don’t think there’s any real animus between Yahoo and Google.

  251. @Nigel:

    At which point I would expect Google to take future versions of Android closed source or have to back off on threats like this.

    Eventually, I fully expect them let any manufacturer connect to the play store with any device. But I don’t think they’ll be paying the device manufacturers for the eyeballs any more at that point. Right now, google pays people to put Android on their phones. At some point, when they figure they have the OS in good enough shape, they might just see how many CyanogenMod developers they can hire and just start making software releases to the general public.

  252. If membership in OHA is being used as a carrot-and-stick by Google – in the absence of a legal framework for preventing many forms of building on top of Android, even if it’s in a way that Google dislikes – then it’s effectively assembling an ad-hoc monopoly of hardware partners.

    Such a monopoly could serve as a way to beat down OHA partners from other projects which are not close enough to Google’s vision of Android. I argue that this is what we’ve just seen develop this weekend, with Acer (a OHA member) forced to postpone/cancel its launch of the Aliyun-powered Acer CloudMobile A800 phone.

    Aliyun is not technically a fork of Android, and as such, it poses less of a fragmentation issue than the many other divergences in Android, such as apps or games that only appear on certain handsets, or with certain ROMs like HTC Sense, or run only on certain processors.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of a user weighing, say, an HTC Wildfire S in one hand, and a Haier Zing (Aliyun) phone in another, they’re totally different phones.

    Given the current state of play, with OHA members being so lousy at pushing out Android updates in a timely manner, one might even say that Aliyun represents a better ecosystem purchase, with a more direct update process straight from Alibaba.

    But I digress. The core issue is that unless Google can show some Darwin-esque drawings of an evolutionary line between Android and Aliyun – not including permissible virtualization of Android apps, the likes of which is also exercised by RIM in its BlackBerry Playbook – then this still looks more like a gripe than a legally justifiable move.

    In order to completely clear the air Google should either take Alibaba to court over Android source code, or just put up its hands and say: Aliyun annoys us and we’d rather no-one in the OHA ever build stuff for them. That would at least be honest. Because Google has not yet put any evidence on the table, their behavior can only suggest weighty technical reasons for apparently pressuring Acer to pull out of this China launch.

    Due to Google’s actions, the ability for the Chinese ODMs to build a non-Android phone seems quite limited. Looking over the OHA list of members, it seems all of them are now out of bounds after Google’s recent action. Translated: No Acer. No Asus. No HTC. No Lenovo. No NEC; No Sharp; No Sony; No Toshiba. ZTE? an OHA member. Huawei and Lenovo: OHA members each. Even the tiny Chinese brand Oppo, which has proved it can make some sexy devices this year, is off-limits.

    Is this an “alliance” or a mafia?

    If Google can, via OHA, destroy the ability of all the Chinese OEMs to build non-approved Android handsets, is Android really “Open”?

  253. @tmoney> “I was unaware that manufacturers get a cut of the revenues from the Google App store. The best I can find is a reference on Google’s site that some portion of the 30% cut they take goes to the “Distribution Partner” and no further information or definition of that term. Certainly changes things if they do, but I would like a more concrete source.”

    The distribution partner is the carrier or other who made the sale of the handset or other device to the end-user. This is expressly not the OEM.

    Unlike Apple, Google does not expect to generate revenue by selling applications or to share revenue with partners. “We made a strategic decision not to revenue share with the developers. We will basically pass through any revenue to the carrier or the developer,” said Rubin.

    link

    Patrick’s statements about Play Store revenue being at-risk need to be thrown out.

  254. I would imagine it’s part of an ongoing negotiation. Don’t be surprised if Alibaba actually winds up partnering with google in the future. Remember that Yahoo is mostly divested from Alibaba at this point, but in any case I don’t think there’s any real animus between Yahoo and Google.

    While Yahoo is rumored to about to receive $7.6B from Alibaba to buy back 20% Yahoo will still own 20%. Not bad for a $1B investment. While things were strained before because they wanted to buy all 40% back it should be lessened now.

    What can Google offer Alibaba? Dirty looks from the PRC government? Most of the chinese content that chinese users are looking for live in Chinese internet companies, not YouTube, Google, Ebay, etc. They already own Yahoo China.

    Partner over Android? For what? To make sure Google gets a cut or any ad revenue rather than Alibaba? Amazon has blazed the trail.

    Animus between Google and Yahoo? Maybe not but Mayer has something to prove to the Page for passing her over for SVP. Page demoted or moved aside a lot of the women at the upper end of Google management.

  255. @leroy Haier is a OHA member as well. One that Google didn’t say boo to. Instead Google decided to screw over a ChromeOS proponent that was earlier thinking of leaving the Windows market.

    I’m guessing Acer’s rethinking whether going all in on Google is all that a good idea either.

    Add in the Google Play store is crippled in China and you wonder when OHA starts fracturing. Many OHA members have made, are making or want to make “incompatible” android handsets to meet the requirements of chinese wireless companies. Which amusingly includes Motorola who had shipped OPhone OS for China Mobile in the past.

    I don’t think Page/Rubin really thought through the implications of the message being sent by bullying Acer.

  256. Remember when OPhone was sometimes rebranded Android+ in some regions? Ah, good times.

  257. @LeRoy:

    But I digress. The core issue is that unless Google can show some Darwin-esque drawings of an evolutionary line between Android and Aliyun – not including permissible virtualization of Android apps, the likes of which is also exercised by RIM in its BlackBerry Playbook – then this still looks more like a gripe than a legally justifiable move.

    So you negotiated the contract on behalf of Acer? Or WTF are you talking about? How do you know what’s “legally justified?”

    Patrick’s statements about Play Store revenue being at-risk need to be thrown out.

    What, because of some ancient link you dredged up from 2008??!?

    How about something from earlier this year?


    Yes. I mean, again, I’m not going to talk about specific of the TAC on mobile. But as you know, we get people using our devices both organically as well as through our distribution partnerships with carriers and OEMs. And typically, the OEMs and carriers participate in some of the economics that are on the Android marketplace or Google Play and some of them participate in the economics around Google Search just the way we would do syndication on the Web platform, which you do with many partners around the world. We have similar deals on the mobile front.

    @Nigel:

    What can Google offer Alibaba? Dirty looks from the PRC government?

    I dunno. Legitimate access to google maps? Access to the real Android market? A better search engine infrastructure to be able to compete with Baidu?

  258. Google maps might be useful…but Bing maps (from chinese servers) is just as good as Baidu and Google Maps. And there’s always Amazon maps.

    Alibaba has their own app store.

    Alibaba has their own search engine focused on eCommerce searches and Google’s engine is a very distant second to Baidu. This is an area that Alibaba wants to develop anyway and they bought 16% of Sogou (passed Google for the #2 slot in China in Jan 2012) and partnered with Bing on their Etao engine.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/487251-sogou-an-emerging-threat-to-baidu-s-dominance

    There’s no reason for Chinese companies to give Google any part of the cut from Android and many reasons they want to keep Google out…including governmental pressure.

    So making handset makers choose between China and OHA is simply a bad idea.

  259. >> Patrick’s statements about Play Store revenue being at-risk need to be thrown out.
    >>
    >> What, because of some ancient link you dredged up from 2008??!?
    >>
    >> How about something from earlier this year?

    Great, thanks for that. Let’s look at the graphic from the post after the one you linked to:

    http://www.asymco.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Screen-Shot-2012-05-14-at-5-14-5.59.09-PM.png

    Show me where the device manufacturers participate in app sales (Google Play Store).
    Hint: look for the orange square. Note that there is only one. Device manufacturers participate in search on Android, but not in app sales.

    Once again, your statements about Play Store revenue being at-risk:

    But all sarcasm aside, I think you’re wrong about the perceived value to the manufacturers of the Google Play store vs. the partner level access. The play store is where it’s at, giving a cut of the proceeds to the manufacturers.

    Are wrong, need to be thrown out of this debate.

  260. @Nigel> I don’t think Page/Rubin really thought through the implications of the message being sent by bullying Acer

    I think Andy Rubin is a loose cannon, drunk on success, and firing in all directions.

    He will soon be reeled in by Mr. Rubin.

  261. @winter Google played hardball with Skyhook and Moto and now Alibaba and Acer.

    That MS and others are highlighting the “evil” actions of Google isn’t fabrication but a result of “don’t be evil” hubris and ethical feet of clay when push comes to shove.

    The article you posted has many fallacies. For one, it isn’t impossible for Google to enforce Google search because “android is open” given what they did to Skyhook and now Alibaba. In both cases they used the OHA/android compliance stick to force handset makers to drop the competition. That earlier handsets got away with using yahoo or bing as the default does not mean that Google wont change the OHA requirements to explicitly include search as well for “android compliance” in the future.

    Especially since one of the two examples cited are very early in the android lifecycle. The first android phone for AT&T and a 2009 5 year non-exclusive deal between MS and Verizon.

    And his kindle fire using Bing example doesn’t apply because Amazon isn’t part of the OHA. It is entirely credible after skyhook that Google went around and suggested that moving away from Google products, including search as the default, would have consequences to handset vendors and carriers. Especially after Android became dominant.

    Also the article is also clearly wrong when it states that Amazon could use the Google Play app store if it wanted to for the Fire. It cannot. Without dumping the Fire fork entirely it’ll never be Android compliant and can never have access to the Google Play store.

    For a blog post about correcting someone else’s misstatement it’s chock full of errors. Including confusing Asus with Acer. Iconically in section heading “Meanwhile, Confusion With Asus”. Yah, like you’re totally confused which companies are involved.

    And yes, Google DID threaten Acer with pulling the Android license…which isn’t just source code but also the Android trademark. There sure as hell IS an Android license that Google can enforce it at Google’s sole discretion as was proven in the Skyhook case.

    This author you quote is clueless.

  262. @LeRoy:

    Show me where the device manufacturers participate in app sales (Google Play Store).
    Hint: look for the orange square. Note that there is only one. Device manufacturers participate in search on Android, but not in app sales.

    Show me where that article states that this is a definitive breakdown of how the money is distributed and not just a best guess about how the agreements work.

    Also show me all the carrier agreements with the OEMs that do or don’t pass along any revenue sharing to the OEM.

    You obviously know as much about how it works as I do — zero — and your speculative capability appears to be mainly informed mostly by your own wishful thinking and desire to be proven correct. Personally, I would love to see dispositive evidence of how the money flows, if you can provide it, because it would help me figure a few things out. But just jumping up and down screaming that I’m wrong isn’t an argument.

  263. By the way Winter, if you are unclear why folks refer to Google beating handset makers with the “compatibility club” it’s not astroturfing but Google’s own words in an internal email by Android manager Dan Morrill:

    “we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want”

    Don’t be evil indeed.

    Interesting how they beat handset vendors with the compatibility club for partnering with competitors but not so much when it comes to enforcing timely updates for handsets as promised…

    And Businessweek reported:

    “Google has also tried to hold up the release of Verizon (VZ) Android devices that make use of Microsoft’s (MSFT) rival Bing search engine, according to two people familiar with the discussions.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_15/b4223041200216.htm

  264. @patrick

    So you negotiated the contract on behalf of Acer? Or WTF are you talking about? How do you know what’s “legally justified?”

    It is legally justified because Google has sole discretion on who gets to play in the Android(tm) sandbox. So they can block Acer from ever making another Android(tm) handset for any or no reason whatsoever.

    That, however, makes the Android(tm) ecosystem as “closed” as Apple’s. Not that I’m against closed. Just against the blatant hypocrisy of Google’s holier than thou “we’re open so we’re good and Apple is closed so they are bad” mantra.

    Yah, open unless you threaten our interests. Then we smack you with this big stick we have here…

  265. @Nigel:

    That, however, makes the Android(tm) ecosystem as “closed” as Apple’s. Not that I’m against closed. Just against the blatant hypocrisy of Google’s holier than thou “we’re open so we’re good and Apple is closed so they are bad” mantra.

    How can you, with a straight face, claim that google’s Android isn’t open?

    - Just about anything allowed in app store, including porn, flash, and even other app stores that don’t give google a cut.
    - Can update a program on the app store immediately
    - OS Source available for developers to look at while debugging
    - Easy to load apps from anywhere (sideload) without rooting the OS
    - Can get custom builds without having to go to a questionable pirate site.

    They have really, truly minimal requirements for playing nice, if you want to be able to legally ship things like their app store app. This small step away from anarchy doesn’t equate to “closed” at all.

  266. @patrick I agree that the Android operating system is open source. I wrote that the Android ™ ecosystem is locked. And it is. Ask skyhook and acer if you don’t believe me. What did skyhook do to contribute to android “anarchy”? Nada.

    As far as your list, it’s only true for most android devices. Those with locked bootloaders can be as locked down as any iOS device. AT&T blocked sideloading for a while. You can typically still root locked devices but typically jailbreaking an iOS device is as easy as rooting. I don’t find the iOS jailbreaking sites to be any more questionable than XDA. Cydia is probably about as safe as most Android app stores.

    From a developer perspective debugging an iOS app is no harder than debugging an Android app and my opinion is that iOS development is easier in many respects and harder in only a few areas than Android.

    There’s nothing I can’t reasonably do with a jailbroken iPhone that you can do with an Android phone.

    But you know all that. iOS is fairly open from the user perspective if you want and Apple has chosen not to make jailbreaking impossible…or at least a lot more difficult than it is now…when they could if they wanted to. Just like they haven’t gone after Hackintoshing unless someone tries to make a business out of it.

  267. @Nigel:

    > I wrote that the Android ™ ecosystem is locked

    Yes, as long as we have that distinction down, I still don’t see why you have a problem with google claiming Android (the code) is open. Because it is. And despite your continued mantra of “evil” (in your latest comment to Winter), using the ecosystem to further the ecosystem just isn’t, not really.

    > As far as your list, it’s only true for most android devices….

    Yeah. That’s because Android is truly open, which means that google cedes control to others who deliver the actual hardware…

    > Just like [Apple] haven’t gone after Hackintoshing unless someone tries to make a business out of it.

    But, since Android is open (really!!!) Google hasn’t gone after the equivalent at all, even though that equivalent (e.g. Amazon) is selling literally millions of devices.

  268. Patrick I have no problems with Google stating that Android the code is open since it is but typically when they refer to Android they mean the ecosystem. Especially with respect to activation numbers, etc. Android isn’t Android without the required trademark license.

    It would be clearer if they didn’t call the open sourced ASOP code Android too…just like how they make the distinction between ChromiumOS and ChromeOS.

    AndroidiumOS is open. AndroidOS is protected with the compatibility/OHA stick…that’s kinda the opposite of “ceding control” to the folks that deliver the hardware or there would be no skyhook or acer story.

    As far as Amazon goes, that was a strategic mistake more than anything else. The expectation was no one could equal their ecosystem or want to very easily. If they had thought Amazon could have gotten as far as they did so quickly I suspect they would have gone with GPL open source route with a free commercial license for OHA members.

  269. @Nigel
    If I understand you, you redefine Android as Google mobile services, and then claim that Google is evil because they do not give free services to companies trying to subcert Google’s market?

    I do not see the connection with FLOSS.

  270. “Google mobile services” is not open.

    The FLOSS of Android is… mostly. If you look at it in the right kind of light.

  271. @LeRoy
    “The FLOSS of Android is… mostly. If you look at it in the right kind of light.”

    You make me think of those fellow travelers to Cuba. They too returned telling us that people in the USA and Europe are not as free as in Cuba. You know, if you look at it in the right light.

    In all other respects, your remarks are just newspeak (“Freedom is Slavery” etc.).

  272. And here a new view on Apple’s decisive win against Samsung:

    Samsung topples Apple in brand image
    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/tech/2012/09/133_120265.html

    YouGov asked 5,000 people in the United States, dividing them into two groups of those aged between 18 to 34 and adults who considered themselves “early technology adopters”: “If you heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or by word of mouth was it positive or negative?” A score of 100 indicates a completely positive view and zero completely negative.

    As of Sept. 6, Samsung scored 46 over Apple’s 24, in the group for those between 18 and 34. For early technology adopters, the two were near equal, with the Galaxy series maker on 34 and its American counterpart 33.

  273. In other news: Even after all these years, I cannot understand why all the money of MS only buys such miserable strategies. First they bungled the WinPhone, now the WinTablet. Maybe MS are just a one-trick-pony.

    Win8 tablets may cost MORE than iPads – AND LAPTOPS
    Leaked slide shows $599 and up
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/18/windows_tablet_sticker_shock/

    Then again, some analysts have suggested that Windows tablets will be hot sellers because you can run Microsoft Office on them. Like other Windows RT devices, Asus’ Vivo Tab RT will come bundled with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT.

    But hold on! Nobody is going to do any serious document editing with a touchscreen. To make the most of Office on the Vivo Tab RT, you’ll want the mobile dock, which includes a physical keyboard. That will set you back another $199, according to the leaked slide, bringing the total cost of this ARM-based tablet to $798.

  274. @winter I use “evil” somewhat facetiously. Google is “evil” in the same way that Apple is “evil”. As in not very evil at all. That’s why I often put “evil” in quotes.

    But both protect their interests with the same level of business ruthlessness. Squashing Skyhook is no different than not approving some app because it competes with an internal Apple app. Well, a little worse in my mind but nothing anyone would describe as “evil”. Just not nice.

    What Google is doing to Alibaba is using their rather considerable the threat of removal from the OHA to quash a competitor to keep them from using their IP with their hardware partners. The Register colorfully called it “drowning Acer’s newborn Alibaba Linux mobile”. Pretty much anyone that can build a top tier Aliyun handset is part of the OHA.

    Again, this is little different from Apple suing HTC and Samsung to get them to stop using their IP. Google is using a different kind of stick but they are beating Acer and Alibaba over the head with it. And it’s actually far more effective than lawsuits. Near monopoly power often is.

    You should consider that…Google tightly controls Android and if Android does end up dominating like you think then Google will have the same monopoly powers once ascribed to Microsoft. And as Skyhook and Alibaba can attest…they aren’t shy about using that power when it suits them.

    And no, a FLOSS fork will not help in the least. It would require someone like Amazon to make an open fork of the ecosystem for other vendors to use. Baidu might be big enough in China/Asia. Alibaba…meh…maybe.

    As far as what this has to do with FLOSS…not much other than Google choose the wrong FLOSS license to maintain control and now has to use other sticks to keep vendors under control.

    It DOES have a lot to do when we’re discussing Android market share vs iOS vs WinPhone. That has nothing to do with FLOSS either but Android ™ activations and ecosystem.

  275. @nigel
    “And no, a FLOSS fork will not help in the least. It would require someone like Amazon to make an open fork of the ecosystem for other vendors to use. Baidu might be big enough in China/Asia. Alibaba…meh…maybe.”

    You are talking market power against personal freedom. Strange. Every Android phone out there can be rooted and a completely legal Android ROM image can be loaded onto it. An image that can have any changes you like. Cyanogen mod is only one of many. That is FLOSS.

    Next to Amazon, an array of Chinese clone makers produce and sell cheap Android “knockoffs” without any involvement from Google. And I expect one of them to grow really, really big. That is FLOSS.

    @nigel
    “As far as what this has to do with FLOSS…not much other than Google choose the wrong FLOSS license to maintain control and now has to use other sticks to keep vendors under control.”

    You tell us Google were wrong. They seem to disagree with you. Without the license, they would not have this product.

    @nigel
    “It DOES have a lot to do when we’re discussing Android market share vs iOS vs WinPhone. That has nothing to do with FLOSS either but Android ™ activations and ecosystem.”

    Personally, I do not care much for Android™ market share. Nor do I think many of the other “Android Fanboiz” posting here care whatsoever happens to Google. I, for one, use Android activation numbers because I have no other numbers. I only care for FLOSS distribution. And Android is the biggest FLOSS fish around. Google’s Android activations track Linux deployments, and that is what counts for me.

    If some Chinese white-box phone makers ship billions of $20 Android phones into the third world without the Google App store nor Google search, I would be very happy indeed.

  276. @winter regarding the cost of the Vivo Tab RT, it is more expensive than the TF700 ($499 for the 32GB model).

    Eh…that’s MSRP. The Transformer Prime was $620 MSRP at launch and quickly dropped to $499. $599 might be a bit high but you get Office 13. And I think the Vivo as 2GB RAM vs 1GB on the TF700.

    For WinPhone8 the HTC 8X handsets look pretty nice too. Dual core S4 and 720p display means it is competitive against top tier Android handsets in the same timeframe.

    Not too shabby really. If I didn’t already buy the iPhone 5 I’d be looking hard at the WinPhone 8 handsets.

  277. @winter The Galaxy Note 2 is likely to have a locked bootloader on Verizon. The SIII had locked bootloader as well but was broken quickly.

    /shrug

    Once jailbroken the iPhone is pretty much the same in terms of “personal freedom”.

    And I contend that GPL + free commercial license for OHA members > Apache license for the purposes of Google. GPL makes for a great proprietary license to use against other companies.

    And don’t pin too much of your FLOSS hopes on China. They aren’t exactly the poster child for “freedom”.

  278. @nigel
    Spinning your own iOS without Apple? Selling phones with your own iOS?

    And I do not bet my future on the goodness of heart of any entity. Their are good economic reasons for companies to keep Android open. That I find more reassuring.

  279. @winter

    From a personal user perspective jailbreaks are functionally equivalent. Selling a different phone with ios isn’t really part of “personal” freedom but a business thing.

  280. @Nigel> GPL makes for a great proprietary license to use against other companies.

    Also sprach Raymond: Ein Lizenz für Alle und Keinen.

    (aka “We don’t need the GPL anymore.”)

  281. @nigel

    For WinPhone8 the HTC 8X handsets look pretty nice too.

    You wrote that about the Lumia too (IIRC, the exact same words). So I expect the WinPhone8 to fare as well.

    Incompatible and expensive, carrying the toxic Windows brand (IE was on the national news yesterday: Use it and be pwned), but it looks “nice”. That does not look like a winner to me.

    @nigel

    From a personal user perspective jailbreaks are functionally equivalent.

    We know that you are personally very content with the iPhone/iPad. But I prefer a somewhat wider view that includes the considerations of other people. Essentially, my future is made by other people, so their wishes and requirements do matter to me.

    @nigel

    Yah, a random survey of 5000 americans named Park and Lee. Lol…

    This is not just from obscure tech media. I have teenagers show me fake Samsung ads (Galaxy tab, the cheaper iPad). The anti-Samsung verdict was on our national news.

    You might have missed it, but the South Koreans are currently technically probably the most advanced society (there is a reason Samsung is the biggest phone manufacturer). And the whole of east Asia is violently nationalistic. All that bodes not well to Apple’s brand image.

    @LeRoy

    @Nigel> GPL makes for a great proprietary license to use against other companies.

    Also sprach Raymond: Ein Lizenz für Alle und Keinen.

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

  282. @Nigel:

    GPL makes for a great proprietary license to use against other companies.

    The GPL continuously levels the playing field for all the companies using it. Unless one of them is in a position to offer proprietary licenses as well, e.g. it wrote all the software in a program, and/or has contributor agreements for all the software. Of course, by keeping the playing field level, the GPL reduces, in some cases, the sort of temporary advantage needed to extract significant profit from labor.

    But you’re right that it’s a much more proprietary license than BSD/MIT. The teeth in it are proving to be a good thing, e.g. in Red Hat’s dealing with a patent troll, etc. But that’s yet another case of harsh tools sometimes being useful for dealing with harsh government-granted monopolies.

    @LeRoy:

    Also sprach Raymond: Ein Lizenz für Alle und Keinen.

    Right now, we most assuredly don’t need the GPL for things like Linux. People beg to get their changes back upstream so they don’t have to continually merge. I think this would have been true of a dominant BSD if Linux hadn’t shown up during the legal-instability portion of the BSD lifespan, but other people disagree about this.

    @Winter:

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength

    Yes, but it’s useful to recognize that war can sometimes lead to a more stable peace, that some people would sell themselves into slavery if that were legal (e.g. if they were truly free), and that lots of scientific and other advances are made by people who are too ignorant to understand how dismal the odds of success are.

  283. @Patrick
    “People beg to get their changes back upstream so they don’t have to continually merge.”

    You should never depend solely on the law. Legal proceedings are much too expensive, and the outcome is too unpredictable by far. Let alone when you have to deal with international collaborations. A combination of strong economic incentives and a large legal stick in the corner work best.

    @Patrick
    “Yes, but it’s useful to recognize…”

    All very well, but you should heed the context where “Newspeak” was presented. Meaning is all in the context. And your interpretation is most certainly not relevant in Orwell’s quotation. And that was also not how I read LeRoy’s (and nigel’s) comments.

    Btw, I have done some elementary math, and I expect Android to reach 1 billion activations next July.

  284. @phil
    “Seems like the US has greatly diverged from the rest of the world.”

    That was clear already from the ComScore numbers in July. Carrier subsidies are conventionally seen as a large part of the explanation.

    However, I think the way the USA market has lagged global developments in mobile phones is another part of the explanation. For instance, many developed countries have had more than 100% mobile coverage, ie, a large number of people have more than one cell phone subscription (with different providers), since 2010.

    Finally, the iPhone was developed by North-Americans for North-Americans. It incorporates many of the esthetic and functional preferences of North-Americans. So the iPhone will appeal even more to North-Americans than to other people. Not least because of its high price.

  285. @phil:

    Interesting data!

    Note that the “other carrier” breakdown looks suspiciously like the rest of the world.

    Also note that the overall ratio of Android/iOS acquirers (48/29 == 1.65) is somewhat greater than comScore’s installed base ratio (52.2/33.4 == 1.56). I would expect this to flip around somewhat in this quarter due to the new iPhone, but it’s hard to know exactly what to read into this, both because iPhone purchases are incredibly bursty, and because there’s no data about the total number of activations during the 3 month period. Obviously if you give them money, they will be happy to tell you more…

  286. @Patrick. How many people are on the “other carriers”? Anyone know?

    Some data I haven’t seen addressed well are the demographics of iOS users vs Android users.
    I’m thinking income, age, how they use the phone.

    As in, what is the value of an iOS user vs an Android user? I see it often claimed that Android users are worth less (they spend less, buy fewer apps, are more likely to just use their phone as a phone, etc). But I haven’t seen much data to back this up.

  287. @Phil:

    How many people are on the “other carriers”? Anyone know?

    I don’t know off-hand, but it’s pretty easy to get close, starting here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_wireless_communications_service_providers

    Also, I think I may have seen a webpage at the CTIA once. They have some aggregated stats that are useful, too:

    http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/research/index.cfm/aid/10323

    Some data I haven’t seen addressed well are the demographics of iOS users vs Android users.
    I’m thinking income, age, how they use the phone.

    Pew’s periodic surveys are pretty good for this. I’ve referenced them before, and their latest one came out just last week:

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2351/smartphone-ownership-young-adults-high-income-households

    Interestingly, it didn’t seem to ask about smartphone type, although earlier surveys typically did:

    http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Smartphone-Update-2012.aspx

  288. I was wondering what caused the sudden jump in Android activation numbers this summer.

    See:
    http://www.statista.com/statistics/219554/daily-activations-of-android-devices/

    You see that the September daily activation rate of Android should have been around 1.1M or lower. However, it is now over 1.3M. I think I have found the cause: An increase of sub-$200 Android phones on the Chinese market:

    China set to lead world in smartphone sales by year’s end
    http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2201999/china-set-to-lead-world-in-smartphone-sales-by-the-end-of-the-year

    “China’s smartphone market will continue to be lifted by the sub-$200 Android segment. Near-term prices in the low-end segment will come down to $100 and below as competition for market share intensifies among smartphone vendors.” said IDC’s client devices senior market analyst for Asia-Pacific Wong Teck-Zhung.

    (emphasis mine)

    Although IDC does not divulge sales numbers in the Chinese sub-$200 market segment, this quote suggest that this rise indeed exists. Moreover, there were many reports about a range of nice sub-$200 Android phones hitting the market this spring.

    Given the appetite of Chinese for fancy phones and the price sensitive nature of Chinese consumers, it sounds very plausible that there might have been a sales explosion in China this summer. We will see in a month or so.

    This plays out the old prediction of Eric that the market will be swamped by cheap Android phones after Android gets popular in the higher end market segment. (the famous 50% threshold).

  289. @Winter:

    Nah, that can’t be it. According to Nigel, nobody in China would buy a “real” Android phone because that’s not where the ecosystem is. That’s why this list is so short.

  290. @Patrick
    I understand that there are several independend Android app stores in China. A remarkably large fraction of Chinese Android phones is said to never register with Google.

    So Android is not even one ecosystem, but several. And the Chinese might even consider that to be an advantage.

  291. @Patrick. I still didn’t see anything about iOS vs Android. Interesting though.

    Anecdotally, Apple seems to rule the coffee shop crowd (high incomes types, college students, and white collar workers). I go to coffee shops all the time and see at least 50% iPhones and 50% macs.

    I’ve never seen any explanation for how Apple has such a high percentage of these types. But then MSFT has 90% of the PC market and Android has 55% of the smartphone market.

    Again, this is the US… I’m sure this doesn’t apply to the rest of the world.

  292. @Phil:

    > I still didn’t see anything about iOS vs Android. Interesting though.

    It’s buried in the PDF of that second link I gave. But Pew apparently talked to a lot of clueless people, although they claim they are less clueless than the previous ones they talked to :-)

  293. The GPL continuously levels the playing field for all the companies using it. Unless one of them is in a position to offer proprietary licenses as well, e.g. it wrote all the software in a program, and/or has contributor agreements for all the software.

    Yes, that’s exactly what I meant with respect to Android.

    The business model is the MySql one where MySQL AB was fairly aggressive in pursuing commercial licenses and still left little oxygen in the room for competitors not named Oracle or Microsoft. To a certain extent even starving other open source databases of oxygen for the longest time…I was always a fan of PostgreSQL but much of the time folks choose MySQL as the default.

    Going GPL with Android allows Google to retain nearly total control over commercial uses while enjoying “FOSS” status. It strikes me that Amazon would have found Android less appealing if they had to open source all their Fire code. I suspect they would have started with something like Moblin/MeeGo instead and suffered having a smaller pool of Apps.

  294. Nah, that can’t be it. According to Nigel, nobody in China would buy a “real” Android phone because that’s not where the ecosystem is. That’s why this list is so short.

    Nope. I said that Google was using their compatibility club to attempt to keep Alibaba from making any top end handsets in order to keep the Alibaba and Baidu ecosystem advantage from burying their Chinese hopes…whatever meager hopes they retain.

    If Alibaba can’t get any of the OHA handset makers to make phones for them then it makes it hard to sell Aliyun handsets doesn’t it?

    I just realized that Foxxconn is an OHA maker…and they make Kindle Fires. Perhaps as long as you aren’t using your own branding it’s okay and Google wont whap you with their stick. Or not and they simply haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  295. @nigel
    “Going GPL with Android allows Google to retain nearly total control over commercial uses while enjoying “FOSS” status.”

    The Linux kernel is GPL. Google cannot take that proprietary. The rest is Apache-like. So what is your point here?

  296. Contrary to all expectation, Tizen might not be dead yet. Samsung seems to place bets on everything:

    Linux-based Tizen mobile platform LIVES!
    Samsung could soon ship actual phone
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/27/tizen_2_os_release/

    Samsung itself has made no specific commitment to ship devices running Tizen, but it has never been shy about trying out new mobile platforms. In addition to Android, it has shipped phones running Symbian, Windows Phone, and its own Bada OS, and at one point it was even rumored to be mulling a BlackBerry license (though Samsung denies it).

    The alpha release of Tizen 2.0 is perhaps the firmest evidence yet that there is still life in the Linux-based platform, lending further credence to the idea that it might actually be worth Samsung’s time.

  297. @winter The point, which you keep not reading, is that if Google had made all the Apache parts (that they wrote or “embraced and extended” from Sun) GPL then Amazon would have likely not have used Android as the basis for the Fire’s OS.

    No license restrictions are likely to deter chinese companies…

    So GPL would have been better for Google than Apache is just as it was for MySQL AB (as mentioned above)…and I say that as someone who prefers permissive licenses over copyleft ones. Actually, I have no real issues with copyleft either although I prefer weak copylefts (LGPL, MPL) over strong ones. It’s that whole FSF zealotry that I detest.

  298. @winter Yah…Tizen might be FOSS but the SDK is proprietary.

    https://developer.tizen.org/download/samsung_sdk_license.html

    With no native API and HTML5 only I’m feeling a bit meh on the platform. I see it as more that Samsung was able to offload some risks and costs onto Intel in case they decide to break off from Android.

    If I hadn’t bought the iPhone 5 I would likely have gone with a HTC or Nokia WinPhone8. They look pretty nice.

  299. @nigel
    “@winter The point, which you keep not reading, is that if Google had made all the Apache parts (that they wrote or “embraced and extended” from Sun) GPL then Amazon would have likely not have used Android as the basis for the Fire’s OS.”

    But the interesting point here is that the Linux kernel actually is GPL. And few companies rather use BSD over Linux just because of the GPL. Amazon seems to have no problems with the GPL Linux. I think the point here is less the GPL than the fact that Google controls all Android development.

    @nigel
    “With no native API and HTML5 only I’m feeling a bit meh on the platform.”

    I was simply surprised the platform is still not dead. That is all. Samsung hedges all bets.

    @nigel
    “If I hadn’t bought the iPhone 5 I would likely have gone with a HTC or Nokia WinPhone8. They look pretty nice.”

    Promises, promises. You wrote the same about WinPhone 7.5 and 7 on the Lumia. I think that will be the destiny of WinPhone: I would have bought one had I not….

  300. @nigel:

    and I say that as someone who prefers permissive licenses over copyleft ones. Actually, I have no real issues with copyleft either although I prefer weak copylefts (LGPL, MPL) over strong ones. It’s that whole FSF zealotry that I detest.

    Yeah, GPL is a proprietary license with some really interesting properties. When I do things for ideological reasons, I use MIT. If I had something I wanted to make money with, I would certainly consider the GPL.

    @Winter:

    But the interesting point here is that the Linux kernel actually is GPL. And few companies rather use BSD over Linux just because of the GPL. Amazon seems to have no problems with the GPL Linux. I think the point here is less the GPL than the fact that Google controls all Android development.

    No, the point here is that the FSF doesn’t control Linux, and Linus and crew don’t overreach. Amazon, et al. know that Linux upgrades aren’t going to suddenly become unavailable or available only under GPL3, or some bizarre variant of Affero that makes you drop trou and show everybody everything in your system.

  301. @Patrick
    Why would the FSF be relevant here? Only few GPLed projects are controlled by the FSF.

    And why is keeping secrets the only way to earn a living? Is the truth a destroyer of all profits?

  302. @Winter:

    Why would the FSF be relevant here?

    Because of their attitude on linking and derived works, for a start. Because of their attitude on TiVo, which almost single-handedly precipitated a new version of the license. (Yes, patents and DRM helped, but even for the latter, TiVo was the rallying cry.)

    Only few GPLed projects are controlled by the FSF.

    Sure, but many of the rest indicate they are staunch adherents of Stallmanism, either by direct quotes or by signalling mechanisms such as licensing small libraries under the (non-L)GPL3.

    Linus signalled he wasn’t interested in GPL v3, and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about what TiVo was up to as long as they contributed source code back (which they were doing).

    And why is keeping secrets the only way to earn a living?

    I never said it was. I don’t believe it is. You’re smart — you can figure this out. Start with our example of Amazon, who charges money to show you stuff…

    Is the truth a destroyer of all profits?

    No, but it can sure reduce margins on some of them. Which is sometimes a good thing.

    But the thing is, if somebody wants to keep a secret to make money, and you judge it a bad thing, then you can replicate his secret and share it. Unless, of course, it’s patented, in which case it’s (supposedly) not really a secret and supposedly already widely shared, or copyrighted, in which case it would be relatively easily to reverse engineer and share, except for the whole copyright thing.

    So, at this point, it’s not really worth worrying about whether somebody is successfully rent-seeking by keeping a trade secret.

  303. Promises, promises. You wrote the same about WinPhone 7.5 and 7 on the Lumia. I think that will be the destiny of WinPhone: I would have bought one had I not….

    My purchase interest in order:

    iPhone 5
    Nokia or LG WinPhone 8
    Samsung Note 2

    The iPhone 5 was just too nice to move down the list. I haven’t gotten a free dev phone in a while so I can get only one. I guess I should go to some of the major WinMo or Google conferences.

    When Apple makes a product I feel is Meh I’ll move to another brand/platform.

  304. @Patrick
    “Sure, but many of the rest indicate they are staunch adherents of Stallmanism, either by direct quotes or by signalling mechanisms such as licensing small libraries under the (non-L)GPL3.”

    Here you claim that (most) developers that use the GPL(v3) are blind and mindless followers of a cult. This formulation strongly suggests that you want to disregard the opinions of those who use the GPL(v3?) without going into the troubles of actually using arguments.

    But it also means that you argue that it is not the GPL that harms business adoption of a project, but the governance of the project.

    @Patrick
    “But the thing is, if somebody wants to keep a secret to make money, and you judge it a bad thing, then you can replicate his secret and share it. …”

    Here you argue FLOSS does not matter, except when the dysfunctional USA legal system steps in. Which is a puzzling combination of statements.

    So, above the GPL is considered bad because it can be used to “proprietarize” FLOSS projects, eg, the extortion practices of MySQL, introducing patents on top of Free code, or Open core/proprietary re-licensing. The GPLv3 was designed to prevent some of this and the FSF fights all of them. But then it is argued the GPLv3 is even a worse license than v2 and the FSF is the death of FLOSS.

    The Avero GPL was designed to prevent keeping code changes secret in on-line services. That is a bad license according to you. But then you say these secrets do no matter anyway.

    In short, I can see why people reject the GPL, and why businesses reject certain GPLed projects. But your arguments do not show to me that it is the GPL itself that is responsible for the rejection in actual markets.

    Deep down all these anti-GPL arguments seem to imply that US businesses are convinced that they cannot compete on merit, and therefore think they must compete on law and asymmetrical information (secrets) instead. Which actually does make sense, but does not bode well for FLOSS is the USA (or competitiveness against Asia).

  305. @Nigel
    “The iPhone 5 was just too nice to move down the list.”

    It seems there is always another phone that is higher on the list than a WinPhone. Any WinPhone. I think that will be the destiny of MS WinPhones, a tail-light chaser that never quite makes the top spot on anyone’s wish list.

  306. @Winter:

    This formulation strongly suggests that you want to disregard the opinions of those who use the GPL(v3?) without going into the troubles of actually using arguments.

    Your assertion of this, after all these years you’ve been reading what I wrote, strongly suggests you’d like to win the argument by pretending like I’m not prepared to defend my position. You know better than that, and you come off looking stupid by pretending otherwise.

    But it also means that you argue that it is not the GPL that harms business adoption of a project, but the governance of the project.

    Let’s just say that known governance of a project can mitigate some of the ills of the license. Compare and contrast Linux with BusyBox, where the original developers have even distanced themselves from the lawyers.

    Could that sort of legal gamesmanship happen with Linux? It’s extremely unlikely now, even if Linus gets hit by a bus. No, not because every other coder on Linux believes as he does, but rather because the law understands that even implicit promises cannot be reneged on.

    Here you argue FLOSS does not matter, except when the dysfunctional USA legal system steps in. Which is a puzzling combination of statements.

    You are twisting my words. And it’s not just the US system that is dysfunctional as far as copyright goes. There are two separate but related issues here: (1) Independent implementation of an idea, and (2) Copying of somebody else’s implementation.

    Independent implementation can always be used to “fix” trade secrets. You just have to be smart enough to figure out how they did it. Independent implementation has a damned difficult time with patents, at least they way they are currently implemented.

    Direct copying of somebody else’s implementation is often banned by copyright law. I happen to think that copyright licenses that allow more freedom in copying are better than those that offer fewer freedoms, for the purposes of being able to repurpose/reuse the code. To make money, however, more restrictive licenses allow for either rent-seeking in the ultimate case, or easier monetization of incremental improvements in the more innocuous case.

    So, above the GPL is considered bad

    You keep conflating morality with outcome.

    because it can be used to “proprietarize” FLOSS projects, eg, the extortion practices of MySQL, introducing patents on top of Free code, or Open core/proprietary re-licensing. The GPLv3 was designed to prevent some of this and the FSF fights all of them. But then it is argued the GPLv3 is even a worse license than v2 and the FSF is the death of FLOSS.

    Development happens at the margin. The GPL makes some incremental improvements on some projects difficult to monetize, so they don’t happen. It also happens to make it easy to give away free code (which is great advertising) and then to sell to people who want to monetize their incremental improvements. But that only works if you can actually sell a non-GPL license. Which only happens with a development lead that either doesn’t accept contributions or that requires contributors to sign an agreement giving more rights to the development lead. So, that’s open-source _code_, but it’s not an open-source _project_.

    The Avero GPL was designed to prevent keeping code changes secret in on-line services. That is a bad license according to you. But then you say these secrets do no matter anyway.

    Again, morality vs. outcome, and conflation of reimplementation and new implementation.

    In short, I can see why people reject the GPL, and why businesses reject certain GPLed projects. But your arguments do not show to me that it is the GPL itself that is responsible for the rejection in actual markets.

    That’s because you twist my arguments, and conflate, e.g. my opinion that free software folks shouldn’t worry about trade secrets because at least they aren’t patents, with my (and Nigel’s) opinion that Amazon does, indeed, care extremely deeply about its own trade secrets.

    Deep down all these anti-GPL arguments seem to imply that US businesses are convinced that they cannot compete on merit,

    That argument is only true if you think it is never meritorious to hide anything, ever. If you think that when you figure something out, you should be required to scream it to the world and never, ever achieve a temporary advantage from it, that stance is as bad as the stance that if you figure something out first, you should own it and anything similar forever.

    If you think that if you spend two years coding something, you shouldn’t be allowed to only use it in-house and not deliver it to your corporate enemies, you’re smoking crack.

    and therefore think they must compete on law and asymmetrical information (secrets) instead. Which actually does make sense, but does not bode well for FLOSS is the USA (or competitiveness against Asia).

    FLOSS is doing fine in the USA. As far as competing against Asia, the world changes. It will be interesting to see what happens the next couple of years, but yeah, Japan has me quivering in my boots right now.

  307. @Patrick
    Do not attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence

    When you drag in Stalmanism and point to a web site that dismisses the FSF as a cult, then I treat this as a rethorical trick to sidestep real arguments.

    If that was not your intention and I misunderstood a joke, then I offer you my appologies. Often I simply read too fast for good comprehension.

    For the rest, that will have to wait as I am watching boiling vegetables and these require my attention.

  308. The Avero GPL was designed to prevent keeping code changes secret in on-line services. That is a bad license according to you. But then you say these secrets do no matter anyway.

    The backtracking on the Affero clause by the FSF indicated to me that Google had sufficient influence that even the FSF had to back down. At least given that Linus was opposed to V3 as well. The double whammy of both Google and Linus telling RMS to take a flying leap probably would have made V3 DOA for everyone but the true FSF faithful.

    RMS is afraid of Caesar more than most folks believe. “Render unto Google the SaaS which are Google’s and unto FSF everything else.”

  309. If you think that if you spend two years coding something, you shouldn’t be allowed to only use it in-house and not deliver it to your corporate enemies, you’re smoking crack.

    LOL.

    Alas, there are a lot of folks smoking crack.

  310. @Winter:

    > If that was not your intention and I misunderstood a joke, then I offer you my appologies.

    No big deal. I came across that site (which, btw, is actually run by somebody in the church, poking fun at himself), and thought it was funny and tangentially relevant.

    BTW, you should lay off Nigel. People are actually buying Windows phones. At least in Europe. At least more of those than Blackberries.

    Kantar’s new sales data is out:

    http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/dwl.php?sn=news_downloads&id=82

    The iPhone discrepancy between the heavily subsidized US market and the rest of the world is becoming more pronounced, I think.

  311. If you take EU5 as a base, the subsidy difference means that Android loses 9 percentage points to iOS in the US.

    But even worse, “other” phones (Blackberry, Windows, Symbian, etc.) together lose 10 percentage points (out of 17) to iOS in the US.

    Maybe it’s a good thing that everybody in the US can have whatever it is they perceive to be the best phone for a tiny increment over second best, but it’s no wonder that a lot of innovative new smartphone launches aren’t happening in the US. There’s no way to get traction in the tiny sliver of non-iOS, non-Android market, and probably not even much of a way to get traction unless you’re Apple or Samsung or have really deep, patient pockets.

  312. @Patrick
    “BTW, you should lay off Nigel. People are actually buying Windows phones. At least in Europe. At least more of those than Blackberries.”

    There has been enough advertisement for a “surge” in sales. I am wondering how much of this is still a carry over of the marketing efforts of last spring. Still, 5% seems rather low after such a marketing offensinve. Italy is the only EU market where MS reaches 10%. Interesting to see whether they can hold that level. In the other strong Windows market, Brazil, Windows Mobile 6 used to have around a quarter of the market only 2 years ago. Maybe MS were able to recapture part of that market share back?

    Note that some EU markets have large subsidies too, and most are more or less mixed. However, the level of subsidies is much lower than in the USA. And there is always a large market of SIM only subscriptions with data plans to chose from (eg, here 200 to 1500 MB/month for 7 to 14 euro/month on top of your voice+text subscription).

    The more clever kids (and their parents) calculate the cost of the subscription over the contract period with and without a “free” phone and discover that the “free” phone is costing them an odd hundred euros extra over what the phones costs in the shop.

  313. @Patrick
    “If you think that if you spend two years coding something, you shouldn’t be allowed to only use it in-house and not deliver it to your corporate enemies, you’re smoking crack.”

    I am a non-smoker. But if you do not like this condition, you are free to base your program on any BSD style licensed code.

    But somehow, the “markets” seem to go for Linux, Samba, Busybox, gcc, and MySQL which are all under the GPL, some even under the GPLv3. Even though Busybox enforcement is lead by a board member of the FSF and MySQL was heavily involved in copyright extortion (Monti blames the VC owners, I have doubts).

    The license can only be one of many considerations that go into the selection process. Personally, I am convinced the is only a very small factor. Network effects and familiarity seem to be the overriding considerations.

    I think the license comes in much more strongly when potential users think about developing and contributing. And here there is a perceived split between those who want to simply add something useful to a project, and those who want to get an edge over the other contributors.

    Even then there are more than two camps. A project dominated by a single company can use proprietary relicensing using the GPL to drive off competition (eg, MySQL). When a larger community controls the project, a company would prefer a BSD style license to stave off the competition by keeping contributions proprietary (PostgreSQL). Same aim, different license.

    The long term economics are in favor to getting a large and diverse community to amortize the maintenance costs, which are higher than the development costs. But in the long term, we are all dead. And so are projects that do not attract a large developer community. These truisms are independent of the specific details of the license, as long as it is FLOSS according to the definition.

    So my point is not that the GPL is better than a BSD style licenses. For me it is, but obviously not for you. And for me the reason is indeed “political” or “moral” if you like. My point is that the exact license is almost irrelevant compared to project governance and culture.

  314. About the Kantar numbers. They sort of look “positive” for WinPhone. However, Tomi Ahonen compared them to the Q2 numbers and obtained rather “negative” results.

    Previewing Nokia Q3 Results later this month? Kantar confirms disasterous smartphone collapse
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/10/previewing-nokia-q3-results-later-this-month-kantar-confirms-disasterous-smartphone-collapse.html

    If that ratio holds true for all of Nokia Lumia sales, as we saw in those 7 countries, then for Q3, Nokia Lumia sales will fall from 4.0 million to 2.9 million units.

    … – so if we say these 2.9 million Lumia sales are 87% of all Windows Phone sales in Q3, then Microsoft can celebrate its total sales in Q3 projecting from these Kantar sales numbers, as a whopping.. 3.3 million smartphones in total. That is .. a 1.9% market share for Microsoft,

  315. Sorry to post yet again, but Tomi has corrected his numbers. The decline is less catastrophic.

  316. @Patrick
    I do see a lot of Android tablets on the shop shelves here in Europ. So I think they might be sold too.

    But a shift to well over 40% market share is surprising.

  317. I can see Apple taking the majority of the remaining US RIM share given that US enterprise has shifted to a position where iOS + Good is considered a viable alternative to BES. You’d have thought that it would have gone to WinPhone given the backend is predominantly Exchange servers but not so much.

  318. @Winter:

    Europe might be different because there aren’t as many Kindles, and no Nooks.

    OTOH, in Asia there are so many cheap Android tablets available, I have a hard time believing that Android isn’t kicking some serious Apple butt over there, too.

  319. @Nigel:

    You’d have thought that it would have gone to WinPhone given the backend is predominantly Exchange servers but not so much.

    The sweet spot is the intersection of what IT is willing to support and the users are willing to carry around. Whether or not there is actually a good WinPhone around now, that wasn’t perceived to be true for the longest time.

  320. Err, make that quarter before last’s activations. Forgot October already started…

  321. the EU5 numbers for Windows sales according to Kantar did not decline 28% as I first reported, they rather increased by 8% in the EU5 region

    LOL.

  322. @Nigel:

    > LOL

    Yeah, like either one’s not within the margin of error of the other…

  323. I see a lot more corporate iPhones around at conferences. When I inquire the answer is often “they let me get either a Blackberry or an iPhone so I picked the iPhone this year”. Android hasn’t been an option they’ve mentioned.

    OTOH the plural of anecdote isn’t data.

    I see a good number of kindles but little else android tablet wise. Same comment applies here.

    Heck, I have a Fire. Is the Nexus 7 better? Sure, but I already got a Kindle last year and primarily because I have an Amazon Prime membership and I get some free videos that aren’t on Netflix.

  324. @Nigel
    “Heck, I have a Fire. Is the Nexus 7 better? Sure, but I already got a Kindle last year and primarily because I have an Amazon Prime membership and I get some free videos that aren’t on Netflix.”

    In most of the world, neither the Kindle nor Netflix are an option.

    And ICT in the business market is determined by their unwillingness to support something new, anything new. Except when the CEO threatens to fire the lot if they do not. That could happen with Blackberries and iPhones. Not with something that CEO’s do not use themselves.

  325. @Winter:

    > Not with something that CEO’s do not use themselves.

    Except for the whole BYOD trend. Many CEOs are more than happy to let the employees buy their own phones, as long as they feel they control them via remote wipe capability for employer data, etc. A company like Good that sells that feeling of control for both the company and the employee has a huge win if they support phones that the employees are actually already using.

    I think this is yet another good example of the power of network effects. Except, of course, that good supports MS. That’s either a hedged bet or it came with money.

  326. @Patrick
    “Except for the whole BYOD trend.”

    Obviously. I have no clue about the wipe-all-data-provisions as my employers ignored all mobile access anyhow. It sounds to me as if “feeling of control” would indeed be the correct description

    @Patrick
    ” Except, of course, that good supports MS. That’s either a hedged bet or it came with money.”

    When dealing with MS, only the paranoid survive.

  327. Tomi Ahonen gives installed base numbers for the end of 2012. Overal, in most developed countries more than half of all mobile phones are now Smartphones (22% world wide). Android has more than half of the installed base, and runs on 2 out of 3 Smartphones sold.

    The future of computing looks like to run on Linux. It dominates personal computing, embedded, and super-computing.

    A Look At the Handset Industry, Market and Installed Base in 2012
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/10/a-look-at-the-handset-industry-market-and-installed-base-in-2012.html

    INSTALLED BASE OF SMARTPHONE OPERATING SYSTEMS IN USE 2012
    Android . . . . . 53%
    iOS . . . . . . . 20%
    Symbian . . . . 11%
    Blackberry . . . 8%
    bada . . . . . . . 3%
    Windows . . . . 2%
    Others . . . . . . 3%
    Source: TomiAhonen Phone Book 2012
    This data may be freely shared

    Yes, how fast the mighty fall. Just a year ago, Symbian was still the biggest OS by installed base, and less than two years ago Blackberry was bigger than the iPhone by installed base. Of course Android has grown from nowhere to having more than half of the total installed base of all smartphones – and right now sells about two thirds of new smartphones so that lead only keeps increasing. And just a little peak into 2013 – by the end of next year, there will be more Android based devices in use, than the total installed base of any Microsoft Windows based devices, desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones – combined. No wonder Microsoft is freaking out about how Windows Phone and Nokia’s Lumia are failing now. They are quite literally seeing the race to the future of computing, being lost by their ‘strategic partner’.

    (emphasis mine)

  328. Funny…it’s Linux but it’s not like Linux at all. Sure the OS is FOSS but 99% of the apps are closed source.

    And it really irks RMS and amusingly you can legitimately not say “GNU/Linux” and he can’t correct you because there’s no gnu userland.

  329. I care little that the kernel is Linux or Mach or Vxworks or NT or whatever either as a developer or user.

    Ease of use of the API/SDK and the user experience I do care about.

    Claiming victory for Linux because android is popular does Free Software about as much good as claiming victory for Java because of Android does Oracle.

    Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

    Android extinguished both J2ME and Linux the OS (aka Ubuntu Tablet).

  330. @Nigel:

    And it really irks RMS and amusingly you can legitimately not say “GNU/Linux” and he can’t correct you because there’s no gnu userland.

    Yeah, that a nice bonus.

    Claiming victory for Linux because android is popular does Free Software about as much good as claiming victory for Java because of Android does Oracle.

    Not so sure about that. Prying users away from the Microsoft/Apple duopoly can’t be all bad. How many of them know it runs Linux? Sure, not all that many, but the number will be growing.

    Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

    Personally, I think there’s a difference between extinguishing by making something better, and extinguishing by deliberately introducing subtle incompatibilities. YMMV.

    Android extinguished both J2ME and Linux the OS (aka Ubuntu Tablet).

    To the the extent this is true, so what? You will be the first to admit, nay gloat even, that google has lost control of their baby. It’s a completely different scenario than the amoeba-like Microsoft of years past extending its tentacles to incorporate the entire world inside its monopoly.

  331. Prying users away from the Microsoft/Apple duopoly can’t be all bad. How many of them know it runs Linux? Sure, not all that many, but the number will be growing.

    Well…for smartphones as Ahonen is happy to repeatedly tell us it was Symbian and not MS that was king of the hill.

    Apple I don’t think ever had more than single digit market penetration in PCs until (and only if you count) the iPad.

    Is prying users away from MS and into the hands of Google an improvement? Not much of a change in my opinion. Both are nasty competitors but Google is a FOSS darling so a blind eye is turned.

    Personally, I think there’s a difference between extinguishing by making something better, and extinguishing by deliberately introducing subtle incompatibilities. YMMV.

    If MS didn’t make whatever was being extinguished better then the subtle incompatibilities wouldn’t matter since no one would use them right? Arguably C# > Java and these days more cross platform (via mono). And IE > than the crap that Netscape Navigator turned into.

    While Android is far better than Ubuntu in MY opinion it is far worse from the perspective of a FOSS zealot. Of course, I believe that programmers should be able to make a living from coding so that kinda follows that I like ecosystems that support app stores and sufficient controls to keep piracy at a moderate roar (oh noes! DRM!).

  332. @nigel
    Moving goalposts and tails relabeled as legs.

    My TV set has a screen with a Linux release number. So has my phone and my WiFi extender. The weather predictions I watch are calculated on a Linux “kernel”.

    RMS is neither involved in Linux nor in Android. So I see his name here as a diversion.

  333. @winter Not my fault that Linux is both an OS and a kernel and you don’t seem to understand the difference.

    Or more likely that you do understand the difference but prefer to confuse the issue. Comparing windows OS installs to Linux kernel installs is clearly intended to compare apples to oranges.

    Linux the OS had a brief window where it was gaining smartphone share. Then android killed it. I think there is a good chance that android kills the Linux the OS on the desktop as well. The app ecosystem is far richer already and I’d much rather have a Asus transformer than any Ubuntu tablet or net book.

    Embrace, extend, extinguish.

    The success of android does nothing to advance the cause of Free Software and only moderately that of Open Source.

    The latter is true only because most open source proponents are practical and don’t typically mind closed source solutions for user facing apps. Or infrastructure for that matter. 99% of the time I would go with Postgres but if its mission/life critical needing high availability and vendor support I’d pick oracle every time. Or IBM.

  334. @Nigel:

    Is prying users away from MS and into the hands of Google an improvement? Not much of a change in my opinion. Both are nasty competitors but Google is a FOSS darling so a blind eye is turned.

    Google never sued Ernie Ball, and I don’t ever expect them to. Google’s never had the mantra that sharing is stealing (obviously, that sentiment would go against their business interests). Microsoft is now trying to get into the space google occupies, but they’re still tied to their rent-seeking past, and still being obnoxious about it. Apple’s coming at it from the opposite direction, locking in users fairly hard, and using the courts to attempt to kill the competition, rather than to just siphon off some of the money.

    In contrast, Google acts like they really believe that competition is truly a click away (or could be), and they seem to actively work to keep it that way, by giving away key technologies such as Hadoop, by working to insure that they aren’t subjecting any customers to data lock-in, by having a liberal app store policy (including allowing other app stores) and allowing side-loading.

    As far as I’m concerned, Google’s use of the Apache license for userland is more of the same on this front — they are deliberately enabling the competitors because without real competition they might become complacent and be undone.

    Granted, there are areas where they feel threatened by companies piggybacking off their work and competing with them, but AFAIK, except in two specific scenarios*, they have never used the courts offensively, and have never bothered their partners about also offering devices using competing ecosystems. They give away a lot of code to whoever wants it (cf Amazon), but from a partner standpoint, they seem to take the stance that it’s all or nothing — if you’re profiting from selling a device with google services, then you can’t pick and choose. So, for example, you can’t buy an Google Play-enabled device with SkyHook installed, but you can download an app that uses Skyhook from the Android store.

    I know you think google is almost as evil as Microsoft or Apple, but from my perspective, not using the courts to bully your customers or competitors is a major moral advance.

    * Obviously, they have and will continue to sue companies like Microsoft, who started it first. There is also one other case I am aware of, where they sued the US government for deciding to use Microsoft without following the procurement law.

  335. @nigel
    “@winter Not my fault that Linux is both an OS and a kernel and you don’t seem to understand the difference.”

    Read my comments. No reader of this blog would confuse the two when I combine a WiFi extender, a TV, a super-computer, and an Android phone. Only you try to relabel a tail as a leg.

    There is only one piece of software with the name “Linux”. Many people use a shorthand “Linux” to designate all OS’ that use this software. Just as there are people who use “Word” to indicate Windows, and IE to indicate the Internet. But these are not the kind of people who read this blog.

  336. Lol. Nobody I know uses Word as an equivalent to Windows. The majority of the time everybody means Linux the OS when they say Linux. Especially in the context that Linux is dominant in anything. Linux the OS is very strong in supercomputing and embedded. Android is strong in smartphones. Windows dominant (80%+) in personal computing. iOS strong in tablets.

    What kernel is underlying these is kinda a who cares. It’s not user facing and it’s not what defines the user ecosystem. Swap Linux for BSD or Mach or vice versa in any of these and only a few devs will notice.

    Even if they were all running the Linux kernel under the hood the ecosystems would still be completely incompatible.

  337. @nigel
    Your seem to be unable to admit even simple truths. You keep trying to relable tails, or other excuses.

    A single codebase is now likely to become the kernel most (or possibly even all?) computing devices of the world. And you cannot bring yourself to admit that this might be significant.

    Pathethic.

  338. @winter Heh. You mad bro?

    Because as a current developer on iOS, Android, OSX and Windows and as someone who has developed for embedded linux, lynxOS, vxworks and other RTOS I can safely say that 90% of developers never deal with the kernel. Users are even more insulated and care even less.

    Is the widespread use of the linux kernel significant? Sure. About as much as the widespread use of the Apache web server/app server. It a great niche for FOSS but if it didn’t exist there are a half dozen alternatives. Why do you think it’s all that earth shattering? It’s not going to significantly change the computing world any more than Apache did. A few small to mid-sized vendors might go out of business or more likely get purchased. Other proprietary solutions will still flourish (IBM Websphere and Windows Server for example).

  339. @patrick Hmm, why is MS rent seeking but Google not?

    Do I think that Google is as “evil” as MS and Apple? Sure. I don’t think any of them are particularly “evil”. In all three you can point at cases where they don’t play nice and at cases where they have significantly benefitted users. You can point at places where MS has not played nice and I can point at Google using FRAND patents offensively, skyhook, wifi data collection, safari privacy violations, copyright violations (authors guild, aap, chinese writers and others) etc.

  340. @Nigel:

    Is the widespread use of the linux kernel significant? Sure. About as much as the widespread use of the Apache web server/app server.

    Which is actually pretty darn significant. Maybe not so much now, but at one point, if Apache hadn’t existed, Microsoft’s IIS might have easily become dominant.

    It a great niche for FOSS but if it didn’t exist there are a half dozen alternatives. Why do you think it’s all that earth shattering? It’s not going to significantly change the computing world any more than Apache did.

    I’ll be the first to say (which Winter will probably disagree with) that if Linux didn’t exist, some flavor of BSD probably would have filled that niche. OTOH, maybe not, or maybe it would have taken a lot longer. The genius of Linux isn’t in the license (that may have given it an early development boost, but arguably that might have been outweighed by an early adoption reticence) — it’s in the project management.

    In any case, Linux has already helped to change the computing world significantly from a business perspective. I disagree with your assessment about what killed small Linux devices — it wasn’t Android; it was MS Windows with the strong-arming and the reduced-to-$3 per-unit licensing — in response to Linux. But sure, the proliferation of Android makes it even more difficult for something like Ubuntu to gain traction, and the space is getting crowded with entrants like BTG and Chrome.

    My opinion is that free-as-in-beer software is going to continue to make significant inroads, probably to the extent of moving back up the foodchain. Microsoft managed to get rid of a lot of that with bundling, but now they’re talking about consumer annual pricing. That’s just stupid, and if they follow through it will provide a huge opening for LibreOffice.

    Consumers are a bit more educated now on some of these issues. They’ll tolerate closed source (especially for their games) but are wary and weary of the forced-upgrade path. They are rapidly learning that open source provides one of the best ways to get free-as-in-beer software.

  341. @patrick

    I agree regarding BSD. And if not the BSD kernel then the Darwin one (XNU) since Apple open sourced that.

    Busybox is probably more significant.

    Regarding MS and the $3 licensing…that’s still $3 more then linux.

    Free as in beer software is going to move up the food chain as far as the advertising revenue business model permits. I’m not certain that I include freemium software in the “free” category as much as the annoying category. At least with games it seems like the game design is optimized to cause annoyance unless you pay for things. I’d much rather just pay for the thing from the get go and the devs optimize for maximum enjoyment.

  342. @Nigel:

    Hmm, why is MS rent seeking but Google not?

    I dunno? Because they’re nicer? Are you seriously equating Microsoft demanding a royalty on every phone sold when they didn’t even write the software for it, to google writing the software and not demanding any cash?

    Sure. I don’t think any of them are particularly “evil”.

    That’s the difference. I really think that Microsoft and Apple are evil.

    I can point at Google using FRAND patents offensively

    Against someone who didn’t sue them first over some silly shit? Please do tell.

    skyhook,

    Yeah, as I discussed, they disallow their partners from using skyhook, because if you’re benefiting that much from the ecosystem, you have to contribute back. But they don’t disallow apps from using skyhook. AFACT, they really don’t lean on anybody except the companies that want to make devices that gain access to google services, including the Play Store.

    wifi data collection,

    Sorry, that one’s just stupid. Broadcast all you want, don’t expect anybody else to listen?

    safari privacy violations,

    That one is stupid, too, but google didn’t want to fight it because it was peanuts to settle, and the FTC didn’t want to pursue it because they would probably lose. It’s not that often I agree with Gruber, but in this instance, I do.

    copyright violations (authors guild, aap, chinese writers and others) etc.

    I have to admit that when google first bought YouTube, I thought they were nuts, and copyright issues would kill them. But I admire them for helping to bring the law, kicking and screaming, into the current century. Copyright was always supposed to be a bargain, but at the rate orphan works were disappearing, it’s very much arguable that google’s efforts here are, if anything, helping to restore the original bargain.

  343. @Nigel:

    Regarding MS and the $3 licensing…that’s still $3 more then linux.

    Yes, but my point was that Linux has made significant changes to the landscape, by being a big enough challenger to reduce the rents that MS is able to get away with.

  344. @Patrick
    I even agree with what you write. Linux strength is in project mmanagement. But one of the BSD’s could have taken over.

  345. @patrick well, we’re off the first page so I think this conversation is about done. :)

    The difference in opinion probably is in part because I’ve dealt with Google where they are aggressive in “rent collection” to the point where reverse engineering Google Earth Server protocol to access your OWN data is against the TOS. Something that is irksome to me on a semi-regular basis whereas the Microsoft folks have been far more supportive of Open Source efforts in this area.

    So my opinion is that both Google and MS are very aggressive, to the point of actual belligerent and very nasty behavior, when their own interests are at stake. You only see those areas where it is in Google’s own interest to be nice…especially since being nice directly screws with the revenue stream of a competitor.

    But that’s not how you determine the underlying trustworthiness of a person or a corporation…it whether they are honorable when it really matters that tells you what they are really like.

    Which is oddly why I like Oracle. They make no bones about being cutthroat and if you screw up in your contractual negotiations…well…that’s just too bad now innit? Those mistakes can cost millions (and have) but at the end of the day, when you deal with the devil you know you have to bring your A game to the table. Or use PostgreSQL instead.

    Google has always been smarmy when I deal with them and no less forgiving in that regard. What they talked the US government into is seriously a ripoff and a huge vendor lock-in to the point where they, via their agency proxy, lobby hard to deter usage of government open source alternatives.

    Man, Google has the FOSS world seriously snowed or simply cowed. As much as RMS talks the talk he failed to do the one thing to make Google show their true colors. Insist on the Affero clause as a core part of GPL v3. Then you’d have seen how Google reacts when their interests are threatened.

  346. @nigel
    Where your writing went astray when you assumed the “FLOSS world” trusts Google. I hear that only from FLOSS critics. I trust Google as far as I see their licenses. I know for sure they share the US fiction about the ownership of data (my precioussss).

    But this is about code. And RMS was pragmatic about the Avero clause. He got already more into GPLv3 than was expected. The license needed to be accepted.

  347. @Winter:

    Where your writing went astray when you assumed the “FLOSS world” trusts Google. I hear that only from FLOSS critics.

    The term FLOSS seems designed to divide us by pretending that we’re the same, lumping together Winter and me and even Jay Maynard. Hard-core GPL proponents aren’t going to like a lot of things that google does.

    But I’m an open source proponent, and so far I trust google. Because they haven’t done anything I consider truly evil, and, as with Nigel’s description of Oracle, I actually find them fairly predictable.

    I also find that if they do screw up, it almost always eventually gets rectified. The caveat here is that they’re fairly young, fairly fast growing, and trying really, really hard not to engage in costly people-to-people customer interactions.

  348. @Patrick
    FLOSS as a term was introduced in Europe I believe to combine people from all licenses on the OSS list. The word Libre is recognized by almost all Europeans, including those that do not speak English.

    As such FLOSS is most definitely not intended to divide.

    Personally, I admire Googles efforts to strengthen FLOSS. But I reserve trust to people. Google is not a person.

  349. @esr
    Europeans do not seem to share your sensitivities on the use of English acronyms. They all understand the Libre part irrespective of their native language. IIRC, the same holds in South America. FLOSS is widely used in Europe, the word as wel as the code.

    I can assure you that most of those who recognize FLOSS have no clue about your objection to the “Free” vs “OS” part without an hour long personal explanation.

  350. >I can assure you that most of those who recognize FLOSS have no clue about your objection to the “Free” vs “OS” part without an hour long personal explanation.

    That’s not my main objection. The biggest problem with “FLOSS” i s that it inevitably reminds people of uncomfortable dental-hygiene procedures. Yeah, that’s great marketing.

  351. @esr
    I agree. Randall once divulged that FLOSS weekly was listed in a dentists site.

  352. @esr
    On the other hand, non-native speakers will not encounter the word floss in the dental context often enough to make the connection. I did not make that connection until a native speaker pointed it out.

  353. Given my understanding of “Free”, “Libre” and “Open Source” my problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a point to “FLOSS” that isn’t already covered by “OSS” other than the idea that “free as in speech” is in some form of zero sum game with “Open source”. It’s not like GPL isn’t an Open source license.

    To the muggles, i’d expect FLOSS to look like just another acronym for the sake of acronyms and what that acronym means is inscrutable mystic knowledge for wizards.

  354. @JonCB:

    > there doesn’t seem to be a point to “FLOSS” that isn’t already covered by “OSS”

    Or even “free software.” RMS will be the first to admit that software distributed under an MIT, BSD, Apache, etc. license is “free”. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html

    “open source” (and thus OSS) was, in large part, a marketing effort designed to fix the real marketing failures associated with “free software.” I have no doubt that this better marketing effort made it _much_ easier for me, personally, to use this sort of software for work, and I have no doubt that I am not alone in this observation.

    So, basically, “OSS” was a marketing term that was working too well, and “FLOSS” was a reactionary term. Given the mindset and previous history, it should come as no surprise that “FLOSS” is abysmal marketing — my own suspicion is that this is a purposeful attempt to co-opt the term “OSS” and wrap it in feces.

    BTW, I’m working through the politics of open-sourcing some software at work right now, and you can bet your bottom dollar the verb is “open source” rather than “free.”

  355. Both “free” and “open” have been deliberately confused with gratis and disclosure. Something non-native speakers with often only basic command of the language would fall for quite easily.

    Libre has connotations that are very difficult to confuse. And acronyms are good when coining distinct new concepts. So I think the term will stick outside of the US.

    All your political arguments are wasted on Europeans. They simply do not see the problem.

  356. >my own suspicion is that this is a purposeful attempt to co-opt the term “OSS” and wrap it in feces.

    I don’t think so. There was a European academic whose name I’ve forgotten but who was an OSI board member for a while who claimed to have coined “FLOSS”. He wasn’t malicious, he was attempting a political/semantic move to reconcile what he saw as warring factions. Unfortunately, it was a stupid move on several different levels.

  357. Ah, so the attempt at co-opting the term “OSS” is purposeful, but the wrapping in feces, though an easily predictable outcome, wasn’t the desired one. Makes sense.

  358. @nigel:

    > Wouldn’t that be fleces?

    Maybe, but I didn’t see any cuddly sheep here :-)

    > I’m here all week…try the veal.

    Did you mean lamb?

  359. @winter:

    Both “free” and “open” have been deliberately confused with gratis and disclosure.

    Free ALWAYS meant gratis when dealing with things besides humans and (sometimes) animals. The fault there is only RMS’s. As far as open/disclosure, what am I missing? Disclosure (and the ability to redisclose) are a huge part of open.

    Something non-native speakers with often only basic command of the language would fall for quite easily.

    Mmm, yes I see. esr, you should learn to read.

    Libre has connotations that are very difficult to confuse.

    Yes, and they have nothing to do with software. Stretching the concept to give some amorphous quality of freedom to the software itself is, frankly, utterly contemptible bullshit. Either you’re protecting the users of the software, or you aren’t. If you’re protecting the users from the developers, you have a conundrum, because developers are also users, so the apparent “solution” is to declare the software itself a living, breathing entity. Not yet, it isn’t.

    All your political arguments are wasted on Europeans. They simply do not see the problem.

    That’s partly because at least some Europeans, judging by your words, are looking in the wrong place when told there is a problem. The naming problem isn’t actually the one you’ve been alluding to.

  360. Both “free” and “open” have been deliberately confused with gratis and disclosure. Something non-native speakers with often only basic command of the language would fall for quite easily.

    By RMS himself. I recall an annoying moment when a FSF zealot steadfastly kept re-editing the WorldWind Wiki page because he didn’t like the fact that someone stated that it was free (which it is since it’s open source and zero cost…a major “selling” point vis a vis Google Earth) because the FSF had decided to hijack that phrase to only mean “adheres to stallmanism”.

    Free has always also meant no cost. Even when associated with software. The term freeware I think predates RMS’ usage or at least is contemporary with it.

    I agree that the term FLOSS is annoying and counterproductive and that OSS is sufficient as an umbrella EXCEPT that the FSF rejects being under any soft of open source umbrella. So you have this asinine acronym that people use for the lack of a better word even if they think the term is asinine.

    The FSF and RMS has been divisive since day 1. They like it that way.

  361. @Patrick
    “Free ALWAYS meant gratis when dealing with things besides humans and (sometimes) animals. ”

    Internet Explorer is Free of charge and the source can be inspected by governments. So Internet Explorer is both Free and Open Source software. Please regulate that your websites are standardized on IE, so they are standardized on Free and Open Source software. MS did not use IE exactly, but they did use this argument repeatedly. And neither Free Software nor Open Source could be trademarked, so this deliberate disinformation was spread widely.

    @Patrick
    “Stretching the concept to give some amorphous quality of freedom to the software itself is, frankly, utterly contemptible bullshit.”

    Libre refers to the rights of the user. I am pretty sure the people of Europe understand this.

    @Patrick
    “That’s partly because at least some Europeans, judging by your words, are looking in the wrong place when told there is a problem. The naming problem isn’t actually the one you’ve been alluding to.”

    FLOSS inclusively refers to all licenses recognized by the Open Source Initiative. If you understand it differently, then I am afraid those outside of the USA will ignore that.

    FLOSS is coined by official publications in the EU because they wanted to have no part at all in a “washes whiter than white”, Free, Free-er, Free-est license contest. Whatever word non-native speakers of English chose to designate a this concept was specifically chosen to avoid the infighting in the USA.

  362. @Winter:

    Internet Explorer is Free of charge and the source can be inspected by governments. So Internet Explorer is both Free and Open Source software.

    Yes, it is free software. That term existed, and was used, for software with this meaning for a long time. No, it is not open source under any stretch of the imagination, and you are creating a false equivalence. Nobody ever thought that “open source” meant that someone else could inspect it, or that said inspection would be under NDA.

    MS did not use IE exactly, but they did use this argument repeatedly.

    And that bit of misdirection failed miserably on the people I have to convince. They can see past all that. They’re just worried that the lengthy GPL will suck out all their proprietary source if they don’t treat it like kryptonite. Can you honestly point to anybody who was confused about what open source meant? Can you honestly point to anybody who was confused about what free software was, where the confusion wasn’t related to the fact that RMS was threatening that if any of their stuff touched any of his stuff, the world owned it all?

    Libre refers to the rights of the user. I am pretty sure the people of Europe understand this.

    I’ve had this discussion multiple times. This is one of those slippery things, where it’s all about how the user is free, until I point out how the user is less free in some ways, and then it’s all about how the software is free. Face it — the user is less free in what he can legally do with a GPL licensed software package than with a MIT or BSD licensed software package. The only answer to this is that “most users aren’t going to do programming.” But that still puts the burden on users to insure that if they share, they share source, and it puts additional burdens on developers who want to do stuff that most users don’t, never mind the purported disallowance of “field of use” restrictions in the GPL. Usually, when the argument gets to this point, someone says “but it’s the SOFTWARE that is free.” I was just preempting that step. Feel free to take all the ones up to it.

    “That’s partly because at least some Europeans, judging by your words, are looking in the wrong place when told there is a problem. The naming problem isn’t actually the one you’ve been alluding to.”

    FLOSS inclusively refers to all licenses recognized by the Open Source Initiative. If you understand it differently, then I am afraid those outside of the USA will ignore that.

    I understand that. That’s still not the naming problem.

    FLOSS is coined by official publications in the EU because they wanted to have no part at all in a “washes whiter than white”, Free, Free-er, Free-est license contest. Whatever word non-native speakers of English chose to designate a this concept was specifically chosen to avoid the infighting in the USA.

    “Free” doesn’t scare anybody. Or didn’t (people love free stuff). Until RMS made people scared that it might free their own stuff inadvertently. OSS fixes this. FLOSS breaks it again. That’s the naming problem.

  363. @Patrick
    What you seem to misunderstand is that exactly the argument about “less free” is what drove non-USAians to start using the term FLOSS.

    It is obvious that you cannot step over your shadow and see that *people outside the USA do not care about your free-er than free license argument*. They have many reasons to prefer one license over the other. I never hear anyone here profess your reason about *less free*.

    To summarize, your comment is a perfect example of what promotes the use. of FLOSS. overhere.

  364. @Winter:

    > people outside the USA do not care about your free-er than free license argument

    It’s not about “free-er than free.” It’s about “free” being false advertising. If you give me something free, it’s mine to do with as I please.

    In any case, I doubt that you speak for everybody outside the USA, but whatever.

  365. @winter

    What? You never heard of the FSFe?

    Here’s some FSFe FUD against open source:

    “Often used in good faith by people who refer to what Free Software stands for, the term “Open Source” – originally defined to mean the same thing as Free Software in terms of licenses and implementation – has seen inflationary usage. Nowadays, it is regularly used for everything between Free Software and the highly proprietary “Governmental Security Program” (GSP) by Microsoft.

    http://fsfe.org/about/basics/freesoftware.en.html

    No, not as the OSI defines it or hardly anyone else for that matter.

    Funny though that you brought up the Microsoft GSP thing…nobody states that GSP software is open source except for FSF FUDsters. Even Microsoft labels it shared source.

    So I’m calling complete bullshit on your assertion that this is an issue only for those crazy combative ‘mericans and that the european Free Software folks are pure as the driven snow when it comes to the Free vs More Free debate.

  366. @winter

    What you seem to misunderstand is that exactly the argument about “less free” is what drove non-USAians to start using the term FLOSS.

    I’m not sure what group you’re attempting to speak for, but I assure you it is not me.

    I’m British by birth, Australian by life, confused by Libre (do you mean the horoscope or the tampon?) and would be put off by the term FLOSS if i didn’t just auto-rewrite it to “Open source” anyway.

    We should start talking about Liberty Software, publish a “Liberty Software Definition” that pretty much says it covers anything that would be covered by Free, Open or Libre license and start chanting the obvious slogans (“Give me liberty or give me death” etc…)

  367. When can the OSS people stop fighting about licenses, and we return to THE SMARTPHONE WARS?

    EPISODE IV: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    Four (Comscore – 34.3%/Aug-12, NPD – 31%/Q2-12, Nielsen – 34%/Q2-12, Kantar Worldpanel – 37.4%/Jun-12) of the major market research groups all have US iPhone market share at greater than 30% — for some time at least up to the middle of 2012, using some definition of market share, using their own methodologies.

    http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/10/comScore_Reports_August_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share
    http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/08/npd-q2-2012/
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57488971-93/apple-samsung-u.s-smartphone-sales-jump-43-percent/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=title
    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/smartphones-account-for-half-of-all-mobile-phones-dominate-new-phone-purchases-in-the-us/
    http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/kwp_ftp/global/comtech/Kantar_Worldpanel_ComTech_Smartphone_OS_barometer_11_7_12.pdf

    Even market research firms that rarely provide insight into US data like Gartner provide worldwide data that suggests strong iPhone share in the US. That is: despite reports of outsized Android growth in developing markets, Gartner still has iPhone share growing to 18.8% worldwide from 18.2% the year prior. Moreover, just as iOS and Android are crushing alternate platforms, Apple and Samsung are crushing most other manufacturers — such that Apple’s share of mobile (smart and non-smart) worldwide has grown to 6.9% from 4.6% the year previous (if Android is crushing iPhone in the developing world, they must be growing somewhere).

    http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2120015

    And 3 months ago (http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4433), ESR did some hand-waving about a global market share data point and a monthly sales data point (that was not inconsistent with iPhone share growth nor share in the 29-30%, and certainly didn’t point to long term iPhone share loss — http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57429192-93/android-reclaims-61-percent-of-all-u.s-smartphone-sales/) in order to abandon the primary statistical measurement and test of the thesis for the so-called “Smartphone Wars” here on his blog (http://www.catb.org/esr/comscore/), presumably because his prediction that sometime between Aug-11 and Mar-12, depending on what day of the week it is*, Apple would reach a high point in market share (at the time, around 27%) and then rapidly decline was not being reflected in that data (my presumption, I admit the arrogance).

    *I joke. ESR insinuated in posts from June through August of 2011 that he saw indications that Apple was already declining despite the fact that share always held or grew and there was no data evidence of decline. Around August-ish, his predictions for 50% Android share began slipping from Sept to Oct to year end to the new year to Feb (when it finally happened!). I am allowing Mar as padding for what I presume are my own inaccuracies here. I wanted to research this thoroughly, but I’m not going to sift a year and a half worth of posts and comments (again). Apologies for any inaccuracies in advance.

    ESR and the active, intelligent readers here have mostly ignored that his thesis has been wrong for as much as a year, that the data from different market research firms is not substantially inconsistent, that the data certainly and consistently does not agree with his thesis, and that ESR has largely failed to acknowledge this or modify his theory with any significant revision (not even to say something as simple as: “I was wrong to believe that the US was an appropriate indicator for the entire market”).

  368. @Patrick, nigel, JonCB
    Suppose, just for the sake of argument, I am a European software activist. I want to make as many people, companies, and government agencies to use software with a license from the OSI list. And I want to convince my fellow Europeans that using such software is “good” for practical and moral reasons. And, both me and my audience are pragmatic about how to reach this goal.

    Now I read your comments.
    - It’s about “free” being false advertising.
    - FSF zealot
    - Here’s some FSFe FUD against open source:
    - Funny though that you brought up the Microsoft GSP thing…nobody states that GSP software is open source except for FSF FUDsters. Even Microsoft labels it shared source.
    - …confused by Libre (do you mean the horoscope or the tampon?)

    I can add more from other sites and sides in the debate.

    So I see, there is some big political fight between US (Anglo-Saxon?) factions about the use of the word “Free” and “Open”. There are no equivalent factions in my target audience. If I show them these comments, they simply take their coats and leave.

    When I try to explain the difference between “Open Source” and “Free Software”, all eyes glace over. When I try to explain that the GPL is not free and positively dangerous, they advice me to seek professional care. When I start about the “real freedom” of the BSD/MIT license, the white coats are coming out.

    So what do I do? I use FLOSS, a term that sums up the lot of license terms as used in the USA. Added bonus is that it has a well understood word from European history to stave off the “Shared”, “Open”, and “Freeware” confusions from monopolistic vendors and lobbyists.

    Now, I can talk to government agencies, companies, politicians, the military, and consumers, and explain them what possibilities there are, and how they can get there. And we can go on fighting our own political wars, instead of doing a warmed over version of USA politics.

    In short, this seems to me a good reason why “software FLOSS” gives you 10 million hits on Google. And “Europe software FLOSS” 2 million (without the quotes, obviously). The term is actually used in Europe.

    And if you all get into a fit over Europeans (and South Americans?) using “FLOSS”, then my target audience considers that a bonus (true!).

    (bonus points for the reader that noted that I did not express a preference for any of the OSI licenses in this thread)

  369. @winter

    If you want folks to use a license from the OSI list as you state then simply refer to it as Open Source. That is the term the OSI uses and there is no confusion as to what it means nor does it make any sort of political statement.

    If you want copyleft then you suggest EUPL. If you want permissive there are many options but none tailored for european law that I am aware of on the OSI list. If you don’t tell them the difference between copyleft and permissive you are doing a great disservice to the people you are advocating open source to and they will not thank you for it in the long run.

    Use of the term “libre” or “free” obfuscates the very clear and very important distinctions between copyleft and permissive open source licensing schemes and strategies. It is important that organizations adopting open source licenses understand the implications of choosing one or the other.

    If you wish to claim there are no free vs open factions in the EU I’m going to simply call you a liar.

    The fact that you want to MAKE people use a FLOSS license indeed makes you an activist. And not one for freedom in any sense of the word…

  370. @nigel
    “If you wish to claim there are no free vs open factions in the EU I’m going to simply call you a liar. ”

    They are there, certainly. But they do not hit a dent in a packet of butter with regard to markets and policies.

    @nigel
    “That is the term the OSI uses and there is no confusion as to what it means nor does it make any sort of political statement.”

    Except that you all just made it a political statement in this thread. And those who use “FLOSS” instead simply do not care about the politics. If they did, they would not have used the term in the first place.

    As has been said: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

    The mere fact that you make such a point about what we call it, shows me that it actually is a matter of politics.

  371. Except that you all just made it a political statement in this thread. And those who use “FLOSS” instead simply do not care about the politics. If they did, they would not have used the term in the first place.

    This makes no sense at all. The term FLOSS is all about political fence sitting. About not “slighting” one of the factions by leaving them out. If you didn’t care about politics, you’d just call them all open and move on. Instead of propagating a term that just muddies the water further.

  372. @JonCB
    “The term FLOSS is all about political fence sitting.”

    Exactly. And this is intentional.

    You seem to want to make it sound as a bad thing. But in continental Europe, “a compromise” tends to be treated as a compliment. Yes this is a compromise, fence sitting etc. And yes, this is considered a “good thing” (TM).

    Feel free to try to change European culture&politics. I won’t even try.

  373. This makes no sense at all. The term FLOSS is all about political fence sitting. About not “slighting” one of the factions by leaving them out. If you didn’t care about politics, you’d just call them all open and move on. Instead of propagating a term that just muddies the water further.

    Exactly. OSS is the neutral umbrella term because the OSD is the most inclusive of open source software definitions…even if OSD 9 had to be bent a little to allow GPL. Every other permutation of open source definition (FSF, DFSG, etc) is more restrictive and results in a subset of licenses that are already allowed (and typically already officially approved by the OSI) under the Open Source Definition.

    The only term possibly more neutral than Open Source is Software Commons but that doesn’t exist and would only be useful if it included source available license permutations not allowed under the OSD (i.e. Academic Licenses…aka NC licenses) OR provided SC-BY (permissive), SC-BY-SA (share alike – weak copyleft), SC-BY-SE (share everything – strong copyleft) replacements that everyone actually used instead of the existing licenses but that ain’t happening any time soon.

  374. @Winter:

    > But in continental Europe, “a compromise” tends to be treated as a compliment.

    As others have pointed out, this is the sort of “compromise” that attempts to reframe the question. Which is fine — arguably the definition of “open source” did this itself because the non-overlap between “open source” and RMS’s warped definition of “free” encompasses very few licenses.

    What is not fine is the intellectual dishonesty of calling it a compromise rather than a reframing.

  375. @Tim F.

    FWIW, as discussed earlier in the article, IDC shows iPhone share dropping:

    http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2012/09/11/worldwide-market-share-for-smartphones/6mCo7Q2BUcutA4hbonAmFM/story.html

    I have heard that Gartner doesn’t do a great job of counting the third tier manufacturers, but I don’t know for sure.

    Nielsen’s data either indicates that iPhone sales peaked in the US, or that everybody was waiting for the iPhone 5:

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/young-adults-and-teens-lead-growth-among-smartphone-owners/

    and that ESR has largely failed to acknowledge this or modify his theory with any significant revision (not even to say something as simple as: “I was wrong to believe that the US was an appropriate indicator for the entire market”).

    FWIW, I have opined many times here that I thought the domestic phone subsidies are a market distortion that isn’t (in fact, really can’t be) replicated everywhere, and I vaguely recall that on at least one occasion, esr might have agreed with this assessment. I was hopeful that this distortion might be fading, but then sprint got locked in, too. Still, the real elephant in the room in the US is the growth of prepaid:

    http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2012/08/driven-by-smartphones-us-prepaid-growth.html

    As far as iPhone domestic vs. international sales, there are some interesting charts here:

    http://www.tech-thoughts.net/2012/09/iphone-sales-estimates-by-region.html#.UGRJBhgZGB5

    It will be extremely interesting to see what the next couple of quarters bring. RIM is almost dead, and Symbian is following it; MS is trying valiantly to get off the ground; and all the low-hanging fruit of well-heeled customers have been taken — lower prices may be necessary to attract additional smartphone customers.

  376. @Patrick
    “What is not fine is the intellectual dishonesty of calling it a compromise rather than a reframing.”

    I have no clue about what you want to say. I am obviously ignorant about what is meant by “reframing” here. All uses of the term FLOSS I have seen were license agnostic, and did not go into any of the philosophical or political issues.

    Whether you should call this a “compromise” or “reframing” is beyond my understanding. Feel free to pick any word you like.

  377. @winter

    Exactly. And this is intentional.

    You seem to want to make it sound as a bad thing. But in continental Europe, “a compromise” tends to be treated as a compliment. Yes this is a compromise, fence sitting etc. And yes, this is considered a “good thing” (TM).

    Hang on there pilgrim, I was specifically responding to :-

    And those who use “FLOSS” instead simply do not care about the politics./blockquote>

    Sure personally I think the politics can go jump, i’ll call them open and if RMS wants to get all loony about it, then thats his problem not mine. I don’t have a problem with a compromise, i have a problem with a confusing, poorly thought out compromise. i don’t care if your response to a disagreement is to declare both sides correct, particularly in this case where both sides (arguably) ARE correct. What i’m calling you on is saying it’s not politics when it clearly IS politics.

  378. @JonCB
    But the use of FLOSS as a term is politics! It just is not your Free against Open politics.

    This is European politics where different factions fight over different goals. They (we?) simply refuse to take sides in a USA dispute.

  379. @Winter:

    A compromise is normally when two groups agree on something partway between their positions. What you are declaring a compromise is, also by your own declaration, a third group agreeing on something that they all agree is halfway between the positions of the two other groups.

    You can’t avoid politics by jumping into what you declare to be the middle of it. When you do that, you just get slammed by both sides. That’s just how it works.

  380. @Patrick
    I do not think those who use FLOSS mind they will offend both camps in the fight. I for one do not mind if it offends RMS or his opponents.

  381. @winter

    I see. So what you’re saying is that FLOSS is all about “Europe” creating an unnecessary public political brouhaha out of a private (more or less, geek internal certainly) ideology issue? Good to see that has been cleared up.

  382. @JonCB
    If you want to think of the world as an extension of the USA, feel free. It does not help you understand the world, but may be that is not a problem?

  383. @Winter:

    Did you miss the comment where JonCB said he was born in Britain and lives in Australia?

  384. @Patrick
    No, but he writes we should view (continental) Europe as part of some USA political debate.

    I think Australians have every right to identify with Americans, USA or otherwise. Or maybe the same debate rages in Australia. But I think few Australians see their country as a mould for the world.

  385. @Winter:

    I wondered how you would fit that data point into your viewpoint that all Americans think they represent the entire world, but they’re wrong — it’s all Europeans who represent the entire world (as long as they didn’t emigrate at a young age to the US colony of Australia).

  386. he writes we should view (continental) Europe as part of some USA political debate.

    No, I write like Europe isn’t some disconnected part of a global technology ecosystem.

    I write like i wish some dipshit politician hadn’t come up with a ratshit poor term for political reasons.
    And I write like i wish people, who should know better, didn’t turn it into a point of nationalistic Jingoism.

    In other words, i find your invocation of “that’s how we do things in Europe” to be disturbing, backwards and pointless. Especially because i’m pretty sure “making poor technical decisions for political reasons” isn’t something that Europe is known for (even if a few point scoring individuals would try to claim it).

  387. >I write like i wish some dipshit politician hadn’t come up with a ratshit poor term for political reasons.

    Please. He was a dipshit academic. not a dipshit politician.

  388. Please. He was a dipshit academic. not a dipshit politician.

    My mistake.

  389. @Patrick
    “I wondered how you would fit that data point into your viewpoint that all Americans think they represent the entire world, but they’re wrong —”

    As I know and have spoken to USA Americans face to face, I know this is not true. I know from Australians that it is neither true for them. So I never said all Americans think they represent the entire world. However, it is a sentiment I feel lives in many visitors of this blog. When matters of internal political distinctions of other countries are brought up, they seem to be invariably categorized along strict USA party lines. Explanations and evidence from natives that do not fit these categories tend to be dismissed out of hand.

    This discussion seems to be a case in point. I fail completely to convey the reason my compatriots prefer FLOSS, even though this is a simple empirical question. Anyone could given some evidence that I am wrong. I would have accepted almost any evidence in word or print. Instead, it seems I am wrong because the use of FLOSS is wrong. Period.

    @Patrick
    “it’s all Europeans who represent the entire world (as long as they didn’t emigrate at a young age to the US colony of Australia).”

    Possibly. But that is not what I hear and read from Asians when they compare their experiences with US and European government representatives or politicians. Also, I personally do not think so (N=1 sample).

    @JonCB
    “In other words, i find your invocation of “that’s how we do things in Europe” to be disturbing, backwards and pointless.”

    I am perfectly fine with your feelings, but here you are shooting the messenger (even though I expect you to consider me disturbingly backward too).

    I was simply expressing the view I found in publications that use FLOSS as a term. It might feel strange, but I am unable to recall Europeans or European publications that cared about the political debate of Free versus Open Source Software. Nor have I spoken to European users or developers who cared. What I did find was a strong urge to not touch this “controversy” with a barge pole. I believe this is one of the causes for the apparent popularity of the word “FLOSS’ in European publications.

    But this discussion is pointless.

    I have tried to communicate the feelings that underlie the use of the word FLOSS. I concentrated on Europe as I live there and have experience with how people think here. You obviously disagree forcefully with me. But I am unsure whether you disagree that my fellow Europeans think this way (an empirical question) or that in your opinion they should not think this way (a political/moral question).

    In both cases, I am not the person to direct your comments to.

  390. @Winter:

    Obviously, I misunderstood what you were saying.

    Now that you have clarified it, your observations become an interesting data point.

    What I did find was a strong urge to not touch this “controversy” with a barge pole.

    I can believe this is true in the main; obviously, as Nigel has pointed out, the FSFE jumped in the middle to denigrate the term OSS with false accusations about how it is used in practice. So I can easily believe they are one of the driving forces of putting the “FL” in FLOSS, and I can also easily believe that a lot of other people simply roll their eyes and say “OK, if you have to…”

  391. @Patrick
    “I can easily believe they are one of the driving forces of putting the “FL” in FLOSS, and I can also easily believe that a lot of other people simply roll their eyes and say “OK, if you have to…””

    Indeed, for better or worse, this is what I understand from my “compatriots”. Not least driven by the EU sponsored publications. The EU is very sensitive to accusations of “partiality”.

  392. In other news:

    Apple Has Quietly Started Tracking iPhone Users Again, And It’s Tricky To Opt Out
    http://www.businessinsider.com/ifa-apples-iphone-tracking-in-ios-6-2012-10

    But Apple didn’t shout quite so loud about an enhancement to its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, which also occurred in September: The company has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA.

    Apple’s New Advertising ID in iOS6 Sets the Standard
    http://apsalar.com/blog/2012/06/apples-new-advertising-id/

    In June, Apple announced the introduction of 2 new IDs in the UIDevice class as part of iOS6 (which will be available in the fall):

    identifierForAdvertising (IDFA) which is a cross-app/publisher identifier
    identifierForVendor (IDFV) which is a publisher-specific identifier

    This is great news for the mobile app advertising industry, as it will significantly impact the industry’s revenue and growth.

  393. It’s tricky to toggle a button?

    And Apple has been touting the removal of using UUID in favor of a non-identifying ID.

  394. @Nigel
    “It’s tricky to toggle a button?”

    No, but it is tricky to find, hidden under non-descriptive tab names. And the toggle switch label is confusing:
    > The tracking control is titled “Limit Ad Tracking,” and must be turned to ON, not OFF, in order to work. That’s slightly confusing — “ON” means ads are off! ”

    @Nigel
    “And Apple has been touting the removal of using UUID in favor of a non-identifying ID.”

    It is fairly straightforward to de-anonymize people from their on-line activity. Privacy is more than hiding your name and social security number.

  395. So, is this sort of privacy easier on Android? And I don’t mean easy for you, or easy in one OS version on one model of phone, or easy if people install a certain piece of software. I mean: on average, how easy is it to do this on Android?

  396. @PapayaSF
    “So, is this sort of privacy easier on Android?”

    Eh? I learned in kindergarten that the misbehavior of other children is no excuse for me to misbehave.

    If you know of bad privacy behavior of Android, please advertize them to the world.

    I will give you a suggestion: The installation time “take-it-or-leave-it” click-through form for abilities in Android is utterly wrong. You should have a system like iOS where you can accept or block individual abilities of apps when they are executed. Even better, users should be able to block or grant individual abilities for any app at any time they see fit.

  397. @Winter:

    I will give you a suggestion: The installation time “take-it-or-leave-it” click-through form for abilities in Android is utterly wrong. You should have a system like iOS where you can accept or block individual abilities of apps when they are executed. Even better, users should be able to block or grant individual abilities for any app at any time they see fit.

    This. This is one of the most annoying things about the platform. There should be a standard screen that shows what OS capabilities the app is requesting, and (maybe through a link or hover) what features of the app will be enabled/disabled when this OS capability is available or not, and that allows the user to have fine-grained control over capabilities granted to apps by the OS.

    Unfortunately, that might be hard to add after the fact. I’m sure a lot of apps simply assume that if they are running, they have all the capabilities that they asked for.

  398. The start of the little OS that could, four years ago already:

    Happy birthday to the T-Mobile G1
    http://www.androidcentral.com/happy-birthday-t-mobile-g1

    Four years ago today, the world of smartphones changed. The T-Mobile G1 made it’s debut, with little fanfare, a small following, and a huge BlackBerry-shaped shadow over its head. Some of us knew it would be a game-changer, but I don’t think anyone expected what we’re seeing today. 1.3 million daily activations, over 500 million (that’s half a billion) Android phones sold, and consistent growth in market share every quarter.

    My extrapolation of past growth tells me that Android might reach 1 billion activations next summer (2013). Ahead of the pundits.

  399. @Patrick
    “that allows the user to have fine-grained control over capabilities granted to apps by the OS.”

    Could not agree more.

  400. I see 58% of the US smartphone marketshare in their likely worst quarter, the one before the 5 comes out. (http://readwrite.com/files/ben_evans_iphone_sales_q3.jpg ) We could be looking at 70% for 2012Q4 (Apple’s start of 2013 fiscal year). I would have found this very unlikely till I saw those figures but there seems to be real potential of Apple establishing a USA / UK monopoly for smartphones.

    Globally Apple is not doing nearly as well. Apple might be able to sell European carriers on the long term contract / subsidy model as now Apple has 2 important case studies in how it create huge carrier profits in AT&T and Sprint and 1 case study in how it helped Verizon push through a price increase with little resistance. Hard to know how that will play out.

    Things look great globally for Samsung and I think culturally their advertising takes the right tone. Their margins are nowhere near Apple’s but their units sold are insane and their revenue figures are very strong.

  401. @PapayaSF
    “I’m still not seeing the decline of Apple that so many have predicted:”

    Global marketshare of Apple is at most stable but generally declining year-over-year. They will likely have a monster Christmas sales this year. Still, Apple seems to be transforming from a market leader to a market follower premium brand.

    See Tomi Ahonen:
    The Apple Q3 Results in Smartphone Wars
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/10/the-apple-q3-results-in-smartphone-wars.html
    ” Apple’s preliminary full year 2012 annual sales market share for smartphones look to be around 20% (up from 19% in year 2011).”

    The temporary stall in declining marketshare was paid for by reduced profits. Their dominance in the USA is only possible because Apple can prevent competition on price and use USA home town “justice” to deter foreign brands. Globally, Android outsells Apple 2-1 (or even 3-1?).

    But as Tomi already states: The Smartphone Wars are over

  402. Correction “reduced profits” should have been ” profit warnings” due to increased number of models.

  403. Apple’s digging itself in deeper with the court in England. The end result of all this is going to be absolutely hilarious.

  404. Interesting. Still not seeing that long-predicted collapse of Apple.

  405. @PapayaSF:

    > Interesting. Still not seeing that long-predicted collapse of Apple.

    The collapse is always preceded by the disenchantment:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57542628-37/iphone-users-get-less-loyal/

    But the growth is stunted by the competition…

    New IDC global numbers out. Android outselling iPhone better than 5 to 1 globally.

    https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23771812

    A really simplistic and probably wildly inaccurate munging of the comscore data only has Android outselling Apple around 1.09 to 1 domestically. By using their reported market size increase of 8%, and assuming that no handsets sold were replacements, we get:

    (52.5*1.08 – 51.6) / (34.3*1.08 – 32.4) = 1.09

    The discrepancy between domestic iOS share and global iOS share dovetails nicely with reports that AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint combined sold around 1/3 of total worldwide iPhone shipments for the quarter (9 million of 27 million units).

    Google’s championing of LG for the next Nexus is smart. There will probably be at least 5 strong Android contenders over the next year or so: Samsung, LG, ZTE, Huawei, and Lenovo.

  406. @CDhost
    Android has a global market share of 75%, and at least 5 different companies producing handsets at breathtaking pace, including the biggest handset maker of all. The importance of the USA market with global sales of 180 million smartphones last quarter would be small.

    With such a dependence on the USA, the future really looks not good for an Apple iPhone Monopoly. As a luxury goods maker, Apple can still make insane profits, but the world will not compute on iOS.

    Android : 75% market share. The future is open !
    http://openceo.blogspot.ca/2012/11/android-75-market-share-future-is-open.html

    - Android represent 75% of shipment of smartphone in Q3-2012 (compared to 59% Q3-2011)
    - Apple represent 14.9% (compared to 13.8% a year ago)
    - Blackberry 7.7% (9.5% a year ago)
    - Symbian 4.1% (14.6% a year ago)

    All this occurs in a very fast growing global market for smartphones : vendors shipped 179.7 million units in 3Q12 compared to 123.7 million units in 3Q11.

    Note, we are in a deep recession!

    So, Eric’s and Patrick’s vision of Apple’s is shared by others.

    The speed of change is increasing and Apple’s position is less and less interesting : shareholders beware (hedge funds, pension funds and individuals) : the time where being an Apple investor was more interesting than being an Apple customer is coming to an end … and the end is very close.

    I like to compare smartphones to PCs : the main difference is that an open ecosystem once again succeeded against a closed ecosystem. This time, in this revolution, we won the operating system. The OS is open-source. The applications (including their cloud component) are not.

    Observe how the future of MS is very much dimmer than that of Apple.

  407. I read about WP8 needing “fat” data plans to drive their WP8 life tiles. I am wondering how this plays with prepaid data plans, which are popular in the developing world.

    iOS seems to be “fine” with limited bandwidth. At least, I know people who are happy with a WiFi only iPad. But I am wondering how this works on WP8?

  408. The importance of the USA market with global sales of 180 million smartphones last quarter would be small. With such a dependence on the USA, the future really looks not good for an Apple iPhone Monopoly. As a luxury goods maker, Apple can still make insane profits, but the world will not compute on iOS.

    First off again. Comscore was about the US market not the world. If Apple were selling 0 phones outside the US it wouldn’t be relevant to the subject of this post.

    Second, I have to say a future where they have a market lockin with high profits is a very odd definition of “not good”. No company would rather be in a commodity business than a high margin business. Commodity is a disaster longer term.

    A situation where Android handset makers are selling their phones at 1/2 or 1/3 or Apple’s cost (or possibly less) and say Apple is getting 80% or more of global profits is a disaster. That’s very similar to the situation Apple was able to create around 2008 in the US PC business where they had 90% of the profits with 8% marketshare. It flooded Apple with R&D money while the PC manufacturers semi stagnated and their relative quality dropped. Because of that Apple’s share has grown. Arguably one of Microsoft’s main strategic goals with Windows 8 is to get Windows hardware manufacturers out of the commodity business because it has been so destructive to the Windows ecosystem. It was good for Microsoft for a period of time, and made sense when they created a commodity market but they are now feeling the long term effects.

    What Eric was predicting was not just dominance at the low end from cost, but disruption. That is that Android devices would create an ecosystem so valuable that Apple couldn’t compete with most customers even at the same price. So Apple would be permanently relegated to a small segment of the market. More like Apple’s situation in the mid 90′s to early 2000′s than their situation in the late 2000s. What is happening in the US is counter evidence that such a thing is occurring.

    Third, as far as Apple ever having a majority of unsubsidized global sales, I doubt they would want that. Apple has as a company always aimed for a high share among profitable segments of the market. European operators are trying for margin right now not total revenue, which is a bad strategy and one I assume they are unlikely to want to continue. It is a race to the bottom. The American / Canadian model with much higher per customer revenues and per customer profits (though yes slightly lower margins) is far better situation for the operators.

    If Apple wins the US market, it shows that Apple’s problem is a pricing problem. In the US because of geography mobile costs will always be higher and thus the handset pricing problem for Apple less severe. Once cell phone technology levels off the cost of making these devices will go down. Apple would cut prices to gain share and the European Android market would experience disruption from above. The typical situation of a luxury good becoming mainstream.

    For example your shifts don’t have detachable collars because the relative costs of shirts have dropped and you value the connivence and comfort of a softer attached collar rather than the additional longevity of a removable collar. Android losing in the US would prevent disruption at least at the high end and would make this attack from above possible for many years to come. This is why Eric’s theory about disruption from below was so important even for the US market.

  409. @CDhost
    “For example your shifts don’t have detachable collars because the relative costs of shirts have dropped and you value the connivence and comfort of a softer attached collar rather than the additional longevity of a removable collar. Android losing in the US would prevent disruption at least at the high end and would make this attack from above possible for many years to come. ”

    Except that IBM and MS have shown that if you get a near monopoly on a computer platform, network effects will make it almost impossible to replace you. It actually requires a paradigm shift, eg, from mainframes to PCs, from PCs to Smartphones. IBM still rules in mainframes, and MS in PCs.

    I have trouble with your “disruption from above” theory. I have never seen a disruption from above in car makers (BMW/Mercedes/Bentley/Rolls). However, I have seen a lot of disruptions from below, (Toyota/Hyundai). And never in an industry with very strong network effects.

    So, if Android takes over the world minus USA, a “Disruption from above” will be extremely unlikely.

    In short, your comment seems to consist of a lot of wishful thinking.

  410. @CDhost
    And just to get the “International” perspective, Android is well over twice as big as iPhone in Germany (Sorry, link in German, but the graphs are clear):
    http://www.focus.de/digital/internet/netzoekonomie-blog/smartphones-google-system-android-knackt-50-prozent-marke-in-deutschland_aid_852168.html

    Germany is a highly developed, high income country. The difference with the USA is that it has a competitive mobile phone market. So, it is not just High Income customers that drives iPhone sales. Any real price competition damages iPhone market share.

  411. Winter –

    Except that IBM and MS have shown that if you get a near monopoly on a computer platform, network effects will make it almost impossible to replace you.

    But in the case where Apple still has share at the high end globally and a permanent large base in the USA there isn’t a near monopoly. Rather what you have is two products at two different price points.

    I have trouble with your “disruption from above” theory. I have never seen a disruption from above in car makers (BMW/Mercedes/Bentley/Rolls).

    The disruption from above has been what’s been going on for a century. Cars replacing bicycles for personal transportation. All over the world this shift has been happening and keeps happening. As for within the car market, the change hasn’t been disruptive. Rather car manufacturers adopt technologies from Mercedes and BMW and offer them in lower priced models, antilock brakes for example.

    So, if Android takes over the world minus USA, a “Disruption from above” will be extremely unlikely.

    It isn’t likely to be the world minus the USA. For example in Canada while RIM remains more popular iPhone is rapidly replacing RIM. And iPhone is popular globally: 19% China, 30% Japan, 30% UK… And even in continental Europe, for example you cited Germany, where it is 19% of the market. 19% of the market is not disappearing.

    __

    As for the rest about Germany. Germany has a 72% subsidy rate. The USA has a 69% subsidy rate. The problem in Germany is not price. The problem in Germany is technology Apple hasn’t had the right radios for most German carriers. That’s an example of Apple just simply not delivering the basics to sell the phone in large numbers. The fact they have 19% of the smartphone market with a phone that doesn’t fit most carriers and cost €679 is IMHO not exactly a sign of weakness.

    As for the US not being “competitive”. The US is quite competitive. We have higher end carriers that offer a full package of services. We have lower end carriers that compete on price. 3 of the major carriers sell their services wholesales to MVNOs that repackage them more like European operators and don’t subsidize phones. I’d say US customers have a wealth of good options. Moreover from a market standpoint you can see several models competing with one another directly.

    Prices are higher here because the US geography and population distribution make delivering cell service expensive. That’s unfixable and certainly is a good reason that the US used to lag. And our unwillingness to convert High Def television bandwidth over to cell phones may be a reason we go back to lagging in the 2010s. But the idea that US customers suffer being forced to buy overpriced phones is fiction.

  412. @CDhost
    “The disruption from above has been what’s been going on for a century. Cars replacing bicycles for personal transportation.”

    Eh, that is a completely different process from “disruption from below”. This has absolutely nothing at all to do with the replacement of one producer by another. This is product replacement, say, smartphone replaces PC replaces Minicomputer replaces Mainframe. There is zero relevance to Android versus iPhone.

    @CDhost
    “As for the US not being “competitive”. The US is quite competitive. We have higher end carriers that offer a full package of services.”

    Ignoring the laughter from carriers all over the world. This is not mobile phone competition, but carrier competition, sort of, if you squint in the right way. This is not iPhone competing against offerings from Samsung or HTC.

  413. New IDC tablet numbers out:

    http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23772412

    Samsung and Android are both starting to get some serious traction.

    It will be interesting to see what happens this Christmas season, with updated tablet offerings from all the major players available. It will be the first Christmas with Nexus tablets.

  414. @CD-Host:

    As for the rest about Germany. Germany has a 72% subsidy rate. The USA has a 69% subsidy rate.

    Do you have a cite for this, and do you have corresponding dollar numbers? (In most cases in the US, carriers seem to spend more subsidy dollars per Apple phone than per Android phone, at least when I looked a year or so ago.)

  415. Hi Patrick. AFAIK the only German carrier who carries iPhone is t-mobile:
    http://www.t-mobile.de/shop/handy/0,,2963-_251598-0-default;CNC-0,00.html

    So right now the 5 is: 649 € retail, 130 € subsidized (cheaper than US). The Galaxy 3S by comparison is €749 retail ,1 € subsidized. On the surface that looks like a larger subsidy but 749€ is like $930 so …. something is fishy there with the Samsung retail.

    As for USA and Apple subsidy. Yes Apple’s subsidies are the highest. A good rule of thumb is
    $250 base
    $25 per $100 the customer pays
    $120 extra for Apple.

    So the iPhone 5 at would be about $420 subsidy since the customer pays $200.

  416. @Winter
    This is not iPhone competing against offerings from Samsung or HTC.

    Then what are you talking about regarding no competition. HTC and Samsung sell plenty of phones in the US and are offered with subsidy.

    This is product replacement, say, smartphone replaces PC replaces Minicomputer replaces Mainframe. There is zero relevance to Android versus iPhone.

    You wanted an example from cars. There hasn’t really been a lot of higher end cars moving lower, though things like Buick becoming mainstream in the post war years might count. As for substitution that’s what disruption is. The iPhone was using technology from the mp3 market, it was a high end imp3 player with a browser and a voice radio and it drove out the handheld scheduling and emailing devices that had been the smartphones before it.

  417. Sorry, layout went wrong, please delete my previous post. Here is a better one.

    @CDhost

    United States is World’s Largest Market for Mobile Phone Subsidies
    http://blogs.strategyanalytics.com/WDS/post/2012/07/16/United-States-is-Worlds-Largest-Market-for-Mobile-Phone-Subsidies.aspx

    The United States is the world’s most valuable market for operator-led handset subsidies. No other country on Earth subsidizes as many cellphones as the US. It dwarfs every country, including China, India, Germany and the rest. In particular, WCDMA and LTE smartphones are heavily subsidized for postpaid users by top-tier US carriers like Verizon Wireless, ATT, Sprint and T Mobile.

    I am not very well informed about the possibilities to switch carriers in the USA. But in my country, I have taken my (subsidized) Nexus One phone and my mobile phone number to another cheap, SIM only provider. No costs, no hassle.

    I can get subsidized phones on a contract, but contract prices are different for different phones. iPhones on a contract are clearly more expensive than Samsung or HTC offerings on an equivalent contract.

    Over here, there is real price competition between phone producers. It is not the carriers that decide what phones are readily available.

    @CDhost
    “As for substitution that’s what disruption is. The iPhone was using technology from the mp3 market, it was a high end mp3 player with a browser and a voice radio and it drove out the handheld scheduling and emailing devices that had been the smartphones before it.”

    A car is not a different kind of train or bicycle. Toyota replacing Chrysler is not the equivalent of cars replacing bicycles. The iPod was a better kind of music player and Apple displaced other brands, although there was initially a lot of technological progress in the iPod wrt to other products in the market.

    The iPhone was a completely new kind of device, not just a phone or a music player or a handheld computer, it was all of them and more. That is a completely new type of device that had no equivalent when it launched. That would be cars versus (motor-)bikes.

    But iOS versus Android versus WP8 is all the same product category, one car for another. There is no relation with your “disruption from above”, which is simply an euphemism for technological progress.

  418. But iOS versus Android versus WP8 is all the same product category, one car for another. There is no relation with your “disruption from above”, which is simply an euphemism for technological progress

    I think you are forgetting a key thing. Disruption is not about the product it is about the producers. A disruptive technology is a shift that changes the producers of a product, that is shifts the customer base. A sustaining technology is one where the producers remain intact even if the technological basis of the product completely shifts. So for example the shift 486 to Pentium to Pentium MMX… was a sustaining technology. On the other hand the shift from CP/M to DOS was disruptive.

    As for defining things in things in terms of different products or not. Again the definition is simple does the customer base move. If the customer used to use A to fulfill need B and now uses C then C replaced A.

    ______

    As for moving carriers. People move carriers all the time. Phones can depending on how they were made sometimes move from carrier to carrier but if not they can be sold and new one bought. Among AT&T’s MVNOs you have a SIM based phone and super easy switching. It probably is less of a hassle to switch in Europe. But switching with your phone is not the mechanism in the US. You switch at the end of your contract or break your contract and switch.

  419. @Winter

    Over here, there is real price competition between phone producers. It is not the carriers that decide what phones are readily available.

    Handset manufacturers have to go through the same licensing and preparation in Europe that they have to go through in the USA. They have to develop relationships with dozens of carriers in terns of contracts and not just a few. US carriers don’t particularly care what phones are readily available. They aren’t very restrictive. The US handset market is relatively open and all the carriers like to maintain a strong selection of varying handsets.

    That being said, the postpay market is a subsidized market. They act as the point of sale. That means that any phone they sell they are going to have to provide some level of technical support, sales support and maintenance. That causes them to shy away from highly niche phones for the consumer market. But a commercial customer can take any handset that’s passed FCC regs and put it on any carrier in quantities as low as a few hundred. And BTW the MVNOs for the big carriers do do this, and do offer phone selection that the large carriers don’t.

    Now there is one other areas of friction which is that US carriers frequently see some services as revenue streams. For example ring tones used to be an additional revenue stream for the teen market and they required subsidized phones to help protect that revenue stream by only only allowing their installation via. a store which overcharged for them. But that’s not a phone selection as much as it is mechanisms for carriers to boost their actual revenues.

    I can get subsidized phones on a contract, but contract prices are different for different phones. iPhones on a contract are clearly more expensive than Samsung or HTC offerings on an equivalent contract.

    American carriers have found correctly that Apple customers are less price sensitive and more willing to buy expensive additional services than Android customers. Across the board Apple all 3 carriers agree that Apple customers are the most desirable group of customers. They want to attract them and are willing to pay some additional marketing dollars to Apple to do this. This is exactly the same reason that American carriers pay more subsidy for Android than JavaVM phones. The subsidy exists to sell carrier services and accessories and Apple is better at selling services and accessories.

    That’s not a failure of competition, across almost every industry companies pay more to market to high margin customers. If you pay $200 a transaction at a full service brokerage you get treated wonderfully far better than if you are paying $30 a transaction at a discount brokerage and you get treated better there than if you are paying $10 a transaction at a deep discount brokerage. A Mercedes dealership treats its customers far better than a Hyundai dealership. That’s not a failure of competition rather it is essence of competition. Mercedes is able to people who care about a total experience and are less price sensitive while Hyundai is able to keep the dealership costs down and pass those lower costs through to the customer.

  420. @CDhost
    You comments are a quite long winding covert admission that the USA carriers determine what handsets will be sold with an eye on carrier income from contracts and after sales.

    The link I posted was about USA handset subsidies dwarfing anything used outside of the USA. But you will not admit that carrier subsidies in the USA distort the market for handset?

    You really are a lone voice on this point.

  421. Winter you conflating two different things

    1) ” This is not mobile phone competition, but carrier competition, sort of, if you squint in the right way. This is not iPhone competing against offerings from Samsung or HTC.”

    2) That carrier subsidies in the USA distort the market for handset?

    I certainly don’t believe that subsidies eliminate competition. I think the higher subsidies for iPhone are a result of competition. Apple has successfully competed for the demographic that is most lucrative to carriers, and has shown that they are best able to increase a person’s willingness to raise their total monthly fees substantially.

    Now that’s different that “distort”. I certainly agree the US market looks very different than it would if carriers didn’t subsidize phones at all and the entire US market was prepay where people bought whatever handset they wanted and used it on whatever carrier they wanted. In that market the carriers might never have been able to push forward on any of their technologies and the US might still be on analog / digital mixture with a dispersed tower infrastructure in rural areas and digital service in high population concentration areas. Service would be cheap, around $10 / mo and the average handset would be $30. Oh and the service might be regional so you pay heavy roaming charges once you go a few hundred miles from home. That’s probably the “natural” undistorted market i.e the market as it would exist if the carriers were short sighted and only interested in immediate profits and didn’t help to shape the marketplace but just sold into it in a one off fashion.

    But American doesn’t have those sorts of carriers. The carriers that survived the 80s and 90s were the ones that looked beyond their 1 year profits and instead managed their customer base. There is a tendency to talk about cellular infrastructure on here as if it came from the Easter Bunny. The infrastructure that exists, because of carriers managing the entire ecosystem. Competition between handsets is not about which phones best serve the short term interest of ignorant consumers but rather which handsets serve the long term and mid-term interests of carriers. Now it turns out that consumer interests obviously play a strong role since consumer enjoyment drives how much they are willing to pay for cellular service, so in effect what the carriers do mostly is align consumers with their enlightened self interest.

    So no I don’t think the American market is “distorted”. Android as a generic open platform far better serves the interest of the carriers than iPhone does which increases carrier support. Arguably Android exists because Verizon needed a better smartphone platform to help boost the percentage of customers buying data services. On the other hand iPhone far better than Android serves the interests of creating contented customers willing to pay more.

  422. @CD-Host:

    I think the higher subsidies for iPhone are a result of competition. Apple has successfully competed for the demographic that is most lucrative to carriers, and has shown that they are best able to increase a person’s willingness to raise their total monthly fees substantially.

    OK, but in this sort of competition, you’d best not confuse the “customer” with the “end user.”

    The carriers that survived the 80s and 90s were the ones that looked beyond their 1 year profits and instead managed their customer base.

    The survivors were the ones that knew how to properly perform rent-seeking from the government. And they are struggling mightily right now, but absent further action by the government to prop them up, they will inexorably be relegated to being carriers of bits.

    ARPU declined steeply throughout the last century, then popped up early this century with the advent of SMS, and climbed a bit more when the web became available. It plateaued around $49.50 from 2003 to 2009, but is now down more than $2.00 from its high, and slowly declining.

    http://files.ctia.org/pdf/CTIA_Survey_MY_2012_Graphics-_final.pdf

    I believe that the early iPhone adopters were price-insensitive. AT&T “stole” all of them, and Verizon and Sprint are, right now, busy stealing some of them back. Look at Verizon’s net postpaid adds last quarter of 1.5 million, 10 times AT&T’s. As the first to offer the iPhone, AT&T can be expected to be the first to suffer the hangover, and they have lots of customers clamoring to upgrade to iPhone 5. This is great for Apple, not so good for AT&T. Something’s going to give.

    For the ecosystem, the relatively good build quality of the iPhone, combined with the enthusiastic fan support, means that there are lots of used iPhones floating around for anybody who wants them. This is indirectly good for Apple, keeping the ecosystem alive, the comscore numbers up, and Apple as a viable option.

    But buying an iPhone does not magically make a customer price-insensitive, and the low-hanging fruit is gone. For US carriers, selling iPhones is like eating fugu — those who sell iPhones are stupid, but those who do not sell iPhones are also stupid. T-Mobile’s current strategy of letting customers bring their own iPhones doesn’t look as bad as it did, and MetroPCS (soon to be part of T-Mobile) is also doing pretty good:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/30/4947876/metropcs-reports-third-quarter.html

  423. Hi Patrick –

    1) I think its true that with iPhones growing popularity is is moving down the demographics. The users in 2015 will not fit the profile of the users in 2011. However, so far Apple has been successful in increasing customer satisfaction and driving people to spend more on carrier services. Sprint iPhone users the the bottom financially yet they see obvious differences between their iPhone group and all the others. So I do think it does make them less price sensitive, they perceive the carrier as offering a service worth sacrificing for.

    2) Verizon and AT&T pushed through major prince increases this year. That should have some impact on getting their revenues up. Sprint is finding that iPhone is attracting more high end users from other carriers.

    3) Longer term I think where the next wave of money comes from is a reduction in spending on infrastructure. Without new bandwidth options which come from taking High Def TV bandwidth, there isn’t going to be a 5G. The carriers could drop their prices considerably if they weren’t funneling profits into billions in infrastructure improvements, though even maintenance and minor adjustments on a 1/3rd of a trillion worth of infrastructure isn’t cheap.

    4) After all that. I think Apple does have a problem. But that may be far longer than they need to setup an effective monopoly.

  424. Verizon and AT&T pushed through major prince increases this year. That should have some impact on getting their revenues up.

    I wonder if the increased-tax-doesn’t-increase-revenue idea generalizes to the sales space (i.e. increased price doesn’t necessarily mean increased revenue).

  425. I wonder if the increased-tax-doesn’t-increase-revenue idea generalizes to the sales space (i.e. increased price doesn’t necessarily mean increased revenue).

    It would if there was a falloff in usage. There hasn’t been.

  426. This is really weird infotizing:

    Windows 8 takes over Android in web traffic in under 10 days only, iOS next?
    http://www.windows8core.com/windows-8-takes-over-android-in-web-traffic-in-under-10-days-only-ios-next/

    It’s been just 10 days since the launch of Windows 8 and the OS by Microsoft has already overtaken the best-selling mobile OS, Android in web traffic. According to a new report, Windows 8 users now comprise more web traffic as compared to Android which was suggested to be the most used OS after Apple’s iOS.

    I asked before whether WP8 was an bandwidth hog. This seems to answer it. Windows 8 must be clogging the Intertubes big time. Curious how this affects WP8.

  427. One of the narratives I have seen repeatedly is how, while Android will encompass most of the market, no single handset could ever touch Apple. That narrative failed last quarter:

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/08/samsung-galaxy-siii-beats-iphone-4s-to-be-top-selling-smartphone-globally-in-q3-iphone-5-to-be-top-in-q4-analyst/

    Yes, Apple will probably have the best-selling handset again this quarter. But Apple is once again facing severe supply constraints. Yes, there are efficiencies in having a very few number of SKUs, but the impact of those efficiencies rapidly diminish when all your SKUs sell in the millions. Samsung’s model of having lots of different options and almost always having something new and shiny may yet prove to be superior to Apple’s model of repetitively Osborning itself in a way that no lesser company could even survive.

  428. Samsung’s model of having lots of different options and almost always having something new and shiny may yet prove to be superior to Apple’s model of repetitively Osborning itself

    In terms of marketing though Apple’s infrequent times releases make their products “an event”. They end getting billions and billions if free PR that I think far outweighs the manufacturing damage. From a purely manufacturing standpoint I don’t think there is any question Samsung’s model is superior. In addition to all the reasons you mentioned, which I agree with its also the ability to use effectively use older models in less expensive markets. Each model considered on the “with 3 year’s more technology can we cut the cost of manufacture this phone by another $50 and push it down market or just abandon it”. Some models move down, others don’t. Which helps Samsung in the mid and low range while Apple’s 1 year old model for $100 off, 2 year model for $200 off has failed with consumers.

  429. @CD-Host:

    > In terms of marketing though Apple’s infrequent times releases make their products “an event”.

    Absolutely agree. But Apple’s got a few of knobs to twist here, and a wrong setting could literally cost them billions. One knob is how much manufacturing capacity to put in place, and another knob is how long to delay release after you’re in production. Then there’s always the staggered-release-by-country knob.

    Turn the manufacturing capacity knob too high, and you have factories sitting idle mid-cycle. Too low and you’re leaving customer money on the table. Turn the delay know too high and Samsung has brought out another model while your customers are waiting. Too low, and you don’t have enough product at release to satisfy the impulse buys. Stagger the releases into countries, and you likewise miss out on some of the initial excitement impulse buys, and also wind up with the Chinese complaining that even the rich Chinese who don’t have to work in the factory are being treated as third-class citizens by Apple.

    In short, they can’t wring all the potential value out of their release events without making their manufacturing very lumpy and inefficient (and, for the most part, really abusing their suppliers).

    It was IMO a brilliant strategy by Steve Jobs to have the cojones to make a few million of something before selling any, to set the price lower than his competitors could on an initial launch, and then to surprise the hell out of the world with the readiness to ship a fully polished product when no consumer had ever seen an alpha or a beta.

    But this works best when the world isn’t expecting it. When people become used to it, that’s when the Osborning starts. The best example of this working well was probably the first iPad, but even that caused Apple (and everybody else) a lot of grief due to planning issues.

    It remains to be seen if Tim Cook has what it takes to pull this off in a completely new product category. Fortunately for him, Steve Jobs left him set up with a boatload of cash, so any failure (e.g. building a lot of something that nobody wants) would not immediately damage Apple too badly, but would definitely signal to the world that Steve Jobs is sorely missed.

  430. Patrick, I think you are making a big deal out of not much. Yes, there are risks to Apple’s methods, but they are proving that it works: unit sales continue to rise, and they continue to take the lion’s share of profits in smartphones. Their economies of scale are clearly working, while the tangible benefits of the much-touted economies of scale of the Android ecosystem are harder to discern.

    By that I don’t mean the benefits of an open OS to geeks, or the benefits of cheap smartphones on the low end, but beneficial economies of scale to Android phone and app makers. Yes, Samsung may have a popular model, but what’s their profit margin on smartphones?

  431. Absolutely agree. But Apple’s got a few of knobs to twist here, and a wrong setting could literally cost them billions. One knob is how much manufacturing capacity to put in place, and another knob is how long to delay release after you’re in production. Then there’s always the staggered-release-by-country knob.

    True, I think they fix this by erring on the low side consistently. That’s what’s going on with iPhone 5 right now. It still takes over 3 weeks to get an iPhone after paying and they haven’t released to enough countries. They clearly are leaving money on the table. On the other hand with their early adopters they are creating the perception of value. Apple takes pride in the lines outside stores on launch days it is part of the event.

    The message is “sure you can get those cruddy second rate Android and Windows phones right now but if you want a good phone then you need to order and wait. Are you the kind of person to defer gratification to get the best thing or are you going to settle?” I’d say very effective PR. It also helps to smooth out the cycle which would otherwise be brutal: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2012/04/24/technology/apple-earnings/chart-apple-earnings.top.gif

    The real problem would be if they grossly underestimated demand. For example if 40% of Europe decided to get the iPhone 5S next year they wouldn’t be able to make enough product. But even then while that’s very expensive I think the shortage would build the Apple mystique. For the stock it would be record earnings plus they would be able to indicate quarter after quarter of being supply constrained. That’s essentially what happened with the iPad1 and it was very good in laying the groundwork for a hugely successful iPad2 launch.

    In terms of over protection like I said, they err low. But don’t forget their margins, their cash situation and their 3 year cycle. Lets take unexpectedly low demand, a phone that customers don’t like and that sales drop 30% below the minimum expected. I think given Apple’s history that’s unlikely. But lets assume it did happen and their contracts forced them to build an extra 50m units. Well they build them and they are in for “only” $11b or so. They can simply sell inventory for the next 2 years as that model cycles down and just don’t manufacture any or slowly. They lose about 6 mo interest on $11b. Not much risk there.

    _____

    I don’t see it as a problem. The real problem IMHO is their product line isn’t diversified. If they made a bad product they might not even be able to fix it by next year. This is what happened to their desktop models in mid 2007. The product was seen as so/so, but the they didn’t have time to adjust the ’08 model either. What had been a sales growth in the range of 30-40% year over year became a 15% year over year decline for 2 years running. This accelerated the shift towards notebooks and Apple had to complete restrategize itself as a notebook company with a barely diversified offering outside notebooks. Something it still is dealing with on the OSX side.

  432. What makes you think Apple was somehow forced to “restrategize itself as a notebook company”? It looks to me like they’ve been focusing on laptops for many years.

    The typical consumer electronics manufacturer strategy is to proliferate products and models and hope some are hits. They hedge their bets. Apple makes only a few products, but they put gigantic amounts of effort into each one, to make them as good as they can, and have untouchable economies of scale: among other things, they can prepay suppliers billions of dollars and lock up components for years. They slip up a bit now and then (Maps, Antennagate, etc.), but those mistakes are so rare that they actually make international news. I think they have a winning formula, and I don’t see them stumbling any time soon, barring a worldwide economic catastrophe. (Which, given Obama’s reelection, is not unlikely.)

  433. What makes you think Apple was somehow forced to “restrategize itself as a notebook company”? It looks to me like they’ve been focusing on laptops for many years.

    They said so.
    June 2006 the notebook and desktop sales are roughly equal.
    June 2007 notebooks are up, desktops are down. Apple misses their numbers and says in the earnings call it is a result of underperforming desktops.

    They slip up a bit now and then (Maps, Antennagate, etc.), but those mistakes are so rare that they actually make international news.

    I don’t agree. I think they slip up plenty. Just to pick one you didn’t list their completely outdated filesystem and inability to move to zfs as intended has held back their entire backup strategy. Their huge problems in implementing features for iTunes they’ve talked about as holding them back. Skeuomorphism in design. Offending their customer base with their olympics commercials, etc..

    That being said, so far Apple is doing fine because even with the screw ups they have very happy customer base.

  434. Apple is not making friends within the British courts:

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1430.html

    Finally I should mention the time for compliance. Mr Beloff, on instructions (presumably given with the authority of Apple) told us that “for technical reasons” Apple needed fourteen days to comply. I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to own website in less time beggared belief. In end we gave it 48 hours which in itself I consider generous. We said the time could be extended by an application supported by an affidavit from a senior executive explaining the reasons why more was needed. In the event no such application was made. I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.

    That was the end. The stuff preceding it was even worse.

    I presume only foreigners dare to mess around with British judges like this. I do not think Apple’s lawyer is happy, unless Apple also pays for the damage to his future career at the UK bench.

  435. Apple and HTC have apparently ceased legal hostilities, as reported all over the interwebs.

    Of course, the terms are confidential. At first blush, it might be reasonable to assume they grossly favor Apple (especially given the outcome of the Apple/Samsung trial), but I’m not so sure. HTC management was obviously trying to think outside the box and figure out where they could acquire IP rights that would wound Apple. For example, in addition to the patents from S3 (which didn’t seem to go anywhere), around a year ago (a blink of an eye in legal time) Google sold some patents to HTC. Perhaps those bore some fruit.

    Or maybe Cook really is backing away from the thermonuclear war, but just has to do it slowly so as not to lose face.

    In any case, I hope for HTC’s sake they struck a favorable deal. It could really hurt if they have to pay Apple more per phone than the competition is selling phones for.

  436. @Patrick
    Patent MAD.

    But this means that the high payouts to Apple some have speculated ($6-8/phone) might not materialize.

    This whole Patent MAD fight does bring home the message that Apple lost the competitive edge and is struggling for a future. More than any other thing fanboiz of either side bring up.

  437. Winter: Lots of people are selling stock and houses and even businesses, now and through the end of the year, because it’s a near certainty that capital gains and other taxes will be going up.

  438. I was referring to your “Apple’s top attorney sells $2.8M in stock” comment.

    But no, Apple is selling iPads and iPhones as fast as they can make them.

  439. @PapayaSF
    “I was referring to your “Apple’s top attorney sells $2.8M in stock” comment.”

    Ah, I see. You only sell such loads of stock if you expect less return than what you pay in taxes. So it tells you what they think the maximal return on Apple stock will be next year.

  440. Your anti-Apple attitude is clouding your thinking. As I said, many people will be selling things now that Obama got re-elected and taxes are likely to rise and we head for another economic downturn next year. I doubt if that attorney sold all of his stock. If he did, you might have a point here, but I don’t think so. Folks around here have been predicting the decline and fall of Apple for years, but this isn’t evidence of it.

  441. @PapayaSF
    “As I said, many people will be selling things now that Obama got re-elected and taxes are likely to rise and we head for another economic downturn next year.”

    So these sales are political statements?

    @PapayaSF
    “Folks around here have been predicting the decline and fall of Apple for years, but this isn’t evidence of it.”

    Market share down to 15% in phones, and 50% in tablets and declining. Bringing out me-too products. Does not sound all too rosy to me.

  442. It’s not really a political statement to take profits (capital gains) before taxes on them go up. It’s just common sense.

    Ever-increasing sales in units, revenues, and profits, sounds pretty rosy to me. That’s more in profits than the rest of the smartphone industry combined. The iPhone alone now produces more revenue and profit for Apple than Microsoft makes from everything.

    The charge of “bringing out me-too products” is pretty funny, given the history of Android and Samsung.

  443. Just out today: according to Gartner, in the third quarter of 2012 the iPhone grew to 5.5% of all mobile phone sales, up from 3.9% in the year-ago quarter. Apple is now the third largest mobile phone maker.

  444. @PapayaSF
    “Apple is now the third largest mobile phone maker.”

    History repeating itself. In the 1980′s, Apple was the biggest PC computer maker. That did not help them against DOS/Windows.

    IBM Unseats Apple As Top U.S. Pc Maker
    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19931213&slug=1736764

    This year, IBM should edge out Apple Computer Inc. by 25,000 units in the United States, which represents 40 percent of world market. Last year, Apple bested IBM, which was shifting its business structure and product line.

  445. Here is why HTC doesn’t pay a cent to Apple
    https://plus.google.com/+SaschaPallenberg/posts/6DqWm3v2pQE

    This was a perfect time for Apple to settle this and gain an ally for their fight against Samsung. HTC doesn’t need to bother about UI workarounds and does have some hefty software method and procedure ammunition to go after Samsung.

    To sum it up… HTC because the Apple made bullet with Samsungs name on it!

  446. I am only an “Android doubter” to the extent that I don’t think it will drive Apple out of business, or even into a marginal position in smartphones and tablets. History is not repeating or even rhyming here. Apple is in a far better position than it was in the ’80s-’90s, and has learned many lessons. Android and Samsung are not Microsoft and IBM.

  447. @PapayaSF
    “Apple is now the third largest mobile phone maker.”

    And Apple is second largest Smartphone maker. Samsung sold more than twice the number of Smartphones that Apple sold, and four times the number of mobile phones (according to Gartner).

    Android:iPhone is 70:16.

    Windows phone sales were still smaller than Bada and Symbian.

    Smartphones Q3 Final Numbers, Top 10 biggest manufacturers, operating systems, installed base etc
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/11/smartphones-q3-final-numbers-top-10-biggest-manufacturers-operating-systems-installed-base-etc.html

  448. And Apple profits:everybody else’s profits is 75:25. Still not seeing any sort of tipping point where Android market share numbers are hurting Apple. And besides Samsung, who else is making money on the 25% side?

  449. @PapayaSF
    “And Apple profits:everybody else’s profits is 75:25.”

    So it is the insane profits you admire, not the phones?

  450. Winter –

    The IBM PC in the early 80s was not a disruption from below IBM PCs were mostly more expensive than Apple 2 family. Rather the IBM machines started offering features, like 16x as much RAM/ROM and better graphics that weren’t available on Apple computers. This allowed for things like Lotus 1-2-3 to replace Visicalc, word processors which were more than just text editors with bolding like Word Perfect increased document complexity. IBM PCs were not at that point disrupting Apple as much as they were disrupting the Mini and Mainframe market. Apple and Commodore would have many years of growth after that point in time.

    In general though, this debate is getting kind of silly. Your paradigm for picking numbers seems to be “numbers that show Android gaining are import those that show Android losing are unimportant”. Its time for you to step up with a more thoughtful approach which accounts for the data that doesn’t support your cause. In particular the entire reason Eric had argued that Android marketshare was important is because it would create networking effects that would duplicate Apple’s loss to Windows/PCs which were much later. The fact that:

    a) Apple is gaining share in an extremely important market (arguably in 2012 the most important market) after Android hit the 50% mark.

    b) That the networking effects are failing to occur. The iOS store remains much larger in terms of sales than the Android stores by a factor of about 10x.

    c) That usage patterns and customer satisfaction patters show that Android is having trouble at the high end, when they price competitive.

    No one doubts that the market for cheap phones is larger than the market for expensive phones. Android is the dominant cheap phone OS moving downmarket much more effectively than iOS to replace systems like Symbian and JavaVM. That’s never been in question. What was in question is whether that would lead to disruption from below or not. In other words to what extent is Android became a value added ecosystem and to what extent is it just a cheap commodity part used in the manufacture of cheap phones.

    Phones like the Samsung Galaxy selling in Europe or on the big 3 carriers are relevant because they demonstrate a genuine customer preference for Android among customers that will help build a value added market. Tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and 10 are relevant since they clearly are aiming at the same market as iPads. $50-100 Androids being sold in place of Symbian will be relevant only in so far as they are able to advance the ecosystem.

    Otherwise you are just commenting that Bic outsells Montblanc and claiming this means that Montblanc is doomed.

  451. @CD-Host
    “Apple and Commodore would have many years of growth after that point in time. ”

    If Apple had sold a Macintosh in 1986 with an expandable memory slot for 4MB of memory, they would could have wiped out the DOS PC. They refused to do that for some reason. Probably the same reason they refused to produce lower specs cheap iPhones.

    @CD-Host
    ” Your paradigm for picking numbers seems to be…”

    I seem to have been unclear.

    My paradigm is very simple: The only numbers that count are “computers+networks” in the hand of people. Anything that will get more humans a fully functional open personal smartphone, tablet or computer is good. Anything that hampers that is bad. I could not care less about other peoples profits.

    If there is any reason for me to despise Apple, it would be that they had the technology and ability to improve computer access for the masses, but systematically refused to sell them the systems they wanted to buy. And they did that several times in their history. Apple are free to do so, and I am free to despise them for it.

    @CD-Host
    “a) Apple is gaining share in an extremely important market (arguably in 2012 the most important market) after Android hit the 50% mark.”

    Indeed, but only in the USSR way of setting prices and subsidies. And the USA is definitely not the most important market. That would be China for volume and Korea for innovation. The USA is just a cash cow, milked for mindless profit.

    @CD-host
    “No one doubts that the market for cheap phones is larger than the market for expensive phones.”

    7+ billion versus 500 million.

    @CD-host
    “Otherwise you are just commenting that Bic outsells Montblanc and claiming this means that Montblanc is doomed.”

    Indeed. Bic sold maybe 10B pens. The word for ball-pen in Africa is “bic”. Mountblanc is just making money off vanity. Only calligraphers and silly people carry fountain pens. Producers of fashion accessories can prosper, but they are inconsequential.

    But my point still stands: It is only the insane profits you all admire, not the technology.

  452. The mini is a fantastic iPad but you have to hold it in person to realize what a winner it is. The key is size and weight while still having the full power of the iPad 2.

    I suppose in the EU where there is a smaller Apple Store footprint they’d want to push a few through the channels so that folks can get to see one in person. /shrug

    They aren’t going to have any problems selling these. Some folks may not like the lack of retina but given the technical tradeoffs (weight, battery life and price) Apple made the right call.

    Next year they can do a retina Mini with a 32nm A5X at $350, be the same size but maybe a little heavier and have the current Mini sitting at $250. The little heavier part could be bad though. Going from the iPad2 to the iPad3 was kinda meh despite retina simply because it was a thicker heavier tablet that ran hot.

    The lighter the better for these tablets.

  453. If Apple had sold a Macintosh in 1986 with an expandable memory slot for 4MB of memory, they would could have wiped out the DOS PC. They refused to do that for some reason. Probably the same reason they refused to produce lower specs cheap iPhones.

    What? You mean like the Mac Plus? It used SIMMs. Even before then we made money in college upgrading 128K Macs into 512K Fat Macs. That was good for a lot of beer money. Actually we spent it on trying to build our own unix workstation business.

    This is complete revisionist bullshit from someone who probably wasn’t even alive in 1986. I sold PCs and Apples in 1982-83 while in HS and we sold an asston (in the context of the early 1980s) of PC semi-compatibles (like the Sanyo 550 with only partial bios compatibility) and true compatibles (like the Compaq) for folks for home office work. By 1986 it was no contest. By 1986 DELL had been in business 2 years. By 1986 Compaq was beating IBM to market with the 386. By 1986 IBM had completely lost control of the PC market but didn’t realize it. Apple was done after the earlier Apple /// and Lisa debacles and the Mac only really sold well to desktop publishing folks.

    The war was between PC and clones vs Apple ][ and clones. I sold my share of Pineapples and Franklins but there was no real way for the Apple ][ to compete against the PC for the business market and those were the folks with money.

  454. But my point still stands: It is only the insane profits you all admire, not the technology.

    And if you couldn’t make money on Android it would be dead. In fact, the 7″ Android tablet business arguably is dead because why the hell would you buy an older, slower 8GB Samsung Tab 2 7″ for $199 vs a 16GB Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD for $199? And why would you make one if the competition is foregoing all profits? Especially with the knowledge that the moment that Amazon can break even on a 7″ Kindle Fire for $99 it’ll sell it if for no other reason to kill the Nook?

    Windows8 is full of problems but one of them isn’t the MS kneecapped it’s OEMs by setting the Surface RT tablets at zero profit. $500 for a Win8 RT tablet seems to be the norm but the intel based tablets with win8 pro are the ones that should actually sell.

  455. If Apple had sold a Macintosh in 1986 with an expandable memory slot for 4MB of memory, they would could have wiped out the DOS PC.

    That’s what they did do. The Mac+ came out in Jan ’86 standard with 1M expandable to 4M. WordPerfect was by 1985 the biggest selling word processing program and it didn’t exist on Mac at the time. Similarly Lotus 1-2-3 shipped version 2 by 1985. IBM/DOS was well ahead on business productivity. Apple was focusing on the more niche but more profitable desktop publishing market. By 1986 Apple is for education and creative fields while IBM is for business was already starting to firm up.

    My paradigm is very simple: The only numbers that count are “computers+networks” in the hand of people. Anything that will get more humans a fully functional open personal smartphone, tablet or computer is good.

    That’s fine, you can define the “good” however you want. What you can’t redefine is things like: earnings, marketshare, success… these are not defined in terms of maximum number of units. Generally profits are what is used. When looking at things like networking effects, sales volume (i.e. units x ave cost per unit) might be more appropriate. But what rarely makes sense is an arbitrary grouping and then counting units. Bicycles far outsell cars, that doesn’t make the bike industry anywhere near as important as the automotive industry.

    they had the technology and ability to improve computer access for the masses, but systematically refused to sell them the systems they wanted to buy.

    What evidence do you have that Apple has ever had a technological advantage over Nokia, ZTE, Samsung…. in building inexpensive phones? Apple entered the phone market with a technologies that were expensive. Apple’s innovations has been value adds. Apple’s business model depends on less price sensitive customers. That’s why they get such large subsidies from carriers. I don’t see how Apple ever had an answer for mass phone production. Apple is not interested in producing commodities. Apple is also not interested in producing the tires people want to buy. All companies only fill certain niches.

    Indeed, but only in the USSR way of setting prices and subsidies.

    Not really and you know that.

    And the USA is definitely not the most important market. That would be China for volume and Korea for innovation.

    Korea has the same phones we do look at their carrier websites. There isn’t a distinct Asian market anymore.

    The USA is just a cash cow, milked for mindless profit.

    Yeah. And that’s where most companies focus if they can on the cash cow profitable market.

    It is only the insane profits you all admire, not the technology.

    The discussion in these threads was about market viability. If you want to talk technology, I actually kind of think Metro with the phone / tablet / laptop / desktop touch is the most technologically interesting. In terms of technology with convenience rolled in the fact that people are willing to pay more for Apple I think proves the advantages of their technology. They have the highest customer satisfaction. The chaos in the Android ecosystem is a major technological drawback.

  456. @nigel
    I was alive in 1984 and used one of the early macs at work. The complaint about expansion I read in Byte magazine at the time. But I might have had the year wrong. When you are getting old, that happens.

    Anyhow, history does not change and your what-if is as likely as mine.

  457. Winter, I admire Apple for many reasons, mostly because they have made computers (and now phones) that I want. I pointed to profits because they are a sign that Apple is selling lots of things that lots of people want. It’s silly to dismiss it as all just “fashion” or “mindless profit” or whatever.

    Apple has been “improving computer access for the masses” since the 1970s. Doing so means much, much more than being the cheapest.

    Nigel and CD-Host make many good points. I would add that numbers and market share alone do not necessarily make for superior network effects. The “bazaar” nature of Android leads to a great deal of chaos that works against network effects: low-end phones that can’t use the latest apps, phones sold with old OS versions that never get upgraded, crappy phones that make users want something better, too many variants for app developers to test and support, a splintered accessory market, etc. Add in Apple’s top-notch designs, vast economies of scale, and superior user satisfaction, and the result is that there are not yet any signs of the predicted collapse of Apple.

  458. @Papaya –
    The “bazaar” nature of Android leads to a great deal of chaos that works against network effects: low-end phones that can’t use the latest apps, phones sold with old OS versions that never get upgraded, crappy phones that make users want something better, too many variants for app developers to test and support, a splintered accessory market, etc.

    That’s an excellent point let me just add to it that what’s happening is response is two very different software markets are being created. Apple is creating a viable payment system where people buy software and software is sold. They pay for either the software or add on functionality or both. Android conversely is creating a viable payment system where 3rd parties create software and give it away to achieve some other objective, most commonly selling advertising. Android has commercial software and iOS has a huge number of advertising supported applications but… this fork is huge in economic models.

    Microsoft for example is following Apple’s model because they are in the software licensing business. What I suspect is that overtime that may lead to a situation where Apple and Android phones simply aren’t effectively competing at all, but rather have different customer basis with some potential crossover. Take for example something like: internet news vs. cable news vs. newspapers vs. commercial news.

    To take an example:
    NPR: 43% 75K+, 27% 30-75k, 22% 30K-
    Right wing talk radio: 12% 75K+, 30% 30-75k, 51% 30K-

    Rachel Maddow: 6% Rep, 20% ind, 74% dem
    Hannity: 65% Rep, 22% ind, 6% dem; 6% constitution party / libertarian

    Those groups simply aren’t competing for the same audience at all even though they are both available to the same audience.

  459. @Nigel
    “And why would you make one if the competition is foregoing all profits?”

    So, this is a black and white choice: Either you make $100+ profit on every phone, or you lose money? And all that we should admire is the $100B cash hoard Apple has amassed?

    Time and again someone will argue that there will be an Android for every human on earth, but an iThing for never more than the upper 10% (5%?). Invariably, it is countered with “Apple rules the money” and has $100B in cash.

    I can only interpret this as worshiping other peoples money. And I think that is silly.

    @Nigel
    ” And why would you make one if the competition is foregoing all profits?”

    The companies who actually construct the iThings and their parts work under razor-thin margins. The people who do the work in the shops, have your hourly cost as their month’s income.

    So the answer to your question is: To have an income, any income at all.

    @CD-Host
    “If you want to talk technology, I actually kind of think Metro with the phone / tablet / laptop / desktop touch is the most technologically interesting.”

    That is why MS have fired Steve Sinofsky

    http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/

    @PapayaSF
    “I would add that numbers and market share alone do not necessarily make for superior network effects.”

    One company alone, Samsung, sells twice as many Smartphones as Apple.

    In Q3 2012, 70% of all Smartphones sold in the world were Android phones. Somewhere next summer, there will have been activated 1 billion Android phones. Then, most likely, two or three low-cost Chinese Android phone makers will be in the global top 5, one of them being in position 2.

    And you think there will be no Android network effects?

  460. Winter, stop obsessing about Apple’s profits. Nobody here is “worshipping” them, merely pointing them out to show that they are doing something right, profits being an important measure of success in the business world, and to indicate that Apple is not going anywhere anytime soon.

    Also note that the people and companies who actually make iThings also make all Android things.

    I didn’t say or mean that Android had no network effects. I said “numbers and market share alone do not necessarily make for superior network effects.” The iPhone, with fewer models and fewer OS versions, has stronger network effects than the raw numbers suggest. (Not that the raw numbers are trivial.) Developers have an easier time. Accessories proliferate: there are now iPhone accessories at nearly drug store, discount store, and electronics store.

    In contrast, Android has weaker network effects than the raw numbers suggest: vastly more and different models with different hardware features. Currently about 70% of units run old versions of Android, many (most?) of them destined to never be upgraded. Many Android units are crippled tablets/e-readers. Many are Chinese knock-offs. All those things work against network effects. Has anyone here seen a third-party case for a Samsung phone? Or a set of speakers or a radio that a Samsung phone plugs into? Probably they exist, but I’ve never seen one.

    Will Samsung devices have greater network effects in the future? Almost certainly, but then so will Apple devices. Samsung has a ways to go to reach Apple-like levels of user satisfaction and brand loyalty, though, and they have other challenges. All I’m saying is that greater numbers of Android devices doesn’t necessarily translate into proportionately more network effects, for the reasons I mentioned.

    (Hey Eric, time for a new post and thread on this topic! Also, I am curious about your post-election thoughts.)

  461. Some people: Android is winning the hearts and minds of billions.
    Other people: Yeah, but Apple makes more money.
    Some people: I don’t really care how much money Apple makes.
    Other people: But Android might struggle because it doesn’t make enough money.
    Some people: So you can’t be successful unless you’re wildly successful?
    Other people: Stop obsessing about Apple’s profits.

  462. @PapayaSF
    “Winter, stop obsessing about Apple’s profits.”

    Sorry, but these profits are always brought up by Apple fanboiz as the (only) mark of success, and Google’s lack of insane profits from Android as the ultimate mark of failure.

    I care as much about Apple’s profits as I care about the profits of Montblanc or DeBeers. That is, not at all.

    @PapayaSF
    “Nobody here is “worshipping” them, merely pointing them out to show that they are doing something right, ”

    As it seems to be the one and only mark of success in the world, I have difficulty finding another word for it. What about the “Golden Calf”?

    Moët & Chandon are doing many things right. None of them of interest to those of us not in sales and marketing. On the other hand, cheap Android phones are most certainly of interest to humanity (all 7 billion of them).

    @PapayaSF
    “profits being an important measure of success in the business world, and to indicate that Apple is not going anywhere anytime soon.”

    Lately, I only see profits mentioned as a measure, nothing else.

    According to that logic, moveable type was an utter failure as Johannes Gutenberg went bankrupt. The same can be said about Samuel Colt and his invention. Wilhelm Röntgen refused to patent his invention, getting no profit from it as he even donated his Nobel price money. Must have been a failure.

  463. @Winter:

    Nicely argued, but that’s irrelevant when somebody is projecting that badly.

    @PapayaSF:

    Sorry, but that was one of your worst posts. I didn’t read it because I honestly couldn’t get past the first sentence. The rest of it might have been pure brilliance for all I know, but I’ll never know, because the first sentence isn’t even wrong.

  464. @winter –

    So, this is a black and white choice: Either you make $100+ profit on every phone, or you lose money? And all that we should admire is the $100B cash hoard Apple has amassed?

    Who is saying it is a black and white choice? What they are describing is the market as it exists today. And today the bottom 80% of the market is too competitive to make money in. That’s great for consumers, for carriers. It is interesting for parts manufacturers. But it is problematic for building a long term ecosystem and it is not “worship” to point those issues out.

    That is why MS have fired Steve Sinofsky

    You, everyone else on this thread and I have no idea while Microsoft fired Steve Sinofsky or even if he was fired. What we know is he left the Microsoft, and was replaced by someone who agrees with his vision. So I’d be a bit hesitant about trying to read too much into this until we have more facts. But even if we were to assume Steve Sinofsky was fired, that doesn’t change my assessment of the technological direction they are going in being very interesting.

  465. *Sigh.* Patrick, if you had made it to my second sentence, you would have read me quote Winter about how we are supposedly “worshipping” Apple’s profits by even mentioning them. Using that word is what I was calling “obsessing.”

    Of course profits are only one measure of success, but Apple also has success when measured by user satisfaction, brand awareness, steering billions to iOS developers, design leadership, etc. But profits are a perfectly legitimate counterargument in a discussion in which many people are claiming that Apple is doooooomed.

    And Patrick, when someone buys a cheap-ass phone or tablet that runs Android, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that “Android has won their heart and mind.”

  466. @PapayaSF:

    Patrick, if you had made it to my second sentence, you would have read me quote Winter about how we are supposedly “worshipping” Apple’s profits by even mentioning them. Using that word is what I was calling “obsessing.”

    I think it took more than a single mention “hey, apple makes good money here” to provoke Winter to use the term “worship.” And, it still seriously looks like a case of projection to me — you may not be worshipping Apple’s profits, but Winter’s certainly not the one obsessed with them…

    Of course profits are only one measure of success, but Apple also has success when measured by user satisfaction, brand awareness, steering billions to iOS developers, design leadership, etc.

    Some of this appears to be changing, not in a good way for Apple, and more rapidly than you might expect. Fewer Apple users say their next smartphone will be an iWhatever, the app stores are rapidly equalizing, and Apple steals just as much design stuff from Android as the other way around (and people are noticing, mostly because of Apple’s over-the-top announcements about others stealing from them).

    But profits are a perfectly legitimate counterargument in a discussion in which many people are claiming that Apple is doooooomed.

    As you say, profits are one metric. But you have to look behind the profits and figure out the trajectory. Obviously a lot of investors have been doing that lately, and not liking what they are seeing as much as they did several months ago.

    And Patrick, when someone buys a cheap-ass phone or tablet that runs Android, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that “Android has won their heart and mind.”

    I can state with utmost confidence that cheap-ass phones, most likely running Android, are going to be enough of a game changer in some third world situations that the users of such devices will hold them in such high regard that it makes your purported worship of Apple’s profits look like utter contempt in comparison.

  467. @PapayaSF
    “Of course profits are only one measure of success, but Apple also has success when measured by user satisfaction, brand awareness, steering billions to iOS developers, design leadership, etc.”

    So beside money, Apple leads in style. Not technology anymore, not vision, not bringing the next billion(s) on-line. Just Style and money.

    In other words, Apple has become a demonic Bertram Wooster.

  468. @CD-Host
    ” That is why MS have fired Steve Sinofsky

    You, everyone else on this thread and I have no idea while Microsoft fired Steve Sinofsky or even if he was fired. What we know is he left the Microsoft, and was replaced by someone who agrees with his vision.”

    Literary this is true. But we also hear that Windows 8 seems to depress PC sales. You read that right: A new MS product if feared to reduce the number of PC’s sold.

    See also:
    Windows 8 Sales Well Below Projections, Plenty of Blame to Go Around
    Uncertainty could turn Windows 8 into the next Vista
    http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/windows-8-sales-well-below-projections-plenty-blame-go-around

    The net effect of all this stuff, I think, contributes to a wait-and-see approach with Windows 8. And that is exactly the opposite of what Microsoft and even the broader industry should want at this time. In this way, the Windows 8 launch is much like that of Vista, where a nagging (and in that case, tech blogger-led) cabal of disappointed voices dominated the discussion at launch and torpedoed the product before it had a chance. Windows 8 is no Vista, in many ways. Until it is.

  469. Literary this is true. But we also hear that Windows 8 seems to depress PC sales. You read that right: A new MS product if feared to reduce the number of PC’s sold.

    Why would that be shocking? One of the primary objectives of Windows 8 is to drive OEMs to use more expensive components and moreover to increase their margins. Increases in price usually lead to decreases in sales. Windows 8 is a transitional operating system designed around the needs of OEMs and developers to help them migrate rapidly to new form factors and new interfaces. The windows community is rather conservative. Everyone knew that Windows 8 would depress sales. Balmer was willing to take the short term hit in exchange for the long term benefits. Companies frequently trade off current profits for strategic advantages that lead to larger future profits, that’s more or less the definition of investing.

    Everyone knew that Windows 8 was going to meet substantial resistance. Steve Sinofsky himself on his blog a year ago talking about how they were going to meet resistance at first and how Microsoft was positioned for that.

  470. @CD-Host
    So MS are driving consumers to tablets. How many OEMs will not survive a “temporary” drop in laptop sales? And why would consumers switch to the hated W8 when they can use Android.

    Vista has been described as a suicide note. Seems MS wants a second chance on suicide.

  471. @winter

    The companies who actually construct the iThings and their parts work under razor-thin margins. The people who do the work in the shops, have your hourly cost as their month’s income.

    So the answer to your question is: To have an income, any income at all.

    No. They more on to more profitable businesses because just scraping by has a lousy ROI. Selling devices has higher margins than selling components…which is why Samsung is so willing to risk alienating Apple. This is why companies strive to move up the food chain. Not to mention that it is the poorer countries and workforces that are willing to work “to have an income, any income at all”.

    I prefer that everyone earns enough money to own Apple devices, not scrape by earning razor thin margins. People line up for miles to work for Foxconn/Apple and Apple’s suppliers guidelines are top in the industry.

    Not so much for your no-name android handsets.

  472. So MS are driving consumers to tablets. How many OEMs will not survive a “temporary” drop in laptop sales?

    MS is leaving a significant price umbrella for OEMs. Laptop sales was going to get cannibalized by iPads anyway.

    And why would consumers switch to the hated W8 when they can use Android.

    Why will folks use Win8 Pro over Android? PC apps. Lots of PC apps and not a few games.

    And Win8 isn’t hated by the consumers. It’s hated by a few geeks and tech bloggers.

    Win8 RT has Office and the potential for having lots of apps. We’ll see. They aren’t all that far behind Android in terms of native tablet apps.

    Vista has been described as a suicide note. Seems MS wants a second chance on suicide.

    Vista was followed by Win7 which was well received. If Win8 is as poorly received then Win8 becomes Win9 in fairly short order.

    And as Paul notes:

    “Even Vista sold hundreds of millions of copies a year. Windows 8 will certainly do better than that. –Paul”

  473. IMHO dropping XNA was a huge mistake for MS. One of blunder I believe that Sinofsky forced.

    Still there was a good 2500 devs at BUILD. Win8 RT should have a healthy app ecosystem.

    I also think the lack of the Clover Trail devices is seriously hurting the Win8 launch. Frankly there’s a real lack of hardware out there…and I believe the reason is that Intel wasn’t quite ready for launch.

  474. @Nigel
    “Win8 RT should have a healthy app ecosystem”

    Windows Phone 8 reboot woe causes outpouring of forum misery.
    Bloody thing keeps reboo / god dammit, back aga / ..
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/19/windows_phone_8/

    Support staff from the three companies have reportedly been suggesting rebooting, removing the beta release of Skype and (in the case of Nokia) booting the phone without a SIM for ten minutes, then booting with the SIM back in again, which apparently worked for one user.

    I am seriously puzzled. This is the last chance for MS to get a foothold in the computing market of the future. Actually, they had a last chance with Nokia and botched it. This is their second last, last chance. The company depends on it.

    They have developers, experience. They have the money to hire the best and brightest. Every penny they invest will be worth it a hundred times over if they succeed. They have two examples of how to get it working. One is open source and can be studied in detail.

    Why can’t they release a decent product?

  475. >Why can’t [Microsoft] release a decent product?

    I was going to answer this as in a comment, but it deserves a blog post.

  476. Now that “The Smartphone Wars” series of posts seems to have been completed, I think it is time to ask for the eBook ;-)

    Here is my time line of all the articles in this series, and a few more. I also added a time line of the official Android activation rates to give some context.

    Enjoy!

    Android daily activation statistics

    Projected 1 billion activations: July 2013
    (Activation rate increases with 60k/month)

    Statistics graph of daily activations statistics
    http://www.statista.com/statistics/219554/daily-activations-of-android-devices/

    Month Rate Date Cumulative
    36 1,300,000 18-10-2012
    35 1,300,000 10-09-2012 480M
    32 1,000,000 27-06-2012 400M
    32 900,000 11-06-2012
    28 850,000 27-02-2012 300M
    27 – 19-01-2012 250M
    26 700,000 21-12-2011
    25 – 16-11-2011 200M
    24 600,000 17-10-2011 190M
    21 550,000 18-07-2011 135M
    20 500,000 28-06-2011
    19 400,000 09-05-2011 100M
    16 350,000 24-02-2011
    14 300,000 09-12-2010
    10 200,000 04-08-2010
    9 160,000 01-07-2010
    6 60,000 01-04-2010
    0 0 23-09-2008

    The Sequel: After the Smartphone Wars

    The strategy behind the Nexus 7
    Thursday, July 26 2012

    The Smartphone Wars:

    In total, there are some 71 articles over a period of 26 months from June 4, 2010 to August 19, 2012.

    The Limits of Lawfare
    Sunday, August 19 2012

    The iPhone Design Was Inspired by Sony
    Sunday, July 29 2012

    Tomi Ahonen carpet-bombs Stephen Elop
    Tuesday, July 10 2012

    comScore loses the plot?
    Monday, July 2 2012

    Inauspicious exits and debuts
    Friday, June 22 2012

    Oracle lawsuit’s final fizzle
    Wednesday, June 20 2012

    Android loses share?
    Saturday, June 2 2012

    Finally, Android breaks 50%
    Tuesday, April 3 2012

    Exit Blackberry, pursued by a bear
    Friday, March 30 2012

    Back to the Old Normal
    Tuesday, March 6 2012

    The market share scramble and Apple’s long con
    Wednesday, February 8 2012

    Mystery of the Android tablets
    Friday, January 27 2012

    CyanogenMOD Rising
    Tuesday, January 24 2012

    Dinosaurs mating?
    Thursday, January 5 2012

    a bit of Christmas cheer
    Wednesday, December 28 2011

    Andy Rubin brings the news
    Tuesday, December 20 2011

    A Night in the Lonesome December
    Friday, December 2 2011

    Samsung Busts a Move?
    Thursday, November 17 2011

    Signs and Portents
    Saturday, November 5 2011

    Sprint Doubles Down on Dumb
    Thursday, October 27 2011

    How are the mighty fallen
    Tuesday, October 4 2011

    Short Takes
    Tuesday, September 6 2011

    Alarums and Mergers
    Wednesday, August 31 2011

    Exit Steve Jobs
    Thursday, August 25 2011

    WebOS, we hardly knew ye
    Thursday, August 18 2011

    Google Buys Motorola
    Monday, August 15 2011

    48% and rising
    Sunday, August 7 2011

    Expectation and Surprise
    Sunday, July 24 2011

    Not the expected surprise
    Tuesday, July 5 2011

    Rumors of demise
    Thursday, June 30 2011

    Nokia’s fallback?
    Sunday, June 26 2011

    Circling the RIM
    Tuesday, June 21 2011

    The invasion begins
    Wednesday, June 15 2011

    China syndrome strikes!
    Wednesday, June 8 2011

    The world turned upside down
    Tuesday, June 7 2011

    No bump, no glory
    Friday, June 3 2011

    HTC rejoins the good guys
    Friday, May 27 2011

    More fun with statistics
    Monday, May 16 2011

    Tracking userbase growth
    Thursday, May 12 2011

    Still It Rises
    Wednesday, May 11 2011

    With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends?
    Tuesday, May 3 2011

    multicarrier breakout fail
    Thursday, April 21 2011

    Android measured at over 50% U.S. market share
    Tuesday, April 19 2011

    The Stages of Apple-Cultist Denial
    Monday, April 18 2011

    NoWin deal “more takeover than deal”?
    Thursday, April 14 2011

    Almost boring now…
    Thursday, April 7 2011

    Microsoft may win after all
    Friday, April 1 2011

    Nod and WinCE
    Friday, February 25 2011

    Bricks and Battiness
    Wednesday, February 23 2011

    Tightening the OODA Loop
    Friday, February 18 2011

    Nokia shareholders revolt!
    Monday, February 14 2011

    Nokia’s Suicide Note
    Friday, February 11 2011

    iPhone 4V Falls To Earth
    Thursday, February 10 2011

    Elop’s Burning Platform
    Wednesday, February 9 2011

    Android hits #1
    Monday, January 31 2011

    AT&T CEO reveals all
    Thursday, January 27 2011

    The Fall and Fall of Windows Phone 7
    Wednesday, January 26 2011

    Samsung folds under pressure
    Monday, January 24 2011

    Verizon gets iPhone
    Tuesday, January 11 2011

    There’s dross in them thar hills!
    Wednesday, December 29 2010

    Fortune catches up with me
    Monday, December 27 2010

    Yes, I can call them!
    Tuesday, December 14 2010

    Google changes aim
    Wednesday, December 8 2010

    Symbian Foundation folds its hand
    Monday, November 29 2010

    Android thunders on
    Tuesday, September 28 2010

    What Gassée has to say
    Monday, September 13 2010

    Google goes Taoist, Microsoft uses the farce
    Monday, September 13 2010

    a cautious cheer for T-Mobile
    Friday, September 10 2010

    a global perspective
    Wednesday, September 8 2010

    Missing the point: The real stakes in the smartphone wars
    Thursday, June 10 2010

    More dispatches from the smartphone wars
    Friday, June 4 2010

    The Prequel

    The iPhone 4: Too little, too late
    Monday, June 7 2010

    Steve Jobs’ Snow Job
    Wednesday, June 2 2010

    Flattening the Smartphone Market
    Tuesday, May 25 2010

    Now’s a bad time to be an Apple fanboy…
    Sunday, May 23 2010

    Android Rising
    Tuesday, May 11 2010

    How many ways can you get Android wrong in one article?
    Tuesday, May 4 2010

    G-1 to Nexus One: an informal comparison
    Sunday, May 2 2010

    The Nexus One has landed: telecomms companies, beware!
    Wednesday, April 28 2010

    Apple, postmodern consumerism and the iPad
    Thursday, April 22 2010

    Greed kills: Why smartphone lock-in will fail and open source win
    Thursday, March 4 2010

    moogly pwns the iPhone!?!
    Sunday, November 16 2008

    Net neutrality: what’s a libertarian to do?
    Thursday, November 13 2008

    Why Android matters
    Wednesday, November 12 2008

    Great googly-moogly, the sequel
    Tuesday, November 11 2008

    I have an Android phone, and its name is “moogly”.
    Sunday, October 26 2008

  477. >Now that “The Smartphone Wars” series of posts seems to have been completed, I think it is time to ask for the eBook ;-)

    Good compilation, but it isn’t necessarily done yet. Partly, I’ve been busy enough that my blogging frequency has dropped. Mostly, though, I no longer know of any market measures that (a) I feel enough trust in to base projections on, and that (b) are being collected in a way that’s stable over time (and yes, this includes the overseas figures that show a huge Android lead). Both problems could resolve.

  478. @esr
    “but it isn’t necessarily done yet.”

    Good news.

    @esr
    “Mostly, though, I no longer know of any market measures that…”

    I know. Google’s activation statistics and Apple’s sale statistics “seem” reliable, but do not cover the same statistics.

    Tomi Ahonen compiles quarterly numbers from all sources for a long time now. See eg:
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/11/smartphones-q3-final-numbers-top-10-biggest-manufacturers-operating-systems-installed-base-etc.html

    These are however reworked statistics, and not with stable procedures. Indeed, nothing where you get consistent raw data on handset numbers or market share for several platforms.

    But, eventually, an eBook would be nice :-)

  479. Winter –

    The consumer numbers are out. Among consumers who purchased Windows 8, 90% are very satisfied and like it better than windows 7. A number I find shockingly high given that most of them are running it on Windows 7 hardware. But I think that puts to rest the “Windows 8 is hated’. If there is a sales drop and a few of the OEMs die, that may be very consistent with Microsoft’s goal of higher margins to drive R&D spending. When Microsoft was pursuing a commodity strategy they wanted as many OEMs as possible driving down the price of x86 hardware often below cost. Now a less competitive market might be to their advantage.

  480. ESR –

    At least for the US the Comscorre numbers you were originally concerned about were confirmed by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T. You doubted the numbers, understandably, but you can’t doubt them anymore with independent verification.

    In terms of international sales, Ben-Evans made a great point recently as China moves up. Chinese Android phones are sold with no Google services (no email, no search…) they can only use free apps from the Google app store and buy from Chinese only app stores. They also are locked down so no OS upgrades. (BTW this is the state of the Samsung Galaxy 3, so this isn’t just cheap Android phones). Do those count as Android phones? From an OS perspective, absolutely. From a networking effect it is more dicey. The Amazon Kindle Fire situation is going to be a major problem going forward for measuring international sales. What are we measuring when we look at Android devices?

  481. @CD-HOST
    “Among consumers who purchased Windows 8, 90% are very satisfied and like it better than windows 7.”

    Who buys Windows 8?

    All the people I know buy a computer and get the Windows-du-jour without a choice. As far as I hear, people will select a Windows 7 machine if they can. Those who buy W8 now are those who really, really want it.

  482. Those who want to do the statistics on Global Smartphone numbers can use Tomi Ahonen’s numbers. They are compiled from the major analysts and available on a quarterly basis down to 4Q2009:

    3Q2012
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/11/smartphones-q3-final-numbers-top-10-biggest-manufacturers-operating-systems-installed-base-etc.html

    2Q2012
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/08/smartphone-market-shares-q2-full-numbers-samsung-and-android-solidifying-their-leads.html

    1Q2012
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/05/smartphone-market-shares-after-q1-its-the-digital-jamboree-year-of-smartphone-bloodbath.html

    4Q2011
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/02/smartphone-final-numbers-2011-all-the-stats-including-q4-by-handset-brands-operating-systems-and-ins.html

    3Q2011
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/11/smartphones-q3-market-shares-for-top-handset-brands-and-top-operating-systems.html

    2Q2011
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/08/smartphone-market-shares-at-q2-and-report-card-for-half-year-performance.html

    1Q2011
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/05/final-numbers-for-q1-in-smartphones-bloodbath-year-2-electric-boogaloo.html

    4Q2010
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/02/smartphone-bloodbath-2010-now-final-numbers-q4-and-full-year-2010-and-each-rival-awarded-their-final.html

    3Q2010
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/11/bloodbath-q3-final-numbers-the-smartphone-race-gets-ever-more-tight.html

    2Q2010
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/08/final-numbers-q2-of-2010-for-smartphone-market-shares.html

    1Q2010
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/05/smartphones-bloodbath-after-q1-full-review-of-each-brand-and-player.html

    4Q2009
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/02/phone-market-shares-for-year-of-2009-and-last-quarter-2009.html

  483. The first month Microsoft did about 1m downloads a day of upgrades. Yes that may be people who “really really want it” but there are a lot of them. At the same time we have about another 10m new systems shipping with Windows 8 in those stats.

  484. @CD-Host
    Sorry, but the 40M sold in a month is too much like the “Vista sells great” from before. Also, the fact that 40M/month is exactly the number of new Android activations in a month is too much of a marketing coincidence to me.

    I have made it a habit to distrust MS numbers until they are confirmed by independent parties. Too many times MS’ numbers proved to be blatant lies and fabrications.

  485. There have been discussions along the lines that iOS App developers make boatloads of money and Android developers make nothing (I exaggerate).
    See above:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4500&cpage=1#comment-387071

    I already suspected that the profits would be distributed extremely unevenly. And that seems indeed to be the case.

    Half of all app store revenue goes to just 25 developers
    Top app earners carve up $60m pie
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/04/top_25_app_devs_earn_half_of_revenue/

    In fact, the company says, of the $120m in total revenue generated from paid app downloads and in-app purchases in the US during the first 20 days of November 2012, fully half was split between just 25 developers.

    All but one of those top 25 earners were game developers, including Disney, ?Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Glu, Kabam, Rovio, Storm8, and Zynga, among others.

    On average, Canalys found that 145 of the top 300 apps in the Apple App Store were games during its sample period, while the format accounted for 116 of the top 300 apps on Google Play.

    The one exception on the top-earners list was Pandora, which markets the popular Pandora Radio app for its personalized music service.

    Not yet Zipf’s distribution (that would give 3 developers the bulk of the profits). But we are just seeing the start of the consolidation. But App development is already a lottery with only a few prizes.

  486. As Tomi Ahonen wrote:
    Android Won. Windows Lost. Now what?
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/12/android-won-windows-lost-now-what-the-battle-of-the-century-is-decided-microsoft-relegated-to-ever-s.html
    (as usual, loooooong post)

    Here is another data point:

    $50 Android Smartphones Are Disrupting Africa Much Faster Than You Think, Says Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/10/50-android-smartphones-are-disrupting-africa-much-faster-than-you-think-says-wikipedias-jimmy-wales/

    An unlocked Android-powered 3G smartphone, made by Chinese mobile maker Huawei – which was selling for $85 on the streets of Kenya last year and now goes for $50.

    This was the thing we were expecting from Android. This simple sentence tells us that dumbphone to smartphone conversion will be much faster than expected. Africa will go Android very soon. I expect WiFi hotspots (paid and free) to spring up all over Africa.

    Quote from the article:

    The pace caught Wikipedia by surprise. The not-for-profit organisation had been focusing its emerging markets’ efforts on India but is now paying a lot more attention to Africa, thanks to the growth in ownership of cheap, Android-powered handsets — like the one in Wales’ pocket.

  487. @Winter

    The apps #15 or higher gross $5m / mo even by position 25 you are looking at $80k / day. The numbers fall off rather dramatically from there but those are big numbers.

    As for Android and Tomi’s post I responded on dominates. His version of what happened with OS/2 is backwards. He completely fails to understand what Balmer’s approach has been (i.e. server and business division revenue not marketshare). etc…. It is just a “units good who cares about profits” sort of analysis.

  488. @CD-Host
    If you sacrifice market share for profit, you tend to emd up with a smaller market share. In a market with strong network effect this tends to mean a vanishing market share.

    MS did understand that and always prferted lower profits or illegal actions over a risk to lose their monopoly. They have paid over $1B per year in fines and settlements for a decade or so.

  489. Just an update.
    Bill Gates is preparing the world for the discontinuation of Windows Phone (and Ballmer?), it seems:

    Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was ‘a mistake’
    ‘Not satisfied’ that Microsoft isn’t leading in phones
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/18/bill_gates_microsoft_phone_mistake/

    “We didn’t miss cell phones,” Gates said. “But the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership, so it’s clearly a mistake.”

    Tomi Ahonen has a (very) long article extrapolating from this interview:
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/02/nokia-if-microsoft-chairman-bill-gates-calls-microsofts-smartphone-strategy-clearly-a-mistake-and-on.html

  490. [Is this thread still alive? I've suggested a new one on this topic ages ago....]

    @Winter, be that as it may, Eric’s predictions about market share have definitely been wrong. While Android adoption has barely budged within the past year, iOS usage increased by 3.5 percent

    I wouldn’t go this far, but it’s an interesting prediction: Yankee Group believes the incredible customer loyalty that Apple holds will drive market share gains well into the future. The firm predicts that, if these loyalty numbers hold, Apple will surpass Android in U.S. market share by 2015.

  491. Winter –

    Eric’s predictions were based on Comscore data which is US data. iPhone sales in the US from yesterday’s earnings report were up 51% year over year (a tremendous number). So no, yesterday does not in any way back the theory of iPhone weakness.

    Comscore April 2013 (latest number I believe) is
    Google 52.0% having lost .3% for the quarter
    while iPhone has gone to 39.2% gaining 1.4% share for the quarter.

    Eric has Android growing share in the USA linearly about 10% per 6 months. So his prediction of the Comscore numbers would have them at slightly above 80% today.

    Sales on the postpay carriers have been well above the 39.2% level. AT&T is at around 80% iPhone for multiple quarters. Verizon this quarter reported 44% Y/Y growth in iPhone activations which put them at 3.9m iPhone out of 7.5m. And this of course is one of Apple’s weak quarters in the US before a new release. Which means that Apple is now above 50% marketshare on Verizon in its bad quarters. Sprint has hovered between 30 and 40 though they have less than one full cycle of iPhone sales. With the last quarter With the iPhone 5S/6 coming out there are going to be a flood of cheap 4S’s (which are 3G) on the used market in the United States to attack the low end of the market the prepay MVNOs.

    So there are no indications that the Android marketshare is going to continue to deteriorate at an increasing rate for Comscore. The die is cast about iPhone marketshare hitting 50% on the Comscore numbers as the months progress. The issue for the United States remains whether iPhone will grow its share to point that iPhone has an effective monopoly, so if anything the reverse of Eric’s prediction is still a very live possibility.

    Tomi’s article deals with global marketshare. No question that as featurephones and even some dumbphones are replaced by cheap Androids in poorer countries where Apple can barely sell their global marketshare is going to decrease. He doesn’t mention Apple’s year over year numbers which were +15% in revenues, that doesn’t quite keep up with the surge in global sales and the reason is deterioration in share in Europe (8% shrinkage) and China (14% shrinkage). In both cases there is financial dislocation and an unsubsidized iPhone is certainly a luxury good.

  492. @CD-host
    “Eric’s predictions were based on Comscore data which is US data.”

    And Eric has made it very clear that he used the Comscore data as a way to track global market development. His predictions were also about global markets.

    When it proved that the USA market had decoupled from the global markets, Eric abandoned the Comscore numbers. Which is wise as the sales numbers in the USA simply reflect boardroom politics of the local network oligopolists. What can we learn from Apple sales when they depend on network subsidies?

    @CD-Host
    “No question that as featurephones and even some dumbphones are replaced by cheap Androids in poorer countries where Apple can barely sell their global marketshare is going to decrease.”

    These countries harbor 80% of the world population. Apple is relegated to the same markets as LVHM. Who care about where LVHM sells their luxurious stuff?

  493. @PapayaSF –

    The Yankee Group has an excellent point. If we assume that those numbers hold for about 15 years: 95% iPhone retention vs. 75% Android retention; and that those were the only 2 types of hones then the iPhone market must become 5x larger than the Android market to maintain equilibrium. That is 84% iPhone, 16% Android in a decade.

    I think they are right that it isn’t likely to play out that way. Nokia/Microsoft has some very compelling phones as you move down market with Nokia continuing to focus on creating a good user experience at the $120-300 price point.

    I have trouble saying much more than that, because Yankee’s numbers for current marketshare don’t seem to match the data either for sales or installed base so I’m unclear about how they are deriving their specifics.

  494. @Winter

    And Eric has made it very clear that he used the Comscore data as a way to track global market development. His predictions were also about global markets.

    Apple is doing even better in Japan +27%, and that still without NTT docomo. Assuming that Apple and NTT docomo fix their problems (which is a big assumption, but Verizon and Apple eventually worked it out) I’d say Apple is likely to take Japan as well. Interestingly Apple is gaining share in India rapidly too, but I suspect this is like the China where they are relegated to top 5% of the market for a while.

    There is no global trend. There is a European/Chinese trend of shrinking and an American/Japan/India trend of growing.

    Apple is relegated to the same markets as LVHM. Who care about where LVHM sells their luxurious stuff?

    Eric’s theory was that Android would be a disruptive technology. A disruptive technology drives the incumbent (iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone) out of the market…. If instead what we have is a market where:

    Apple owns most all of the high end with Samsung, HTC Nokia, BlackBerry splitting say 20% a bunch of ways.
    Samsung, Nokia, HTC, Apple… splitting the mid range a bunch of ways
    Android owning the low end.

    Then the disruption on the high end never happened. Rather Android established itself as the cheap product disrupting the low end smartphones then the featurephones then the dumbphones. You can’t claim the prediction is right if something completely unlike what he predicted happens. If Apple remains firmly entrenched with 5-15% global marketshare and 80% of the profits they have in no sense been disrupted.

  495. @CD-Host
    “Apple owns most all of the high end with Samsung, HTC Nokia, BlackBerry splitting say 20% a bunch of ways.
    Samsung, Nokia, HTC, Apple… splitting the mid range a bunch of ways
    Android owning the low end.”
    “Nokia/Microsoft has some very compelling phones as you move down market with Nokia continuing to focus on creating a good user experience at the $120-300 price point. ”

    Global numbers:
    1Q2013: Android 74%, Apple 17.6% MS 3.0%

    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/05/q1-numbers-in-bloodbath-year-four-smartphones-galore.html

    All this nonsense about high-end/low-end etc is just to obfuscate that Android cleaned out the mobile phone space and iPhone is falling back. Three out of every four phones sold are Android phones. Samsung sells more phones than Apple, almost twice as many.

    The very same scenario as in the PC world in the late 1980s. But now MS is at the losing end and Apple is still in second place “But with the high end market”.

  496. @Winter –

    First off Tomi’s definition of smartphones is rather weird. He includes Androids that don’t connect to Google services while not included richer service feature phones. So I don’t accept the 3/4s number. Generally the number would be based on price point.

    As for price points not mattering. That’s how goods are scored. We don’t throw tin shacks, condos, mansions and yahts into the “housing” market and say “tin shacks are displacing mansions” regardless of how many tin shacks are sold. It is understood that everyone living in a tin shack would rather be in better housing, but that they are choosing housing based on price. Goods are almost always classified by price point.

    The Windows vs. Mac example was used by people who argued that Android would benefit from network effects. Eric was one of those. His argument was that the network effects of Android would be so great that people would choose an Android phone over an iPhone. For example:

    What’s certainly not going to happen is any Apple share gains against Android’s existing userbase. If Apple couldn’t fend off the upstart back when it had a clear market and technical advantage, it’s not going to pull off a come-from-behind now that the network effects are operating in Android’s favor. (from The Smartphone Wars: Almost boring now)

    McDonalds hasn’t disrupted the $40 / plate restaurants. Hyundai: hasn’t disrupted Porsche. There was never any debate that Android was well suited to moving downmarket selling ever cheaper phones to less and less weathy people. None of this has anything to do with Apple losing sales. Android is gaining share from the lowest end consumers and Apple is gaining share from the higher end Androids, Europe exempted. The simple storyline you keep wanting to tell with Apple losing and Android gaining is just not supported by the data.

    One of the primary reasons the network effects never happened was that there was an exponential relationship between the wealth of the person buying the phone and how much they spend on applications so that the much smaller userbase of iPhone users has been able to create a richer market than the larger group of Android users. As Android is continuing to go downmarket the phone is starting to hit customers for whom advertisers have no interest. This has been driving down Google’s gross margins and at some point Google might have to start cutting back on what they provide low end consumers. That would create a situation similar to China where Androids sell without access to Google. Is it reasonable to consider Android the same operations system if it doesn’t include Google services? BlackBerry as they have been forced into the 3rd world has seen their per account after sale revenues drop from $866 per to $40 per.

    Europe numbers are far more interesting. Because those are consumers who got by an iPhone but find the cheaper Android good enough for much less money. The number to watch is what happens with iOS7 in Europe. There Apple is going to be pulling far ahead. If that doesn’t move the European numbers then I’d say the US and Europe have complete diverged. Where the world goes is still uncertain.

  497. @CD-Host
    “First off Tomi’s definition of smartphones is rather weird. He includes Androids that don’t connect to Google services while not included richer service feature phones. So I don’t accept the 3/4s number. Generally the number would be based on price point.”

    All definitions include arbitrary cut offs. But price points are irrelevant. You can look up the definitions used by the different analysts. Tomi’s numbers are a weighted average of numbers of the big houses. You are welcome to switch to the raw numbers. They all show the same trend and the difference are in single percentage points.

    @CD-Host
    ” That’s how goods are scored. We don’t throw tin shacks, condos, mansions and yahts into the “housing” market and say “tin shacks are displacing mansions” regardless of how many tin shacks are sold.”

    Price point is irrelevant. A cheap Android phone that can surf “normal” web sites with JavaScript and install external, complex apps will allow some poor peasant in the developing world full access to the internet. That is a very significant threshold.

    Underlying what you are saying is that the only thing that matters for you are the profits. But I am pretty sure neither Eric, nor the consumers who buy smartphones are directly interested in the margins and net profits of the producers. They are interested in affordability and availability.

    Outside of the share holders, who cares about Apple or Samsung profits? Not the consumers who are buying their phones.

  498. Outside of the share holders, who cares about Apple or Samsung profits? Not the consumers who are buying their phones.

    They care indirectly, because companies that don’t make profits can’t continue to innovate in the space. Remember that one of Eric’s predictions was that the “Android Army” of multiple manufacturers would swamp Apple. That doesn’t seem to have happened. Samsung is making money and competitive phones, and… what other Android maker really matters? Google, OK, but who else?

    In tablets it’s similar: cheap Android tablets notwithstanding, the iPad still dominates. Even counting Kindles, iPads are now 84% of North American web traffic, up since May. Those Nexus 7 tablets that were supposed to dominate the iPad seem to be dying early.

  499. @CD-Host
    “One of the primary reasons the network effects never happened was that there was an exponential relationship between the wealth of the person buying the phone and how much they spend on applications so that the much smaller userbase of iPhone users has been able to create a richer market than the larger group of Android users. ”

    The network effect works. Apple can do with a smaller network due to the higher disposable income of its users and, as they tell me, lower cost in producing and maintaining apps. But the network effect is still there. When there are one billion Android phones later this year and the expectation of two billion in a few years, you can bet that that will drive a lot of development.

  500. @PapayaSF
    “emember that one of Eric’s predictions was that the “Android Army” of multiple manufacturers would swamp Apple. That doesn’t seem to have happened.”

    So why are there 3 Android phones sold for every iPhone? It is now standard for the press to admit Apple lost the technical edge.

  501. Eric’s prediction was that once Android got past (IIRC) 50% of the market, network effects would drive iPhones down to single digits in market share. That is clearly not happening.

    Yes, there are lots of Android phones sold. Nobody sensible predicted otherwise. But they are not generally bought as Android phones (try finding that word in Samsung ads: it might be there gut it’s hard to find), many cannot connect to the Android software ecosystem, many that can do not, many Android users are not happy and want to upgrade to an iPhone (or iPad), and many eventually do.

    It is now standard for the press to admit Apple lost the technical edge.

    LOL, of course it is. In the ’90s the joke was that their official name was “Beleaguered Apple Computer” because every article seemed to refer to them that way. Then the press loved the story of Jobs’ return and all the successes. (For over a year now, Apple has made more from the iPhone alone than Microsoft makes from everything.) Now the stock story is that Apple is threatened by Android phones and tablets and is headed for a fall. For years we’ve heard about “iPhone killers” and “iPad killers.” Hasn’t happened.

    Also, compare this to Apple’s Q2 results: Samsung and HTC smartphone momentum comes to screeching halt

  502. Price point is irrelevant. A cheap Android phone that can surf “normal” web sites with JavaScript and install external, complex apps will allow some poor peasant in the developing world full access to the internet. That is a very significant threshold.

    But it can’t do it well enough for the person who owns it to want to do that. Because we know usage increases with price point and there is a massive spike moving from a similarly priced Android to a Apple.

    All definitions include arbitrary cut offs. But price points are irrelevant. You can look up the definitions used by the different analysts. Tomi’s numbers are a weighted average of numbers of the big houses.

    Tomi’s numbers are constructed to exclude Nokia. He wants to exclude Asha and dumb phones, while including Androids playing the role of feature phones. If we are going to talk marketshare without worrying about price point after Samsung, Nokia is 2nd and the dominant OS is JavaVM.

    And before you start complaining that some $30 piece of junk phone shouldn’t be grouped in with the Galaxy S3… yeah that’s the point in much the same way a $120 piece of junk android shouldn’t be grouped with a $650 iPhone.

    But I am pretty sure neither Eric, nor the consumers who buy smartphones are directly interested in the margins and net profits of the producers.

    Of course they are. If Apple manages to do to the smartphone space what it did to the PC space where it had 8% of the market share and 90% of the profits there won’t ever be network effects. There will be a permanently segmented market if the profits are at the top. Profits is what drives innovation.

    It is now standard for the press to admit Apple lost the technical edge.

    It certainly hasn’t lost its technical edge to $120 Androids. If you only consider phones $350 and up, iPhone sells the majority. You can’t have it both ways. If $120 phones are to be treated on an equal basis then Android is an OS that runs on 2009 hardware that’s being manufactured for the 3rd world plus a few niche markets. Whatever cool features the S4 has influence such a small percentage of the market, who cares. You want to talk phones that have any business being compared to the iPhone then you need to segment by price. You want them as one big pile, you can be like Tomi and get excited they can do SMS.

  503. @PapayaSF
    “I want my iPhone back – Google’s mobile operating system is fantastic – it’s just a shame the phones that run it are so rubbish”

    And people should drive Mercedes, they are so much better quality and experience than Kia or Fiat.

  504. Well, yeah, but Mercedes has not really been “disrupted” by Fiat and Kia, have they?

    The question is, what will Apple do with the iPhone? The assumption around here often seems to be that it will remain some sort of high-end luxury good. But, so were iPods at first. Now you can get a 2G Shuffle for $49 or a 64G Touch for $399, and a bunch in between. For that and many other reasons (economies of scale, user loyalty, hardware/software integration), I’ve never been convinced by Eric’s claims of the coming (and increasingly overdue) fall of the iPhone.

  505. @PapayaSF

    I read that article before. Statistically we know that among countries with high smartphone penetration iOS’s customer satisfaction numbers exceed Androids, South Korea flipped recently. Apple has a long history of protecting their end users from the bad behavior of other players in the ecosystems like carriers or developers. That example of not allowing adware to be injected by carriers is a good example.

    _______

    I think what’s an interesting topic for the US is whether what Eric thought would happen with Network effect happens with iOS. Does Apple establish a US monopoly? During 2012 I wasn’t sure which way things were going to go. On Verizon Apple appears to have hit a speed bump in their growth. Verizon last quarter segmented their own customer base 3 ways:

    a) iPhone customers who seek to renew when the new iPhone comes out.
    b) iPhone customers who buy whatever iPhone is current when they hit their 20 months renewal.
    c) Android / Windows customers who buy whatever phone they believe is best when they hit their 20 month renewal.

    They commented that group (a) represents 100% of the growth in their smartphone customers over the last year though on a longitudinal perspective people start frequently in (b) or (c) and switch to (a). Verizon’s concern was warning WallStreet that their subscriber numbers were going to be following Apple’s cycles much like AT&T already experiences. What I think is interesting about Verizon’s comment is the difference in behavior. That Verizon does not believe they have Motorola, LG, HTC and Samsung customers in meaningful numbers. So for example (the example Verizon gave) there is no surge in subscriptions when the S4 came out, even though the S4 sold a huge percentage of the non-iPhone smartphones during the months after it came out.

    Is there however a core group of customers representing say 20% of the market that really likes Android or really dislikes iOS? I’m having to start to say it is possible. Or to the put the question in the opposite direction, can Apple create the networking effects that create a domestic monopoly? Is this group convertible to Apple / away from Android or do they have a lot of resistance for some reason (i.e. some Android feature they adore)? I think we see two crucial pieces of data with the next launch.
    a) How large is the iPhone surge on Verizon? If it keeps growing substantially then I’m going to have to start to believe that Android can hemorrhage off almost all its share.
    b) How does the surge of used 4S’s influence Android sales on the prepay market? In other words can large numbers of prepay customers be converted to Apple customers when Apple has a $200 phone — 2 year old used phone — available in large numbers?

    The 3rd piece which happens I’d say about 6-18 months after:

    c) How does Google respond to iOS7′s much more hardware demanding approach? Do they forfeit the high end experience? Are Android high end handset manufacturers able to do something to help here?

    If I had to guess about Europe most of the market looks like the USA prepay market. European operators don’t segment their market as cleanly or target their more profitable customers. So Apple customers aren’t the most profitable to European operators overwhelming the way they are in other places. I suspect Europe is going to continue to be a wonderful market in terms of product diversity which plays to Android strengths.

  506. I don’t see Apple gaining a domestic monopoly in smartphones, even if they wanted to. There will always be niches they don’t want to bother with: low-end commodity items, highly-specialized niches, etc. What they want to do is hit nice sweet spots, good enough for many or most, and do a great job. Look at the MacBook Air: it’s not the cheapest laptop, or the most powerful, or the one with the biggest or highest-res screen or most ports, but it’s a damn fine machine for most people. For all the old talk of the “Apple premium,” it’s hard to find anything similar for less.

    I suspect the future path of the iPhone will be closer to the Air than the iPod: they won’t have 4-5 different versions, maybe just a few, and the cost will come down, and the specs will go up. There will always be cheaper alternatives, and more powerful or flexible ones, but most people would be happy to have an Air, and other PC makers can only try to duplicate that success.