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back to article Memo to Microsoft, RIM, Nokia: Quit copying Apple!

It stinks to be number two in a market. Or worse, number three. But that's the position that most consumer technology companies find themselves in today, at least compared to Facebook, Google, and Apple. Everyone else is an also ran, in large part because they're allowing themselves to be defined by someone else's race. Yahoo!, …

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JDX
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Irony?

Telling people that copying is a bad move, when Apple got to their strong position place by polishing existing ideas?

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Pint

Re: Irony?

Apple took existing technologies and combined them into devices. The try to make it right, functional ... not feature complete, but what is there, works. Other companies try to get as many features in at launch time as possible ... quality in design matters, in the end!

Then again I have to say that I am a bit disappointed by Snow Leopard ... Mail crashed on me twice in a fortnight and this is a fresh install. I could not remember Apple apps ever crashing on Mac OS X and I have been using macs for a decade. I just had a one year gap where I hardly used Mac OS X productively (as in doing actual work - not just music/browsing) - I just got a new mac book pro for work. So maybe the tide is changing ...

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Silver badge

Overreaching, I think

Take iOS as the example. It introduced the direct manipulation metaphor to the mass market. To 99.99% of people that met one, it was a new idea. They acquired most of the relevant IP by acquiring FingerWorks, but in order to commercialise it to the extent that they felt it could be. What they didn't do was look at what was already number one in the market and copy that. They've actually never done that.

There's a distinction between being able to spot and develop good ideas before they hit the prime time and running after the market leaders.

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Flame

HP is competely absent....busy with their palm

If Apple or Google goes into printer HP is toast....and with every Mac purchase people are buying less HP ink

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Anonymous Coward

Umm..

"Apple took existing technologies and combined them into devices. "

Nope. Sorry. Try the other one, it's got bells on. Apple stole actual inventions that had actual devices and technology - not just taking existing tech, but actual products to boot. They then went on to blithely copy other ideas - yes, improving them along the way, cannot deny that - but did not give even a mention to the originals.

First graphically-oriented OS: Um, no. Most possibly the Xerox Star; though there is a platform earlier that "qualifies" I believe, cannot recall it's name.

First device for pointing in a GUI (aka mouse): Ah-ah. Again, stolen from Xerox. Xerox had designed the device, technology and method for interacting with the GUI.

First touch screen mobile phone: Hell no. Honors goes to several vendors including Palm, Motorola, Nokia, among others. Apple's sole contribution? Using their already considerable market to bludgeon their fans into accepting their offering - even though it was easily a decade behind the current phones on the market.

First multitouch screen: HP iPAQ, a good few years before Apple hijacked and made it a technique.

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Apple stole GUI?

As I've heard it, Apple didn't steal the UI from Xerox. Xerox developed the GUI for internal use. Apple saw it and and asked Xerox permission to use it in their new OS. Xerox agreed. Microsoft stole that GUI from Apple, and when Apple threatened to sue, Microsoft threatened to not release any more software for the Mac OS. Apple relented.

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@AC

You have a funny definition of stealing.

Apple gave Xerox stock in return for IP. That's called a business transaction.

Touch screen technology? Nobody has ever claimed this to be an Apple invention, it's a straw man. You appear to be arguing that any company that uses any single component that isn't entirely new deserves no credit for anything.

Multitouch technology? Apple paid for FingerWorks in 2005 to acquire the technology. That's called a business transaction.

You seem to believe that if someone receives something and pays for it, then that's theft?

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So much for RIM

If they're still working out what to do with the Playbook even now then they have no chance of having a credible product.

The next iPad can't be far off and RIM are still talking about a vapourware product? it'll look pretty old and tired by the time they get it out of the door.

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Painless?

"Microsoft makes enterprise IT relatively painless."

It does? For who? Certainly not the people who have to implement and support it.

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Gates Horns

painless?

Nor for the customers. Am so glad I'm moving away from desktop support at a Microsoft shop.

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Gates Halo

Yeah, if you're stupid

I work with Fortune 500 type organizations. In my 20 year experience, large organization IT services make life diffcult for themselves with complex processes and procedures. The tech Microsoft provides is simple and effective; it is "fit for purpose". It's people that are the complex pieces in the IT puzzle, not the tech. I have also seen large organizations use Microsoft tech and operate it without complex management processes making life easier for sys admins. It's people that make it hard, not the tech. Dont' blame the tools, blame the fools that don't know how to use them. Microsoft created an industry for which many visitors of this site would be thankful for their careers and wealth.

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Anonymous Coward

@Bugs R Us

Very well said, bang on.

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not fit for purpose

> I work with Fortune 500 type organizations. In my 20 year experience, large organization IT services make life diffcult for themselves with complex processes and procedures. The tech Microsoft provides is simple and effective; it is "fit for purpose" ..

You have to be kidding. I did tech support in a multinational business consultancy. Their entire IT service consisted of powerpoint docs stored on file servers mapped to the desktop under drive letters. They used a customized form to create unique file names and that was it.

> Microsoft created an industry for which many visitors of this site would be thankful for their careers and wealth.

No, Microsoft built its success on the efforts of others and are largely responsibly for the virtual stagnancy in the PC sector. Witness the number of companies who are no longer in the business, including IBM, the originator of the IBM PC.

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@Bugs R Us

The problem with Microsoft in the IT world is the perception that implementing it at the corporate level is "Easy".

2 of the last 3 contracts I've have as a SQL Server developer have been on projects where there has been no dedicated SQL Server DBA. The project managers seem to think that us developers can handle it.

I've seen the same mistakes made with other microsoft tech. Sharepoint, Biztalk and .net development. The perception is that any monkey can do it so don't pay more than peanuts, which then brings us on to out sourcing.

Thankfully the tide seems to be turning and companies are starting to realise that its better to have a couple of gurus (with some junior staff in attendance) doing it right first time than 20 certified idiots making a hash job if it and needing to be replaced at even more cost later on.

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Re. @ Bugs R Us

/Time for a rant

Absolutely; that's where my last million in fees came from. Fixing a giant cluster fuck perpetrated by programmers masquerading as people with a clue. I rescued said company from impending oblivion, and a few developers found alternative playgrounds to soil. Professional data designers and DBAs with a clue did not learn their trade on SQLServer (phewt..), or from by spending 2 years inside the C# IDE.

The beauty of the MS development world though is this; once professionals from the "real world" finally decide to get their hands dirty in the grubby little world that is MS bespoke applications development, the opportunities for income for no intellectual effort are endless.

As a 30 year veteran of this industry with a real education and a very long CV, I have reached the conclusion that MS has unintentionally extended many careers simply because they have convinced people without enough brains to know better, that any idiot can build industrial strength applications, and awarded said idiots with certifications saying so. Install C# and SQLServer and away you go - you too are a "professional developer". My experience in MS based shops is uniformly consistent on this point.

MS will be around for a while, and squandering a few billion a year on forays into the mobile world are unlikely to break the bank or affect the company longevity. 20 years ago "pundits" were suggesting the demise of mainframes, COBOL and IBM itself. Guys, they are all still with us, making the world tick. Time to find a new melody.

Note: If anyone reading this has experience with BAL (yes, I know that its not the real name these days) I know an opening, not leading edge buzzword stuff, but it pays good. 20 years from now it will probably still be true. rotfl

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Thumb Up

Hats off to 'Bugs R Us'!

I have nothing but full support for what you have just written and I use Linux and OSX almost exclusively!

I think MS stuff is good and gets better all the time. Working full time as a Unix SA/DBA I get to sit and watch the MS circus from the stands. The one thing always gets me is that everyone who uses Windows at home for all their doings, gets to work and thinks that their home experience gives them some idea how to be a Windows server admin!

There are shared components between desktop and server, but server admins on any platform are trained individuals and they know how to tune up and get the best from a box and its O/S. Your desktop experience, Mr Manager, with all your playing with a few Word docs and a bit of Excel, possibly a little bit of Access, is like a 5 year old kid tuning up his peddle car compared to your average dealership car mechanic.

Despite being an Apple/Penguin fan I do stick up for Windows people, especially hard-working put-upon Windows server admins, who have to deal with know-it-all managers and developers, day-in and day-out.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

WTF?

@doperative

"You have to be kidding. I did tech support in a multinational business consultancy. Their entire IT service consisted of powerpoint docs stored on file servers mapped to the desktop under drive letters. They used a customized form to create unique file names and that was it."

You just proved Bugs R Us' point. Where in any MS Desktop/Server admin book/course does it say that this is acceptible? People who think they know what they are doing but don't are responsible for that setup, not the MS products that they are using.

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Microsoft

Microsoft could still do somethign in the mobile market - but it would need to do what Apple is doing now: make its own phones. It would need to make phones with a LOT packed into them - maybe not the best hardware, or the best software, but powerful enough it can make an Android look shoddy and an iPhone look slow. Add in things people don't need, but do want - stuff like USB *server* capable. Make the desktop into a phone.

That's how Microsoft started, and it's a good strategy - make decent stuff, cheaply, and sell it to EVERYONE. No silly rules in the app market, no "we won't have these types of programs ever". Sure, the phones will be unreliable, but hey, people bought Windows, right?

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Happy

Phone desktop

Have you missed this year CES?

Phone desktop is called Atrix (by Motorola) with desktop and laptop docking stations.

Tech specs are good - Tegra 2 from Nvidia.

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Anonymous Coward

If you'll permit me to annoy you with a factoid:

Redmond did buy up an outfit that not only had quite a decent phone, it also had quite a nice and innovative software platform and moreover an interested and willing niche in the market. It had quite the product to match their customers, so to speak. That outfit was called Danger, and we all know what happened next.

Also: Decent stuff? Cheaply? Er, no. That isn't how they started. Not even a little bit. And yes, that still shows.

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WTF?

Am I missing something?

Nokia are pretty dominant in the mobile market and are number one by a large margin, so why are you comparing Nokia as an "also-ran" against Apple?

"The figures come from market watcher Strategy Analytics, and they see 2010 closing with Nokia taking 34.2 per cent of the global smartphone biz, RIM 16.7 per cent, Apple 16.2 per cent and everyone else together 32.9 per cent."

Let me see, 16.7% + 16.2% = 32.9% so Nokia has a greater market share than Apple and RIM combined?

Source: http://www.reghardware.com/2011/01/27/smartphone_market_2010/

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Re: Am I missing something?

No you're not... The Reg regularly think USA = Whole world. (Ignore the .co.uk URL).

Often figures based on the USA aren't far removed from the rest of world, except unfortunately when it comes to mobiles... The USA view of the mobile market is very distorted. Nokia barely exist. SMS interchange between networks was (might even still be) so unreliable that most people send emails between mobiles instead... That's why the Blackberry became so popular over there.

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Boffin

Check your numbers...

Yes, you are correct that Nokia still retains the largest share of the market for overall cell phones.

But if you do some trend analysis, people are upgrading to smart phones. Its in this market that Nokia lags.

This isn't news to Nokia and they are working on trying to fix this and remain competitive.

Looking at Nokia's phones, they have done a lot in terms of hardware. The build quality of the N8 is great. Better than a lot of the android based phones coming from China. While this may not seem like an important thing... without subsidized phones, that 200.00 phone with a 2 year contract would cost between $600 and $800 (US) retail.

Its the OS.

Symbian doesn't cut it and now they are moving to meego. (I haven't see a phone with meego on it so its hard to say how competitive it is....)

Nokia has a new CEO who is just starting to take control this year. It will be interesting to see how well they turn things around.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, you're missing something

Nokia used to have something like 60% of the smartphone market, in fact they invented the concept, only to be overtaken by apple and google in mindshare. El Reg did a series of articles on the rise and fall of symbian with lots of background; well worth a read.

If that wasn't enough, they're still managing to shrink on total shipments in a growing market. That's pretty damning in and of itself. But combine all that, plus the opening and then closing of (some small part of) symbian's source, and a couple other strategic mishaps, in the eyes of just about all analysts, nokia is wearing a pretty large dunce hat at the moment.

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Nokia is circling the bowl right about now...

Nokia does have a greater market share but that matters not, for all the phones they make, they make no money, last year only 221m pounds down 40% by way of comparison, Apple made 14.1 Billion dollars of their profit on iPhones.

Your math supposes that selling millions of featureless phones in third world countries matters to their bottom line, it doesn't.

Apple makes more money selling iPhones to less people.

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Don't confuse Symbian with Series 60

Symbian certainly does still 'cut it', being a lean, mean and extremely capable OS. It's Nokia's bloated, buggy, backward Series 60 which is the problem. Ditching it for Qt was a great move, but getting rid of the Symbian is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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re: Yes, you're missing something

"If that wasn't enough, they're still managing to shrink on total shipments in a growing market."

No they're not. Sales of smartphones are up quarter on quarter for the last 18 months. They haven't been rising as much as the smartphone market has been expanding, so market share has been dropping.

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Yahoo is...

Yahoo is a pile of steaming turds...

P.

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Flame

Was... It is unclear if it still is. I would not go as far as writing it off...

Bartz has been doing a very interesting dog-n-pony show there. It may have been painful to endure for the yahooligans. It may have been painful to watch for the average techie ponytail who still remember the glory of the pre-google days.

However looking at the results she may have done something right after all. From a "utility-like" sub-10% margin up to 26% in a year - that is an impressive achievement.

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Wow

What prompted this? You are right though.

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Silver badge

So, basicaly, it's win or die.

Capitalism (what I call "Winner Economics") at its most cutthroat. Though I favor Android at the moment, I won't show long-term favortism towards any of the mobile companies, seeing as how things are moving too fast for any loyalties to mean anything for long.

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So many errors here I don't know where to start...

This isn't journalism, it's just an opinion piece.

"Memo to Microsoft, RIM, Nokia: Quit copying Apple!" You know Nokia pretty much invented the smartphone, I mean, you know that right?

"The not-Apple market has already crowned Android king of the iOS alternatives. Why fight it?"

Um, Nokia still have more market share than Apple and Android in the mobile arena. And they have been making tablets for years. You've decided, even though the oposition hasn't launched yet their tablet yet?

you don't just parrot what you read on american websites do you?

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FAIL

Ahem

"You know Nokia pretty much invented the smartphone, I mean, you know that right?"

I'm sure he does. I'm also sure he is also aware that when Nokia & MS were the leaders in the smartphone market it was a moribund niche market populated by a few geeks and a handful of executards.

It is common knowledge that telco's spent the early '00s bemoaning the fact that the majority of people were completely underwhelmed by the entire smartphone user experience and therefore unwilling to pay a premium for a smartphone with bundled internet usage. But you knew that right?

"Um, Nokia still have more market share than Apple and Android in the mobile arena."

Selling $50 dollar crap plastic phones to pre teen adolescents, old farts and assorted luddites is hardly the market position that would excite Nokia shareholders. That market is shrinking while the smartphone market is growing. I know where I would rather be.

"And they have been making tablets for years."

And they have been crappy, unresponsive, user-hostile shitfests made to suit the demands of the telcos rather than the consumers who would use them.

This in fact is how Nokia got themselves into the position they find themselves today. They lost focus on who their customers were and decided that slavishly ticking off the feature checkbox list provided to them by the mega telcos was the best way to shift units. They put no thought into making the products more consumer friendly at all. As long as they had Feature X as specified by Mega Telco A and were crippled in Fashion Y because Mega Telco B didn't want users to be have that feature because it meant they might not then use the telcos hamfisted attempt to provide vastly overpriced "value added services" then Nokia was happy. As long as each telco ordered 10K+ units per month all was good and that is exactly what happened for the first 10 years of the mobile industries life. It worked OK because people had no choice. All the phone co's did the same thing and all their products were pretty much crap.

Then RIM came along and the corporate smartphone market exploded almost overnight. Later, apple came along and did the same for the consumer market. You can bleat all you like about how apple just copies Nokia and Nokia was there first and shifts more phones etc etc but the fact is that they were completely unable to convince the great unwashed that smartphones are something worth paying for despite years of trying.

In that regard, Nokia was 100% FAIL.

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FAIL

Dude, take off the blindfold

You think Apple made everything better? Better than Nokia or SE?

It's not true. They made it shinier and they gave it to journalists for free, hence generating huge amounts of favourable press while AT THE SAME TIME pretty much guaranteeing that anything that didn't look like something made by Apple would get slated in hardware reviews.

The Reg are a bit of an honourable exception. You can tell from the way they actually seem to like WP7, for example. But Apple don't mind; the commentards below every reasonable piece are already brainwashed into hating it anyway.

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Boffin

Re: Ahem

"You can bleat all you like about how apple just copies Nokia and Nokia was there first and shifts more phones etc etc but the fact is that they were completely unable to convince the great unwashed that smartphones are something worth paying for despite years of trying."

Uh? The distinction between smartphones and normal phones has been blurred for quite some time, which is why you have bizarre labels like "featurephone" banded around by bored management types (arguably Nokia's real problem).

My seven year old Sony Ericsson doesn't have the memory or performance to run Linux, Android or anything that would entertain a desktop computing environment with "proper" browsers and the like, but a lot of the features of the smartphone are either there or were obvious extensions once more memory and a faster CPU became available to manufacturers: the ubiquitous matrix of icons on the "home screen", browsing (albeit WAP), Internet e-mail (if your provider hasn't firewalled you), installable applications (albeit J2ME), and so on.

The problem with the incumbents was that they didn't pursue these ideas further at a fast enough pace, perhaps because like most established businesses, there's no point in giving people something much better too quickly when you can make more money drip-feeding them small improvements. All Apple did, contrary to utterances from the gaping mouths of the easily impressed, was play the new entrant card and get a jump on the likes of Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Siemens.

That those companies were unable to respond says a lot more about their internal inertia and superfluous managerial fat than it does about Apple shining a light on the world's unfortunates.

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reply

"okia & MS were the leaders in the smartphone market it was a moribund niche market populated by a few geeks and a handful of executards."

Really? The N95 ,82 etc were in a moribund market? Your as bout as clueless as the guy who wrote this article.

"Selling $50 dollar crap plastic phones to pre teen adolescents, old farts and assorted luddites is hardly the market position that would excite Nokia shareholders"

Europe & the US are a saturated market, Apple has priced itself out of developing markets. You know where the future money is coming from, and it's not over here.

"And they have been crappy, unresponsive, user-hostile shitfests made to suit the demands of the telcos rather than the consumers who would use them."

I suggest you actually try using a maemo tablet, rather than just letting your mouth run away with you.

"big rant in the middle"

Some truth there, amonst the frothing.

"RIM"

Big in the states, not anywhere else. RIM is going to be the next major casualty (IMHO).

"Later, apple came along and did the same for the consumer market"

High end consumer market. They will put themselves in a boutique expensive niche- just like they did on the desktop. And i'll be sorry to see it happen.

"you can bleat all you like about how apple just copies Nokia and Nokia was there first"

Don't see how replying to (infantile) article header "Memo to Microsoft, RIM, Nokia: Quit copying Apple!" with truth, is bleating.

Bad journalism-end of story.

Your post 100% shite.

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LDS
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It's bad for shareholders....

"However, modern firms lock up much of their profits in a war chest designed to keep them from dying. This is pure economic loss. It's bad for shareholders...."

But very good for the workforce. "Maximizing revenues" is not always the best way to keep a company afloat (did you already forget what happened lately?)

And I really wish "professors" take the same risks the average employee faces, instead of hiding into universities - go and face "creative distruction" yourself, if you're bold enough.

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Been in a university lately?

If you think that 'hiding' in a university is any way to avoid redundancy then you have not looked at the UK academic job market lately.

The amount of slash-and-burn going on there is hair-raising. And since the average "professor" is usually on a short-term contract, having to re-apply for your job every three years or so is standard. So you are right - most academics don't face the same risks as the average employee. Their risks are so much higher.

And, if you are a specialist in a very technical market, its not as though there are as many jobs out there as there are for, say taxi-drivers, (which is what some academics have become).

Do try getting a job at a university before you mouth off about it. And here's a hint - learn to spell 'destruction' first.

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Bronze badge

Yahoo?

You're right, Yahoo isn't seen as a search engine anymore. But that doesn't mean it has moved on to something else, it just means Yahoo no longer has a purpose. It no longer has a core competency. There is no longer a purpose for Yahoo to exist other than the fact that they always existed and get a bit of "by habit" web traffic.

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WTF?

Re: Yahoo

Re: Yahoo?

What about all the software Yahoo creates for companies to use in their intranets? Or their equivalent of Hotmail / Gmail? Or things like the javascript libraries they continually develop that are used by tons of big websites? There's a lot of stuff Yahoo does besides offering a public search engine - they have plenty of reasons to exist.

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FAIL

Get your facts right

You start the article with: "It stinks to be number two in a market. Or worse, number three."

So, let's get things straight. Worldwide smartphone sales. Number 1: Nokia; number 2: RIM. Before you start seeing Google or Apple you have to get down to number 3 or 4. It really stinks to be down there doesn't it.

And why is Facebook in an article about smartphone manufacturers? Do Facebook have a new smartphone OS that I don't know about?

So, let's look at number ones in various spaces shall we. Facebook is clearly ahead in social networking. Google are clearly number one in search. Mobiles we still have Nokia as number one. If we look at trending though it is clear Google and Android are number 1. Microsoft are number one in desktop OS and Office Apps.

Where are Apple though? Number one in music players probably. But that would appear to be about it. They trended very well in mobile phones, and like RIM, will be left as a very successful also-ran in a few years' time; but Android is already trending better. They have opened a new market in fondle slabs, but we have to wait to see how that market shakes out before coming to a conclusion. Importantly, a lot of people are discovering fondle slabs aren't a great panacea. My next mobile computing purchase will be a laptop, not a fondle slab. A lot of the fondle slab owners I know say the same thing. Fondle slabs won't die, but they aren't going to replace big boy computing any time soon. Not with the dreadful excuse for a keyboard they are all using. Apple have a marginal market in desktops and laptops. Overall, Apple appear to be making an industry from being the 2nd, 3rd or 4th player in a lot of markets. The reason they seem to be doing so well financially is that they generally pick up market share in the premium end of many markets, and the fanbois are exceptionally loyal. But they certainly aren't what I would consider a number one player.

Finally, look at the headline. "Memo to Microsoft, RIM, Nokia: Quit copying Apple!". Let's see. Uniform grids of icons - Microsoft, RIM and Nokia have been doing that well before Apple on mobile devices. Touchscreens predate Apple, although multi-touch was something that Apple did right. An App Store was also first successfully done by Apple. e-mail and internet on a phone have been done by other people well before Apple. So it seems that you are asking Microsoft, RIM and Nokia not to have app stores and multi-touch on their latest devices. <sarcasm> What great advice </sarcasm>.

How about thinking about what you say before you say it.

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FAIL

Nokia is NOT #1

The article is really about perception of market dominance. Whatever the actual numbers may say, Nokia is no longer perceived as #1. That's the point here, that Nokia will, at this rate, become an actual #2. Need to take away more than just the words of the article.

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Anonymous Coward

However, modern firms lock up much of their profits in a war chest

"However, modern firms lock up much of their profits in a war chest designed to keep them from dying. This is pure economic loss. It's bad for shareholders...."

On the contrary, it is called investing for the future, investing during good times to insulate the company against the impact of bad times. It is pure, simple,l good management, whether at the level of the home or the multinational company

"Microsoft is captured by its corporate bureaucracy, a group that is more interested in the continued existence of the company than in maximizing profits." And what is the point of maximising profits as one goes down the drain?

I've heard some management bollocks over the years. In fact, year by year it tends to just get worse, but this really is rubbish.

OK, I'm selectively quoting here: the entire article is not garbage, far from it.

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Silly editorial

So all the second place holders should just quit to make it easier for editorial writers? Every company that ever overtook the old market leader was second at one point, including Microsoft to Netscape or Microsoft to Wordperfect, or Microsoft vs IIS or Microsoft versus Linux netbooks and so on and so on.

Your article is a recipe for halting progress - competition means things get better after all.

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IIS is Microsoft

Think you mean IIS versus Apache. And depending on whos numbers you prefer, IIS and Apache are almost equal in the real world (outside of academia).

Also, these examples you give are a totally different situation. Netscape and WordPerfect were market creators. The mobile handset industry has been around far longer is is more well established. Nokia and Motorola would be considered dinosaurs of the industry. At least Motorola is embracing Android, it knows where the future lies. Nokia needs to do the same and accept defeat on the Symbian front.

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Boffin

Things also get better...

Things also get better faster, and things also get cheaper faster. Without the "extras" putting pressure on the #1's, a very small percentage of people would be able to afford most of what we take for granted. The power, features, and tech inside almost every computing device, some of which literally was only in the hands of secret gov/mil projects at some point in their development and use, would be slow in coming into most of our hands without the prices dropping. How long were cell phones in the world before most of us were able to afford one, doesn't it suck to have to wait that long for every useful technology? Efficiency can be expensive without there being a lot of people trying to find ways to make it easier, that's what the not #1's do.

Most of the people who keep a market going aren't the ones who started them, why should that change? Change is good when it is in the right place, really bad if it is in the wrong place, but only when the future becomes the past can we know how that will all turn out. So any predictions aren't anything more than placing bets. And rushing things without understanding as many potential consequences as possible doesn't have a high probability of success, if history has anything to say.

Sometimes the market leader will change enough to stay ahead of their competition, like Microsoft is actually doing in some markets, competing with their old OS's with what seems to be a finished OS (finally), instead of focusing on what Linux and Mac are doing. While people migrate to the Windows 7, MS can sit back and get a feel of how things are flowing, then spring back into action like they always seem to do, and most successful companies do if they have the chance. It sometimes seems like that's what everyone is doing now, trying to sit back and get a feel of how things are going, instead of doing things. Very few companies, or governments for that matter, can afford to do this without having serious problems crop up while they are doing nothing. During economic times like that, the ones that have been able to afford to sit back, tend to be the only ones able to get everything back in motion, but if they execute their decisions wrong, they rarely have more than one chance to correct it (like MS's past focus on business customers with their good versions of windows, NT, leaving the consumers to wallow in blue screens and crappy tech for a loooong time, and time for people to actually make "Unix easy to use"... I shouldn't even be able to put those words in a sentence in that order, but Apple made it happen).

That's just my 2p, I'm probably completely off base, I'm no professional economist, I'm just an IT one. As far as the relevance of the statements made in the article, I'm still going to have to wait and see. There's too many companies using tech that overlap in markets that also overlap, and are changing quickly. Without investors educated enough to know who the right #1 is, or should be, the fun future tech we have in store for us will be a long time in coming, as we languish in the ongoing war of standards and interoperability.

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Boffin

Now Oracle doesn't look so evil anymore...

"RIM is apparently considering the Dalvik virtual machine, which would allow its Blackberry and PlayBook devices to run Android apps. With Android gaining in the enterprise, according to a report from Good Technology, this move would allow RIM to ride the Android wave while seeking to differentiate itself on hardware, email services, and more."

This statement alone shows you why Oracle is suing Google over Android.

Can you hear the sucking sound of revenue slipping away from their Java licensing?

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WTF?

Confused?

You begin by saying companies should innovate not imitate, but in the same breath say Nokia and others should embrace Android rather than develop their own platforms.

Make your mind up!

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From a 'Coolness' perspective?

"It stinks to be number two in a market. Or worse, number three. But that's the position that most consumer technology companies find themselves in today, at least compared to Facebook, Google, and Apple."

Apple is NOT #1 in 'PC' shipments, phone shipments or OS shipments unless your measure is market capitalisation ... which it clearly isn't because you include facebook? Or your measure is the 'love-o-meter' of all things 'cool' or press column inches? But it would be very uncool to talk of Microsoft or Nokia (or even ZTE as a handset vendor ... gasp... yep more handsets made than Apple!) or Samsung who in much consumer tech have a hang of a lot more customers!

Sorry El Reg ... article lost me when it started on a premise based on popularity and not consistent measurable numbers!

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