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back to article So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Microsoft isn't used to being the underdog, but the company which owns the desktop is losing its grip on customers' wallets. While buying Nokia is an audacious move to redress that, to make it work Microsoft needs to understand some of Nokia's history. Of course, Microsoft has been the challenger before, with varying degrees of …

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Anonymous Coward

A slice of the app pie for EE, Voda, O2 or Three?

"It has, in effect, pulled all the applications revenue out of the hands of the operators and into those of Apple. And in doing so, it has made huge enemies of those customers."

Will Google give a slice of the app pie to the operators? Will Microsoft? Somehow, I don't think so. SMS and MMS are being replaced with IP based apps that do it better. No one uses voice mail anymore. At the moment, I don't see a way for the operators to increase their ARPU, other than by putting up the monthly cost of a contract. That too is going to be problematic, as users increasingly avoid the smoke and mirrors of the network subsidy, instead opting to buy phones up front.

The way I see it, there is little new, the operators can do, that startups in places like Silicon Valley and Bullshit Roundabout can't do better, other than perhaps handling segmentation better (smart analytics, automated decisioning systems and so on).

Anon, I'm afraid. Both my employer and some of my customers wouldn't appreciate some of what I wrote above.

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IT Angle

This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

It really sounds intriguing. Let us know when it launches so I can check it out.

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Speaking of myths...

I love when people tout Microsoft as a company others could partner with and not get raep'd then thrown under a bus at any moment. I mean, look at how they treat their customers – and that's because they need them. I shudder at the thought of what they do to those they consider redundant...

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Facepalm

Re: Speaking of myths...

Lemme help you out with that.

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Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

The new version does have separate volume controls. Just for your FYI.

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Trollface

Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

It's been around for a while...

... it's this Linux on the desktop that I'm curious about, when's that going to hit the high streets?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

That'd be Android 7.0.

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Re: This mythical Microsoft Phone you speak of

>... it's this Linux on the desktop that I'm curious about, when's that going to hit the high streets?

If the only USP of Linux is that it can be bent to the will of the power-user, then it won't be adopted on the high street - the power-user will always just install Linux themselves.

Instead, to compete with Windows/OSX on the high-street, Linux would have to offer the average Joe something that Win/OSX doesn't... ease of use, perhaps, or a lower price, whatever.

Chrome OS is a recognition of the need to offer the average Joe something useful - maintenance-free computing. Even though my mum has been happy to use a word-processor for over thirty years, she will be confused by some pop-up notification box in Windows about updating something or other. She doesn't know what this something or other is, and why should she?

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Anonymous Coward

Linux on the desktop

Increasingly, the desktop will be about Cloud services consumption and less about traditional shrinkwrapped PC software and client-server applications on the desktop. Windows PC sales have fallen from 350 million in 2011 to an expected 290 million in 2014 (I have subtracted Apple Macs from the figures).

I think Chromebooks are making good progress with Linux on the desktop, and the first few Android desktops are emerging. And Android and iOS in tablets seems to be doing quite well, too - I believe together they overtook PC sales in the last quarter of 2013 - 80m tablets v 40m Windows desktops v 40m Windows laptops. As techopedia says: " If you have an iOS or an Android device, it's based on an operating system called Unix that was developed at Bell Labs."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux on the desktop

"If you have an iOS or an Android device, it's based on an operating system called Unix that was developed at Bell Labs."

sure, but by that standard we've had fairly widespread desktop unix since the release of OS X (not just iOS is based on BSD).

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Anonymous Coward

"It’s easy to compare the phone industry to the computer business, where currently two players are visible to the users: Microsoft and Apple"

Either I'm going mad or this statement is complete bollocks

Edit: confirmed, it is complete bollocks. These words initially failed regular forward parsing through my logic analyser and only made sense when I realized the sentence had to be read backwards.

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LDS
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It looks you read just one sentence, got angry, and forget to read the rest " Linux and Chrome are OSes that Register readers think of as being important, but the general public, which is not quite so tech-savvy, does not."

Face it. Nobody enters a shop and asks for a "Linux computer". The Linux market share for end user desktop and laptop computers is less than 2%. We're not talking about the server market, we're talking about "personal computers". And there Linux is almost irrelevant but for a subset of tech users.

Enter any shop and you will see only two players visible to users: Microsoft Windows PC and Apple ones.

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Three, actually.

Android tablets are all over the place in "computer shops" now. And what does Android run on? Oh, is it something Finnish and open-saucy?

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Android tablets are all over the place in "computer shops" now. And what does Android run on? Oh, is it something Finnish and open-saucy?

Try asking people what underpins the OS? As far as they're concerned, iOS is iOS, Windows is Windows (even Windows CE is Windows), MacOS X is MacOS X and Android is Android.

The fact that iOS and MacOS X are both based on Darwin and that this is a different OS completely to Linux, is irrelevant. There are people on this forum who claim MacOS X is Linux based.

I've had people look at my machine, and when I comment that I'm not running Windows, they instantly ask "Is it a Mac?", despite "TOSHIBA" being clearly emblasoned across the front of it. Since when did Toshiba make Macs?

The Windows bit is more or less invisible, they consider it as whether you've got a "PC" or a "Mac", completely ignoring that the Macintosh is just a personal computer manufactured by Apple. So if they don't see Windows, they instantly think you're running a Mac, and confuse matters by the thinking that Macs are not PCs, which they are (what they weren't was IBM compatible PCs until very recently).

So yeah, the author is quite right by pointing out there being only two visible OSes on the desktop market, with Android and ChromeOS being visible in tablets and lower-end netbooks.

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LDS
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When speaking of the "computer business", I'm sure he was talking about the "personal computer" business - laptops and desktops, not the tablets. Still tablet can't do a lot a computer can do. Anybody asking for a "computer" surely isn't asking for a tablet. Than you can twist whatever you like in the desperate effort to show the average consumer wants Linux, but that's not going to happen. Still, when it comes to consumer PCs, the choice for the average consumer is between Microsoft and Apple.

Also if they're going to ask for a tab let, they're probably going to ask for an Apple tablet or a Samsung one or whatever brand, not an Android one.

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Face it. Nobody enters a shop and asks for a "Windows computer".

A few might ask if they have any without windows 8, most don't care, or don't think there is a choice.

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Right. If the ask for a "computer", they mean a MS Windows computer. If they ask for a "Mac", they mean an Apple. Sadly, there's no word to mean "a Linux computer" :)

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"the choice for the average consumer is between Microsoft and Apple."

Actually, in the non USAian rest of the world, the choice is generally "Which BRAND of Windows PC will they be getting?"

Even with Apple stores popping up all over the place, the average punter associates Apple with iPhone, iPod, iPad and pretty much nowt else.

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"A few might ask if they have any without windows 8, most don't care, or don't think there is a choice."

There is? Where..?

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"Sadly, there's no word to mean "a Linux computer" :)"

Server?

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Re: "Sadly, there's no word to mean "a Linux computer" :)"

When the mass market for personal computer users vanishes and almost everybody is using next years landfill fondleslab, the term for a Linux computer will become 'computer'.

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Lots of great info... But...

Let's be brutally honest here. Nokia and many others lost their asses because they sold phones and operating systems and platforms.

What I mean is simple. Nokia never understood that Apple and Nokia kicked their asses not by making a better phone. The phone part is easy. They competed on fashion and media. The phone and OS simply wasn't relevant.

Apple started with music. Then movies. Then apps. Then books. They learned how to profit by becoming an international media distributor. They sold first on their terms and delt with the legal fallout after and just crushed all the other distributors in the business.

The phone is no more the core product than a purse is the core product to women who buy stuff to put in them. The phone is simply a fashionable way to put their stuff in. While profit on the sale of a phone is nice, it's all about what it is carrying. That's why apple is so focused on guaranteeing their profits on sales of media.

Samsung succeeded on Google's back. Ask Opera and Mozilla who have almost completely financed their desktop profits on peddling Google searches. Samsung made a phone that served as a fashionable tool to have the power of Google at their finger tips.

What has Nokia done? Sold phones. When they sell you one, they'll work to sell you another. Windows Phone could have happened, but even now, you are stuck with Bing, Internet Explorer and other substandard tools. There is no incentive to developers to deploy on Windows Phone either. Symbian and other Nokia platforms were worse.

So... Why do writers keep thinking the phone is what matters? I hate my iPhone, but thanks to services and media, it simply sucks less than the other options.

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FAIL

Re: The reason Nokia lost

For me the answer is very simple. Yes, obviously the iPhone, but specifically how long they took to bring out a worthwhile competitor handset, must have been >3years, by then they had already lost.

This was a clear lack of vision. Even before the iPhone came out I was longing for a full screen phone (this design was bleeding obvious to me and to most people with half a brain), in 2004 I was seriously considering the Moto A1000 which had a full screen (tiny now!), then LG Prada in 2006, which was shortly followed by the iPhone. In the end I got an iPhone3G.

Surely, I mean SURELY when Nokia saw the Prada they should have thought, hmmm.... that looks kinda LIKE THE FRIKKIN' FUTURE!!!! NO?!

They deserved to lose.

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Re: The reason Nokia lost

I'm curious, why did you want a bigger screen? None of those phones until the iPhone had a full browser. What's the point of a big screen if you're limited to WAP, and a handful of useless Java based apps?

When I saw the iPhone, I thought "why the hell would I want to have such a goddamn huge phone?" When I tried one, I thought the full browser is nice, but the performance was so crappy (via wifi, I'm not talking about 2G limits) that I figured I'd wait until it didn't suck before I considered it. When the 3gs came out, the the suckiness of the performance was reduced enough I was finally willing to buy, though it took a while to get used to then ridiculously large phone.

Before that 3gs, every phone I owned was chosen because of size - small size, and I had to pay for it. Especially with my first phone, a Nokia 8860 that cost me $500 after subsidy! Now some people won't consider an iPhone with a 4" screen because it is too tiny...amazing how needs/tastes change over time.

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Re: Lots of great info... But...

Reply to: What I mean is simple. Nokia never understood that Apple and Nokia kicked their asses not by making a better phone. The phone part is easy. They competed on fashion and media. The phone and OS simply wasn't relevant.

While I agree with some of what you have to say, Apple basically made a better product. I was a dedicated Nokia fanboi, only owning Nokia's, from the Nokia 2110 back in 1995 to 2009 with N96/7. I ran a tom-tom GPS software on the e series Nokia, I ported a Fortran interpreter to Nokia, and did things like receive and send faxes with Nokia's 20 years ago.

So I'm the ultimate nerd, but with the last N-series I purchased, the interface was so bad to the point of almost being faulty... They got so up their own asses they released a beta product and charged £600 for it. Nokias rise to fame was because its interface was just perfect, better than anyone else's. Thier interface became unusable, because they focused more on hardware than software. I volunteered to work for them for three months, for free, and fix all the issues. I could have done it in less.

I really didn't want to leave Nokia's and was forced to. I purchased an android HTC desire.

I hated apple with a passion. I hated the lockdown system, I hated them taking the piss with prices, overcharging for what shit they produced, I hated the fact that I couldn't change my own fucking battery, on my own fucking SD card.

And I used an iPhone. What surprised me most was the fact that my android had double the speed, on paper but was slower... It reminded me of an Archimedes RISC system where I was watching perfect video, while an IBM with four times the speed couldn't do the same thing,

Actually faster than my computer to love the Daily Mail website. Upon my iPhone, and the truth is, as much as I hate apple, I love iOS. It just works. Specifications are almost irrelevant now, it's faster to load the page and then on the latest Samsung. The fingerprint just works. If my phone gets scratched or damaged, Apple replace it in minutes at the Apple Store for free if you're nice to them. I lost my phone, and the replacement has every message and contact, all the crap and I drew and fingerpainting crap... It's basically the simplest thing in the world, the cloned disk, like a backup of the hard drive off the cloud, but it's instant. While there are alternatives to face time and iMessage, neither what's up on Viber can compare. While I still hate apple, after two years I have nothing but praise for them. Even now I dictate on an iPad. It's insane, but the transcription is actually better than a paid secretary after a few months of dictation

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Facepalm

Re: The reason Nokia lost

"None of those phones until the iPhone had a full browser."

The Sony Ericsson P800 from 2002 did.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lots of great info... But...

"you are stuck with Bing, Internet Explorer and other substandard tools"

I can only assume you havn't used IE11 on mobile - it is faster than Chrome and with no inbuilt spyware and far fewer security holes. You can easily switch Windows Phone to use Google instead of Bing if you prefer The Borg's results.

I note that Windows Phone is now ahead of Apple's idevices in 25 markets now, so it is highly likely that Microsoft will take at least the #2 spot at some point in the not too distant future.

Microsoft are ahead of the curve in being the only vendor with a unified strategy across server, desktop, tablet and mobile, and the only vendor to support the future of touch and gesture across all of those platforms.

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Bull crap.

"the only vendor with a unified strategy across server, desktop, tablet and mobile,"

Yes, just what a want on my server, the interface for a 5" phone screen.

"and the only vendor to support the future of touch and gesture across all of those platforms."

The servers are locked away, I only touch them maybe once a week, and they don't even have a monitor connected to them unless I wheel over the terminal cart. WTF would I want with touch and gesture shit?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bull crap.

Hence why the default on Windows Server is NO GUI. But it's an optional install if you want it.

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Re: Lots of great info... But...

I'd really like to know which 25 markets you are speaking of.

Maybe you should read The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/29/microsoft_nokia/

Windows Phone is starting losing on the US market - that's quite an indicator they will lose in most other Western markets as well, the US is just a little ahead.

And even if Windows Phone increases market share, there's quite a way to go in some markets.

/Zane

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lots of great info... But...

"I'd really like to know which 25 markets you are speaking of."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2014/01/21/here-are-24-countries-where-windows-phone-outsells-the-iphone-and-why-it-does/

http://wmpoweruser.com/add-hungary-to-the-list-of-countries-where-windows-phone-outsells-the-iphone/comment-page-1/

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The P800 ..

... was of course a Symbian touchscreen smartphone with a full browser which appeared five years before Apple invented touchscreen smartphones with full browsers.

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WTF?

"wheel over the terminal cart"

Have you heard of a KVM switch?

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Facepalm

Re: Lots of great info... But...

"""What I mean is simple. Nokia never understood that Apple and Nokia kicked their asses not by making a better phone. The phone part is easy. They competed on fashion and media. The phone and OS simply wasn't relevant."""

The OS is quite relevant, it has always been relevant, in this day an age dare to sell a phone without a decent OS. The OS wasn't too relevant in the 2000s when all phones more or less just sent SMSs and made phone calls.

If the underlying OS is barely ok for the current hardware generation, but hits a barrier on the next one (Palm, Blackberry, etc) You are fine for a generation or two of hardware, then (as always happens with technology) once the market dynamics allow the competition to develop more powerful devices for less, the company gets steamrolled by the competition.

Everybody can tell the company is doomed, but no one can pin-point why, it is all downhill from there, all that is perceived is loss of more and more momentum (IE: Blackberry)

iOS or Android are not great OSs because they are technically brilliant, (which they are anyway), the brilliance in the marketplace and sales comes from several obvious facts:

The OS can take advantage of the hardware and use it well.

The user can use that hardware advantage to his benefit, movies, games...

The Vendor does not restrict (too much) the user from getting those advantages allowing them to install whatever they please.

Now Microsoft problem is very different than the likes of Blackberry or Palm or even Nokia.

Microsoft is an arrogant poisonous company that produces poisonous products. Everything they touch they ruin because they do not allow anybody but themselves to eat cake.

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I disagree in part

The two major players in the mobile market are Apple and Google, not Apple and Samsung. Samsung is very strong in the Google part of the market, just like Dell is/was in the Microsoft part of the PC market.

Secondly, while things have changed in the past in the mobile market, it is different this time. Previously, phones were appliances and you could switch from Nokia to Ericsson or whatever without any issues. Now they are portable computers, and if you switch between Google and Apple, you lose all the money you have invested in apps and so on, whereas if you get another phone in the same camp, you just need to supply your app store account details, and all the stuff you bought is available for you to re-download.

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Re: I disagree in part

"Now they are portable computers, and if you switch between Google and Apple, you lose all the money you have invested in apps and so on"

For most people, all they have invested is a few quid on games last played months ago. It's no hardship switching.

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Re: I disagree in part

For a considerable number of us it's a whole lot more than 'a few quid' and it ain't on games. I have an iPhone and an iPad... and an Android phone. The Android phone gets used as... a phone, 'cause I don't download a damn thing on it. The iPhone and the iPad have music, and movies, and, most especially, _books_. Books from Apple. Books from Nook. Books from Kindle. Books from other sources imported via calibre (converting them to epub format) and then by iBooks (the only reason to use iBooks on a Mac is to import epub files so that they can be synced with the iPad/iPhone...). I have several _thousands_ of pounds worth of books on my systems. Text books. Reference books. Stuff to use at work. Lots and lots of them. (And, of course, lots and lots of books for fun...) The vast majority of them don't have DRM, either because I used calibre to import them or because they didn't have DRM in the first place, some book vendors have Seen The Light and for the others there's USENET. Or my own scanner and OCR. They're _mine_, and cannot be evaporated due to the fiat of Apple, or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. (That last one looks to be going bust Real Soon Now...) I didn't used to have so many books outside of calibre, until I got an iPad... and I got the iPad instead of an Android tablet due to price and saw how useful it was for reading books. Yes, the iPad was cheaper than an Android tab which could do what I wanted; there are far cheaper Android tablets, but the cheap ones simply couldn't do what I wanted them to do. Sorry, but there it is. And then there's the fact that the Android phone has been misbehaving, so much so that I'll probably dump it for something else. Right now the iPhone 4S looks like the frontrunner. Yes, there are better e-book readers... but they're tied directly to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and can't do anything _except_ read e-books. And as the books are on _both_ the iPad and the iPhone, I _know_ that I can get hold of the required text at any time. Including when I'm not carrying a tablet, much less my laptop with calibre installed, which was how I used to read e-books.

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Re: I disagree in part

> all the money you have invested in apps

It isn't an 'investment', at best it is a cost.

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Re: I disagree in part

Android users invest far less in their app than iOS users. Which makes switching from Android cheaper.

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Re: I disagree in part

> Android users invest far less in their app than iOS users. Which makes switching from Android cheaper.

You seem to have some odd ideas about spending.

Buying apps is _not_ an 'investment', it is just spending money: ie a cost.

Android users spend less money on apps for several reasons:

* Many Android phones are used only as 'feature phones' or just 'phones'. The users have no need for apps, they are not addicted to Twitter or FacePalm. They buy inexpensive Androids because they are not much more than dumbphones.

* Many Android apps are free (see F-Droid) where equivalents for iPhone or WP would cost.

Your conclusion that "Switching from Android would be cheaper" is complete nonsense. If the Android user had free Android apps that would cost money elsewhere then that is not 'cheaper'.

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Re: I disagree in part

You missed out:

* Pirating Android apps is a breeze

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Anonymous Coward

Strange analysis

What I read of this is that Nokia, which was destroyed (losing over 50% of the market to end at 4%, according to IDC) by switching to and sticking with Windows phone, should drop Android and keep trying windows phone, and Microsoft, which is now Nokia's owner, never was cool, should now be all on being cool and attractive?

So, keep doing what didn't work, and insist on a mobile OS that is despised and derided by many (colloquially called the "fisher price" OS)?

Remind me again what is the definition of madness...

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Re: Strange analysis

It would be fun to see where Nokia would be if they hadn't switched to Windows. At least there would be no 'stab in the back' legends being invented.

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Analysis missed the elephant

Nokia used to have the highest market share - double the second place player (Apple) and four times the third place player (Samsung). Elop set fire to that achievement with his burning platforms memo. He dissed the existing products (a classic Ratner), and promised that the next generation would be spectacular (a real Osbourne).

That move alone would have only gutted Nokia. The thorough nuking was done later by Ballmer when he purchased Skype. Purchasing Skype coincided with a sudden increase in the rate at which Nokia lost market share. The carriers lothe Skype. They hated Skype on Android because it took away call revenues. They only good thing the carriers saw in Skype was its financial problems could easily have caused it to implode. Then Microsoft stepped in with the money to keep Skype going indefinitely.

Skype carries 34% of international calls. The only way Microsoft could get the carriers to take their phones would be to leak a memo saying that Skype will be discontinued because it is a burning platform and Skype 2 will be really great when it is ready in 2016.

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Trollface

Re: Strange analysis

At least there would be no 'stab in the back' legends being invented.

S'truth. It was actually aliens. Aliens allied to the Justified Ancients of Zeon.

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Re: Strange analysis

That graph interpretation is deeply misleading. The graph shows how, by the end of 2010, Apple's share was increasing much faster than Nokia's and, in terms of %/% rather than absolute numbers, very much faster.

Returning to my favourite analogy, in 1941 the Soviet army looked an awful lot bigger than the German army, but it turned out that size was irrelevant - it was under equipped and badly led. Nokia at the end of 2010 had a large market share based on old technology, and they had no answer to the new and fast growing contender. The trend in their share - the second differential if you like - was negative, a slowing of growth. With Android a still newer contender which was also ramping quickly, Nokia was heading for the doo-doos despite units shifted.

Because some of us have spent a lot of time learning to interpret graphs and question the background behind them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Strange analysis

"Nokia, which was destroyed (losing over 50% of the market to end at 4%, according to IDC) by switching to and sticking with Windows phone"

No - Nokia's loss of market share from it's legacy platforms had nothing to do with Windows Phone. Choosing Windows Phone has helped save Nokia from going bust.

There is no real money to be made by Nokia from Android - Only Samsung turn any sizable profit from it.

"(colloquially called the "fisher price" OS)?"

Can't say I have ever heard it called that; I think maybe only amongst childish commentards.... I note though that Windows Phone's tile format has since been largely copied by Apple. WP has since taken over 20% of sales in the UK enterprise space too which is a good indication of it's maturity and growing momentum.

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Re: Strange analysis

> Nokia at the end of 2010 had a large market share based on old technology, and they had no answer to the new and fast growing contender.

They had Meego, a Linux based OS, which Elop also cast onto the fire, but did spawn the N9 in 2011. So I don't agree that they had "no answer", but WP became the smartphone platform instead of Meego.

I can only assume the other Directors on Nokia's board were threatened with the firing squad if they disagreed. They should all be put against the wall today in any case.

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in 1941 the Soviet army looked an awful lot bigger than the German army,

But we know what happened.

Pragmatic view of men and weapons meant that the Red Army ended up with battle and war winning tanks, planes, guns and strategies.

They did cross the Oder and end up strolling down Unter der Linden.

Things can change dramatically - which is the point of the article.

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Starts off well, but then collapses into facile and shallow trope "what keeps Apple revenues flowing is just fashion"

But no, fashion is suddenly this incredibly powerful beast (true) that for Apple has become a perennial, because, er, suddenly the theory trips over it's own laces.

For a better insight into one of the main reasons Apple succeed, this article is a good read:

http://rampantinnovation.com/2014/05/13/design-is-about-intent/

In summary Apple have design intent to their core. They avoid falling foul of the three design evasions:

1. The first design evasion "Preserving" - Apple have always been prepared to rip-up the blueprint for a previous design success where their competitors do not. Microsoft clearly have suffered badly from this evasion, and as this The Register article points out, where they have ripped up the blue-print (e.g. Windows phone) the result is much better.

2. Copying - Apple are perfectly prepared to copy but only after they have evaluated it is the best solution. They don't abdicate on the responsibility to place the design effort first and evaluate it is the best solution in the current context. Samsung have too often taken the copy first / think later short-cut. Their shameless equivalent of the Apple passbook is a good example of the level to which they are prepared to go in not thinking for themselves. It is pernicious because it can appear to help the company, but it also places an upper limit on user expectations as to what to expect of that company. It's a bit like saying I'll compromise my reputation to achieve scale. It can be done, but it's an existentially limiting trade to make. In life we all have to decide how we are going to live in that regard. If for example I become a photographer, and want to be taken seriously, I can't make a quick buck by shooting porn, or even doing low value magazines, and hope to easily recover my reputation as a top photographer.

3. Delegating - also pernicious because it dresses in the garb of reasoned scientific method. Microsoft fall foul of this problem (the office ribbon bar being an example). This is where design direction is surrendered to the uncoordinated masses through delegating the process to the results of focus group and user research. The abdicating "designer" always has an excuse to fall back on "our research showed..." Steve Jobs would give the Henry Ford quote to illustrate the problem of this third evasion. "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

Apple will fail if they start to diverge from their drive to put design first. Which brings me to their Beats purchase. I've been puzzled by this for some time and concluded Tim Cook had slipped up (I wrote my feelings up here and they seemed to be well received; http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/09/apple-looks-set-to-buy-dr-dre-beats-electronics#comment-35409955)

However, now I think that conclusion was wrong and it has suddenly clicked. Apple like to own the full stack. The oldest and most low-tech connector on a mobile device these days is the headphone jack. And we are heading for a new level HD audio. Apple like to be thought of as the technology firm who "owns" music.

Given they rarely allow themselves to fall foul of design evasion 1 - I predict they are about to go all in on HD audio. In Apple style they will simply wholly remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from all iOS devices coming out this year and moving forwards. In 2 years it will be near as dammit a forgotten connector. If they do this, there will be one hell of a user base purchasing new speaker/headphone tech with a new connector standard (possibly lightening and/ or a new higher throughput low power wireless standard / upgrade to low-power bluetooth). They have been losing some of their lustre as THE tech music company. By buying Beats, and going all in on HD Audio, they reap the profit from the inevitable Tsunami of consumer upgrade behaviour, and fully establish themselves as design leader amongst their peers.

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