129 posts • joined 25 Mar 2009
Rockstar had two other major groups in its make-up: the Nortel legal department and engineers.
(Which made it look to this non-business expert as a restructuring funded by folks who wanted to explore various degrees of thermonuclear war over the Android phones.)
There was also a successor company. Rockstar I — my designation — funded as you indicated, who bought the patents from its leaders' former employer. A second Rockstar was formed in order to exploit the ip. The ownership breakdown got very hard to determine at that point, with management (former Nortel people) only acknowledging that the Apples, etc., had some ownership.
The partners, whether silent or private advisors, were what allowed Rockstar to say that, technically, they were not an NPE.
Just to fill in some details. It still was about going after Google and it is rather pointless to explore the nuance as to who had the idea and who had the dough.
We also recall that Google bid on the Nortel patents and their bids were transcendental numbers x 10^9. If the settlement plus legal costs were less than their bids, they came out ahead for losing.
Betamax v VHS
The difficulty in using that as proof is that those were incompatible formats for content. 30 years later, what would be the analogue to the movie. The app? Okay, there's some merit in that. Where it doesn't hold up is that we had video rentals and sales. Everyone up and down the chain was bothered by duplicated effort and complexity.
Today? Different stores, so no one is annoyed that they have to go and return an app because they got the iOS version by mistake. Apps are not as unique a creation as a movie. What this suggests is that "any old war movie" is not a substitute for Apocalypse Now, but any old vector drawing app will substitute on iOS if an Android developer has come up with a great art app.
The format wars were a friction on VCR uptake. The choice of mobile os was not and is not. VHS's victory was short-lived: it took DVDs about three years to disrupt, and some of that quickness was because there was no format contention. Note that we did have a repeat with Blu-Ray and HD, and notice how consumers resisted. Digital download has no format contention and is becoming dominant over optical disk.
Tapes, being physical, had significant costs for manufacturing and shipping. Guessing wrong on how many Beta and VHS tapes to make and to stock could be expensive. Over in the stores, tapes take space and rentals had to be purchased. A title being out could mean a lost sale or rental, and there are new titles every week, so old titles need to be unstocked. Clearly, as soon as there was enough demand for VHS that a store could say "Sorry, we don't have Beta," a store would.
There are absolutely no equivalents to those problems in the world of mobile apps.
And for every Beta VCR that survived the VHS victory — I was a dead-ender — there are hundreds of iOS users who buy apps. iOS is and remains far more successful than Beta was.
Now, your prediction may be ultimately correct, but it won't be easily reduced to VHS again.
A couple versions back, Apple introduced iCloud saving/sharing and reopen on close without the user needing to save.
This version Apple said there'd be Handoff: start it on the iPhone, continue on the Mac.
Now, how could these things be done without immediate saving to iCloud, before the user has chosen where it is to be saved?
Yeah. That's right. This security genius has figured out that the waves get bigger when the tide comes in.
Okay. Here's the critical part. If this bothers you, do not use Apple products. (But you better go cloud-free because otherwise something is leaving your device and has a non-zero chance of being intercepted.)
If you're like me you say, a) security is inverse to convenience, b) it's good enough, c) I'm a boring grown-up so I'll pick a strong, unique password, take my chances and continue to enjoy the benefit.
Hi. I think confidential settlements are the norm, despite the correspondent's suggestion otherwise.
But, I'm just a guy who's been reading business news for more than three months, what do I know?
I buy a loaf of bread in a store. The store gets what it paid the bakery and its cut. How does the farmer get paid?!?
Now before I get labelled a jackass, I understand your real question which is more about how do the artists get a fair share of the revenues. The artist's cut is controlled by a contract negotiated between one party that has literally tens of thousands of alternatives and another that has a dozen. The record company knows a dozen ways to "win" (or, as I'll mention later, minimize its risks) and, you, the artist don't know any. Perhaps you walk in with a manager or attorney with experience, which is good, until you realize that they too take a percentage of your deal, have multiple clients (diversified risk) and will be coming into this office tomorrow with somebody else, so, perhaps your representation is not as prepared to go to 11 in negotiations as they suggested when they were romancing you, the unrealized genius.
Did the band selling the CD at the show do better than if you had purchased through iTunes. Most assuredly. But we'd all do better if we self-distributed. Distribution, though, is hard and if a musician would rather spend her time writing a new song than negotiating new sales channels, I can see making that choice and we all understand that if someone sells something for you, they get a cut. If she were great at the business stuff, she should form a record company and get into the aggregator/distributor business. In that milieu, she's a superstar.
With regards to digital sales, though not as profitable as the concession sale, no band can play everywhere to everyone and keep their stand open 24/7. The band should be selling at shows and through iTunes. It is a show biz cliche to ask the question "What's better 100% of nothing or 5% of something?" No citations, but I think the chance that the 100% of the nothing that becomes something big and does pay off is less than 20 to 1. (Besides, if one chooses one's partners wisely, the little slice of nothing becomes a relationship that may turn into bigger and better opportunities tomorrow.)
Record companies operate under a fundamental premise: even the best talent pickers will be wrong 9 out of 10 times, whether it's the wrong act or the wrong time in that act's development. Artists very, very rarely have a second chance. This is why one would rather be a record company than an artist, not that any thing's easy. If you look closely at the biz in the glory days, many artists never even had the one chance. They were signed, got an advance, recorded one album which got shelved without release, and were dropped by the label.
Today the technology of recording is far more accessible and the costs of distribution two magnitudes lower. No one says that a sustainable music career requires iTunes, but it doesn't hurt. Meanwhile, the real lesson is that the record company is less important than it was.
How does the artist get more? The artist takes more risk and does more work or becomes so big that they reverse the power mismatch that was there at the beginning of their career. But the person buying music is still absolutely vital in answering the question how does the artist gets paid.
That is the way this onlooker understands it.
But, let's be very honest here. The system is grooved for the aggregators and distributors, in the grand tradition of show business. Individual artists and songwriters have very thin slices of a huge pie. When one sees an artist say that "I had a million streams and I didn't get a livable income from it," I ask, well, what livable income did you expect from radio play, the antecedent you knew. If people stop hearing your songs, who's going to buy your recordings?
Heck, look at all the anger when a good band recently gave away its music! It's hard to sell music. It's nearly impossible to sell unheard music. I can see where one says "I sold a lot of records in 1981 with this song, so for the convenience factor of hearing it now on your phone, that should cost money." On the other hand, um, someone else did the work and paid the costs to deliver the track to the phone.
Pre 1971 recordings in the US are not covered by federal copyright law and so the streaming services have been paying nothing to the record companies for those recordings. A recent court decision said California law did mean that streaming services should pay something for those tracks, but, obviously, that applies only to California. A variable payment system based on the assumed location of an ip address seems to me unworkable. The alternative of paying everyone regardless seems a poor business practice, and I guess one will see fewer streamed oldies. I mean, given a choice between spending the fraction of a penny streaming today's hotness versus The Crew Cuts singing Sh-Boom when the older generations are not engaging in streaming, how would you spend your money? (Disclosure, I am good friends with someone who is friends with one of the litigants and his family.)
Well, maybe the business is transforming, and maybe it makes sense for record companies to embrace being the source for the neo-radio stations. Lower per-item fee, more volume. That could work out. At least the streamers do pay unlike terrestrial radio. The streamers also provide quick links to allow for rapid purchase, which is really how artists always made serious money.
The artists were always up a creek without a paddle and their contractual canoe came with holes.
Re: The same podcast?
I also listened to the podcast and other episodes and other tech-related podcasts from iMore. There's great stuff there.
I've listened to one and a couple of snippets of The Register's current tech podcast, and, well, I didn't get any thing out of it.
Going back to the tech podcasts I do routinely listen to: guess what? Turns out everybody who ships something of merit has people who put in extraordinary hours or do extraordinary things. Creation isn't easy. (Even if somebody else already did pinch-to-zoom or filmed The Godfather Part II.)
This wasn't creative, but three and four decades back, I'd have to pull late nights and all-nighters covering election results as a radio newsperson. Oh, the humanity! Oh the tragedy! Oh, so what? There was a job to do, I did it, I think I did it well, and when it came time to do something different, I left radio.
I'm also thinking, if El Reg sensationalized and de-contextualized some quotes for amusement and attention, well, LOHAN warned us, no?
Meanwhile — yes, I have been driven to this — haters gotta hate, I guess.
P.S. A point I got out of the podcast is that the managers at the mothership working on the key projects did not expect more of their team than they expected of themselves. Melton and Ganatra were not complaining; they were proud that they could somewhat keep up with excellent leaders such as Forstall, who was described as one of the most prepared people the speaker had ever met, and Serlet. The podcast is one of many from the podcasters (Rene Ritchie, Guy English, and Dave Wiskus) that have built a fascinating look at a company in a time when it did the seemingly impossible, go from a failing entity with brand new blue, but under-powered, computers to a wildly profitable company that reset how people think about music players, mobile phones, and mobile computing.
Re: Free software solves all problems ever
You were right to latch onto Mr. Sullivan's quote, but I think you missed the real issues. This problem wasn't quick to fix because bash is free, it was quick to fix because once shown the issue the bash maintainers could address it rapidly. That any one may contribute compounds the issue of quality control. Fortunately, as a practical matter, it's generally project code base experts who would bother.
However, that only fixes the source code. Because the software is free and as is, the users are on their own as to whether a fix of one things breaks another in their confederation of packages.
Proprietary code vendors do not do the work of angels, but the biggest ones such as Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, etc., generally think about the effects of the fix on the paying customer, and if there's a show-stopper problem, holds off until the patch does no harm to the software they sell. This takes time, both in the testing and the revising. Apple and Microsoft recently put out patches that had to be withdrawn. Incompetence? Maybe. Shipping more quickly than they should? Definitely.
Quick is not the virtue, correct is. Mr. Sullivan should also remember that we users aren't grading on a curve. Many will be scrambling or vulnerable until the bash patches are installed and regressions addressed and to them it doesn't matter that Microsoft will release patches in 10 days that it could have released last week, as bash is the thing that disrupted the schedule this week and possibly month. That the problem could have been fixed quickly raises the question why was it not fixed years sooner. And if the response is that the bash reliant aren't giving money to the project, would that be an eye-roller? I ask because right and maintained are why people give money to proprietary code vendors. To Mr. Sullivan I'd recommend coming down from the high horse because everyone has the same problems. Code is buggy and frequently one person's fix is another person's break. It takes time and money to reduce get things right. A code license is not a silver bullet.
Absolutely secure. No one in that state has one and no one will for quite a few months.
Sheesh. I assume the Attorney General has his office looking into the airbag situation for flying cars, though, I presume it's a much lower priority, because, you know, they really, really don't exist yet.
By the way, does Connecticut state law require the Attorney General to certify the security of devices and what are the criteria? Samsung and the Android world would keep him so busy that he would not have time for any thing else, especially if the process involves meeting the CEO. Our devoted Attorney General, too, may be nostalgic for the pre-tech days when he could pursue white-collar crimes with zeal.
Oh, wait, Connecticut.
Re: Apple's Yawn and Windows Apology
Your're right about this: not competing products in nearly every sense.
But, Apple's announcements and iPhone releases get attention from blogs to tech to general press. So there's that. On release weekend, a lot of press will be talking about first weekend sales, saying it was enough or it wasn't enough or the polka dotted one was a disappointment because, well, who needs actual numbers to pronounce? There will also be first weekend discussion of how quick the top one sold out and then further contention as the flame-fanners argue over sales growth or withheld delivery to simulate popularity. In short, iPhones will get a lot of ticks in the news cycle twice next month.
That said, I see a release date guess of the 19th from the writers I respect. It is also the last month of Apple's 4th Quarter. I think two weekends of the new, shiny, as last year, would be preferred.
If September 30 is a Windows announcement, it will get attention. (If. Microsoft makes phones, right? They wouldn't have laid off the Nokia person who remembers that it's good to have new consumer-pleasing product at Christmas time, yet, right? Shouldn't we get a new Lumia or two?)
"backpeddling" instead of backpedaling?
Given this is corpo-market-buzz-speak:
Here's the problem: my Senators and Congressperson are of my party (Democrat) and I absolutely know that one Senator is a key enabler for the degradation of privacy.
Still, their opponents at election time are intent on dismantling every thing I like and their thoughts on privacy matters are rather vague, as the gauntlet they ran to get a Republican nomination entailed being tough on terrorism. As the Carte Blanche is semi-rationalized with suggestions that while everyone is monitored, it's the scary Them that are really being watched. Diverse groups, such as Libertarians and EFFies get that that assertion is effectively nonsense, but it it is an effective dodge for the general electorate. Voters prioritize economic issues any way.
Any way, yes, thank you, but let's not expect that these grades will vex incumbents.
Re: Typical really
Yo soy uno compuador de frijoles. I was a cracker-jack with macros in the Quattro Pro era (1992). Wild things: the instructions would reside in cells that were executed in sequence in a column, so I could write future instructions in the midst of the computation.
Now, I was working with architects and we all thought it would be awesome for me to take furniture specification data, organize it in a spreadsheets and spit out purchase orders by creating a merge document with Word Perfect. This is 1996 or so.
And things were beautiful, until we got a client with too much data. Down went the 486. I was on vacation, so the greetings upon my return were rather frosty among those who had to type out the info.
And I started to figure out Access. And then I learned VBA. And then — dissatisfied with how OOP VBA/1998 gave me no insights into the concept of OOP — learned java. And then learned Unix. And then went Linux/BSD for my personal desktop. And then learned postgresql. And then went OS X. That journey took about 4 years.
And, today, other than a predictable waste of a few minutes as I review a problem, develop a database schema, and then realize it would be easier to just do it in Excel, I am a very versatile but underemployed bean counter.
I think the lesson is clear.
Re: Reverse Discrimination!
Quite a few jumbled thoughts up there.
The Michigan case was on the question could a state constitutionally vote via referendum to end affirmative action. It did not explicitly address affirmative action, except as to whether its absence is an unconstitutional denial of rights. There have been cases about affirmative action and the first one that eroded it, in the sense that there was a compelling state interest in allowing discrimination as redress for past structural denial of civil rights, was Bakke in the early 80s, as I recall.
Arlo Guthrie's story of Officer Obie's overwhelming use of photographic/crime scene technology for a case of public littering was a joke about how quiet things are in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and a set-up for the ironic punch line of the superfluity of the evidence, especially as Guthrie confessed. Could Mr. Guthrie have embellished a bit for entertainment value? Is our lesson here that judgements should be made without looking at the person? No. Guthrie's point was that institutions ("the establishment") had gotten so wound up in the process that they lost a human perspective. It was a pile of trash and Guthrie was willing to go pick it up. Obie turned it into an 30-years premature episode of CSI.
So, you call for employment by blind analysis of numbers, because, I guess, all the best people this world offers are the ones who have awesome test results on paper? Hmm. Really? Nonetheless, it isn't happening, it never will be that way, and I don't even know why someone thinks that's worth a mention, even as aspirational goal.
Collegiate football and basketball are big businesses and run counter to some of the ideals of higher education. This was justified in terms of creating the complete man: athlete and scholar. Colleges, within that philosophy, have programs for golf, soccer, volleyball, track, etc., whether or not there is a significant revenue stream. If there is a tempering process for the student through team and individual athletic competition, how may we say that the opportunity to attain the fullness of the college experience is exclusive to one gender? This was the point behind Title IX. Athletics are good for the person, so ignore women at cost of federal funds. My alma mater ditched its football program in 1970. It is currently very competitive and gets into national rankings in men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and soccer. I was on campus when Title IX came to be. I endorsed it then and I think it works as promised.
There are male cheerleaders, song leaders, yell leaders. No one I know is complaining about this. Still, isn't cheerleading as a profession really a career in dancing? Is there a problem with gender imbalance in dancing? Is dancing as important to the economy as computing? Perhaps instead of flailing about for half-baked absurdities, let's focus on what's real.
Women who are in computing report that they are constantly barraged by innuendos that they don't belong, even as they lead companies, ship products, and make profits. If you listen, you'll hear stories of women who went to a conference too nicely dressed and were mistaken for someone's girl friend, or even more humiliatingly, as paid-for escort. Whenever someone goes public with complaints of harassment, they are assaulted by the internet misogyny army. Now, perhaps this is a subclass of the people need to treat people better problem, but so many folks seem baffled with the concept that women would like to have jobs where they make contributions on interesting problems and no one thinks it's a weird thing to want. Many women and men think that increasing the number of women employed in computing would reduce some of the problem and, as side-benefit, increase the talent pool and make for teams with better balance of perspectives. Is it worth a try? I say yes. I've worked in places where there were majority women and I've worked for women owner/bosses. Those were the best jobs I had. The ones where the owner or a large group were fond of chauvinistic opining were companies with serious problems. My takeaway, the best companies respect their customers and their workers, which is to say, people.
It's Google's money and they are a private entity. They, as an employer, believe in diversity and are doing something to make it happen. I think that's called walking the talk and usually this is applauded. Where's the appeasement? Where's the compensation? Year of Code, for its faults, was inclusive. Google believes they currently see a large number of quality male applicants. Google thinks that there are women who could make a contribution to the company and industry but who have been left out. Willful? Coincidence? Who cares? Let's send an invitation and welcome.
With outreach, will every woman think that computing is the field for them? Does every man?
If someone says to another, "Here, let me show you you can do this," how does that subtract any thing from the person already doing it?
I tend to not think much of the person who goes "No one helped me, so every one can just [buzz] off." (I note, that is neither explicitly nor implicitly your argument here.) People did help them, but they are so besotted by their self-congratulations (or so corrupted by fear and doubt) that they've erased those moments when someone showed them an opportunity, or taught them the right way, or cleared their heads of mush. Many people forget those moments when they had luck or they got the chance through a friend or relative.
Imperfect Analogy: The Understated Disclaimer
One difference between then and now: PC operating systems licensing was a business and Microsoft had a lock on the OEMs in that the applications the user already owned or would want were almost entirely written to DOS and then Windows. Applications for mobile these days are less expensive in absolute terms, let alone after adjusting for inflation. The key applications for browsing, Internet communications, telephony, and information are available for free. Many of the apps that tie into services use standard protocols, so the smartphone's os is abstracted away.
Also OEMs saw the PC movie and may be more reluctant to cede differentiation to Google and plunge into a profit-eroding price war, though for many smartphone OEMs, there are no profits, so what do they have to lose? On the other hand, the profitable users, adapters, and forkers of Android made their money on the strength of their marketing and their brand's loyalty. Google merely gave them a means to address Apple's entry into phones and subsequent domination of the profits in the sector. For a crucial couple of years, Microsoft and its pre 7 mobile operating systems were useless in terms of competing with the iPhone.
Re: IS MICROSOFT AN INNOVATOR?
Well, because of file formats and binary compatibility, it's difficult to see how the pc market would have been anything other than one of os consolidation. Microsoft certainly did what it could to fend off all threats, using it's accidental success and leverage.
As to the internet, Microsoft missed it, which is good, because by the time they noticed it, it got too big for them to find the place to set up a tollbooth. HttpRequestObject was an innovation that changed the internet for the better, and that is a big feather in their cap.
It felt to me as though the driving force for change was hardware. It's why we upgraded software, cycled out machines every 2 to 3 years.
But, I don't want to take any thing away. Microsoft was in business to make money and so in some places it made rain and in some places it rode waves. As we all do.
From my point of view, where it went sour was Microsoft's response to the Internet, java, and Linux. Rather than having confidence in the quality of their products, they decided to focus all their guns on those threats and, if the customer experience was degraded, so what? Like the customers would go and get Macs or something? Well, not many did, to be sure. But a lot of the power users did, and that got the smart folks inside and outside of Apple thinking of how to abstract away Windows from getting interesting things done.
That's history. Doesn't really matter, here and now are still the same. If you like Windows, the great news is they're still at it.
Here's the thing about Ballmer. I know he's a smart guy, but he doesn't have a journalist's bone in his body. What do I mean? He can't see or express what's going on, if there's a dissonance between a trend and his loyalties.
Did You Notice
He predicts the Microsoft brand — even as he initiated the transition to follow along with first the Zune and then the tablets and phones — will differ from the Apple brand in that there's the adjective "affordable."
Okay, first, someone can afford Apple's stuff.
But secondarily, Microsoft doesn't really get "affordable." If they did, they wouldn't have so many of the computers in the world clinging to XP. Microsoft chose to support its real customers, the OEMs, by making a new computer the most economical way to get a new operating system.
Re: Start as you mean to go on
True, but to be fair, he did get Mrs. Clinton elected president in 2008 with his shrewd insights into the US voter.
Hang on. Sorry, I seem to be in a time stream that doesn't exist.
Every Plane A Fighter Jet
Okay. 1984. Who was making personal computers for sale. 2014. Who remains? There is a story in the Apple story and if a particular version could use more acknowledgment of luck, well, that's a fair point in any historical naarative.
From my personal perspective, in February 1984, my younger brother drove up to an Apple reseller in Solvang, California to get the only one available in three counties. He had access to a clean room and he upgraded it to 256k RAM. For the next few months he also had a business doing the same for the engineers at the place he worked.
As to businesses and general consumers, interest in the Mac was muted at best, and one can easily work out the reasons.
But among people who were into computers — it was my major in college the decade before, but I was a radio announcer those days — it was front page news. Within 24 months, I had bought my brother's Mac (and he became a 25 year faithful DOS/Windows person) and I had transitioned into work doing advertisement for a savings and loan. Desktop publishing meant my Mac and I foretold BYOD in the 80s when I brought all the typesetting of ads, annual reports, brochures, and internal forms in-house, using my personal Mac. Used it at home to develop MIDI parts for the record my rock band made.
So, put me down as among those who think something of note did happen 30 years back. The quality of the telling — as with all things — is the responsibility of the author. Though I left the Mac fold in 1996, I returned in 2001 when OS X delivered Unix without window manager fussery.
And, Bondi Blue under-powered iMacs? Under-powered for the internet-excited general consumer of 1998? No. And a shape and color that said "no fiddly cables" and "I'm fun for the life outside of work?" Yes. Besides, Rin-Tin-Tin has been billed as the dog that saved Hollywood. Clearly the animal's thespian range was beside the point. The iMac turned around Apple's cratering fortunes and as far as I can recall every other computer maker in similar straits went under with barely a trace.
Re: Gone away on a Safari ?
Maps is on Macs that have been Mavericksed.
Re: "Does this mean Linux gets a real chance on mobile?"
Openness gets you something among those who are followers of license politics.
It was an os that could take on iOS and also mop the floor with Blackberry and the antediluvian Windows phone os. At first it was at minimal to no cost and then it cost a little bit (with the check paid to Microsoft). So, manufacturers used it. Google had a revenue stream that increased with usage and did not depend on license fees, so it can subsidize the carriers and ease their ability to say yes when the manufacturers pitched the Android phones to them.
It also had to work reasonably well and Google had to show that it was going to work on its sub-optimal parts. Hardware getting faster so the cost of the vm and memory management effectively disappppearing for the user also helped.
There were other mobile oses that were arguably more open and they went nowhere. I think Meego would be a good example.
So, no, openness was not the only reason. I'd argue it wasn't even the most significant reason.
Greetings from Los Angeles! Clear and cold (for us) this morning.
If so, the Mordor Tourist Bureau should really sue all those filmmakers for making the skies ever dire. That and there being only two ways in—three counting giant eagles or Nazgûl—certainly discouraged the casual holiday visit.
Or, the good researcher has overlooked the micro-climate implications of a volcano in the middle of the region as well as a tower housing the ultimate ever-watching evil being. We do have the Wells Fargo Tower and Wells Fargo is a bank. Okay, scratch the last point.
And... we are adjacent to the ocean. Perhaps he meant inland a bit, as in Van Nuys or Acton (adjacent to Vasquez Rocks where they would film exteriors of exotic planets).
Re: A couple of root issues
San Francisco is a world-class city. I would quibble about the "artificial" limit as it is a peninsula in a seismically active zone that has been a major commerce center and port for over 150 years.
Google can pay people nicely and are down the road.
I don't think the buses are making the rents go up. The latter was pre-destined.
Now many of us think there's a bubble in the Bay Area and it's based on VC funding. If we're right, rents go down. Problem solved. If not, I've heard whispers that Oakland—across the Bay—will be Developers' Paradise.
If you want to spend money to have me carry a second phone rather than deal with mine and reimburse me some of the costs. Why not? It's your budget. In fact, a hypothetical thank you to the IT Managers who will be deferring staff and personal salary increases because the money has to go to stamping out the iPhone.
Oh. And Android phones, I presume.
Re: Easy to not pay!
Let's see Verizon sells its $20 billion allotment from Apple. Cost to Verizon: $20 billion.
Verizon sells $10 billion of the $20 billion allotment from Apple. Cost to Verizon $20 billion.
It's on the revenue side where the difference occurs. So, yeah, maybe Verizon bumps the monthly charge to cover the shortfall, though I haven't really seen prices change, except for the early term fees and the gradual phase-out of unlimited data (though there was a limit which led to throttling when exceeded.)
(And let me whisper, other phones do not sell out and there's a restocking charge for returns, so it isn't exactly only an Apple-carrier's problem of missed revenues. Shoot, with the restocking charge, it truly does make a difference whether a carrier sells or doesn't sell one of those other phones.)
As to the contract terms: Apple makes a convincing case and the carriers in the US who were left out via the exclusivity agreement with AT&T and Apple's unconcern with odd networks wanted to start selling the iPhone as soon as possible. One company even said in its Annual Report that they were at a disadvantage because they could not carry the iPhone.
Look at it from this point of view. If someone loves Android or Windows Phone (and there's no reason why not to), there are quite a few manufacturers who will offer those phones. There is only one iOS phone, so drop the iPhone and say good-bye to those fans. And before you say "Well, those folks are hipster fashionista no-tech money-wasters." I'll remind you that the money is just as green as that of the super-capable, wise people who choose [your mobile os device].
When Ever to Say What Ever
Does any one who cares about Office on a slab or tablet not know it's there on the Surface?
I would dislike to propagate wrong rumors, but I heard that Surface RT Office is not licensed for work use, which seems both unenforceable and a willful removal from the productivity app category. Either I'm wrong or Mr. Shaw doesn't let fine print get in the way of a pitch. Both could be true.
Apple still licenses Office compatibility and puts that in Pages, right? So maybe the way to view this is Apple gave Microsoft a chance to stop leaving money on the table through withholding Office from iOS and Microsoft kept saying it's coming, but later. Well fine, Pages won't kill Office, no way, no how, but Office becomes the product that no iPad owner needs because Apple will give away Office compatibility for free to its iOS customers.
We'll see how it works out, but were I Microsoft's executives, I'd reserve my brags until after the positive results are posted. Though, recent times being a guide, if they are posted. (Side note, the company posted good numbers for last quarter: maybe Apple does not have to lose for Microsoft to win.)
You beg quite a few questions.
That Apple would have done better by pricing to increase share. In the PC market these days it does very well in terms of profit with only 5% share.
Apple never was the leader in share. Businesses mostly bought IBM and later IBM compatible pcs. The significant reason for your next choice of computer and os is two-fold: what applications you have and, if Windows-based applications, what's Microsoft current version of Windows. Apple could not have ever had an iPod or even iPhone level win in the 80s and 90s pc market. All computers were expensive until the late 90s.
And look at the PC market, every couple of years the price of the good-enough pc drops a hundred dollars. And Windows remains the same price. What you see is a better deal for consumers and Microsoft and a worse deal for the OEMs. Take a look today, as the total volume of pcs sold declines, the quality manufacturers are posting sales growth. This contradicts the essential position that those who succeed in the quality sector of the market are doomed to erosion from below. It doesn't invalidate the position, the contradiction suggests that something more complex is at play.
Did you notice in the figures cited that Windows had better share than Apple? Yet Apple is the one run over by the Android juggernaut. Seems as though the hypothesis would suggest that Windows couldn't possibly gain.
Today file formats are fairly interchangeable and a native app frequently is a portal to networked information, the os is an implementation detail. The fundamental problem for Apple, say 1996, was that it was not in the running. Today, it's that it is easier to switch platforms. The more comparable player of the 80s to Apple today is not Apple 1984 but IBM 1987; after a 25 year run, it sold its pc business to Lenovo. Do the above models suggest that dooooom is Apple selling the iPhone business to someone else in 2032?
Here's my take. The internet/world-wide-web made the pc a consumer electronics item. It was priced too high at the outset of that era, but by the time broad-band became widespread, costs had come down. Apple was not prepared for this. Microsoft got on board with ethernet rather than its proprietary LAN solution (vines). Apple was not prepared for this. Microsoft got its act together with Windows and added value to the DOS users of the world who upgraded. Apple wasn't prepared for this. Microsoft got its act together with regards to NT. Apple was not prepared for that. Intel had fierce competition with AMD and processor speeds got a lot better real fast. Apple was on Motorola's architecture and its processor was good enough for most of Motorola's customers. MacOS required the users to have too much knowledge about memory sharing for applications. The os that was for the rest of us became the os for those who do math and have an aesthetic.* Their internal projects to bring MacOS into the 90s failed and probably over the sticky problem of making it modern and compatible with customer's applications.** Apple was beset on many sides.
Licensing the os, in retrospect, looks like a classic case of someone tragically believing their press releases.
Apple came back, but not buying share. They embraced the processor as the heart of a consumer electronics device and fully-voiced said "We're the brand for your quality time." Most of the competitors, today, even though it's absolutely clear what Apple did, still say "You need us for work."
(* That might be me, and I bailed from Mac in 1996. Started leaving Windows in 1999 and after a not unpleasant journey through Linux and FreeBSD on home-built machines came back to Mac in 2001 with OS X 10.1.)
(** The interim period of Classic and OS X was a fair compromise, but hardly pleasant for those who needed to do things wanting to use Cocoa apps side-by-side with applications that were MacOS 9.2 bound.)
Re: @ Wibble - iPads are expensive?
An excellent point, if playing Angry Birds is the sole task assigned to the device.
Re: Business is nuts...
I think you miss the subtleties. Microsoft needs profit and profit growth from mobile to replace profits declining as pc sales flatten.
If Microsoft does well with its phones, are other phone makers going to jump on the Microsoft Phone platform or are they and Google going to continue to press ahead with Android, which, other than the Microsoft ip tax allows Android makers to start with a lower bill of goods.
Microsoft will be converting its license fees from Nokia into an internal transfer, i.e., a net wash, and their play is to make Windows Phone the clear, undeniable standout in interface so as to justify a higher profit margin on their phones. Otherwise, it's a spec and price war, and Android has the head start.
Why am I not putting Apple into this mix? Because Microsoft sells operating systems and any one who could choose a Windows variant has no access to an Apple os, but can license an Android (or Linux) os.
Did you notice that Nokia is keeping some of its business? After the deal clears, Microsoft will be a customer of Nokia-prime, but Nokia-prime, other than desktops and maybe servers, will not be a customer of Microsoft.
Meanwhile, Nokia had been having difficulties selling phones profitably. Microsoft now owns those difficulties. Redmond knows better than Finland on how to turn it around?
I was joking that the headline could have been written "Nokia Ditches Dying Business, Fires and Outplaces CEO."
Number 2? Samsung, Microsoft (formerly Nokia), Apple, all the other Android makers, all the other Windows Phone makers, if any. I don't see that. Do you think that Nokia was holding back and didn't really want to sell smartphones powered by Windows? That would seem insane to me. If so, Microsoft overpaid for a business and is retaining the wrong people if it's a company that was held back by its sandbagging.
If I'm a Californian who agrees, am I a hipster?
What I Use
While the reporter took took the angle of "BEHOLD Mac dudes and dudettes, it's Windows! Proof of alien life in distant worlds!" I gather the point is that Parallels' maker has done a deal to gain in-store promotion.
It's a good product; I use the above mentioned competitor.
If you don't buy a new house from us, we'll publicize all the ways to break into the old one.
Does that sound like extortion to any one else?
That Was the Plan: The World Did Not Cooperate
Vista was ill-timed, it should have been 12-24 months later, but they thought they had to do something and its delay occurred because of mis-steps and internal concerns being amplified into revenue threats.
Vista started out as Longhorn, which would have a filesystem with relational database overlay so as to help users find their stuff (and related stuff) quickly. Also, Apple had implemented its graphical interface in Display Postscript, meaning the screen and the printers were fed the same data, PDF saving of any printable element was a side effect that customers liked. Microsoft, and I don't think it was copying, it was just the obvious way to go, does something similar (using a pdf knock-off called xps) and gives it a brand name.
ILuvYou breaks in 2003, and Microsoft has an effective year-long security introspection. Longhorn's team focuses on security and XP SP2. 2004, otherwise the expected year for Longhorn, passes without its release.
In 2005 or so, Google has made a huge business out of search services and it is most definitely not using relational techniques to produce quick results from searches of that dynamic database called the internet. Adios the relational file database system. Hello, background indexing, metadata, and utilizing mutli-cores and parallel processing.
As Apple discovered when it went Quartz/Aqua, the nice graphics extracts a large cost in speed. Apple let the processors improve and did some optimizations (farewell pinstripes?). and had nearly annual os updates. (Performance improvements, that's why we paid paid for our service packs, they added value!) Microsoft will put the optimizations in service packs and the follow-up to Longhorn.
2005, Microsoft discovers that the NT code base is such a hair-ball that something has to be done. A hero is born as one of the engineers leads a team that makes the os more modular and which means that there will be a successor to XP, something the unreconstructed codebase was not going to enable. Wall Street, meanwhile, is saying that Microsoft is clearly having problems with shipping a key product. It's right and wrong. Microsoft was having problems, there was a tiny bit of erosion of share to Apple, every speaker at a tech conference saw more Apple logos glowing back, and web developers invested in LAMP decided that the best platforms for development were Linux or OS X, so farewell cutting-edge users. Wall Street was wrong in that Microsoft still put money in the bank if the pc sold was running XP.
At the end of 2005, Bill Gates said Vista would ship at the end of 2006, unless it wasn't ready, because Microsoft was committed to getting it right. I suspect that meant it was coming at the end of 2006 no matter what.
Turns out, the "what" was driver support from third parties. Many folks excited by Vista's release quickly restore XP as their computer, even the ones with the Microsoft approved "Vista Capable" sticker, didn't have the graphics horsepower to work. Some found that key peripherals wouldn't work and could not work until the vendor provided a driver. Enterprise waits a year for the first service pack and generally decides that Vista is not for them. (They use their license fees to continue to run XP, Microsoft's net loss for the choice, 0.)
In 2007, OEMs started to put out Netbooks, small, light, single-core Intel processor powered, and inexpensive computers that took off like gangbusters. Mostly ran Linux because it brought retail costs down. Linux had 70% of the share in that sector. That was a big problem in Redmond—Wall Street are not the only ones with misguided perspectives—and so Microsoft needed to spend some money to get that share number turned around.
But, Vista was too big and needed too much processor power, so XP's life was extended because it could run on Netbooks.
Microsoft also lost revenues because the Netbook XP license was discounted in order to help the OEMs choose Windows without having zero profit. There was a Win7 Starter Version (remember the brouhaha pre-release because it would only allow three applications to be opened at a single time?) which was discounted, but could not be used by an OEM except the device truly was small and low-powered.
Netbooks were a short-lived phenomenon. Something people bought because Microsoft and its OEMs didn't figure out light-weight, portable computing the way Apple did with the iPhone, to some degree, and the iPad, most definitely.
So missing search, codebase sprawl, next-gen graphics now requiring better hardware, advanced security that changed the rules for drivers, mollifying Wall Street, moving faster than their platform affiliates, missing netbooks, and caring about netbooks (and I have no doubts that there were dissenters to upper management who focused elsewhere and missed opportunities or didn't apply the stitch in time), these are the goofs that led to Zombie XP.
Oh, and Vista, Win7, and Win8 did not provide utilities for seamless migration of applications from XP. When it was clear to me, an Apple-using idiot, that Microsoft's first task was to GET FOLKS OFF OF XP, they didn't spend the engineering resources to make it easy.
Ah well, big company, big problems. Besides, my large-caps nonetheless, Microsoft's real problems aren't Win8 or XP, it's that people are holding on to old pcs, because the hardware advancement has a smaller delta YOY than 10 years back, the negative growth in new computer sales, though this may be temporary, and where there is sales growth, someone else's operating system is on the device. Easy migration is one more mitigation, but really, if the computer turns on and the applications works, that's as much as many folks care about. Besides, Microsoft still makes money, so XP migration revenues at this time would be the frosting roses on top of a nicely frosted cake. Once support stops, the cost for having XP users goes to 0.
Re: just a thought....
I like a and c. Over the years, I've come to believe the os version does not sell the computer. The os only matters to the degree that the user's applications may continue to run.
Here's a loose proof. Microsoft has telegraphed its release of the next Windows versions 12-24 months in advance. If there was a wait-for-it phenomenon, Microsoft's ears would be scorched by the language the OEMs—Microsoft's true customesr— would use on the phones and in memos every month that release didn't follow pre-announcement. Also, Vista, Win7, and Win8, according to some circles, were likely to boost pc sales growth, but I don't think the effect, if any, could be shown to be significant.
Still, in June/July 2012, we had Win8 on the way, less employment (I write from the USA), and summer was still summer. Did we see a diminishment of the fall-off in XP and a flattening of Win7? I don't recall as we did, though to be honest, while these usage stats do arrive monthly, the reporting on them is a tad scattered as writers cherry-pick moments in order to the use the snapshot, rather than the trend, in order to make some case that Microsoft has [the mojo | the curse] with regards to a new or old os.
The key points, and these have been clear for a few months, Win8 is not growing as fast as it should (and most of the causation goes to the pc market) and XP is not declining as fast as it should—from Microsoft's perspective, of course. If one is using XP securely, well, why care that Microsoft thinks it really, really important that one gives it a couple of hundred dollars for a new os and half a day towards reinstalling applications, tracking down license keys, sorting through activations, etc., all done with some risk that key applications from minor or aggressive vendors do not run on the new shiny, now with Start button restored (!!!!! - LIstening!), as soon as it's released, any day now, no really.
Re: Not only Surface RT
The minima and maxima of Windows demand is well established. Interfaces may be changed. The thought was, I guess, that oodles of people get Win8 via work or because their current pcs needs replacement, love it, and switch to a Win8 mobile device. It would seem to be a 48 month plan to me.
The RT write down is, at this time, a discount to clear inventory and get the devices into the hands of people so that developers see an opportunity for porting. I don't think we've seen any hint that there will not be an RT 2 this fall. And frankly, looking at the financials, Microsoft can afford the over-estimation of demand for the first-generation. Will they have a smaller run for version 2 and take a reduction in margin? There has to be a hardware upgrade, otherwise the price will have to match the discounted price of version 1.
Still, the big picture may not be as wacky as Mr. Clarke posits. As to the reorganization, one has to figure that it had a 24 month gestation, at least, and has its roots in a critique of the company 2007-2011.
It could also be a temporary thing to find Ballmer's successor, but to do so in a context where execution in a team structure is the sole criteria, as divisional revenues are sublimated.
All that said, a case may be made that Microsoft doesn't understand the iPad's success. It isn't a PC-replacer, it is the thing that people buy instead of a PC because a PC is too much trouble for what they want to do with it. The os is a red-herring. So marketing an ARM device that runs Windows misses the point, if people wanted Windows on a tablet, they would not have bought an iPad.
The Surface Pro, though, is the expensive Windows pc in tablet form, and as such is unlikely to appeal to iPad customers and ends up looking like an expensive, but more portable, alternative to a Windows laptop. It hurts Microsoft's partners more than Apple. More importantly, it means Microsoft and its partners are grappling over getting the profits from a diminishing customer base, those who are buying PCs.
Re: Translation: "Your checks haven't cleared yet...."
Barton is Mr. Anti-Science and Mr. Pro-Oil.
Excuse me, The Honorable Mr. Pro-Oil.
Yes, the message is being sent, not enough Googlebucks delivered to enough Republicans.
Re: I agreee it IS Win7
WWDC is around the corner, but as yet, there are no touch-enabled Macs. That said, gestures have been added for those who use a trackpad, and I chose a trackpad rather than a mouse the last time I bought a Mac in 2011.
As far as Apple's strategy at unifying (though not absolute unification), if one is merely an observer then one may possibly be confused by tech punditry hysteria, conflation, and dire speculations. I don't think OS X and iOS will be exactly the same. Still, 65-70 million is the total number of Mac buyers for all history. They sell in excess of that number of iOS devices every three months. Leveraging mobile user interface elements, where it makes sense, seems smart because the Mac will seem more familiar than a Windows system. Now, pcs are going to skew to power users as tablets continue to grow, so there are limits as to how optimized for single task a desktop os should be.
Microsoft, though has inverted the strategy. They are trying to prep desktop users for the Microsoft mobile interface, to make the Microsoft mobile look and feel be the familiar one. Maybe that's me being just an observer relying on the tech press. If the strategy is fairly stated, It seems to me that an obvious flaw with the plan is that Windows users have been buying iOS and Android devices in large numbers, so the different look and feel is not a problem.
This isn't the first time the desktop has changed and we cannot be surprised when we hear yells, since it happens every time. Even in Mac land. Times are changing, and there are now ways to go with "leave it," when offered the cliched choice of arrogant customer disservice. We'll see what happens.
Re: Two years baby
That assumes there's a point to differentiating. With such dominance of the platform, why spend the money to develop its own os: to go from 94 to 95%?
Re: Chris O'Dowd...is now a bona fide Hollywood star?
Greetings from geographic and professional adjacency to Hollywood adjacent.
He is the face of a series that is about to premiere on HBO, so, if he isn't a star, exactly, he's getting work.
Let's Go With Idiots
One wonders if the author thinks through his premise. I mean, those PC companies read smart analysts like Dediu too.
Is this the conversation the author induces? (At Spacely PCs) "Jetsonnnn!" "Yes Mr. Sprocket?" "Why are we selling buckets of pcs and Apple is making more money?!?" "Apple sells to idiots who pay more." Sprocket pauses, sighs, and says, "Very well, it's an integrity thing. Shouldn't you get back to pushing buttons and figuring out discounts on SKUs that aren't moving?"
Re: Christ on a bike...
Kids, here's a tip for discussing a product that has implemented a business model at cost of some customers. When the lost or under served customers are mentioned, acknowledge the inconvenience and say we'll be thinking them in future iterations. You aren't, and their ability to be customers depends on technology advances or infra-structure improvements, i.e., things beyond your control. If satisfaction is not in the cards, empathy is a good alternative.
Re: A Mac at a price I'd pay
Unfortunately, the sunflower iMac's screen is too small these days, but I still have mine because I love its design.
If I got serious about actively using it, I'd put Linux or a BSD on it, though I notice that enthusiasm for supporting those operating systems on a G4 is waning.
You did get a great deal. Though I dare say that any computer from those times could have been resurrected as you did in the same way. That iMac, though, was the one that didn't look boring.
Re: Why are you so sure that they are scheming?
Maybe simpler than that: Parallels said okay and gave a discount.
It was very recently also part of an annual discounted bundle of Mac software.
Oh, and if this was targeted at web developers, then a vm is definitely preferable. One would want to look at the page on IE, make adjustments in the editor, reload the page in IE, rinse and repeat. Who would want the cycle to include two reboots?
So. Was the package attractive because of Windows 8 or Parallels?
A couple of other thoughts. Your dudgeon over suggestions that Microsoft would throw new customer opportunities to a non-competitor — which I find plausible, but who cares which virtual product Microsoft chooses — is buttoned up with the suggestion that, perhaps, that is what Singhal's "crew" used. So the IE development team works on OS X and checks on virtualized Windows boxes? Seems expensive, but Microsoft is not a start-up.
Also, why would start-ups using OS X be monitoring Mr. Singhal's blog? No conspiracies, merely curiosities.
Re: The point of Shares
Apple does pay a dividend.
iShinies and dragon hoard? I apologize for wasting every one's time. For a moment there I was taking you seriously.
Re: pathetically dependent?
Though Microsoft regroups things every now and then, they have business groups which frequently show losses. Apple may derive more of its profits from the best-sellers, but none of its product lines are losing money.
Before we leave leave Microsoft, we note a few things, other than a quarter when they wrote off their silly acquisition, they consistently put cash into the bank; a few good products — for awhile — can pay for products which are aimed at developing a market; and their stock does okay: no crazy jumps up or falls down.
Apple's P/E ratio, I'm assured, suggests its price is a bargain today, but I am not an investor. Here's the way I look at it. The stock had an amazing ramp up in 2012 and one perception was that taxes would go up in 2013 because the US elected the same people to office late in the year. So people took their profits in the fourth quarter. When there are more sellers than buyers, the price goes down.
Besides, the notion that stock acquisition is fueled by a wise assessment of the long-term potential formed by careful analysis of a company's products, competitors, and markets is quaint. Nowadays, stocks sell because one algorithm for a pool of funds predicts that price growth will not hit a target at the sell price while another algorithm for another pool predicts the opposite for the same buy price.
I'm merely a small-business-level non-tax-code-reading California bookkeeper, so perhaps I do not have enough external knowledge to understand the above accounting glimpse. It sure didn't make sense to me.
Pre-paid taxes are an asset. Deferred taxes would be a liability. A non-cash charge? I gather that means that this shows up in accrual accounting only.
Normally they would expect...? No, they should know the gross and pre-tax profit numbers. Is the imprecision theirs or the author's?
Re: Lul wat?
I'd call it darn fine lawyering, getting the client to spring for briefing a wackily poor analogy to the next higher court.
I had some sympathy for the point of view that Google, in exploiting java's good will in the developer world, should have compensated Sun for its many years of building the community by giving away sdks, documentation, frameworks and tool.
Any way, Oracle decided to try and claim apis as copyrightable, but this would be such a large ip grab. I think, without being alarmist, that no one could implement a protocol except they license it from the originator, even if the implementation is entirely different, were Oracle's argument prevail.
Or maybe I miss the brilliant truth that boolean Object.equals(Object o) is merely a unlicensed character in a little drama I call My Program: Does It Work?
Re: Obvious troll is obvious.
Well, I stand by my assertion. Consider it self-rationalization as I use open-source projects in my work. I do not donate money and I do not fix bugs. Lack of money and talent. So when I look at contributors such as RedHat or IBM I appreciate what they do, and not hold them against a standard of what I think they should do or a standard I can't personally meet. They adapt things to suit their business purposes and do so as per the license. Apple is in the category of IBM, Google, or RedHat, though with fewer incidents of altruistic project management. Apple clearly has chosen code, when it may, that has licensing terms they prefer. Don't you? I sure do, especially when the licensing terms are "give us money."
Or companies don't follow the license and then, rightfully, some guardian of the license has a serious talk with them about getting right.
You, of course may apply your own systems of ethics to the issue.
Re: Am I the only person..
I didn't think of it because I'm here in Los Angeles, but that is exactly similar to what the NFL does regarding their game.
Which reminds me, the attorney supposedly doesn't know who might sue them when the owners of the trade mark, the only ones whose ip rights could be infringed, is well known. Could Samsung's real attorneys have told its real ad agency that suggesting the NFL is very thorough in enforcing its trade marks possibly defamatory? Or, is the (US) football league's name also a trade mark and out of bounds?
Patents and trade marks are different under US law, and this is all about not running afoul of the NFL's ip-guardians.
I suppose it could be read as allegory regarding the patent dispute initiated by Apple, though one has to recall that Samsung has initiated some suits under patent laws. One could argue that was retaliation, but we'll never know. So, Samsung is essentially okay with patent law. Does the NFL zealously enforce trademarks? Indeed it does, so the ad is not hyperbole.
Here's the thing, Samsung could invoke the game and the teams if it paid the big, big bucks to the NFL. They are basically saying they won't, even though they spent a fair penny for good talent in an ad that will be hopelessly stale by the end of the month. (Unless they filmed alternates for other, similarly trademarked events, such as the Academy Awards.)
The three all are in proximity to what we presume are Samsung devices, but we don't see any one using them beyond having, holding and waving around. Frankly, because I think all three actors are great, we engage with the conversation, frustration, and Odenkirk's variety of cut-offs more than the props. The scenario is a bit false in that the attorneys do not discuss script issues with the actors. Since Odenkirk's attorney is the enforcer here, isn't it a mistake that he also has a Samsung device?
Regarding effectiveness as a branding exercise. "We're the guys whose attorneys insist we say stupid things so we don't get sued?" All righty then. There's some real differentiation.
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