* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Xiaomi takes aim at Apple, Qualcomm

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wanted: copywriter with intact brain

The article makes it sound like they are an architectural licensee like Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and a few others. The SoCs that Xiaomi is planning to make will use standard licensed ARM cores, i.e. A53, A72, that sort of thing. Basically a commodity market against cutthroat low margin competitors like Rockchip. But Xiaomi has shown it can compete in the cutthroat low margin world, so that doesn't mean they won't succeed. But I doubt Qualcomm is going to sweat much, and Apple sure won't.

DougS Silver badge

Using standard ARM cores

They are going to have a hard time competing with Samsung and Qualcomm's custom cores. Probably more of a concern for fellow Chinese companies like Rockchip, since they appear to be aiming at budget phones.

F-35s failed 'scramble test' because of buggy software

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This is how the US is preserving its air superiority

Make a crappy plane that's sold all over the world, with plans undoubtedly stolen by the Russians and Chinese. Then the F22 that actually works and is superior to the F35 in every way, that we don't sell to anyone, is still king of the skies! Well, unless China stole the plans for it, too.

SpaceX adds Mars haulage to its price list

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Let's take up a collection

And send the remaining five presidential candidates to Mars. I'm sure we could raise that money in no time at all. It'll be cheap, even with Trump's ego the total weight would be under 4850 kg (we won't bother with food, water or oxygen for them, to save weight)

Then we'll be forced to start over with new candidates. Sure, they might not be better, but pretty sure they couldn't be worse!

If you work on Seagate's performance drives, time to find another job

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Re: A death and decline so easily forseen...

Engineers formerly writing firmware for hard drives could write firmware for other embedded devices, the skills are transferable. Engineers formerly designing the mechanics of hard drives might design other high precision devices like high end 3D printers. No one is suggesting a mechanical engineer is going to start writing software, or vice versa. What they at Seagate or WD is not so specialized that all their software or mechanical design talents are useless on other products.

Anyway, what are the downvoters recommending as a solution? Ban or tax SSDs to keep the poor hard drive engineers employed? I doubt they had much sympathy when autoworkers lost their jobs to automation and probably said "hey technology advances, you gotta keep your skills current". But when it is engineers who are being displaced, suddenly it hits a bit too close to home for some, I guess.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A death and decline so easily forseen...

The problem is that the people actually designing and fabricating hard drives are not going to become SSD developers and technicians

How is that any different than the fate of those who designed horse drawn buggies a century ago, or who designed calculators 30 years ago? These are engineers, they should be smart enough to adapt to a new field (and should have seen the writing on the wall been planning this transition the last few years) They aren't unskilled laborers like assembly line workers or miners who may never be able to find another job that pays much beyond minimum wage when the coal mine closes or the manufacturing work is shipped overseas.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Enterprise : capacity vs performance

Seagate wants there to be a difference, but there is not. Since enterprise capacity and commodity capacity drives are both SATA, these are the only differences:

1) enterprise drives are less dense, to achieve a lower undetected bit error rate (and/or use a larger CRC than commodity drives do)

2) because of the way they calculate MTBF, a lower undetected bit error rate translates into a higher MTBF (not that anyone really looks at those anymore, but people expect enterprise drives to have a better MTBF)

3) because they are less dense, they cost more per TB

4) they may undergo some additional testing cycles, which makes them cost even more and be further behind the comparable commodity capacity drive at introduction

None of these matter except #1, and you can mitigate the issue - i.e. if your upper layers use CRC checks for data integrity, you can exceed the enterprise drive's undetected bit error rate with a commodity drive by as much as you feel you need. Or if you are EMC, you modify the firmware and format with larger sectors so the array can check the CRC in a second layer check and reduce that undetected bit error rate to ridiculously low levels. MTBF doesn't matter, especially if you are getting more TB for the same money, and vendors who care about extra testing (i.e. EMC and friends) already do that themselves.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A death and decline so easily forseen...

This sea change has been obvious for the better part of a decade, it was not a surprise from left field like the iPhone. I cannot understand why Seagate ignored and continues to ignore it - I guess they are in denial like Joerg!

They could have easily bought up one of the early flash SSD OEMs to get a leg up on the technology when their stock was worth more. They'd be in a far better position today, but it is too late now. They will either go bankrupt or be bought out, because they are too far behind now. While a market for hard drives will live on for years, they will be low margin capacity drives that will not support Seagate at its employee count.

Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

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Re: Almost perfect

Now there's an app I'd like to see, start the app, hit the "answer call" button and would begin their descent into hell, playing the hold message while you listen to their end and laugh. You could hit the "pretend to pick up" button every now and to give them the sound of it picking up, with office noises in the background, a couple beeps like the call is being transferred, and then back into hell.

Have it keep stats on how long you can make people stick around with different hold messages / music, which all app users can share and have a worldwide leaderboard with the records listed.

Now there's an app I'll pay 99 cents for. Heck, I'd have paid $49.99 for it a few months ago (or again a few months from now) when my landline was getting calls several times a year from campaign workers and pollsters. I'd have forwarded my number to my cell phone just so I could run that app and give them what they deserve! Would be money well spent for all the amusement value I'd derive from it, and the knowledge I was making political calls and polling that much less effective! Ignoring the calls doesn't waste nearly enough of their time.

DougS Silver badge

Almost perfect

I wish the voiceover didn't have so many delays and stutters in it, just an occasional one here and there would be enough to be annoying without being so annoying that it was obvious it was deliberate.

I hope they programmed their voicemail system to log how long it took before callers transferred to that extension held before giving up. They could stage a competition trying different amounts of annoyingness to find that perfect balance to maximize the amount of wasted time on sales callers. Remember, salespeople work on commission; they'd be willing to listen to that message for an hour if it meant a fat commission! If you want to hit them where it hurts, make them waste time they could be using to call others.

ICANN in a strop that Intel, Netflix, Lego, Nike and others aren't using their dot-brand domains

DougS Silver badge

Re: Proof that it was a shakedown all along

They did it because they had no choice as they felt it might weaken their trademark if they didn't pick them up, and fear someone else would pick them up and cost them 10x more down the road.

I hope they're successful in fighting ICANN, the less money those evil bastards get the better off we all are.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It makes sense for banks and some other companies

A lot of attacks rely on being able to make the mark use a different DNS server, which is easy if you have them on a wifi you control. With my own DNS server I can make .somebank resolve to whatever I want, no matter how much money you spent wasted on your fancy domain.

These domains do nothing, and would immunize only people the more clueful of the masses against thinking something is up when they see a non .com domain, like they do now when they see a .biz or .to or whatever and alarm bells go off. It would make security worse not better. Proper use of certificates is still required for any real security.

DougS Silver badge

Proof that it was a shakedown all along

Why should they have to use them? I can buy a domain name and never use it, why does it a top level domain that I hold a trademark for like .intel or .hbo have to be used and why does using it require a registrar be set up. Pretty sure HBO has no plans to let others register a .hbo domain. They just picked them up because of ICANN's FUD about what might happen if a company didn't and someone else got it instead.

They're in cahoots with the registrars who viewed running all these unnecessary registry operations for useless dot word domains as a cash cow - wouldn't be surprised to learn that Register.com and GoDaddy paid kickbacks to ICANN officials to get dot word domains approved!

Google AI gains access to 1.2m confidential NHS patient records

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"Anonymous" data

Haven't we seen enough research that demonstrates anonymous data isn't really that anonymous, and with enough other data it is possible to de-anonymize it? If anyone has access to enough other data to make that happen, it is Google. They're the last ones I'd trust to have access to data like that!

I wonder exactly what data it is? If they had the date of a GP visit and a few metrics like height, weight, BP, cholesterol, etc. you might think that's harmless, but if they have purchase data for shopping they'll know what size you wear which can be loosely correlated to height/weight. Not enough to de-anonymize. Let's say you were hospitalized for a few days, if they then correlate that height/weight vs clothing size information against when you were absent from the internet (easy for them to tell since Google Analytics has trackers on every major web site) and they can narrow it down quite a bit. If the "anonymous" information also includes the region of the UK in which you live and they might be able to identify you as an individual.

Anyone who thinks "Google wouldn't do that, they have no desire to unmask the anonymity" hasn't been paying attention to Google's whole business strategy. If they did this in the US and I had a heart attack, if I lifted my ad blocker I'd probably start seeing a bunch of ads for Lipitor and friends the day I got home. There's just too much money in that for them not to stick their snouts in the trough.

Pop goes the weasel! Large Hadron Collider blown up by critter chomping 66kV cable

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Don't worry, he's on the case. He's going to build a wall around the transformers and make the critters pay for it!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dual Redundant Power Feeds?

I was going to say the same thing. Even if there is only one grid in the area, with all the money they spend on the LHC and how many smart people are sitting idle when it isn't running, surely they could dangle a few tens of million or whatever it takes to get the nearest secondary grid to run a redundant line so this sort of thing can never happen again?

It's 2016 and now your internet-connected bathroom scales can be hacked

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What's the worst that could happen?

Hackers make you think your diet isn't working by add a pound a month to the reading?

Come to think of it, that would be kind of funny if someone did that!

Carl Icahn: Will someone rid my portfolio of this rotten Apple?

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Re: "13 per cent drop in turnover to $50.6m"

Maybe the m was abbreviation for milliard :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Short and distort?

Maybe so. Someone who owns a large enough amount to help the stock fall by selling into the market at a quick clip, and who is 'newsworthy' enough that what he says may affect others and make them abandon their positions is able to do this. More power to him if he can cause weak hands to sell and buy back in at a lower price. I wish I had the power to move markets, not because I actually want to but because it would mean I was easily rich enough to retire right now :)

He did say he still likes the stock, so no one should be surprised if he isn't back in someday. For all we know he sold a few months ago and will start buying back in next week once the announcement he had sold has whatever effect it is going to have on other traders.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Do what I do, not what I say

The amount of debt they "loaded up" is barely 20% of their cash pile. I think that was a good thing, might as well take advantage of the historically low interest rates since they clearly aren't going to bring that cash back to the US anytime soon. As an investor I worry anytime a company has a large cash pile, because it encourages pointless wasteful acquisitions (see HP and Microsoft for several good examples of these over the past 15 years) so I kind of wish they'd take on another $100 billion in debt to return more money to shareholders.

Fortunately Tim Cook doesn't seem to be any more interested in big acquisitions than Jobs was, but Cook won't be CEO forever and the next guy might say "hey, what should we do with these several hundred billion dollars we don't want to bring into the US, let's buy Alibaba and Baidu to go big in China!"

DougS Silver badge

I wonder over what period he sold his shares?

He owned almost 1% of the company, over $5 billion worth. Even in a stock as heavily traded as AAPL, selling 50 million shares into the market is going to cause to the price to dip noticeably if done over only a couple days. Perhaps that's one of the reason for the big spike in daily trading volume the last couple days? Or did he sell it a few months ago, and only announced it now after the recent drop, to make himself look smart?

Ireland's tech sector fears fallout of Brexit 'Yes' vote

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Re: "no fixed controls on the land border between Northern Ireland and the republic"

How come you didn't build a wall, and make the Irish pay for it?

US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

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December 1st date is key

The article is correct that not much will get done during an election year, but the election is in early November, after which congress and the administration goes to work for a so-called lame duck session until the newly elected take office in January. That's one of the best times to actually get things done, because congressmen who are retiring or were voted out are no longer beholden to their corporate masters, and the ones who will be coming back are less concerned about public opinion because the next election is further off than the memory of most voters.

I don't know whether they will overturn this, but the election year will not be a barrier preventing it.

Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount

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rough end of a pineapple

Compared to a corncob, either end of a pineapple sounds pretty rough to me!

Revealed: The revolving door between Google and the US govt – in pictures

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Re: Microsoft? Apple?

Apple spends far less money lobbying than Google does, and there has been almost no revolving door between Apple and government like there with Google. Microsoft spends more than Apple but less than Google (despite having undergone that whole FTC suit back in the 90s, which is the only reason they started lobbying the government at all) and has seen a bit more revolving door but still nothing compared to Google's.

A much better comparison to Google's lobbying spend and revolving door is Goldman Sachs.

Switch survives three hours of beer spray, fails after twelve

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Football vs football

If you say "football club" there is no danger of misinterpretation because no one refers to football teams as "clubs" here in the US.

Apple man found dead at Cupertino HQ, gun discovered nearby

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Re: Advice, too late

Having your retirement plan in a single stock is one thing - risky, but in a company with a balance sheet and P/E as clean as Apple's not a huge risk as long as you don't "set it and forget" for years and years. Having your retirement in an options market bet where a 6.4% drop can wipe you out is just stupid YDI territory. Might as well cash it out and pick a number on the roulette wheel to put it on.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Advice, too late

Because a 6.4% drop in the stock price is going to ruin your retirement plan? Don't be dense, that had nothing to do with the suicide.

Samsung chuckles, swerves around Apple's Q1 phone sales crash

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Re: Reg article leaves out vital information

Why would you buy an ARM Macbook "sight unseen"? How will it differ from an x86 Macbook, other than being slower and having a lot less software? Maybe they can price it a bit lower, and due to its lower performance it might have a bit longer battery life, but I don't really see the point.

DougS Silver badge

Reg article leaves out vital information

Samsung had seven straight quarters of declining sales. A bit easier to increase sales off such a mark, than it would have been for Apple to post its 53rd straight quarter of increasing sales.

Watch it Apple: time has come for cheaper rivals' strap-ons

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Re: Ugh

My 6s plus easily lasts me two days, sometimes three if I don't happen to talk much. That's with maybe 90 minutes of active use each day for apps, texting, etc. People who are addicted to their phone and constantly have their face buried in it will need daily or more than daily charging no matter what kind of phone they have.

E-cigarettes help save lives, says Royal College of Physicians

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Are they actually trying to BAN e-cigarettes?

If they want to save people's health, ban the real ones! I can see banning their use in public places as part of banning other tobacco products in public places, but banning them entirely seems ridiculous. What's their reasoning for this?

Where I live there's a ban on smoking in public places like bars, restaurants, etc. but you can still smoke in public parks or outside of bars/restaurants. The local university is completely tobacco free, you have to go to a public sidewalk to smoke. There has been talk in the state of adding e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco to the cigarette ban (i.e. not allowed in bars/restaurs, etc.) but it hasn't made the cut. Only a matter of time I think/hope.

Zuck's $16m security bill

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Gotta maintain his privacy

He only wants to end privacy for the peons, not for the 1% (of the 1% of the 1%)

Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

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Microsoft apologists

Wow, they are out in full force today with their "blame the victim" mentality. A local TV station with a few dozen employees should be running the Enterprise or Server version of Windows for the on air weather map, because it can't POSSIBLY be Microsoft's fault for creating this bullshit malware Windows 10 GWX infestation that requires its own anti-malware solution called GWX Control panel to eliminate!

DougS Silver badge

Re: GWX Control Panel might help here

Recommended if you've a reason to stay on Win7.

There are reasons not to?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh, yeah...

Since when is running a display a server's job? There's a reason that desktop CPUs include a GPU, and server CPUs do not.

Samsung's little black box will hot-wire your car to the internet. Eek!

DougS Silver badge

Dropping something off in my trunk?

Talk about a solution looking for a problem. Yet another Samsung stillborn failure of a product that they will abandon in a year, upsetting the few thousand people who get this because they think it is cool to be able to unlock their car with their smartphone.

DougS Silver badge

They day will never come that they are mandated

Self driving cars will make it moot, since this will pretty much be required for them to properly operate. Those who drive their own will continue to be free, but insurance costs will begin to rise once self driving cars are able to demonstrate a safer driving record.

Apple will be grilled by Irish National Planning Board over €850m data centre plan

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Sounds like the site is/was a tree farm

Apple had previously said the Galway project "will recover land previously used for growing and harvesting non-native trees and restore native trees to Derrydonnell Forest.

So they are going to use land that was used for "growing and harvesting non-native trees", i.e. a lumber/paper farm of some sort, and restore native trees to the area they aren't building on. Sounds like a win to me, since it is now a "forest" in name only if the trees aren't native and have probably been planted in rows.

Likely the locals want some assurance that the critters living in it will have minimal disruption, i.e. they remove the non-native trees in phases to allow time to get the native trees established instead of clear cutting the whole thing and taking years for the native trees to grow large enough to support the critters.

Panama Papers graph database cracked open for world+dog

DougS Silver badge

In the US

If you want corporate privacy and avoidance of state corporate income taxes, you incorporate in Delaware, because they have the most business friendly corporate laws in the country. There's a single address in Delaware where 285,000 corporations are registered. Including several hundred owned by Donald Trump, and at least one owned by the Bill and Hillary Clinton. The latter have had to make tax returns public for the last couple decades so they aren't hiding income, probably just something their tax attorney set up for them to simplify their taxes when they do speaking engagements all over the US / world, but as the talking heads on TV would say "the optics of it are not good".

If you want to try to avoid US federal taxes, that is to legally delay owing them for as long as possible, you have to incorporate offshore. For foreign sourced income you can leave that money offshore and until bring it into the US your corporation won't owe US taxes on it (you still need to pay any applicable foreign taxes to stay legal with other countries) This is what every company from Apple to Google to whatever company starts with the letter Z has been doing for years.

If you want to try to dodge US federal taxes - that is to not pay taxes you legally owe - you'd do the same but need to use a few shell companies to route US income offshore. The US is reportedly getting better at detecting that sort of thing, so it probably isn't as easy to get away with as it used to be. Whether you'd use these Panamanian lawyers to help you set up part of your shell company network, or hire a US firm, or hire from someone else, I have no idea. If the Panama Papers show a shell company owned by an anonymously held Delaware corporation, the trail will end there. Well, at least publicly, but the interest of the IRS might be piqued so there could be a few tax dodgers who thought they were in the clear due to not using Swiss banks who are starting to panic right about now!

Honestly though, Twitter can't do anything right

DougS Silver badge

Show me how I can broadcast an SMS message to a million people all at once, and I'll agree that Twitter is just an SMS replacement.

US government tells Apple it has security problems that Apple fixed last year

DougS Silver badge

Even if that's true, Apple provides fixes that most iPhone users can take advantage of. Android users are screwed and doomed to use phones with more and more serious vulnerabilities that are widely known but never fixed.

It is only a matter of time before there's a massive compromise of Android phones, and when it happens it will keep happening because there won't be any way for them to get a fixed OS. If something like that happened with iPhones Apple would have a fix out in a few days and 48 hours later over half of iPhone users would already be protected against it.

Apple would also provide updates to older version of iOS for something major - proof is that they did such an update on iOS 6.x for 3gs users a couple years ago though it isn't clear why (maybe the issue was severe enough they feared a mass compromise if they didn't act?)

DougS Silver badge

Microsoft DID give that answer

When they dropped support for Windows XP, NetMarketShare said it was used on 27% of PCs. Assuming they don't extend the 2020 date for Windows 7 (and I doubt they will, given how hard they are trying to push Windows 10 upgrades) there will probably be an even higher percentage than that running 7 when it is out of support.

And PC lifetimes are far longer than phone lifetimes. I'm typing this on a PC I built in early 2009 using a Q9400, and it still works fine. I wouldn't dream of still using an iPhone 3gs, released later that year.

Ding-dong, reality calling: iPhone slump is not Apple's doom

DougS Silver badge

Chinese economy

A lot of people discount this as a factor since they are still growing at a pace that the US and EU would kill for, but the problem is not the lack of growth in GDP but the lack of growth (and even drop) in asset prices like real estate.

The iPhone is only an option for China's upper middle class and beyond, the class that has also been putting a lot of money into real estate and feeling richer all the time as its value kept increasing. That isn't happening now, so they are becoming more cautious - especially since many of them know about the recent economic crash in the west in 2008/2009 and its relationship to a real estate bubble. I imagine their media is still trying to tell people "all is well" but if they hear that real estate sales prices in their city have stagnated or are falling, they will give that more credence than state-run media that they all know is censored and slanted.

An iPhone is a significant investment in China even for their upper middle class (moreso than for us in the west, given our much higher incomes) so if you are nervous about what the future holds that's an easy thing to decide to not buy. Just like how the sales of cars slow down when people become worried about the economy, because they figure "hey I can wait another year or two to buy the new car I want". That's why automotive sales are often a leading indicator of a recession, and a leading indicator for when a recession is ending.

Almost all of Apple's sales increase from 2014 to 2015 was accounted for by China, when instead of nearly doubling says YoY there was a drop, it isn't surprising that they couldn't match last year's Q1 result. If things get worse in China, there will be further drops in iPhone sales. Nothing Apple can do about that, nor can any other US or EU company that derives a lot of sales from China.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Sadly the stock market is responsible for ever increasing short-term thinking."

Apple is immune to any tech bubble burst because they are trading at a below market P/E. It will be the companies with highly inflated P/Es like Microsoft and Google that have to worry a lot more. I'd say Amazon also as their P/E is ridiculous, but their investors seem to not give a damn about ever making any profit.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not sure that this isn't intentional

How can you intentionally sell less product? Companies have a few ways to do stock buyback programs, they can do it on a preannounced schedule price be damned, they can do the same but suspend sales when the price is too high (that's how Buffett likes to do it) or they can announce new buybacks when they know the price will be low - i.e. when they know the price is going to dip.

The third one is true here, they announced the bigger buyback because they knew the price would drop. It will probably stay down through the summer as they will fail to match 2015 Q2 and Q3 numbers as well. Whether it will stay down in the fall depends on the reception for the iPhone 7, as well as factors beyond their control like the dollar's strength and the health of the Chinese economy.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Car Play

Why is the screen in your car being a dumb display for you phone "better"? Are you one of those who believes the lie that hands free calling and dictating texts isn't dangerously distracting?

DougS Silver badge

How is it "bad" that sales have dropped? Can they be expected to keep increasing forever when they are already by far the most profitable public company on Earth? Jobs died a few years ago and sales kept growing and growing since, does he get the credit for all the sales growth, but this last quarter's results are now Cook's fault? What if they set new sales records this fall with the iPhone 7, will you give Cook the credit or will that be Jobs innovating from the grave?

NO ONE has been innovating in smartphones for years. Arguably there hasn't been any real innovation since the original iPhone, every phone since by Apple or by Android OEMs has been incremental tweaks like better display, better camera, more performance and so forth. It isn't as if everyone else is innovating and Apple is being left behind, unless you think having a bit higher resolution than the iPhone, or a few more megapixels in the camera, or some here today gone with next year's model mostly useless feature like IR blaster or wireless charging counts as innovation.

Does Apple have anything major coming where they can innovate again, like a car, and if so will it be a hit or a dud? Who knows, but even if Jobs was at the helm there is no guarantee it would be a hit. I'll agree that with him in charge the odds would be improved, but he was unique as he was more of a visionary who saw where he thought they should go and drove them there. Cook isn't that but neither is anyone else, other than maybe Elon Musk. Even with Jobs he might have had a concept in mind and pushed people toward it, but it was still thousands of Apple employees doing the actual work to make it happen, and they still have them, multiple someone elses like Jony Ive will have to combine to fill Jobs' role. Replacing Cook wouldn't help there, unless Musk is available for hire which I kind of doubt.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Can we have some innovation please Apple

I think his point was that they were first to market with a watch that isn't waterproof and needs recharging daily.

Why has Microsoft stopped being beastly to Google?

DougS Silver badge

They can't complain about Google scroogling you

When they are scroogling Windows 10 users just as much. They can't market against cloud, or search, or other stuff Google does because Microsoft does all those things too. Hard to differentiate themselves via attack ads when they are an older more staid version of Google.

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