Daniel Eran Dilger
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Microsoft’s Zune, Vista, and Windows Mobile 7 Strategy vs the iPhone

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Daniel Eran Dilger
What secret partner has Microsoft discovered to bail water from the deck of Zune and its Zune Marketplace music store in a last ditch attempt to take on Apple’s iTunes, the iPod, and iPhone? Microsoft’s own Windows Mobile, of course, with some help from Windows Vista!
Who Else Will Help Zune?
Certainly not Nokia, as one Zune fansite tried to suggest last week. Nokia has nothing to gain by promoting the Zune. A more credible sounding rumor, as long as we’re inventing stuff, would be to instead suggest that it could be Sony Ericsson that is interested in putting the Zune software on its new phones. At least Sony has already demonstrated its complete failure at selling music on its own, and actually has a Windows Mobile phone in the works.

The simpler reality is that Sony Ericsson may have no choice in the matter. Microsoft is clearly out to wed the Zune with Windows Mobile in a effort to get the two failures to prop each other up in its “I’m not dead yet!” fight against the iPhone. Microsoft is likely to make inclusion of its Zune Marketplace a mandatory feature that its Windows Mobile partners will have to swallow, just as it forced its PC licensees to bundle its Internet Explorer browser and later Windows Media Player, while prohibiting them from seeking their own bundling deals with other companies. Microsoft took quick steps to block Compaq’s licensing of QuickTime, for example.

Those deals were bad for HP, Compaq, Dell, and the other PC makers, bad for competition within the tech industry, and subsequently bad for consumers. However, they did enable Microsoft to use its powerful Windows monopoly position to push proprietary standards and or anti-interoperable technologies designed to expand its monopolized control, while making big money selling Windows in a market that lacked any alternatives.

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Will Nokia Rescue Microsoft’s Zune? Haha No.
Apple in the Web Browser Wars: Netscape vs Internet Explorer
Microsoft’s Plot to Kill QuickTime

A Lot Has Changed.
This time around however, all Microsoft has to leverage is Windows Mobile, a struggling platform with little respect in the industry, now in a distant third place. Further, the technology Microsoft is trying to push is essentially its Windows Media DRM, which has already been swept up and trashed by Apple’s iTunes, QuickTime, and the iPod. The dismal fate of Windows Media was sealed with the failure of PlaysForSure. The Zune’s new, albeit incompatible, reincarnation of Windows Media DRM never stood any chance of making any headway.

However, the most problematic part of Microsoft’s strategy of pushing its Zune Marketplace store on its Windows Mobile partners is that music stores don’t make money. Apple’s iTunes Store is the biggest online music store on Earth, and does tremendous volumes of sales. Still, Apple reports minimal profits from the store. It recently warned its investors that it’s now selling so much through iTunes that the low profit, high volume venture may have a negative impact on the company’s overall profit margins.

As problems go, that’s certainly a nice one to have. Apple is not at all worried about turning a big profit with iTunes because it runs the store exclusively with the intent of ensuring new content for the iPod, iPhone, and Mac. That in turn sells its hardware. However, Microsoft doesn’t have hardware sales to nurture. It has barely sold two million Zune units, many at fire sale prices (compared to 150 million iPods, 93 million of which have been sold since the Zune’s release). It now faces impossible odds in tilting against the momentum of iTunes’ rapidly spinning windmills, with no possible upside in terms of eventual music store profitability.

There’s simply no way that any amount of investment in the Zune Marketplace could deliver profits, because Microsoft is competing against Apple’s non-profit motivation behind iTunes. Further, Windows Mobile is similarly a big loser with no potential because Microsoft has little ability to profitably license its mobile software. It’s competition is the iPhone OS, which Apple develops for free to sell iPhone hardware (Microsoft does not sell its own phone hardware); RIM’s mobile OS, which is also free for BlackBerry hardware; the Symbian OS, a partnership between hardware makers; and various mobile distributions of Linux, including Google’s Android, all of which are also run as profitless ventures to support hardware sales (or in Google’s case, service sales).

The Great Google gPhone Myth
Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing
10 FAS: 7 – Apple’s Hardware and Dvorak’s Microsoft Branded PC

Good Money After Bad.
All that unpleasant reality hasn’t fazed Microsoft. Its executives haven’t found a way to make money in consumer electronics yet, and the company’s attempts just keep getting more and more expensive. Barron’s recently featured the speculation of one Microsoft investor who hoped the company would spin off its hemorrhaging online services division as well as its profitless entertainment and devices unit, which includes the Zune, Xbox, and Windows Mobile.

The investor calculated the value of Microsoft’s other businesses (its high profit Office, Windows, and server divisions) and decided that the market wasn’t assigning any value at all to Microsoft’s consumer electronics and services products divisions. No wonder; they’re nothing but a huge drain on Microsoft!

Even so, the investor seemed to think there must be some value to obtain from selling off the black holes, citing the market value of the highly profitable Nintendo. The investor’s real intent seemed to be finding a way to “discourage the company from overinvesting in the business.” Microsoft’s stock has only appreciated by 6.3% over the last decade. Apple has appreciated 1,822.6% in the same period. Microsoft is trying to develop new markets as Apple has, it’s just failing to do so.


Microsoft’s Outrageous Office Profits

Strength in Bundles.
Microsoft has always been interested in promoting its products by using strong ones to prop up weak ones. From the start, it bound its strong Mac apps to the rather weak Windows offering to invent the PC platform, and has since tied Word and Excel to a suite of otherwise fair to marginal apps under the Office banner.

Once Windows became established, the company tied in an unfinished, third-rate web browser and was able to rapidly build it into a strong competitor through market inertia. On the server side, Microsoft similarly ties in tragic products into package deals that often (but not always) enable the weak bits to gain some traction.

So Microsoft is again working to stitch together its various properties to support each other, but now most all of its recent products are in flames and desperately need reinforcement. There’s only so much one failure can do to support another. Even worse, Microsoft’s historic strengths are no longer working. The Windows monopoly was supposed to brace up Windows Media Players, Windows Media Center, Windows Mobile, Windows Live Search, Windows Live Soapbox, and a series of other cobranded products that haven’t gone anywhere.

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Office Wars 3 – How Microsoft Got Its Office Monopoly
Office Wars 4 – Microsoft’s Assault on Lotus and IBM
Why Does Microsoft Really Want Yahoo?

Certifiable Failure.
Windows itself is now in the throes of crisis, as the failed launch of Vista nearly two years ago has signaled the undoing of Microsoft’s ability to rely on its desktop monopoly to advance failures into strength. Is Vista going to put out the Zune’s flames by beating with its own flame-engulfed wings? That’s part of Microsoft’s current strategy, which included rebranding PlaysForSure as ‘Certified for Windows Vista.’ The Zune is also Certified for Windows Vista, despite not being compatible with the Certified for Windows Vista PlaysForSure.

Confused? You needn’t be for long, as the remnants of Microsoft’s one-time strategy for creating an ‘ecosystem of hardware, service, and software partners’ to provide choice and freedom in the music industry is pretty much dead now. All of Microsoft’s significant PlaysForSure store partners, including AOL MusicNow, MTV URGE, Musicmatch Jukebox, Wal-Mart Music, Yahoo Music, and Microsoft’s own MSN Music have now unplugged their PlaysForSure stores, ironically making the brand among the least accurate names for a service ever.

The remaining stores making use of PlaysForSure music, principally Rhapsody and Napster, are now on death’s door. PlaysForSure video stores such as CinemaNow, which once worked with Microsoft’s PlaysForSure-certified Portable Media Players no longer do. Even Amazon’s UnBox service, which is supposed to sync with some devices that are PlaysForSure-certified, has not bothered to get certified under Microsoft’s program.

Incidentally, the failure of Yahoo Music and Microsoft’s MSN Music (and the company’s outrageous plan to simply unplug its customers from DRM authentication) caused CNET to wonder if Apple might be next in line to make users’ music purchases unplayable, echoing the poorly conceived idea that Microsoft’s Vista failure, its mobile platform incompetence, and desktop viral malware security crisis all somehow also predict a similar certain doom for Apple at some point in the future.

For some reason, CNET saw no connection between the failure of Yahoo and MSN (hint: PlaysForSure), and no reason to speculate about the future of other media stores facing actual failure and likely disbanding in the near future, including Rhapsody, Napster, UnBox and Microsoft’s own Zune. Nearly all of the recent DRM deactivation controversies, including Major League Baseball’s, have been related to Microsoft’s software, although Google decided to similarly to dump users of its paid video when it pulled the plug on Google Video last fall.

Rise of the iTunes Killers Myth
Forrester Research: Epic Terror of iTunes and Apple TV

But Wait, What About This Ecosystem Failure Sounds Familiar?
The complete failure of Microsoft’s PlaysForSure hardware and software licensing program paints a damning prophetic picture foreshadowing the fate of Windows Mobile. Pundits often dance around this fact by spewing Microsoft’s talking points: Window Mobile has lined up scores of hardware partners! Windows Mobile has lots of software partners! Choice is good!

Oh wait, that’s the same stuff they said about PlaysForSure in explaining why the iPod couldn’t stand a chance once Microsoft could deliver its Windows Media Player reference designs and the Windows Media DRM that would enable PlaysForSure stores to open their doors. The only real difference between PlaysForSure and Windows Mobile is that the former was expected to prove that the Windows licensing model would work well among mobile devices, while the latter has already proven for some time now that it can’t.

Windows Mobile has been a snowball of failure ever since it launched a half decade ago with clumsy-looking phones running buggy, poorly designed software with abysmal battery life that makes the iPhone 3G look exceptional in comparison. Windows Mobile simply shares too much in common with the PlaysForSure failure to escape the event horizon of its blackhole.

  • Pairing software from one vendor to hardware from another is problematic in the PC market, but completely untenable among highly integrated mobile devices. Microsoft tried to blame PlaysForSure incompatibilities on its music store and hardware partners, but the real problem was the model. Microsoft’s own software problems didn’t help either of course. The issue on Windows Mobile is even more significant because having functional mobile phone service is far more critical than being passively entertained by an MP3 player.
  • Unchecked diversity among the devices of a platform is a bug, not a feature. The mantra of choice and freedom, hailed among Windows enthusiasts and homebrew hackers alike, makes for a great mission statement but in reality delivers products that just don’t work. It’s great to be able to compile your own servers from free and open source software, but most consumers don’t want the accountability that comes along with that freedom when trying to dial 911 from their phone. For that matter they don’t even want to troubleshoot the installation of a firmware update, or deal with why software designed for a tall screen looks awful on a square screen.
  • With an integrated product like the iPhone, they can complain to Apple for a fix. With Windows Mobile, you get passed around by Microsoft from the mobile operator to the hardware maker to the third party software developer. Everyone is responsible but nobody is accountable.

The Spectacular Failure of WinCE and Windows Mobile

Count the Flames of Windows Mobile.
And so, in terms of failing platforms, Windows Mobile is closer to PlaysForSure on the flames meter than it is to the only smoldering Vista, which is a moderate success by comparison. If attaching the Zune, Microsoft’s phoenix on fire, to Vista’s train wreck didn’t have any impact on the relative salvageability of either, what will Windows Mobile 7 do for Zune 3 a year and a few months from now in late 2009 at the earliest? That’s Microsoft’s current schedule, barring any customary delays.

By then, Apple will have had the iPhone in international distribution for more than a year, the App Store will be a year and a half old, and the WiFi iTunes Store will be more than two years old. What in Windows Mobile 7 will make a difference for smartphone buyers? According to Microsoft: copycat touch controls hobbled by an interface trying to look like Vista (below, and yes they did spell Internet Explorer wrong, as well as putting a space in ActiveSync), and no doubt a major new push to force Zune Marketplace media sales down the throats of Windows Mobile users in imitation of Apple.

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Microsoft is no Apple.
The problem of course, is that the market for Windows Mobile phones is almost exclusively among corporate IT users, who don’t give a rats ass about downloading music from the Zune store. So there’s really little potential for cross pollination between Windows Mobile and the Zune. In contrast, Apple originally marketed the iPod and iPhone to consumers, who do buy up music to the tune of billions of tracks every year.

Apple now has success to build upon, and has targeted its year-old iPhone platform toward the enterprise, with development tools, a software deployment infrastructure, and management utilities that in most cases meet or exceed what Microsoft has delivered over past decade on WinCE and Windows Mobile.

On top of that, the iPhone platform has a far superior, standards-based web browser, development frameworks recognized to be easier to use than Microsoft’s mobile .NET, and a core OS that is simply more stable, not to mention a user interface that’s designed to look good and be simple to use rather than to match the flashy branding of a failed desktop OS.

WWDC 2007: Kevin Hoffman Presents .Net vs. Cocoa

The Other Problem: Windows Mobile is Going Down.
Anyone banking on Microsoft’s promises to deliver Windows Mobile 7 on time by the end of 2009 should also consider the company’s track record in delivering Windows Mobile updates. The company initially intended to get Windows Mobile 5 out next to Longhorn [Vista] in mid to late 2004. Windows Mobile 5 was actually released in May 2005, and Vista finally popped out “officially” at the end of 2006, although one couldn’t actually buy it until it was relaunched to consumers in early 2007.

Even after Microsoft “released” its subsequent Windows Mobile 6 nearly a year later (based upon the same underlying WinCE 5), it took six months or more for many of Microsoft’s partners to approve it and set up distribution so that users could actually get the software on their phones. In contrast, Apple releases regular iPhone updates every month or two that are always available to users immediately after their release, directly from Apple.

Microsoft doesn’t exactly have years of leisure at its disposal. Windows Mobile has already been hit hard by competition from the iPhone and from other rivals, including RIM in the enterprise market and Symbian internationally. That competition has resulted in Microsoft’s mobile market share slipping year over year. This year, Microsoft failed to meet its frequently repeated goal of selling “more than 20 million units” through all of its various hardware partners, and instead only sold 18 million.

Microsoft senior vice president Andy Lees blew off the missed goal as a “rounding error.” He cited numbers from IDC that indicated Windows Mobile had grown from 11% to just under 13% of the worldwide market for smartphones, growing faster than the overall market, and that unit sales of Windows Mobile phones have both outpaced sales of BlackBerry phones and outsold the iPhone by a factor of two.

Windows Mobile misses target

Oops, Microsoft Fibbed a Bit There.
Canalys reports that Microsoft actually started out with a 23% share of the smartphone market in Q1 2004, which fell to 18% in Q1 2005, then down to 12% in Q1 2006, where it remained in its Q4 2007 figures. Apple ranked at 7% worldwide in Q4 2007, but that was based on sales in one market, of one model, and on one mobile provider, after only being on the market for six months.


Smart mobile device shipments hit 118 million in 2007, up 53% on 2006 (Canalys press release: r2008021)

If the best Microsoft can do is to claim victory for selling twice as many phones as Apple, worldwide across all of its partners despite having a many years long head start and that great ecosystem of manufacturers behind it, then it should probably just not say anything. Incidentally, with the release of the iPhone 3G, AT&T is reporting having doubled its sales volumes, not to mention all of the other new markets the iPhone 3G is now being sold in worldwide, at half the price of the original model.

Within just the US smartphone market, which was Apple’s only market last year and is also Microsoft’s strongest market for Windows Mobile, the iPhone grabbed a 27% share in its debut third quarter of 2007, and maintained a 28% share in the fourth quarter 2007, behind RIM with 41%, but ahead of Palm at 9%. Adding up all of the Windows Mobile manufacturers selling in the US, Microsoft could only claim to have its software on 21% of the phones sold, a significant step behind Apple.

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Canalys, Symbian: Apple iPhone Already Leads Windows Mobile in US Market Share, Q3 2007
iPhone Grabs 27% of US Smartphone Market

Also, all of these figures bundle in all of the “convergence” Pocket PC mobile devices sold by Microsoft’s partners, but none of the iPod touch units Apple sells, which are likely to be in well in excess of its iPhone sales. So Apple’s mobile WiFi platform is actually far larger and growing much faster than market statistics companies report under their smartphone category. Anyone hoping that Windows Mobile 7 to going to reverse that trend when it arrives over a year from now is seriously delusional.

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1 John E { 08.12.08 at 3:13 am }

well … rather than focusing on MS’s screwups (as Dan loves to do), tho many they may be, i think the more accurate perspective is simply to observe that since 2000, the important new markets that have arisen – gaming, social networks, smartphones, on-line services (now, the “cloud”), and web media – have all proven too big and complex for any one company to dominate. there are too many players pushing the technology and business models, no one of them can control it. so yes, MS’s ambitions of the 1990’s for “Windows everywhere” are now a pompous fantasy. and to the extent MS still acts like that is at all possible, they do look silly (e.g., the Zune). but this situation was inevitable no matter what MS did or didn’t do.

so … since 2000 with new ideas Apple seized leadership in mobile media (from Sony), Google in web services (from MS), Nintendo in gaming (from Sony and MS), with social networks and web media split up all over the place.

now Win Mobile is caught in a classic crossfire: RIM stole away MS’s traditional enterprise market with a much better targeted product/service, and now Apple is inventing a new computerphone market on top of its mobile media ecosystem with, once again, a device that is uniquely easy to use. i bet Win Mobile 7, when it arrives a year or more from now, will attempt to match both and as a result will be just too complicated (like Vista) for widespread consumer popularity.

but … there will always be a niche for Win Mobile nonetheless in a #4 position. smartphone makers need an OS of some kind, and only Apple and RIM have their own. the Nokia/Symbian alliance of manufacturers should be the largest of course. if there were a unified Linux platform, that could be a real competitor – but we all know that will never happen. so out of desperation, some manufacturers will have to use Win Mobile (take Sony for example). HTC has shown with its Touch Diamond that a decent UI can be bolted on top of Win Mobile, at least to an extent. we should expect to see a lot more of that up to the end of 2009 as they all struggle to keep up – just stay in the game – with Apple’s technological blitzkrieg.

i mean, just imagine what will be in iPhone 3.0 next June …

2 danieleran { 08.12.08 at 3:45 am }

So will there there always be a niche for WiMo in the same sense that there will always be a niche for PlaysForSure? Don’t those same manufacturers also need an OS for their MP3 players? And yet PFS is all virtually gone, or simply insignificant.

I think the “everything’s too big and complex for Microsoft to dominate anymore” argument, which seems to be everywhere lately as an excuse for Microsoft’s failures, is interesting given that Nokia has long dominated mobile phones, RIM push, Apple MP3 players with the iPod and music sales in iTunes, Nintendo gaming, Google search, and so on. These companies all lead their segment (by huge margins!) by offering competitive, attractive products.

If markets are now “too big” for any one company, why is it that great companies are rising and dominating markets? Microsoft has billions of dollars and still has immense market power. It still maintains its monopoly position over the PC OS market, as well as Office.

The reason Microsoft is unable to dominate markets is because it is churning out terrible products nobody wants. It always has. The difference was that in the 90s, Microsoft had no credible competition willing to stand up to it. Sculley’s Apple didn’t compete, it sued Microsoft after having handed the company its IP. Then Sun did the same, and SGI, and Microsoft grew used to stealing through intimidation.

Then Apple stood up with QuickTime. And Google asserted itself. And Linux emerged with a model for competing, followed by Firefox.

And now, Microsoft is facing real competition, and is unable to do anything beyond hold on to its legacy monopolies. Microsoft’s current position wasn’t inevitable. It was just unprepared for competing against good products, so it failed.

There is nothing inappropriate or inaccurate about me pointing that out. I find it interesting that Mac users who will beat Apple up for allowing them to, say, scratch their iPods, will turn around and make excuses for Microsoft.

3 John Muir { 08.12.08 at 8:15 am }

Another place that argument’s cropped up is at Daring Fireball. I found Gruber’s piece comparing recent corporate memos by Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer to be a bit incoherent by his standards. Seems like he was trying to shoehorn this argument in.

Android … I’m not a fan by any means. I think they’ll screw up at first, being a consortium. But if there ever were a single entity which could focus Linux on one distro That Really Mattered, it’s Google. They have the unique combination of unblemished reputation and huge money. They also have a direct interest in keeping proprietary systems down in the interest of standards. (Windows and WinMob and Internet Explorer of course. Plus Silverlight.)

Linux is a slippery fish. And no, I do not dream that Google or anyone could possibly unite the bearded brethren worldwide into a single, focussed, competitive project. But what’s really moving Linux (and I say that relatively speaking!) is corporate interests. The more that companies come to the conclusion that Windows is guaranteed mediocrity for them, yet still don’t dare follow Apple or RIM or Nintendo’s approach of developing their own from the ground up … then Linux becomes a better choice.

Gah … all these nice words about Linux. It’s making me queasy! I still can’t stand using it myself!

Anyway: Android, in the fulness of time, could fit the role WinMob supposedly holds. The mobile platform for those who do not dare code their own! So I wouldn’t count on that old WinCE lingering on forever.

4 dallasmay { 08.12.08 at 11:08 am }

I think that there might be a place for Android. It is going to be very difficult for Google to pull off, but it is conceivable. And they don’t have to play WinMo. Google just needs a ‘Killer App’, and they have one. Androids killer app is the Cloud. Google is in a unique place to push its services to your phone before anyone else. That is the ultimate for Google Docs. All your documents, e-mail, calendar, etc., in the cloud.

5 lukeskymac { 08.12.08 at 12:05 pm }

Just disagree with the “Zune phoenix” part. It’s more like a roasting chicken. The phoenix is an immortal mythological animal which burns into flames when it dies *but* it is reborn from the ashes. That last part sounds so much like Apple. The Zune won’t reborn. It may be ressurected like a stinky zombie of a product but it’ll never reborn

6 Dorotea { 08.12.08 at 1:11 pm }

I hate the term “the clould”. Clouds disappear. Tornados come from cloulds. Hurricanes too. Wish the analogy weren’t used.

Sorry for the aside.

7 John Muir { 08.12.08 at 1:32 pm }

News just in: Microsoft’s new iPod and iPhone strategy…

@ Dorotea

I know what you mean. It’s just servers really. “The cloud” sounds like peer to peer or something like that. But then again, any better ideas for a single word to describe these services?

8 Berend Schotanus { 08.12.08 at 2:45 pm }

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your article again. I read it entirely on my iPhone on my Amsterdam – Utrecht commute trip. I am perfectly happy with the WordPress iPhone plugin you installed which provides a great reading experience, especially while listening to some nice music at the same time. On my Utrecht – Amsterdam ride this morning I watched ABC news on a video podcast. Both ways the trip was too short to finish all my content and so, amazingly, I discovered the strength of 21th Century information overload far outstretches the annoyances of 19th Century modes of transportation. Even more amazingly, the iPhone significantly eases the user experience of that other damned monopolist, Dutch National Railways: it brings your own entertainment with you and allows you to not so much bother about slow connections and additional waiting. I even hardly noticed this suit-gay sitting in front of me, trying to look important while checking mail on his WindowsME SmartPhone but getting bored with his device after five minutes or so.
(Hey, isn’t it time to make the ultimate iPhone Transit app? Anyone out there to help?)

So what could I say about the contents of your article? Your overload of Microsoft-bashing might be the exact reason why I like reading it. But in the end of course it is the iPhone user experience that really counts. The fact that I am really using it (and it feels like it always had been there) is convincing. The iPhone is a well designed product that changes the world.

@John E

I like to support your analysis. I think in the end it is not possible to conquer the whole world, not even for Apple. I am fascinated by the question: what should become of all those hardware manufacturers now depending on Microsoft? There are too many of them and they have too much market share to assume they would simply disappear when Microsoft dies. I don’t know the answer but I guess when I were in the shoes of Sony or Nokia I would hurry to build my own proprietary seamless user experience built upon a Linux OS foundation.


First time I heard the term “the cloud” was in the famous Jobs – Gates interview, when Steve Jobs used it. In my experience he didn’t use it as a direct synonym for “servers”. My interpretation was that information is no longer directly connected to hardware. This can also be achieved by just syncing the information between devices. With a good syncing service you get the same effect: the information is no longer tied to a single device but seams to have a life on itself. In this context to me the term “the cloud” is brilliant.
Then I started reading the first articles about “cloud computing”, which seemed promising but appeared to be disappointing because they only used “cloud computing” as a modern buzz-word for the good old-fashioned main frame principle.
In my eyes, using “the cloud” as synonym for “servers” is plain ugly. Using it as an analogy for data that appears to get a life of its own might be complex, might be threatening, but it is fascinating as well.

9 worker201 { 08.12.08 at 2:48 pm }

“With Windows Mobile, you get passed around by Microsoft from the mobile operator to the hardware maker to the third party software developer. Everyone is responsible but nobody is accountable.”

From Microsoft’s point-of-view, this is a feature. A killer feature. It’s really not that different from their Windows support mantra – shutdown, reinstall – which allows them to claim they offer software support without having to deal with the infinite combinations of 3rd party programs and half-supported hardware. If Microsoft had any interest in accountability, the PC market would be a very different place.

10 Berend Schotanus { 08.12.08 at 2:54 pm }

@John Muir

Your link is good! :-)

11 John Muir { 08.12.08 at 2:55 pm }

@ Berend

Good point. “The Cloud” isn’t just a nicer name for “hooked up to a distant server”. It’s actually an experience as a concept. I think that’s likely what Apple are driving at with the MobileMe logo. They’re wise not to try to explain what an icon and a simple label can suggest instead!

12 Shunnabunich { 08.12.08 at 2:59 pm }

@ John Muir

“Gah … all these nice words about Linux. It’s making me queasy! I still can’t stand using it myself!”

I realize you’re half-kidding, but you don’t have to “maintain” a dislike for Linux if you don’t want to! Personally, I like it — I wouldn’t use it myself either when I have OS X around, mind you, but I like it. It’s always there in the background, a little reminder of our autonomy, waiting in the wings in case Apple strays into the role of oppressor or somehow fails to sustain its own platform. It’s also usually the best choice for people whose budgets simply don’t allow for a Mac. I agree that it’s light-years behind its competitors in terms of usability, and severely fragmented in many ways, but at the same time, it’s nice to know that Apple doesn’t have to save the world from Microsoft alone. :P You can prefer one platform while still regarding others highly on their own merits.

13 John Muir { 08.12.08 at 3:21 pm }

@ Shunnabunich

True. I tend to test drive the latest Ubuntu live cd every time they push out a major release, so Linux isn’t something I actively loathe. But I do take issue with all the pie in the sky “freetard” ideology that surrounds it so often in discussion on the internet.

(Yes, I was an avid Fake Steve reader back in the day…)

Linux is actually a really telling model of human nature. It *could* be anything. But it is not. So often it follows instead of leads (Windows-look-alike UI), and almost always you discover as a user that politics within the community is the cause of whatever incompatibility has just put an end to your day.

I do honestly respect the idea behind the project. But Linux to me tells more about the inevitability of a movement instead of a product.

It probably is too late for any hardware company to decide to start its own operating system from scratch. The last to do it were Be, who died when Apple rightly chose NeXT instead … who’s OS in turn was crafted in the 1980’s above 1970’s UNIX. But I do maintain that companies who subcontract the core of their product to outfits like Microsoft bring all their troubles on themselves. Apple really is the tale of a vertical strategy which is paying off enormously.

Now if only someone else – Google? – could gather up a good chunk of the Linux community and really give us a three horse race on the desktop. Fortunately there are already others on the smartphone…

14 John Muir { 08.12.08 at 3:23 pm }

(My point being that I fully expect the desktop / smartphone divide to fall apart thanks to what Apple have done. Android could grow to become *The* Linux. But I’d have to see it to believe it! Consortiums rarely make good bedfellows, yet alone products.)

15 John E { 08.12.08 at 3:38 pm }

well, in the ’90’s MS created three new important things that still account for its business success today: (1) an OS that ran on any cheap OEM box (Windows), (2) a decent suite of essential apps everyone needed (Office), and (3) an enterprise/LAN back-end that worked with (1) and (2) (Exchange/server etc. etc.). sure i agree, they haven’t done anything innovative since despite their continued pompous efforts to manipulate and conquer the digital world. which have obviously failed.

those that want to credit that mainly to their mindset (pushing manipulation rather than providing quality), have at it. it’s emotionally satisfying if you are fixated on MS (i think they suck too). but my perspective is to catch the larger flows of history: it couldn’t be done ever by anyone, anyway. you’ll always get instead the pattern we are seeing – various companies will create breakthrough innovations in new emerging important markets and seize leadership of that business segment. the old giants like MS (or IBM before them) that did that once themselves a decade before will then do their best to keep up and hang on to a chunk of that market.

So Win Mobile ain’t going to disappear like PlayForSure (which was more a codec, not an OS). does anyone really think it would? my prediction is it falls into #4 in the smartphone OS competition, behind Symbian, Apple, and RIM, but ahead of Linux in 2009.

16 danieleran { 08.12.08 at 7:34 pm }

@bout PFS: PlaysForSure is a codec, but the PFS-certified players used Microsoft’s “Portable Windows Media Player” platform and hardware specification, which makes it identical to the WiMo platform.

Not only do the two platforms share the same minority of cheerleaders at CNET (and their ilk), but they’re the same platform. Both run a variant of WinCE, which explains some of their common problems, from instability to poor battery life.

Microsoft has worked hard to sell WiMo to the IT managers it has sold on NT and Exchange Server, but even that market is not all that excited about WiMo. The iPhone’s ability to sync up with Exchange makes it a ready substitute. Plus it doesn’t demand dedicated mobile apps; one can direct users to existing web Intranet services.

@bout cloud: IT managers have long referred to the outside Internet as being “the cloud,” and on diagrams, the web and outside networks in general have always been indicated by a cloud labeled by an italic I.

So abstractly, the cloud represents external services reached over the Internet, and concretely it is made up of specific servers. Apple didn’t invent the idea.

17 John E { 08.12.08 at 8:59 pm }

yes, as RDM has reported in great depth many times, PFS and its platform was part of the overall late 90’s MS WinCE idea, trying to capture all mobile media and other consumer devices into a “monetized” MS universe. it morphed into “Pocket PC” in the early 00’s, adding the Win Mobile moniker for just phones in ’03. they never really have quite got it all set up completely in one seamless package, and we know how well it worked (not) due to excessive anti-consumer technical manipulation and poor execution (the Zune is the very lame progeny of that story). iPod/iTunes came along and killed any hope for MS hegemony. now with Windows Live and all its offshoots MS is trying the same idea via the “cloud,” and having about the same degree of success (or lack thereof). they still can’t seamlessly integrate all those services for some reason. Google et al. got there first and did it better too.

and certainly Win Mobile was the extension of that mega Win CE agenda to cell phones. They gradually expanded it with more and more OS-level abilities up to WM 6 last year. as i mentioned, HTC’s Touch Diamond with its custom UI sitting on top shows the best you can get out of it, give HTC some credit for making drinkable lemonade.

i think we all agree WM 6 is already obsolete compared to iPhone 2.0, but what is HTC and other non-Symbian phone makers going to do? they are pretty much stuck with Win Mobile. LiMo isn’t ready, if it ever will be. Android 1.0 might be weak. Next gen open-source Symbian is at least a year away. RIM and Apple don’t license OS’s. Palm’s on life support (maybe HTC should buy Palm). so MS will always have some licensees for WM. it was 18 million units for 07-08. so still probably 20-something million for 08-09, just because of overall growth in the smartphone market.

what does amaze me about MS is they (1) apparently have to and (2) think they can get away with, wait until late 2009 to bring out WM 7. is it arrogance? lack of competence? i dunno. by then iPhone 3.0 will have moved the goalposts of consumer expectations even father down the field … they must have thought Symbian was their only real rival. bad mistake.

18 madhu106 { 08.12.08 at 11:02 pm }

#5 Dorotea on 08.12.08 at 1:11 pm Dorotea on 08.12.08 at 1:11 pm

I hate the term “the clould”. Clouds disappear. Tornados come from cloulds. Hurricanes too. Wish the analogy weren’t used.

Sorry for the aside.
The above is true and it happens.

I really like Google but their idea of creating a “killer app” wouldn’t be just be a “killer app” if it were a front end service from the cloud. That is why even people wanted Apple to SDK so that apps that could reside on the phone. Web apps are really great but not always.
It does rain in the clouds, some of the examples are Twitter kept crashing untill a few weeks ago, Same with MobileMe’s bad launch, and of all the classic one would be the big daddy gmail that crashed and was completely out for about an hour. Gmail is like air some ppl breath, imagine millions of people unable to access the mails, thats because the front end interface is also from Google’s server, lucky for people who use gmail as a back-end service but use a different front end interface like the iphone or outlook or thunderbird, atleast they could check the mails that have been cached and they could even que up mails to be sent unlike the others.
So what happens when Gmail is down, people flood twitter with “hell! gmail’s down”. Interestingly Twitter stayed up.
So the “Killer app” could not be a web app, or not even traditional caching software but if Google really differentiated with Google gears bringing the best of both the worlds, the power of Web2.0 and the reliability of desktop like apps, and not just that, they need to be able to differentiate to a good amount from yet to release Mozilla Prism and we have already got a peak on what Snow leopard and Safari 4 can do(‘save as a web app’)or even if Apple pushed SproutCore to amaze ppl.
I am not sure about Adobe Air though. its less open

19 John Muir { 08.13.08 at 7:55 am }

Ah Adobe … I could just see them whipping up a fine vat of AIR lipstick for any interested pigs who happen to wander by, looking for a new “skin” or “front end”.

In my view: the biggest thing Apple did with the iPhone was move beyond WIMP. They went right beyond the mouse cursor. Every other interface is your finger (or more likely) your Newton-esque stylus dragging around that faithful old interface friend even Xerox could have recognised in the 1970’s!

There’s only so much “skinning” can do. Or lipstick on pigs. But if there’s someone who wanted to craft a whole UI without bothering with the architecture or the fundamental gestures, I could see it being Adobe. Soon as WinMob / Android can run desktop Flash. :D


20 hodari { 08.14.08 at 2:46 am }

Dan – I generally think your articles reflect good journalism – but this piece is absolutely appalling. There is no flow in the article! You are jumping all over the place and there is nothing concrete. You are rehashing the same story again and again – Microsoft blatant mistakes! And how they control the world – MONOPOLY etc. We all know what there are. We all know the blatant mistakes Apple, IBM, SUN etc have made. But we need to accept them and move on!.

Windows Mobile is here to stay. The next time FEDEX/UPS/DHL delivers your package ask them to show you the hand held they are using to capture your signature or to track your package. Just check what OS is running on the hand held – you will be surprised. SYMBOL (recently bought out by Motorola at more than 5 Billion Dollars), INTERMEC, PSION TEKLOGIX, C2E FZ LLC etc have huge investments in Windows CE and its derivatives windows Mobile. Some people believe that RIM has a monopoly in the Enterprise space – wrong!. “Business Mobility” is controlled by SYMBOL, INTERMEC, PSION, C2E and a few other players together with MICROSOFT who is providing the platform.

20 Million SMART PHONES but the rest of the world 10 billion mobile phones are not SMART PHONES and they do not run WIN, OSX or LINUX – they run SYMBIAN and that is why NOKIA recently bought out SYMBIAN OS share completely from SONYERICSSON etc and probably why SONYERICSSON is launching its highly anticipated XPERIA X1 using WIN MOBILE 6.1 and probably X2 with WIN CE 7 – did you expect any other operating system?

21 John Muir { 08.14.08 at 10:22 am }

@ hodari

Nokia are the Dell of phones. They ship vast quantities … but look at what they have in common with Dell in what the stock market think of them:

Nokia make slim and likely falling profit margins on their phones. They also lack the other engines Apple have, when it comes just to the iPhone yet alone Apple’s other businesses. Nokia are no monumental titan Apple can’t ever compete with. They are the old establishment, and like Dell will likely live on at the bargain basement end of the market, innovating only in trying to keep their slender operations alive. Do not however mistake just who’s future is the sunnier!

One good thing about Nokia is they seem to be smarter than Palm. They bought Trolltech (whose tech underlies much of Linux’s GUI) and are clearly making political moves, without turning it all in to become the exact Dell of the phone world and subcontract all their innovation and other forlorn hope out to Microsoft.

Boy though, do they have a lot to lose.

22 LunaticSX { 08.15.08 at 2:57 am }

Regarding Microsoft’s mobile phone strategy, I wonder what will come of their purchase of Danger, Inc., the makers of the Hiptop/T-Mobile Sidekick.

A possibility is that they’ll use Danger’s hardware expertise to try to release their own branded phone. If Microsoft was really going to release a Zune phone, the smartest thing for them would be to just add Zune Marketplace capability to the Hiptop/Sidekick’s existing O/S, re-brand it, and get it out the door as soon as possible. Being Microsoft, though, they’ll probably insist on ditching Danger’s O/S and try to shoehorn WinMo into it. In that case, they’d probably want to wait until WinMo 7 is available, which would simply serve to slow down its release (in typical Microsoft style).

In the end, Danger, Inc. will sadly probably go the same way as WebTV (remember them?) and other failed Microsoft acquisitions. The final result will be that Microsoft simply winds up killing another independent potential competitor. Palm’s turn will be coming next, unless someone else buys them.

23 LunaticSX { 08.15.08 at 4:09 am }

@John Muir

“In my view: the biggest thing Apple did with the iPhone was move beyond WIMP. They went right beyond the mouse cursor. Every other interface is your finger (or more likely) your Newton-esque stylus dragging around that faithful old interface friend even Xerox could have recognised in the 1970’s!”

Have you ever used a Newton? I would guess that you haven’t.

The Newton’s UI was actually Apple’s first “move beyond WIMP.” They really threw out all the conventions and designed the whole UI from scratch, bottom up. Like the iPhone, applications opened full-screen, without overlapping windows with title bars and control widgets. There was also no menu bar. Menus that did exist would pop-up from buttons at the bottom of the screen. In that way, your hand wouldn’t be obscuring the menu when you tapped on a button with the stylus–something that neither Palm nor Microsoft took into account with their mobile UIs.

It’s ironic that it could be claimed by some people that part of the reason the Newton failed was because its UI was so different from what people were used to, and that Palm and WinMo were more successful because they were a little more familiar. Yet now there’s the immensly popular iPhone, with it’s own new, unique UI. This time, the “right thing to do,” of a UI specifically tailored to the device and its use, has finally won.

And again Apple has shown itself as the tech industry’s true foremost innovator. As the Apple II begat the IBM PC (expandible, slot-based architecture), the Lisa and Mac begat all modern GUIs (Mac and Windows are identical twins compared to either one and the Xerox systems that Apple was inspired by), and the Newton begat Palm (they started by writing Graphitti for the Newton) and successive consumer stylus-driven devices. Now the iPhone has the whole mobile industry scrambling to come up with “me too” touchscreen devices. So where else was Apple “there first” and laughed at, before the whole industry/world eventually adopted what Apple was the first to try to popularize? I suppose it could be argued that Apple’s Pippin, essentially a stripped-down Mac meant as a games console/set top box, presaged the Xbox, a similarly stripped-down Windows PC meant for the same purpose. It’s easy to now suggest that the AppleTV has a future as a games console, with ALL of its games coming over the network, a la the iPhone apps from the App Store & iTunes. I wouldn’t expect that to happen very soon, though. I think a combination of the fruit of the PA Semi acquisition and a lot more work on Snow Leopard are necessary first, which would mean a target date of games on AppleTV no earlier than next year.

24 hodari { 08.15.08 at 6:40 am }

I used the Newton for quite some time MessagePad and I thought it was very smart. After all, Apple (Sculley & Co) came up with the concept of PDA!. The recognition engine was a real problem!. Look at tablet PC same issues but further refined than Newton. You cannot understand how I and multitude of people including deveopers and companies felt when Apple gave up the Newton thanks to Job & Co. Money does not grow on trees – Just because I live in a million dollar house and drive an expensive car or I own my own jet it does not mean that I just throw things out – but I guess it is just the reality of life! Especially Technology.

People keep singing praise of IPHONE – good for them. There is no innovation on touch screen. Apple did not invent the touch screen and the only innovation I can see is there is a lot of thought that has gone into the software controlling the iphone. It is not perfect. Job denounced the use of the keyboard. But watch this space. They will release a keyboard either add on or built in and every one will forget that Job & Co told us “forget it you do not keyboard you need your fingers!”. Yah sure. The only reason I have not bought the iphone is the touch screen. It does not work for me. I have tried it. Just for the record LG was the first company to show a phone that looks exactly like the iphone. The net is full of individuals asking who copied who ?.

The concept of Apple II was phenomenal – no one had conceived the idea of the personal computer. It was not just the computer that made Apple successful. It was VISICALC, DBASE and WORDSTAR that brought success to Apple and these applications were not written by Apple. But once again as I said earlier, everyone makes mistake. So did Apple. You cannot close the doors. Apple II was a close box! And that is the only reason why IBM was successful. When IBM tried to build a PC with closed propriety architecture MICROCHANNEL – they failed miserably!. Apple knows this, so does Microsoft. Why do you think Microsoft handed me a copy of the source code of WINDOWS CE.NET? – Yes I do have the source code and the Platform builder from Microsoft. As pointed out by John E, HTC has done an amazing job of the UI bolted on top of the WINCE.NET. You need the source code to do that!.

People come and people go. Companies come and companies go. Technology comes and technologies go. This is the just fact. For quite a number of years, Apple languished in its own prison cell (Muir go back and check what the value of Apple stock was then). Nothing was coming out of the Apple factory. The so called pundits of the industry had already written off Apple as it was dying a slow and miserable death – but miracles do happen!. It is back again. If Windows Mobile dies nothing is going to change!. Life will continue with or without Microsoft or Apple for that matter and as for innovation – if you call iphone or ipod innovation you need to go back and check the dictionary for the word INNOVATION.

25 John Muir { 08.15.08 at 7:02 am }


You’re right: I never so much as saw a Newton when they were alive, yet alone owned one. (Teenager in the UK at the time in question.) This was the platform’s real problem: it just never took off. When you launch a dud, it’s all but impossible to fix it.

Debating precisely why the Newton was a market flop has become a passtime for every pundit since. They’re the uninformed crowd who came up with the bogus idea: “it was toooooooooo different, bad, bad!” It was not. It was just too big, too expensive and too early. The resulting PDA market itself was a drop in the ocean until the smartphone took off. (Vast overvaluations of Palm etc. during the dotcom boom notwithstanding.)

What’s really made this class of device invaluable is the internet. The iPhone’s power comes from the combination of its deeply thought out interface, iTunes syncing, and full blown Safari. Just imagine how much less useful an iPhone would be if you could borrow a time travelling Delorean to try using it in 1998! That was world of the Newton. And the world mostly said no.

26 John Muir { 08.15.08 at 7:06 am }

@ hodari

From what you’re saying, sounds like you should really be into Linux. You get the source code for everything that way. And boy, do they innovate. So long as reinventing wheels every damn day counts as “innovation”.

Thinking that the iPhone isn’t among the very best examples of innovation *period* is like complaining about the original Mac having graphics. “That’s not for serious people! It’s just not!”

27 hodari { 08.15.08 at 2:28 pm }

John – It is not about source code – go back and re-read what I said and stop taking points out of context!. Yes, iphone is not the best of innovation. There is nothing in there that the Touch Diamond does not do and do well indeed. Candy stuff is not innovation. Push Mail by Blackberry was innovative at its time – something that even Microsoft had not conceived it considered that 80% of the Enterprise using Windows Platform rely on Microsof Exchange.

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30 LunaticSX { 08.18.08 at 9:57 am }


“The [Newton] recognition engine was a real problem!”

The Newton OS 2.0 recognizer worked very well. In fact it STILL works very well, living on in Mac OS X as Inkwell.

“You cannot understand how I and multitude of people including deveopers and companies felt when Apple gave up the Newton thanks to Job & Co.”

I was a Newton developer. I went to the NewtonSource store in San Francisco on my lunch break on the day the Newton was discontinued and I was interviewed by a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. I was at the Newton protest on the Apple campus the week after the Newton was discontinued. And I was one of the two people who brought Newton MessagePads to the very first iPhoneDevCamp, last August (and again a couple weeks ago).

“Apple did not invent the touch screen and the only innovation I can see is there is a lot of thought that has gone into the software controlling the iphone.”

Why is it you find it so easy to discount innovative software?

“Just for the record LG was the first company to show a phone that looks exactly like the iphone.”

And you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

There were also MP3 players before the iPod, USB ports on PCs before the iMac, home computers before the Apple II, etc. All of which is not relevant.

“It was not just the [Apple II] computer that made Apple successful. It was VISICALC, DBASE and WORDSTAR that brought success to Apple and these applications were not written by Apple.”

Apple invented a platform with the Apple II. dBase and Wordstar were written for CP/M, and sold a lot of Z-80 CP/M boards for the Apple II. Visicalc was written explicitly for the Apple II. The flexibility and affordability of the Apple II as a platform allowed these things, and made it the success it became.

“Apple II was a close box! And that is the only reason why IBM was successful.”

The Apple II was the very definition of “open” when it was released. Its hardware and software were well-documented. It had a program built-in to its ROM called Monitor that let you get “under the hood” and examine program code as it was running. The original Apple II Reference Manual (the “Red Book”) even contained an assembly language source code listing of the Monitor program!

The openness of the IBM PC was actually a direct result of the success of the openness of the Apple II. It was simply IBM’s reputation that initially sold the IBM PC, and then its first “killer app,” Lotus 1-2-3 in 1983 that caused it to eventually dominate the market for microcomputers.

“As pointed out by John E, HTC has done an amazing job of the UI bolted on top of the WINCE.NET.”

“Amazing” is not a word I have seen reviewers use in reference to HTC’s touch-based launcher on top of WinMo. And what John E actually said about HTC’s UI, above, ended with “give HTC some credit for making drinkable lemonade.” (You know the saying: “When all you’ve got is lemons, make lemonade.”)

“if you call iphone or ipod innovation you need to go back and check the dictionary for the word INNOVATION.”

Like the Apple II, where the iPod and iPhone have risen above their peers is the platform on which they have been built. The first iPod combined the speed of FireWire for transferring data (USB 2.0 didn’t exist then), iTunes for managing music (its nearest competitors were miserable), the first 1.8″ hard disk in an MP3 player, the first scroll wheel on a hard drive MP3 player, and a very simple, straightforward interface. Ever since then the majority of the true advancements to the iPod have been through software. That software (iTunes and QuickTime) then provided the platform for the iPhone to use as its foundation.

“There is nothing in [the iPhone] that the Touch Diamond does not do and do well indeed. Candy stuff is not innovation.”

How ironic. From my perspective, the Touch Diamond looks much more like a “candy stuff” UI added on top of the old and tired chassis of Windows Mobile.

And if the Touch Diamond does everything so well as the iPhone, one wonders why actual comparisons between the two have consistently gone in the iPhone’s favor.

31 nbplopes { 08.19.08 at 7:40 am }

I don’t want to sound like I’m defending M$ but every time some tech company has success it seams like it is the downfall of M$ strategy.

Reality check for the good or for the bad:

M$ rules the OS pc desktop market
M$ rules the OS pc gaming market
M$ rules the business phone / PDA market
M$ rules the office/home productivity software market
M$ comes on third to second in the console market

Collectively I suspect that M$ comes first on the media platform market to the synergies created by the successes stated above. Windows Vista sales far outsold any iPhone (and its OS) + iStore collectively. So inspite of the so called failures stated above they must be doing something right that Apple for instance isn’t.

I can tell you where. People talk about DRM of Microsoft being a lock blabla and once again M$ is trying to dominate blablabla. Well the reason why M$ so sucessfull is becouse it always offered the most open comercial technological platform in the market! I challeng anyone to state otherwise in a consistent and practical manner. This in contrast to Apple.

I love the technical achievements of Apple, and to be honest most of what they do they do it with innovation (forget the failure of Newton and Steve Jobs NeXT distractions).

Here is something practical. I need to buy a new phone/PDA. I really like the iPhone ease of use and media features (I actually love it). I love it so much that I could survive with the phone limitations regarding enterprise integration. But I will not buy it. Why?

Well my car already has a bluetooth hands free kit that works with all bluetooth mobile phones except …. iPhone! So basically I needed to replace it, plus i needed to buy also an iPhone to my wife since by replacing it I would need also to replace my wifes phone for … an iPhone too. So don’t come and tell me that DRM from M$ it is evil blablabla. What about earbuds, what about installing third party software with no restrictions such as Voip or even a Real Time GPS. What about Flash support so I can navigate on any site? What about the ability access to any video in youtube besides the one converted to the iPhone format. What about MP3 support? etc etc.

So don’t tell me that M$ is a sinner becouse of forcing IE etc etc on THEIR platform. Apple strategy as always been towards locking customers to everything Apple. That is why M$ is winning the overall scheme.

I will not buy an iPhone (although I was ready to) simply becouse the artificial bluetooth limitations tries to lock all my family on Apple their way of thinking (Talking about think different!).

Most probably I will buy a HTC Diamond, PRO or the new Samsung. Is the most open commercial platform in the market, inspite of not being so nice as the iPhone. I don’t really like this choice, but it is the only one Apple give me.


32 nbplopes { 08.19.08 at 8:03 am }

One last thing I honestly doupt you accounted for. Microsoft is not in the mobile phone market with its Windows Mobile OS. Microsoft is in the Mobile OS market. As such, have you accounted for the acumulated volume of sales of Windows CE (as is a Windows Mobile without the phone call add-on) and the Windows Mobile? For instance I have bought already 2 PDA with Windows Mobile and I’m facing buying a mobile phone with it too. So from me only we can count 3 Windows Mobile sales against 1 possible iPhone sales.

Apple as still a long way to go … reality check. Hope Apple knows this more then you seam to know.

PS: I actually could connect my PS3 to the my PDA to wirelessly upload music to the first. Talking about openess.

33 danieleran { 08.20.08 at 2:57 pm }

Nuno: the worldwide PDA market is currently around 680,000 units a quarter according to Gartner. That doesn’t include the iPod touch of course, which probably sells several million per quarter. Apple sells 10-20 million iPods per quarter, and if even 10% were touch, that’s 2-3 times as many units as not just WiMo PDAs, but Zaurus, Palm, and everyone else combined. The PDA market is dead, and shipments are down 50% year over year.

Why? Mobiles and the iPod. WiMo isn’t pushing either, Apple is behind both. So the fact that you know about three WiMi/WinCE devices does not offset the fact that most people are buying an iPod touch, not a PDA.

34 danieleran { 08.20.08 at 3:07 pm }


“M$ rules the OS pc desktop market”
“M$ rules the OS pc gaming market”

Yes, the PC OS market is what keeps MS afloat. And Gaming, while actually not nearly as huge market, is certainly strategic for MS’ plans. The Xbox was intended to prevent PC gaming from draining away toward Sony’s PS consoles.

“M$ rules the business phone / PDA market”

Oh, here’s where you hit fantasy land. Microsoft has 12% of smartphones worldwide and less than half of the PDA market, which is currently around 680,000 units per quarter. That’s hard to call a market. WiMo is not only slipping behind, being passed by RIM in the US, Nokia worldwide, and Apple in both, but is increasingly irrelevant.

“M$ rules the office/home productivity software market”

Yes Office brings in that other huge monopoly of money. But that’s going to dry up too, which is why MS is working so hard to get subscription payments working. It’s competing against free.

“M$ comes on third to second in the console market”

Coming in third in a three horse race isn’t always something to brag about, but more importantly, MS has invested billions into this in a effort to prop up the PC gaming market. It is only just now breaking a slight profit, and only if you exclude Microsoft’s “Other” expenses related to marketing and R&D and everything else that reputable companies don’t hide.

Your other comments seem to confuse “open” with some other word with a different meaning. Perhaps you mean that Microsoft’s market power results in broad adoption? That’s good for MS, but bad for competition, and bad for users.

There is a reason the PC OS has been dramatically rising in price over the last decade while the PC itself has been dramatically falling in price. Hint: it is not because Microsoft is “open.”

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