Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
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The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone

palm pre itunes

Daniel Eran Dilger

The ridiculous fringe of punditry is working hard to invent a bitter, angry rivalry between Apple and Palm in order to suggest that the iPhone is at some potential risk of being overshadowed and that Apple has become an abusive monopolist seeking to beat up underdogs. They’re wrong, here’s why.
How Times Change.

Tech coverage of the smartphone industry has clearly shifted since the iPhone was launched. Recall when the Street was warning people about how the iPhone actually cost over $17,000 dollars if you added up service fees over the course of two years and then invested the money over your lifetime? That nonsense has blown over; the same people are now referring to the Palm Pre as having a “real cost” that not only ignores the service plan subsidy and “potential for investment,” but throws in a huge mail in rebate… from the company that never bothered to send me my rebate years ago.

The Street’s Flaccid Campaign Against the iPhone

Remember how everyone–including Palm’s executives–doubted whether Apple could “just walk in” and enter the smartphone arena? Now everyone is assuming that Palm will “walk right in” and assume an equal standing with Apple as a mobile software platform vendor, despite having no existing installed base of WebOS users in contrast to the 50 million users Apple has, no experience in successfully selling software, and an SDK that appears to still be unfinished, despite the fact that the Pre doesn’t really run real apps at all, but merely displays simple JavaScript-based web applet widgets.

Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone

Remember how everyone fretted that the iPhone would be sunk by its exclusive US partnership with AT&T, which vies with Verizon for placement as the top US mobile company? Never mind that the Pre is tied to the distantly third place and currently quite beleaguered Sprint, or that its use of CDMA2000 will prevent it from being sold overseas!
Remember when critics complained that the iPhone couldn’t do “over the air” downloads of overpriced ringtones and could only download new music through iTunes? Now they’re celebrating that the Palm Pre can talk to iTunes when its clear the device won’t ever be able to handle iTunes’ online mobile downloads.

All of the standard pundit tricks for painting Apple and its iPhone as set for impending disaster have been turned 180 degrees to make the ailing Palm’s long shot Pre look like it is fated for nothing short of wild success. Of course this is all because the way you defraud investors is by suggesting that a winner is a loser and vice versa.

However, the really bizarre story to emerge from the Palm Pre launch is that, supposedly, Palm’s integration with iTunes has Apple on edge and looking to start an all-out brawl with Palm, as if Apple is worried that its users will desert the company to sign up with Sprint and a experimental new phone from a company set to go out of business, despite all the surveys that consistently report an unusually high level of satisfaction with the iPhone and iPod touch.

The dizzyingly absurd drama that tries to suggest that Apple is desperately scared of the Palm Pre harkens back to the giddy optimism voiced by Windows Enthusiasts who just two years ago tried to suggest the iPod Era was all but over now that Microsoft was gearing up to spit out the Toshiba Gigibeat under its own Zune brand.

Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing

This All Happened Before
Remember that? The PC wags were all certain that the Great Monopolizer of Redmond was going to swoop in and trample the iPod. Computerworld’s Mike Elgan wrote that the Zune “scares Apple to the core” and predicted that Microsoft would “leverage the collective power of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Soapbox (Microsoft’s new ‘YouTube killer’) and the Xbox 360” to steal Apple’s business.

Every time I repeat that quote it gets a little funnier with the additional hindsight. Soapbox not only didn’t kill YouTube, it killed itself; Vista turned out to be a far more disastrous failure than even I had predicted; and the Xbox 360 did absolutely nothing to help the Zune apart from offering lots of bad news about hardware failures that might have had some slight effect in distracting attention away from how poorly the Zune was selling.

The only plausible Zune threat in 2006 was that Microsoft continued to own the PC desktop with Windows XP and, despite it being half a decade old, this offered some credibility for believing that Microsoft could bully its way into the iPod market the same way it had muscled into graphical computing, web browsers, 3D graphics, and so forth, each time offering a far lessor product that managed to suffocate superior innovation and pave over new wild frontiers of technology with the company’s low quality asphalt.

But this didn’t happen to the iPod. Instead, while Microsoft ineffectually tried to copy Apple’s music player products from the year before, Apple rolled out the iPhone and left Microsoft’s jaw on the floor for two and a half years before the company could even announce a vaporous new intent to compete against it in a limited way.

Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan

Palm is no Microsoft

At this point, you might be thinking, “yes, but that was Microsoft, a company that has never done anything but fail miserably! The Palm Pre comes from a rock solid company with impressive products, a stellar reputation for delivering all its promises, incredible third party developer support and long term strategic platform savvy, strong retail operations, and one of the most popular consumer brands on the planet. Apple has no chance!”

And thank you for thinking that, dear reader. My sides hurt, too, as I cry tears that accompany my hysterical laughter.

Of course, the reality is that Palm needs more than just a salable product two years after the debut of the iPhone. It really needs the last four years back, so it can deliver the Palm ahead of the iPhone.

Palm’s investors keep repeating this idea that the Palm Pre can do everything the iPhone can and more, just like the Archos and Zen can do more than the iPod. The problem is that tech products don’t sell based on feature checklists. Compatibility with the mainstream, price, and usability have always been far more important. Apple’s Macintosh struck out on the first two, enabling DOS PCs to overshadow what was clearly a superior product. More recently, the Zune offers an example of striking out on all three factors, while its radio and WiFi gimmick features did nothing to help it.

The Palm Pre has some nice graphics, but the big problem is that it doesn’t offer compatibility with anything, it’s not really any cheaper, and doesn’t do anything novel enough to make up for it. Instead, it not only lacks the ability to run a significant assortment of desirable mobile apps compatible to the iPhone, but it offers no way to ever catch up because it doesn’t run apps at all; it only runs web applets that are limited to the kinds of things you can do in Facebook or Dashboard. No real games, no real apps, just mini widgets that are automatically upgraded as Palm sees fit on the server side. Palm Pre users won’t even have control of their own software.

Corporate legal scrambles to withdraw inflated Palm Pre claims

Competitors and Allies.

Now, I should point out that I’m not anti-Palm just because the Pre is competing against the iPhone, as many will be quick to label me.

Apple desperately needs some real competitive pressure or the company will begin slowing down and get boring, and Palm offers at least a hint at trying to deliver a slick looking alternative, particularly when compared to the monstrously clumsy junk Microsoft is cranking out, or the horrific BlackBerry Storm that RIM excreted, or the random Android mess Google is throwing at the wall to see if it can make something stick somehow, or the Symbian around Nokia’s ankles, or the hopelessness of Motorola and Sony Ericsson. Apple needs a worthy competitor.

But Palm is simply not a credible competitor. That might change if some other company bought it up and did something interesting with the WebOS. The market for smartphones and mobile devices is plenty big enough for Apple to share with several other companies. Apple actually benefits from having multiple vendors competing in the smartphone market, as this keeps a boorish, monotonous, low-end commodity vendor from killing any potential for the creative new products Apple likes to develop.

Why Apple’s Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm Pre

Marketing Theater

The real point however, is that Apple is not desperately fearful of Palm. This fiction has been fanned by sensationalist journalists ever since Palm asserted that the Pre was not only certain to eventually ship, but was destined to slay the iPhone. Had it not been for this bit of over the top theater, it’s unlikely that anyone would have even given the deathbed Palm much mention.

Since then, analysts have asked Apple executives leading questions to try to tease out some sort of declaration of war against the Palm Pre, something that Apple has carefully avoided doing. Instead, the company has simply stated that it intends to defend its patented inventions, and avoided any mention of the Pre or any other specific model or company.

The latest on this front has pundits frothing at the prospect of Palm daring to sync its Pre to iTunes, as if Apple is worried that the Palm Pre might help expand the popularity of its music player and sell more music. Really, if you are Apple, are you more worried about a million Palm Pre sales adding a million more iTunes users, or a million sales of something else tied to an iTunes rival?

Instead of worrying that Apple will try to stop Palm from using iTunes, a better question to ask is “what has changed in the last five years that makes Palm desperate to associate its make-or-break phone with iTunes, following years of half-assed Mac support for basic Palm syncing?”

The Egregious Incompetence of Palm

Delicious Irony

The ridiculous idea that Apple doesn’t want Palm to support its platform for syncing and media sales is even more absurd when viewed with some historical context. Recall that one of the first things Steve Jobs did after returning to Apple was to sell the company’s Claris Organizer to Palm, which resulted in Palm Desktop for Mac.

Apple specifically promoted Palm devices as part of its digital hub. After Palm left its Mac HotSync client software to stagnate, Apple took the initiative to write its own free conduit software for Palm to integrate its devices into Mac OS X’s new syncing architecture. Apple also touted compatibility with a variety of other phones, and worked hard to build seamless USB and Bluetooth data sync into the Mac.

Even as the iPod took off, Apple designed iTunes to work with a variety of music players. It designed Sync Services in Mac OS X as an open platform for third party syncing, enabling support for Windows Mobile, RIM and Symbian devices to upload contacts and calendars. Is Apple really going to be outraged that Palm is using this rather than rolling its own buggy Mac sync client or ignoring the Mac entirely? How ruthlessly absurd.

Is Apple also supposed to be upset that Palm used WebKit to deliver the Pre’s browser rather than continuing to use a terrible pre-iPhone browser that does not contribute to the market share of Apple’s standards-based efforts with Mobile Safari? Perhaps Apple will also be greatly disappointed if Palm’s engineers contribute something toward improving WebKit the way Google and Nokia have. What a drag that would be.

And so it is that an ineffectually weak company has desperately come scratching at Apple’s door to associate itself with the iPhone’s popularity, to access its openly shared technology, and to support Apple’s Mac platform and the use of iTunes; still, the only way the clucking nests of pundits can spin things is to suggest that Apple will do all it can to stomp on Palm, so that the only other surviving companies in the smartphone arena are those that hate the Mac and loathe iTunes.

64 comments

1 nat { 05.30.09 at 5:40 pm }

Many good points brought up here and I appreciated the tone, with your rye sense of humor. I wonder too if the pundits are as clueless as I was earlier this week when I learned iTunes supported syncing with a number of non-iPod devices. While that seems possible, the entire notion that this is bad news for Apple cannot be defended by a lack of knowledge. It has to do with a lack of logic and more accurately, a desire to mislead people.

The only reason I could see Apple interfering with the Pre’s iTunes compatibility is if it actually appears with an iPhone or iPod icon in iTunes’ Source list, which I believe some sites have reported. If Palm’s smart, they’ll change that before it ships to the general public.

2 treestman { 05.30.09 at 5:52 pm }

Daniel,

I agree completely that Palm is one of the companys Apple seems to have little trouble with. Further, though I have no idea of their relationship now, there’s little question Jon Rubenstein got along well with Jobs for many years. I also agree Apple has nothing to worry about with the Pre right now.

However, I don’t agree that Apple should do nothing to stop the Pre acting as an iPod. In my view it’s got nothing to do with Apple being “concerned” or “worried” about the Pre — the device has miles to go before anyone at Apple will have trouble sleeping at night (though Microsoft might need a few sleeping pills). Rather, it has everything to do with denying Palm a seat at the table to which they’re not entitled. It’s hard to imagine Apple standing idly by while a third-party walks in and acts as an equal member of the iPod/iTunes ecosystem they’ve spent years building.

This means Palm would have to skip the Mac or write a crappy software client? Tough. Palm can get in line behind Google (and in some cases Adobe) delivering sub-par Mac apps, if they deliver them at all.

As for the WebKit analogy, since WK is open source I don’t see how it applies.

3 nat { 05.30.09 at 6:05 pm }

@treestman,

I guess you missed this article (http://www.macworld.com/article/140833/2009/05/palm_pre_syncs_with_itunes.html), which links to this Apple support page (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2172), which lists all the third party, non-iPod devices that sync with iTunes (and I don’t believe it’s even a comprehensive list).

4 Tom Reestman { 05.30.09 at 6:10 pm }

Nat,

Those devices do not fool iTunes into thinking they are iPods. Big difference, in my opinion.

Heck, you can even use an iPod manually within iTunes if you want just by flipping a switch, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about a device that (wrongly, in my opinion) identifies itself as an iPod to iTunes, hence my comment about it being an “equal”.

5 deardeveloper { 05.30.09 at 6:39 pm }

Once again, great article.

I must say that after being slightly disappointed with other pieces because they had left-wing sucker punches in them, I find myself realizing that I somewhat miss them. I was so looking forward to commenting and “setting the record straight”. ;-) Oh, well.

Now on to my comment about the article:
You wrote, “Apple desperately needs some real competitive pressure or the company will begin slowing down and get boring…”.

I don’t agree with this and I would propose that YOU don’t really either! To state my case, you started that section with the comment “Now, I should point out that I’m not anti-Palm just because the Pre is competing against the iPhone, as many will be quick to label me.”

I do believe you are being truthful in that you are not “anti-Palm” mainly because you are not targeting Palm itself so much as you are the ridiculous so-called pundits that are trying to make the Pre out to be the “BETTER THAN Jesus Phone”. But the idea coming from you that Apple needs iPhone competition or they’ll become mediocre is UTTERLY BASELESS and I think you were just throwing the audience a bone to show that “you too” can be objective and critical of Apple. But did Apple deserve this? What I would like from you Daniel Erin is some historical basis for your comment please.

One example that your wrong: Apple doesn’t even come close to having a cell phone product monopoly, right? But it could be said that for years now Apple has had one with the iPod. Is there even a pundit on the planet that would say Apple “slowed down” or became “boring” with the iPod? And don’t even try to tell me it was the great competition the iPod had that kept them innovating. It was simple because that is the fiber of who Apple is.

6 snookie { 05.30.09 at 6:49 pm }

The recent Boy Genius hands on review of the Palm Pre was not very positive. Here Palm finally let someone use and review the Pre and it was basically panned. I agree Apple should always have competition but the Pre isn’t it. Verizon has said they will be carrying it within six months btw.

I would really like to see you do an article on the new Zune “HD”. I find it unimpressive and a product in search of an audience.

7 VeoSotano { 05.30.09 at 7:06 pm }

@ deardeveloper:
I DO think that the competition… or at least the prospects of competition arising… is what kept Apple innovating. Apple learned their lesson after what happened when the company almost broke down years ago….

8 The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone … : appleiphoneheaven.com { 05.30.09 at 7:21 pm }

[...] See original here: The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone … [...]

9 beanie { 05.30.09 at 7:22 pm }

Daniel wrote:
“Never mind that the Pre is tied to the distantly third place and currently quite beleaguered Sprint, or that its use of CDMA2000 will prevent it from being sold overseas!”

Sprint exclusive for 6 months only? Verizon said it plans to release Pre on their network 6 months after launch. There is a GSM version of the Pre for overseas which Palm showed off in February.

Zune released in 2006-2008 was just to establish a brand. Microsoft was not really trying very hard. They did not even release Zune overseas, since it was not ready. But Zune HD is ready for overseas.

10 darwiniandude { 05.30.09 at 7:22 pm }

VeoSotano:
Yes, but I don’t think they’ll forget this quickly.

iTunes sync with Pre is a great idea!
Pre syncs non DRM music & movies
- Pre can’t buy movies
- Pre can’t rent movies
- Pre can’t use 30,000 applications

So Pre users, with iTunes, are constantly offered selections that the palm can’t use. Every time they search for music they’ll also find awesome iPhone apps, deliciously affordable, but can’t use them. Next time, they might pay less (due to service fee) and get an iPhone, and not have a watered down iTunes Lite experience.

11 santana { 05.30.09 at 7:25 pm }

Hey Daniel,

I’m a relatively new Mac user (I got my first Macbook one year ago). I have followed your articles almost since then and learned a lot from them about Apple history.

It’s good to have you around and setting things straight. Thanks.

This time, let me differ with you about this paragraph:

“[...] as if Apple is worried that the Palm Pre might help expand the popularity of its music player and sell more music”

According to one of your previous articles, Apple sees the iTunes Store as a way to sell more iPods, not as a revenue source. Then I understand that Apple’s interest is on keeping iTunes as iPod-only as possible.

Apple may not “worry”, but it’s probably not happy either. What do you think.

Anyways, the Palm Pre is far from being a threat to Apple.

12 danieleran { 05.30.09 at 7:46 pm }

@deardeveloper: if you want historical examples of Apple getting lazy after achieving a comfortable position with limited direct competition, there are many, starting with the Apple II, the Mac, Newton, System 7, and so on.

Anytime a company can make more money doing nothing than in competing with itself, it typically chooses to make more money over competing with itself.

Having said that, it should also be noted that Steve Jobs has recognized and stated that this is a mistake, and has frequently acted to keep Apple out of complacency. Killing the popular, profitable iPod Mini to release the Nano is a good example of this. Apple regularly rethinks things, dumps old legacy and invests in better ways of doing new things in ways that cause short term pains but result in long term successes.

And since you’re jonesing for a liberal challenge to right wing dogma, I could point out that conservatives/Republicans in general choose to run things into the ground to squeeze the money out for themselves efficiently in the short term, but in doing so completely hose themselves and the future of their enterprise and hurt their customers.

This right wing approach to business occurred when Apple was being run by Republican CEO John Sculley (and when Bush destroyed the US economy within eight years), and wasn’t reversed at Apple until Jobs shook things up liberally with the opposite strategy, which involves spending money to invest in the future, something which doesn’t immediately enrich anybody but does result in long term success for executives, their enterprise, their workers, and their customers.

In discussing this phenomenon, Jobs refers to business conservatives as “salesmen” and occasionally “bozos.”

Additionally, while Apple has long maintained a large share of the music player market with the iPod, it does not maintain a Microsoft-like monopoly that controls who can sell music players, the tech they must use, or prevents innovators from entering the market. Lots of bigger companies than Apple, including MS and Sony, were free to compete against the iPod, and that reality kept Apple competitive and moving.

If Apple had a monopoly position with the iPod that was anything like Windows, the company would have much greater opportunity to sit back and do nothing, much like MS has done with Windows. Easy success has a history of making people complacent. Ever notice how fit, attractive people get fat and sloppy after getting married? It’s the lack of competition!

If the above wasn’t enough of a rush for you, consider:

There’s a reason why American Republicans overwhelmingly voted against fighting Hitler in WWII. Republicans secretly love fascism and the concept of the state doing nothing beyond policing their assets and giving them unfettered ability to oppress the masses with state enforced monopoly businesses.

They fear their “government” and are skeptical of “elite” smart people who expose the silliness of the contradiction between their coldly conservative business greed and their irrationally liberal religion, and between the conservative idealism of individuality and “state’s rights” and their contradictory insistence on Federal laws to enforce their personal convictions regarding matters such as abortion and drug laws with flag waving, paramilitary zeal.

At the same time, a purely liberal United States without a conservative party would be as bad as an Apple without competition. There must be balance maintained between competition and cooperation, and diversity keeps the world from going overboard in any direction. Struggle and conflict are essential.

The fawning press and ineffectual competition during the monopoly reign of Microsoft in the 90′s and the near-dictatorship rule of Bush and the Republicans in this decade are clear examples of what happens when diversity and competition is oppressed.

13 danieleran { 05.30.09 at 7:59 pm }

@ beanie – oh you wonderful Microsoft apologist! Your comments are always so entertaining.

If Microsoft was just half-assedly establishing “Zune” as a brand over the last few years ON PURPOSE as part of a planned strategy, instead of actually trying to sell any, why did it establish the the brand as a the punch line of a JOKE?

And why were people *like you* — and Microsoft’s own executives — insisting that it was going to quickly achieve some significant share of the market, right up until it was obvious that it clearly wasn’t?

And what is there about the ZHD that makes it interesting? A nice OLED display with a ridiculous UI? I mean really, have you seen it? It has terrible, nonsensical navigation. And Microsoft isn’t showing off the browser! Why not? Apple demonstrated the iPhone browser six months before shipping it. Microsoft is still stalling years later. Pocket IE is still terrible. The only way MS could catch up with the iPod touch is to use the WebKit browser like RIM and Palm and Nokia and Google.

Unlike the iPod touch, ZHD can’t leverage compatibly with Windows Mobile phones without craping it up with that terrible “Pocket Windows” UI rejected by the consumer market. So even if MS could manage to sell 5 million ZHDs, it would still have a tenth of the platform base Apple already has.

14 deardeveloper { 05.30.09 at 9:12 pm }

@danieleran:

Umm, yeeeaaaah. Could you give me a more relevant Apple example? I realize that I left that open to a pretty broad example, but anything within, say, the last 11 years? Thanks.

I’m not sure how I got pegged as a Republican. My little observation on Chaney was not flattering for him in any way. Maybe since it wasn’t mean-spirited enough, it wasn’t recognized as liberal? Anyway, I am a reasonable and open-minded Libertarian.

I have to agree with some of your observations of stiff, unrisky, “stick to what makes for the best bottom line” business Republicans. I think there is a truth (in measure) that those who tend to be traditionalist, also tend to take less risk, and innovation demands risk. I’m not sure if Ballmer is a Republican, but I just watched a video where he talked about cutting back on R&D during these tough economic times.

You can see it here: http://d7.allthingsd.com/20090528/d7-interview-steve-ballmer/

I will however challenge the idea that those who would be FOR free-enterprise with little government involvement are secretly wanting to oppress the masses with monopoly businesses. And in the same way, I don’t think that ALL liberals who say that they want equality for all people want a government to oppressively control peoples thoughts, lives, and incomes.

I DO believe that we should help people who are incapable of helping themselves, and for ALL those who are capable and able bodied, we must foster OPPORTUNITIES for hard work and education. But if you didn’t earn it, your not entitled to it. PERIOD.

15 enzos { 05.30.09 at 9:53 pm }

Hey Dan, I see you have DD in UPPERCASE already.. too easy.

About marriage, you’re young mate. Marriage is more stress than complacency… and the insanely great products are new homo sapiens – one’s genetic parachutes.

Keep up the great work.

Enz

BTW: It’s ‘lesser’, unless they’re leasing the product.

16 gus2000 { 05.31.09 at 1:07 am }

“Every time I repeat that quote it gets a little funnier with the additional hindsight.”

Yeah I was chuckling over those old quotes, too. They’re right up there with “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

Daniel doesn’t need an article on on the ZuneHD, he needs an article about the media response to it. MOST of his articles are about the tech media more than the tech itself, a fact lost on rabid axe-grinding types (yes, DED will be labeled a “Palm hater” for this article). Ballmer’s ZHD demo doesn’t include Mobile IE, a product that should have been front-and-center and ready to go given it’s near-decade of development behind it. The media response? “We didn’t even see Mobile IE but now it has a *capacitive* touchscreen, so it must be awesome! Suck it, iPod!” I mean…whaaa? Dan you really need to start a “Worst Persons In The World” list.

I was lambasted on another tech blog for suggesting that the “ftw” features of the ZHD were not only stolen from the iPhone, but were actually deemed to be fail-inducing tragedies back in ’06. How quickly we forget…

17 adamk359 { 05.31.09 at 3:39 am }

Daniel,

I’ve had a lot of PDAs in my 27 years…most of them hand me downs from my father when he would upgrade. I’ve had more Palm devices than I can count…a bunch of Windows CE devices…and even one Newton. The best one I’ve ever had, though, is the very iPod Touch that I’m typing this post on…and it’s not even marketed as a PDA.

Palm has produced some great products over the years but I really don’t like the hardware keyboards that most smartphone manufacturers use. They seem clunky and cumbersome. The technogy that Palm introduced with Graffiti should be something they continue to develop with their WebOS…as I think that was a technology that made them innovative. From the BGR review of the Pre, it seems it’s basically using a cloned (but obviously somewhat different) iPhone OS interface with flicking/sweeping finger gestures. Nothing innovative about that.

As for the ZuneHD, it will apparently utilize WinCE. Why? Win CE has never been all that incredible and it’s been around for a very long time. In all the years that CE has been around, it’s still taxiing to the runway, while iPhone OS took off two years ago and has made hundreds of flights. Actually, if I look up and squint hard enough, I can see them serving snacks and beverages before the next iTunes movie. Is the ZuneHD really ready to compete with the iPhone OS version 3.0? Hardware feature comparisons aside…probably not even close. If MS can make it a hit with developers (don’t know if it will even run any third party apps) and make it more than just a simple media player (as Apple did with the iPod Touch), then perhaps it has a chance. Will MS screw something up with the ZuneHD? If it uses the same crappy Zune Marketplace software then it already has.

I don’t like Internet Explorer either (anyone who does is pretty much kidding themselves) but to make something so utterly clunky for a desktop platform and make it work on a mobile platform…well I wouldn’t show it either.

Steve Ballmer is funny to watch…you really can’t take anything he says seriously. Though I’m sure the Windows fanatics and MS talking heads/pundits/shills slobber when he talks like Mac users do when Jobs talks…the difference is that Jobs usually delivers…sometimes later than anticipated, but still better late than vaporware.

18 Joel { 05.31.09 at 6:30 am }

Any chance we could keep USA politics out of this one…?

A minor nitpick is the assertion “The Palm Pre has some nice graphics, but the big problem is that it doesn’t offer compatibility with anything”. It does have compatibility with older Palm Applications. Some of them were quite good and I can’t see older Palm users picking up the Pre without this…

The two problems I forsee with the Pre are the tiny 8Gb memory and the fact that the GMS phone probably won’t be out for a few months. By the time it gets to Europe (and the rest of the world) that 8Gb will be tiny…

I think one mistake people make is that the Palm that was so innovative in the early 2000′s isn’t the same Palm you see today. The majority of those techs are gone, and now its just an external part of Apple…

19 Steve White { 05.31.09 at 11:16 am }

beanie wrote:

“Sprint exclusive for 6 months only? Verizon said it plans to release Pre on their network 6 months after launch. There is a GSM version of the Pre for overseas which Palm showed off in February.”

Which is not necessarily good news for Palm, but it’s definitely bad news for Sprint. As Daniel points out, Sprint is #3 (or #4) in the cell phone ecosystem. It makes sense for them to grab at the Palm Pre the way a drowning man would grab at a life ring. But why would any Verizon customer switch to Sprint to get the Pre when he/she knows to just hang on for six months?

This doesn’t help Sprint at all, and it’s just more evidence that the folks at Palm really don’t get what made the iPhone special.

20 Steve White { 05.31.09 at 11:22 am }

Daniel,

Your observations about the Mac, Windows, etc are great.

Your observations about politics, not so much.

I respect your political beliefs, but the notion that Republicans just squeeze out money and run things into the ground is laughable. There are plenty of innovative companies out there that are run by people with conservative, or relatively conservative, mindsets.

It’s that conservative mindset that understands that, at the end of the day, one has to ship a product that actually sells and turns a profit. That, in fact, sounds a lot like Steve Jobs, who has always had his feet on the ground in that respect. It was Steve Jobs who, upon his return to Apple, cut and slashed all the goofy things the (liberal) Apple was working on that had no chance in the marketplace: things like Pink, Taligent, the clone operation, and so on. Steve might be a political liberal (and that’s fine) but when it came to business, Mr. Jobs understood the lessons of Profit 101 well enough.

The issue of why Apple, Jobs, the Mac, the iPhone, etc. all work, and Microsoft, Vista, Zune, Palm, Pre, Android, etc. don’t, has nothing to do with one’s political orientation, but rather one’s personal and business vision.

Vision is the key. Jobs has it. Ballmer doesn’t. If Ballmer were a liberal Democrat he’d still be a putz.

21 hmciv { 05.31.09 at 12:19 pm }

Like with iTunes, we won’t realize Apple’s monopolized the industry until its too late. And it will be INSANELY GREAT! (buh-wa-ha-ha)

22 nat { 05.31.09 at 1:49 pm }

@Joel, Steve White,

Daniel has every right in the world to not only reference “politics” in his articles (which, if you didn’t notice, he refrained from doing in this article), but to also respond to users expressly requesting his views.

@ Just Steve White,

It’s beyond two-faced to tell Daniel his political views are bad (especially when he posts them in the comments section at his readers’ request) and then to tell him you respect his beliefs…and then go on to post your own political views.

23 John E { 05.31.09 at 2:03 pm }

what is striking is the almost identical hype process the tech media has embraced with both the Pre and the Zune HD (aka the Zilch HD):

1. the OEM “announces” the new upcoming product about 5 months in advance of going on sale in conjunction with some big trade show the tech media is already swarming over, competing for “scoops” (posting mostly press handouts and scripted interviews, but little real reporting).

2. the announcement includes a list of features that sound great, which hype-filled press release get essentially reprinted a few hundred times on blogs and press reports everywhere with no critical analysis at all.

3. a few members of the tech media get to actually hold a prototype model of the new thing for a short period of time, playing with its superficial controls and some carefully preloaded software demos. they then post breathless reports about their great adventure, getting lots of website hits in return (hello, Gizmodo).

4. this is then followed immediately with “is this?” or “this is” the iPhone/iPod “killer” posts everywhere, mostly based on superficial comparison of announced features of the new product vs. the current Apple product, but much less about software and UI or anything “under the hood.”

5. whereas a much smaller number of skeptical “debunk” posts are written about the new product, a few of which are actually well-reasoned and take an analytical approach (hello, RDM, but not AI).

6. finally followed a few weeks/months later by business research “analysts” prognostications – guesswork usually – about what Apple will do with its future products.

7. finally the product is put on sale with one last burst of hype and “killer” speculation. the initial reviews are generally positive.

8 then the media moves on to the next hype cycle for another product, with only a few much better informed follow up reviews after a month or two. almost no one reports “it wasn’t a killer after all,” though they never are.

7. meanwhile, through this entire process, Apple says nothing, not even leaks.

the overall outcome of this scenario is that what are at best niche products, like the Pre and the Zilch, are treated as equals of the Apple products – until they actually go on sale, their limitations become apparent, and sales are modest.

this was also the scenario with the much ballyhooed RIM Storm last fall.

which leads me to the conclusion the tech media is really 90% lightweight phonies who have no idea what real journalism is supposed to be.

24 danieleran { 05.31.09 at 3:06 pm }

@Steve White

“the notion that Republicans just squeeze out money and run things into the ground is laughable. There are plenty of innovative companies out there that are run by people with conservative, or relatively conservative, mindsets.”

It is dangerous to classify the world as rights and lefts. Most people lean toward moderate positions and hold unique and independent perspectives in terms of their opinions on politics/government policy, social issues, economics, and technology; all of those positions overlap and connect and sometimes contradict.

It is only the rabid fundamentalist fringe that seeks to classify everyone as a ‘true conservative’ or a liberal. America is what it is for being a conservative-leaning liberal democracy, and until this mindset of hating people who are different is dropped, nothing new will happen outside of the US going down the tubes a bit further.

We’re barely out of our shameful decade as militarized, religious dictatorship espousing torture, crushing civil rights, and pushing for monopolized conglomeration with government subsidized wealth consolidation. America can’t rebuild without letting go of this notion that “you are either for us or against us.”

Having said that, got some examples of how hyper-conservative efficiency has worked out in the long term for investors, customers, and society? Because when I look at companies run by extremist conservatives, I see desecration of American jobs, environmental devastation, low quality products, and management that forces the US to pay welfare health benefits for its employees : Walmart.

American conservatism is all about a rich, white, less than intellectual minority seeking to maintain a monopoly position over the population. And because a minority can’t maintain political power in a democracy, this fringe uses patriotic and religious emotionalism to fire up an idiot mass to support its political and financial goals, which do not benefit that mass at all. So you have “Joe the Plummer” outraged about high wealth taxes he does not pay, and you have 21 year old gun nuts sent to Iraq to die in horrific conditions in a failed effort to keep the price of oil low and to prevent having to invest in alternatives to Middle East energy.

I’d be happy to consider your opinions if you can substantiate them. But there’s no point to insist that I not make any references to politics when I provide concrete examples of my outlook, and then counter this with flimsy opinions that simply echo conservative AM radio programming. What great conservative companies have built America: Standard Oil? McDonalds? Hitler-fan Ford?

25 The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone … | technoswarm.com { 05.31.09 at 6:10 pm }

[...] Here is the original: The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone … [...]

26 deardeveloper { 05.31.09 at 9:07 pm }

@danielerin

Yikes! In reply to you last comment directed towards Steve White;

You say “…and until this mindset of hating people who are different is dropped…”

Then you go on to say things about American Conservatives like “less than intellectual”, “an idiot mass”, and “21 year old gun nuts sent to Iraq”.

Like I said, I’m not a Republican, and this comment is not to defend Steve White. But you lefties are just as hypocritical and in my opinion a whole lot more mean-spirited.

27 jfatz { 05.31.09 at 9:14 pm }

“What great conservative companies have built America: Standard Oil? McDonalds? Hitler-fan Ford?”

For many, “great” = “successful,” so…

28 macmo { 05.31.09 at 9:39 pm }

Wow Daniel, Bravo!

You are spot on about the Republican party. In fact I wrote that much on my own blog recently. It bears repeating:

“American conservatism is all about a rich, white, less than intellectual minority seeking to maintain a monopoly position over the population. And because a minority can’t maintain political power in a democracy, this fringe uses patriotic and religious emotionalism to fire up an idiot mass to support its political and financial goals, which do not benefit that mass at all.”

I would only add one thing: It is the duty of a free press to protect the other 99% of the population from this sort of treatment, but unfortunately in this country we don’t really have such a thing. We have infotainment, which does the opposite of informing. Even the few decent outlets (take Jim Lehrer’s) are forced to spend most of their time confronting or dispelling talking points created by others.

Last thought: I am very very hopeful about the future because the democratization of information, with blogs and whatever new type of social media and social news comes next, in practical terms means the GOP can not possibly come back to power. Not in the shape it had for the last 100 years anyways. That’s a big part of why they are struggling so badly right now (Obama is only half the story).

29 enzos { 05.31.09 at 9:45 pm }

Actually, Dan, ‘Hitler-fan Ford’ drives across your thesis, viz. that conservative-run companies are non- or even (per MicroSloth) counter-innovative. While wanting no truck with Henry Ford’s ratbag politics*, I do hold him to be a great industrialist and innovator (and kudos for giving us the Jobs-ian “faster horse” retort to “focus groups”). More particularly so his company: the labs in Dearborn, along with the famous Xerox labs, is a classic example of US private-enterprise innovation. Like Xerox, they employed scientists, serious hard scientists (not just stamp collectors and techos), and gave them free reign to come up with ideas… that would eventually become things like sun-resisting paints (on a whim, a physical-organic chemist they employed added the equivalent of a chain-breaking anti-oxidant – a nitroxide free radical.. and it worked, and so forth for stabilized transmission oils &c.).

Which goes to show that an author’s politics doesn’t *necessarily* determine the nature, quality or effect his life’s work, art or science. One example: Robbie Oppenheimer (a prince of a man) and Enrico Fermi (the crazy RW bastard who grassed him out to the McCarthyists) were both innovative geniuses – Physics A-listers – and both worked on the atomic bombs that fell on Japan.

l8r m8
Enz


* E.g., from WikiP: “The only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on.” During this period, Ford emerged as “a respected spokesman for right-wing extremism and religious prejudice,” reaching around 700,000 readers through his newspaper.

30 geoffrobinson { 05.31.09 at 10:10 pm }

I think what is really interesting is what they aren’t saying. No one is trying to say Windows Mobile is going to dominate anything.

31 lightstriker { 06.01.09 at 1:47 am }

Politics and science are my favorite reads, probably because they have the most impact in our lives. Please write a real political piece, instead of just inserting it in as an analogy. Maybe expanding into science like the National Ignition Facility in California or the people that sue CERN over the hadron collider. We are probably living in a black hole now but just dont know it.

32 Janne { 06.01.09 at 3:03 am }

I disagree with few things in your article:

“Now everyone is assuming that Palm will “walk right in” and assume an equal standing with Apple as a mobile software platform vendor, despite having… no existing installed base of WebOS users in contrast to the 50 million users Apple has… and an SDK that appears to still be unfinished, despite the fact that the Pre doesn’t really run real apps at all, but merely displays simple JavaScript-based web applet widgets.”

I must point out that lack of install-base for the iPhone-OS didn’t stop Apple from taking the smartphone-market by storm. And iPhone didn’t have a proper SDK either when it was launched. Only “apps” it ran were webpages.

Then there’s the claim that the Pre does not run “real apps”. Um, yes it does. Yes, the apps are written in Javascript, but they are not “web-apps” or something like that. They are apps that run locally on the device and they have access to the device-hardware. Just because they are written in Javascript does not mean that they are not “real apps”.

Am I saying that Pre will take over the market or kill the iPhone? Not at all! I think that Pre will do fine, but I don’t think that it or Palm will end up dominating the market, nor will they really hurt the iPhone. The ones that end up hurt are the same who were hurt by iPhine: Symbian and Windows Mobile.

I just disagree with the idea or arguing against Pre using the exact same shortcomings that plagued the iPhone, but which didn’t seem to hurt the iPhone at all. If you do that, then you are simply doing the exact same thing the nay-sayers were saying about the iPhone when it was launched.

33 danieleran { 06.01.09 at 3:20 am }

@ Janne :

“I must point out that lack of install-base for the iPhone-OS didn’t stop Apple from taking the smartphone-market by storm. And iPhone didn’t have a proper SDK either when it was launched. Only “apps” it ran were webpages.”

You are ignoring that windows of opportunity close. When the iPod was released, there was no major HD MP3 player and lots of potential to become one (in retrospect). After the iPod became a household word, not so much.

Same with the iPhone: there was a massive vacuum in smartphones for something really “smart.” I was blown away about how poorly Palm performed since 2002. Really, there was just so little innovation anywhere apart from notching up hardware specifications, just as in the PC industry. Once Apple “walked in” and established the iPhone as the gold standard, there wasn’t room for a tie in that role.

Remember that Apple introduced the iPhone as a device first, and was able to sell something like 10 million before even announcing its SKD plans. That resulted in developers having a ready audience for their software as soon as they finished it.

Android, WebOS, and new versions of existing software, including 6.5 or better versions of WiMo, will all face a near zero installed base problem – a catch-22 where no ready customers will mean no software demand, and vice versa.

I mean look at Google’s Android — it’s the same age as the iPhone, and its SDK was actually announced and released earlier. But it hasn’t found a market firestorm to create its own weather because there is no big installed base of phones and apart from some efforts to create a few apps for fun, there hasn’t been a rush to develop software because there’s no financial reason to invest in it yet. And it’s been A YEAR!

Also, you quibble with my referring to WebOS applets as not being real apps; what I mean is that users won’t install apps. They’ll pay to essentially enable mini website applets that Palm can update on its end whenever it wants. And apps can’t do lots of things. There’s not going to be any real games, which has been a major driver for the iPhone. WebOS applets might have been enough had Apple not set the bar higher a year prior.

34 duck apple { 06.01.09 at 4:20 am }

Daniel,

You seems to forget the Berlin wall collapsed when Reagan was in charge and Bush dictatorship was largely promoted by 911.

As a Taiwanese, I never saw difference between R & D presidency in dealing with the China. Jimmy Carter formally cut the diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and almost sent 20 millions people into the grasp of the communist China, a monster dictatorship you seems to hate so much.

Get rid of those politics from your article, and I’ll love you even more.

[The Berlin Wall did fall in 1989, but the Iron Curtain was crumbling back in the 70s when Nixon began peace talks. Reagan and the NeoCons conjured up the comatose, crumbling USSR as a fake boogeyman to incite fear and propel Star Wars militarism. Reagan did not defeat the USSR, he held up its rotting corpse and declared victory after a decade of inflaming invented conflict with a dead enemy.

Carter began diplomacy with the PRC; you can describe that as cutting the ROC, and its easy to berate the peanut farmer for failure because he lacked the PR machine that, say, Reagan had to sanitize and polish all of his actions, but I don't presume to know what was the best way to talk down China vs the USSR throughout the 70s. I also don't think that has much to do with Neo-Nazis fascism masquerading as America's conservative political party. = Dan]

35 Pregonnarock { 06.01.09 at 9:18 am }

Wow dude.It is easy to see that you short Palm stockAnd long on Apple.

[Well no I don't have the money to, but who wouldn't?

If you're a betting man, I'll wager that the sun will come up tomorrow. Are you game? - Dan ]

36 Chemistry Hub { 06.01.09 at 10:38 am }

organic chemist

Chemistry Hub…

37 Etreiyu { 06.01.09 at 11:13 am }

Dan, thanks for yet another trenchant disassembly of the BS – both tech and business. Your forthright fearlessness is more than welcome!

Missing in the talk of the Pre is ANY mention of Palm’s previous forays into the smartphone pool: specifically, the Treo / Centro. I realize that this is not really germane to the entirely-new Pre, per se, but a quick look can tell us a great deal about what we can expect for Palm’s last effort to save itself.

I am a Centro user, having been impressed by the gs my SO was able to do w/ her Treo: email, web, IM and phone in a single package? I was sold on the convergence, but settled for the Centro as my only affordable Verizon option. As a previous user of Palm devices, I was both buoyed by the chance to revisit my flawed Palm experience, and concerned that they might not in fact have learned what they needed to to make me a happy customer.

I was right to be concerned: the Centro is an archaic and extremely limited Palm device – with the world’s worst phone attached. I won’t clog the comments w/ chapter & verse; I will merely offer the fatal flaw: on detecting an incoming call, my Centro is as likely to REBOOT SPONTANEOUSLY as ring – and in doing so, leave no trace that a call had (even attempted to) come in. As I live by appointments and am always on the go, this single flaw makes the Centro worse than worthless to me: it is an impediment, it hurts my ability to earn a living – and for MORE than ATT currently wants for an iPhone + data-plan.

Given that my reasons for using Verizon have now expired (my daughter has graduatied from college!), I have NO loyalty left for Verizon (whose service and performance have been relentlessly sub-par), or for Palm on whose promises I bet a fair stack of cash.

A year ago, I would have been anticipating the release of the Pre & hungrily searching out info & speculation; now, I am willing to be impressed – but unwilling to lay out another dime for another disappointing piece of misfiring junk.

Instead, as the satisfied owner and/or supporter of a half-dozen Apple computers, 2 iPods and high-end SW packages for more than ten years, I’m planning to buy my way out of my Verizon contract as soon as then next iPhone is available.

Thanks for everything, D!

38 leicaman { 06.01.09 at 11:35 am }

@enzos: “More particularly so his company: the labs in Dearborn, along with the famous Xerox labs, is a classic example of US private-enterprise innovation.”

Let’s not forget the government-funded programs that bring us good things, too. Like DARPA, which brought us the Internet amongst other things? (Good and bad.)

Simplistic reductionist nonsense tells us all government programs are bad and private enterprise is the only way to make progress.

An example is in health care. They keep asking if we want some government bureaucrat making decisions for our health care. And I would say yes. I’d much rather have a government bureaucrat who’s job is to care for my health making the decisions rather than a private “bureaucrat” whose job is to look after the interests of stockholders and blue nosed plutocrats who know how to spend billions on ads and millions on healthcare.

That’s just an simplistic example, and not a comparison of reality. It’s never that simple, though many on the left and right will tell us so. Until the dialog between right and left gets more subtle and reasonable, we’ll have such rhetoric destroying any way out of the mess this country is in.

39 Etreiyu { 06.01.09 at 12:02 pm }

Enzo: you may be thinking of Teller, not Fermi, in that last bit. Also, Oppenheimer was not so much the innovator that, say, Szilard undoubtedly was – his specialty seems to have been clear-thinking, a restless tendency to cross-reference, and an unexplainable ability to herd some of the most unco-operative cats in history (an ability he never displayed before or after Manhattan).

40 Etreiyu { 06.01.09 at 12:12 pm }

On the whole business/conservative linkage, we would do well as a people to familiarize ourselves with this sordid escapade:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

Very few know of the serious attempt by industry and finance to wrest control of the nation away from its elected officials & representatives. It would have worked, but for the true patriotism of a soldier w/ the unlikely name of Smedly Butler (Maj. Gen, USMC).

Add to this – if you have the guts – the three more modern attempts by the GOP specifically – to likewise “free” government from accountability to the people…so that they could free business to prey upon those same people.

I speak, of course, about the crises know as Watergate, Iran/Contra, and the Bus 43 administration. That these failed is as much luck as it is the fault of the conspirators – and as these most-recent episodes, warn, the next attempt will likely involve actual bloodshed…and not fail….

41 HCE { 06.01.09 at 12:57 pm }

Daniel,

I think you are being rather unfair to Android. Yes, it hasn’t set the world on fire and yes, the SDK was announced at about the same time as Apple’s. However, it was fairly obvious that the SDK was somewhat half-baked. Also, the first Android phone came out in November 2007 (a year and a half after the iPhone was introduced) and it was a fairly unattractive phone launched on America’s smallest carrier and on its least-developed 3G network. Not exactly a recipe for success. The way, I see it the real launch of Android will be this year. The latest version of the software/SDK are more deserving of the 1.0 tag than what was launched in 2007, there are maybe 15-20 phones coming out and all the major carriers will have some Android models. Of course, this does not guarantee Android’s success by any means but starting this year we can do a fair evaluation of the Android platform and business model.

– HCE

42 cy_starkman { 06.01.09 at 1:54 pm }

I’m not sure what I find more entertaining… the request for a bit of political banter, which Daniel so kindly did for his readership / or that the banter was then responded to with such lip wobbling seriousness.

As for the Pre.

1) with webos, android and osx together having maybe 3% of the global mobile market it seems less than likely they will have much interest in killing each other. They are allies in a bigger war. Multiple fast moving healthy targets make it far more dangerous for nokia and friends.

2) my biggest concern for “the little engine that could” is the choice of CDMA2000. Researching it, I’ve concluded it offers a peak of about 2mbit. I recall back to the olden days of a year ago when iPhone 3G got savaged in the ‘media’, attracted a number of the dumbest class actions and even the alleged technocrati of the blogosphere gave a near universal demonstration of having zilch technical nouse (but a hefty skill set of populist spin).

Now, cause Palm are on record forcing a VS match with iphone that is what they will get, in the media and amongst friends. As the iPhone 3G got panned due to AT&T not being network ready. Now Palm is releasing it’s killer on a 2mbit network VS a 3.6 > 7.2mbit network for the 08/09 iPhones.

Unfortunately for the Pre, it’s Palm handlers are unlikely to belittle Sprint’s network up front, leaving it to be beat up by the press as “twice as slow”. Sad for Pre, but when u come out 4th, you get what network provider is left.

I hope Palm has enough cash and remaining lives to survive the coming months and get a version with network parity out to market.

3) it’s not entirely true that iPhone went from zero to hero. It was part of the iPod momentum. It is true though that Apple was handed an outrageous lead time to roll out the business model. Web apps are so 07, Appstores are so 08, 09 is already looking to be about a hardware development platform. Meanwhile the rest of the market is either thinking it is about 1)having a touch screen or 2)having an online shop.

What frankinsteinien horrors await us in 010 as the old guard attempt plays in the hardware platform game.

I could carry on but I’ll leave that to Daniel

43 John E { 06.01.09 at 2:02 pm }

it will be very interesting to see what the Pre’s WebOS apps can and cannot do for real next month. with hardware services access, they are half way between simple Web App like iPhone 1.0 and a standard local app like iPhone 2.0. give them credit at least for innovation, if not likely business success. maybe there is broader potential with this approach.

the installed base issue is also more complex. all the next gen large format (3″+) touch screen smartphones require a whole new set of apps for their next gen OS platform (i’m not including WinMo 6.1 in the “net gen” group). so in that sense they all did or will start with a zero installed base. what is the threshold size of that base needed to get developers to support it with a wide range of apps? 5 million? 10 million? more? and then the annual new sales needed to expand that base with new app customers longer term?

Apple had 10 million to start last year, now it is closer to 30 million with sales (including the Touch) of about 20 million a year. that clearly has set a standard of success.

WinMo was selling almost 20 million a year, but that includes a lot of dumber phones and its totals have been declining. still, one would think 6.5 could generate at least 10 million annual sales – except it will then be rendered obsolete next year by WinMo 7.0. so you’d be wasting time to develop this year for 6.5. so WinMo is stuck for now with no long term future installed base.

RIM’s sales exceed 10 million annually total, but not its large screen touchscreen products alone (just the Storm today, to be improved with 2.0 later this year). still it’s the same OS underneath the entire product line, so there is some advantage there. hard to say how much RIM can grow the Storm’s sales, but it will get to a 10 million base.

Android has been very slow to get started. it is anyone’s guess how many Android phone will sell once a bunch of new models come out this fall. it could fizzle. or it could “kill” WinMo 6.5 and be a hit. have to wait and see.

then there is Nokia/Symbian. they sell a zillion phones globally and their latest OS is pretty smart. but their US presence is weak – so US app developers pretty much ignore it. until Nokia has a big hit phone in the states with 10 million sold, it will likely stay that way. elsewhere in the world with developers outside the US it may do very well.

so Palm … given the Pre’s Sprint limitation for 2009, i think it just has to sell 5 million by the end of the year to be taken seriously at all by developers, going into expanded distribution with other telcos in 2010. that’s my guess.

44 gus2000 { 06.01.09 at 5:34 pm }

HCE, you are being overly generous toward Android, and an apologist. You said “the first Android phone came out in November 2007 (a year and a half after the iPhone was introduced)”, which is faulty math. The iPhone was “introduced” in January 2007 and shipped in June. Google acquired Android (the company) in 2005, so they were working on the software for 2 years before the iPhone even shipped. And Apple had to design the hardware, too!

“…the real launch of Android will be this year. ”

Yes, this year. This will finally be the year for flying cars, too, and for the Jets to finally get back to the Super Bowl! Fans always start the year out full of hope and optimism, and apparently fans of Android offer no exception.

I’m not hating on Android, just your assessment of it.

45 enzos { 06.01.09 at 7:40 pm }

Leicaman,
You make good sense. As an Australian working in Fiji, I often tell people here that national health insurance is the best thing for the health and wealth of a nation; that the most precious and valuable thing in my wallet is my Medicare Card. There’s no national health insurance in Fiji but if I get sick it’s just a three-hour flight from high quality *free* medical treatment for myself and/or for my Fijian wife.

The clincher – regardless of left/right, lib/con polemics – should be that it’s far cheaper to have free hospital cover; that Oz, UK and NZ and Canada pay about a three-fold lesser percentage of GDP on health than the USA. But logic seems to run in fear of ideology in the land of the free.

Etreiyu,
My apologies to Enrico Fermi and all his levels and descendants! Jan Teller was the name I didn’t type. And ‘H-bomb’ Teller was undoubtedly a greater and more innovative physicist than ‘Cat Herder’ Oppenheimer; independent of the former’s childish ‘certainty’ about the unimportance of fallout and about using H-bombs to make harbors, etc..

And, yes, I’d read about – and am also a fan of – Smedley Butler; War is a Racket, indeed!.. a hero in war and peace.
Cheers


Still fettered, still unconquered, still in pain,
Bold in his hope and steadfast in his right,
The Friend of Man on the Caucasian height
Saw one vast flash to northward blast the plain.
As Hermes, swooping down, struck off the chain
And raised him, smiling, in that dazzling light,
“Does the old tyrant, then, repent his spite,”
He asked, “or has Zeus ceased at last to reign?”
“His wisdom is not mocked,” the god replied,
“Nor alters nor repeals the great decree.
These are his words: ‘Go, set the Titan free;
And let his torment be to wander wide
The ashes of mankind from sea to sea,
Judging that theft of fire from which they died.’”
- AD Hope ‘Prometheus Unbound’ (1954)

46 John E { 06.01.09 at 8:03 pm }

thinking yet more about the “installed base” factor, it is really hard to see how any of the other platforms can ever catch Apple.

only MS could possibly match the full seamless Apple iTunes, iPhone/iPod, desktop OS, Mobile Me, and Apple TV media box “ecosystem.” none of the other brands could possibly offer all these hardware pieces/software services. suppose just for a moment that MS actually puts this all together next year with WinMobile 7, Windows 7, Zune 7, XBox 7, Media Center 7, Azure 7, etc. (which i totally doubt, more likely 2011 or even later). but that would just be a MS start for a new generation of apps, with essentially zero installed base for that new ecosystem.

while instead Apple in mid-2010 will have an installed base of 50 million or more iPhone/Touch iPods. that’s a heck of a head start, 50 million to zero.

all the other brands will have to cobble together service packages with “partners,” but those are never seamless and always missing something. they just can’t play in the same league as the Apple ecosystem, not Pre, Android, Nokia, or anyone. a phone alone is not good enough anymore.

Apple did two brilliant things: (1) ensuring even its original 2G phone could run apps with 2.0 and now 3.0 firmware updates, to keep growing its installed and in-use base, and (2) the iPod Touch, which expanded the scope of the same smartphone apps to a media player, thereby almost doubling its annual sales base.

hey – think Snow Leopard will be able to run iPhone apps on your desktop like widgets? that would be a very neat little trick, adding millions of Macs to the installed base too. why not? you heard it here first!

47 enzos { 06.01.09 at 9:04 pm }

Even further off topic than nuclear conflagration… is the Chemistry Hub link threaded above. Seems to be a machine translation of a French-language weblog and baffling it is. E.g. at the head of an article about acne treatment is this:
« Sleeping Pills Vaginia and penis
Contraceptives Ferret prednisone antibiotics »
Carisoprodol Women and penis size <

Always happens, doesn’t it – news-blogs always end up with Nazis and Holocausts or ferrets, penis acne and vaginias (vaginias? ;).

Oilay!

48 enzos { 06.01.09 at 9:19 pm }

> hey – think Snow Leopard will be able to run iPhone apps on your desktop like widgets? that would be a very neat little trick, adding millions of Macs to the installed base too. why not? you heard it here first! <

That’s a great idea, John E! Can’t see why it wouldn’t work (at native resolution in its own window), couldn’t happen or why it wouldn’t be popular.

49 HCE { 06.01.09 at 9:33 pm }

@gus2000

I got my dates mixed up. November 2007 was when the platform was announced. The first phone was introduced about a year later – which *is* a year and a half after the iPhone (EDGE version) came out and around 4-5 months after the 3G iPhone came out.

I’m not being an Android apologist. I don’t own an Android device nor do I intend to get one (I’m quite happy with my iPhone). However, it was painfully obvious that the initial release wasn’t ready for prime time. Android selling point is the choice they offer – choice in carriers, choice in devices etc and we haven’t seen any choice to date. On top of that, the rather unattractive device that they put out was the one they had prototyped the software on. To make matters even worse, the carrier that the device debuted on is the smallest in the US with the least developed 3G network. This year, we should see a bunch of devices launched and other networks start to pick it up (including AT&T and Verizon, in all likelihood).

That’s why I feel that this year is the de facto launch year for Android even though the official launch happened in 2008. This is the year when they are able to deliver on their original promise of choice. None of this means that they will succeed but personally, I will evaluate their success/failure on the performance of the platform in the latter half of 2009 and 2o10. Their limited success till now is not something I will read too much into.

– HCE

50 geoffrobinson { 06.02.09 at 12:57 am }

“And since you’re jonesing for a liberal challenge to right wing dogma, I could point out that conservatives/Republicans in general choose to run things into the ground to squeeze the money out for themselves efficiently in the short term, but in doing so completely hose themselves and the future of their enterprise and hurt their customers.”

? I would get out of the liberal bubble in Northern California. Short-term thinking can be found in many places, but I’m not seeing the generalization.

“This right wing approach to business occurred when Apple was being run by Republican CEO John Sculley (and when Bush destroyed the US economy within eight years), and wasn’t reversed at Apple until Jobs shook things up liberally with the opposite strategy, which involves spending money to invest in the future, something which doesn’t immediately enrich anybody but does result in long term success for executives, their enterprise, their workers, and their customers.”

I must have missed when Bush came around to everyone’s house and made people take on too much debt and bid up housing prices.

“If the above wasn’t enough of a rush for you, consider:

There’s a reason why American Republicans overwhelmingly voted against fighting Hitler in WWII. Republicans secretly love fascism and the concept of the state doing nothing beyond policing their assets and giving them unfettered ability to oppress the masses with state enforced monopoly businesses.”

This is a ridiculous comment. They were isolationist by nature. That would be the equivalent as saying that liberals secretly love jihadists which is why they didn’t support the war in Iraq.

Plus, you equate Republicans circa 1940 (prior to Pearl Harbor) to the modern conservative movement with the libertarian Barry Goldwater. The American public as a whole didn’t want to get into a big war until Pearl Harbor.

“They fear their “government” and are skeptical of “elite” smart people who expose the silliness of the contradiction between their coldly conservative business greed and their irrationally liberal religion, and between the conservative idealism of individuality and “state’s rights” and their contradictory insistence on Federal laws to enforce their personal convictions regarding matters such as abortion and drug laws with flag waving, paramilitary zeal.”

You gloss over so much in your crass generalizations that I honestly don’t know where to start. The liberal San Francisco bubble is doing you serious intellectual harm.

“The fawning press and ineffectual competition during the monopoly reign of Microsoft in the 90’s and the near-dictatorship rule of Bush and the Republicans in this decade are clear examples of what happens when diversity and competition is oppressed.”

Near-dictatorship of Bush? This sounds like the tripe that gets thrown around the Bay Area. Time to join the real world.

51 harrywolf { 06.02.09 at 1:56 am }

Bush didnt encourage unwise borrowing, but he did ensure that any regulation of banking practices were toothless or worse.

Its clear that the rich and the right-wing believe that trickle-down economics is a good thing.
Its also known as “if the table of the rich guy is groaning with food, then lots of tasty crumbs will fall and be eaten by the poor”.

This isnt a good way to run a society based on the vague notion of equality.
Daniel is correct when he says that conflict and struggle are necessary – would it be too difficult to see that he means that discussion and debate and open politics and reasoned argument are the conflict he is talking about?

We need open argument and facts to arrive at good decisions, not rich men insisting that because they are rich and powerful, they must be right.

If you watch more than an hour of TV a week, you may not be able to engage in intelligent discussion.
At least forums like this engage everyone – and all without moving pictures!

Another good article Dan.

52 VeoSotano { 06.02.09 at 6:42 am }

@geoffrobinson
How about you bring some real arguments on the table instead of just randomly insulting Dan as being in a Californian liberal bubble?

And FYI you are being very short sighted if you think that the view of Bush being a near dictator is something coming out of the Bay Aera. I’m from Europe and I van tell you that most of the world outside of YOUR bubble thinks that way. Heck, Bush even kind of said he would like to be a dictator!

@Daniel
I give my vote for that you create a section in your blog dedicated to politics. I’m sure a lot of people would find it interesting to join the discussion, and the no-politics-only-tech people would be sarisfyed as well. I’d be a win-win for all. What do you think?

53 enzos { 06.02.09 at 7:39 am }

Probably not a good idea, Veo. Political debate would overwhelm the boards and monopolize Dan’s time, which is better spent on what he does well – analyze tech trends and dissect the BS of tech journalists.

54 geoffrobinson { 06.02.09 at 10:55 am }

“Its clear that the rich and the right-wing believe that trickle-down economics is a good thing.”

This is a good example of the same type of problems found in Dan’s political comments. It assumes a premise which is false. The rich tend to be more liberal.

Or comments gloss over that Bush was pushing for Freddie & Fannie reform but was thwarted by Congress.

There are blanket statements which are either false or gross simplifications which become false due to what they leave out.

So yes, I will continue to ask Dan to get out of his liberal Northern Californian bubble and to interact with views of the other side. You want to try to interact with the very best arguments of the other side without resorting to strawmen. When you stay within your own echo chamber (this applies to all types of viewpoints on a whole host of topics), you tend to succumb to resorting to strawmen and not realizing you built up an argument around a false premise.

55 David { 06.02.09 at 12:55 pm }

Geoffrobinson writes: “The rich tend to be more liberal.”
I disagree.

Here’s a famous quote by GWB at a GOP fundraiser:

“This is an impressive crowd…The ‘haves’..and the ‘have mores’! (laughter). Some call you the elite… I call you my base (raucous cheers).

On this, GWB and I can agree.

But I’m not saying that being rich requires being ruthless and conservative. While it works that way for a lot of people, Steve Jobs and Apple have shown you can be liberal and simultaneously efficient, creative and successful.

56 iPhone it in { 06.03.09 at 4:38 am }

Daniel said:
“There’s a reason why American Republicans overwhelmingly voted against fighting Hitler in WWII. Republicans secretly love fascism and the concept of the state doing nothing beyond policing their assets and giving them unfettered ability to oppress the masses with state enforced monopoly businesses.”

Wait, what? I was following you so far Daniel, but the history geek in me is gonna have to speak up about this bit.

[ http://www.veteranstoday.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3811 ]

First, there wasn’t any “vote” about fighting in WW2, unless you count the declaration of war by Congress, which was a unanimous vote. It’s true that many conservatives opposed the war in 1939-11/1941 (as did most of the nation), but that was generally as isolationists, not as Nazi-sympathizers.

[Republicans were very much against fighting the Nazis right up until Pearl Harbor made it absurd to remain isolationist.

However, while you might like to think that the party of "traditional conservative Christian values [which] continually talked of morality while top leaders chased young boys, prostitutes and set up private kickback deals with military contractors” which is both anti-union and supports “living in a totalitarian society ruled by big business interests” has nothing to do with Nazis that they are virtually indistinguishable from politically, you might like to revisit your assumptions.

America’s industrialists like Ford were openly in love with the Nazis. Eisenhower hired Hitler’s lawyers to run his administration (Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA Director Allen Dulles). ]

Second, I think it’s a bit of a jump to say “Republicans secretly love fascism.” Fascism is tricky to pin down as an ideology, but generally it’s considered corporatist, militaristic, and authoritarian. Big business types somewhat openly loves the idea of corporatism (those state-enforced monopolies), but the average Republican is probably no more comfortable with authoritarianism and (real) military expansionism than you are. If nothing else, they’d be mad when Hitler took their guns away.

[Please excuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor. The "average Republican" was not comfortable with authoritarianism while worshiping Bush for 8 years and insisting that if you are "not for us you are against us"? and is against military expansion while flag waving the illegitimate trillion dollar war in Iraq and "supporting" the death of +4000 troops to find WMDs and the missing link between 9/11 and Saddam? Oh please, I only eat things once. ]

And besides, Mussolini had plenty of love from the liberals back in the day.

[Right, because liberals loved communism AND the communism haters! Sorry, you'll need to reference more than a right wing jibberish book to support that idea.

As I said before, there is clearly not just two extreme positions of Right and Left in this country. There can't and shouldn't be. There should be two moderate major parties advocating different solutions, and some wilder fringes to offer alternative ideas without having the power to force them on the majority.

The problem is that particularly since Nixon, the Republican party has stopped being a conservative party and started down the road of extremist, racist (see Nixon's Souther Strategy) anti-government (See Reagan's trickle down, Star Wars Ray-Gun-omics) religious zealots lead by talk show hosts and militant separatists advocating terrorism (Palin). This joke needs to be punched into line. ]

57 Pré-posições | Spinning Beachball { 06.04.09 at 6:31 am }

[...] não vai permitir que isso continue a acontecer e que é uma medida quase desesperada da Palm. O Daniel Eran Dilger, pelo contrário acha que isto é tudo uma guerra imaginária entre a Apple e a Palm e que a [...]

58 VeoSotano { 06.06.09 at 7:04 am }

@enzos
While I agree that Dan’s time should be spent on his amazing analisys of tech topics, the political discussion is already monopolizing a great deal of conversation space in a blog post about Apple and Palm.

Having those topics separated would give everybody a better time, I think.

59 nat { 06.06.09 at 3:36 pm }

@VeoSotano,

There is a separation of tech and “politics” on this page. The dividing line is between the article and the comments section. Don’t read the comments if you don’t want to hear Daniel’s response to his readers’ requests.

60 adamk359 { 06.06.09 at 11:27 pm }

Well the Pre has been released to the public and from what I’ve read so far…there was a lot of interest, but I’m guessing the people who bought them were mostly of the tech-savvy persuasion who either hate the iPhone (cause it’s an Apple product) or hated their iPhone cause it was the one thing dropping their calls (couldn’t have been the AT&T network). The average person probably doesn’t know about the Pre or at least much about it. The iPhone on the other hand had people all up in a frenzy from techies to the average consumer.

I think unlike what Steve Jobs said about Apple’s “rivalry” with Microsoft (that in order for Apple to survive that MS must fail – something he disagreed with) that in order for Palm to succeed, Apple must fall flat on it’s ass. As a consumer brand, Apple, even when people complain, still sells. The Anti-Apple techies aren’t enough to sway anyone but themselves. This latest stand by Palm, though, might be it’s last. Too many people have had too many problems with Palm smartphones in the past, so while the Pre might be their best, most polished smartphone product, Palm still has a long way to go in rebuilding their tarnished reputation.

61 The Mad Hatter { 06.07.09 at 11:08 am }

I won’t buy a Pre. It really doesn’t (to me) look that good. But I want Palm to survive. I’ve owned several Palm Pilots, each of which I wore out. They were damned good for what they were designed for.

And of course Apple needs competition. If Apple doesn’t have any competition, yes, they will get fat and happy, and start doing stupid things, just like Microsoft, which is now panicing and rather than developing good products, is sending trolls into all the online forums.

Look at the car market. You don’t like a GM? Buy a Honda. You don’t like a Honda? Buy a Hyundai. You don’t like a Hyundai, buy a Volkswagen. You don’t like a Volkswagen? Buy a Jaguar. Or Fiat. Or Renault. Or Cherry. Or Ford. Or Toyota. Or Nissan. Or Chrysler. Or Mercedes (Diamler in the rest of the world). Or Porsche. Or BMW. And so on and so on.

There are a lot of other smart phone manufacturers. The problem at present is that none is competing successfully with Apple. What if in the early seventies when Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Subaru were all fighting for the inexpensive car crown in North America, only Honda had showed up? They’d own that portion of the market, and with no competition, they’d get stupid rather quickly.

Any company needs competition. Without competition, there is a tendency to take it easy. So far we aren’t seeing that with Apple. The company has rolled out several IPhone updates so far, with more in the pipeline. But maybe the Pre will be a better device than I think it is, and drive Apple into providing even more value to the consumer.

62 VeoSotano { 06.08.09 at 5:56 pm }

@nat
Well, I completeley disagree with you on that one. I don’t want to insist and bore everybody with the same thing, but there are a lot of comments about Palm, the Pre, and Apple, mixed between the politic ones. So… yeah, I still think a separation between politics and tech would be appropiate.

About the Pre and it’s webOS, color me skeptical… I’m a web designer and I know from experience that there are a lot of limits you encounter when you do stuff with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, even when they are outside of a browser. Speed is just one example. There is obviously a reason why widgets are just that…. widgets. Even on Mac OSX dasboard widgets you can throw in Objective-C, which is compiled….

And even if it is a huge success in the US, we’ll see about the international success of the Pre… the iPhone has fared very well so far… that’s a hard act to follow.

63 iTunes 8.2.1 bloqueia ligação ao Palm Pre | Spinning Beachball { 07.15.09 at 5:32 pm }

[...] in Roughly Drafted Magazine [...]

64 Why Apple is killing the Pre via iTunes — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 07.28.09 at 1:03 pm }

[...] Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone Why Apple’s Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm Pre The Imagined War between Apple and Palm: Pre vs. iPhone [...]

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