Daniel Eran Dilger
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Fortune’s Seth Weintraub calls Steve Jobs a liar, predicts Android tablets will sell

Daniel Eran Dilger

Not everyone respects Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs. Just ask Seth Weintraub, who blogs about Google for Fortune, often by blogging his seething contempt for Apple and everything how it builds and sells its products. Following the company’s iPad 2 event, Weintraub accused Jobs of lying about components, lying about tablet market competitors, lying about market share, and lying about pricing.
Weintraub has a limited grasp of the tech industry, having worked as an IT manager for 15 years before becoming a full time pundit. In 2008, he teased out the “rebriculous” idea that Apple would be cutting MacBooks from metal using lasers, apparently unaware of how milling machines (and the laws of physics) work.

Last year, he tried to foment outrage that Apple was holding AT&T back from adopting Android as part of a conspiracy to keep the masses from buying Android phones. A year later, Verizon is now selling the iPhone, having decided that Android isn’t exactly as cool as Weintraub thinks, at least for the purposes of attracting subscribers.

Weintraub was also a leading proponent of Death Grip hysteria, and he called Jobs’ predictions last fall about the coming failure of 7 inch tablets “the most laughable comment” back in October before the market for those devices actually plummeted, leaving Samsung with unsold inventory and vast numbers of returns from unsatisfied customers.

Rebrickulous: Cutting Through The MacBook Rumors
Reality Check: Seth Weintraub and the AT&T Android Mystery

Twisted facts to convince crowds

Addressing Jobs’ surprise appearance at the iPad 2 event, Weintraub claims Apple “twisted facts and used an erroneous quotation to try to convince crowds that all other tablets had no shot at de-throning the iPad in 2011.”

His first accusation was that Jobs’ comment that the A5-powered iPad 2 will be “the first dual core tablet to ship in volume” was a lie, because Weintraub had “tested a Dell Streak 7 which had a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip in January. They’ve been shipping ever since on T-Mobile. In volume.”

Really? Volume suggests substantial numbers. Surely if Dell were selling any meaningful amount of Streaks, it would be crowing about it to regain some relevance in the post-PC era, at a time when Gartner is bending over backward to call the iPad a tablet just to create the suggestion that there are other tablets being sold . But Dell isn’t crowing about volume sales of the Streak because it isn’t happening. How do we know? Because T-Mobile isn’t selling anything. It’s losing subscribers faster than Motorola on Verizon.

Weintraub also claims the new Motorola Xoom “is certainly shipping in volume as well,” before changing the subject to the Atrix and LG Optimix 2X smartphones, both of which do use dual core chips, but which, notably, aren’t tablets. The fact that all these are on sale, Weintraub would have the crowds believe, is proof that the iPad 2 won’t be the first dual core tablet to ship in volume.

Of course Jobs probably had in mind the real world when he spoke, rather than the vaporous marketing nonsense Android licensees waft up Weintraubs’ nether regions. As someone who hasn’t ever designed, built, shipped, marketed or sold a consumer electronics product, Weintraub seems to possess a rather weak grasp of what words like “ship” and “volume” mean, particularly in the context of Apple’s blockbuster sales.

Steve Jobs’ reality distortion takes its toll on truth – Google 24/7 – Fortune

Thoroughly debunked

This basic ignorance is reflected in Weintraub’s next attack on Jobs, which involved Apple’s quote of a Samsung executive admitting that the company’s sell-in (inventory stacking) and sell-out (sales to consumers) of the Galaxy Tab were not really in the same universe.

After first being quoted as describing its sell-out to analysts as “quite small,” Samsung scrambled to maintain that no, it really meant its sales were “quite smooth,” although it wouldn’t say what percentage of the 2 million units it dumped in the channel were actually bought by customers.

Whether the word was small or smooth doesn’t matter, because the obvious point Jobs was making was that Samsung isn’t successfully selling the Galaxy Tab. Instead, just as Jobs predicted last fall (even as Weintraub mocked him for doing so), Samsung and Dell are now scrambling to bring full sized tablets to market, leaving their early adopter 7 inch tweener tablet customers abandoned with no upgrade roadmap. Jobs was right, and Weintraub’s arrogant laughter turned around to make him look as ignorant, foolish and out of touch with what people want as the executives from companies with failing PC-era tablets that Weintraub flatters with incessant praise.

That makes one wonder, does Weintraub even understand that he is carefully documenting his own ignorance and faulty vision even as he tries to portray Jobs as a fraudulent trickster rather than the tech world’s brightest luminary of whom the entire industry is intently listening to as they frantically try to ape his every move?

Or is Weintraub just a method actor rehearsing the role of playing John Dvorak or Paul Thurrot in a made for TV movie about self-important PC era pundits?

OMG Math

Weintraub next attacked Jobs bullet point of “>90% market share” among tablets in 2010, claiming that the 2 million Galaxy Tabs Samsung dumped into the global channel should lower Apple’s share substantially. Of course, outside of Gartner and other flack-fact groups, “market share” refers to a share of the market, not a share of retailer’s inventory.

At the end of 2010, both Apple and Samsung had a channel inventory of about two million tablets. The difference was that Apple had actually sold well above ten million iPads, while Samsung had only been “quite smooth” in pushing a few tweener tablets to early adopters before killing its future upgrade path after just a few months.

Weintraub also took issue with the fact that Apple had been selling iPads for three quarters, while Samsung hadn’t gotten its product to market till the winter quarter. Apparently in his mind, the numbers should be distorted and weighted to make things appear more ‘fair and balanced,’ despite the reality that IDC reported Apple’s market share among tablets at 87.4% in the third quarter, after selling more than 90% in the second.

After disputing Apple’s numbers, Weintraub wrote, “That’s not including all of the Android-powered Nooks out there, those cheap $100 Androids you can buy at Walgreens or Amazon and even Windows-powered Tablet PCs. If you choose to include the Kindle, Apple may not have even reached 50% of the market.”

Actually we know, again by citing real figures from iDC, that even when adding up all the ebook readers (which are clearly not tablet computers) including those garbage Pantech toys that can’t do anything apart from claiming to run Android, that Apple still had 58.7% of the global market for anything even resembling a tablet.

However, if the point of market share is really to determine relevant sales that provide an accurate picture of what’s being sold and by whom, then this toy/ebook/tweener/tablet market should also include the iPod touch, which is far more powerful than most tweener tablets and far more sophisticated than the Pantech instant ewaste Weintraub is so excited to count. Those numbers give Apple a 79.6% share of the tablet-like market.

Where I went to school, 79.6% is a lot closer to Jobs’ >90% than to Weintraub’s <50%. The point is not to stage a fanciful pissing contest, but rather to establish that Apple currently owns the tablet market. This isn’t controversial. It’s not a trick that requires fudging market boundaries or making up numbers or counting unsold inventory. It’s a fact.

Everyone else is dropping their pre-iPad plans to try to copy the iPad to get some sliver of Apple’s sales. But Apple clearly has a >90% lock on the valuable end of the tablet market. Counting a bunch of inventory fad-trash dumped into the market (but not actually selling, generating profits, building a platform or supporting development) to generate a false picture of “market share” is the dishonest, twisting distortion that Weintraub hypocritically rails about.

Why does Weintraub hate the truth? And why does he resort to Sarah Palin-esque AOL chat language in trying to present his attack on the president of Silicon Valley? Perhaps when Wientraub complains about Apple “twisting facts to convince crowds,” he’s just projecting his own desperate efforts to represent reality with the fidelity of a funhouse mirror.

Apple’s iPad owned 87.4% of Q3 2010 “media tablet” market

The price is right

Weintraub was also troubled that Jobs alluded to the Xoom as costing more than 7 out of 8 of all the new iPad 2 models, pointing out that the Xoom has “a much better, bigger” screen (it actually has a wider aspect ratio with a slight resolution bump few users will notice, but lacks the iPS quality of the iPad and it picks up fingerprints faster), “far superior cameras” (because tablets are primarily used to take photos, apparently), 4G, a card reader and more RAM.

This is why users will happily pay a $80 premium over the iPad 2 for Motorola’s first generation Xoom Honeycomb tablet despite its paucity of apps, beta-quality Google operating system software (including non-functional Adobe Flash), and more weight (a third of a pound more) and thickness (its 50% thicker). Never mind that Apple also offers a $399 iPad and that the iPad 2 starts at $499. Everyone I know would rather pay $300 more for all that Droid-like masculine heft and bragging rights to RAM.

Taking a break from the nonsense land of Weintraub’s affection for Android, it’s interesting to note that flash storage was once the primary selling point for new iPods. With iOS 4.3’s Home Sharing, Apple is making it easier to get by with less flash storage, making cheaper iPads more attractive. Motorola can’t do that, because it doesn’t have a lower end tablet model to sell. And if it did try to offer a 16GB model, it would have to take a big hit against margins. The reason why Motorola is starting out at $800 is because it lacks the market volume to sell anything cheaper.

Who wants to bet Apple is making more money on the iPad 2 than Motorola is on each Xoom it sells, given Apple’s vast economies of scale in having already sold more than 15 million iPads and 150 million smartphones? Motorola had one good year of smartphone sales with Verizon’s Droid campaign, a brief flirtation with profitability that its unlikely to sustain in the era of the Verizon iPhone and the overpriced Xoom (not to mention that $500 docking Folio tied to the Atrix).

But wait, Weintraub claimed, “Perhaps Jobs could have also compared the iPad 2 to other Android tablets’ prices? Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Dell’s Streak both now start at $499 and have better cameras, 3G radios and GPS, which seem to compete well with Apple’s $499 Wifi-only offering. Reality distorted.”

They ‘seem to compete’? In what Universe? Weintraub is again banging the drum of 7 inch tweeners as if his song and dance hasn’t already been gonged off the stage months ago. Who, apart from pundit ninnies, is digging the tablet toys from Dell and Samsung? They have no real software and are about as useful as those Pantech LCD picture frames they sell at Walgreens and Bed Bath and Beyond. Were they actually selling, Apple would be the one in a tailspin, rushing a 7 inch iPad to market accompanied by blustering marketing, instead of things being the other way around.

“I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs and Apple’s products,” Weintraub wafts up his readers’ nether regions. “It’s just a shame that all the truth-bending destroys the keynotes.” He also repeated another mention of “Kool-Aid,” a Godwin-like allusion to a cult-indoctrinated murder-suicide that killed 918 people manipulated by Jim Jones in 1978.

Somehow I have a hard time understanding how you can respect a person while comparing him to a mass murder and repeatedly suggesting he is using deceptive marketing to fool the market into loving his products. Is there something in iPad 2 that will kill us all? Or is Weintraub just using egregiously emotionalized language to foment hate and fear about certain technology products in an ideological battle to give away an American invention to an adware monoculture supporting incompetent companies that can’t compete?

  • nextguy

    “Whats next? – ignoring the add on 3G USB dongle that most laptops also need?”
    You know, there are 3G ready laptops available with built in modems, most even have a free mini pci-e slot internally for them also.

  • kdaeseok

    Don’t be all psyched up by Jobs’ comments. He’s ill. My aunt said a lot of rubbish to others when she was in hospital. She didn’t really mean to hurt others, she was just in pain.
    So forget what he said and be understanding.

  • http://www.van-garde.com adobephile

    Dan, I love it when you call out these trolling cowards by asking “Who are you?” They just blather on, relishing the anonymity the internet affords them.

  • tundraboy

    @kdaeseok. Re your comment about Jobs’ illness. You just got the prize for the most classless comment ever in the history of RDM. You need to to sit alone in a room and reflect about what is so important about competition in the tablet market that you would be willing to stoop so low. I am embarrassed to be of the same species as you. But then again, probably not because I have warm blood and no scales.

  • 4phun

    If a quarter million cheap android phones have already been rooted by the mother of all malware, how many $800 and up Android tablets will get rooted by malware from the Android Marketplace?

    I smell the beginning of the mother of all class action suits when the tablet users get burned.

  • 4phun

    I smell the beginning of the  mother of all class action suits.

    If a quarter million cheap android phones have already been rooted by the mother of all malware, how many $800 and up Android tablets will get rooted by malware from the Android Marketplace?

    I smell the beginning of the  mother of all class action suits when the tablet users get burned.

  • daryl4d

    ^^ “Well that’s because the CPU is the culprit, not the RAM. When an ipad lags when opening multiple pages, more than likely its the RAM, not the CPU.”

    Ok, I see what you mean. I guess my point was that right out of the box, the first person to review the MSI WindPad Tablet said it was “…seriously laggy and unresponsive”.
    When the first iPad came out I’ve never heard those type of words and even today people say it’s a great tablet. When Apple updated the software to include multitasking, maybe that’s when the lag you speak about occurred (but I don’t own one yet so I can’t confirm that). The iPad2 is rumored to have at least 512mb ram, maybe that will solve the problem.

    after talking with Cortado today, I am back to the drawing board… unfortunately the iPad doesn’t support bluetooth printing. They said they’ve talked to Apple and although the iPad has bluetooth, for security reasons they won’t allow it to be accessed for printing. I also talked to Apple to give them feedback on what I wanted… I guess it will be like the cameras, when enough people want it, they will support it. So what was all that big talk at Cortado about supporting bluetooth printers?Here’s the kicker… Android 2.0 and higher will support direct bluetooth printing according to Cortado (ouch!). That would include any cheap Android tablet that has bluetooth and Cortado writes apps for all the platforms that will make it work. Of course there’s one caveat: the tablet must connect to Cortado’s server, download the driver for the appropriate portable printer and then use it to print the doc. The driver must be downloaded each time you have a printing session…wwwwhat? Yeah, one time use.
    So you need a tablet with 3G or internet access.

    I want to thank you for suggesting a novel solution, the AirPort Express is only 6.7 ounces… the Pentax PocketJet 3 will not work with it (no network port) but there are several HP portable wifi printers. The only thing I need to find out, does that portable printer need to be supported thru AirPrint for this suggestion to work? AirPrint supports only a handful of drivers.

    I do want to make it work with Apple… you have light weight, seamless apps and the cool factor…. but still no working solution. My journey continues….

  • nextguy

    ^^What helps hide the lag in iOS is the GPU acceleration.

  • philipday

    -further to the printing problem – the printer does not have to be a network printer – most printers hook up and print from the USB port on the Express. Check out the small Canon.
    @ Nextguy: really, *now* the problem isn’t how many devices you are hauling around – I blew that silly argument out of the water – now it’s the fact that the Express has to be plugged it. Lord, where are you signing contracts? – the cow pasture? Put an inverter in your car or buy a battery run “hotspot”

  • daryl4d

    Thanks again… as I’ve said in my earlier posts, I’m not a tech person, I’m looking at this as a (business) consumer. You sound like you know what you’re talking about, yet I think you’re leaving out some info cause I still don’t follow. The Pentax PocketJet also has integrated USB, so I guess I could plug it into the AirPort Express… but how do I get the proper drivers onto the iPad(2)? As I asked last time, thru this set-up, are you expecting the iPad to print using it’s AirPrint protocol? If so, the only supported printers seem to be the larger office types, and the list is quite small. Or are you saying that I would use the Cortado Workplace App and that app would have to download the proper driver for whatever portable printer I have? Or is the small Canon (please let me know the model #) that you speak about somehow supported thru AirPrint? I would appreciate some clarity….thanks

  • kdaeseok

    tundraboy // no no, my point was to understand Jobs (and his pain). There’s nothing classless about it.

  • nextguy

    @philipday, now he is tethered to the car with that solution, and again isn’t any better off getting a macbook air or something. With my company I have a cradle to charge the tablet and a cord for the printer, but if I come into someones house to print their invoice and look for an outlet to setup my own network, makes it look silly and unprofessional.

  • daryl4d

    MORE final thoughts on iPad Portable Printing

    “Here’s the kicker… Android 2.0 and higher will support direct bluetooth printing ….” btw Symbian, Palm OS, Blackberry and Windows Mobile all support direct bluetooth printing… get with the program Apple!
    Obviously the most elegant solution is having a tablet that supports direct bluetooth printing (I’m being repetitive) …but here is what will work so far..

    1. iPad2 (1.3 Lbs) with Pentax PocketJet ((1.16 Lbs including onboard battery, yeah!) and the AirPort Express (6.7 ounces or .42 Lbs) working with Cortado Workplace app for an under 3 Lb solution.

    2. A cheap Chinese Andriod tablet w/t bluetooth /wifi (approx $200. and 1.78 Lbs) running Andriod 2.2, with the Pentax PocketJet 3 and the Cortado Workplace app… under 3 Lb solution.

    These solutions still require Cortado app to download the printer driver for each individual printing session, so wifi/3G internet access is still required.

    3. Windows7 tablet with wifi/bluetooth and permanently installed bluetooth printing drivers and native bluetooth printing capability, with Pentax Pockjet Printer and Cortado Workplace-like app running the show. Weight unknown, but currently the most flexible solution as internet access is not required.

    I googled small canon printer and came up with Canon BJC-85 Portable Printer, no longer being manufactured but still available new and used, and interestingly has a scanner module that turns it into a portable scanner (although that accessary is difficult to locate). The printer alone is slightly over 3 Lbs, so add the tablet and the necessary router and your looking at an over 5Lbs solution. Also, I didn’t emphasize that we do work in Canada, including the northern areas where it can get to -50C at times, so there is a possibility ink cartridges would freeze if left in the vehicle for any period of time. The PocketJet is a thermal printer/no ink and is more ideal.

    The final possibility is the iPad (or other tablet) with an IrDa dongle that would work with an app to do infrared printing. I haven’t found anything yet but if anyone here has heard about this, let me know…. and thanks in advance.

  • tonortall

    @daryl4d: As you can capture the signature electronically, perhaps some different thinking is required. Could you not print as PDF and email to your customer? Is that viable? I’m thinking something like GoodReader to annotate a PDF and then off to mail for delivering the contract. You also get an email address then.

  • JohnWatkins

    Don’t worry, kdaeseok.
    Even ignoring the possibly you don’t speak English as your first language, I didn’t find your post offensive. TB’s response was rather rude though.

  • MathMan

    Another set of twisted facts are not due to Seth W, but to the marketing people. The marketing and comparison guides claim a pixel density of 160ppi, which at the given resolution of 1280×800 pixels gives the screen dimensions at 8in x 5in, or 9.4in diagonal. I looked at a Xoom at BestBuy, and my measurements found that it had an active screen size of 8.5″x5.3″, which does give the claimed 10.1 diagonal (rounding up), but puts the Xoom’s pixel density at 150ppi and not the claimed 160ppi. That’s too big a discrepancy to be due to roundoff error converting from metric measurements. Apple’s claimed ppi of 132 is completely accurate according to my measurements.

    Another often touted fact is the “bigger display”, which assumes that having a larger diagonal means more area, ignoring basic geometry. In fact, the Xoom is more narrowly proportioned at a 8:5 ratio compared to the iPad’s 4:3, and if you crunch the numbers, you find that the iPad and the Xoom have virtually identical active screen areas. (My numbers give a very slight advantage to the iPad, but that is within the margin of error of my measurements.)

  • nextguy

    @tonortall, seems to be already possible with current pay software. Did he want to print custom forms??

    In any case, the iphone is consumer first, business second. Judging by their sales I can’t blame them.

  • ShabbaRanks

    Bit of background. I, fairly recently, was browsing one of my favourite tech sites, Arstechnica, and read a terrible article about the health warning on the Nintendo 3DS. The basic premise was that because there’s no specific evidence of 3D displays damaging the ocular systems of children there is no risk at all. As an expert in the field I thought this article was quite dangerous in that it’s tone was entirely dismissive, said outright that Nintendo had no reason to put any warnings on their product and was written by the Science Editor for a website that I thought was fairly reputable. 
    I registered for the comments section and wrote why Nintendo were sensible to warn people of the potential dangers of the 3DS. Sadly I was then a troll magnet and any point I had to make got lost in the noise of 1000 armchair expert douchebags. 

    Sorry for the history but I now no longer use Ars or Gizmodo or Engadget as I’ve had an epiphany. Those tech blog sites not only don’t matter but are generally factually wrong. It’s the tech equivalent of reading a celebrity gossip magazine and taking it all as gospel. 

    Your site, however, is a good read. Always was. There’s just one thing wrong now. The comments section. It used to be cool to have a comments section that was as informative and fun as the articles themselves. That has gone now. Trolls reared their heads, people wouldn’t stop feeding them and now even you’re feeding them. When it gets to that point it’s time to close the comments section. I’ve always liked Paul Thurrott. Yes, he’s a total shill and totally under the Microsoft thumb but if you take his bias into account he’s not a bad guy. Point is, his site got a lot better recently when he stopped having comments sections. No more trolling from
    MS lovers and haters and people can take his stuff as it comes. I
    never thought I’d say this here but recommend you do the same. 

    PS: I’m fully aware of the irony in using a comments section to decry them. I’ll continue to read your stuff but not the comments section anymore. Peace. 

  • http://www.van-garde.com adobephile


    Oooo, great epiphany! What took you so long to figure that out?

    So, you’re for just allowing these blogging buffoons to spew unchallenged? DED is certainly not mute on that subject–to the point of maintaining his own blog to both repost the facts as he knows and researches them, and to the point of firing his own ammo to shoot from his own hip.

    Why should he listen to such wimpy advice from the likes of you?

    Oh, and why should you–like sooooo many others–insist on spelling “its” (possessive pronoun) with an apostrophe (ONLY a contraction for “it is” or “it has)?

  • http://www.van-garde.com adobephile

    “Repost” in my post #69 should have been “report.”

  • daryl4d

    “Could you not print as PDF and email to your customer?”
    This same thought was brought up cy_starkman in an above comment. No I can not and I will re-print my response as to why:

    “…But no, I can’t just email our customer the doc in PDF form as some clients actually don’t own computers (wwwwhat????)…. and printing the signed form on the spot and leaving it with the customer is a legal requirement for my business. (right now we use pre-printed forms, alot of them, so we feel that carrying a 1.3 Lbs iPad2 and 1 Lbs PocketJet printer and some blanks would be a great alternative ). Most of our digital docs would be in PDF form, and would need to be altered/info filled in/and signed…and then printed on the spot “

  • http://financial-alchemist.blogspot.com turleymuller

    Seth wrote- “Apple has just as many points of sale for the iPad as Samsung has for the Tab and likely many more.”

    Samsung Tab is sold in 100+ countries on 200+ carriers and I would expect that points of sale total at least 500. Apple was only in 26 countries in Sept increasing to 46 in Dec. In the US, iPad is sold through 2 carriers while Samsung Tab is double or more that, plus sold at more 3rd party resellers in US. iPads were only sold @ Apple and BBY up until October in US.

    What is this guy smoking?

  • nextguy

    @shabbaranks, I looked at the comments, and didn’t find people there trolling you, and most “discussed” the pro’s and con’s of the article, with people saying stuff like “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

    The majority of what DED posts now is just pundit rebuttals. Some articles are spot on, some are ok, and some are like huh? Pointing out why the ipad will keep leading is based on sound reasoning; defending a CEO on semantics is quite weak.

  • tonortall

    @daryl4d: true I did not read the whole thread. Seems like you’ve exhausted the possibilities for the time being. unless you can find some 3g aware printer that can directly print pdf and is portable. unlikely.

  • tundraboy

    @kadaesok. If that’s what you meant, my bad. You could have said it better though, you came across as mocking and patronizing a man who has, let’s not kid ourselves, been fighting for his life these last few years.

  • gslusher


    “Samsung Tab is sold in 100+ countries on 200+ carriers and I would expect that points of sale total at least 500. Apple was only in 26 countries in Sept increasing to 46 in Dec. In the US, iPad is sold through 2 carriers while Samsung Tab is double or more that, plus sold at more 3rd party resellers in US. iPads were only sold @ Apple and BBY up until October in US.”

    Apple sells the iPad through a multitude of retail outlets, not just “carriers.” Besides Apple’s own stores, it sells iPads through Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, and a host of online merchants and local Mac dealers. Amazon, itself, doesn’t sell the iPad but it does handle sales for dozens of vendors through Amazon Marketplace.

  • kdaeseok

    Yeap, your bad.