January 2010
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Month January 2010

The Dynabook

Alan Kay, regarding his reaction to the iPhone in January 2007:

When the Mac first came out, Newsweek asked me what I [thought] of it. I said: Well, it’s the first personal computer worth criticizing. So at the end of the presentation, Steve came up to me and said: Is the iPhone worth criticizing? And I said: Make the screen five inches by eight inches, and you’ll rule the world.


See also: Dynabook

Cash is King

40 billion at end of 2009 shows acceleration over 2008. In 2008 Apple added $9.7B in cash while in 2009 it added $11.7B.

Apple still has no debt.

I consider it safe to assume that at least $10 billion will be added during 2010 for an end of year total of $50 billion.

To put that in perspective, there are only 76 companies (out of 2673 listed on Google finance) whose entire market cap is greater than $50B. Nokia is not one of them.

Sony Ericsson ships 14.6 million phones

Sony Ericsson shipped 14.6 million phones at an average selling price of EUR120 in the fourth quarter, down from 24.2 million units at an average selling price of EUR121 a year before. Net sales fell to EUR1.75 billion from EUR2.91 billion, in line with market expectations.

We will see next week, but by my reckoning, Apple sold more iPhones and iPod Touch units last quarter than Sony Ericsson sold of all its phones.

The ASP is also likely to higher at maybe 400 EUR blended average, for a total sales of 6 Billion EUR vs. 1.75B for SE. That’s more than 3x the sales level.

Next year we might see >50% growth from Apple which would imply Apple overtaking Sony Ericsson in the phones market share race.

Incumbent Profits in Mobile Phones

In 5 years, Incumbent profits from the mobile phone industry went from 100% share to 39% share. If this is not indicative of a successful (i.e. disruptive) entry, I don’t know what is.

Keeping it Real

From the VP of marketing for the Limo Foundation:

Growth within the siloed Apple ecosystem will actually stifle the grass-roots innovation

It’s interesting that this comment came on the day after Rob Glaser left Real Networks. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane of Glaser quotes:

(in 2003) “It’s absolutely clear now why five years from now, Apple will have 3 (percent) to 5 percent of the player market. … The history of the world is that hybridization yields better results.”

“Apple’s (market) share will go down if they continue to do this. The only way to presently put songs on an iPod is to (buy) them from iTunes.”

The (unforeseen) standard that emerged from the iPod is iTunes marketplace. It allowed Apple to establish itself as the premier and dominant merchant of all media including disruptive new media like apps. The iPod was “closed”, “siloed” and “locked-in” users. But it worked and grew and grew to the point where it set the standard.

The same arguments raised against the iPhone were raised against the iPod and Windows before it. Last I checked iPod had 70% share 9 years after the launch and Windows has 90% share 20 years after launch. iTunes sells more songs than any other retailer on the planet and more apps that anyone imagined possible.

Perhaps this data bears repeating:

  • 140,000 apps – made by over 28,000 developers
  • Users downloaded an average of 3.7 apps each in December.
  • One Quarter of apps downloaded are paid. Average cost of $2.59/app.
  • Each iPhone user spends an average of $10/mo.
  • There are over 75 (est.) million active users
  • 200 million apps are being downloaded every month
  • $500 million in revenues each month. 70% to developers or $385 million

All these numbers are increasing and accelerating. iPhone Platform Fastest Ecosystem Ramp in History.

Apps are not Applications

Understanding the new world of apps. Apps are not Applications.

That should have been the first sign that the software market was changing. It’s obvious in retrospect; people were buying software that would make them laugh. This runs counter to the common understanding of an Application. An Application represents the developer’s best effort at creating software that applies the capabilities of the device to solving a specific problem. Making people laugh is not a problem an Application can solve; it’s not about the device it’s about the person using it.

Lots more clues here:


I always said that the App is a new art form. As much art as desktop publishing and web design and home videos done by the masses. It’s not pretty but it’s real.

150k apps by end of Jan

At least 22k apps were added in December. It looks like we’re on track for Jobs to announce 150k apps by the time of the tablet announcement. By one count, 147k apps have already been published to the App store.

The last 50k apps will have taken 3 months. Download rate now is about 300 apps per second.

UPDATE: Jobs announced 140k apps on Jan 27.

77 % des téléphones vendus par Orange à Noël ont été des iPhone


A loose translation:

France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard:

Remember that at Christmas, 77% of telephones with a fixed-rate tariff that Orange sold were iPhones! It’s amazing. I cannot say why so many other mobile telephone manufacturers have fallen so far behind and have been unable to catch-up.

I am still trying to get my head around this data point. Is it an anomaly? Is France unique or is this a Christmas-only phenomenon? Other data points also showed that iPhone is phenomenally popular in France, but this is unheard of. Would broad availability in the US also lead to >50% market share of all phones sold? Could the possibility of runaway, iPod-like, Apple monopoly of the sector be contemplated? Anecdotally, I also observed a large number of iPhones while in Terminal 3 at Heathrow.

Google the Shopkeeper

The Nexus One is an HTC branded and developed phone. The only thing that Google is doing (beside the software) is acting as retailer.

Still don’t see what the point is as a Web page does not make a very good retail experience for a phone. It reminds me of when the iPhone was launched, Apple’s head of retail said that their stores were basically “built for this type of product”.


Om Malik Interviews Google’s Mobile Chief Andy Rubin

Regarding Android partners like Verizon and Motorola being upset about the Nexus One:

“People shouldn’t focus too much on the device (Nexus One),” said Rubin. “What’s more important is the strategy behind the devices.”

John Gruber:

Yes, what better way to get the press not to focus on a device than to hold a big press conference to announce a device, talk about how great it is, and give one away to everyone who attends?

Apple Quattro

As I said, Apple will launch an ad platform for the iPhone.