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Day April 16, 2010

On Apple's Two Monopolies

I argue that Apple now has not one but two monopolies:

I)    A nearly-total monopoly on computer (and pocket computer) systems designed with good taste.
II)  A total monopoly on the Microsoft-free, hassle-free personal computer.

Imagine that every car maker save for Toyota insisted on using the infamous East German Trabant as a standard of quality – yet blindly imitated random elements of Toyota’s visual design.  How long would it take for the whiners to appear on the scene and start making noises about monopolistic tyranny?  How long would it take for Toyota to start living up to these accusations in earnest?  And why should it not do so?  What is to be gained from corporate sainthood? …

Of course, Apple’s competitors cannot actually copy the secret of its greatness, because Apple is a fundamentally different type of organism.  Rather than a brainless government-by-committee, it is an extension of one man’s will, projected with the aid of a small group of trusted lieutenants: no focus groups in sight.  For the Apple-imitators to turn into genuine “Apples” would be as fantastic and unlikely as it would be for a slime mold to spontaneously become a true multicellular animal, equipped with a central nervous system.  It is also unclear that, from their own perspective, they should want to grow brains – for a creature with that kind of centralized point of failure is decidedly no longer immortal.

via Loper OS » Non-Apple’s Mistake.

I’ve always thought that Apple had only non-consumption to compete with.  The non-consumption of hassle-free technology.

RIM chief competing for "Most out of touch CEO" award

RIM’s co-chief Mike Lazaridis downplayed many of Apple’s efforts today in a keynote at the TD Newcrest technology conference in Toronto. The executive was concerned that there wasn’t necessarily a market for tablets like the iPad and that any devices would have to be put in the context of computers and smartphones. Many companies ask new hires to choose either a new smartphone or a new notebook, and if the tablet is simply a substitute for a notebook it may not have an easy answer, Lazaridis said.

He added that smartphones are getting more powerful and more computer like, and by extension would reduce the need for a tablet.

The company leader also dismissed the importance of touchscreen phones. While it’s important to give customers what they want, touch-only phones like the iPhone aren’t that popular, Lazaridis argued. He claimed that most of the people buying touchscreen phones are going back to phones with hardware QWERTY keyboards, like those that made RIM “famous.”

He pointed out that it was the experience and not the features that determined a phone’s success, and that the most popular BlackBerry was actually the starter Curve 8520. It not only lacks touch but 3G and a high-resolution screen.

via RIM chief: no market for tablets, touch-only phones | Electronista.

Jobs must be thinking: with enemies like these, who needs friends.

Sony Ericsson and RIM reach market share parity

[Sony Ericsson] said it shipped 10.5 million units in the quarter, a 28 percent decrease compared with the same three months in 2009. It was down from the 14.6 million units shipped in the fourth quarter.

via Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson posts Q1 profit – Yahoo! News.

A few weeks ago RIM said it shipped 10.5 million devices.

With Apple claiming 85 million installed base of iPhones and iPod touches vs. 75 million last quarter, it’s safe to assume at least 10 million Apple smart devices shipped in Q1.

By units at least, SEMC, RIM and Apple are neck and neck.

On Toys

Don’t be discouraged if what you produce initially is something other people dismiss as a toy. In fact, that’s a good sign. That’s probably why everyone else has been overlooking the idea. The first microcomputers were dismissed as toys. And the first planes, and the first cars. At this point, when someone comes to us with something that users like but that we could envision forum trolls dismissing as a toy, it makes us especially likely to invest.

via Organic Startup Ideas.

Stranded in Oslo, John Cleese takes taxi to Brussels

The longest trip so far was from Oslo to Paris

via Stranded in Oslo, John Cleese takes taxi to Brussels: media – Yahoo! News.