June 2010
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Day June 3, 2010

Microsoft OEM VP on tablets: wait and see, could flop like netbooks

Giving Android the green light:

In addition, for the time being, Microsoft will not offer new Windows versions to support non-Intel architectures that are targeting tablet PC development, noted Guggenheimer.

The formation of a market segment for a new product category necessitates the existence of a supporting ecosystem made up of a complete industry supply chain, Guggenheimer emphasized. He cited the netbook market as an example; units were selling well initially and people believed that the market was going to be established as a new segment, but recently market growth has slowed down considerably, Guggenheimer pointed out.

via Whether tablet PCs can become market segment is still uncertain, says Microsoft VP.

I remember when Microsoft used to be paranoid.

20% of American subs have a smartphone with 1.2 million switching every month

According to The State of Mobile Apps | Nielsen Wire 21% of American wireless subscribers have a smartphone at Q4 2009, up from 19% in the previous quarter and significantly higher than the 14% at the end of 2008.

A previous Comscore survey showed US smartphone penetration at about 17%.

If we were to blend the data to a rough estimate, I would say it’s fair to assume 20% penetration.  The total number of subscribers in the US is about 234 million, which makes for 46.8 million smartphone users.

This still leaves 80% or 187.2 million non-smartphone users.

The share gain of 6%/yr. means another 1.2 million Americans are switching into a smartphone every month.  Another decade and the non-smartphone market will simply be gone.

With AT&T lowering the barriers of entry with data plan pricing and with other operators matching, don’t be surprised if it happens sooner.

As saturation begins around 50% to 60% penetration, price competition will intensify.  That takes the tipping point to about 2013.

Time Inc. could not be more excited

We see the next flood of new portable color touchscreens headed to market in the next 18 months as a game changer. It will be the opportunity that content producers like Time Inc. have been waiting for to reestablish value for quality digital content. It’s argued that it will be impossible to get consumers to pay for digital content since they’ve grown up getting everything for free. We disagree.

The tablet restores something we lost when we went to the Web. Our readers can once again literally touch our content while still having that familiar “lean back” experience of a magazine. In real time, they can link in instead of linking out to the rest of the story on Time.com.

The advertising can be so good it can become content itself. It can help you evaluate products. And when you’ve made your decision it can help to find you a place to buy them.

As more and more hardware manufacturers come in with these e-readers there is just huge demand for our product, for our video product, for my print product—it’ll all be combined. We think very healthy business models will be coming out of it. We’ll be making more money in those businesses than we’ve been making with our traditional dot-coms.

People are paying. We know people will pay for it … it’s a business model that is just really very delicious.

via Time Inc. Is Really, Really Excited About Tablets « The Biz Blog – Forbes.com.

Using the politically correct terms “tablet” or “touchscreen” or “e-readers” to describe the iPad like it was PC for music companies to talk about “MP3 players” when referring to iPods.

The Walled Garden is only as good as its gardener

I’m assuming we’re supposed to compare this approach to the freer alternatives such as community gardens and city parks. Ignoring for a moment the fact that these gardens are also regulated by serious restrictions on what one can and can’t do, it still puzzles me that the “walled garden” is presented as an obviously undesirable structure.

Aren’t the benefits of a closed, carefully managed garden clearly visible? The experience is controlled, so it tells a story – one which may not emerge from a democratic, anything-goes process or do you think this sort of slow and deliberate story would emerge in a busy American city in the year 2010? Charging for admission means that the place can be maintained, improved, and marketed. There are downsides to this, of course — maybe the management makes boneheaded decisions now and then. Maybe you think that vine maple would look better a little to the left — maybe you’re even right.

via The Walled Garden – Neven Mrgans tumbl.

A walled garden is great as long as the gardener is an enlightened genius.  I can tell you that when operators tried to make walled internets for their handsets, the result was an atrocity.

It’s understandable why people recoil at the thought of a walled garden.  But they shouldn’t.  If it’s no good you can go somewhere else.