Until very recently, we believed our competitive position in smartphones could be improved with Symbian, as well as MeeGo, and our strategy based on those platforms. We are now of the view, however, that for the longer term our Symbian platform is not sufficiently competitive in leading markets.
Nokia’s SEC Form 20F.
The company’s fiscal year, which ended in June, was one of the worst to date for the mobile space. Although in development since 2008, the Kin was pulled after just over six weeks of sales and amounted to a $240 million write-off before including the $500 million to buy Danger. Windows Mobile’s ramp down is partly intentional as Microsoft is rebooting the platform with Windows Phone 7 and is investing $500 million in marketing to spark new interest.
Microsoft CEO bonus cut for Kin flop, lack of iPad rival | Electronista
I was only half-joking when, on first sight, I tweeted that I will buy a new iPad 2 to go with my new Smart Cover. The new iPad cover is enchanting.
It also seems to be enchanting to many.
I’m estimating that at least 60% of iPad buyers will get one. Based on an estimate of 36 million iPads sold in 2011 and an average price of $48 (70% polyurethane and 30% leather mix), the total revenue for Smart Covers will top $1 billion this year.
I further estimate that with a very modest gross margin of 75% (average cost to produce of $12), the Smart Cover could contribute $777 million to Apple’s gross margins.
The iPad by itself should generate $23 billion in revenue and a contribution of $7.7 billion. That means that the Smart Cover will add 4% to sales and 9% to gross profits. If taken as a bundle, the iPad+SC will increase gross margin over the iPad alone by nearly 200 basis points (taking it from 33% to 35%).
It will be interesting to compare the Smart Cover business with competitor tablet businesses.
The following is a work of fiction.
The combination seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. Nokia envisioned itself as a substantial rival to Redmond, threatening to head off its computing dominance as the power of desktop computing shifted to pocket-size devices. But a series of miscues substantially weakened the company, leaving it little choice but to team up with the world’s largest software maker.
I last looked at the race to a billion in September 2010. I’ve now added a few more data points to the tracked platforms and also added points for the major console game platforms and Symbian.
The chart shows the cumulative number of users (approximated by units sold) for 11 platforms indexed to the same starting date. The horizontal axis is the number of quarters since a platform launched. Every fourth quarter is numbered so each number on the axis represents a new year. The last number on the axis represents 10 years.
The vertical axis is the cumulative number of users on a logarithmic scale. Each number of the vertical axis is 10x more users than the previous number. The top of the graph represents a billion users.
The overall chart shows how quickly a platform has grown and is bounded by a billion users and a decade of usage.
John Siracusa dusted off an interesting quote from a former Microsoft employee.
Spolsky: But synergy…there are also negative synergies. In the case of Microsoft they call it “strategy tax.” Where, like, the Internet Explorer team is not allowed to fix the DHTML editor because it might compete with Word. So they’re forced to make that continue to be bad.
Via: The Apple strategy tax
The notion is an interesting one and is a reframing of the metaphorical expression that those who live by the sword die by the sword: Building a business a certain way will, in the end cause it to perish by that way.
In the case of Microsoft, the focus on their platform lock-in strategy binds them into avoiding compelling opportunities and, even more tellingly, keeps them from improving existing products.
It’s tempting to suggest that this “strategy tax” also applies to a company like Apple when it seems to act irrationally or sub-optimally to some arbitrary definition of optimality.
However, what if Apple’s motives are not “strategic”? What if Apple actually does act in a way to optimize what they perceive to be important: the end user experience or as I like to call it “the product“.
What if “the product” is dogma and nothing is allowed to compromise it?