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The pitfall in platform predictions

It’s a great misfortune that we don’t have data about the future. It makes it hard to tell what’s going to happen.

It’s even harder because although sometimes we have data about the past, the past and the future don’t always look the same.

Clearly that’s what makes predictions about mobile computing platforms tricky. Nothing that has happened recently had been predicted by those who had tried to do so in the past.

The difficulty is compounded if trying to forecast in the long term like 4 or 5 years ahead. The tendency is to extrapolate what has been happening to date.

It’s tempting to project whatever trends one sees into the future. The problem is that some trends are more visible than others.

For example, let’s look at the following three forecasts (IDC, ABI Research and Ovum) projecting platforms for 2015 and 2016. Although there are some differences in magnitude of the entire market, there is a strong similarity between the forecasts and with the current trends[1].

However, when comparing what was happening in 2007 with the market three years later[2] it’s clear that most of the change was from the entry of iOS and Android (and a large expansion in RIM as well.)

So how are we to be sure that there won’t be another entrant between now and 2016? I presume the argument is that the market is “too big” for a newcomer to make an impact. This argument is equivalent to saying that some organizations are “too big to fail”. That might has a right of its own.

However, the evidence has shown that no Goliath has ever stood for long against a suitably equipped David, especially in technology.

Given this knowledge, the pattern or trend that I see more than any other is that the future will be dramatically different than the past. This invalidates any forecast which assumes otherwise, including all those above.

Notes:

  1. The primary difference seems to be with how to treat Symbian. Some forecasters are replacing it with Windows Phone while others are mixing in a bit of “other” and Bada into what used to be Nokia’s share.
  2. It’s quite pointless to try to compare 2005 with 2010 as on this chart’s scale (bounded by 1 billion units/yr), the size of the market and the size of each participant’s share are indiscernible. As pointed out earlier, predictions from that era focused on PDA market shares and there was no agreed-upon definition of mobile computing competitors.
  • http://twitter.com/dusser @dusser

    Are there any "platform predicitions" of this type from…say, 2005-2006 or so?

    • asymco
    • asymco
      • Waveney

        Horace, thanks for the heads-up, the comments are most interesting. I found this gem:

        Fanfoot Posted Jan 27th 2010 1:12AMNEUTRAL
        @sovatar How about a more likely scenario… AT&T will lose iPhone exclusivity either this year or next (when LTE becomes available on Verizon say), and Apples share will almost immediately rise by 50%.

        Android which has shot from nothing to 27% of North American smartphone sales in less than a year, will continue on a tear, and take second place, and begin to eat into Apple's lead in a couple of years. Still probably Apple will outsell them 2:1 at that point, but by then some of the rough edges will be off Android, and the diversity of handsets will start to take their toll on Apple's market share.

        RIM will maintain a solid lead with a certain segment of business types for a couple of years, then collapse and vanish quickly.

        Symbian will vanish from the smartphone space within a few years due to their intransigence, and creaky architecture. They will survive selling great numbers of cheap phones in developing markets, but their profitability will plunge, their stock will tank, and they'll be put on death watch as they start to compete at the low end with rising competition from China and other low cost producers.

        Microsoft? Hard to say? If Windows Mobile 7 does something, it might have a chance. Probably not though.

        Palm? Probably too late for them, probably gone within two years.

        I think we're talking a two horse race folks.
        *********
        ….remarkable number of hits. But it also perfectly illustrates your point and reminds me of that old adage that 'Apple skates to where the puck 'will' be' and the importance of disruptive technology. It also makes me wonder how much time a company has to bring to market the fruits of it's acquisitions( HP > Palm, Microsoft > Nokia) in such 'interesting' times as these.
        The corollary of 'you can't project the future from the past' is that 'you also can't reconstruct the past from the future present' because the evidence is rapidly buried which becomes a measure of disruption or rate of change.
        Would you feel able to predict a period of consolidation? Of market share barricade erecting? I'm thinking of Google's pursuit of Nortel's patents

    • unhinged

      Would they be any good if they existed? The iPhone set the cat among the pigeons in terms of forecasting the market.

  • relentlessfocus

    Apple, like Motorola, LG, Sony, HTC etc. makes its money selling hardware. These charts tell us nothing about how profitable these hardware companies will be in 2016 or dare I say which ones will actually be around in 2016. The mobile OS wars tell us more about the mentality of the people who write about them than anything useful for business analysis. My guess is that the folks in Cupertino pay very little attention to these metrics nor to the people who put them out.

    • Eugene

      The folks in Nokia paid very little attention to IDC's last prediction that Symbian would lead into 2015. They got rid of Symbian. Red faces all round for IDC who then replaced Symbian with WP7 in their next report, though Wp7 has hardly set the world alight. Their reasoning was it joined with Nokia, but that was the reasoning for Symbian being in front in the previous forecast. Meanwhile iOS, which hasnt been losing market share, loses market share – and RIM, which has seen loses, gains. WP7 comes from nowhere to over take the iPhones already 100M customers , and climbing , just because Windows will throw money at it ( but Apple have loads of money) and nobody is doing any analysis of Apple's potential growth in China, or in the US on all carriers, or what happens when ( not if) Apple release their cheap model phone. When, not if, because Cook said it would happen.

  • CndnRschr

    It is possible to at least build a case for the likely success of each mobile platform – just not for 5 years out. It isn't an extrapolative game either, but one that should take into account the behaviours and lock-ins of the various platforms. For example, a greater percentage of apps on iOS tend to be bought rather than free. This provides a similar sort of lock-in to early (FairPlay DRM'd) iTunes. Of course, at some point, people will jettison their apps as a sunk cost if competing hardware is compelling (its also true that pulling the SIM from an iPhone allows its apps working just fine – but I guess Apple doesn't really mind that since its now become an iPod Touch).

    When there are no data, it is *not* fine to just make it up (or scale it and hide behind the trivial calculation). Even worse is a spectacular headline (such as iOS dead in the water, RIM is doomed) that will come back to smack you in the rear end. But, this is the here and now, and its all about headlines. I doubt people take such worthless predictions into account when buying a smartphone. They are more likely to talk to their friends, compare whats out there and buy what they want, not what some supposed soothsayer is divining from their tea leaves. It's all about page hits.

  • stsk

    Horace, I've been waiting with baited breath for your rebuttal to Fred Wilson… It's time for someone to take a shovel and beat the iOS/Android = MacOS/Windows meme to a definitive death.

    • asymco

      What specific claims are being made? If it's that iOS is MacOS and Android is Windows then I don't see the point. From most metrics of company performance, Apple is more successful than Microsoft so why would that comparison imply that Google will benefit from Android to a greater degree than Apple will benefit from iOS? If it's that developers will benefit from Android more than from iOS, there's not a shred of evidence that it is happening and no clear roadmap on how that might ever happen.

      If it's that developers need to target "the largest audience" then there is no larger audience than Symbian today, so presumably developers should focus there first.

      I really don't know what merits rebuttal.

      • stsk

        Well, I agree that the argument doesn't merit rebuttal, but nonetheless, Fred, as a venture capitalist, gets a lot of attention from small app developers.

        Here's the most recent iteration (from Friday) http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/04/android-continued

      • http://twitter.com/davidchu @davidchu

        If you need a venture capitalist to tell you what platform to develop for, then you don't know your market.

      • Eugene

        Nothing. His analysis is both historically wrong ( Apple lost to IBM, not clones – Apple had no ), not applicable today ( Apple is the biggest company in the world now, and has huge money reserves, and can shut out the rest of the market), but loses even on his own metrics of what developers should do, even if his predictions were true.

        Amazing statistic from IHS stats ( see http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/04/04/ios… show that the 2010 percentage of app store's revenue taken by the Android market is 4%. Apple is 82%. Android defenders would point to significant growth in Android revenues, 281% – but that hides that Apple grew revenues by $900M, and Android by $100M in a year when Android passed Apple in sales. What this tells us is that APp developers who want to sell apps, should ignore the Android platform which comes 4th after BB and OVI. No matter how big it gets, nobody buys anything.

        ( App developers must come to this realisation some time – it wont matter to free, or branding apps, although with branding apps APple is probably better, to get reviews. But for sold apps, Android is not an option).

      • David

        Biggest tech company, right. I thought Exxon was bigger.

      • Pieter

        Is Exxon doing tech?
        I thought they did something with oil?
        That seems an 'energy' or 'mineral' kind of thing to me, not tech…

      • Hamranhansenhansen

        Exxon is not a tech company. I have no idea what stretch of the imagination you are using to imagine they are. "Tech" means Information Age: digital, virtual, microprocessors, software, Moore's Law, satellites, wireless communication. Exxon is Industrial Age: drills, pipes, pumps, ships, trucks, workers getting maimed on the job.

      • Cory

        As stsk mentioned, Mr. Wilson has been outspoken on this issue. Also, a recent article at Business Insider states much the same:
        http://www.businessinsider.com/android-iphone-mar

        I sent a message to Mr. Blodget encouraging him to review asymco.com to find data and analysis rather than opinion and bloviating on this subject.

      • aapl_vet

        Mr. Blodget should be ignored.

      • iphoned

        The claims being made are that even with Verizon iPhone, Android market share continues to outpace the iPhones.

        Although, Wilson and Blodget in their BS posts, are using the recent Comscope stats that barely include any Verizon contribution.

  • http://ximagin.co/thecw The CW

    How many modern commercial technology platforms have ever existed? We might look as far back as the Ford Model T, NTSC based television, VHS videotape, command line operating systems, GUI operating systems. I can't think of many else. Now we have touch based operating systems.

    The point is, we have a very small statistical sample of modern commercial technology platforms to look at. It's impossible to judge the outcome of this particular competition to any degree of statistical certainty based on the few historical anecdotes we've seen.

    Anyone who says they can judge the future based on what we've seen is trying to sell you something.

  • Simon Hibbs

    I wonder to what extent these market shares reflect the relative size of market segments. My hypothesis is that there are segments of the market that, due to their nature and preferences, have a built-in tendency to prefer a particular smartphone platform, to the extent that the platform matches their preferences and needs. Android for tinkerers and those after budget smartphones, RIM for businesspeople, iOS for consumers who just want it to work. If this is the case, their market share will vary depending on how well they address these market segments, but also on how these market segments evolve.

  • justinfadams

    Personally, I look forward to the moves Amazon is going to make in this space. Besides Apple, they are the only company out there that really gets consumers. And they are successful at selling digital goods as well as traditional non-digital products. They have a great single click purchasing experience with a bunch of credit cards on hand. And they have the infrastructure for streaming, cloud storage, etc., which they could use to entice developers. And like Apple, they sell most of their products through their own storefront, which means they can price aggresively.

    The question is whether or not they will just use Android, or develop their own OS in house.

    So, I agree that this forecast is lazy and unconvincing, but would rather discuss who out there might take us by surprise.

    • http://twitter.com/davidchu @davidchu

      Developing an OS is expensive, difficult to maintain and better be very profitable because you'll be walking through an IP minefield. It's telling that Facebook (and supposedly Amazon) has been looking to build on top of Android instead of building an OS on their own.

      • Ian Ollmann

        Developing an OS is almost never profitable. OS development is usually subsidized by something else, either software sales, hardware sales, or free labor.

      • Hamranhansenhansen

        > Developing an OS is almost never profitable.

        That is not true. Total myth. That is a lie perpetrated by Microsoft to scare companies into licensing their software. All of the value is in software. All of the profit is in the software. Making hardware alone is terribly unprofitable, you become an interchangeable cog in the software maker's machine. Motorola is interchangeable with HTC, Dell is interchangeable with HP PC's. All they can do is undercut each other to death. There is always one Android handset maker who lost money every quarter, always one Windows PC maker who lost money every quarter, because it is a race to the bottom. They all hover right around the zero profit line.

        The 2 most profitable companies in PC's, by far:

        • Microsoft
        • Apple

        The 3 most profitable companies in mobile, by far:

        • Apple
        • Nokia
        • RIM

        Do you see any common theme? They all make their own operating system software. Not only that, everyone else in PC's and mobile other than the above feeds on scraps.

      • FalKirk

        @Hamranhansenhansen: You have made a list of the platforms that have succeeded. And it is a very short list. You have neglected to list all the platforms that have failed. That is a very, very long list.

        Yes, successful platforms are lucrative. But successful platforms are also few are far between.

      • asymco

        I believe Ian was referring to the notion of building an OS in isolation. As a business in and of itself. I can recall a few failures to monetize the OS directly (PalmSource-as a company, Windows Mobile-as a division, Symbian-as a company).

        The reason an OS is not profitable is that OS as a product is a commodity. It's been so for a long time. The emergence of Linux in the 90s was the first evidence of that.

        An OS is valuable only if it offers leverage for another business. When it becomes leverage, then it makes less sense to offer that leverage to someone else.

  • http://franksting.net.au Gavin Costello

    I guess WebOS is "other"? Or are we assuming that a) HP aren't even a percentage as clever as Apple in using the HW/SW together to create an "ecosystem" or b) WebOS is going to be a wider platform play and not have much focus in the "smartphone" space?

    • Hamranhansenhansen

      They are Other, same as Palm. HP has a lot to prove.

  • http://twitter.com/davidchu @davidchu

    Although it's impossible to accurately predict the future of the market, I think you can get an idea of what the future will look like by analyzing the structure or "shape" of the market.

    I consider a smartphone to be a phone where it's users use it for more than just email, messaging, and browsing the web. If a user buys an iPhone and only uses it to do the above tasks, then they are not a smartphone user, they are a high end feature phone user.

    Of the platforms out there right now, only the iPhone and Android have converted a large number of users into my definition of a smartphone users. Between the iPhone and Android, the iPhone wins out in conversions. I'm sure Google has a lot of internal data that solidifies my point, hence their need to further lock down the platform. If Android was as profitable for Google as people seem to think, they would have no incentive to demand further control.

    • Hamranhansenhansen

      I think Google makes more money on an iOS user than Android user, same as everybody else.

  • davel

    Interesting.

    Your data shows that real competition can come from anywhere. And it has. ios/google/facebook/etc.

    I wonder what were to happen if facebook got real in this race.

  • CndnRschr

    The "other" may represent the low end companies that Google will increasingly refuse to work with who will take the Android source code (2.3?) and fork it to their own ends. They will have no incentive to point ad revenue to Google nor to use Marketplace and hence will siphon off income from Google. These Android clones will be based on cheap hardware and will undercut the Google licensees. Since this is the low end feature phone market that Microsoft and Nokia are targeting, the impact will be beyond the GooglePlex.

    When is an Android phone not an Android phone? When it sends no income to Google.

    • Hamranhansenhansen

      That is like half of Android. That is why Google is playing games with the Android source.

    • PatrickG

      Actually if you look carefully you will note that the Android Marketplace is not where Google tends to focus. They want it to be just successful enough to have a good portfolio of free, ad-driven apps, but not more than that. They are finding that this whole develop your OS and apps and ecosystem thing is a lot more work than it is worth to them. With ChromeOS waiting in the wings to launch, Google may want to get the knots out of Honeycomb as the transitional stage of bringing Chrome into the picture. Once slated for netbooks you can bet they are feverishly getting a touch GUI up and operational so that Chrome can take over tablets. Andy won't be happy, but its never been about ecosystem for Google – its about their business plan. They desperately need to diversify their products btw, which explains the ongoing shopping spree among smaller companies and the Nortel auction.

      Coming back to my point, Google is most interested in free apps with ads – because it works best in their business strategy. And they know that they only have so much time before the cracks in the Android structure become to many to ignore – just like some of their other famous products – short shelf life.

    • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

      The "other" might also be LG with MeeGo and maybe Nokia still. LG signed up with MeeGo recently, even after the Nokia's dimwit in charge sold out to Microsoft.

      Nokia are still intending to use S40 for featurephones btw. That's their 'the next billion' plan. Java apps on S40. They're not bringing Windows Phone to featurephones. I don't think Microsoft have any plans on featurephones.

  • Rob Scott

    These forecasts are embarrassing, I suspect that people who produce them continue to make money from them, so they will continue producing them.

    I have been wondering though – does it even make sense to talk of smartphones as a category of products and lumping everything together as if they were of equal value?

    An example in the currently classification we are lumping an iPhone 4 32GB with an IDEOS from ZTE. This is so even though the two handsets are world apart in everything. When you compare the iPhone to handsets that are actually comparable to it it continues to outsell them by a wide margin.

    Since the categorization is so useless, why don't we simple talk about the handset market as a whole?

    I suspect that this is how most OEMs look at their businesses, that is, They are hoping that their customers will upgrade from their feature phones to Android devices. The hoped migration is from a Samsung feature phone to a Samsung Android device.

    So, Android should be judged on it's ability to keep the OEM's customers. The iPhone (and Blackberry) do not have this advantage. The iPhone must acquire new users. As opposed to getting them through upgrades.
    So how has Android done in keeping (and growing) the user base for OEMs that use it?
    The data suggest that Android has been a net negative as far as units are concerned. This is in contrast to the iPhone which continues to add new users, case in point is the recent comsco numbers for the US, the iPhone gained a %, Android OEMs remained flat or lost share.

    Looking at the data this way becomes even more important as smartphone become a bigger share of devices sold.

    I suspect that Android is going to be a net negative for everyone who uses it.

    What do youw think?

    • LTMP

      Seems like a valid perspective.

  • Hamranhansenhansen

    This chart makes me think of an "MP3 player market" chart from 2002 that attempts to predict 2006. At that time, the common wisdom was iPod would be "niche," and Microsoft's PlaysForSure platform would be huge, Sony Walkman would come roaring back with a digital version, and Diamond Rio and Creative Labs and other stalwarts would continue to add to their market share. When something like the Rio has 25% of the market, it's hard to imagine it will disappear in a few years, but the market grew exponentially and Rio stayed the same and just faded away in overall importance. And user's expectations shifted to where they didn't really see a Rio as the same thing as an iPod anymore. And then there was the iPod nano, coming in years later and making everything from iPod to iPod nano into prologue by totally changing expectations and by selling just ridiculous amounts, changing the whole market. Nobody could imagine in 2002 that Apple would cannibalize the iPod with iPod mini in 2003 and then immediately cannibalize iPod mini with iPod nano in 2004, making the iPod itself into prologue.

    I think we are still in that prologue stage with modern smartphones. I think Apple is just getting started. For example, if they put an earpiece and 3G data into iPod touch, suddenly it becomes a free-with-contract VoIP smartphone and Apple's share of the smartphone market goes from 25% to 35% overnight, and could be over 50% within a year. In 2016, I think we'll look back at this chart and ROTFL at the idea that iOS share was going to go down when Apple still had just one phone. It's like didn't IDC think Apple could make another phone?

    Also, these kinds of industry reports often underestimate how slow the consumer gets educated. To industry watchers and gadget nerds, iPhone is a January 2007 thing, it is 4 years old, and App Store is a 2008 thing, 3 years old, so they don't expect a huge impact from either of those things in 2012 or 2013. But to many consumers, they are just now understanding what is an iPhone, what are apps, why would I want those? You could see 2012 looked back on as the Year Of The iPhone, the year it really went mainstream, which seems crazy now, given how popular iPhone is compared to zero units 3.5 years ago.

    So anyway, in 2016, I would be far more surprised to see this IDC chart come true than I would be to see iOS have 60%, 70% of the market. There are all these ways Apple can change the game and make major gains, but I don't see that potential in other systems.

    • http://twitter.com/davidchu @davidchu

      With the iPod, Apple made it easy for people to manage their music and content.

      With iOS, Apple made it easy for developers to make their apps.

      My advice for tablet competitors is to take your Flash integration resources and spend it on making a high quality SDK.

    • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

      An iPod Touch with 3G data is already available. It's called an iPhone. They couldn't add 3G data without all the other hardware in an iPhone.

      Of course, Apple would have to integrate a proper SIP VoIP stack in to their OS which so far they've not done and so far that's the major reason why I've stuck with Nokia phones. Nokia have had SIP built in for ages. E61 or so kind of ages for Symbian and Maemo has a flawless implementation also. Android 2.3 is the only other current OS with SIP done properly.

      Windows Phone 7 – no SIP support. Nokia, clutching defeat from the claws of victory.

  • poke

    I'm expecting the global market to feature a number of successful Android forks in 4-5 years. Many of them coming from China. What value add does doing things the official Google way bring in non-Western markets where Google's services aren't popular? Maybe one of them will even have a successful app market.

  • HTG

    The thing about Fred Wilson is that you have to follow the money – he is a venture capitalist who is likely 'long' Android developers so he is busy talking up Android in order to raise the valuations of the companies he has invested in – which makes him look good to his investors (or his bank manager). So he is hardly an impartial commentator.

    He gets a lot of attention because he is successful, but one has to be careful not to confuse skill with luck, and those that are successful (lucky) generally get quite confused on this point.

    Looking around the web at responses to Fred Wilson it seems that developers as saying that people buy iOS devices because they are interested in apps, where as Android buyers are not so much interested (after cheap hardware perhaps??). Which for developers is mana from heaven (so to speak)…

    Anyway with Apple you get a very clear message as a consumer about what you are buying, Android not so much – which is perhaps why Google has decided to clamp down and start to close the 'open' window…

  • jonshf

    I think we're approaching a stage where only a very few platforms will start to take hold, making it difficult for newcomers to break in, kind of the way Microsoft took hold in the pc platform arena. Once you've got a huge number of users who are familiar with a platform and who have invested in lots of apps, it gets harder for others to break through or cross the moat.

    The mobile space is probably not as rigid as the pc market was and we're still pretty early in the game (lots of future new users), but the pudding is starting to gel. After it's gelled, market share movements will be very slow until a new pudding is prepared (whatever that will be – maybe brain implanted computers).

    In that light Android has good position and momentum. With IOS you have to include ipods, iphones and ipads so they have by far the largest share. If you're used to your ipod-touch you're probably more likely to move to an iphone and ipad. I agree with the commenters that say we should stop talking about smartphones and start talking about mobile computing platforms (and stop using the ugly term post-pc for those devices :).

    I just don't see where WP7, WebOS or even RIM can fit comfortably into this scenario. They're going to have to do some really special things or use their hooks in the corporate world in some way that I'm not able to grasp well enough.

    I live in Europe in an area where Nokia phones have dominated. I don't know of anyone who is thinking about another Nokia phone, be it Symbian or WP7. It's not that the phones themselves are bad, it's that other options are looking better and there's no emotional attachment to Symbian. Therefore, I don't see WP7 inheriting automatically any Symbian users.

    We're still at a stage where alot of unpredictable things can happen in the next few years in the mobile space but I don't believe the swings will be quite as wild as they were the last few years. China is the most unknown factor. Perhaps something wild will come from them.

  • Senator Gronk

    A few notes that get overlooked in all of Fred Wilson's, and his ilk's, chest beating:

    - Apple did NOT lose the platform wars, it stumbled and learned, can Microsoft say the same? (I have a Powermac 9600 from 1998 that runs Leopard, again, can the same be said of a Gateway from 1998?)

    - This market is wide open and vastly more dynamic than the 12-year-olds on Engadget that cheer these ridiculous reports realize. Is at all sensible to say that Chevy is better than Honda? I would say Honda wins, but only because they fit my bias, Chevy fits someone else's. Do we bother arguing, realistically, about the various advantages of either? Not really. You have your taste and I have mine. And yet Honda's product is consistent and Chevy varies with their luck and their focus. Chevy will always sell, sometimes more and sometimes less, but Honda will always provide a superior product at a fair price because that's what they sell. Sure, these are things we all know, but why do some forget this when they start talking about "smart" phones.

    Fred Wilson is simply rooting for his horse, and anyone who follows him should know that they risk stepping in his horse____.

  • Goodsam

    how can these people predict what will be in 4 or 5 years, when most of these products are obsolete in 18 to 24 months in this industry?

  • Alois Dimpfelmoser

    who says there are no data for the future? Just gaze into the crystal ball: https://www.recordedfuture.com/

  • Andy

    When I look at all three of those predictions the one thing they all agree on is the market will be bigger. Each of the segments grows, in real terms. As an iOS developer this makes me very happy: it doesn't matter a jot if the market share of my chosen platform goes down – what matters is the customer base is predicted to be three or four times it's current size.

    That means good times for mobile developers !

  • Bazz

    My favorite prediction was the last by the Delphic Oracle ( an aside first; the cause of her powers was hydrocarbon gases emanating from a fissure in the ground that caused doping and neurological changes – Einstein believed that the 'near future' was a see-able in Physics theory/actuality )
    She was shutting shop because the Christians did not believe!

    In all predictions one element is the dominant cause of the future – but what is or was it that is the problem!

    My favorite analysis is WWII — Where Germany should have won!
    A case in point –
    In Sept 39 a PhD was granted to a German for the gaseous separation of isotopes
    1 The Germans did nothing with it!
    2 In 1945 USSR captured and debriefed our "hero"
    3 USA made Atomic Bomb with 65% purity
    4 USSR with spy data and German ideas made their stolen Bomb 85+% pure
    5 German released in 1950's and tell world how to purify isotopes
    AND the rest you know
    BUT who was the best in interpreting data NOT Germany NOT USA BUT CCCP!

    AND It Relevance HERE
    Apple gave LightPeak to Intel for reason of general PC to externals use!
    Intel sees LightPeak as increasing internals speed — where the future is!
    Apple loses a bloody good idea for lack of insight!
    Intel has running for orders of magnitude PC speed increase!
    Ah laser inventor foresight!

    But your take errs — What iOS Android show is that any manufacture can make an OS
    HP and others are trying.
    Nokia had a good Symbian OS early but failed to see its advantages.
    All OS's are based on indexing — how to find what you want!
    iOS uses visual clues but Symbian used a numbering system to get to the page you wanted. I loved it!
    All they needed was make numbering Alphanumeric say G22A11 for Game 22 Complexity "A" speed 11.
    Almost 7 million pages and after a little learning easy to navigate!
    WHO could not see that future!

  • berult

    The more you know about a moving particle's position, the less you know about its speed, …and about its path. In reading the present, we more than give up our stake in apprehending the future, we cast with our 'presence' an overbearing shadow on the present. The Heisenberg Principle extended to macro events; dubious exercise in its own right, nonetheless interesting as a trial in pure abstract determinism.

    The observer …becomes part and parcel of the event. The object morphs into a subject from its very first interaction with the observer. In reading the present, we 'subject' its timeline, derived from past …discounted from future. We scramble reality which becomes intrinsically unreadable outside being 'subjected' to our observation. 

    How then can one ever manage within one's personal imports to measure tendencies, anticipate upheavals, disruptions, paradigm shifts?

    Creative handy works invariably sign in as lensing determinants. If you wish to somehow feel the ethereal pull of the future, bring your mindset to heavily bear on the present. Create, cut an object out of the moment; it'll find a way to enlighten the future, a future rendered comprehensible through the use of timelessness' Lingua Franca, the well travelled, …the well time-travelled, …the timeline-travelling human imagination.

    Co-opt the warped part of the instant to force-feed the future with your future-enhanced present, …and read all about it from a past participate, 'tempus fugit…ly' prescient omni-present…!

  • davel

    I just ran across this. Your prediction some months ago that the tablet space is disruptive is verified
    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/12/1-in-3-cho