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Digging in on the Church of Market Share ★
This whole article from Jay Yarow is weak. He disparages John Kirk’s widely-cited Techpinions piece on Android market share, but addresses none of Kirk’s actual arguments. Underlying the entirety of Yarow’s piece is Church of Market Share dogma: higher market share is always better, just because. But here’s a paragraph I actually agree with:
Based on these quotes, the goal for Apple shouldn’t be to be the
company with the most money in the bank. It should be to make the
best products in the world, and get them in as many hands as
That’s exactly what Apple is doing. No one, or at least no one with a clue, is arguing that making the most money should be Apple’s goal. (Nor is anyone arguing that market share is irrelevant; the argument is whether market share alone is of primary importance.) Apple’s profits are the result of having achieved their goal: making the best products and getting them into the hands of the most people. The and there is very important. In simple terms, iOS is what you get when you try to make the best products and maximize the number of people who use them; Android devices are what you get when you try to maximize the number of people who use them.
Apple has so much money right now that it basically doesn’t know
what to do with it. A company that is defined by brilliant,
world-changing ideas has decided the best use for its $145 billion
in cash is a rather pedestrian stock buyback and dividend to
This reiterates my belief that Yarow is digging in to defend Business Insider’s years-long campaign of click-bait sensational anti-Apple-ism. (“iPhone Dead in the Water” — April 2011.) For one thing, what is “pedestrian” about the company’s stock buyback and dividend plans? More importantly, does Yarow really believe that Apple isn’t spending enormous sums of money on initiatives — billions of dollars per quarter — that will drive future products and services? (See Horace Dediu’s third question today.) If he’s not aware of this, he’s not competent to cover Apple for a business publication; if he is aware, then the above is a blatantly dishonest attempt to mislead.
The truth is that focusing on market share as the primary metric is the only way to paint the iPhone as anything other than a roaring success.
Mailbox for iPad ★
Even though I don’t use it (because it’s Gmail-centric, rather than a general IMAP client), I greatly admire the design of their iPhone app. This iPad version feels a bit half-assed though:
- Landscape only.
- The content pane only appears after you select a message in message pane. Feels unfinished.
- Popover menus appear centered on screen. That’s wrong on the iPad — they should be attached to the button or object that makes them appear. (E.g. the hamburger button in the content pane.)
See Also: Ryan Tate’s interview with Mailbox founder/CEO Gentry Underwood. It’s interesting, but I almost laughed at this question from Tate:
You did a very cool thing, but in some ways a very simple thing.
Why hadn’t anyone tried more of this before?
There is nothing simple about making an email client.
‘The Making of Kubrick’s 2001’ ★
“I don’t like to talk about 2001 much because it’s essentially a
nonverbal experience. Less than half the film has dialogue. It
attempts to communicate more to the subconscious and to the
feelings than it does to the intellect. I think clearly that there
is a basic problem with people who are not paying attention with
their eyes. They’re listening. And they don’t get much from
listening to this film. Those who won’t believe their eyes won’t
be able to appreciate this film.”
Hard to believe this book is out of print. What a find. (Via Adam Schoales.)
Benedict Evans: ‘On Market Share’ ★
However, there’s a rather important problem with looking at the
data like this: there is no such thing as a “smartphone market”.
Or rather, talking about the “smartphone market” is like talking
about the “3G” market or the “colour screen phone” market: you’re
picking out a sub-segment that is going to grow to take over the
whole market. And ignoring the growth. […]
The whole mobile phone market is converting to smart. Apple is
taking the high end and Android is taking the rest. Both are
growing very fast, and Android is growing faster. But what matters
is phone share, not smartphone share.
Android and iOS Are Both Winning ★
People often forget that Google and Apple are playing the same
game with different goals in mind. Apple strives to maximize
profitability in hardware sales. Google, on the other hand, is
striving for maximum market share, providing the most users for
its services. This is a rare, if not unique, war where both Apple
and Google can win, and that seems to be very confusing to people.
This is in reference to yesterday’s “Android’s Market Share Is Literally a Joke” by John Kirk. Judging by my email, Kirk’s piece touched a nerve among many of the true believers in the Church of Market Share. Virtual Pants is right about one thing: the fact that Apple is winning with iOS does not mean Google is losing with Android. They might both be getting exactly what they want.
But Kirk didn’t argue about Google’s interest in Android. It’s the market share zealots who seem to believe there can be one and only one successful platform. And as for Virtual Pants, I don’t think there’s anything rare or unique about this situation. Again I say: just look at the mature, stable PC market. Windows has held a decades-long monopoly on PC operating systems, exactly what Microsoft wants. The Mac reaps an enormous chunk of the industry’s hardware profits, exactly what Apple wants.
My belief, though, is that what Google is winning with Android is a booby prize — overwhelming majority share of the unprofitable segment of the market.
Keyboard Maestro 6.0 ★
Great update to one of my favorite “secret weapon” utilities. I feel lost on a Mac without Keyboard Maestro installed.
Horace Dediu’s Questions for Tim Cook ★
Next week at AllThingsD’s D11 conference in LA, Apple CEO Tim Cook
will be interviewed by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Here are
some questions I’m hoping they will ask.
Good questions. Not sure Cook would give a straight answer to any of them, though.
Trucks, Cars, and Vespas ★
Am I saying Steve Jobs’ famous cars and trucks analogy was wrong,
then? Sort of. Desktop computers may be trucks, but the laptops
are the cars. That’s why they’ve been outselling desktops for
years. Tablets are motorcycles. Maybe Vespas. They’re fun and in
some circumstances they’re genuinely your best choice, but most
people just aren’t going to get by with them as their only
Maybe. And the evidence today certainly fits Martin’s theory. But I say give it a decade — a decade of slow, steady, incremental improvement in post-PC devices and software, a decade for people to gradually adjust their computing habits. (Also, a decade for iOS-using teens of today to become adults who never saw Macs and Windows PCs as anything other than legacy devices for their parents.)
I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re both right, and Apple meets us in the middle with an iOS notebook. (I expect an iOS notebook eventually; I expect never to see a touchscreen MacBook.)
‘Music Every Day’ ★
Love this campaign.
Daring Fireball T-Shirts ★
Now available for a limited time: a new round of DF t-shirts, including a new heather grey shirt. We’ll take orders through the start of next week, print them mid-week, and start shipping on Friday.
Last month marked the seventh year that I’ve been writing Daring Fireball as a full-time endeavor. T-shirt sales no longer constitute the majority of this site’s revenue, but they remain a significant part of it. My original (years ago) goal was to take this site full-time based on nothing but direct reader support; that didn’t work out, but t-shirt sales and donations remain, to me, the purest form of support. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished with Daring Fireball: a self-published, profitable web site for which I never borrowed a dollar. This has only been possible because of the direct support of readers like you, and I can’t thank you enough.
Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Joe Nocera on Tim Cook ★
But what will be remembered about Nocera’s latest Apple column is
that he called Tim Cook a liar — accusing him of telling, under
oath, a “whopper” and a “flat-out lie.” Nocera implies, but
doesn’t actually say, that he makes those charges after watching
I watched Cook’s testimony — twice. I find it hard to believe
that Nocera saw any of it. And having read the documents and news
articles he cites, I believe that on the points with which he has
factual disagreements with Cook, he’s provably wrong.
Update: More dissection of Nocera’s claims from Yoni Heisler at TUAW.
HP Envy Remains the Most Aptly-Named Product in PC Industry ★
Sean Hollister, The Verge:
This year, it’s not just thin-and-light laptops getting the
treatment: according to company representatives, CEO Meg Whitman
has now mandated a unified design language across HP’s entire
portfolio of consumer machines. “She took a look at our portfolio
and said, ‘I don’t know what’s HP.’”
Apparently she decided the MacBook Pro is HP. (Maybe she’s confused about that crazy HP iPod still being a thing?)
Innovative Use of the Word ‘Still’ ★
Larry Popelka, “founder and chief executive officer of GameChanger, an innovation consulting firm”, in a piece for Businessweek headlined “Google Is Winning the Innovation War Against Apple”:
Google appears to be on the verge of taking over the tech
innovation throne once held by Apple. A sure sign of this was
the success of Google’s annual I/O developers conference last
week at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Tickets to the
5,000-seat, three-day conference sold out in just 49 minutes at
$600 [sic] a pop. […]
This is only Google’s sixth year holding the I/O conference, which
is targeted to open-source developers. It has quickly grown into a
major media event rivaling Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference
(WWDC), which the company stages to wow the technology world with
Apple’s event is still extremely popular: Tickets this year sold
out in just two minutes at $1,699 each.
Let’s get this straight. Google sells out its developer conference in 49 minutes at $900 a seat. (Popelka didn’t even get the price right.) Apple sells out its developer conference — in the same venue — in 2 minutes at $1700 a seat. And this is a “sure sign” that Google is “taking over the tech innovation throne”?
His conclusion is even more bizarre:
Few companies have the self-confidence to take on Google’s launch
and iterate model. Most prefer the safety of Apple’s “perfect it
before you sell it” approach, because it shields senior managers
from criticism. But Google has found a successful innovation
process, and companies who follow suit will win the long-term
Few companies release crappy products and hope to improve them later? Most companies perfect their products in secrecy before releasing them, like Apple? Apple’s strategy shields senior managers from criticism? What planet is he talking about?
John Kirk: ‘Android’s Market Share Is Literally a Joke’ ★
Outstanding, must-read piece by John Kirk for Techpinions:
Scoring by market share alone and ignoring profit is like saying
that a baseball team won because it had more hits when the other
team scored more runs. Scoring by market share alone and ignoring
profit is like saying that a football team won because it gained
more yards when the other team scored more points. Scoring by
market share alone and ignoring profit is like saying that a
hockey team won because it had more shots on goal when the other
team had more goals.
Market share without context is not only useless, it is worse than
useless because it is likely to be misinterpreted.
Tesla Repays Federal Loan Nearly 10 Years Early ★
Chris Isidore, reporting for CNN Money:
Tesla Motors announced Wednesday that it has repaid a $465 million
loan from the government nearly a decade before it was scheduled
to do so.
The electric-car maker received the loan from the Department of
Energy in January 2010, and it made its first payment this past
December. That began what was supposed to be a 10-year repayment
program, but plans have changed.
‘From Here You Can See Everything’ ★
James A. Pearson, writing for The Morning News:
In Wallace’s book, a Canadian terrorist informant of foggy
allegiance asks an American undercover agent a form of the
question: “If Americans would choose to press play on the film
Infinite Jest, knowing it will kill them, doesn’t that mean they
are already dead inside, that they have chosen entertainment over
life?” Of course vanishingly few Americans would press play on a
film that was sure to end their lives. But there’s a truth in this
absurdity. Almost every American I know does trade large portions
of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by
Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them.
In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of
House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and
I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet
rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or
spending real time with people I love.
‘Operation Swill’ ★
ABC 6 Action News in Philadelphia:
State investigators say at least one bar in New Jersey was mixing
food dye with rubbing alcohol and serving it as scotch.
That’s one of the details released Thursday about an investigation
dubbed “Operation Swill.” Twenty-nine bars and restaurants in the
state are accused of putting cheap booze in premium brand liquor
bottles and selling it to patrons who thought they were buying the
Thirteen of the restaurants were TGI Fridays franchises. I might need to re-think my opposition to the death penalty.
Screen Size Shenanigans in Microsoft’s iPad Comparisons ★
The iPad screen is 7.76 by 5.82 inches. The ASUS screen is 8.8 by
4.95 inches. ASUS is larger in one direction but smaller in the
other direction, and has 3.55% less area than the iPad, not 36%
more as Microsoft depicts.
How can the screen with a larger diagonal measurement be smaller?
Because it’s a different shape. Long and thin gets you a bigger
diagonal but a smaller screen, for the same diagonal inches.
Weak sauce from Microsoft, especially the diagrams that are not to scale.
The Beltway Shakedown ★
Compelling argument by Tim Carney in the Washington Examiner:
Apple has held out, though. Every couple of years, Politico, the
trade publication of the Beltway, has run a piece warning Apple of
the dangers of ignoring Washington. “Its low-wattage approach in
Washington is becoming more glaring to policymakers,” a 2010
article said, pointing out that the company doesn’t have a PAC and
its lobbying spending was a paltry $1 million.
The 2012 Politico warning to Apple included an explicit threat
from a Judiciary staffer-turned-lobbyist, Jeff Miller: “There have
been other tech companies who chose not to engage in Washington,
and for the most part that strategy did not benefit them.”
Businessweek Profiles Google X ★
Brad Stone feature for Businessweek, “Inside Google’s Secret Lab”:
While Teller runs the day-to-day operations at X, he reports to
Brin. (“Sergey is Bruce Wayne, and I’m Lucius Fox,” Teller says.)
Colleagues say that since Page became CEO in late 2011, Brin
spends most of his time immersed in the technical details of
several projects at Google X. Although he declined several
requests to speak for this story, on a typically bucolic day at
the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif., Brin happens by a
reporter and two Google spokespeople eating lunch outside and
spontaneously joins the group. “I think I’m going to spend most
of my time now on cars,” he says, by way of introduction. Asked
about Google Glass, a project he championed and which he has been
photographed testing on the New York City subway, he points to
the device perched on his nose and says, “You know, this is
(a) Glass is “basically done”? Really?
(b) If Google X is so secret why are Businessweek reporters invited to tour it and profile members of the team?
Windows vs. iPad: Compare Tablets ★
Microsoft still loves their product comparison checklists.
Update: And there’s a TV ad too. It’s cute in a playing-for-second-place way. Microsoft is pitching Windows 8 tablets as the natural rival for the iPad; implicit in this is the dismissal of Android tablets from the equation. The message isn’t “Buy a Windows tablet instead of an iPad” so much as “If you want something other than an iPad, you should buy a Windows tablet.” Are iPad users, en masse, clamoring for multiple apps sharing the screen side-by-side? For PowerPoint? No. This is pitched at people who don’t like the iPad. That’s a play for second place, because most people do like the iPad.
Funny how the tables have turned since the “I’m a Mac / I’m a PC” days.
Tim Bray on Glass ★
But people, and there are a lot of them, who are saying “Glass is
doomed because it’s dorky-looking/privacy-invasive/anti-social”
are pretty well wrong; it’s more complex than that.
‘Don’t Say GIF’ ★
Fun song by Gonathan Mann.
Steve Jobs/James Murdoch E-Book Negotiations ★
Zachary Seward, writing for Quartz:
The emails have mostly been viewed in the context of the lawsuit,
but they also provide an extraordinary view of high-stakes
negotiation between the leaders of two powerful firms, Apple and
News Corp. They start far apart, but over the course of five days,
Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs successfully pulls the son of News
Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch over to his side.
Interesting too, that the negotiations came so close to the debut of the iPad.
Michael Gartenberg Joins Apple ★
Connie Guglielmo, reporting for Forbes:
Michael Gartenberg, a longtime industry analyst known for covering
digital media technologies and companies including Microsoft and
Apple, has left his post as an analyst at Gartner Inc. to take a
job with Apple.
Gartenberg didn’t immediately reply to a voicemail message left at
his office at Apple asking him to talk about his new role for the
Cupertino, California-based company. He is working on the
marketing team under Apple’s global marketing chief Phil Schiller,
according to sources.
Smart hire. Going to be weird seeing him on the other side of the line at Apple press events.
Reuters Headline Yesterday: ‘Intel CEO Shakes Up Units, Creates “New Devices” Group’ ★
Reuters headline three weeks ago: “Intel Picks Insider as CEO, Dashing Hopes for Shakeup”.
Azure Is the Future of Microsoft ★
Microsoft is a devices and services company. The services part is
the biggest part. Azure is the king of Microsoft services. Azure
is the future of Microsoft.
Azure is so key to Microsoft’s future, in fact, that I’m starting
to question the use of the name Windows on that brand. In many
ways it doesn’t make sense to call such a thing Windows at all.
Azure’s a nice name. (And Azure SQL Database rolls off the tongue
a lot more easily than does Windows Azure SQL Database. Just
I wrote yesterday that “Xbox is Microsoft’s foothold in the post-PC world.” That’s really just thinking about the device side. The cloud side is every bit as important. There is no post-PC world without ubiquitous cloud storage and messaging.
The Verge: ‘HTC in Disarray’ ★
Chris Ziegler, reporting for The Verge:
The Verge has learned that HTC’s Chief Product Officer, Kouji
Kodera, left the company last week. Kodera was responsible for
HTC’s overall product strategy, which makes the departure
especially notable on the heels of the global launch of the
It’s not just Kodera. In the past three-odd months, HTC has lost a
number of employees in rapid succession — most recently Jason
Gordon, the company’s vice president of global communications.
Other fresh departures include global retail marketing manager
Rebecca Rowland, director of digital marketing John Starkweather,
and product strategy manager Eric Lin.
Pew: 94 Percent of U.S. Teenagers Who Use Social Media Use Facebook ★
Greg Sterling, Marketing Land:
According to the report, 95 percent of teens (12-17) use the
internet and 81 percent of them use social media sites. Facebook
is by far the most heavily adopted social site, with 94 percent of
social media teens reporting they have a profile there.
That’s rather astounding.
Howard Gleckman on Apple’s Taxes ★
Howard Gleckman, writing for the Tax Policy Center:
Because Apple is so profitable, the dollars involved will
certainly attract attention (this is a Senate committee after all,
so that is the point). The report alleges Apple reduced its U.S.
corporate income tax by an average of $10 billion-a-year for the
past four years. Since the corporate levy generated only about
$240 billion in 2012, $10 billion foregone from one company is a
very big number indeed.
But while it added a few interesting twists, Apple cut its taxes
with the same tools multinationals have been using for years to
minimize their worldwide tax liability. And if there is a scandal,
I suppose it is the very ordinariness of these transactions.
Apple’s tax avoidance shop, it seems, is a lot less innovative
than its phone designers.
The Talk Show, Live ★
Speaking of The Talk Show, we’re doing another live audience episode in San Francisco on Tuesday 11 June, the second day of WWDC. Last year’s show was great, this year’s should be even better.
Update: Sold out, but stay tuned. We might have a few more tickets available closer to the event.
All New Flickr Design ★
Big week for Yahoo.
‘See You on Larry’s Island’ ★
This week’s episode of The Talk Show, with special guest Merlin Mann. We cover important, serious issues, such as whether Larry Page more resembles a Bond villain or Magneto. In other words, the usual.
Brought to you by two great sponsors:
- Squarespace: Everything you need to build exceptional websites.
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Apple’s Prepared Testimony Before U.S. Senate ★
An interesting read, including this:
Apple does not use tax gimmicks. Apple does not move its intellectual property into offshore tax havens and use it to sell products back into the US in order to avoid US tax; it does not use revolving loans from foreign subsidiaries to fund its domestic operations; it does not hold money on a Caribbean island; and it does not have a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Apple has substantial foreign cash because it sells the majority of its products outside the US. International operations accounted for 61% of Apple’s revenue last year and two-thirds of its revenue last quarter. These foreign earnings are taxed in the jurisdiction where they are earned (“foreign, post-tax income”).
(Via Jim Dalrymple.)
The One-Person Product ★
Marco Arment on the Yahoo/Tumblr deal. Great perspective from the inside.
Two Takes on Google Glass at I/O ★
Mark Wilson, writing for Fast Company: “Even Google’s Own Developers Won’t Be Seen Wearing Google Glass”:
Those of us who believe in the future of Glass technology can
identify other culprits: We can blame price. We can blame
availability. We can blame battery. We can blame the silly
aesthetic. We can even blame it on the rain! But imagine if Apple
announced their new iPhone, yet almost no one at Cupertino felt
the need to carry one. Or imagine if Ford announced a new car, but
their execs insisted on biking to work.
If Google’s own cohort doesn’t feel compelled to wear Glass in
spite of its perfectly predictable shortcomings, why would they
ever expect that the rest of us will?
But then here’s Pete Pachal, writing for Mashable: “Google Glass Stole the Show at Google I/O 2013”:
The glaring omission didn’t stop Glass from stealing the show for
the rest of the conference, though. Day 2 of I/O was packed with
sessions on Glass, including one where official Twitter, Facebook
and Tumblr apps made their debut. The sessions themselves garnered
the kind of lineups usually reserved Lady Gaga tickets. Many
developers were walking around wearing Glass, but it was the looks
of jealousy from the Glass-less that underscored just how much
interest there is in Google’s head-mounted gadget.
One of these guys is wrong.
Samsung’s Share of Android Hardware Profit ★
Andy Boxall, writing for Digital Trends:
Analysts broke it down like this: Globally, it’s estimated the
Android industry made $5.3 billion profit in the first quarter of
this year, while the profit estimates for Android phones shipped
by Samsung comes in at $5.1 billion for the same period. The exact
figure quoted is 94.7 percent profit share, and that’s not
including tablets either.
According to Strategy Analytics’ chart, in a (very) distant second
place is LG, with 2.5 percent profit share, while all the other
Android phone manufacturers — think about it, that’s everyone
from Sony and HTC to Huawei, Acer and ZTE — are lumped into an
Others category, which totals 2.7 percent.
Yahoo Acquires Tumblr ★
Marissa Mayer, on her Tumblr:
I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to
We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and
has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently.
David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their
wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission
to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of
the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even
better, faster. […]
I’ve long held the view that in all things art and design, you can
feel the spirit and demeanor of those who create them. That’s why
it was no surprise to me that David Karp is one of the nicest,
most empathetic people I’ve ever met. He’s also one of the most
perceptive, capable entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. His respect
for Tumblr’s community of creators is awesome, and I’m absolutely
delighted to have him and his entire team join Yahoo!.
Humanely written. Love the “We promise not to screw it up”, because it’s a direct acknowledgement of every Tumblr user’s primary concern. That’s a weird sentence to put in a billion-dollar deal announcement, but I like it.