NewsBytes 2nd October 2010 – BitTorrent, Ballmer & Bonuses

Turning point for Apple?

Has Apple realized (in the face of loosing market share to Android) that its users want a more “open” platform, not dictated to by persons unknown?  – Apparently not.  The iPhone app lock down has meant that if an app does not meet with Apples approval then it doesn’t get through.

It is being reported on Torrent Freak that the creator of IS Drive has had to be very “creative” in his wording of his app in order for it to be accepted by Apple (as the Torrent word is allegedly not liked)

Torrent Freak said:

Although the audience for IS Drive is limited to premium Imageshack Torrent Drive users who also want to cough up $4.99 for the iPhone App, the approval is noteworthy because Apple has always banned everything related to BitTorrent.

and the developer is reported to say:

… I didn’t see any reason for the app to be rejected in Apple’s recently released guidelines. So, I was very careful with this release to not use the dirty word ‘torrent’, and I’ll continue to carefully add new features, so stay tuned.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Maybe its reasons such as this that Apple is loosing ground to Android?  I don’t see the “big brother state” of the Apple app store being particularly popular with customers.

Could todays consumer “awareness” be responsible for customers shying away from more “closed” products/services?

“If you build it, they will sue”

Yes, Microsoft is at it again.  Maybe worried by the lack of mainstream interest in their upcoming “creation” Windows Mobile 7? Its being reported that good old Redmond is now after Motorola (its already had a go at HTC and Samsung) and looking to suck a bit of revenue from the sale of Android, since in my view it seems doubtful they will get much from their own platform.

Brier Dudley reports:

Microsoft used the same tactic against Linux when the open-source software reached critical mass in the data center and threatened to derail the growth of Microsoft’s server business seven years ago…….After name-calling failed to slow Linux, Microsoft started warning big companies that the free software wasn’t really free. It also said companies should take into account the potential cost of patent and licensing litigation around open-source products.

he then rounds off very nicely with:

Meanwhile, Microsoft is happy to sell the phone companies its new phone operating system, which has presumably gone through a gauntlet of patent lawyers. Apparently Motorola hasn’t signed up yet for Windows Phone 7.

Source: Seattle Times

I wouldn’t blame Motorola for not signing up either, just look back a few months at the Kin or how about the features which Windows Mobile 7 is allegedly lacking?  Tethering? apparently you are not getting that with Microsoft’s latest creation.

No big bonus for bad boy Ballmer?

It’s reported that Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft has not received his full bonus for the 2010 fiscal year.   The figure which has been reported on the Web is around $670,000, although allegedly he could have received double that (had the board agreed).  Could this reduced bonus be because of the F’Kin phone?  Or what about the apparent lack of excitement around many of its products? How about the eating of humble pie when it gave away its Live Spaces users to Linux powered WordPress? – Maybe the board will hit him with that one next year (if he’s still with Microsoft)

After looking around the net, my observation is that the only interest Microsoft has been generating is surrounding its latest court action where it tries to ride the coattails of Linux again and suck a little revenue from more popular platforms.

As I said in the above article, developers should take note that if you create things they people actually want to buy:

If you build it, they will sue

Microsoft’s future squarely in the courtroom instead of in products? – I’ll let you decide.

I’ve said it before, want to know my prediction?  Give Windows 7 Mobile time to “bed in” within the marketplace then Ballmer will be gone.  I’d say mid 2011.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. Lefty says:

    I suspect you folks simply don’t understand how Apple operates in even the slightest degree. “Losing market share to Android” isn’t a surprise to anyone, especially the folks at Apple, when you consider that—in the US, at least—Apple is selling a single device through a single carrier at the moment, while there are dozens of Android phones by a number of manufacturers, offered by a variety of carriers. If Android couldn’t take away some market share from the iPhone, that’d be rather surprising.

    But are any of the Android OEMs making much money at it? Not anything like Apple is, certainly. Apple’s got a big chunk of the pie all to itself, and the ability to sell stuff at prices that guarantee them 35% margins, minimum. Meanwhile, you’ve got a significant number of Android OEMs, whittling down their “majority” market share amongst themselves, and competing on price so their margins get nothing but smaller.

    Apple could put ’em all out of business if it keeps “losing” this way.

  2. openbytes says:

    Quote “I suspect you folks simply don’t understand how Apple operates in even the slightest degree. ”

    Im not sure I like “you folks” as this is my opinion alone,

    Now whilst you are completely correct, it is not right to directly compare Apple to Android (since Android has no deployment issues and Apple releases its own hardware) the point of loosing market share is more looking at what is desirable for end-users.

    The average consumer in my mind will neither understand nor care about the inner working of why Apple retains total control of its iphone platform, compared to the “free for all” of Android. They see them as two products and will choose either.

    The point of my piece was more to suggest that the open nature of Android is, appealing to more and more customers who may have traditionally gone towards the iphone.

    Quote “But are any of the Android OEMs making much money at it? Not anything like Apple is, certainly”

    I’d agree, but then profitability of platform is no concern of the end-user who merely sees the product and likes it. Since so many carriers/hardware manufacturers are going for Android, I’d say there is a benefit there somewhere.

    Quote “Apple’s got a big chunk of the pie all to itself, and the ability to sell stuff at prices that guarantee them 35% margins, minimum. ”

    Agreed again, but as I say for the consumer, the profit margins are of little concern. If you look at the unrestricted Android app store (which to me is what sells a mobile platform) you will see many titles that were traditionally only seen on the iphone.

    I would be quite happy to think that Apple was making good money from its iphone, but for the person on the street, market share is what friends/family are using and like I say, I am noticing more people choosing Android and less having the Apple product. I try to put this down to the lockdown or control Apple has on its platform as people don’t want to be restricted and in a more tech savvy age people won’t settle for merely whats told to them.

    I actually appreciate Apple and its products. My wife has a Mac which has given her no issues at all and she loves it to bits. I also appreciate Apple for diversifying the computing marketplace and contributing to the eating away of the dominance of Microsoft – which in turn benefits the end user with choice.

    Quote “Meanwhile, you’ve got a significant number of Android OEMs, whittling down their “majority” market share amongst themselves, and competing on price so their margins get nothing but smaller.”

    And since I have no financial ties in the IT world, that suits me down to the ground. I think it also suits the end-user who gets better and better deals. For a long time certain tech companies have dictated to the end user how much to spend, what to buy and when – as an end-user its refreshing to watch them trying to please the end-user and grab a few extra sales.

    Kind regards
    Tim.

    1. chew says:

      “The average consumer in my mind will neither understand nor care about the inner working of why Apple retains total control of its iphone platform, compared to the “free for all” of Android. They see them as two products and will choose either.
      The point of my piece was more to suggest that the open nature of Android is, appealing to more and more customers who may have traditionally gone towards the iphone.”

      So by your own statement consumers really should`nt care about Android being open too?

      BTW here in Toronto I know of only 3 people with Android based phones, 2 bought it because they couldn`t get an iphone 4, (and they really regret the purchase) even though it is available on all 3 major carriers it sells out in 1-2 hours of stock replenishment. The other wanted an Android phone, nice device, seams to need endless reboots though.
      My personal experience is I waited for a month until I could get one, don`t regret it, fast, stable, good battery life, and gorgeous design. I find the UI a bit more polished than Android.

      1. openbytes says:

        Quote “So by your own statement consumers really should`nt care about Android being open too?”

        Well yes in that the implications of an open system would not be a subject I would expect them to consider much. In my opinion the average consumer will look at the immediate, for example Apple app store = no Bittorrent….

        I’ve no issue with Apple themselves however whilst the average non tech interested end-user might not want to think about (or be interested in) the implications of a closed system, the evidence of an open system’s popularity is very evident from past history. I’ll cite a few examples:

        Super Magicom, Super Diskdoctor V64….now more recently mod chips to free the region settings on consoles, removing DRM, the R4, jailbreaking the iphone….etc etc

        All these devices/mod’s show the desire to free up their devices to run the way they want them to, not the way they are told to.

        My point about Apple is not a damnation of its mobile platform, more to point out that the popularity of Android to me seems to be the freedom it offers which even the non-tech savvy have latched onto.

        Now if Apple were to produce units without some of the restrictions currently imposed, would it be harmful to Apple or would it indeed be beneficial to them? I’d say the later and I don’t see how it could be harmful to them…..unless someone can explain how the iPhone would suffer by having a BitTorrent client.

        Kind regards
        Tim.

        1. chew says:

          Speaking of restrictions, I know of a number of handset makers that will not allow upgrading the OS in their Android phones without “official” boot roms. I`ve noticed these handset manufacturers are building little Android fiefdoms with proprietary carrier software that cannot be deleted. Let`s agree that this was never the idea behind Android being “open”. These carriers all belong to the Open Handset alliance and were supposed to contribute to Android, this is not happening, will be interesting to see if there will be a backlash considering the open nature of Android.

          BTW recent web share stats….

          http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustom=iOS,Android&sample=38

          1. openbytes says:

            Quote “will be interesting to see if there will be a backlash considering the open nature of Android.”

            Yes it will and by no means is Android perfect. Whilst I do find my HTC useful, I could probably be just as productive with an iphone. I might not want a Bittorrent client on my phone, but I don’t want to be told I can’t have one. Thats my point.

            Re your point about boot roms, thats fair enough although theres a big difference between not offering an OS upgrade and restricting an app because it mentioned the word “bittorrent” or similar.

            Kind regards
            Tim.

          2. chew says:

            Anyhow, hope your new quad is running nice, I`m off to play LOTRO and level my burglar.

            Take care, have a great weekend.

            Dan

            1. openbytes says:

              Thanks mate! Enjoy!

              BTW Yep the quad core is superb….complimented perfectly with Sabayon!

        2. chew says:

          “Now if Apple were to produce units without some of the restrictions currently imposed, would it be harmful to Apple or would it indeed be beneficial to them? I’d say the later and I don’t see how it could be harmful to them…..unless someone can explain how the iPhone would suffer by having a BitTorrent client.”

          I think the content providers that Apple is allied with probably would`nt look to kindly upon a bittorrent client for iphone, I guessing thats the rational behind it, after all they do move a lot of content.

          1. openbytes says:

            Fair point. I wonder, has anyone seen an official reason from Apple as to why the app store won’t include a BT app?

            1. chew says:

              Considering Google is opening up a music store soon I`m sure there are some nice closed door meetings with the content providers. I`m sure anti-piracy is on a short list, it`ll be interesting to see what comes out of this, after all this is EXACTLY what convinced content providers to go with itunes years ago.

  3. The Mad Hatter says:

    Lefty is right. Apple is targeting a different market than Android or Microsloth. Apple would be quite happy with 10-15% market share. Android doesn’t really care a out market share at all. As long as Android can hold above 10%, it will do what Google wants, which is to prevent Microsoft lock in.

    Of course if it does better, Google won’t complain. But you have to remember that Android only exists to prevent Microsoft from pulling an Internet Exploder on the mobile market place.

    At the same time Apple is stealing market share from Microsoft on the high end of the desktop/notebook market. Oh, and Apple owns the tablet market that Microsoft worked so hard to develop, by the simple expedient of producing a device that:

    A) People want to own.
    B) Is priced reasonably (compared to Windows tablets)
    C) Works really well

    By doing this, Apple has demonstrated that the gorilla of Redmond is incompetent. This opens the market up to other companies using other operating systems. I’m not saying that Apple is the sole reason that things are changing – Microsoft was never able to compete with Palm either, nor could they compete with RIM. It’s just that Apple is very visible to the non-geek personal market, while Palm and RIM were business solutions.

    Last year I predicted that Microsoft would hit Chapter 11 within five years. Based on my reading of their most recent SEC filing, I don’t see any reason to change my mind.

    Getting rid of Ballmer won’t help. A out the only person who might be a le to turn things around is Billy Goat, and I doubt that he could.

    Sell your Microsoft stock while it’s still worth something.

    Wayne

    PS: Posting this from the hospital cafeteria…

  4. openbytes says:

    Hi Wayne!

    Quote “Apple has demonstrated that the gorilla of Redmond is incompetent. ”

    Agreed although it’s not just Apple which I think has done that.

    Quote “Apple is targeting a different market than Android or Microsloth. ”

    But I am referring to the highstreet ,average customer/end-user. What I have observed is the word Android is on many peoples lips… that includes devs. Apples market may be different, but if those iPhone users look towards Android platforms as a preference then despite the fact that Android is not a “specific” one, then it has succeeded in taking away marketshare, surely?

    Im not talking about profit per unit, nor how much revenue Apple makes, I am talking about what the mainstream is after. Look at the earlier point in this year, iPhone was on everyone’s mind (average consumer here)…..now look at the market, is the iphone what everyone is talking about now or are we seeing Android wanted in accompanied with an HTC Desire or similar?

    In respect of Microsoft stock, I am led to believe its usually rather static anyway, I do wonder though if the fall from grace will come as a catastrophic overnight event or in my opinion more likely, a slow and obvious erosion over quite a long period of time.

    I personally think that getting rid of Ballmer will help and maybe contributes to why Microsoft just doesn’t seem to appeal to the audiences it aims at. He’s not cool for the cool kids and he’s not professional for the professionals (IMO)

    The F’Kin phone was for me just another example of the arrogant Microsoft belief that people will buy anything…..

    1. The main point is that Microsoft cannot compete with Apple, Rim, or Android. Watch for more lawsuits. Watch for at least one to go to the wall, with Microsoft loosing (the patents are shit, I’ve read them).

  5. Richard says:

    Just when you thought it was safe to get into the water …

    Yes, I think the world would be a better place if Ballmer goes — as long as they don’t replace him with some other shark. This suing over software patents needs to end, and it needs to end fast. In fact, the entire concept of software patents needs to be invalidated. It’s sad to see Microsoft doing idiotic things like this. They need to be leading from the front by only ever using software patents defensively, and lobbying to get software patents destroyed in the meantime. Sadly, in the current economic and legal atmosphere in America, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon😦 … but, here’s hoping that one day, good sense will prevail.

    1. openbytes says:

      Agreed Software patients, I agree Ballmer should go (although will where will I get my comedy from)

      I think the actions Microsoft are taking in the courtroom show that really they have nothing left to give or compete with. Sure Office and Windows are a steady revenue stream, but as more people look to alternatives for both, how can Microsoft sustain itself on those two resources alone.

      To be fair Xbox has finally done well, but if Microsoft thinks that people will put up with the hardware for another 3 years just so MS can make a decent return, they’ve got another thing coming…We’ve seen how unpredictable the console buyer is..just look at the popularity of the PS1/2 then the disapointment of the PS3 (in terms of sales)….it’s a no dead cert that consumers will buy into the next gen Xbox.

      Quote “as long as they don’t replace him with some other shark”

      I do think the “shark” part is a requirement of the job, maybe it should be that they should hire someone who is not the butt of jokes and behaves in lets say a rather unusual way on stage.

      Kind regards
      Tim.

      1. Richard says:

        Well, I see it more as a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand’s doing. Microsoft makes some fantastic technology, a lot of which is used by enterprises and developers. I doubt that they’d be going away any time soon. But this sort of idiocy doesn’t do them any credit, and it’s in the interest of everyone (except lawyers) to see it stopped as soon as possible. Oracle, Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, IBM, Intel … all of them are at (or near) the top of the food-chain in a particular niche, and it’s disgusting to see them resorting to heavy-handed legal thuggery when they should be trying to provide value to the customer, and winning that way.

        Part of the problem seems to be that the media has bought into the idea that software patents are OK. So rather than representing it as it is (i.e., an attempt to quash fair competition by legal means), they represent it as the company “pursuing their rights”. We need to change the discourse, so if you know any journalists, you need to educate them about the harms of software patents (swpat.org).

        1. The Mad Hatter says:

          Um, exactly what are you smoking? Microsoft doesn’t make anything That can be classified as ‘fantastic technology’. They do make a lot of clones, none of which is as good as the original.

          Microsoft Originality is an Oxymoron.

          1. Richard says:

            I’d try to change your mind, but I see that it’s firmly made up. Suffice it to say that millions of people who have worked with various Microsoft technologies (VS, .Net, Azure, Kinect, DirectX, PhotoSynth, Silverlight, … etc, etc, etc) and are very highly regarded in their fields disagree with you, and I see absolutely no reason to take your opinion above theirs.

            1. Richard,

              If Microsoft made such fantastic technology, why would so many companies be abandoning them? I know a lot of firms that are moving away from Microsoft as a platform.

              It wasn’t long ago when you couldn’t buy hardware with Linux or OSX drivers. Now you can find it all over. I just picked up an ASUS PCI-G31 wireless card for my Linux desktop, and yes, it says it supports Linux on the box, as does a lot of other hardware.

              Sure, millions of people have worked with those technologies, but millions of people have worked with Linux, OSX, Python, PHP, MySQL, Postgress, Java, OpenGL, Flash, etc.

              Microsoft is loosing market share, because they don’t deliver sufficient value.

              1. Richard says:

                There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all technology. Otherwise, we’d all be using exactly the same cellphone, wouldn’t we? The fact that there are competing technologies in a particular niche (operating system, database, message-bus, desktop UI, embedded, etc) says absolutely nothing about the worth of those technologies. It just indicates that different people have different needs.

                Your rhetoric of people “abandoning” software is silly. If I choose to buy an Apple phone, that doesn’t mean that I’ve “abandoned” Nokia and will never ever use them again. And while I’m sure that you know lots of firms that are moving away from Microsoft as a platform, I’m sure you also know of lots of firms that are staying with Microsoft as a platform and lots of firms that are migrating towards Microsoft. We could cherry-pick examples of all three situations all day, and not get anywhere; it’s not something that I consider to be a productive use of time.

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