May 31, 2010 Leave a comment
Looks like at least half of these guys have already blown it.
May 30, 2010 Leave a comment
blog.asymco.com is being deprecated in favor of www.asymco.com.
Asymco is now in its third home and fourth design. After starting in February 2010 with iWeb hosted at me.com, moving a month later to WordPress.com, I’ve finally moved the blog to a proper hosting site (dreamhost) and merged the blog with asymco.com.
One reason I had to leave WordPress.com was that they required payment for the removal of ads from my pages. Although I understand their business model, I felt that it’s more important that what users see is my content and only my content.
At the time of moving, the blog had 306 posts, 272 comments, 64 tags, 9 categories and nearly 40k hits.
This site should re-direct to asymco.com so the permalinks will still work but it would be better to rebookmark feeds and pages.
Comments RSS: http://www.asymco.com/comments/feed/
May 28, 2010 1 Comment
The number of Android devices is rising steadily; it’s already up to 135. Android devotees should rightly rejoice. However, Android is not the first mobile platform with an open licensing strategy. A quick visit to pdadb.net lets us count the number of devices that shipped for every mobile platform in history. We can also see the current market shares as listed by Gartner for these platforms.
The numbers of SKUs (stock keeping units) that have shipped historically vs. the market shares of the mobile phones running those platforms are (see Footnote below for some caveats):
The thing that jumps out is how uncorrelated the two quantities are. The Windows Mobile/CE number is such an outlier that it breaks any attempt to link the two variables.
What’s likely to happen is that since the licensing of Android is even less problematic than it was for WinCE (i.e. it’s both free as in beer and free as in speech) the number of Android SKUs is likely to overtake WinCE. In other words, we’re very likely to see Android grow from hundreds to thousands SKUs.
However, the real question for the Android platform isn’t whether it will have licensees. WinCE proved that there is vast demand from many companies to build cloned and undifferentiated devices. The real challenge is whether Android can achieve significant volumes without fragmentation to keep the platform/network effect going.
The WinCE platform was actually less fragmented through its life than Android is today. This is understandable since the source code was decidedly not open and thus not modifiable and new versions were released far less frequently. And even with a high price tag, it was wildly popular with licensees. Nevertheless, the volumes never came and Microsoft was forced to abandoned the whole strategy. The next version of Windows Mobile (Windows Phone 7) will follow an “iPhone lite” model of highly restricted configurations and device and ecosystem specification.
So will Android follow the fate of Windows Mobile with an even more fragmented, bazaar-like licensing model? Or will thousands of undifferentiated Android devices swamp their integrated competitors?
Footnote: The total SKU number includes non-cellular devices whereas the market share number includes only cellular devices. Omitting non-cellular devices will not detract from the pattern or change the correlation meaningfully. The argument can also be made that the “platform” value lies in both cellular and non-cellular devices (e.g. iPad) and they should both be counted. Unfortunately there are no market share statistics that blend both device types into one market.
May 27, 2010 1 Comment
Four out of 10 sales of the iPhone are made to enterprise users. When the iPhone came out, what most people heard in the first year from ‘07 to ‘08 was oh my God, it’s not BlackBerry secure. This is not going to work on the enterprise space.
At the end of the day, it’s just software. That’s all it is. And by the time the 3G came out in ‘08 they had solved about 80% of the security issues.
So enterprises today view the iPhone as a mobile computer. It happens to have a voice application on it.
Compare Apple’s approach to that of Nokia:
Microsoft and Nokia have formed a global alliance to design, develop and market mobile productivity, communications and collaboration solutions.Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will begin collaborating immediately on the design, development and marketing of productivity solutions for the mobile professional, bringing Microsoft Office Mobile and Microsoft business communications, collaboration and device management software to Nokia’s Symbian devices.
May 27, 2010 Leave a comment
Softbank stopped accepting reservations for the iPad after only three days.
In one Twitter exchange, Mitsuru Yoshii sent a message to Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son saying that the iPad was the “21st century’s black ships.”
In response to the historical reference to the U.S. Naval fleet that opened up Japan to the West in 1853, Mr. Son wrote back: “Indeed!”
In Japan the term “Black Ships” has come to symbolise a threat imposed by Western technology but also the opening of Japan to the West and the awakening of imperial ambitions that lasted for a century.
May 27, 2010 1 Comment
Consumer tastes have overtaken the needs of business as the leading force shaping technology.
Why is it that other “consumer-oriented” companies like Sony, Nokia and Phillips have not benefitted from this shift? As far as I can tell they are no better off (and sometimes quite a lot worse off) than Microsoft has been during this transition.
Clearly, although the paradigm did shift to consumers, simply being consumer focused is not enough to benefit from this shift.
Conversely, simply being Enterprise focused (like Cisco or Oracle) has not caused dramatic loss of shareholder value.
Thus the focus is not causal to fortune.
From personal experience I can also recall that precisely at the time when the shift was beginning (think back to when “IT does not matter” was published) at least one of these companies was looking for ways to create “Enterprise Solutions”.
This hints at the cause rooted in strategy, or, more precisely, priorities and the courage to lead.
May 27, 2010 Leave a comment
Daniel Eran Dilger in fine form after Apple became the world’s largest technology company by market capitalization.
These days, Apple’s primary competitors have all fallen down on their knees while clutching their gutted bellies…
Who is left? Google, the paid search giant that backers hope will beat Apple in hardware and software platforms… despite Google being neither a hardware vendor (nor marketer nor retailer nor support provider) nor having any real experience in managing a software platform for consumers. Fans of Google suggest that the company will take on Apple by acquiring a competing version of everything Apple has built over the last decade: iTunes, a mobile platform, hardware expertise, user interface design savvy, development tools, and a user base.
The problem is, they don’t also foresee that Apple could compete against Google in its own home territory of ads.
The key assumption in the “Google can buy anything Apple already has” is that of the three things that make up a company (resources, processes and priorities) the only thing cash can buy is resources, and, in the tech world, even those are fragile things with legs that can walk out the front door.
Google’s “copy-paste” competitive approach vis-a-vis Apple falls down when you realize that Apple has been successful mostly because of its processes and priorities. It’s well known that all of its vanquished competitors could (and did) recruit legions of Apple employees, elevating them to positions of responsibility, with naught to show for it. Grafting engineers and IP onto Google (or Nokia or Microsoft) cannot make it into an Apple.
Conversely, through a risky, long and arduous path, Apple could become a Google. Success with ad-based search requires resources (mostly CapEx), algorithms and distribution. With the $42 billion (soon to be $100 billion) in the bank and eye-watering free cash flow, there are few no resources that Apple cannot buy.
With iAd the world will witness an Apple that can make loads of money in Google’s home turf, while Google burns cash and bridges with Android trying to defend its soft platform underbelly. The irony is that Apple can knee-cap Google without even trying to do search. After all, Jobs said plainly enough: On a mobile device Search hasn’t happened.
Judging by the stock prices of the two companies, I suspect investors know this already.