First Windows 8, Now This

Ballmer keeps fucking that chicken:

SEATTLE — Mark Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing enemies of the Clintons. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft.

Since Mr. Penn was put in charge of “strategic and special projects” at Microsoft in August, much of his job has involved efforts to trip up Google, which Microsoft has failed to dislodge from its perch atop the lucrative Internet search market.

Drawing on his background in polling, data crunching and campaigning, Mr. Penn created a holiday commercial that has been running during Monday Night Football and other shows, in which Microsoft criticizes Google for polluting the quality of its shopping search results with advertisements. “Don’t get scroogled,” it warns. His other projects include a blind taste test, Coke-versus-Pepsi style, of search results from Google and Microsoft’s Bing.

It’s so Mark Penn to base a new marketing effort on a Pepsi campaign that started in 1975 that Bing generally loses.

[…] Unfortunately for Bing, in two separate trials conducted by the International Business Times, Google came out ahead in both cases, winning 3:2 in the first test and 4:1 in the second.

With ambiguous search queries, Google was the clear winner. […]






134 replies
  1. 1
    bob h says:

    I look forward to supporting Hillary to the hilt in 2016, but not if this guy is involved at all.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    Well, Ballmer hasn’t hired Dick Morris. Yet.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    When I was in England, I experimented with Bing a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t click and never tried it again.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Mark Penn has the “Reverse Midas Touch.”

    Everything he touches, turns to sh*t.

  5. 5
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    I tried to register at WindowsIs44 but all I got was this stupid T-shirt 404 error.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    @bob h:

    One million times this. I like a lot of things about the Clintons, but their choice of company leaves me scratching my head.

  7. 7
    Alex S. says:

    Microtrends for Microsoft results in microsuccess.

  8. 8
    Walker says:

    Balmer is without question one of the worst CEOs ever. It is a testament to how much power Microsoft once had that the company is still around after the everlasting damage he has done to that company.

  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    @bob h:

    Yep. She gets a restraining order on Penn, I’m down with that.

    Saw that story in the NYTimes.

    They’ve got to be drunk on champagne at Google HQ by now.

  10. 10
    dr. bloor says:

    You have to admit, the combination of product and marketing shill in this case is nothing less than serendipitous

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    So, I guess we should all prepare for Microsoft embracing micro-targeting? Windows for Soccer Moms! Windows for NASCAR Dads! Windows for Quadriplegic Midgets!

    Excuse me, that last should be WindowsQM Pro x64 SP3.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  12. 12
    Randy P says:

    Re Bing vs Google. There’s something my droid phone does where I end up doing a Bing search when I think I’m typing into a Google search window. I have no idea what keystrokes triggers it.

    I have never, not once, ever had a useful link as a result of a Bing search.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    Mark Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing enemies of the Clintons. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft.

    Penn couldn’t bring about a Hillary Clinton presidential victory. Amusing that a guy whose crap did not work in politics could convince anyone that it will work in tech or anywhere else.

    This has been an interestingly pivotal year for tech. Apple stumbled badly by not finding a way to make the new iPhone sexy and necessary, losing out to Samsung, which was able to leverage its own corporate might (helped by a little intellectual property thievery) to come up with its line of innovative Galaxy phones.

    Then Apple stumbled again by pricing its iPad Mini too high, letting Amazon and google steal some righteous thunder in the tablet market with some really good and useful devices.

    And then, to top things off, Apple made fools of themselves with their misbegotten maps product.

    Meanwhile, after delays, stumbles, odd retailing snafus, Microsoft burps out its Surface devices. Problem is, no one, not even the most groveling Microsoft evangelist, can explain why anyone should give a rat’s ass about Windows 8. I have even heard some tech “journalists” speculate that Microsoft deliberately produced millions of crappy tablets so as not to upset its hardware partners.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft cannot even use the snappy and descriptive term “Metro Interface” because another company in the industry owns “Metro.”

    Not surprising that Microsoft would turn to a charlatan like Penn, whose snake oil strategy is doomed to failure.

  14. 14
    MonkeyBoy says:

    I have read several places that Bing is better than Google at finding pornography.

    I have no idea if this is true and Microsoft wouldn’t directly tout this advantage. I wonder if what I am hearing is part of some stealth viral marketing campaign. I presume “porn hounds” are a desired group because they generate a lot of traffic, often have high internet skills, and may be considered opinion leaders in a narrow but high volume field.

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    Yet another reason to choose Google over Microsoft, she said from her Chromebook.

  16. 16
    Maude says:

    @Brachiator:
    Does Windows 8 need a touch screen?

  17. 17
    moron says:

    suicide ballmer.

  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    The google v bing taste tests don’t count if they had any black people. Or caucuses.

  19. 19
    Dave says:

    @Maude: It doesn’t need a touch screen, but it was designed as a touchscreen interface, so using it on the desktop feels unnatural and counter-intuitive.

  20. 20
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Windows 8 takes a lot of getting used to and is seems totally geared to the touch screen. Its the dismissive attitude about “well, get used to the new interface” that bugs me the most — even more than the new interface.

    Microsoft has produced quality product, and I realize there is a history of marketing trumping product (VHS/Beta, et al) but that seems to be changing in that the bullshit isn’t the only voice out there.

    Oh and fuck Bing. First thing I do is find out how to get rid of it.

  21. 21
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’m still happily using Windows XP. Whats the problem with Windows 8?

  22. 22
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Brachiator:

    I agree in general with your sentiment, I think the iPad Mini would be a lot more enticing
    at its price if it didn’t have iPad 2 internals.

  23. 23
    Walker says:

    @Brachiator:

    This has been an interestingly pivotal year for tech. Apple stumbled badly by not finding a way to make the new iPhone sexy and necessary, losing out to Samsung, which was able to leverage its own corporate might (helped by a little intellectual property thievery) to come up with its line of innovative Galaxy phones.

    A smartphone is only as useful as its app ecosystem. The “our hardware is so much better than Apple’s” was the cry of many a phone maker in the early days. Got them nowhere. The app ecosystem in Android continues to be a liability and will remain so as long as those Android owners refuse to pay for apps.

    Then Apple stumbled again by pricing its iPad Mini too high, letting Amazon and google steal some righteous thunder in the tablet market with some really good and useful devices.

    This is ridiculous. The Google Nexus 7 was not a success; it was only once they moved to 10″ that they started to get some traction. Market studies of Fire owners show they want to move to an iPad.

    And then, to top things off, Apple made fools of themselves with their misbegotten maps product.

    This is the only real misstep that Apple has made this year, though it was a doozy. But then I have railed about how Apple does not understand the cloud several times now.

  24. 24
    Mark B. says:

    As a developer who works with Microsoft products, I use both search engines. Sometimes when I’m searching for C# code samples to solve a particular issue, Bing comes out on top, by giving me a relevant an useful result near the top of the list, but that’s not always the case. In just about every other sort of search, Google does better.

    It’s not surprising, Google is a more mature product, and they have been able to hone their search algorithm for years. Microsoft does marginally better on search results related to their own products.

  25. 25
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Walker: I don’t get this line of argument: how many apps do people actually download, and how many do they use? Maybe its because I dont really use my tablets/phones as just a launcher for downloaded apps, but I’m tempted to say that the Google tablet app ecosystem is “good enough”. After a certain point, a lot of those apps Apple has are trash/fart apps/shit no one wants.

    Meh, hardware specs do matter. Tell that to my piece of shit 4th gen iPod Touch, that I bought right after it came out. Thing is buggy, unresponsive, and slow as fuck (for starters, has only 256 Mb of RAM). The polar opposite of the iPhone 4. And I think Apple is *still* marketing it as the “entry level” (how I hate that phrase in this context) iPod Touch.

  26. 26
    MikeJ says:

    @mapaghimagsik:

    Its the dismissive attitude about “well, get used to the new interface” that bugs me the most—even more than the new interface.

    That’s why I ditched gnome. I hated it, every developer I know hates it, and the only response was, “too bad”.

  27. 27
    shortstop says:

    And it’s so 1975 to mention the Peter Principle (actually, I think that was later but I’m going for parallelism here), but Mark Penn embodies it. Why the hell do people keep hiring this guy?

  28. 28
    Mark B. says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: In my anecdotal experience, the typical iPhone user has dozens, if not hundreds of downloaded apps on their iphone, and uses the phone for all sorts of social and gaming uses which have nothing to do with talking on the phone. Most of the android users I know use their phone to talk on and occasionally check email messages.

  29. 29
    dmsilev says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Why is that a problem? Most iPad apps these days seem to be targeted towards iPad 2 levels of performance, possibly with the inclusion of high-res art assets to make use of the screens on the newer generation. The third gen iPad has the same CPU as the 2nd, and some extra GPU cores to keep all those pixels fed. It’s only the just-released 4th generation that has a substantial boost to the innards.

  30. 30
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Bing sucks. YMMV.

    Chrome Babylon sucks, too.

    Maybe I’m hard to please but so far, only Google is good enough for me.

  31. 31
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @dmsilev:

    Because if you’re paying 329 for a 7 inch tablet, you expect better specs on principle? See the comments I made about my 4th gen iPod Touch being slow and laggy the day I bought it.

  32. 32
    dr. bloor says:

    @Brachiator:

    iPad mini sales suck so much that Apple just doubled their display orders.

  33. 33
    dr. bloor says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    You can’t have 4th gen internals in an iPad mini at that price point. Apple made a conscious decision to prioritize weight and form factor, and while it’s not for everyone–I’m not particularly interested in buying one–it’s doing very, very well.

  34. 34
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Is doubling the RAM really going to be a deal breaker for Apple? People already complain about how expensive it is, and I doubt its going to torpedo Apple’s financials that badly. Jeez, the company can literally afford to do so. RAM is cheap these days, except for Apple it seems.

  35. 35
    smintheus says:

    And how does Baltimore come into this?

  36. 36
    Mandalay says:

    @shortstop:

    And it’s so 1975 to mention the Peter Principle (actually, I think that was later but I’m going for parallelism here), but Mark Penn embodies it.

    That’s exactly what I think about Ballmer. How he has survived as CEO for so long mystifies me. His ugly and unchanging persona gives Microsoft an awful public image, and the stock price is down about 30% on his watch. I realize that he can’t be expected to change things overnight, but after twelve years his list of fuck ups and missed opportunities is astounding.

    Just as some nations have the curse of being oil rich, Microsoft has the curse of being cash rich. They can repeatedly make mistakes and fail, but it doesn’t really matter because they have Windows, Office, and a gazillion dollars in the bank. But they will never grow under Ballmer.

  37. 37
    Mark B. says:

    @dr. bloor: We are starting to use the ipad minis for a mobile logging application used by messengers. The iphones were a bit too small and we didn’t need phone funtionality, but the full-size ipads were a little too cumbersome. The minis hit the goldilocks zone.

  38. 38
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Yeah, tell me about it, for a while I couldn’t find a single one in Santa Clara Country. Though, to be honest, I’ve been trending back towards getting a Nexus 7 lately. *Shrugs* if you have money lying around to spend on one, its your right I suppose.

  39. 39
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Mandalay:

    MSFT is by any normal standard a very successful, profitable company? Not every company is going to be able to play in the mobile market. Not defending Ballmer or MSFT’s late entry, but come on, they are still wildly successful at their bread and butter staples. *Shrugs* its easy to pontificate about Windows 8, but only time will tell.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    @Maude:

    Does Windows 8 need a touch screen?

    Windows 8 works pretty good on a tablet or a phone. It just seems to get in the way of things on a desktop.

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I think the iPad Mini would be a lot more enticing
    at its price if it didn’t have iPad 2 internals.

    Yep. In most respects, the iPad Mini is a shrunken iPad 2, and so a device that is already a couple of generations old compared to the main iPad. This is not to say that it is a bad or unusable device. But it could have been much better and could have made it harder for Amazon and google. Pointless stumble on Apple’s part.

    On the other hand, google stumbled in not putting a rear camera on its 7 inch tablet. Should have been a no brainier.

    As an aside, tablets rock. During my company’s recent training sessions, one of our sales guys logged some new customer orders and updated customer order info using an Android tablet. He could do this while having natural, casual conversations with session attendees, walking around with them. And he wasn’t pushing sales or products. It was more an attendee saying, “Oh, I forgot to add this” or “Can I still get that and the discount.”

    And yes, some of this could be done on a smart phone. But the tablet provided a better visual display of stuff that the attendees wanted to see or might be interested in ordering.

    Laptops are obviously light and portable, but the vendors with laptops were set up on tables; they couldn’t go where the customers were. And I continue to be amazed at the number of tech product reviewers who devalue the importance of long battery life in tablets, smart phones and laptops.

  41. 41
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Using a post about idiot Mark Penn at Microsoft to troll Apple products. Well played, folks.

  42. 42
    tBone says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Because if you’re paying 329 for a 7 inch tablet, you expect better specs on principle? See the comments I made about my 4th gen iPod Touch being slow and laggy the day I bought it.

    Uh, the difference being that the iPad mini isn’t slow and laggy. The increased processing power of the iPad 3 was necessary to drive the Retina display, but for the end user there’s virtually no difference in real-world performance. I don’t see any noticeable gains in even the latest iPad, for that matter.

    If the device feels fast and responsive, who gives a shit about the internals? Hardware spec-whoring is an increasingly useless metic for actual device performance.

  43. 43
    dr. bloor says:

    @Brachiator:

    Pointless stumble on Apple’s part

    .

    You keep using that word, “stumble.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

    The specs were the result of conscious decisions on Apple’s part as to what they wanted to offer in the product. That’s not a “stumble” by any stretch of the imagination, unless you define stumble as “flying off the shelves.”

  44. 44
    Joe1347 says:

    Somehow I suspect that Microsoft will need to go into damage control big time over Windows 8 and will need all the help they can get to undo the damage to Microsoft.

    After spending some time with Windows 8, I doubt that companies will be in a big hurry to upgrade (to Windows 8). Yes, it’s that bad.

    Consumers will buy Windows 8 computers simply because they now have no choice. Go to Dell.com and try to find a cheap laptop with Windows 7. Good luck. Seems like Microsoft made sure that you can no longer choose the operating system, but I bet it’s a different story for the bigger corporate customers and they’ll be reluctant to make the switch – since they don’t have to.

  45. 45
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I really wanted the Surface (ARM version that came out a few months ago) to succeed. The build quality seems really nice (played with one at a MSFT store in Santa Clara). Its just too expensive for a brand new ecosystem. It really should’ve been 349/399 ish. Include the keyboard cover, maybe a few extras that the iPad doesnt have (like throw in a GPS, wifi only iPads don’t have that) and they should’ve started off selling them in more stores than just the MSFT stores. The price is just too high. It reminds me of earlier, crappier Android tablets (back in the 3.x days) that were just ridiculously expensive for the experience they offered.

  46. 46
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @tBone:
    That’s what I thought prior to spending 199 on that iPod Touch. Specs dont’ matter! Unless you’re a Unix neckbearder! Apple just always works! Meh, one burned, twice shy.

  47. 47
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Joe1347:
    I think its more than that. Businesses got used to the long gap between XP and 7 (most didn’t upgrade to Vista), so I think that even if Win 8 was a modest incremental upgrade from 7, they’d still be slow upgrading (I think that’s just the nature of the Enterprise IT experience).

  48. 48
    MikeJ says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    even if Win 8 was a modest incremental upgrade from 7, they’d still be slow upgrading

    And even if they do convince anybody to install 8, none of the users are ever going to see the metro ui. It will be turned off during install with no option for the users to turn it back on. Corporate IT departments won’t want to deal with it and they’re the only customers MS will actually listen to.

  49. 49
    dr. bloor says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    they should’ve started off selling them in more stores than just the MSFT stores.

    I have yet to actually lay hands on a surface (although I know they’re going to be showing up in Staples and Best Buys in the next few days). I dunno what the thinking was behind the strategy here–maybe not pissing off their OEM partners by flooding the market for the holidays? In any case, it’s put MSFT in a no-win situation when it comes to fielding the inevitable “HOW HOT IS YOUR PRODUCT?” questions from the money guys and tech press, and limited their ability to counter mediocre tech reviews with positive consumer experiences.

  50. 50
    Gary K says:

    I tried the Google v. Bing challenge, and they both lost. Searching with “douchebag,” neither one give me any information about Penn or Ballmer. Not even Trump!

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Somehow, in the last 30 or so years, The Peter Principle has been repealed, so that incompetent fucks like Penn keep falling upward. Why ANYONE would hire this guy to do ANYTHING but ask “Do you want fries with that?” (and he’d probably manage to fuck THAT up) baffles me.

    But then again, Marcia Clark fucked up the OJ trial, and she fell upwards from the LA DA office to a talking head gig, and then there’s the deserting coward, who led three companies to their doom, and made a very good effort at doing the same to the entire fucking country.

  52. 52
    Brachiator says:

    @dr. bloor:

    iPad mini sales suck so much that Apple just doubled their display orders.

    I never said that the iPad Mini was not successful. I said that Apple stumbled in that they yielded a huge advantage they previously had over Google and Amazon in the tablet market.

    You can’t have 4th gen internals in an iPad mini at that price point. Apple made a conscious decision to prioritize weight and form factor.

    Not entirely true, and not relevant to my main point. Apple is no longer as sexy sexy and cool as it used to be with respect to smart phones and tablets. This is not good in a sector where users can be extremely fickle.

    And while I agree that the iPad mini probably could not have had a Retina display (battery life might have suffered greatly), it could easily have had at least 3rd gen internals.

    And the larger point is that Apple’s corporate culture makes it hard for them to compromise on price points. Amazon is willing to take a loss on its tablet, and google may not be seeing much in the way of profit on their tablet. But the 7 inch market is relatively new, Apple was entering it for the first time instead of being the trail blazer, and the non Apple products are very good and very competitive.

    This is why I say it is a stumble for Apple, not a failure, and an interesting pivot point.

    BTW, I think that Apple priced the iPod Touch too high. This, in some ways, made it harder for them to price the iPad mini lower.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gary K:

    Win!

  54. 54
    tBone says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I’m not saying specs don’t matter, I’m saying including specs solely for e-peen waggling is pointless. The iPad mini performance is great. There was a much greater jump between the iPhone 3GS/iPod touch 4 performance and the iPhone 4/4S than between the mini & the iPad 3/4.

  55. 55
    Mandalay says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    MSFT is by any normal standard a very successful, profitable company

    Microsoft is certainly profitable if that is the criterion for being “very successful”, but as a public company it is awful in terms of growth and return on investment.

    Not defending Ballmer or MSFT’s late entry, but come on, they are still wildly successful at their bread and butter staples.

    Right, as I noted they continue to pull in the $$$ with Office and Windows. But what else have they achieved under Ballmer? Why is Ballmer still there after twelve years, when his only achievement is not killing Microsoft’s two cash cows?

    Ballmer is like Mitt Romney: good at making money, but not much beyond that.

  56. 56

    @MonkeyBoy:

    Bing may or may not be better at finding pornography, but its video preview feature provides a way to view a lot porn without actually going to the web sites…

  57. 57
    Tyro says:

    “Don’t get scroogled”

    I will admit it: this was very clever.

    I’m actually surprised that Bing is attempting to enter the consumer market at all. I thought that MS’s strategy was going to just use its leverage in the software market to get corporate clients to incorporate Bing as their “Search bar” on their websites, and bing.com was just going to serve as a consumer-side “loss leader” to promote the brand.

  58. 58
    dr. bloor says:

    @Brachiator:

    And the larger point is that Apple’s corporate culture makes it hard for them to compromise on price points. Amazon is willing to take a loss on its tablet, and google may not be seeing much in the way of profit on their tablet. But the 7 inch market is relatively new, Apple was entering it for the first time instead of being the trail blazer, and the non Apple products are very good and very competitive.

    I see where we differ here. I’d disagree with the idea that Apple’s “corporate culture” is the basis of the price differential; both Amazon and Google are selling at a loss because they view their tablets as being loss leaders for content sales and a portable shopping experience.

    And I’d re-emphasize the impact of the form factor variable in producing and selling the mini; I went into the Apple store expecting to hate it, and came a way impressed. The internals are going to be more than enough for most users, and it’s a sexy, sexy piece of tech. YMMV; hell, mine did, and I don’t really see myself buying one.

    As for the iPod touch, I can’t even identify the market for them anymore with the existence of the iPhone and advent of the mini. Who are they for?

  59. 59

    One can still manipulate Bing results via link bombing (formerly known as Google Bombing), something Google “fixed” years ago…

  60. 60
    Suffern ACE says:

    Since this is the only tech thread that I’ll get to post on this weekend, I am going to post a slightly off topic subject. Ford’s decision to go with a MSFT designed product for their MyFordTouch “infotainment” system was one of the primary reasons why I ended up not getting the Fusion last week. The reports of how poorly the touch screen worked in the cars made me wonder if anyone decided to drive a car while trying to operate the controls. The fact that it took those companies six months to admit that there was a problem and only two weeks ago decided to solve it scared me off. It’s too bad, really, because I think the Fusion was otherwise the best car I drove, but I didn’t have time to build the model with the features I wanted and find one without the MFT.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Drawing on his background in polling, data crunching and campaigning

    Aha, here’s your problem, right here.

    This is the guy who couldn’t figure out how many delegates were needed to lock up the nomination.

  62. 62
    some guy says:

    nothing says 2012 like hiring a Union Buster to promote your products. bravo, Microsloth.

  63. 63
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @dr. bloor:
    Not everyone can afford 70-100 dollars a month for two years for a subsidized, contract phone. An iPod Touch offers most of the functionality of a smartphone but without that bill, which can be quite onerous if you can’t afford it (and not everyone can afford that monthly bill).

    I agree about the *5th* Gen iPod Touch, if you can afford 299 for it, why not get the mini instead?

  64. 64
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @dr. bloor:

    As for the iPod touch, I can’t even identify the market for them anymore with the existence of the iPhone and advent of the mini. Who are they for?

    Kids bugging their parents to buy them a techno-toy for social status display purposes, and the parents don’t want to shell out the $ to pay for a service plan as an ongoing expense. Also, some schools will not allow internet-capable devices on campus without being able to lock down that the device has to go thru the school’s network (i.e. with content filtering) but will allow the iPod.

  65. 65
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    MSFT really should’ve been willing to take a loss with the Surface in order to get a foot in the door. Cut the price dramatically and include the keyboard cover. Isn’t that what they did a long time ago with the X-Box? Its too late in the game for them to be doing what they are doing. I think the WinRT Surface would’ve been a great competitor back in the day when Android tablets were mostly running 3.x and vaporware. But now, the Fire/Nook/Nexus trio is just so much better and harder to beat.

  66. 66
    some guy says:

    if anybody is looking for a tablet for little kids, we just started doing the config on our Nabi2 tablets. they rock. really awesome hardware, great parental control software. the only downside is their website has exploded, I guess Fuhu didn’t expect a million new users, but it’s easy to bypass that.

    the users already have a Facebook page for help/hints. these are really sweet, witha Tegra3 chip and a gig of RAM, and our 5 year olds are gonna flip out on Xmas day.

  67. 67
    Mandalay says:

    @Joe1347:

    After spending some time with Windows 8, I doubt that companies will be in a big hurry to upgrade (to Windows 8). Yes, it’s that bad.

    I don’t think Joe Six Pack will be too interested either. I just logged out of hotmail and Microsoft urged me to upgrade to Windows 8 for $39.99, but only if I did it before the end of January. And that is to upgrade to Windows Pro which most people don’t want or need. A cheaper upgrade to the base version of Windows 8 is not available.

    Oh, and I could upgrade by DVD, but that was $69.99…an extra thirty dollars. WTF???

    And poor Microsoft don’t understand why people hate them.

  68. 68
    paradox says:

    [sigh] I’d be perfectly happy with a sexy text now and then.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    and they should’ve started off selling them in more stores than just the MSFT stores

    Also one tech wag claimed that Microsoft planned to have some pop up stores on November 1, but found that some of the better locations were taken by stores doing Halloween and Day of the Dead seasonal business.

    Talk about your marketing faux pas.

    @Suffern ACE:

    Since this is the only tech thread that I’ll get to post on this weekend, I am going to post a slightly off topic subject. Ford’s decision to go with a MSFT designed product for their MyFordTouch “infotainment” system was one of the primary reasons why I ended up not getting the Fusion last week.

    Very interesting. Ford’s management gets a lot of kudos for how they build tech into their automobiles. But your experiences here suggest that they still have much to improve on. Maybe it says a little something that they are trying to address issues instead of being stubborn or stupid.

  70. 70
    dr. bloor says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Kids bugging their parents to buy them a techno-toy for social status display purposes, and the parents don’t want to shell out the $ to pay for a service plan as an ongoing expense. Also, some schools will not allow internet-capable devices on campus without being able to lock down that the device has to go thru the school’s network (i.e. with content filtering) but will allow the iPod.

    Right–hadn’t even thought about the carry charge for the iPhone.

    I can see the issues with the school as well, as I occasionally have to advocate for kids to be allowed to use tech in the classroom that otherwise make teachers/admins uncomfortable for one reason or another. Usually arguing for an iPad or laptop, though. As an aside, I expect the mini to be big in the education secto–the $170 differential between an entry iPad and the base mini (plus whatever sort of volume discount they negotiate) is going to be a difference maker for a number of school districts.

  71. 71
    Anya says:

    @bob h: I think he will be involved. He’s still very involved with the Clintons. I heard he was with Bill Clinton at the DNC convention in Charlotte.

  72. 72
    waratah says:

    My daughter bought the Galaxy Note and loves it. She says she rarely uses her computer as this is everything in one.

    Wonder if Apple is thinking of adding a telephone to the Mini Ipad or shrinking it some more and adding a telephone?

  73. 73
    RareSanity says:

    _
    @Walker:

    A smartphone is only as useful as its app ecosystem. The “our hardware is so much better than Apple’s” was the cry of many a phone maker in the early days. Got them nowhere. The app ecosystem in Android continues to be a liability and will remain so as long as those Android owners refuse to pay for apps.

    Although revenue in the Apple App Store is still greater, revenue in the Play Store is up 311% year-over-year.

    The problem is not that Android users don’t pay for apps, it’s the fact that they dont overpay for apps. Just because a developer was able to charge $9.99 for their app on iOS, doesn’t mean that they’re going to get that much on Android…they may only be able to charge $4.99. The difference is, that with 75% of all new smartphones sales being an Android based device, and as time goes along, what they could not make in margin on Android, they with more than make up for in sheer volume.

    In the coming year, there are going to be highly capable Android phones that will be sold for $99, out the door. Android phones will penetrate into markets that Apple could only dream of. Now people only being able to afford a $99 phone, may only be able to afford a $0.99 app…but there will be tens of millions of those people to buy that app.

    This is ridiculous. The Google Nexus 7 was not a success; it was only once they moved to 10” that they started to get some traction. Market studies of Fire owners show they want to move to an iPad.

    Nexus 7 sales are expected to be at least 5 million for the year 2012, and ASUS, it;s manufacturer, are reporting that they are are moving 1 million units per month.

    Google’s initial projections, lead them to only order 2.5 million units for the devices launch. Last month, they had to order an additional 2.5 million units to meet the demand.

    I’m not sure how you define “success”, but for the first 7″ tablet that Google itself had the primary role in designing, I’d say that meets anyone’s definition.

    Let’s not even bring up that LG is struggling to meet worldwide demand for the Nexus 4 smartphone.

    This is the only real misstep that Apple has made this year, though it was a doozy. But then I have railed about how Apple does not understand the cloud several times now.

    This is not only true, it is a tremendously big problem. All of the “base” functions of mobile devices, are moving to the cloud. I am constantly amazed at the functionality of Google Now, Google Voice search is even more widely used on iPhones than Siri, and Google just delivered a swift kick to Apple’s nuts with their new Maps for iOS.

    The technorati is absolutely tripping over themselves to find more ways to praise the app. Hell, the iOS version is even better than what’s available on Android…it was just that personal for Google to send a big f-you to Apple.

    Google is in control of an absolute freight train called Android. The very nature of the operating system (multiple devices, from multiple manufacturers, at multiple different price points), says that whatever its’ weakness at any point in time are, they will be corrected before the next iWhatever is released…and their are going to more of whatever it is available, to more people, for a more affordable price.

    It is only a matter of time before the Play Store overtakes the App Store in overall, and per developer revenue.

  74. 74
    WereBear says:

    @Brachiator: And I continue to be amazed at the number of tech product reviewers who devalue the importance of long battery life in tablets, smart phones and laptops.

    As do I. Perhaps they already have it and take it for granted?

    The six hour battery life on my Chromebook makes it truly portable.

  75. 75
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @WereBear:

    Don’t Chromebooks require an internet connection?

  76. 76
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’ve met Steve Ballmer once. He never particularly struck me as a techie guy. I got the impression that Ballmer was the guy who put the sharp teeth in Microsoft’s approach to business. It’s great to have sharp teeth in that business, but who is providing visionary technological leadership at Microsoft?

  77. 77
    Eric U. says:

    the day Ballmer said that he things all windows users are stealing from MSFT was the day I decided to put linux on as many of my own computers as possible. The Windows 8 user interface is moronic on the desktop, aren’t they capable of doing more than one thing at a time? Only thing about it that amuses me is when I think of the developers using 30″ monitors hating themselves.

  78. 78
    Maude says:

    On Twitter, Hillary Clinton fainted and has a concussion.

  79. 79
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @MikeJ:
    Letting my geek flag fly, I use xfce. It works great on low resource systems.

  80. 80

    @Mark B.:
    I rarely use the iPhone for actual talking (I hate talking on the telephone in general), and I find the standard iPad a little heavy for e-reading.

    What I seem to really want is an iPad mini that lets me make the occasional phone call. And to just buy that.

  81. 81
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches: iPad Mini LTE + VOIP software?

  82. 82
    quannlace says:

    Who came up with the idea of naming it ‘Bing.’
    Everytime I see ‘Bing’ it makies me think of Ned Ryerson from ‘Groundhog Day.”

  83. 83
    Mandalay says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I’ve met Steve Ballmer once. He never particularly struck me as a techie guy.

    This is Steve Ballmer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....vsboPUjrGc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....To-6VIJZRE

    What is scary about those videos is not Ballmer’s pathetic behavior, but the fact the fawning audiences lap it up.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:

    @Randy P:

    There’s something my droid phone does where I end up doing a Bing search when I think I’m typing into a Google search window. I have no idea what keystrokes triggers it.

    Oddly, there are no such issues on the iPhone.

    Well, somebody had to say it.

  85. 85
    WereBear says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Yes, though there are offline apps. These are great for writing, which is what I got the Chromebook for. Either way, I’m covered.

    At home, at work, down on the front porch, or having my lunch hour at a restaurant; they all have wifi. So I’ve come to regard that requirement kind of like complaining that the computer doesn’t work if you aren’t in a place with electricity.

  86. 86
    burnspbesq says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I think the iPad Mini would be a lot more enticing
    at its price if it didn’t have iPad 2 internals.

    Have you played with one? I went from the third-gen iPad to the Mini and never looked back.

  87. 87
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Joe1347:

    Somehow I suspect that Microsoft will need to go into damage control big time over Windows 8 and will need all the help they can get to undo the damage to Microsoft.

    You are correct; corporate users will give Win 8 a complete miss.

    Full, time limited trial versions of Win8 were available for free download so I tried it on my desktop. My takeaway was that it may be MS’ most colossal blunder since DOS 4. It was nearly unusable on a desktop because doing real work with it involved a lot of unnecessary steps to work around the touch screen oriented interface.

  88. 88
    WereBear says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Not everyone can afford 70-100 dollars a month for two years for a subsidized, contract phone. An iPod Touch offers most of the functionality of a smartphone but without that bill, which can be quite onerous if you can’t afford it (and not everyone can afford that monthly bill).

    That was my reasoning several years ago, and I still adore my iTouch (please, why didn’t they call it that?) But its age now means I can’t upgrade to the latest operating system, so now my app collection is dropping away, one by one, as they stop working.

    I’m several months away from the end of my contract, when I plan to get an iPhone. My cell phone bill is not that far different from a data plan, any more.

  89. 89
    burnspbesq says:

    And one other thing: Cirrus hit a five-run home run with the iPad mini’s audio functionality. Separating the DAC and the amp onto separate chips, and using an actual class-D amp, makes the iPad mini by far the best-sounding iDevice ever. Sez the guy who has actually owned them all, all the way back to the first 5gig iPdd in 2001.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    Keith says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: MS was between a rock and a hard place with the Surface. You may not recall, but between its announcement and its pricing, they were getting ripped in the media for competing against their hardware partners. Their pricing was structured to give their partners some wiggle room – MS wanted to show the potential of build quality of a Windows tablet without stealing too much business away from the Acers and Toshibas of the world. Therefore, they put a premium price for premium build quality.

  92. 92
    jeffreyw says:

    @WereBear: I have the 4th Gen Touch and like it fine for what I use it for: Bluetooth podcast streaming while I mow the yard. It’s light and fits easily in my shirt pocket. In a pinch I can read from it with the Kindle app but I much prefer the Nexus 7 for that, or the Asus Transformer. My Nexus 7 is my traveling companion. It will tuck into my back pocket, and the MiFi LTE hotspot goes wherever I go. Phone? I go with a simple TracFone and spend $10 or so per month.

  93. 93
    Brachiator says:

    @dr. bloor:

    I can see the issues with the school as well, as I occasionally have to advocate for kids to be allowed to use tech in the classroom that otherwise make teachers/admins uncomfortable for one reason or another. Usually arguing for an iPad or laptop, though. As an aside, I expect the mini to be big in the education secto—the $170 differential between an entry iPad and the base mini (plus whatever sort of volume discount they negotiate) is going to be a difference maker for a number of school districts.

    My niece and nephew both have Touches, as do many of their friends. And it’s not just the cool factor; they have a useful device without having to pay through the nose for a service plan, and a device that satisfies the noted school security issues.

    Their school provides every child at certain grade levels with a laptop. This program is so successful that teachers and students presume that this is just the way that things should be done.

    UC Irvine Medical school had a pilot program that provided all incoming med school students with an iPad. Apart from other benefits, the screen size seemed to be well suited to reading textbooks, lecture notes, and for viewing visual and video information. I don’t know if this is common in other colleges, but it was interesting to see how many med school professors here provided comprehensive lecture material as PDF files.

    I can see schools looking to the iPad mini, and perhaps to other tablets, for general school use. The price is obviously attractive compared to the standard iPad. But I wonder whether the smaller screen would significantly diminish the overall value.

    I see where we differ here. I’d disagree with the idea that Apple’s “corporate culture” is the basis of the price differential; both Amazon and Google are selling at a loss because they view their tablets as being loss leaders for content sales and a portable shopping experience.

    I would suggest that google’s motives were somewhat different than Amazon’s. Google is all about search, not just shopping. But more than this, other tablets in the market ran older Android operating systems, and often did not have a compelling combination of performance and features. And, as an aside, I wonder what happened to all those HP tablets unloaded at a deep discount when HP got out of that market. Did people play with them for a while and then throw them in a desk drawer?

    Google wanted to make a statement about what a 7 inch tablet could be, and they wanted to spotlight their latest OS, jellybean. And they succeeded very well.

    All I’m saying is that by contrast, Apple’s moves in getting into the smaller tablet market were relatively timid and typically Apple. They act as though they don’t believe they have any competition, and always view themselves as a premium price product. This has worked for them in the past and is not a bad strategy, but they could have delivered a knockout punch in the small tablet arena, and they failed to do so. And this is happening in the context of a shift in perception about Apple, in which the iPhone is seen by some hipsters as being “not all that” anymore. And tech writers like MG Siegler and Andy Ihnatko, who previously professed deep Apple love, now look at these other devices and say, “you know, these are really good devices, and some even represent a better value for the money than the corresponding Apple device.”

    This by no means spells doom for Apple. It may just put them in a position in which old strategies may not be as effective.

    And coming back to one of the main themes of this thread, Microsoft is perhaps more seriously doing it wrong. They are looking to frauds like Mark Penn to help them when they have more fundamental problems in understanding what they need to do to please customers in their older markets (desktops and laptops), and what they should be doing to succeed in newer markets (tablets, phones, and search).

  94. 94

    @Amanda in the South Bay:
    I haven’t had the best of luck with VOIP software in the past. It only works when the data network does. If it’s 2am and I’m calling AAA for a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere, I need a phone, not a data device.

    What I want is a 7-8″ tablet that can still use the ‘phone’ part of the signal to make old-school phone calls (with a Bluetooth headset, if needed). SMS, too.

    In a world where were have (almost) 5″ phones and 7″ tablets, it will probably happen, eventually.

  95. 95
    Maude says:

    @Keith:
    MS has an alliance with B&N Nook.

  96. 96
    MikeJ says:

    @mapaghimagsik: That’s what I’m using too. xfce works much better over remote x connections (either xdmcp or nx). I can fire up eclipse on a test server and do everything I need from my bedroom.

  97. 97
    sneezy says:

    @Walker:

    The app ecosystem in Android continues to be a liability and will remain so as long as those Android owners refuse to pay for apps.

    Hmmmm… well, to give you a different perspective, I own an android phone and an ipod touch and there is no question which one has more useful apps on it: the phone, hands down. And many of them are paid for. I hate ads and happily pay for ad-free versions of apps.

    To be fair, many of the apps I rely on and use most are exactly the same on both the phone and the ipod. But if I had to give up one or the other for some reason, I’d give up the ipod, no question.

  98. 98
    Keith says:

    @Mandalay: Speaking of fawning audiences lapping it up, take a look at an Apple product launch. What’s worse is that a lot of those fawning individuals are journalists there supposedly to cover the story.

  99. 99
    dr. bloor says:

    @Brachiator:

    Their school provides every child at certain grade levels with a laptop. This program is so successful that teachers and students presume that this is just the way that things should be done.

    Nice to see it’s being done right in some places. My son wasn’t able to edit the first draft of his Spanish essay in class yesterday (despite the presence of desktops in the room) because his teacher thought the draft should have been handwritten. He had to do his mark-ups on a hard copy and enter them at home that evening.

    Whatever their strengths at the upper levels, iPads are the shitz for the K-5 set. Engaging, interactive instructiion, tons of good apps that help strengthen foundation skills and emerging problem-solving capacities, and they’re a Godsend for kids with learning issues. They do need to graduate to laptops later on and they’re not great for texts, but the iPad mini won’t stress those busy little fingers at all.

    UC Irvine Medical school had a pilot program that provided all incoming med school students with an iPad. Apart from other benefits, the screen size seemed to be well suited to reading textbooks, lecture notes, and for viewing visual and video information. I don’t know if this is common in other colleges, but it was interesting to see how many med school professors here provided comprehensive lecture material as PDF files.

    I’ve seen this all the way down to the middle school level in some places (except for the part about getting the free iPad). When I’m writing accommodations for a kid with learning issues, it’s becoming more common for schools to say “Oh, we already do that for everyone.”

  100. 100
    MikeJ says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t know if this is common in other colleges, but it was interesting to see how many med school professors here provided comprehensive lecture material as PDF files.

    Bleh. PDF sucks ass for reading on a tablet. You always wind up zooming and having to scroll around inside the page. People who don’t use epub should be put against the wall.

  101. 101
    Dave C says:

    It seems like the sole purpose in life of people like Mark Penn, Dick Morris, etc. is to erect glaring, neon displays of how non-meritocratic our society actually is.

  102. 102
    JoyfulA says:

    The Pepsi challenge I encountered in an A&P long ago was how I learned the difference between the two: Pepsi has less flavor and more sweetener. I haven’t bought a Pepsi since.

  103. 103
    👽 Martin says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Cirrus hit a five-run home run with the iPad mini’s audio functionality. Separating the DAC and the amp onto separate chips, and using an actual class-D amp, makes the iPad mini by far the best-sounding iDevice ever.

    Wait, wait, wait!

    So, when the new connector came out you were freaking out because there was no line-out for audiophiles, and I assured you that getting a digital signal was better because higher-quality DACs would hit the market – but you wouldn’t hear it.

    And now you’re telling us that higher-quality DACs have hit the market and sound quality is the best ever? Unpossible!

    :P

  104. 104
    Baud says:

    All this tech talk reminds me of how much I miss the mobile version of Balloon Juice.

  105. 105
    👽 Martin says:

    @MikeJ: There’s a real lack of quality ePub authoring tools out there. The main problem being that Microsoft Word continues to be a cancer on society. It’s good at nothing and sucks all of the air out of the authoring market.

  106. 106
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Whatever their strengths at the upper levels, iPads are the shitz for the K-5 set. Engaging, interactive instructiion, tons of good apps that help strengthen foundation skills and emerging problem-solving capacities, and they’re a Godsend for kids with learning issues. They do need to graduate to laptops later on and they’re not great for texts, but the iPad mini won’t stress those busy little fingers at all.

    I have some questions; are textbook publishers moving to electronic versions of texts? Is there any momentum in the schools toward moving to e-readers rather than physical textbooks? It seems to me that e-readers, with all of their capabilities, would be a great investment – particularly if buying them en masse lowered the price.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @MikeJ:

    Bleh. PDF sucks ass for reading on a tablet. You always wind up zooming and having to scroll around inside the page. People who don’t use epub should be put against the wall.

    Strongly disagree. I read a boat load of PDF documents for work on my iPad. And I often annotate the crap out of stuff and send selected annotations to colleagues as action items. I don’t have any issues reading or navigating these documents.

    I got no beef against epub and would like to see it used more. But for much of the stuff that I do, I rarely come across a “save as ePub” option, and I would never spend time converting text to ePub on my own.

  108. 108
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Brachiator: you’re definitely overstating the case on the iPhone. Minus the maps. The glory days of media fellating can’t last forever. But the failure is more a marketing one. I might get an iPhone 5 now that I dropped my one x

  109. 109
    shecky says:

    I have no clue what most of you people are talking about. And I’m fine with that.

  110. 110
    WereBear says:

    Geez, people, just pick the one you like best! Isn’t that why we have a free market?

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @Full Metal Wingnut:

    you’re definitely overstating the case on the iPhone. Minus the maps. The glory days of media fellating can’t last forever.

    Some people see their role in life as being propagandists for one tech company or another. John Gruber is a notable example on the Apple side. There’s a Paul Something or other who often boot licks on the Windows Weekly tech podcast.

    “But the failure is more a marketing one. I might get an iPhone 5 now that I dropped my one x”

    It’s not just marketing. Many people have decided that they like the larger screens on the Samsung Galaxy 3S and similar phones. This is before you get to any other features. And Android phones have caught up with some of Apple’s best features (e.g., a great camera) and elsewhere have other features that are just as good or good, but different.

    Companies ignore user clearly stated user preferences at their peril, even if it is simple stuff like the size of a screen. The Blackberry people dismissed touch, and look what happened to them.

    And sometimes it doesn’t matter if the competing product is superior technology. In the video Stone Age, some said that the Sony Betamax was superior to VHS. But you could record a week’s worth of tv shows, or an entire football game or an average baseball game on a single VHS tape. A small thing, but more important than tech specs. Or marketing.

  112. 112
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator: The problem with Android is that they’ve engaged in the most spectacular race to the bottom and, like with the PC market, created a situation where consumers simply won’t spend money on the platform. I appreciate that it’s good for consumers to get the cheapest possible device, but its inevitable that it will destroy the ability of the platform to advance. You can wholesale buy 3.5″ Android phones in volumes of 1000 for $50 each.

    In the end, I expect Samsung, having wiped out their non-Chinese Android competition, will fork Android like Amazon did, dump the Google-made apps and store, and do their own thing. What people don’t understand is the vast majority of Android phones are completely disconnected from Google. Nobody in China has gmail or Google search, they can’t get updates, they can’t use Google Play, they have no music or movie or bookstores through Google. There’s simply no point any longer to Google being involved in Android for over 50% of the devices out there – but Samsung can fill that void. And that’s also why there’s so little developer interest in Android. For iPhone, very nearly every connected device has access to the App Store and iTunes Music Store, but for Android less than half have access to the app store. In terms of potential sales, iOS is a much bigger platform even with fewer units sold, and Apple has created an environment where owners are willing to buy apps, music, movies, and accessories.

    All I’m saying is that by contrast, Apple’s moves in getting into the smaller tablet market were relatively timid and typically Apple. They act as though they don’t believe they have any competition, and always view themselves as a premium price product. This has worked for them in the past and is not a bad strategy, but they could have delivered a knockout punch in the small tablet arena, and they failed to do so.

    This makes no sense. The Nexus 7, considered one of the best small Android tablets is selling at a run rate of 1 million per month. The iPad Mini + new iPad sold 3 million in its launch weekend, and is projected to sell more than 10 million this quarter.

    And we have no idea what impact the Mini will have on other small tablets. From the outset, the Mini appears to be dominating the market:

    In November, much of what has defined the tablet market in the past remains the same. The iPad continues to dominate, holding over 88% of tablet Web traffic market share, maintaining their lead. In second place comes Amazon’s Kindle Fire with 4.05 impressions per 100 iPad impressions, or about 3.6% of total tablet Web traffic market share 1. November marked the introduction of the latest Nexus 7 and the new Nexus 10 tablets, helping to grow the overall Google Nexus family market share to 1.03 impressions per 100 iPad impressions, or a share of around 0.9%. The Samsung Galaxy family sits in third place behind the iPad and Kindle Fire, with 2.68 impressions per 100 iPad impressions, or around 2.4% of the overall market.

    I would argue that only 2 months after launch, the Mini is already exceeding the combined non-iPad market in terms of usage. Apple waited until they could put the product out in a competitive way that would allow them to build a platform around it long-term. The pressure on them comes not because they neglected the market, but because their competition is willing to sell their devices at manufacturing cost, and are eating the development costs. It’s very difficult to deal with a competitor that is willing to participate in the market with the deliberate intention of making no money.

    And how can the tablet market be sustained outside of Apple as a money losing operation? How can the phone market be sustained?

  113. 113
    Baud says:

    @WereBear:

    I blame Obama.

  114. 114
    WereBear says:

    @Baud: LOL!

    Hey, I was once a fan of the Amiga. Now I like Apple. But when my ancient Powerbook was killed by a kitten and a glass of wine, my tiny budget could cover another used laptop; or get much more lightness and battery life with a Chromebook.

    Heck, if I had the money, I’d have a Mac Air. But I keep checking the couch cushions, and still no go.

  115. 115
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Many people have decided that they like the larger screens on the Samsung Galaxy 3S and similar phones. This is before you get to any other features. And Android phones have caught up with some of Apple’s best features (e.g., a great camera) and elsewhere have other features that are just as good or good, but different.

    But not that many – not nearly as many as Android fans believe. And those sales haven’t come from the iPhone, but from Blackberry and Windows Phones. And of those Android sales, a LOT are low-end 3.5″ Android 2.3 devices that appear to be rarely if ever participate in the smartphone ecosystem. In other words, they’re phones chosen because they were free, which displaced a free feature phone sale.

    If users were that invested in Android, Samsung wouldn’t be spending $12B a year generating those sales with promotions and kickbacks, and app and content sales would be much better than they are. No question there’s a very vocal and loyal cohort of high-end buyers that are make the most of Android, but the midpack of Android buyers aren’t big participants in the market where the midpack of iPhone buyers are. And that’s why platform loyalty looks the way that it does. If Apple is only shedding 5%-10% of owners to other platforms and Android is shedding 30%, that tells us the opposite of what you say is happening. Eventually, albeit possibly slowly, users are migrating to Apple.

  116. 116
    PeakVT says:

    Kerry to be nominated to State according to multiple reports.

    ETA: Some speculation from GOS.

  117. 117
    JustRuss says:

    I work in IT at a large university, just went to a meeting of IT pros from across campus. Everyone’s dreading Windows 8. MS wants to be Apple, releasing a new OS every year, but that just doesn’t work at the enterprise level. It’s a support nightmare. Doesn’t help that everyone I know who’s tried 8 really hated it.

    The scroogled campaign is interesting, but smells of desperation. Knocking your competitor implies that you don’t have anything good to say about your product. No surprise that Penn’s fingerprints are all over it.

    I met Ballmer twenty years ago, I have to say I liked him more than most C-level execs I’ve known. Not that I think much of his tenure at Microsoft, but he passes the have-a-beer-with test, for what that’s worth.

  118. 118
    dr. bloor says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I

    have some questions; are textbook publishers moving to electronic versions of texts? Is there any momentum in the schools toward moving to e-readers rather than physical textbooks?

    Most of my son’s (8th grade) texts are online as well as physically available in his classes. They’re not downloadable as e-books; rather the school district has what I presume is a licensing deal with the publisher, and the kids are given usernames and passwords to access them during the course of the school year. His algebra text has links to other tutorials on the subject at hand. His school went one further and offers links to the entire year’s worth of his teacher’s lectures. He can jump back and forth between the text, extra problems and his teacher as needed.

  119. 119
    Mark B. says:

    @JustRuss: Users don’t want to learn a new user interface every year or two. Apple comes up with a new OS ever couple of years, but it’s mostly familiar. They didn’t completely re-engineer user interaction with each release.

    The completely new way of interacting with the computer isn’t something that the casual user wants to deal with. The have a computer for the apps (and maybe games) and don’t want to figure out a different way to do basic operations.

  120. 120
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The Nexus 7, considered one of the best small Android tablets is selling at a run rate of 1 million per month. The iPad Mini + new iPad sold 3 million in its launch weekend, and is projected to sell more than 10 million this quarter.

    My speculation is that the iPad mini would be even more successful at a lower price, and would have blunted the success of Amazon and google. And while many average users don’t mind the iPad 2 internals of the iPad mini, it still puts some first gen taint on it. I don’t think that lack of Retina display is a big deal, but I flat out do not recommend this device to budget conscious people who are considering tablets (and I do enthusiastically recommend the regular iPad) because other products offer better value.

    That said, the iPad mini is obviously successful. I wonder whether it will eat into regular iPad sales.

    The pressure on them comes not because they neglected the market, but because their competition is willing to sell their devices at manufacturing cost, and are eating the development costs. It’s very difficult to deal with a competitor that is willing to participate in the market with the deliberate intention of making no money.

    But this is part of the market reality that Apple has to deal with.

    And how can the tablet market be sustained outside of Apple as a money losing operation? How can the phone market be sustained?

    Good question. On the other hand, there is a huge demand for reasonably priced mobile phones. And there is a huge demand for services to be delivered wirelessly.

    Mobile phones that lack the sexiest features of the latest smart phones are having an enormously positive impact in Africa and Asia, providing innovative solutions to economic problems that find ways around some lack of infrastructure issues.

    There is a market and demand. I am not worried that someone will not be able to come up with products to meet this demand.

  121. 121
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    The Pepsi Challenge? That takes me back.

    I knew a lot of people at the time who thought the point was to identify which was Pepsi. Skewed the hell out of any statistics they might have been gathering.

  122. 122
    Bruce S says:

    Gee – MicroSoft manages to reinforce my worst thoughts about them. Mark Penn almost single-handedly lost Hillary the 2008 nomination as her totally-clueless strategist.

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    RE: Many people have decided that they like the larger screens on the Samsung Galaxy 3S and similar phones. This is before you get to any other features. And Android phones have caught up with some of Apple’s best features (e.g., a great camera) and elsewhere have other features that are just as good or good, but different.

    But not that many – not nearly as many as Android fans believe. And those sales haven’t come from the iPhone, but from Blackberry and Windows Phones. And of those Android sales, a LOT are low-end 3.5” Android 2.3 devices that appear to be rarely if ever participate in the smartphone ecosystem. In other words, they’re phones chosen because they were free, which displaced a free feature phone sale.

    As I have noted, some of the most enthusiastic larger screen size people are tech writers like Andy Ihnatko and MG Siegler, writers who previously loved all things Apple. On the various tech podcasts I listen to, I have noticed more people who love Apple sheepishly admit that they really, really love the Samsung Galaxy 3S.

    Also, middle age and older folks like larger screens because it makes everything easier to see.

    There is no such thing as “the smartphone ecosystem.” There are only the phones people buy and the features they use. I don’t think that Apple deliberately set out to disrupt the digital camera market, but a great camera on a device that people always had with them has had a huge impact.

    Maps and GPS has become increasingly important on smartphones. And maps and travel assist works better, for many people, on a larger screen.

  124. 124
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    My speculation is that the iPad mini would be even more successful at a lower price, and would have blunted the success of Amazon and google.

    I’m sure it would have, but there’s no real success there. It’s taken a bit of sales out of Apple, but there’s no ecosystem threat building around those. There’s no more Android tablet apps due to them, there’s no money being earned off of them sufficient to fund R&D ahead of Apple, and there’s no notable brand loyalty being created around them. Should Apple be able to drive the price of the iPad Mini down, those customers will shift to Apple.

    But Apple just isn’t interested in chasing customers that aren’t willing to pay for product. Not only are they impossible to retain because they’re always chasing the device that’s $.50 cheaper, but they also won’t buy apps or content. So they provide no profits and no ecosystem benefits. There’s almost no benefit to having them as customers.

    That said, the iPad mini is obviously successful. I wonder whether it will eat into regular iPad sales.

    Yeah, it should. The estimate is that 4 iPad Minis will sell for every 1 iPad lost. We’ll see how that plays out.

    But this is part of the market reality that Apple has to deal with.

    True, but Apple is not going to sell their products at cost. Nobody should.

    On the other hand, there is a huge demand for reasonably priced mobile phones. And there is a huge demand for services to be delivered wirelessly.
    Mobile phones that lack the sexiest features of the latest smart phones are having an enormously positive impact in Africa and Asia, providing innovative solutions to economic problems that find ways around some lack of infrastructure issues.

    Yeah, but that’s part of my argument. Most of these Android devices aren’t contributing to the ecosystem that Android owners are mystified isn’t developing. They’re perfectly good phones and I agree immensely beneficial to the markets in which they are being sold, but they might as well be considered a completely different platform. That ecosystem isn’t going to grow notably stronger under the current circumstances. If you’re looking for a throw-away device, then sure – why shell out Apple dollars. But if you’re looking for something you can hand down to your kids, upgrade the OS, add be willing to still acquire new apps and content, and still use in 5 years, I question that the Android device is a good buy there.

    I know a lot of people that bought Kindle Fires – either the first one or the more recent one – because they were cheap, and every singe one got returned. I asked around recently to borrow one for a day because my mom was interested in it, and I couldn’t find anyone who kept theirs. There was one Nexus 7, and the rest were iPads or Mini’s now. And that’s the problem with Android – the out the door price is really attractive, and it just seems to go downhill from there unless you happen to be a tinkerer – and that’s really where Android shines. But that’s not many people, and it’s not the average buyer looking for advice.

  125. 125
    BethanyAnne says:

    One minor bit: Apple makes tons of their money selling RAM. I think it was something like 40% of their profit? Can’t remember offhand, but it was tons. Also, Apple underprices their new products drastically, at least at the beginning of the product cycle. Sort of a shame, but I guess they like to keep the price constant over the entire lifecycle.

  126. 126
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    As I have noted, some of the most enthusiastic larger screen size people are tech writers like Andy Ihnatko and MG Siegler, writers who previously loved all things Apple. On the various tech podcasts I listen to, I have noticed more people who love Apple sheepishly admit that they really, really love the Samsung Galaxy 3S.
    Also, middle age and older folks like larger screens because it makes everything easier to see.

    Those guys are also tinkerers. Their job is to play with their phone and computer and whatnot – so a device that makes encourages that is going to appealing to a certain degree. That’s an important distinction as it doesn’t apply to most buyers. My wife doesn’t want to tinker with her phone. She doesn’t care about being able to delete the dialer app, or the ability to play with a process manager. She just wants to check her mail, her calendar, and easily and safely buy apps that let her do specific things that suit her. It’s a very different attitude.

    That’s not to say that the tinkerers aren’t important – they’re very important as they influence the other buyers as you’re noting, but they aren’t themselves a huge market.

    There is no such thing as “the smartphone ecosystem.”

    There absolutely is, in the same way that there is a Windows ecosystem. If the app you want is on iOS, you can’t run it on Android. If you buy an app on iOS, you own it on all of your devices, so if you’re a household like mine with 3 phones, an iPod Touch and an iPad – using that purchase across 5 devices is damn convenient. Being able to push audio and video from any of our devices to our Apple TV is incredibly useful.

    Google is building a similar ecosystem around Android and Google services just as Microsoft is trying to build one around Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 and XBox Live. Amazon is around their services – Kindle, etc.

    But my main objection to Android is really a fundamental objection to Google. I think their business model is hostile to users. The only way Google makes money is by selling ads based on their ability to read your email, know where you’re going on their maps, knowing what you buy and where you shop, reading your transcribed voicemails, and knowing everything you share with your friends on Google+. Facebook has the same problem – their ability to survive is based entirely on their ability to spy on you, and they will never, ever respect your privacy – ever, because doing so puts them out of business.

    My main attraction to Apple is that their business model is exactly the opposite. Their business model is based on earning your trust as a long-term customer, and spying on you works against that. Apple’s model provides huge disincentives to violating your privacy, and as a result they don’t do that, while Google repeatedly does. It’s not worth saving $100 to have someone else harvesting all of my private email content.

  127. 127
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Those guys are also tinkerers. Their job is to play with their phone and computer and whatnot – so a device that makes encourages that is going to appealing to a certain degree. …That’s not to say that the tinkerers aren’t important – they’re very important as they influence the other buyers as you’re noting, but they aren’t themselves a huge market.

    The “tinkerer” label is inaccurate, particularly in the case of Ihnatko, who goes out of his way to use the devices he writes about, and who tries hard to write for the average user. He often talks about not caring to be the first out the gate with a review, so he can write more about how a person might best use a device. And with the recent Samsung smartphone, he writes about a device that he is willing to spend his own money on to do work on. And since his work is deadline driven, he is not that interested in tinkering or playing. That would be someone more like Leo Laporte.

    Bu you are right that these people are influencers, and it is here that Apple should have some concern.

    RE: There is no such thing as “the smartphone ecosystem.”

    There absolutely is, in the same way that there is a Windows ecosystem. If the app you want is on iOS, you can’t run it on Android.

    OK, you meant more the platforms of specific companies. But even here, this is not entirely the case. Yes, to some degree, Apple or Microsoft would like you to use only their stuff. But my iPad is my only Apple device. And I use Dropbox everywhere. The same with my Kindle app. I use Flipboard on both the iPad and a Kindle Fire HD I was recently given, accessing material using the same account. I run iTunes on a Windows PC. And on and on. And since I must use a Windows PC at work, it would be pointless for anyone to try to offer me an Android only or Apple only ecosystem.

    The idea of a specific company-centered ecosystem is countered by a “use anywhere and everywhere”approach. The cloud tends to make the second approach preferable in the long run.

    Google services is not just built around Android. It couldn’t be because, as you note, they don’t make all Android devices or even control what operating system might be installed on them. And google certainly wants people to use their services on any Windows 8 device.

    I understand your objections vis a vis Apple and google. But people are eager to give up their privacy to get on the Internet, to use cool apps and do cool stuff. And there is nothing inherent to an Android or Microsoft or Nokia or Blackberry device that says that it must violate your privacy.

    I dislike Facebook and never use it. But my dislike has nothing to do with evaluating its success or failures. And it is sad to note that people object to how Facebook might violate their privacy, but then keep on using it, and often post up stuff that violate their own privacy, and that of their family and friends.

  128. 128
    stormhit says:

    @Brachiator:

    Google services just canceled EAS support, which is an early sign that they’re no longer interested in the runs on anything approach.

  129. 129
    stormhit says:

    @Mark B.:

    Meh. Once you use Windows 8 regularly you discover pretty quick that it’s simple to exist entirely in the Windows 7 style desktop environment and hardly ever look at the start screen/touch UI. A lot of the complaints have been overblown and are just standard freaking out about any perceived change.

  130. 130
    Skip Schloss says:

    I work in computer tech. I stopped by a local shop the other day and fooled around with a demo machine they had out front, running Windows 8.

    I messed around with it for fifteen minutes or so and turned to the shop owner, told him “If you own Microsoft stock, sell it.”

    I could not make a lick of sense out of that interface, been fooling with computers since 1990. And this is an OS that, theoretically, has been refined after thousands of hours of user testing and feedback.

    No, corporations and government offices are not going to upgrade to Windows 8, not if they can help it.

    Not any time soon.

    On the other hand, maybe I’m just a klutz and don’t “get it”.

    But…I don’t get it.

  131. 131
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    My desktop is 7 yrs old and starting to be buggy so I’m looking at a replacement. It won’t be a pc because I’m not going with win8. That leaves apple or running lynx, which I have not been able to get to print anything. So apple it is. I think that making everyone run win8 is going to be the biggest mistake ms has ever made and that’s going some. And it is of course going to hurt pc sales when people find out how crappy win8 is and is their only choice.

  132. 132
    👽 Martin says:

    @Skip Schloss:

    And it is of course going to hurt pc sales when people find out how crappy win8 is and is their only choice.

    We’re preparing to do a 200+ seat hardware refresh at work. We’ve got the money, but have spent 6 months trying to find PCs to buy. They’re basically all shit. The folks doing the rollout have essentially decided that the only realistic solution is to buy Apple hardware and install Windows 7 on it. They just haven’t actually accepted that Apple hardware is really their best choice so they keep shopping, but they’ve frankly had it. They can’t get vendors to call them, they can’t get service agreements, they can’t get any assurance on specific components. There’s cheaper stuff out there, but they don’t feel its worth buying with the failure rates they’re seeing.

    Strange times.

  133. 133
    Eolirin says:

    @Skip Schloss: Yeah, you’re a klutz, pretty much. :P (Joking, joking.)

    It is fairly different than what you’d be used to, but it’s also extremely simple to use, once you know how it works. If you’d never used a Windows PC before, you’d probably find it easier to use, even.

    The desktop is almost exactly the same, so nothing that you used to do in 7 is particularly different in 8. You can still type to search on the Start Screen just like you could in the Start Menu too. So Win-key+type+enter works just like it used to for launching programs. The only real difference if you’re spending most of your time in desktop is aesthetic – the start screen is fullscreen instead of a popup. But you can mostly ignore or avoid the new stuff.

    But even though you can still use it that way, the desktop isn’t really the core of the UI anymore; the Start Screen and the new style apps are, with the desktop being more of a legacy mode. The entire desktop is treated very much like just another app, even if, under the hood, a lot more than that is going on.

    Once you take that into account, the UI is consistent. The core UI actions work the same regardless of whether you’re in a new style app or the desktop. Using a mouse, your corners are your targets for everything; left clicking the bottom left moves you back to the start screen, much like the start button opened the start menu (win-key still works, and right clicking gives you a really nice set of shortcuts to power user functions), clicking top left switches between open apps and lets you snap one app next to another (via click and drag, or right click), sliding down from the top left opens a bar showing all your open apps, sliding from either of the right corners opens the charm bar, which gives you quick access to a set of common functions: search, share, devices, and settings; this is handy because those things can behave differently depending on which app you have open, but they’re always in exactly the same places and got at in exactly the same ways. And you can close apps by click and dragging from the top of the screen or right clicking from the top left corner/side. The one thing that doesn’t work the same in apps and in the desktop is that right clicking in an app opens an app bar that has menu items on it across the bottom of the screen. This is everything you have to learn to use the UI.

    Honestly not a big deal. All you have to remember is corners and right click.

    Now there are some weird things; the power button is in the Settings charm and printing in Windows 8 style apps is under the Devices charm. And there are some issues that occur because certain things, like plugin and full flash support in browsers and control panel settings, are only accessible in the desktop view, while other things, like the share and devices charms, are (mostly) restricted to the new Windows 8 style apps. But there honestly aren’t very many things like this, and they’re relatively minor issues.

    But there’s a lot of room to have serious issues with how it handles things aesthetically. And that’s legitimate. Aesthetically, it’s a bigger break from Windows than it is functionally, and not liking those changes is plenty of reason not to use it. But it’s emphatically not less functional; while you can argue that changes aren’t providing much, if any value, on a standard PC – the changes are to support Windows 8 style apps, and needing those on a desktop is questionable at best – it’s mostly that it’s different, rather than harder or easier to do things. It’s still plenty easy to do things.

    And it all makes 100% sense on touch. Using Windows 8 on a tablet feels really good.

  134. 134
    justinb says:

    FYWP

Comments are closed.