Archive for November, 2011

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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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Old story, told again (with a twist)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Old story, told again (with a twist)
Reading Steve Jobs’ biography, I’ve got reminded of the old claim that Microsoft copied (or stole, as Jobs put it) the graphical user interface, making it the backbone of their operating system’s success (while, for Apple, it was just one feature that helped make the product desirable). I find Bill Gates’s summary of the events – told to Jobs- quite funny: “Steve, it’s like me breaking into Xerox PARC to steal their TV set , just to find out that you already stole it” 🙂
Reading the details of that story, largely irrelevant today, it struck me how similar it is to a more recent story, involving this time Apple and Google. Even the most hard core Android fan boys have to admit that its touch interface is a shameless copycat of iOS’s interface (poor Apple, the one subject to a double robbery 😉 ). But, there’s a twist: this time around, Google also copied the philosophy: they make use of it just to promote their other, real product: search.
Nevertheless, to me this is history repeating itself with a little twist.

Reading Steve Jobs’ biography, I’ve got reminded of the old claim that Microsoft copied (or stole, as Jobs put it) the graphical user interface, making it the backbone of their operating system’s success (while, for Apple, it was just one feature that helped make the product desirable). I find Bill Gates’s summary of the events – told to Jobs- quite funny: “Steve, it’s like me breaking into Xerox PARC to steal their TV set , just to find out that you already stole it” 🙂

Reading the details of that story, largely irrelevant today, it struck me how similar it is to a more recent story, involving this time Apple and Google. Even the most hard core Android fan boys have to admit that its touch interface is a shameless copycat of iOS’s interface (poor Apple, the one subject to a double robbery 😉 ). But, there’s a twist: this time around, Google also copied the philosophy: they make use of it just to promote their other, real product: search.

Nevertheless, to me this is history repeating itself with a little twist.

Just how small the mobile room really is

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
o doubt, we are witnessing fast paced changes in the mobile landscape. The emergence of Android; the downfall of Nokia; the aquisition of Motorola by Google; Microsoft’s fightback; the departure of Ericsson – all are events that would have taken years to play out in the good old days of the last century – yet, all this happened within little more than a year.
At closer look however, the mobile industry seems to have room for just a few players. With all its meteoric rise, Android only generates healthy profit for two of its fans – Samsung and HTC – while the others are barely making ends meet, if at all (it also generates revenue for Google through search and Microsoft through patent licensing, but that’s a different story). Things might get even murkier if Motorola will get preferential treatments.
Or, take tablets: after almost two years Apple still rules, with the others folding their offerings quicker than you may read their names (with the late exception of Samsung). Microsoft is throwing money around, but perhaps with the exception Nokia, no one is making much out of it. It’s likely that Nokia will enter the tablet field with an ARM and Windows 8 based tablet with a good fighting chance, but the rest will find it a hard act to follow.
So, where will this lead us? It’s only a matter of time in my humble opinion before RIM goes out of business (perhaps bought by Nokia to smooth the entry to the US market) and there will be just three ecosystems left: iOS possibly merged with OS X, dominating the tablet market and a healthy market share in mobiles; Android, as a copycat with a significantly larger market share; and Windows, catering for business users and gaining a healthy share of the tablet market. But, all these ecosystems will be dominated by just a few players: Apple (iOS), Samsung or HTC (Android, with likely one of them entering a path of slow decline) and Nokia (Windows).
The rest? As Mark Knopfler says in one of his songs: “those who don’t like the danger soon find something different to try”

No doubt, we are witnessing fast paced changes in the mobile landscape. The emergence of Android; the downfall of Nokia; the aquisition of Motorola by Google; Microsoft’s fightback; the departure of Ericsson – all are events that would have taken years to play out in the good old days of the last century – yet, all this happened within little more than a year.

At closer look however, the mobile industry seems to have room for just a few players. With all its meteoric rise, Android only generates healthy profit for two of its fans – Samsung and HTC – while the others are barely making ends meet, if at all (it also generates revenue for Google through search and Microsoft through patent licensing, but that’s a different story). Things might get even murkier if Motorola will get preferential treatments.

Or, take tablets: after almost two years Apple still rules, with the others folding their offerings quicker than you may read their names (with the late exception of Samsung). Microsoft is throwing money around, but perhaps with the exception Nokia, no one is making much out of it. It’s likely that Nokia will enter the tablet field with an ARM and Windows 8 based tablet with a good fighting chance, but the rest will find it a hard act to follow.

So, where will this lead us? It’s only a matter of time in my humble opinion before RIM goes out of business (perhaps bought by Nokia to smooth the entry to the US market) and there will be just three ecosystems left: iOS possibly merged with OS X, dominating the tablet market and a healthy market share in mobiles; Android, as a copycat with a significantly larger market share; and Windows, catering for business users and gaining a healthy share of the tablet market. But, all these ecosystems will be dominated by just a few players: Apple (iOS), Samsung or HTC (Android, with likely one of them entering a path of slow decline) and Nokia (Windows).

The rest? As Mark Knopfler says in one of his songs: “those who don’t like the danger soon find something different to try”