Greg's Bite: The high tech race to mediocrity
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's Bite: The high tech race to mediocrity

By Greg Mills

I just read an article where the author listed both the smart and stupid moves Microsoft made for the year. I was struck by the lack of anything revolutionary coming from the intellectually challenged Redmond campus. The Kinect video game sensor more or less topped the list of recently smart moves made by Ballmer. Even Kinect was purchased technology rather than innovation that came out of the massively funded R&D efforts at Microsoft. Microsoft has entered the "declining to irrelevance" phase of tech company evolution.

Steve Jobs famously declared the PC dead and predicted the mobile OS in tablet form was the future of computing. Many would beg to disagree, but the falling numbers in the PC industry prove him right as rain. HP came close to pulling the plug on PCs due to a declining profit margins that may entirely disappear soon.

I was furious that my daughter's school spend money on new PCs rather than iPads. I told the principal that, had she asked me, I could have done a bit of dumpster diving behind the Apple store and retrieved a bunch of more recent PCs than they were currently using, for free. My daughter laments that the computers at school are "so dumb" compared to our Macs at home.

When the principal told me the PC platform choice was due to the computer teacher not being "familiar" with anything but PCs, I sarcastically suggested they ought to fire him and get someone who could teach something useful to our kids. My daughter will soon inherit my iPad 1 when I buy an iPad 3, and I have already told her to take it to school and use it there. Her teacher has already asked her to please dumb down some of her graphics projects assignments she did on the iMac, as "it was not fair to the other children for her to use a Mac when they were stuck with PCs." Hum, explain that comment away Microsoft.

Kodak, as another example of the tech business life cycle, might not be a living noun much longer. Who would have thought 10 years ago that the main brand name associated with photography would have been allowed to fade to black? Two or three years ago Blockbuster was the big gun in video rental with massive video rental stores on street corners around the country. Sears, the biggest retail store chain in the history of the US, is apparently in a rapid market decline that likely will see it go belly up. Even NetFlix recently shot itself in the foot. Apple could screw up, but that seems remote since they are clearly the industry leader and seem to be making all the right moves.

Companies go through distinct stages of development and can survive or fail during technologically challenging times brought on by innovation that didn't happen in their house. Radical competition in the high tech industry tends to be fostered by start-ups, Apple currently being the only major exception. Even the eternal "foot in the mouth," court jester of high tech writers John C. Dvorak, is going long on Apple stock and admitted that Apple is doing all the right things.

Microsoft has been a follower for so long that the company culture has developed there where a "just acceptable" level of product performance is okay. Unfortunately, the culture of innovation is hard to learn and elusive to teach. Entrenched managers can encourage out-of-the-box thinking or kill it outright, without a second thought.

Case in point: the Windows Mobile OS. While most reviewers agree that the very late-to-the-party, Windows Mobile OS is okay, no one has been able to find any killer features in it that compel consumers to demand a Windows smartphone. Apple long ago discovered the killer feature that drives sales had to be easily understood and heavily advertised to push viral sales. Siri, for example, isn't the first voice activation software, but it sure is the best. No article I have ever read that was written by someone outside of the Microsoft sphere of employment (MSNBC for example) says of Windows Mobile "that it wasn't the first, but sure is the best." That simply isn't true and everyone knows it, including Microsoft.

One of the amazing headlines over the last year was also tremendously revealing was, "Microsoft pays Nokia a billion dollars to ditch the Android OS in favor of Windows Mobile." Ballmer knew Nokia wouldn't choose to go with his new Mobile OS without a lot of "encouragement" or outright bribery. Actually, many at Nokia were furious and think their CEO, who came to them from Microsoft, made a mistake that will take Nokia down. That may well be true, as the long awaited Nokia smartphones that run Windows Mobile have not been selling worth a hoot.

Apple is poised to continue to eat Nokia and RIM's lunch as their smartphone market share continues to slide towards Apple and Android. While Microsoft recently announced that they are up to 50,000 apps for Windows Mobile, one has to wonder how much money developers are getting from their efforts. As I have blogged before, the infrastructure of a valid mobile OS is complicated and has critical elements that are required for the OS to survive. The HP Palm platform crashed and burned for specific reasons that might also doom Windows Mobile.

Hardware is important but at the end of the day, any of the big electronics companies can create acceptable handsets. The OS has to be solid, but even a solid OS isn't a slam dunk foundation for success, as there has to be a valid assortment of apps and a developer community that is making money creating content for the platform. How many platforms is there room for? Microsoft hopes the answer is three. I am not so sure it isn't two.

What good is great hardware without useful apps? Ask RIM that question. The reason the RIM PlayBook crashed was not for lack of good hardware, but for lack of useful features we have been taught to expect by Apple's successful iPhone/iPad platform. Who needs a tablet that can't even do email? How about a tablet that can only hook up to the Internet by tethering with just one brand of smartphone? Even die-hard BlackBerry users revolted, and the PlayBook disaster may actually take RIM down.

Rumblings in the TV manufacturing business segment foretell a shakeout there that may see Sony tumble from being the defacto industry leader to somewhere much lower in the TV market share index. Sony has tended to push quality and features as the reason to pay more for the virtual commodity flat screen TV. Newcomers like Visio have captured a significant share of what used to be Sony's chunk of the market. Sony failed to make the transition from the cathode ray "Trintron" to flat screen TVs that were competitive price wise. Even today, cruise a Wal-mart electronics department. While Sony is still selling TVs, the price is as much as 50% more that volume leaders such as Visio. Can Apple break into the declining TV market? It will take something so revolutionary, I can't think what it might be. Apple, I want to be amazed.

Amazon and Microsoft both claim to have an iPad killer in the wings ready to steal the bacon from Apple this spring. The problem for them is that the iPad 1 and 2 they are still trying hard to match will soon be eclipsed by iPad 3 and send them back to the drawing board. While the $200 Amazon tablet is selling, compared to the iPad, it is crappy and perhaps not worth less than half what an iPad is worth. The Android patent infringement situation is about to blow up in Google's face. 2012t will be an interesting year with a lot to write about.

That is Greg's Bite for today.

GregMills@Mac.com

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Box Sync 4.0.6567 - Online synchronizati...
Box Sync gives you a hard-drive in the Cloud for online storage. Note: You must first sign up to use Box. What if the files you need are on your laptop -- but you're on the road with your iPhone? No... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.4 - Easy-to-use b...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.3.1 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
Monosnap 3.1.2 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap lets you capture screenshots, share files, and record video and .gifs! Capture: Capture full screen, just part of the screen, or a selected window Make your crop area pixel perfect with... Read more
Alfred 2.7.2 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.19 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.3 - Create diagrams, flow...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.3.2 - Edit and print passwo...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Ableton Live 9.2.2 - Record music using...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.3.1.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more

This Week at 148Apps: August 24-28, 2015
The Apps of August With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out... | Read more »
NASCAR in Real Racing 3? Sure, Why Not?
I have to give Firemonkeys credit - it's very cool of them to add NASCAR to Real Racing 3 via an update rather than making a separate game for it. But that's a different discussion for another time; for now let's sit back and enjoy driving in... | Read more »
The nuyu is an Inexpensive Activity Moni...
Today, Health o Meter nuyu has announced a series of health and fitness-related products, including the aforementioned activity monitor along with a wireless scale. All at a decent pricepoint, no less. [Read more] | Read more »
The Makers of Overkill are Trying Someth...
Craneballs, the studio responsible for the Overkill series, is taking a little break from all that violence (a little break) to bring us Cube Worm - a 3D take on one of the most classic PC/calculator games in existence. [Read more] | Read more »
The Sandbox Welcomes Cutethulu in its La...
Another month, another update to Pixowl's The Sandbox. This time players can say hello to "Cutethulu" - an adorable little rendition of perhaps the most well known (and infamous) of the Elder Gods. [Read more] | Read more »
ReBoard: Revolutionary Keyboard (Utilit...
ReBoard: Revolutionary Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Do everything within the keyboard without switching apps! If you are in WhatsApp, how do you schedule a... | Read more »
Tiny Empire (Games)
Tiny Empire 1.1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1.3 (iTunes) Description: Launch cannonballs and blow tiny orcs into thousands of pieces in this intuitive fantasy-themed puzzle shooter! Embark on an... | Read more »
Astropad Mini (Productivity)
Astropad Mini 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% off introductory price! ​*** Get the high-end experience of a Wacom tablet at a fraction of the price with Astropad... | Read more »
Emo Chorus (Music)
Emo Chorus 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Realistic Choir simulator ranging from simple Chorus emulation to full ensemble Choir with 128 members. ### introductory offer... | Read more »
Forest Spirit (Games)
Forest Spirit 1.0.5 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.5 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

WaterField Designs Unveils American-Made, All...
San Francisco’s WaterField Designs today unveiled their all-leather Cozmo 2.0 — an elegant attach laptop bag with carefully-designed features to suit any business environment. The Cozmo 2.0 is... Read more
Apple’s 2015 Back to School promotion: Free B...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP,...
B&H Photo has 11″ & 13″ MacBook Airs with 128GB SSDs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $799.99, $100 off MSRP... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679, save $...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Apple and Cisco Partner to Deliver Fast-Lane...
Apple and Cisco have announced a partnership to create a “fast lane” for iOS business users by optimizing Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The alliance integrates iPhone with Cisco enterprise... Read more
Apple offering refurbished 2015 13-inch Retin...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $270 (15%) off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Apple refurbished 2015 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $999.99 $100 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off - 21″ 2.9GHz iMac... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP, fre...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149.99 $2199.99, $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…field and consistent professional recruiting achievement. Job Description: Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Read more
Simply Mac- *Apple* Specialist- Store Manag...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer for Apple products and solutions. We're looking for dedicated individuals with a passion to simplify and enhance the Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…field and consistent professional recruiting achievement. Job Description: Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.