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

ExpanDrive 5.4.6 - $49.99
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Apple Pages 6.1.1 - Apple's word pr...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more
Apple Numbers 4.1.1 - Apple's sprea...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
Apple Keynote 7.1.1 - Apple's prese...
Easily create gorgeous presentations with the all-new Keynote, featuring powerful yet easy-to-use tools and dazzling effects that will make you a very hard act to follow. The Theme Chooser lets you... Read more
Espresso 5 - Powerful HTML, XML, CSS, an...
Espresso is back. For people who make delightful, innovative, and fast websites -- in an app to match. Espresso helps you write, code, design, build, and publish with flair and efficiency.... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.47 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Dash 4.0.3 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API documentation browser and code snippet manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
Posterino 3.3.6 - Create posters, collag...
Posterino offers enhanced customization and flexibility including a variety of new, stylish templates featuring grids of identical or odd-sized image boxes. You can customize the size and shape of... Read more
Together 3.8.3 - Store and organize all...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Features Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop... Read more
iClock Pro 3.4.9 - Customize your menuba...
iClock Pro is a menu bar replacement clock for Apple's default clock. iClock Pro is an update, total rewrite and improvement to the popular iClock. Have the day, date and time in different fonts and... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Minimalist puzzle game, Cuts, free on iO...
If you're looking for a gorgeous puzzle experience on iOS devices, developer Gamebra.in's aesthetically interesting puzzler, Cuts, is discounted to free on the iOS App Store right now. [Read more] | Read more »
Anime tactical RPG, War of Crown, comes...
If you're looking for another tactical RPG fix to go alongside your Fire Emblem Heroes campaigns check out Gamevil's newest, anime-inspired tactics RPG, War of Crown, which comes out tomorrow. [Read more] | Read more »
Fantasy MMORPG MU Origin adds new modes,...
MU Origin, Webzen’s highly popular fantasy MMORPG is getting ready to shake things up for the second time this year, as a new update makes its way to the Google Play and App Store from today. Introducing new systems, modes, and events, the land of... | Read more »
Blizzard is looking to hire a mobile dev...
A new thread on the popular video game rumor forum, NeoGAF, uncovered an interesting job listing over at Blizzard Entertainment. It appears the studio behindStarCraft, World of WarCraft, Hearthstone,andOverwatch is looking to bring on a new hire... | Read more »
Legend of Zelda meets Cooking Mama in ne...
Dungeon Chef is what happens when you mix the RPG elements (and style) of a Legend of Zelda game, with cooking elements. Although, now that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also has cookingelements, so maybe the gameplay is not so novel.... | Read more »
ChordFlow (Music)
ChordFlow 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: ChordFlow is a chord sequencer with a unique 4-track polyphonic arpeggiator, extensive chord library, MIDI out and Ableton Link... | Read more »
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is out...
The newest season of Telltale Games'The Walking Dead is well underway. After the release of the third episode, "Above the Law" about a month ago, episode four, "Thicker Than Water" is hot and ready for more zombies and gut-wrenching emotional... | Read more »
Best games we played this week
Another week, another new wave of mobile games do dive into. We've dug through the list of apps that came out this week to tell you which apps are worth your sweet time. And while there weren't too many games this week, there were some big ones.... | Read more »
Vignettes (Games)
Vignettes 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Vignettes is a casual but unique exploration game without text or characters, where objects shapeshift as you spin them around... | Read more »
Get Me Outta Here is an 80s retro shoote...
Are you ready to fight some aliens? Because Crescent Moon Games has released the retro shooter Get Me Outta Here on iOS devices today. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

HyperX Ships Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse, Winn...
Your reporter is a longtime fan of gaming mice for general purpose coomnputing use, finding them typically superior in comfort and performance. HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc... Read more
Penske Truck Leasing Unveils “Penske Fleet” M...
Penske Truck Leasing has introduced a free mobile app called “Penske Fleet” to benefit its full-service truck leasing and contract maintenance customers. The mobile app enables Penske’s customers to... Read more
DEVONthink To Go 2.1.3 For iOS Adds New Declu...
DEVONtechnologies has updated DEVONthink To Go, its iOS companion to DEVONthink for Mac. Enhancements and bug fixes in Version 2.1.3 include DEVONtechnologies’ new decluttering service for clipping... Read more
Use Apple’s Education discount to save up to...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store 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
Apple refurbished Apple Watches available sta...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches for 14-16% off MSRP, starting at $229. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each watch. Shipping is free: Series... Read more
15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros, Apple refurbi...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros for $360 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 o...
Overstock.com has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for $1...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
15-inch 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale...
Amazon has 2016 15″ 2.7GHz Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $150-$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (sku MLH42LL/A): $2599 $200... Read more
Apple now offering Certified Refurbished 13-i...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros for $270-$300 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.9GHz... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Mac Computer Technician - GeekHampto...
…complex computer issues over the phone and in person? GeekHampton, Long Island's Apple Premium Service Provider, is looking for you! Come work with our crew Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 56881986 Middletown, NY, New York, United States Posted: Apr. 17, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**489879BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000402-Utica-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** At Read more
Music Marketing Lead, iTunes & *Apple*...
# Music Marketing Lead, iTunes & Apple Music Job Number: 56868140 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Apr. 17, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.