By Greg Mills
The press is full of interesting stories of Apple’s roadkill this week. Leading the long list of the serially flummoxed is RIM, which has continued to lose market share and stock value due to stumbling about the market with lackluster products.
One tech product reviewer likened the RIM PlayBook to a venereal disease. No one wants it. He has tried to return a loaner PlayBook he was asked to review by RIM, without success. In his words, “It (the PlayBook) is the herpes of tablets — once you have it, you can’t get rid of it.”
He speculates that they don’t even want that PlayBook at RIM’s headquarters. The dual headed CEO situation at RIM is sort of like a troll, I guess. RIM has recently lost one-third of its value. Management at RIM places the blame squarely at the feet of Steve Jobs. They don’t think Steve is a nice man. He ruined their thriving BlackBerry business. The truth is that, RIM has squandered its business due to not innovating enough to stay up with the leaders. When you sell products that no one wants, you lose money.
Nokia continues to bleed market share. It has lost so much market value since signing on with Microsoft it has attract several buyout rumors. When a storied giant of the industry falls as far as Nokia has, it becomes a takeover target for those wanting to shore up their own market share. Recent rumors of Microsoft buying Nokia outright are still being heard, but Samsung is also now rumored to be sniffing around. Someone may well buy Nokia while it is down. I am sure Steve Ballmer can bid the value up enough he will be willing to buy Nokia at a premium price. He showed how to do that when he bought Skype.
Nokia has blundered very badly in the upper end of the cell phone market with nothing to compete with the iPhone or iPad. Nokia does own the throwaway, freebie cell phone market for phones the carriers give away with a two-year contract. Nokia is right up there with RIM on the list of those flummoxed by Apple. One minor note: Nokia is in Finland, not Norway, as I erroneously mentioned in a previous article. My deepest apology to Norway for that insult.
The Android platform has been trying to overcome a problem with apps that contain malware. Open platforms are also open for badly written apps that drain power or set up the user for various other problems. A number of Android apps have recently been pulled due to malware in their code. The iPhone and iPad are unaffected.
Apple, with roughly one-fourth the market for smartphones, takes over half the profit of the entire industry. They don’t bother to compete with the lower end but may enter the midrange market with a mini iPhone. They need to compete with the midrange Android market and certainly can afford to do so when they get their design right.
Microsoft, the eternal copycat, has gotten whacked by the courts for patent infringement to the tune of US$290,000,000. The US Supreme Court refused to change the standard of evidence required to render patents invalid in court. There is a presumption that patents are valid in the legal system.
While that is arguably questionable due to the poor quality of the work product flowing out of the patent office, once an inventor finally gets an infringer into court, the court is right to assume the patent at issue is valid. It really can be no other way. Microsoft wants it both ways. They want their own patents upheld and their copyrights enforced, but also want to steal the socks off anyone they don’t think has the money to beat them in court. The bully on the block is sort of the mental image I get.
Finally, the issue of privacy in high tech never seems far off. Recently FaceBook has turned on a facial recognition feature without notifying users. The cool feature to some is an invasion of privacy to others. Like the recent location issue at Apple, it isn’t so much that they did it, it is fact that they didn’t announce the feature. The right to know what your devices are doing is really a fundamental right for consumers.
That’s Greg’s Bite, anyway
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He’s also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustrySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg’s art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org )