Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome: WebKit Triumphant

Chrome: "Safari for Enterprises that have a bias against Apple but wish they had a browser that didn't suck."

Guess what? It's based on Safari WebKit.

Google Chrome is also Destined(TM) to become known as "the browser that finally liberated the internet from the tyranny of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Oh, and if you are not yet convinced of the terrifying prescience of idiocracy, then you need to check out the architecture white-paper on Google Chrome.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

free pizza

Pizza Box is the comercial to best. If they can make Jerry as funny as the PC Guy... Sigh... My heart just isn't in this. I wish Ballmer would go find an actor and leave me out of it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ad campaign to revitalize Microsoft

Microsoft taps Seinfeld to el battle Apple in new ad campaign

"The upcoming campaign is to be "the brainchild of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Miami-based ad shop that has helped revitalize brands such as Burger King."

The Burger King brand has been revitalized? I must have missed that.

So, uh... the first I heard about appearing in commercials with Jerry Seinfeld was this morning. I told Ballmer, "Dude! I'm RETIRED. Do you know what that means?" and he said, "Hey, read your contract." Sigh. I'm going to be a laughing stock.

I'm going to be forced by contract to appear in not just one, but a series of commercials with a washed-up has-been comedian who is so sensitive about the fact that he hasn't done anything for over a decade that he brow beats nice little old Larry King. Larry just handed him a nice little freebee so he can remind the 50% of the viewing audience who has never heard of Jerry Seinfeld because they are too young, that Jerry was once The King of Television Comedy. No, Jerry's bristles, and open fire on Larry King, and doesn't let up.

Jerry, I founded a little company called Microsoft. Do you know who I am?

Good grief.

Problem is, we were apparently turned down by every young hip comedian on the planet, forget Chris Rock, we were turned down by A String, the B String, the C String... and even by G String amateur comedienne Mary Carey.

With Seinfeld on board, what might have been a cool, hip ad campaign, now will reek of desperation in nearly the same way that the right wing nut jobs do. They're out of gas. They're old and tired. People are catching on to their cynical bid for ever more power. As an example, listen to Rush Limbaugh, poster child for desperate talk radio nut jobs, faced with a nation that's tired of being hijacked by would-be theocracy founders who want to pencil out the Constitution one line at a time until the only thing left is the Second Amendment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Thanks to a friend who wrangled me an invitation to a beta program, I can now blog from anywhere with an iPhone (I'm not allowed to say "my iPhone", officially this unit is for opposition research). Well, for certain sets of "anywhere" which are also subsets of the AT&T definition for "nation wide coverage", which is not all that much like "anywhere" as we normally think of it. Still, it's liberating, compared to the laptop wifi universe of coffee shops and hotel lobbies. iPhone will completely change the world of blogging.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Apple slips the purple helmeted shaft to iPhone developers

A frustrated iPhone developer blind carbon copied me on this email they sent to Apple:

Sonofadamnbitch I'm so fucking mad at all you fucking iPhone Application Store fucks at fucking Apple.

Whatever the fuck you did to fuck our database record so we can't generate a proper certificate, which in turn prevents us from shipping the application we invested many tens of thousand of dollars to build, which in turn prevents us from generating any revenue from the application, is *still* not fucking fixed, even though you've told us several times now, "OK, it's fixed."

Every fucking week it's the same fucking thing.
We fixed it.
No you fucking didn't.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
It's fixed now.
No, no it's fucking bloody not fucking fixed.

If I wanted this kind of fucking treatment, I would develop applications for fucking Microsoft. Oh, wait. If I did that, a simple fucking db error at Microsoft wouldn't BLOCK REVENUE GENERATION FOR A MONTH WITH NO HOPE IN SIGHT WHILE MY LAME-ASS COMPETITION RUNS OFF WITH MY MARKET SHARE.


This is the kind of thing that drives developers into becoming postal workers as a lifestyle stress reduction step.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Zune Tatoo Guy Switches to iPod Touch

The Money Quote from an iPhone Savior interview with the Zune Tattoo Guy:
"I did not get my tattoos to be intentionally bashed, nor did I make my recent announcement and jump to iPod to bring back those attackers. I'm doing this because I can see the future and the Zune just isn't part of the future."

Unlike me, he cannot see the future until it gets really, really close to his face.

That video is the Zune Tattoo Guy's farewell video to YouTube, which he posted about his conversion.

Did somebody forget to send his monthly shipment of Twinkies, or what? I'm so glad this isn't my problem, any longer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Symbian is toast

Here's why Symbian is not relevant.

1. They have a Vice President of Strategy
2. Who says that their goal is for symbian OS "to become the most widely used software on the planet"
3. And who says that in order to achieve their goal they need:
(a) new offices,
(b) a new system of voting.

John Forsyth actually thinks that changing the way the committee of Symbian deciders (sarcasm intended) decide what the default colors are and which of four unfathomable options will become the new default icon for "send an email" will make any diference.

new symbian launches mobile free-for-all

Hint: it's the lousy lowest common destupidator approach which will be your undoing. Microsoft, at least, will be capable of learning the right lessions from iPhone. It's probably a bit too early to short any stock tied up with symbian, but that day will come.

Hint 2: with 2 billion cell phones on the planet, the vast majority of them designed in the Bi (Before iPhone) era, in all liklihood symbian already blew its chance o become the most widely used software on the planet. Set some goals that might cause companies to stop trying (in vain) to license OSX, and maybe you'll get a second chance.

It's a feature (SlyDial)

Well that's just great. SlyDial has turned AT&T's 8th most annoying problem and turned it into a feature -- calling someone without their phone ringing. If AT&T notices, they'll turn it into a feature, too, and make us poor suckers pay to turn it off, so that the phone sometimes rings.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mobile Me(ss)

Apple's MobileMe doesn't support Microsoft Internet Explorer. Officially not much is said about why, but if you try to log in to MobileMe with IE, you get a panel prompting you to install Safari or FireFox. iPhone users who sign up for MobileMe will soon be adding to the growing stream of users fleeing IE for the brave new world of open web standards.

IE doesn't support open web standards very well. This was an intentional part of our strategy to extend our monopoly lock on the PC desktop to the Internet. We nearly succeded, and for a while it looked like a near inevitability.

It's starting to look now like Microsoft could be shut out of the next wave of Internet services, unless open standards are supported with the same diligence that we worked to undermine them.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Christmas in July, iPhone 3G with a lump of coal called AT&T

iPhone 3G coming soon, to billionaire and plebe alike. All the gadget geeks are giddy with anticipation. I'm stunned that Walt Mossberg was allowed to get one early, after dissing the MacBook Air like he did. Somebody probably had a little chat with him, first. They probably took it away from him when he was done writing the review, too.

The early reviews came out, and they are very positive.

For iPhone, the ‘New’ Is Relative

Newer, Faster, Cheaper iPhone 3G

Software and Online Store Will Widen Its Versatility, But There Are Hidden Costs

Apple's new iPhone 3G: Still not perfect, but really close

Santa's displaying a bit of ironic detachment this year, however, as he leaves in our stocking on July 11, a shiny new iPhone, along with a lump of coal.

The reviews don't mention the dark cloud behind the silver lining of the new iPhone 3G. There's really only one thing wrong with the iPhone,in the US market: It's still tied to AT&T. What a disaster of a phone company. None of them will talk to me about it, but I can see in their eyes that everyone at Apple, I mean everyone from el Jobso down to the janitor, is painfully aware that AT&T is holding them back in the US Market. Almost every iPhone user they talk to makes a point of mentioning it, and they are so weary of hearing it. Weary, like Americans traveling abroad are weary of hearing about what a tard our President is. Yeah, we Americans who travel abroad already know that. The perplexing 30% who manage to think Bushie is doing a great job don't seem to travel abroad, or if they do, they pretend to be Canadian, eh?

The only saving grace is that pretty much all cell phone companies in the US market suck, and people are beaten down so much by this fact that they wearily accept it.

Apple probably expected to comfortably exceed their stated goal of shipping 10 million iPhone by the end of 2008. They are likely to meet that goal, barring even worse economic news between now and December, but they won't exceed it by much. They had secretly hoped to sell nearly that many first generation units, but they sold 6 million. That's an amazing entrance for a device like this, nothing to sneeze at, but not quite as amazing as they wanted.

AT&T worked diligently day and night to counter balance the sky high customer satisfaction that people report with their iPhone. Everyone who has iPhone with AT&T tells their friends the same thing, "I love my iPhone, but AT&T is dreadful, and I will take my iPhone to another phone company the first day that I can do that, without jail breaking the phone." After giving them the benefit of doubt for a year, it now seems undeniable that the "new" AT&T is the same old AT&T, after all.

Obviously so many people were willing to jail break their phone to get away from AT&T that the registration process had to be changed to prevent people from buying a phone without the AT&T contract in the US market.

Their biggest complaints?

  • Spotty service, dropped calls, "No Service" at all, for a few minutes at a time in areas that, moments before, had 5-Bar service. Oh, sure, this can happen with any cell phone, but with AT&T it happens in areas that ought to have stellar coverage, like right in the heart of the major cities that AT&T likes to service, while ignoring most of the country. It happens chronically. It happens to AT&T customers using any type of phone, not just the iPhone.
  • Ignoring most of the country. There are several entire states where AT&T won't sell you a phone at all. There are ways to correct this, but AT&T doesn't appear to have any interest in actually providing nationwide service, only in claiming that they do so. Granted, this problem exists for certain other cell phone companies, too, but Verizon does a better job of providing service to non-urban areas of the US, by far.
  • Bills are random. AT&T customers get sold a flat rate plan where the bill is so complex that AT&T can't explain it to you when you call them. Flat rate plans somehow result in bills that are different from month to month. Overcharges are common, but you can't get them refunded because AT&T can't explain the bill to you in such a way that you could actually spot them.
  • AT&T rates are already Viking marauder "rape and pillage" rates, as compared to TMobile, Verizon, and other companies in the US. This one really bugs Apple. Apple's products are extraordinarily popular with young people, who today all have an iPod, and a cell phone -- a cell phone from any vendor other than AT&T because their rates are so much higher. The entry level iPhone plan is about twice as expensive as the rates paid by most of the under-thirty crowd that Apple dearly wants to use this phone. Apple's surveys show this as the number one barrier cited by potential under-thirty customers. They can't do anything about it yet, which is probably one of the reasons why iPhone 2.0 new features focus so clearly on the over-50-and-runs-a-company set, Enterprise CEO and other executives.

The best news for Apple is that they are getting iPhone into so many other countries that it doesn't really matter, this year, if AT&T continues to be the dinosaur that it has been. Apple will sell container loads of iPhones. Even in the US Market, iPhone has such a lead that it will continue to grow rapidly, despite the best efforts of AT&T to keep it down.

Get cracking AT&T. Listen to your customers. Listen to Apple. Fix your network. Stop trying to use a complicated billing system to generate revenue by cheating your loyal (e.g. locked in) customers. Think Different, and you could be the Apple of phone companies, loved, rather than hated by your customers. Your customers want to love you. Give them a chance.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Intel puts the squeeze on Microsoft

Some folks got all excited that Intel might be pondering a switch to the Macintosh for their corporate computing platform, after reading this article: Et Tu, Intel? Chip Giant Won’t Embrace Microsoft’s Windows Vista. That's not going to happen. Like most of the Fortune 500, Intel has got themselves so tightly wound around interlocking and ever changing Microsoft components, like almost-but-not-quite open directory servers, not-even-remotely-open Microsoft Office document formats, and compliant-with-open-standards-only-by-court-decree API that they can't leave us.

Intel is just putting the squeeze to us here at Microsoft. They essentially want us to give them Vista for free and beg them to upgrade.

No deal.

By Monday it will be them over there at Microsoft. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Real Reason for Palladium

It never ceases to amaze me that people think Microsoft is trying to take over the world with Palladium. Sure, being able to charge you 25 cents every time you make a copy of your own files would be great for our bottom line. But that's just additional marginal income to us.

The real reason is to prevent leaks of internal documents, memos, and motivational videos, like this one. A parody of The Boss was probably just not a good idea, but hey, it was a better idea than Vista itself. We've got a sales force to motivate.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Paid Shill Blows His Cover: Reinitilize Chadwick? [Cancel] [Allow]

If you were a friend of Chadwick Matlin, you may have noticed that his cell phone doesn't ring to voicemail any more, and he doesn't answer it, he's not at home, nobody's seen him at work. I'll explain in a bit, but you won't ever see him again, and if you do, he'll deny having ever met you.

What an embarrassing opening sentence. Dude, like you bury the stuff you're not totally sure about down below the third paragraph, where nobody sees it.

Rock the CashBack
"If there's one thing that the Microsoft-Yahoo off-again, on-again love affair has laid bare, it's how badly Microsoft blundered its mid-'90s search and advertising advantage."

If there's one thing that your recent column in Slate has laid bare, it's that you were either on some haze-inducing medication when you wrote that column, or you have no awareness of what Microsoft was doing in the '90s. Search and advertising advantage. Ha. How exactly did we manage that, when we basically denied the fact that the internet even existed until about 1996?

Sure, after that we pretended like we invented the thing, and lots of chumps in charge of Fortune 500 IT budgets believed us, but we never had a search and advertising advantage. That market really didn't exist except in theory until Google figured out a few things that made it work.

Sigh. Chadwick, I know this is covered in the training. This is entirely too obvious, even for us. Don't attempt to entirely fabricate or otherwise re-write history unless it's a team effort. Everybody has to say it at once, or it blows your cover.

Now we'll have to get you some plastic surgery and create a shiny new fake background for you, but we should be able to place you as a Microsoft shill at CNet or some place like that. You'll need a little re-education, though. We wouldn't want you to blunder like this again and blow your new cover identity.

Don't feel too bad, though, it was only a matter of time. We already fired the moron who came up with your fake identity and decided "Chadwick" was a name your mother could have picked.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bonobos, 81 percent, and the Crush on Obama Girl

Toward the end of Hillary! Stop the attacks! Love, Obama Girl, there is a brief shot, CNN virtual-discussion-panel-style with Obama on the left, and Obama Girl on the right wearing this t shirt which says "Bonobos". Surely this must be more than a product plug, or even a reference to Bonobos brand pants.

Perhaps she's referring intentionally to the chimpanzee species who employ a wide variety of sexual practices as conflict resolution techniques -- social lubricant, if you will. The daily lives of bonobos are fascinating because they are not entirely unlike people in some ways, including their many behaviors which undoubtedly shock and appall the religious right.

Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as "the 'I've got a crush on Obama' girl" must be aware of the connection. Bonobos are known for using sex, lots and lots of it, all manner of it, continually, to resolve social conflict.

Obama Girl's entire schtick is about that. Obama Girl is the personification of an idea, she's an actress supported by a creative team, so it might have been a group effort.

Her entire message is that Obama has a strong appeal to young women, to the point where she sings she has a crush on him, that lots and lots of people have a crush on him. Part of the driver behind the emotional response to Obama is undoubtedly due to his continually appearing to be "above the fray". Young women, in particular, but a certain segment of the population in general, tend to be alienated, if not outright repulsed, by politics, due to the stronger nature of their conflict-avoidance tendency, flight winning over fight.

Some people thrive on competition, conflict, and winning. The nature of the political process brings many, many more of those kinds of people into the political realm. In fact, it nearly excludes any other kind of person. Those people who thrive on competition and conflict win elections, because they are often willing to do whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes. Recently, that phrase has been been a regular part of the political banter about HIllary Clinton.

When "Uncle Duke," a fictional character in the Doonesbury cartoon, ran for president in the 2000 election, his campaign motto was "Whatever it Takes." Also more recently, Uncle Duke has been working for a K Street lobbying firm, attempting to reform the reputations of genocidal dictators, notably one from Berzerkistan.

There are a whole lot of people, in fact, perhaps something like 81%, in this country who are weary of the messes created by insider Washington politics. (81% in Poll Say Nation is Headed on Wrong Track) Hillary Clinton made the mistake of running as an insider.

Obama sensed the shifting mood of the country. And so did the Obama Girl.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

iMac's 10th birthday

Happy Birthday, iMac!

iMac Turns 10
"Users at the time complained of the lack of a floppy drive and the switch to using USB almost exclusively for peripherals -- a sharp break from Apple's reliance on SCSI and its in-house Apple Desktop Bus standard. The move was later regarded as forward-thinking and contributing to the iMac's ease of use."

Well, that's not exactly how it happened. Users didn't complain because they hadn't been using floppy drives. We at Microsoft paid the pundits in the industry to tell people that people were complaining. It was so effective that everyone thinks it really happened.

What really happened was the people started switching to the Mac, despite advice from the pundits. Pundits themselves started to take note of the systems, and couldn't deny the appeal of the radical departure from traditional PC design aesthetic, or rather, lack entirely thereof.

The rest of the quoted sentence is grammatically flawed, so the intent of its author is unclear. However, it would appear to imply that Apple Insider are suggesting that users complained about the switch from closed architecture proprietary connectors to open standards like USB. That's the first I ever heard of that. Like most of what they write, they just made that up.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Steve's Little Pony

Steve's Little Pony should stop giving interviews. It undoubtedly gives Sun investors the willies, every time. After confessing that he finally scraped together enough pennies to get an iPhone, Steve's Little Pony goes on to sound like an un-reformed dot-commer.

The Engadget Mobile Interview: Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun

Q: In terms of Java on mobile platforms, a couple years back you guys picked up SavaJe and shortly thereafter announced the JavaFX Mobile platform, but we really haven't heard anything about that since...

A: Well I invite you to attend the JavaOne conference where we will be unveiling exactly what that looks like now. Because we have obviously made a huge amount of progress. And look, we are going to be delivering an open source phone. That doesn't happen overnight, but when it does happen I think it will fundamentally change the economics of the marketplace and create new opportunities for developers.

Sell your JAVA stock short, if you think Steve's Little Pony honestly believes that an open source phone will "fundamentally change the economics of the marketplace" for phones, in a way that an open source desktop operating system has failed, after trying since about 1991, to fundamentally change the economics of the marketplace for desktop computers. Steve's Little Pony ought to know this lesson by heart. After all, Linux, even while failing over and over and over to make even a dent in the desktop market, managed to seriously disrupt the server market, Sun's core market, to the point where all the major players except Apple and Microsoft feel compelled to offer Linux alternatives to their own server operating systems.

Steve's Little Pony continues his answer.

"Right now we estimate we have about a 1.5 to 2 billion Java runtimes on phones out there so we are on the majority of all phones, certainly the huge majority of the new phones (Apple is probably the one exception). And that creates lots of opportunities for developers -- that's our core constituency and I think we can just continue to build innovations that they care about.

But what they ultimately care about, the one innovation that they all care about is volume. So the fact that they can run an app on a billion phones means that they have a billion times the market opportunity than if they just run on one that has four million devices. "

Just like web browsers, Java is on a billion and a half phones... in the pockets of people who don't even realize their phone has a browser and don't know what Java is. As is the case with web browsers on phones, Java performs poorly and the interface of the phone is so cumbersome that all of the top technology companies in the world have failed to turn two billion phones into a market at all.

See, Java is on a billion or so PCs in the world, too, give or take. How has that market played out for the third party ISV? Oh, that's right. There really aren't any third party ISV making desktop software in Java, on any desktop platform, because the user experience sucks. The only people building applications like that right now are producing custom applications for the enterprise. The users of those systems will tell you, almost universally, those applications suck. The users hate the applications, and all Sun gets out of it is a stain on the Java brand. IBM and their stable of $10.00 per hour programming sweat shops in India are getting all the revenue.

Apple's market with a base of what is now closer to 10 million phones, plus several million iPods Touch, might even be larger than the Java market on 2 Billion phones, in terms of potential revenue. By this time next year, we'll know the answer to that one.

Although I'm pretty keen on market share dominance, if you can't monetize that market share, it's just technological masturbation, like XBOX.

If you can't even deliver something that customers even realize they bought, then it's not even masturbation, it's just exposing your unit share in public, like Internet Explorer.

The curious part is that other players like IBM have managed to monetize Java to some degree, yet Sun has never really been able to do it, and for some reason doesn't seem much interested in emulating the success of the players who have done it, with Sun's own product.

Maybe Steve's Little Pony is afraid to score.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Desktop Virtual Reality with Head Tracking (using Wii Remote)

This is really cool. Is this guy working for us, yet?

I bet they're adding this to Duke Nukem Forever, which is why it's taking so long.

Woz hangin' with self-proclaimed "D-Lister" Kathy Griffin

Woz, Dude.

What's Hot:
Kathy Griffin a smart, and Pentium-hot red head. Some people apparently think she's funny, because she makes her living in comedy. I've never really understood most comedy myself, but I've been told that I'm not unique among high functioning autistic geeks.

Kathy is bold hot genius Über Frau smart. Like off the charts for the bold part. Like she dissed Jesus, and managed to get her brief Emmy award acceptance speech censored, bold.
Kathy Griffin's Jesus remark cut from Emmy show
A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus," an exultant Griffin said, holding up her statuette. "Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now."

What's not:
Kathy Griffin is not even a real D-Lister. She's an Emmy winner for crying out loud. Even if she ever was a D-Lister, which is doubtful, she certainly isn't any longer. It's time to get a new schtick. She had to call herself that, what, like a million times before anybody caught on, "Oh, you mean like Paris Hilton's friend in that home made movie, the one where it's mostly her head bobbing and the lighting sucks?" A D-Lister. Not on the A List, nor the B List. I get it. Ha.

What's Totally Not Appropriate:
Like dude. I know you were trying your damnedest not to ask the hot little Holly Scoop babe for her number. Kathy was digging her, too, man, and she clearly worships Kathy. Get Kathy to invite her to your next pool party. You know. Forget to invite the other guests. Party on, Woz!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why People Continue to Exclaim Surprise, Upon Seeing iPhone

OK, so I can't really use my iPhone in front of other people, for reasons you can guess. However, a few of my friends have mentioned to me lately that when they show their iPhone to people who haven't seen one yet (there are apparently still a few about) they get a reaction that surprised them, the first time they heard it. First timers, apparently, very often exclaim, with a note of genuine excitement,

"It works just like they show on tv!"

I've been thinking about why this should still be happening. It's been over seven months since the product hit the marketplace, and just over a year after it was announced, with great fanfare, and an unprecedented wealth of detailed online information and demonstrations at apple.com/iphone.

The continued amazement people exclaim when they first see an iPhone is a direct result of the way other companies advertise their phones. It causes people to simply and subconsciously dismiss what they see in the iPhone commercials. It can't possibly be that simple. It can't possibly do that much stuff. Those animations have got to be mock-ups, the real phone never works like you see in commercials.

In both television and online ads, and at vendor web sites, there is a tremendous amount of Exciting Animation!!! In marked contrast to Apple's approach, almost none of the animation from any other phone vendor actually shows you what happens on the phone.

What's revolutionary, really remarkable for any kind of tech advertising, really, is that in the iPhone commercials, the iPhone doesn't move.

Look at every other ad, even older iPod ads, and you'll see lots of dancing and jogging and flying gadgets. In iPhone commercials, the iPhone is big, and clear, front and center, and above all, stationary. iPhone doesn't move. All the motion conveys information. A finger flicks, a screen slides aside to make way for another. A finger pokes a button on screen, and weather information rises out of it, the "Djinni Effect", named by Apple for the cloud of smoke emerging from the lamp, from which the Djinni solidifies.

Notice the homage to the classic phone industry's "flying gadget" commercials, at the very end of every iPhone commercial. The only time the device is in motion is when the phone rings, and it's answered. The iPhone, in hand, slides to the side of the frame, similar to how you would see it as you lifted it to your ear. That is the only time in any iPhone commercial when the device moves.

The entire conceptual frame of the iPhone commercials is intentional, and derived from a design philosophy that Apple several years ago named, "User at the Center". The user is inside the iPhone commercial, as a viewer, it's easy to get pulled in, imagining it's your hand holding the phone, your finger that flicks the scrolling list, your ear to which the phone is lifted at the end when your friend calls.

Contrast every other phone, every other advertisement.

A year after Apple's approach to this product became clear, Nokia has just released the N96, which they hope will hold its own against iPhone. Click on the "Take a look" button for a peek at the very latest high tech pocket phone gadget, the Nokia N96. You'll be treated to an explosion of commotion, but really none of it giving you a sense of how to actually use the device, or how it might respond.

Why? Symbian, the system software on the Nokia phones, although it's undoubtedly improved over the N95, still sucks. Using the device is cumbersome and clunky. They can't show it to you in detail, because it would just point out how far behind they really are.

This same problem now haunts the other vendors, as well, regardless of which family of system software they're using, PalmOS, the Symbian variants, Linux, or Windows Mobile.

Blackberry takes the same basic approach in both their online animated gif ads, which basically show an updated variation of a "dancing line" style screen saver, which isn't something that actually runs on the phone, and also in their television ads, which use a tremendous amount of motion and animation, none of it related to what the phone actually does.

Blackberry's internal name for this ad campaign is "Hollywood Musical".[1] That's a cynical reference to the tendency in Hollywood musicals to substitute distraction and commotion for advancing a plot or developing characters through a story-line in any discernible way.

Seen on television by the same people who see Apple's iPhone ads, these "distract them with commotion" ads serve only to make Blackberry look impotent. They point out, in glaring brilliant white spotlights, the dramatic contrast with the obvious sexual potency of iPhone, a device from a future so bright it was only hinted at in science fiction before it actually arrived, a device that responds instantly to the slightest touch of your finger.

Sprint takes the gold star here, with a brilliant ad campaign. They realized how lame it was to try to fight back against Apple on Apple's own turf while Sprint was handicapped, with their only weapons being flashy animation and distraction.

Sprint said, no, we've got to move the game to another field altogether. We can't win a head-to-head against commercials showing real things really happening on a real iPhone. We just wind up looking lame if we take the Blackberry approach to using animation as a distraction.

Sprint moved the game. Their brilliant series of "Flashlight" commercial focus not on the service, and not on the devices. Instead, they focus the commercial on the commercial itself, the unusual, beautiful, and cool advertisement, a moment of curious and pleasant art, brought into your life by the benevolent and generous multinational corporation, Sprint, with just a dash of fantasies, hopes, and dreams thrown in for good measure.

Of course, it remains to be seen if these feel-good commercials can really do anything to stem the tide of smart phone users flowing from Sprint as their contracts expire, to AT&T. But they definitely get an E for Effort.

What Sprint is Selling (Dreams)...

What You Actually Get From Sprint...

And a nice little documentary, The Making of the Sprint Flashlight Commercials...

NOTE 1: OK, I made that up, about Blackberry's internal code name for their ad campaign. But it could be true. It should be true. In a metaphorical sense, it is true. I have no idea what their internal code name for this ad campaign was. Maybe it's "Surrender" or "Horked" or "Desperado".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

iPhone - used 50 x more than any other handset for internet

Yesterday Google said that it sees 50 times as many searches from Apple's iPhone as from any other handset. Yes, iPhone is so much better at accessing the internet that people actually do it, on their phone.

Heck, I use my iPhone sometimes when I'm in the same room with my laptop, and I've seen other people do it, too, without thinking about it. It's automatic. They want to know something, out comes the phone. I've even seen this happen once or twice when people are sitting in front of their computer. Their Windows computer. Sigh.

Even though Google is talking about it this week, (See: Google homes in on revenues from phones) please remember, you read it hear, first, several months ago: The Case of the Missing Browsers (Why the iPhone Can't Fail, Even if it Flops).

iPhone was already ahead in share of the phone based browser market by November, only five months after it went on sale. (See: iPhone Tops All Windows Mobile Devices, Combined, by November 2007)

There are roughly 4 million iPhone in the world, as of early January, 2008. By that time, iPhone web traffic from those 4 million iPhone was a little more than double the amount of web traffic from all Windows Mobile phones that have ever been sold.

Granted, iPhone are now selling in slightly larger numbers than all Windows Mobile phones combined. (See: Windows Mobile Falls Behind iPhone in Latest Mobile-Market Numbers) However, that's only been the case for a few months, and iPhone has only been on the market since June 29, a bit over two quarters.

Wanna guess how many other "smart phones" there are in the world, apart from those 4 million iPhone? According to Gartner, (quoted in this recent story at the New York Times: Sony Ericsson to Make Windows Mobile Phones) there are 123 million.

That's right, there are 30 times as many other smart phones, as there are iPhone in the world. Windows Mobile, Symbian, PalmOS and Linux all had a huge, hundred million phone and multi-year head start. iPhone is kicking our butts.

Of course, this is good for those of us here at Microsoft. The other vendors are so freaked out by iPhone that they are lining up behind Windows Mobile as their Last Best Hope. The last hold out is Nokia, and I expect Ballmer will be getting a call from them any day now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

iFob - Social Networking for Your Real Life

OK, so everybody knows I quit FaceBook. The Register has half the story, which is basically that FaceBook, and MySpace and all the other social networking web sites, suck. I found something better, iFob. Ballmer, if we have any money left over after buying Yahoo, we oughtta buy these iFob guys. The next generation of social networking is actually gonna be, well, social.

MySpace is desperately trying to catch up with last year's state of the art in social networking sites. Meanwhile, people are getting bored with poking virtual people they never actually make eye contact with, and weary of the privacy-invading policies of these sites, which make money from advertising, and mainly by selling information about their users to advertisers.

iFob is showing the way to the future of social networking. Much to the dismay of advertisers everywhere, it's taking place in real time, in coffee shops, between people.

iPhone 3G

The Mac Rumor mill hasn't yet jumped on this, but they will soon enough. Broadcom's ( highly anticipated) next generation highly integrated SoC for 3G phones will be showcased at the 2008 Mobile World Congress trade show in Barceloona, Spain, next week. Although the chip being pre-announced and talked about publicly doesn't appear to have quite the right feature combination for a 3G iPhone, you can expect that an iPhone version of a chip like this is right behind it. Or ahead of it. Recall this was the case with the specially packaged Intel chip for the MacBook Air, which may show up in laptops by other makers later.

When iPhone 3G hits the market, expect David Pogue to get one at least a few days before you can get one, so he can do a product review.

Expect Walt Mossberg to get one after you get one, and after all the early adopters get one, and probably after John C. Dvorak gets one. My sources tell me that Walt's unit will be "lost in shipping" for several weeks, as a gentle lesson in the fine art of maintaining early access to cool new products by not trashing them like he did the MacBook Air.