Posted on October 29, 2012
Beginning with introduction of Macintosh computers in 1984, Apple was consistently among the first to introduce significant industry innovations. But it wasn’t until after the turn-of-the-century that the company successfully translated technological leadership into economic leadership. During the 80s and 90s Microsoft was able to belatedly replicate Apple innovations – such as the mouse and graphical user interface – and still maintain industry dominance chiefly because of its larger ecosystem. In a virtuous cycle, independent software companies were far more likely to develop inventive programs for the Microsoft operating system than Apple’s principally because Microsoft had a gigantic market share lead.
Presently, the situation is nearly reversed among emergent devices. As smartphones and tablet computers rose to prominence after 2007 there was a simultaneous shift toward App-centric software as opposed to complex-to-install packages. In short, Apple has the gigantic lead among App-centric software vendors just as the PC starts to become an obsolete form factor. Simultaneously, Apple is beginning to behave like the Microsoft of the 80s and 90s as evidenced by the uninvited removal of Google Maps from iPhones. In short, Apple and Microsoft may be switching historical roles. Read more…
Posted on October 25, 2012
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
– Arthur C. Clarke’s First Law of Prediction
Venerable computer industry pundit, John Dvorak, is probably wrong to “humbug” predictions of the Post-PC Era. Admittedly, John has expert credentials. He began writing columns for PC Magazine and InfoWorld in the 1980s. He’s also been a regular columnist for Barrons and Forbes magazines. Other Dvorak articles have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner, and International Herald Tribune. He was part of the start-up team at Cnet. He’s also hosted regular radio and TV shows for NPR and Tech TV. Finally, Dvorak has written or co-authored a dozen books.
Yet his denial of the emergent Post-PC Era is likely to soon become an embarrassment. Perhaps his decades of award winning recognition from yesterday’s industry frontrunners, leaves him unable to recognize when what is new is more significant than what is familiar.
Dvorak surprisingly makes the superficial mistake of assuming that mobility, as evidenced by tablets computers and smartphones, is the defining characteristic of the Post-PC Era. They are only one manifestation. The true defining characteristic is the displacement of over-powered endpoints, such as PCs, with thin client devices that access computing resources from applicable networks such as LANs or the Internet, to wit, Cloud Computing. Read more…
Posted on October 23, 2012
As William Faulkner put it, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
As a stock analyst dining alone at Rickey’s Hyatt House in Palo Alto one evening in 1975, I couldn’t ignore an animated conversation by two middle-aged men in the next booth with profound viewpoints on the future of computing. Since I shared their passion, like most any obsessed youth I rudely introduced myself and was graciously invited to join them.
They were from Bell Northern Research, which was the Bell Labs of Canada. One of them, Joe, was an outside consultant who essentially functioned as a gadfly. His job was to get the technical staff to consider radical ideas from outsiders. Two ideas dominated Joe’s discussions that evening: (1) ARPANET and (2) timesharing. Read more…
Posted on October 16, 2012
Over three years ago Inside Digital Media predicted television advertisers would eventually insist they only be required to pay for ads that get watched. Thinking the Unthinkable About Video Ads reasoned that Google’s pay-per-click set a new paradigm that was ultimately going to encompass nearly all types of electronic advertising, including video. Yet television industry incumbents greeted our forecast as though it had all the credibility of an imminent second coming prophecy.
Last week YouTube’s head of Global Content proclaimed the company does very well with skippable ads. Robert Kyncl added, “…our skippable ads in the U.S…are now making as much revenue per hour as ads on cable TV.” Advertisers don’t mind paying more when they know consumers have declined to skip the ad. Read more…
Posted on October 4, 2012
Background. Recently the Wall Street Journal reported consumers are increasing complaining that phone and tablet wireless Internet fees are causing a reduction in discretionary household spending elsewhere. Even 37% of presumably well-heeled Journal readers replied to an online poll confirming monthly mobile data bills are forcing them to sacrifice other items in the household budget. The problem is particularly acute for families with children where membership plans can easily reach $300 monthly.
The two dominant carriers, Verizon and AT&T, readily concede they expect monthly bills to climb steadily higher as they adopt metered bandwidth rates. As long as wireless traffic congestion is managed by granting exclusive frequency allocations in a manner originated a century ago, carrier executives can smile at the future like a roomful of bankers fondling TARP bailout money. Yet escalating Wireless Internet access fees will not only be more costly for consumers, they also damage future growth opportunities for powerful companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Read more…