Archive for the ‘Steve Jobs’ Category
May 22nd, 2012
Charles Arthur, technology editor at The Guardian, has just published Digital Wars, a definitive history of the battle for internet dominance between Microsoft, Apple and Google.
It reads as a battle plan for the next global online war, indicating the strengths and weaknesses of the Big Three companies who dominate the terrain and, through example, hints at how to repeat history, with the essential twists that will propel a new company to success.
Digital Wars offers an uncomfortable narrative at times, as the great men leading these companies are revealed, warts and all. Charles Arthur is an iconoclast by preference, a healthy trait for any independent journalist. Hagiography rarely provides enduring, trusted sources for historians and commentators.
What distinguishes his book from the many volumes written about the Big Three is a passion for detail, checked and referenced facts, laced with anecdotes collected over decades of his professional writing career. There is a forensic quality in his writing that is as impressive as it is much welcomed.
The bookâ€™s scope is also a source of bemused wonderment. I do not know many writers who would move such a project beyond the initial-idea phase because the first imperative is to have detailed knowledge of and a firm historical perspective on each of the Big Three, a thorough grasp of the sectors in which they have grown, and a bullshit detector with the dial turned to 11.
Digital Wars chooses 1998 as the effective starting point for the closely-woven narrative, although it references earlier elements in the story of Microsoft and Apple, and there never is a Year Zero or An End in history. The chosen year is predicated on the arrival of the third of the Big Three, a start-up called Google.
There are so many lessons to be learnt from this book, not least that very, very clever people who team with very bright business people stand a better-than-evens chance of succeeding; and that the success or failure turn on a very few significant choices. And that if you want to build a global internet business, move to the US.
This book has a much to do with ethics and business culture as it has to do with the structural fault-lines and innovations of the internet over the past 14 years. Whether Microsoft is seen as â€œthe Evil Empireâ€ now by many, as it was in 1998, is unsure. But that cultural view clearly hindered its progress in responding to the threats posed by Apple and Google.
In contrast, Apple was a dying company at the end of the last century, but one that attracted passion and trust in equal measure from its customers, because they had internalised the Apple vision â€“ â€œfocus on the userâ€. All it took to revitalise the company was the second coming of Steve Jobs.
A second commandment in how to build a global internet company, identified by Charles Arthur, is â€œDonâ€™t moon the giant.â€ Netscape got that wrong and were crushed. Google didnâ€™t and went into â€œsubmarine modeâ€ for five years. The rest, you know â€“ or will when you read Digital Wars.
History never ends and Charles Arthur continues to map the progress of the Big Three. His recent article on the dangers of growing too big, with reference to Google is well worth a read.
April 19th, 2012
Apple, the richest company in the world â€“ at the last count, itâ€™s worth $600bn (Â£379bn). Yet it sells devices, specifically the iPad2, that users cannot connect with online fund-raising processes to give their money to make childrenâ€™s lives better.
Is this an iPad2 feature, function or FAIL? My bet is on the latter. You know how much I respect Apple; Iâ€™ve written about the company and its strategies on this blog many times.
But this Apple FAIL makes me question the values and culture of the company. Why is it that every other device can connect with this donation site (based in the UK) and give their support and money to good causes, but not Apple?
When a friend of mine tried to use her iPAD2 to connect with an African child-charity donation page, she was unable to do so. She did try very hard. In the end, we found a different way outside of Apple culture so that she can donate.
Sheâ€™s definitely not happy. The young fundraiser is not at all happy (heâ€™s a Mac user). And Iâ€™m gutted because I believed Apple, despite its closed-garden approach, was at least open enough to be part of the new fundraising culture. Apparently, it is not.
Even if Apple is responsible for one donation being blocked, that is one too many.
This blocking extends to one of the most important tools in the fundraising armoury â€“ Flash video. Apple believes in something other than Flash as the future of online visual culture. I think it is wrong about that too. And the company knows that Iâ€™m one of many millions that do not understand, nor care for, the Apple Video Future Strategy.
While Apple toughs it out with rival video formats, a collateral damage is the fundraising process. And that means lost opportunities that lead to continued poverty and avoidable deaths of children and older people.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has just been named among Time Magazineâ€™s Top 100 People. Right now, he figures top of my FAIL list, and the bewildered lists of millions of Apple believers and consumers. I hope he will get it right sometime soon â€“ the clock is ticking, Tim.
March 30th, 2012
When Tim Cook (pictured above left) moved into the incredibly big space left by Steve Jobs at Apple, the markets moved quickly. They began to write Tim Cook down with endless articles about his shortcomings.
At the time, I wrote that Tim would be a brilliant CEO of Apple, based on nothing more than careful monitoring and reading about his career over more than a decade. I also said that anyone with spare cash should buy and lock away Apple shares.
Seems like I called it right. Tonight, Apple shares have a value over $600 for the first time. I would not worry about the slight fall – end-week traders taking some folding cash back home â€“ this stock is built to last.
Tim Cook, the man the markets mashed less than a year ago, is the worldâ€™s top CEO. Who said that? His employees is who.
US-focused careers site Glassdoor announced today that Cook received a 97 per cent approval rating from employees over the past 12 months that ended March 15, beating out Ernst & Young CEO Jim Turley and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, American Express CEO Ken Chenault and Google CEO Larry Page.
Seems also that the Man is getting another thing right. Tim Cook went to the Chinese Foxcomm plant that builds the devices his company has designed and sells and we buy. He wants change there and has some power to do that. Foxcomm has promised to hire more people and reduce the pressures on its employees.
Itâ€™s in his power to take the build contract away from Foxcomm. Itâ€™s in our power to pay more for Apple mobile products. While we ponder and prevaricate, Tim Cook is making changes. Like I said â€“ heâ€™s The Man.
March 16th, 2012
Apple marked the 32nd anniversary of its Initial Public Offering this week with the launch of iPad 3. Actually, the IPO was on March 16th 1980, four years after Steve Jobs and Bill Wozniak founded the company.
The iPad 3 release from captivity was definitive marketing; Apple pure. The hints, rumours, the company silence, the aficionado queues at Apple stores around the world (apart from China) and the exquisite care with which it chose the media titles to test and review pre-release devices followed the Apple tactical campaign blueprint that has helped to make the company the biggest, by market cap.
Interesting to note, then, that the Apple stock price in March 2000 was 22.07. Today (March 16th), the stock rose above 600 before settling back to 585.57.
It seems that CEO Tim Cook will hang on to his job for a little longer, despite the analyst snipers on the roof and that the company will continue to dominate the tablet market that it defined, despite the best efforts of earlier pioneers such as HP. Just think, we could have been calling them slates rather than pads.
While we wait for the cultural shift where â€˜padâ€™ becomes â€˜tabâ€™, there is time to query iPad 3â€™s locus in the mobile ecosphere. What is the iPad good for? It is a highly receptive device and custom-built for content delivery.
The virtual keyboard makes communication problematic and in an online world where text is still king, that will continue to be an obstacle. Flash remains a locked door but for a price, iPad owners can access Flash format through OnLive as Mark Pubate explains:
With OnLive and HTML 5.0, maybe the Flash question will go away, but not for some time and there are good tabs in the market that do Flash and much more, chief among them the Asus Eee Pad Slider and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Windows 8 is built for tab and mobile, and Google does mobile first before it thinks of other devices.
We should see new Android tabs this year that offer clear advantages over iPad because they are more attuned to the dominant mobile culture we are rapidly creating. Whether they have the ergonomic, design or marketing genius of Apple is yet to be tested.
Windows 8 should release tab developers and because it is likely to major on integration will appeal to gamers and enterprises alike. Anytime, anywhere, any (Windows) device moves closer.
Nokia is also planning great things in the tab market and it still holds strong share of the global mobile market. It has been a long time since the company has astounded consumers and business but I hope it does this year.
Samsung is an integral part of iPad 3 and despite the ongoing lawsuits between it and Apple, appears to see the commercial benefit of building the tab market.
Now, whether the iPad 3â€™s better screen and faster processors will stand the test of time in the tab market mid-term is moot. The price point for the low-end device is keen at Â£399, and given the disgraceful state of both 3G/4G network coverage/speed in the UK, many buyers will go for the wifi- only base option.
The snailâ€™s pace of fast, anytime, anywhere connectivity in the UK and in other mature markets like the US is obviously not the fault of Apple or any other tab maker but it is a short to medium-term obstacle to the rapid development of a true mobile culture in these territories.
But the tab is an important component in the engine that will deliver the precise, fluid and effective mobile culture we crave. For a tab to have an effect in that culture, it will need to be open, always connected (at speed), shiny-shiny (designed to perfection), and allow the owner to dominate every form of data communication.
Thatâ€™s why the apps makers are central to mobile culture because they will provide the means to control and manage data, and their intelligent designs will transform the tab and other mobile devices.
Brian Solis has led the discussion on content creation and Robert Marcus is defining the next phase in mobile culture. They come to the challenge of mobile from different points but their twin perspectives are very useful as we move forward with cultural mobility.
January 10th, 2012
Have you ever thought about which subjects attract the most tweets per second or TPS?
TheÂ newestÂ sports TPS record holder isÂ @TimTebow theÂ quarterbackÂ who led the @Denver_Broncos (Amercian Football team) to a recent win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. His record stands at 9,420 tweets per second,Â recordedÂ shortly after his team won the football match.
The all time leader currently stands at anÂ incredibleÂ 25,088 tweets in one second. This is heldÂ by a Japanese show about sky-bound pirates, called Castle in the Sky, theÂ Dec 9thÂ screeningÂ of the new show holds the record for now!
Other notable tweets perÂ secondÂ includeÂ Beyonceâ€™s baby announcement at the MTV Video Music Awards, which earned her 8,868 tweets per second.
The best of the rest include:
- 2010 Japanese New Year celebration which topped out at 6,939 TPS
- The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs brought 6,049 TPS.
- The death of Osama Bin Laden achieved 5,106 TPS.
- The 2011 earthquake that hit Japan in March achieved 5,530 TPS.
October 6th, 2011
One story about Steve Jobs. When I was a journalist, I tried so hard to get an interview with the man but he was “always too busy”. That just added to his value.
One time, we were sharing stories in a bar, as creative writers do. This environment is all about topping the last anecdote and a Mac magazine editor topped it that night. Steve is holding a tech-creative meeting. The guys know they’ve nailed it. It’s perfect. They play their deck. Steve doesn’t move. For three seconds. Then he slowly lowers his head to the desk. And says: “No. No. No!”, banging his head in perfectÂ rhythm.
The man was passionate. About everything, He was also the greatest story teller we have seen in the past 150 years.
Because he understood.
I posted this video link a while back. Now everyone is using it (I stole that line from Steve . Â Go well, and thank you.