Tag Archives: Daring Fireball

John Gruber’s faulty maths on ChromeOS

Daring Fireball Linked List: Acer and Chrome OS, Sitting in a Tree:

“Sounds like Chrome OS is starting to get some traction, but I do wonder if actual sales match the ‘shipments’. Looking at my stats here at DF, Chrome OS accounted for 0.04 percent of traffic over the last four weeks.”

I don’t think John has really thought this through. Even if ChromeOS devices had accounted for 10% of all computers sold in the last year (which no one would claim, as they’re not even available in many markets), that would still amount to a tiny proportion of the total number of installed computers worldwide. Neither shipments nor sales tell you the story of installed base, and installed base is what visitors to a site is a measure of.

As for the shipments/sales issue, I’d point to this tweet from a Dixons employee which states that in stores where they have “Chrome Zones” with Chromebooks on sale, they make up 10% of their notebook sales. That’s “sales”, not “shipments” – as in real people walking out of the door with them. 

The Windows Store Revenue Split

Daring Fireball on the Windows Store Revenue Split:

Another big difference from Apple. I wonder though, with the various antitrust agreements Microsoft has made around the world, whether they could even consider an Apple-style “if you use our store, all transactions must go through us” policy.

John’s on to something. Although Microsoft isn’t subject to the same kind of heavyweight formal consent decree that IBM once had, it’s experience with going through anti-trust issues in the past means it has to be particularly careful about what it does and how it does it.

Malware, the Mac, and the wolf

John Gruber’s delivered a list of previous claims that the Mac is about to succumb to malware real soon now under the title of “Wolf!

The analogy John’s making is that the pundits should all remember the tale of the boy who cried wolf. But, as my friend Graham pointed out, John’s missing something: at the end of the tale, on the last occasion, there actually was a wolf.

There is no such thing as a perfectly secure operating system. Sooner or later, there will be a wolf.

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Nieman Journalism lab responds to John Gruber

Nieman Journalism Lab responds to John Gruber’s defence of the 30% Apple subscription take:

“But if someone searches for and downloads The New York Times app — after the Times has spent more than a century building up its brand, as the cost of billions of dollars — can it really be said that Apple has “brought” that subscriber to the app, and that they deserve 30 percent of the revenue the app generates, forever?”

To which the obvious and correct answer is: No, they don’t deserve it. Apple’s argument that it “brings” customers is hogwash. It’s like Mozilla claiming that Amazon ought to give it a percentage of my spend there as it “brings” me, just because I’m using Firefox.

It’s a good article, well worth an in-depth read.

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Apple’s quest for massive market share

John Gruber has an excellent post up on Apple’s apparent-restriction of cross-platform development tools on the iPhone. I largely agree with him – from Apple’s perspective this makes perfect sense, although it puts a massive spanner in the works for magazine publisers, who love Flash like a brother.

But there’s one point that I disagree with John on, and it’s this:

“I don’t think Apple even dreams of a Windows-like share of the mobile market. Microsoft’s mantra was and remains ‘Windows everywhere’. Apple doesn’t want everywhere, they just want everywhere good.”

I think this is wrong: I’m certain that Apple would love, and intends to get, a massive market share for the iPhone.

Why? Because it has already tasted the fruits of massive, dominant market share with the iPod – and it’s seen exactly how much that can do for a company’s fortunes.

Why wouldn’t it want to repeat the trick with the iPhone? The phone, after all, is as ubiquitous as personal music players. And the margins, at least at the moment, are better. If you think Apple is profitable now, imagine how profitable it would be if it sold 60% of every phone in the world.

There’s these great cut-down computers, right…

Daring Fireball: Maybe Instead of Two Cars, You Just Need a Car and a Bicycle:

“The idea of a computer that does a lot less — leaving out even things you consider essential, because you can still do those things on your other, primary computer — is liberating. That’s the opportunity, and that’s the idea behind Chrome OS and Litl and even Android and iPhone OS.”

The idea of it is liberating, as I’ve found out with my experiences with netbooks over the years. The problem is that while the idea of it is liberating, the actual reality of it is less so.

While my MacBook Pro takes up a larger bag, I’ve carried it around with me much more lately because it really doesn’t weigh that much more. And the rest of the time, I have my iPhone – a constantly-connected device which lets me take notes, write short documents.

Chrome OS is an interesting experiment, but in the long term the trend is still towards more power on the desktop – and in the lap.

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Daring Fireball on Apple’s Culture of Secrecy

Daring Fireball:

“Thoughtful criticism. I agree with Anil that Apple has an institutional problem, but I disagree over what it is. I believe that it truly is beneficial for Apple to maintain secrecy regarding future products. The problem is that Apple is secretive about everything — not only does Apple not talk about what they’re going to do, they don’t talk about what they’ve already done. The relationship between the App Store and iPhone developers is emblematic of the problem.”

I couldn’t agree with John more. The big problem isn’t that Apple keeps secrets: it’s that it isn’t transparent about anything.

Being totally transparent is easy. Being totally secretive is easy. The real skill is in understanding when to be transparent, and when to be secretive.

(Picture of John Gruber used under Creative Commons license, by Presta – and a really good pic it is too.)

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John Gruber questions NPD figures, just as NPD figures turn against Apple

Having seen the NPD report which claimed Apple’s retail market share has dropped, John Gruber takes issue:

“It’s never been clear to me why reports like this are reported as fact. NPD doesn’t have some sort of magic access to Apple’s sales numbers, and Apple does not release monthly sales data.”

Which is interesting, given this report that John ran last May:

“The idea that Apple now sells two-thirds of retail computers costing $1000 or more is simply stunning… I strongly suspect that if NPD’s numbers were more granular, Apple’s share would be even more dramatic at higher price ranges: $1500+, $2000+, etc.”

Or this one, where he approvingly writes of Ina Fried’s report on (you guessed it) NPD numbers:

“It is entirely possible that hell has frozen over: there are PC industry analysts saying sensible things about Apple’s market share.”

Or this one, where he reports NPD numbers on the iPhone:

“The NPD Group is reporting that the iPhone 3G is now the top-selling consumer mobile phone in the U.S., beating the Motorola Razr for the top spot.”

In fact, a Google search shows the number of references to NPD on DF – mostly, approving of the positive figures about Apple market share they’ve consistently produced over the past few years – now goes on to two pages.

Of course, picking out old posts where people got it wrong is easy (there’s plenty of them here, if you care to look). And everyone has the right to change their mind. John would probably argue that he’s caveated most (but not all) of his posts about NPD numbers with “NPD is reporting that…”

But this doesn’t change the fact that John has been happy to lean on NPD numbers and talk about them as if they were fact for a while.

It looks pretty odd start to question the veracity of a research company you’ve been happy to report on before at just the same moment their numbers change direction. That’s doubly true when those numbers challenge the hopes and desires of a big chunk of your readership.