Tag Archives: John Gruber

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. 

Remembering before the Apple Retail Stores

John Gruber on the way that people got the Apple retail stores 100% wrong:

The first is that Edwards wasn’t out on a limb. In the investor and general tech press, it was common at the outset to believe that Apple’s foray into retail was folly. The second is that Edwards was more than just a little bit wrong. He wasn’t merely implying that retail might prove difficult for Apple, that success was a longshot. His argument, backed by quotes from analysts and even former Apple CFO Joseph Graziano, was that Apple’s retail foray was surely doomed.

One of the things that you have to remember about people writing about Apple in those days – and I was one – is that we’d got used to an Apple which constantly failed. The ten years prior to the release of the iMac had seen Apple lurch from drama to crisis, with not a single major success to its name.

Even after Jobs’ return, the company had a few initial missteps. The new OS strategy, required to replace the ageing OS 8/9, had a big change of course when Rhapsody (which didn’t run legacy Mac apps) transformed into Mac OS X. The Power Mac G4 Cube was a failure, leading to the company “suspending” production (it has yet to resume).

I remember being sceptical about the Apple retail project for two reasons. The first was that Apple had never really done retail. In Europe, it had created the AppleCentre idea, which was an Apple-controlled (but not owned) set of “premium” retailers. You had to follow strict guidelines to be an AppleCentre, and in return got the kudos of the Apple brand behind you.

The second reason I thought Apple might be doing the wrong thing was that its existing dealers had invested a lot of money in keeping the Mac afloat during some hard times, and setting up in direct competition to them was a kick in the teeth. Yes, there were some slightly dodgy box shifters amongst retailers, and the experience in national stores like PC World had never been great. But most dealers – and I talked to them a lot back then – were really passionate advocates for the brand and platform.

Really, almost no-one thought that Apple retail stores were a great idea. But we were all wrong.

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.

Roboto and the open source red herring

I largely agree with John Gruber and many others than Roboto is a bit of an ungainly beast of a font, although it’s much better than the hideous thing it replaces. But I think that John is missing the mark in this statement:

This idea that designers who favor iOS criticize Android for being poorly designed just because it’s from an Apple competitor is nonsense — a bogeyman construct dreamed up by open source zealots who refuse to believe over a decade of evidence that open source UIs tend to be ugly, and that ugly UIs tend to be unpopular.

Being open source has nothing to do with it. Like almost everything in Android, Roboto is designed, used and built at the instigation of Google: it’s not like Roboto was created by an amateur font creator sat in a basement who wanted to contribute to a project.

Android’s design deficiencies have nothing to do with the source being open. Android’s design deficiencies are down to Google not being great at designing consumer products. Android could be completely closed, and it would still look the same.

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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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John Gruber, Joe Wilcox, and why comments are anti-web

Myself and John Gruber have had plenty of disagreements. John and I have debated the reasons for the relative lack of malware on the Mac. I’ve tweaked his tail over his habit of excoriating those who make predictions and get it wrong, and over some inconsistency in the way he views positive and negative figures for Apple market share. And I’ve argued that he’s flat-out wrong on occasions, too.

I see it as part of the cut and thrust of healthy debate on the Internet. You put out an idea, people test it, you respond if you feel the need.

However, recently John’s weathered some criticism for the lack of comments on his site, and in a particularly angry post Joe Wilcox got about as close as you get on the Internet to demanding John go outside with him and settle things like a man. Now I should make this clear: I like Joe. We’ve conversed online and over the phone for many years, since his days as one of the best analysts covering the Apple market, and although we’ve never met I think of him as friend. Continue reading

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.