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10 Ways Google is the New Microsoft ;).

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February 11, 2011

Google (GOOG) is the new Microsoft (MSFT). Something tells me you’ve heard that one before. By my count, people have been saying that since 2005. But the question remains: Is it really a fair comparison?

Slideshow: 10 Cool Things You Didn’t Know About Google

Microsoft dominated the desktop computer industry for the past 15 years with purported ruthlessness and cunning business savvy. These days? Don’t look now, but the role of the tech industry’s biggest bully and most dominant force is increasingly played by Google.

If you compete with Google, you’d better be looking over your shoulder. Its search engine algorithm alone can make or break a business.

From privacy issues to market dominance to passion among fans and detractors to government scrutiny, Google and Microsoft share more similarities than you may realize.

In 2005, Microsoft cofounder and CEO Bill Gates had this to say about Google: “They are more like us than anyone else we have ever competed with.” Far be it from me to argue with Bill Gates. Let’s take a look at just how similar these two technology megacompanies are.

1. Core Dominance

The most obvious similarity between Microsoft and Google involves each company’s ability to dominate its core industry. Microsoft has had well over 90 percent of the desktop operating system market since the days of Windows 95 and Windows XP. There are signs that Microsoft’s dominance may drop significantly in the next few years due to the proliferation of devices running mobile operating systems, but Windows is still the king of the desktop.

Google doesn’t have more than 90 percent of the search market, but there’s no question that the company rules the search world. Google had nearly 67 percent of the search market in December, according to Comscore; the closest competitor was Yahoo (YHOO), at just 16 percent of U.S. searches.

The biggest source of Google’s online dominance is Web-based advertising. Google owned 83 percent of the highly lucrative online search advertising market worldwide in 2010 and 81 percent in 2009, according to metrics firm IHS Screen Digest. The search giant is making big gains in other areas of digital advertising, too: Google grabbed 59 percent of the U.S. mobile advertising market in 2010, up from 48.6 percent the previous year, according to IDC. (PCWorld and IDC are both owned by International Data Group.) That’s a rise of nearly 11 percent in just 12 months. Google’s acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob in May contributed to the company’s massive leap in mobile advertising.

2. Monopoly Mania

The downside of dominating an industry is that you’re an immediate target for antitrust allegations. Microsoft experienced this during the late 90s and early 2000s, with accusations of unfair business practices against competitors such as IBM (IBM), Real Networks, Gateway, Netscape, and Apple (AAPL).

(See: “Microsoft Declared a Monopoly“)

Google’s antitrust headaches have just started, with European legislators looking into how it treats itssearch and online ad competitors. The company is also meeting fierce opposition from the online travel industry following its announcement of its intention to buy ITA Software, a flight-data aggregation company.

3. It’s the Platform, Stupid

The core strategy for both Microsoft and Google has been to create a platform that keeps the user in each company’s ecosystem. Microsoft led the way in the 1990s by distributing the most popular desktop operating system ever and offering tools that played nice with Windows, such as Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and early online “cloud-based” services like Hotmail.

Google has tried to emulate that success by building an array of Web-based tools that encourage users to stay in the Googleverse, such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google search, and Google Maps.

In addition, it’s making a big push to popularize Web apps through its Chrome Web store and the forthcoming Web-focused Google Chrome OS. Google also recently stepped up its game in encouraging third-party development for its Android mobile operating system, with new features such as a Web-based store for browsing apps and an in-app payment system.

Microsoft faced little challenge to its ecosystem in the 1990s, while Google faces formidable challenges from Apple’s iOS platform for mobile devices and Facebook’s continuing push to become the dominant platform on the Web.

4. Apple Rivalry

Microsoft is the new IBM, Google is the new Microsoft, and Apple is the new…Apple?

After the release of Windows 95, Microsoft ate away at Apple’s business, driving the Macintosh maker into a niche market. Microsoft’s strategy of distributing Windows on as many platforms as possible was a huge success, a contrast to Apple’s distributing of the Mac OS only on its own computers.

Fast-forward to 2011, and Google is trying to beat Apple’s iPhone and iPad using a similar strategy: Although you will find iOS only on the iPhone and iPad, Android is on pretty much everything else, including devices from HTC, Motorola (MOT), Samsung, and Sony. Android’s smartphone market share is steadily overtaking that of iOS.

The most recent numbers from Nielsen say that new smartphone users are choosing Android devices over iPhones by nearly 15 percentage points, while the iPhone platform maintains an overall lead of about 3 percent. It hasn’t happened yet, but Android is threatening to push iOS devices into a niche market much as Microsoft shoved aside Apple’s Macintosh.

5. From Rebel to Lumbering Giant

Microsoft started out as the plucky disruptor that popularized the PC graphical user interface through wide distribution and lower pricing compared with Apple’s Macintosh OS. In a similar vein, Google was able to dominate search thanks to its amazingly relevant search results and its bare-bones homepage that featured the search box and nothing else.

Google’s uncluttered front door and its eerie ability to deliver highly relevant results distinguished it from competitors such as Ask, MSN, and Yahoo, all of which sported incredibly busy home pages, provided less-relevant results, and failed to make a clear distinction between sponsored ads and regular search results.

But as each company has dominated its respective industry, each has had to deal with the transition from fast-moving startup to technology behemoth.

Microsoft was supposed to produce a slew of updates to its Windows Phone 7 devices in early 2011, but at the time of this writing it had yet to release even one update since introducing Windows Phone 7 in October. Google is trying to escape Microsoft’s fate by reinjecting a startup mentality into the company. Many observers believe that this is part of the reason Google is shaking up its management structure by removing Eric Schmidt as CEO in favor of Google cofounder Larry Page.

6. Trust Us

Believe it or not, Microsoft, not Google, was once seen as the big, scary technology company trying to steal your data. In 1999, Microsoft had to address suspicions that the National Security Agency had a backdoor into Windows that allowed the NSA to peek at users’ encrypted data. Then, in 2001, Microsoft revealed a big plan for its Passport universal sign-in feature, which would store each user’s name, password, address, e-mail address, and credit card credentials online to encourage people to shop on the Web. The Passport plan was met with fierce opposition, however, because no one wanted to trust Microsoft with their data.

Today, Google is dealing with all kinds of privacy concerns over Google Street View‘s taking pictures of people’s homes, Google’s recent Wi-Fi sniffing snafu, the company’s saving of search histories, theGoogle Buzz privacy breach, and on and on. And, oh yeah: Google has also had its fair share ofaccusations about dealings with the NSA.

7. Hooked on Googlesoft

Want to get people to use your stuff and forget about going with the competition? Just pile some basic tools into your platform that are handy and free. Microsoft first bundled Internet Explorer with Windows to battle Netscape. Other tools packed into Windows include MSN Messenger, WordPad, and integration with Hotmail–and who can forget MSN Explorer for that AOL-like experience? Google has taken Microsoft’s free-software strategy to the extreme with Google Docs, Gmail, Google Translate, Google Voice, Calendar, and Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation in Android. Google has also been accused of favoring its own products–such as Google Maps and YouTube–in its search results.

8. Competition Crusher

A tweak in Google’s algorithm can send online businesses reeling from a significant drop in Web traffic. This is part of the reason the European Commission is looking into Google’s search practices following antitrust complaints from sites such as price-comparison service Foundem and French law-related search tool eJustice. Microsoft’s tactics, in its heyday, were far more aggressive: For example, the software giant was accused by RealNetworks of pressuring PC makers not to install RealNetworks software on Windows PCs by default. And IBM said Microsoft pressured manufacturers not to offer computers running IBM’s OS/2 system.

9. Me-Too Products

Despite each company’s dominance, both Microsoft and Google have tried to insert themselves into business areas that have never quite worked out for them. After TiVo was introduced, Microsoft attempted to break into the DVR market with its own version called Ultimate TV. Microsoft’s Virtual Earth mapping program followed Google Earth, and the Zune MP3 player followed Apple’s iPod.

Google, meanwhile, has been desperate to get into the social networking game, with products such as Orkut and Google Buzz. Both have managed to grab only a niche audience. Whether it can compete against Apple’s Apple TV or Roku’s set-top box with its own Google TV remains to be seen.

(See: “Top 10 Google Flubs, Flops, and Failures“)

10. Brain Drain

Once upon a time, every software engineer wanted a job at Microsoft. It was the “it” place to work, thanks to the company’s healthy compensation packages and exciting projects. Google eventually overtook Microsoft as a desirable place to work, offering perks such as free laundry rooms, dry cleaning, snacks galore, recreation rooms, bouncy balls for work stations instead of chairs, and the much-ballyhooed 20 percent time for working on experimental projects.

(See: “Visual Tour: Visiting the Googleplex“)

Change is in the air now, though, and Google is steadily losing employees to the new “it” place to work: Facebook. Google Wave creator Lars Rasumussen and former Google exec turned Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are just two high-profile examples of people leaving Google for Facebook. Things have reportedly become so bad that Google is trying to retain its employees with bonuses and pay raises.

The tide appears to be turning in favor of Facebook. And that prompts one question: If Google is the new Microsoft, is Facebook the new Google?

Who said? Ian Paul, PC World said ;).

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Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Posted in facebook, Google, Microsoft

RIM, Nokia, DoCoMo united against Google’s menace ;).

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Google [1]’s growing influence in the mobile [2] industry is clearly proving worrisome to some established device makers and operators, a few of whom put up a united front against the search giant during a round table at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Leaders of Research In Motion, Nokia, and NTT DoCoMo talked about their strategies for working together to face the threat.

[ iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android? Whatever handheld you use or manage, turn to InfoWorld for the latest developments. Subscribe to InfoWorld’s Mobilize newsletter [3] today. ]

Nokia is aiming for “an environment where the relationship between the services providers, handset manufacturers, and operators are in an appropriate balance,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO. “Our philosophy is to be the most operator friendly,” he said.

Google presents a conundrum for some of the established companies in the mobile industry. Its Android [4] software helped hardware makers such as Motorola turn around their fortunes and has helped operators sell more data contracts. But other phone makers, like Nokia, opted not to use Android [5] for fear that the platform would corner too much of the market and stifle innovation.

Google is also offering lots of services to mobile users that mobile operators would prefer to offer.

“What’s most important for the network operators is how to avoid being reduced to a dumb pipe,” said Ryuji Yamada, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo. “We are susceptible more than ever to the risk of becoming a dump pipe … and we are determined to avoid that by all means.”

He said one way to avoid that fate is for operators to offer intelligent services from the cloud. But the example he gave is a DoCoMo service that translates languages, similar to one that Google demonstrated at this same conference last year, noted Ben Wood, an analyst with CCS Insight.

Yamada acknowledged that such services can be offered by third parties but didn’t say much about how the operator might beat out Google. “It’s a race between these two different camps,” he said. “Being the network operator, we are in the best position to know what the network is capable of.”

RIM [6] appears to be working hard to try to help operators ward off competition from the likes of Google and others. “There may have to be a Google translation service and a Nokia location service but at the end of the day it better be a DoCoMo service overarching [that directs customers] to their bill and branding and distribution or the alternative is a bit pipe with a programmable SIM,” RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said.

RIM this week rolled out some new capabilities aimed at helping operators hold on to their relationships with customers. For instance, it offers the capability for operators to let customers “gift” applications or airtime to others, with the charges showing up on their mobile bill. RIM also announced that Telefónica and Vodafone would start letting users pay for applications from the RIM application store on their regular bills.

Operators want to bill customers because they think it helps build a relationship with users and because it could allow for new sources of revenue. With Apple and Android, for instance, most end users pay for apps with their credit cards through the respective application stores and so the operator doesn’t get a share of the revenue from apps.

These days, any time a CEO from a company that provides services to end users meets with an operator, the operator is trying to size up the goals of that company, Balsillie said. The operators are wondering if they can trust the company and if its business model has a sustainable business structure for the operator, he said.

“The structure of the industry is very much in flux,” Balsillie said. He said the issue of what role the operator will play is the most relevant issue of the industry currently.

Who said? Nancy Gohring said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 17, 2011 at 1:51 PM

2011 will be the year Android explodes ;).

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Ever-improving networks and a big hardware announcement that will send handset prices plummeting both point to smartphone growth in 2011 that could totally eclipse anything we’ve seen before.

Smartphones have been growing at an unbelievable clip over the past year but they still account for only around a third of all phones in the US and an even smaller percentage internationally.  In developing countries, the price of smartphones, aside from some ‘quasi-smart’ Nokias (NOK) are out of reach for all but the elite. India and China each have billion plus populations and growing middle classes, but neither country is even at a 10% market penetration of smartphones.

Globally, market intelligence firm IDC counted 269.6 million smartphones sold this year, compared to the 173.5 million units shipped in 2009.

In 2011, we might see half a billion phones sold worldwide.  Smartphones will likely blow by traditional computers next year as the way most of the world gains access to the Internet.

Two major factors will drive this, in tandem: Wireless infrastructure is getting better every day, and hardware is getting cheaper.  Cheaper hardware will eliminate the need for subsidies and therefore will improve competition between carriers, and spur them to improve their networks.  Google (GOOG) Android head Andy Rubin calls this a ‘perfect storm‘ for smartphone adoption.

A closer look at price: In 2010, the cheapest mainstream Smartphone was just below $200(unsubsidized by a carrier contract– the way most of the world buys its phones). Some extremely cheap (but feature rich) Chinese brands have recently fallen to around $150. But based on the hardware announcements we’re seeing, including one big player in particular that price will be cut in half:

 

Broadcom (BRCM)  last week announced its BCM2157 – Mass-Market 3G HSDPA “Android” Baseband chipset.  The platform provides everything a modern smartphone builder needs: a dual core ARM processor, Bluetooth, GPS, support for up to a 5-megapixel camera, support for capacitive HVGA (320×480 like iPhone 3GS) or or WQVGA (~240×400) displays.  That’s pretty much your current baseline Android smartphone, like the Samsung Intercept.

The chipset will work on AT&T (T) and T-Mobile’s 3G networks in the US and on global GSM providers.

It is interesting to note that Broadcom is marketing this hardware specifically at Android OEMs, though theoretically any smartphone OS could be built on top of it.  Android is clearly the platform for growth on the low end.

I had a chance to speak with Jim Tran, VP/GM – Handset Line of Business for Broadcom, who was able to elaborate on the details of the new processor and what it meant for the industry.  Here are some of Broadcom’s bullet points:

  • The BCM2157 baseband, since it combines many functions on one chip, is able to run more efficiently, meaning less battery power will be needed than on current basic handsets
  • Low-cost, low-power, 65 nm digital CMOS process means the silicon will be cheap
  • The dual-core processors will run at 500-800mhz.
  • Supports portable Wifi hotspot and Android 2.2 and up

But the kicker is the price.  Tran says that phones made from the BCM2157 chipset will retail for under $100 and may dip as low as $75.  Those devices should debut in just 3-6 months (and we might hear about them next month at CES).

By this time next year, Broadcom says it will release a follow-up chip that will allow WVGA displays and as much power as today’s high-end Smartphones at the same $75-$100 prices.  That Nexus S that costs $530 now off contract will cost just a fraction of that in just one year.

Broadcom isn’t the only chipmaker taking aim at this new market.  There is another chipmaker out of China building the same type of chipset for 3G EVDO Rev. A, the type of network that Sprint and Verizon use.  They also say that they can get retail prices below $100.

To be clear, That sub $100 price is not the cost of materials, it is the suggested retail price after the manufacturers (and carriers) have taken their profits.

Those prices will have many feature phone users saddling up with smartphones. And they may open the emerging Asian markets, like India and China, to smartphone customers on a large scale, for the first time ever. That means many more smartphone users and many more Google and Android users, too.

How cheap smartphones change the American cell phone market

Perhaps more importantly, at $100, many first-world shoppers will forgo the subsidized two year contracts and instead choose month to month plans.  That price point takes the power away from the carriers.  If T-Mobile is having a special and I can just take my AT&T phone over without being hit with early termination fees, the carriers are much more likely to compete for customers.

That, in turn will likely push data prices down.  We are already starting to see this happen.  Virgin offers a $25/month unlimited data plan off contract.  T-Mobile offers a limited $10 date plan off contract.  AT&T has tiers that start very low.

Consumers used to feature phone monthly costs of $30/month may even opt to forgo wireless data altogether, instead choosing to use the smartphone’s built in Wifi radio to surf near-ubiquitous Wifi in homes, at work and about town.  To entice low end smartphone users away from just using Wifi, carriers will have to make affordable data plans.

Cheap smartphones could change the way carriers price contracts here in the U.S.

Whatever the case, if you thought Android going from 30,000 activations a day to 300,000 activations/day was impressive, 2011 might be an even bigger growth year for Android.

Growth targets are just starting to trickle out, but HTC, who make high end Android devices and a few Windows Phone 7 devices expect to triple their 2010 output in 2011. Yet if things play out the way Rubin, Google, Broadcom and HTC hope, even that may wind up being a conservative estimate for Android growth. What’s most interesting is that unless Apple (AAPL) has a plan to keep up, their iPhone, once one of the only usable smartphone games in town, may wind up back where most Apple products are slotted– at the top of the market, affordable only to those willing and able to pay a premium for Steve Jobs’ aesthetic sensibilities.

 

Who said? Seth Weintraub said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 17, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Posted in Android, Google

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for Tablets ;).

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Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for TabletsGoogle gave us a glimpse of Android 3.0 Honeycomb earlier this year, but today they released more details on the upcoming OS. Here’s a look through what we can expect. Spoiler alert: It’s awesome, and it fixes many of Android’s biggest annoyances.

The Tablet UI

The biggest change in Android 3.0 is the general layout of the UI. Since it’s built specifically for tablets, you have much more space on your home screen for icons and widgets. This is a pretty stark contrast to the iPad, which just enlarged the iPhone’s 4×4 grid with big, spaced out icons—as you can see in the screenshot above, you actually have a much denser grid than you would on an Android phone, meaning you can pack a whole lot of stuff into one home screen.

The Notification Bar

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for Tablets

The notification bar has been moved to the bottom of the screen, and they’ve added a few navigation buttons to it that seem to take the place of the capacative hardware buttons we all know and love on our Android phones. The three buttons, from left to right, are Back, Home, and Recent Apps. The new recent apps window is pretty handy, taking advantage of the extra space to show you the current state of each running app.

The Home Screens

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for TabletsThe home screens themselves are pretty similar to regular Android as far as functionality—you can add app shortcuts and widgets wherever you want, swipe between five different screens, and expand your app drawer to access anything not already on the home screens. That said, the entire thing has this new 3D look to it that’s really awesome (which we caught a glimpse of in our first look). As long as the hardware can keep up with the new UI, it’ll be pretty awesome (we all remember how laggy the original Motorola Droid was).

The Action Bar

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for Tablets

Probably the most welcome change in the new UI, however, is what Google is calling the Action Bar. In every application, the top bar is reserved for contextual options, navigation, or other buttons. The Email app, for example, has a new message button and a refresh button at the top. When you select a message, that action bar changes to display a move to folder button, a mark as read button, a star message button, and a delete button. Of course, it also has dropdown menus for any buttons that overflow off to the side.

Why is this so awesome? These are the kinds of buttons that, on the 2.0 cycle of Android, are usually buried in menus that you access with your phones Menu button. Now, instead of having to hit Menu (and God forbid a “More” button), those options will be available right at the top of your screen. Really, this is one of my biggest complaints about Android, and it makes me wonder why we don’t have this action bar in 2.x, too.

Keyboard and Copy/Paste

The new soft keyboard is an improvement over the iteration we’re all familiar with, including larger, reshaped keys for easier targeting. What’s cooler is that it also includes some keys we’re more familiar with on full keyboards, like Tab, which will make us desktop users more comfortable.

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for Tablets

Copy and paste on Android has never been the most friendly feature, but 3.0 takes a step in the right direction by making it a much faster affair: just long-press on any text and it will select that word. From there, you can drag the selection area to include more text. The action bar will also show Select All, Cut, Copy and Share buttons while you’re selecting text too, which is fantastic (seriously, why isn’t that action bar in Android already?). Overall, working with text in Android 3.0 is going to be a much more pleasant experience.

Tablet-Optimized Core Apps

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for Tablets

There aren’t any Google apps in the SDK (like Gmail or Google Talk), but the non-Google core apps like the Browser, Camera, Contacts, and Email have all been updated to more efficiently use the extra space you’ll get with a tablet. The browser has tabs built in (hallelujah!), bookmark syncing with Chrome (double hallelujah!), Incognito mode (ahem), and automatic sign in to Google sites using the Google account tied to your device. I don’t need to tell you guys how cool all these features are. These are usually things we have to download an alternate browser for, both on Android and iOS. This is a big step forward.

Screenshot Tour of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Built for Tablets

The other core apps aren’t quite as revolutionary, but still nicely redesigned. The camera app is definitely cool (see above), and the Contacts and Email app are basically two-pane versions of the same apps we already know and love—not unlike the difference between the iPhone and iPad versions of Contacts and Mail in iOS. They’re a good use of space, but nothing revolutionary (unless you’re counting the aforementioned action bar that I still can’t get over).


The most recent Android 3.0 SDK and screenshots over at the Android Developers site barely scratch the surface of the brand new OS, but I gotta say, it looks really exciting. I’m a happy iPad user that, until today, was 100% uninterested in an Android tablet, but I’ve eaten my words for breakfast. Plus, a lot of these features fix some of Android’s biggest annoyances, so if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see some of them in the smartphone versions of Android. Here’s hoping.

What do you guys think? Do you like the look of the new Android OS, or do you still have reservations about Android tablets? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Android 3.0 Platform Highlights [Android Developers]

 

Who said? Whitson Gordon said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

February 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Posted in Android, Google, Mobile OS

Apple COO Tim Cook on Android, Verizon, and More ;).

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January 18, 2011

[On iPhone backlogs and ensuring sufficient supply.]

As I mentioned on last quarter’s call, we made a very bold bet on taking iPhone capacity for the September quarter, with the new iPhone 4 in the line-up, to 14 million. And as you may remember, we sold over 14 million in total iPhones. It was a fantastic quarter. And that was up from a previous number that was in the eight-ish range. We were able to step that up in this past quarter to over 16 million. And so we were able to increase over two million. And we obviously have continued to work on increasing this further. But as with all good things, it takes some time to do that.

Apple’s Jobs Takes Medical Leave; Cook in Charge with iPad 2, iPhone 5 in Wings
Verizon vs. AT&T: Which Can Feed iPhone’s Need for Speed?

Relative to Verizon (VZ), we are thrilled to offer the iPhone 4 to Verizon’s 93 million customers as well as any new customers who want an iPhone 4 on Verizon. And we’re going to do anything possible to get the iPhones into as many hand of those customers as possible.

[How comfortable are you with the availability of iPhones and iPads, and do you still see shortages?]

On iPad, we increased dramatically last quarter. We sold 7.3 [million], the previous quarter we were in the low fours, as you know. That did get us in supply/demand balance and also allowed us to expand to a total of 46 countries, which added 20 during the quarter. And we’re confident enough to add another 15 countries during the month of January, which will take us over 60. So we feel very, very good about the progress that we’ve made here.

Relative to iPhone 4, I also feel very, very good about what we’ve been able to do–however, it’s not enough. We do still have a significant backlog. We are working around the clock to build more. I feel great that the demand is so high, but at this point I’m not going to predict when supply and demand will meet. We believe the reaction and results from the Verizon customers will be huge. And so I don’t want to give a prediction right now on when supply and demand will cross.

[Sequential growth in Asia-Pacific is impressive. What’s driving that?]

Of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), we several years ago identified China as our top priority and we put enormous energy into China, and the results of that have been absolutely staggering. To give you some numbers there… (And we look at Greater China as a region: Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.) The revenue from Greater China for Apple (AAPL) for last quarter was $2.6 billion, which was up 4x from the prior-year quarter. And to further, just an exclamation point beside that, we did a little over $3 billion for the entire year of fiscal year ’10. So we’re very proud of the team and the results that we’ve gotten there.

Korea has also been a very, very good market for us. We had an outstanding Q1 there, primarily driven by iPhone and iPad. And there are several other Asian countries doing extremely well. Japan is not in the segment that you’re looking at, but Japan by itself, the revenue was up 83 percent year over year. And you’re familiar with the Japanese economy and the growth there, to grow 83 percent on the base that we’re doing, is stunning. And so we are placing more and more resource in these areas and continue to look for expansion possibilities throughout Asia.

[I was wondering if there’s any insight you can give us in terms of what your long-term business plan is, in terms of product roadmap.]

Well, you know, that’s all part of the magic of Apple. And I don’t want to let anybody know our magic, because I don’t want anybody copying it. What I would tell you is that in my view, Apple is doing its best work ever. That we are all very happy with product pipeline, and the team here has an unparalleled breadth and depth of talent and a culture of innovation that Steve has driven in the company, and excellence has become a habit. And so we feel very, very confident about the future of the company.

I would also note, for those people who haven’t thought about it, we’ve done outstanding in our Mac business. We’ve had 19 quarters straight of growing faster than the market. But we still have a relatively low share of a very large PC market, despite having great momentum there. And so it would seem like there is enormous opportunity still there.

We have relatively low share in the handset market. The handset market is well over a billion units a year, and the smartphone market is growing faster than a weed. And so there’s enormous opportunity here, and we have incredible momentum in that space.

iPad just got started, it’s a new category, we sold almost 15 million through the first three quarters, and we believe the market is huge. IDC, I saw this morning, is predicting it to quadruple in two years. I don’t know what to predict in terms of specific numbers. However, we believe it’s a huge market, as we’ve said before. And so we’re in some great markets, some fast-moving markets, we have the best products we’ve ever done, and an incredible product pipeline. We feel very, very confident.

[Which component areas are you making long-term commitments in?]

It’s something I don’t want to give out, because I view it as a competitive… something I just don’t want our competition knowing. But let me talk about it in general, and hopefully that will suffice. From our point of view, on the design side, we design components where we believe we can innovate beyond what’s available in the market. The most recent example of this is the A4 chip. But with the A4 chip, we didn’t feel like we had to invest in the fab itself and build a fab, because we felt like there were good options in the market for doing that, but not good options in terms of buying a design, so we really focused on design.

On the operational side of the house, as you probably remember, we’ve historically entered into certain agreements with different people to secure supply and other benefits. The largest one in the recent past has been, we signed a deal with several flash [memory] suppliers back in the end of 2005 that totaled over a billion dollars, because we anticipated that flash would become increasingly important across our entire product line and increasingly important to the industry. And so we wanted to secure supply for our company. We think that was an absolutely fantastic use of Apple’s cash, and we constantly look for more of these. And so in the past several quarters, we’ve identified another area and come to some recent agreements that Peter talked about in his opening comments. These payments consist of both pre-payments and capital for process equipment and tooling. And similar to the flash agreement, they’re focused in an area that we feel is very strategic. And so I’d prefer not to go into more detail about what specific area it’s in, but it’s the same kind of thinking that led us to those deals.

[Can you comment on how you’re currently viewing the competitive tablet landscape?]

If you look at what’s shipping today, there’s not much out there, as you know. Generally speaking, there’s two kind of groups that are on the market today. The ones that are using Windows-based operating system are generally fairly big and heavy and expensive, they have very weak battery life, they require a keyboard or a stylus as an input device. And from our point of view and what we’ve seen, customers are frankly not interested in them.

Then you have the Android tablets, and the variety that are out shipping today, the operating system wasn’t really designed for a tablet, and Google (GOOG) has said this. This is not just an Apple view by any means. And so you wind up having a size of tablet that is less than what we believe is reasonable or even one that would provide what we feel is a “real tablet experience.” So basically you wind up with a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product, in our view.

So those are the two that are shipping today, and frankly speaking, it’s hard for me to understand, if somebody does a side-by-side with an iPad, I think some enormous percentage of people are going to select an iPad there. Those are not tablets that we have any concern on.

The next-generation Android tablets, which are primarily what you mentioned in terms of CES, there’s nothing shipping yet, and so I don’t know. Generally they lack performance specs, they lack prices, they lack timing, so today they’re vapor. We’ll assess them as they come out, however, we’re not sitting still. And we have a huge first-mover advantage. And we have an incredible user experience, from iTunes to the App Store, and an enormous number of apps, and a huge ecosystem. And so we’re very, very confident with entering into a fight with anyone.

[What might change in terms of iPhone exclusivity and movement to other carriers, worldwide?]

We’re always looking and assessing in every country who we should be doing business with and exploring different deals and arrangements, etc. And so, we’ll continue to do that. What I’ve said before, and we have seen this in every case literally that we’ve done, is where we’ve moved from a exclusive carrier arrangement to a dual- or multi-carrier arrangement, our growth has changed significantly and our market share has increased. That doesn’t mean that would happen in every country, nor does it mean that we’re just out doing that in every country. We look at each one individually. Each market has its own individual characteristics, and parameters, and technology.

On the CDMA phone specifically, I don’t have any specific thing to announce today other than we are truly thrilled to be working with the Verizon team. They have built quite a company, and earned a great deal of respect from their customers, and some of them have waited a long time to get iPhone, and we’re very, very happy to give them iPhone. And any other customers, that are non-Verizon customers that wish to buy an iPhone. We’re also very happy that we’ve signed a multi-year non-exclusive deal with AT&T. And so we’re very happy that we will have shortly a dual-carrier setup in the U.S.

I’ve generally found, people really want to do business with us, and their customers very much desire to have the iPhone. I don’t really see a lack of desire. I don’t want to comment about any specific country, because I view any conversations that we have going as confidential in nature. It is true, as you said, that we are not under a contractual exclusivity now in any country in the world. The last one was the United States. We have moved away from those. I can guarantee you that we always are looking at opportunities to grow. Of course in the very short term, I would also remind you that we’re constrained on iPhone 4 and we’re working around the clock to get as many of these out to our existing partners as we can.

[What’s going on regarding the Mac? And will are iPads cannibalizing Mac sales?]

What we saw on the Mac this quarter, we grew 23 percent at the worldwide level, and that is compared to a market growth of only three [percent]. And so we grew almost either times the market rate of growth, which I think is stunning. And every region outgrew the market, so it wasn’t just one region. Asia/Pacific led the growth with a whopping 67 percent year-over-year increase, and that’s almost ten times what the market did there, to put it in context. Japan grew at 56 percent, which is about six times the market. And Europe and the United States both grew in double digits, despite both markets contracting overall. And so we did significantly better than the market in every major region. And we’re very proud of that.

Now, was there any cannibalization by iPad? Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but yes, I think there is some cannibalization. But I also think there is a halo effect. As we’ve seen on the Mac by the iPod some years ago, I think there is a halo effect from Apple product to Apple product. And of course we have introduced millions of people in Asia to Apple through the iPhone. And we’re now introducing many more through the iPad, and I think some of those decide to buy a Mac. And so when you look at the Mac growth in Asia at 67 percent, and you look at the Japan growth at 56 and you look at the U.S. and Europe growing at double digit, against shrinking markets, if this is cannibalization, it feels pretty good.

If the iPad or tablets do cannibalize the PC market, keep in mind that we have low share of the PC market, so the other guys lose a lot more, and we have a lot more to win because of that. Honestly, cannibalization is not something that we are spending one minute on here. The iPad teams are building the best iPad for the future, and the Mac teams are building the best Mac, and I can tell you that both groups believe that they can continue to grow and do great stuff. And I believe that.

[So are the two platforms merging into one?]

Part of the magic of Apple is that there’s not high walls between these product groups. They like each other, talk to each other, they’re of the same DNA, they want to build the best products in the world. So if one has a great idea, there’s not a “not invented here” in the other group. And so one of the key learnings from the iPad was that people love instant on. They really love that. And so the MacBook Air incorporated that. And that’s just one simple example, but there are tons of examples throughout all of our products where something started on one and went to a different one. And it’s not always in the same direction, either. It can start on the phone and then flow forward, it can start on the iPad and flow, and so on, and so forth.

And so, that’s part of the way we run the company. I think Steve said it great when he said, “If the Mac company were a separate company, and the iPad company were a separate company, what would the Mac company build to compete with the iPad? I think the answer is the MacBook Air.” And I think that’s a phenomenal insight, I think a great way to look at it. It’s not that the groups are competing, they’re sharing. And coming up with the incredible products that people really want.

[Any other observations about your battle with Android?]

If you look at the iPhone portion, we had record sales on iPhone with 16.2 million units sold in the quarter. Peter [Oppenheimer] said we believe we could’ve sold more if we had more supply. From the market estimates that we’ve seen, it suggests we’ve moved faster than the market. Obviously we’re working around the clock on increasing supply. We’re continuing to expand countries and carriers. We’re getting enormous enterprise traction, with 88 percent of the Fortune 100, which is mind-blowing, I believe. 83 percent of the Fortune 500, 60 percent of the FT 100. So enterprise traction is gaining.

We have the highest customer [satisfaction] ratings in the industry, versus Android or RIM or anyone. We have the largest App Store, with over 300,000 apps. We’ve now sold over 160 million iOS devices. This is huge. And we fundamentally believe that our integrated approach delivers a far superior customer experience than the fragmented approach. And you can see this in a variety of ways, from fragmentation of a number of app stores out there, that people are going to pull their hair out because they’re going to have a variety of updating methodologies, a variety of payment methods, and slightly different derivatives. You can see from surveys that people are doing to see who is on the latest OS, and you’ll notice that the iOS is always off the charts on the percentage of people that have the latest version versus the other guys. We are launching with Verizon next month, we believe there’s a huge pent-up demand there. And we think that that will help us in the U.S.

The net net is that we think that our integrated approach is much better for the end user because it takes out all the complexity for the end user, instead of making the end user a system integrator themselves. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know very many people that want to be system integrators as a consumer or somebody in the enterprise. You know, I think that the more iPhones that we can get out there into people’s hands, the more people love them and I think we’ve got a very bright future. I think the same thing about iPad. It’s the same set of issues at the end of the day. The difference on iPad is that we’ve been running three quarters without any significant competition of any type. And I think the customer [satisfaction] ratings on the iPad are also off the charts. I don’t know if any of that is new. I doubt that it is. So I think we’re in a very good position.

© 2010 Mac Publishing LLC

Who said? by Macworld staff, Macworld said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

January 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Posted in Android, Apple, Google

Android Task Killers are Dead—Here’s What You Should Be Doing ;).

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As a general rule, people have a hard time dealing with change. Android, being perhaps the fastest changing mobile OS in history, can leave people in the dust as the platform evolves. Things don’t work the same from release to release. Some of this is user-facing, and people can adapt. But some changes are deeper system level alterations that people might not notice at first, and then might not understand why they’ve changed. The functionality and usefulness of task killers is one such advance. A lot has changed in the underlying Android OS regarding how background processes are managed.

Read on to find out why task killers are obsolete, and why that’s actually a good development.

How task killing became dogma

In older versions of Android, memory management was an issue. These phones, like the G1, had too little internal memory for the heavy background processes that many apps chose to run. An app could spawn background services, but never kill them. Even if the app wasn’t doing anything, these services would remain in memory. Over time this led to poor performance and overall system sluggishness.The solution, at the time, was to use task killer apps.

Task killers like Advanced Task Manager and Advanced Task Killer became extremely popular in the Android Market because people saw performance and battery life benefits from ending background services. It was the snowball effect from here on out. Every new Android user was told to go get a task killer first thing when buying a new phone. Some carriers even included them on on phones and recommended them to customers. It became Android dogma that you had to kill tasks.

But starting in Android 2.0, memory management got much, much better. Apps couldn’t spawn processes only to leave them forever. The OS would gauge the level of system RAM, and close unneeded background services. Users on phones like the Droid could clearly tell that this was happening. With only 256MB of RAM, some memory-heavy apps would reliably cause the OS to close other apps running in the background. This is why many apps now use persistent notifications. Having that notification running will keep a background process it is connected to from being ended.

What Froyo changed

When Android 2.2 Froyo was released, users and developers alike noticed something had changed again. Task killers didn’t work properly anymore. If a user closed a particular app, it would just show up again. That’s because the API for closing other tasks was removed. Now the “end” command has basically become “restart”. Only the immediate background app can be closed. Associated services will stay put.

In modern versions of Android, you don’t need to worry about clearing out memory, but this new tweak changed things in a bigger way. This change to the app shutdown API completely alters the risk/reward ratio. If you’re not ending tasks, but rather restarting them, you actually use up more battery trying to free this memory. The apps will just restart, putting additional strain on the system. The only way to completely end a process now is to find it in the Manage Applications area of the Settings app, then tap the Force Stop button. It’s just as destructive as task killing was, but it is more hidden and not accessible via an API.

Google likely changed the API because ending tasks at random can cause system glitches in the worst case. At best, you’ll likely notice worse performance from your apps as they try to reconcile their assigned tasks with the fact that you are constantly interrupting them by ending them.

What you should be doing

We’ve said in the past that the only legitimate use for a task killer is to get rid of processes that go rogue and eat up CPU. A better way to manage that is to actually monitor what’s happening in the background. The app you’ll want for this is called Watchdog. We told you all about it a few weeks ago in a Market Roundup. Check that out for the full rundown.

What Watchdog basically does is poll the CPU to watch for apps that are getting greedy. This is really the holy grail of Android process management. It’s quiet, sits in the background, and solves most of your task management needs. You’ll be alerted if something goes wrong, and then Watchdog will allow you to restart the offending task. While doing this with an app that isn’t misbehaving is a bad idea, you have little choice in cases when an app is legitimately out of control.

Users with root on their device are able to undertake some additional steps to control tasks on Android. An app we really can’t live without on our rooted handsets is called Autostarts. We introduced you to thislast month, but we keep finding reasons to recommend it. Killing processes is a bad thing for system stability and battery life (especially under Froyo), but Autostarts lets you keep unneeded apps from starting up in the first place.

Apps register with the Android OS when they need to start up based on a set of conditions. Autostarts lists all those conditions, so you can tell apps not to start up when they otherwise would. You can still launch them, but they won’t launch themselves. This is perfect for those bundled apps that you use rarely, or simply don’t need. If there’s a lot of crapware on your handset, root users can also remove it completely with an app like Titanium Backup.

Also for root users, is an app called AutoKiller. Don’t let the name fool you; it isn’t an aggressive task killer that’s going to make your apps go all wonky. All it does is tweak the Android process manager to be more aggressive in ending background services. This won’t end tasks midstream, it just ends unneeded apps a little sooner. You mileage may vary, some users find this helps quite a bit, others not so much.

Most users that adopt a more modern way of managing (or not managing) their tasks see a big upside. A phone can feel faster, and the battery may last longer. When it comes down to it, killing tasks is just a hassle you don’t need to deal with anymore. Everyone on Android 2.0 and higher should rely on Watchdog, or an app like it, to monitor for runaway background processes.

As more Android users are bumped up to Froyo, or just buy new devices, they will find their task killers inoperable. It’s important they are steered away from this obsolete method of task management. Tell us about your task killing experiences in the comments.

Who said? Ryan Whitwam said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

January 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Posted in Android, Google, Mobile OS

Google To Open Office In Malaysia ;).

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) — Search engine giant, Google, will soon increase investments in Southeast Asia to serve users and advertisers and, to take advantage of the phenomenal growth expected in the number of Internet users.

Google’s Southeast Asia Managing Director Julian Persaud said the investments included the opening of its Kuala Lumpur office Wednesday which was in line with Google’s commitment to provide Malaysians with local products.

He said Malaysia has now reached 17 million Internet users and high growth was expected from the wireless markets as the online environment in Malaysia was growing rapidly with significant developments taking place in both broadband Internet access and e-commerce activities.

“We are pleased to establish our newest operations here where we can draw from the highest quality local talent to further help our users find the information they are looking for and help Malaysian businesses succeed,” he told reporters after the opening of the Kuala Lumpur office by Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir here Wednesday.

Google opened an office in Singapore and South Korea in 2007.

In the next few days, Persaud said, on line job-seekers in Malaysia would soon be able to surf for employment opportunities and vacancies in the sales, marketing and public relations areas via http://www.google.com.my/jobs.

In welcoming the opening of the local office, Mukhriz said Google’s local presence was a commitment to Malaysia and proved its suitability as a regional multimedia hub.

“We hope that Google’s entry will encourage more local business to go online and tap into international markets,” he said.

Meanwhile, Google’s Country Manager for Malaysia Sajith Sivanandan said Malaysia was a significant country in terms of its digital economy and tech-savvy population.

“We are excited about investing in Malaysia and through our search and display solutions, we hope to help small and large businesses grow. We also hope to reach new markets and contribute to economic growth.

“We also have a very engaged set of local users in Malaysia with whom we look forward to interact with much closely,” said Sivanandan who previously led Google’s online advertising business for the travel sector in Southeast Asia.

Household broadband penetration in Malaysia now stood at 55.6 per cent surpassing last year’s target of 50 per cent.

— BERNAMA

Who said? Bernama said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

January 26, 2011 at 9:24 PM

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