Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Apple Keeps Shining - By Comparison

Apple keeps on shining, especially when viewed against their competition.

And why not? It's not just marketing, but solid design and seamless connectivity to multiple devices and platforms. Anyone who uses a PC has to believe that there is a better way, or they'd just go nuts suffering under the status quo. Apple gets the details right, and the devil is in the details.

From the article: That seems to be the market today. There are competing products that are cheaper and offer more features. But Apple's brand is just too strong to sway anyone.

Yeah, that's part of it, but products that WORK AS ADVERTISED will sell well in any market where the competition aspires to "cheap" and "good enough". Get ready for the next wave of technology where refinements to devices with klunky interfaces become marketing tools.

This writer thinks that Apple's technology is too good.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

IBM Throws Down

IBM unveiled a new chip that could blunt Intel's attempts to move into the video game market. Dubbed a 'cell', the new chip has multiple powerpc processors on board and uses new techniques to keep those processors fed with data.

An Intel spokesman reminded reporters that "that a new computing design requires a host of new software and programming tools to become useful". That is true, but it shouldn't be a problem for the world's largest producer and seller of computer software: IBM.

Friday, February 04, 2005

You See, Any Moron Can Get An MCSE

This reviewer obviously doesn't know or believe anything that wasn't spoon fed to him by the Microsoft marketing department.

Javier, is really upset that the new Mac Mini doesn't come with virus protection or disk defragmenting software. I guess he just assumes that all computers and operating systems are vulnerable to viruses just like the toy software that Microsoft produces.

Now don't get me wrong. Windows 2000 was a solid effort. It's the most UNIX-like operating system I've seen from the folks in Seattle. But when it comes right down to it, calling OS X a toy, when it's built on top of BSD UNIX and Mach, a one-two punch of solid Operating System technology with 35 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT, USE, AND WIDESPREAD ADOPTION, is the true mark of an intellectual lightweight.

Considering the tone of this article, it has got to be a hoax, because it is truly flame-bait.

IBM PC Deal - This Guy is Pissed As Well

Read this.

Outsource Of PC Business, Er Sale, Inspires Loss Of Customers

Half of the IBM customers surveyed indicated that they would most likely switch to another vendor if the sale goes through.

Hello! This is the logical endgame of massive corporate outsourcing. You lose your corporate memory by moving manufacturing overseas, telling yourself that all the corporate functions like marketing and design will stay here. With a severed connection to manufacturing, marketing and sales founders, and you end up with losses that can't be reversed. Ultimately, you sell out to the foreign manufacturer who previously 'helped' you with your manufacturing costs and you've managed to scuttle your investors capital, your employees jobs and security, and all you've really produced is a bunch of golden parachutes for the gussied-up, coiffed morons who created the mess. Customers and employees vote with their dollars and their feet, respectively.

The worst part, THE WORST PART, is that these same morons will fix up the CV's to call themselves 'turnaround specialists' of something equally banal, and go to some other company and repeat the process all over again. This type of behavior is happening to companies that have had waves of layoffs because they no longer retain "Corporate Memory". They forget the last time they were down this road, and take the same wrong turns to end up in the same old place. And then they hire a 'turnaround specialist' to help them find their way out.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ship Till We Drop

Amazon.com is offering customers a new customer loyalty program featuring free two day shipping. For a flat fee, customers can get free 2 day shipping and low cost overnight shipping throughout the entire year.

Amazon admitted to analysts that this would have a negative impact on earnings in the short term, but expect this kind of program to bind their customers more closely and lead to higher revenue in the long run.

Yahoo Announces New Search Tool

Yahoo, not to be outdone by the latest announcement at MSN, announced a new tool that performs contextual searches based on the current web page. This feature is supposed to work with all browsers on both PCs and Macs.

This isn't necessarily a Google killer, but it keeps Yahoo in the race.

Outsourcing Sun

Sun told analysts today that they will outsource about two thirds of the Information Technology staff to Computer Associates. This is all part of their strategy to reduce costs and streamline operations.

Once again, upper management didn't miss a chance to let the rank and file know how they really feel about them.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Apple Nails Retail Deals

Apple has inked a deal with Wal-Mart to sell the iPod Shuffle at their stores. It seems that $99 meets the Wal-Mart definition of "inexpensive, quality goods" at a great price. It helps that it's just about the hottest consumer electronics gadget out there.

Microsoft Gets Serious About Search

Microsoft has come out with an upgrade to their Search service that will include answers to factual queries via their Encarta on-line encyclopedia. This will certainly differentiate them from their competition. But is it enough given Google's commanding lead in the search market?

It'll be a nice feature for all those kids doing reports at the last minute, but a nightmare for teachers who may get reports that read just like articles in the Encarta encyclopedia.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More Good News For Prospective Mac Lovers

Apple has dropped the prices on several popular upgrades to its new Mac Mini.

These include the larger harddrive, faster Superdrive, extra memory, and the Bluetooth and Airport options. All of the things that make the Mac Mini even MORE usable for tech weenies like me. Could this indicate that initial sales are high enough to allow some bigger discount on these components from Apple's suppliers? This looks like a good sign that Apple will stay red hot.

Shopping For Integrity

But if you don't have it, you can't buy it. It seems that employees who signed over their 'worthless' shares upon leaving Epinions.com are a little miffed with the Venture Capaitalists and Founder who stayed on and got rich.

Any wonder? Most of the employees who are suing probably had little choice about their departure, and any severance may have been contingent on their 'cooperation' in signing documents presented to them during their exit. This is a common scenario that layed-off employees find themselves in, with not job to come to the next day that severance check looms large in their personal survival. You sing what you need to sign to get the immediate cash.

Just another way that those in authority screw those who aren't. Of course, it also helps to buy off your HR and Legal advisors.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It's The Economy, Stupid - Redux

The rising price of oil and threats to its supply are beginning to be noticed in the home of venture capital and entrepreneurs: Silicon Valley.

The rising costs of our current energy sources are making alternatives much more competitive, and entrepreneurs are beginning to make bets on new technologies that could add momentum to a shift to new energy sources around the world.

Research Flows Unimpeded By Ban

Despite the Bush Administration's ban on new stem cell lines, researchers are seeking out new avenues for development. Much of this work is due to the ban, but some is almost surely inspired by the issues with the existing stem cell lines.

A study has been published that says the current federally approved stem cell lines are contaminated. This could lead to rejection of any therapies that are derived from descendants of these lines, a long standing complication.

Sun Does It

Today is the day that Sun will announce their Open Source License for Solaris. A move that I had previously discussed here.

No we get to see what happens.

Changes at PalmOne

PalmOne has been doing well, but their stock took a hit after news that their CEO was leaving hit the wires. The Treo is a hit, but the PDA business seems to be foundering.

Is it possible that the PDA business is mature and the media just considers anything that doesn't grow in double digits to be a failure? It's instructive to look at the numbers behind the statements the press makes to get a sense of where their coming from.

Revenue Up 39%; Operating Margin Is 8.1%

MILPITAS, Calif., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- palmOne, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLMO) today reported revenue of $376.2 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2005, ended Nov. 26, which is up approximately 39 percent from the $271.2 million reported during the comparable quarter a year ago.

Net income was $24.7 million, or $0.48 per diluted share. This compares to income from continuing operations in the year-ago period of $2.6 million, or $0.07 per diluted share.

It's still hard to see where the press derives their 'feelings' from regarding the PDA business.