Thursday, October 21, 2010

What’s the #1 most crazy idea Steve Ballmer has ever heard?

Apparently some analyst at Goldman Sachs recently said Microsoft should spin out its consumer unit, and Ballmer just got up at some conference and said this is the “the second most crazy idea I have ever heard.” (Hat tips to BizInsider and Financial Times.)

That of course got everyone wondering what Ballmer’s number one most crazy idea might be. He wouldn’t say, but but I know for a fact what it is, because he left it on my voice mail and I’ve saved it for three and a half years:

“You’re going to take an iPod and add a radio to it and turn it into a phone? And you’re going to charge five hundred dollars for a phone? A phone that plays music? Well, good luck with that. Because that is the number one most crazy idea I’ve ever heard.”

You know what? I love competing with Microsoft. I really do.

Ozzy Osbourne totally loves the new 13-inch MacBook Air

But I swear the guy didn’t understand a word I said. Check out the vacant expression. The dead, soulless eyes. Supposedly Ozzy once took LSD every day for two years. All I can say is, it shows. You know that iPad he’s carrying? The battery was dead. It’s just a prop. Every once in a while he’d flip open the cover and pretend to be typing on it. Sad stuff.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I’m not worried about Android. That’s why I keep talking about it all the time.

You can’t believe the number of calls we’ve been getting for the past few months about this non-phenomenon known as Android. Every analyst on Wall Street wants to ask us about the open-versus-closed thing, and the thing about aren’t we reliving what happened with the Mac versus Windows in the 90s, and the totally made-up activation numbers that Andy Rubin keeps pulling out of his ass — and I’m like, Enough!

That’s why I got on the earnings call yesterday and read that totally impromptu rant about Google and Android and open versus closed.

To reiterate: We are way more popular than Android. In fact, Android is not that popular at all. From what our research tells us, hardly anyone is buying Android phones. I know — that’s not what you’re hearing from the so-called “independent” market research outfits. So ask yourself, why is that? How could all those firms get this so incredibly wrong? Could it be that they’ve all been bought off by Google? Maybe that’s something that someone should be looking into.

But think about it. Do you know anyone who has an Android phone? I don’t. Honestly, not a single person I know has an Android phone. I’ve never seen one anywhere, in public, being used by a real person. I just haven’t. I mean I’ve seen the ads. But I haven’t seen an actual Android phone, and until I do, then as far as I’m concerned they simply don’t exist. They’re like Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster. Great story, very entertaining, but not real.

Those Android devices that you see in the phone store, in the display window — are they actual phones, or just display models? Can you buy one? I think someone needs to do some investigating on this, instead of just sitting in their newspaper offices and writing up whatever bullshit Google feeds them.

Little news flash for you. Google friggin lies. They lie all the time. They lie about everything. They’ve lied about how many people are using Google Apps. They lied about how much money they’re making with YouTube. They lied about how many homes they invaded with their little WiFi cars driving around gathering data, and they lied about what they were going to do in China. They lie, lie, lie!

All I can tell you is that when we look out at the marketplace, in terms of competition, we just don’t see Android. We don’t. We see Windows Phone 7, which is so late that it won’t have a chance. We see RIM, in our rearview mirror, yelling at us to slow down. We see Palm, or at this point just a few fingers, still wiggling as they slide under the surface of the water for good as they drown. We see Nokia, lumbering up ahead of us like a big dimwitted Finnish reindeer, slumped on an ice floe, badly wounded, losing blood, just waiting for me to sneak up and bash it over the head with a club and finish (sorry) it off.

But Android? Honestly, we just don’t see it. Let me repeat that, in a more hypnotic voice: We … do … not … see … Android … as … a …competitor.

Even if we did see Android out there it would not matter because Android is imploding because of fragmentation which is what happens to all open-source projects. Although, as I said yesterday, Android isn’t actually open. So this is really weird because they aren’t open and yet they are fragmenting, and I know what you’re going to ask, you’re going to say, Steve, how is that possible, isn’t it a conundrum, or an oxymoron, and I’m going to say, No, it is not.

Android is closed. But it still has fragmentation. Like all open-source products.

And, by the way, open never wins, closed always wins. Just look at the entire history of the tech industry, or, if you’re in a hurry, just look at that one time when Microsoft tried to do a lame version of making music play on zillions of random shitty devices and it totally got crushed because our closed model was so much better.

So even if Android was open, which it’s not, even then Google would not win, because closed always wins, except when the closed thing is Android, which is, in fact, closed, but still won’t beat us because we’re more closed than they are and the most closed system always wins. Look at Sun Microsystems versus Linux. Case closed.

As for these numbers that Google keeps putting out, why does anyone believe them? Google could say it’s activating a billion phones a day, but that doesn’t make it true. Where is the proof? Where are the numbers from the hardware guys? Google says the phones are being sold by HTC — but does HTC even exist? Seriously? Supposedly they’re based in Taiwan. But I’ve been to Taiwan, and I asked everybody I met, Hey, have you heard of this company called HTC? Nobody knew what I was talking about.  Someone ought to be looking into that, but again — lazy.

Then there’s Motorola. Supposedly they’re selling a lot of Android phones. But you look at their financial statements, the stuff they report to the SEC, and there’s nothing. Just nothing.

And even if they did provide numbers, it wouldn’t matter, because it’s not about activation numbers. The whole activation issue is a ridiculous point for Google to keep making, because it doesn’t mean anything, and by the way, our activation numbers are way higher, not that we care, because we don’t, and why should we? But based on our research, we are far and away the biggest phone maker of any kind in the world, and again, not that it matters, because this isn’t about who sells the most phones, but if it were, we would win, because we do.

So, everybody, let’s all take a deep breath here and just agree to stop talking about Android. Okay? Because they are totally irrelevant.

Now I’m going to get some chai tea and sit in my meditation room with my eyes closed and earplugs in and not think about Android for the rest of the day. Peace.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alley Insider, wathcdog of journalsim

You know when I said we don’t want to descend into a nation of bloggers? This is what I was talking about. For the original go here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oracle’s new nickname: The “home for little wanderers”

First Chuck Philips and his straying. And of course, Larry. Now they’re going to hire Mark Hurd. Imagine those three on a business trip to, I don’t know, Thailand. Or Shanghai. Or anywhere. Ugly stuff.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Larry is furious about this Mark Hurd thing

Honestly, he won’t let it go. He’s calling me over and over saying, Wait until you hear the latest, you won’t believe what they’re saying now! As if I care. Jesus. I put my iPhone 4 down on the desk and let him rant for a few minutes while I do some work, then I pick up and pretend I’ve been listening. Larry’s position is that Hurd didn’t do anything wrong. He’s like, Look, it’s not like he was drugging teenage girls and raping them while they were passed out! I’m like, Wait, is that the new hurdle CEOs have to get over? As long as you’re not feeding them roofies and raping them, it’s okay? And Larry says, Look, don’t start, you’re not like the rest of us, you have no genitals, you’re a fucking Ken doll, you can’t understand the needs that a normal man has. To which I say, Dude, I saw the pictures of Hurd’s gal-pal, and honestly, I wouldn’t tap that with your dick. Larry says then at least there’s one thing we can agree upon, but as they say, De gustibus non disputandum est, to which I said, Stop showing off with your restaurant French, everybody knows you’re a dropout just like me.

Anyway. My own paranoid conspiracy theory is that this woman was probably a Microsoft plant. Because think about it. A few months ago HP shoved a fork in Ballmer’s eye when they bought Palm and, in effect, rejected Windows. So, Ballmer waits a little while and then bam — he knocks Hurd out of the box. Maybe this all sounds crazy but trust me, the Borg has these sluts planted everywhere. We all do it, actually. They work their way in on some CEO or other top manager; they gather evidence; and then when we’re negotiating something tricky and we need something, we pull the trigger. The slut springs a blackmail attempt or, in this case, a groundless sexual harassment claim which everyone knew would fail in court but was basically just a way to embarrass Hurd and knock him out of his job.

Ballmer doesn’t try planting whores around me, because he knows it’s pointless; I don’t allow anyone to touch me. And nobody bothers planting whores around Larry, because he hits anything that moves and makes no apologies for it, and if you try to sue him he’ll get you thrown into prison. He did that to that one woman, and after that the word got out real fast among the VIP hostesses and “marketing consultants” that you should not mess with Larry, because he will cut a bitch.

Truly, we have changed the world

And change is good. Isn’t it? This is a song from a Rocky movie, played entirely on iPads. I’ll be honest. It’s not exactly what we envisioned when we first set out to create this history-making device. But it does inspire awe. Will we someday have entire orchestras playing iPads? I believe we will. Will I go sit through their performances? Probably not. But I will honor their efforts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We do not care about Android

So some random analyst firm that nobody has ever heard of just reported that Android outsold iPhone in the United States last quarter, and people are losing their mud saying it’s all over for Apple, this is the tipping point, it’s game over, and blah blah. We’re deploying our blog ninjas to shoot this thing down — see MG Sieg Heil of TechCrunch arguing here that Android isn’t really winning because it runs on like a thousand different phone models and fifteen hundred carriers, while we only have one; see Gruber arguing here that (a) the real news is that RIM is screwed; (b) most of Android’s success comes from Verizon; and (c) we’d be winning if the analysts counted iPads and iPod Touch units when the compared us to Android, which they should do, even though they should also count iPad as a portable computer when they’re doing computer market share because when you do that we’re like far and away the biggest computer maker in the world; and see Dan Frommer of Alley Insider saying here that sure Android is gaining share but guess what, Google doesn’t make any money on it and Apple is making more money than any other company in the history of the world, so nanny nanny boo boo.

See, what we’re doing these days is we make a list of talking points and instead of giving all of them to everyone we split them up and give everyone a different part of the list. Katie calls it the “croque-monsieur” because the effect is that all of these different spinning points melt together and cover up the news, like hot cheese oozing between delicious bread and disgusting foul ham.

And then I swoop in here and deliver all of the talking points in one nice neat basket. To recap:

1. Android is on lots of phones, we’re on one.

2. BlackBerry is getting killed by Android. So go look at BlackBerry. Seriously, go look at them. Their antennas are having problems too, just FYI.

3. Whatever problems we have can be blamed on AT&T, which is the shittiest carrier in the world.

4. You have to look at the software platform, not the hardware device. When you do that, iOS is winning.

5. We make money on phones and Google doesn’t.

But wait, there’s more. The truth is, we know Google is going to have more market share than we do. Heck, let’s just say it — they’re going to dwarf us. We don’t care. We would rather have 10 percent of a gorgeous beautiful pristine market that we can completely own and control (read: huge margins) than have 90 percent of a bucket of shit.

That’s why I say we didn’t lose the PC war with Microosoft, because frankly, we were never competing with Microsoft. Apple and Microsoft were doing two very different things. And equally frankly, even now, if we didn’t have iTunes and iPods and iPhone and iPad, even if we were only talking about the personal computer (desktops and laptops) market, I’d much rather have our business (Macs and OS X) than theirs. Honestly. This isn’t spin.

It cracks me up when people say we’re doing the same thing in mobile that we did in personal computers and how this is some colossal mistake and somehow, apparently, everybody at Apple is just so stupid or blind that we can’t see that we’re doing this all over again even though everyone else in the world can see it and how can this be happening and oh my goodness isn’t it awful?

But what would you suggest we do? License iOS to HTC and Samsung and Motorola and everyone else, and then hire a zillion support engineers to mop up every mess they make with all their Frankenstein monster hardware designs?

Friends, listen up. We know what we’re doing. We’re doing it on purpose. We don’t need to be the biggest. Is Porsche the biggest? Or Mercedes? Or BMW? No, and they don’t want to be. Neither do we.

In three years, maybe less, Android will be way bigger than us. And we’ll have the better business.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Money talks, bullshit walks

Maybe you didn’t notice, but we released our financial results last night and blew everyone away. Now iSupply is doubling its forecast for iPad sales. Somehow, in the middle of all this good news, I seem to recall that there was some kind of press event last week … but I can’t remember what it was about. Something about the media, or about mobile phones maybe?

Yeah. It’s like that, people. The non-issue over the antenna is officially over. Dead and buried. You know why? Because money talks, and bullshit walks. I’m so excited that I’m going to treat myself to an extra mango lassi at lunch.

Monday, July 19, 2010

More evidence of media bias