Monday, July 09, 2007


The Co-CEO of Research in Motion said in an interview, and I'm paraphrasing here, "What iPhone?" Then a little later he said that Apple taking control of the user interface and services out of the hands of the service providers is "dangerous." In his office is an autographed poster of Aerosmith that he got when the band played at the company picnic.

The CEO, Jim Balsillie (Really. That's his name.), said that Apple taking control of the user interface and the services runs the risk of turning the service providers into a "commodity pipe." The column doesn't mention what commodity he had in his pipe as he made this observation. Possibly something left behind by a roadie at the company picnic.

The fact is, the service providers already are commodity pipelines. The internet, email, and voice communications are commodities. The commodity pipes we have right now don't offer much in the way of differentiation. There is no value-added with any of them, or any particular stand-out among them for customer service.

The current business model doesn't really address whether the user enjoys the experience, but whether the provider has added a nickel to that last keystroke. Rather than adding value, the current model adds annoyance and expense without making it in any way pleasant. Because, frankly, Verizon doesn't give a shit whether you're happy. They care that you make your payments on time.

Steve & Co. gives us the whole feature set at one price. We can use what we want. It all works.

The commoditization of mobile communications is only dangerous to those who make a living fleecing the public. To those of us who use it, it's about frigging time.

In the eyes of the service providers under the current business model, the phones are dumbed down unless the customer chips in a little more for each individual pissant little feature. The customer is nothing more than a crop to be harvested. We feel it. It sucks.

In the Steve Jobs business model, the machine's capabilities are in the hands of the user for one price. The customer is a patron to be served. We feel it. It rocks.

Apple doesn't treat us so well just because they want to be Santa Claus. They treat us well because they know we're happy to pay more money for good treatment. They want our money. Interestingly, the other companies can only hold us up for our money as long as there is no real competition for the commodity. No wonder the iPhone is generating so much negative press among paid shills for T-Mobile and Verizon.

Here's the cool part. Apple just stepped onto the playing field. By Apple's very presence, the playing field is no longer level. It's up to the other guys to figure out how to compete with the iPhone.

More importantly, this week marks the 50th Birthday of "What's Opera, Doc?" The greatest cartoon of all time. Featuring the singing voices of Mel Blanc as Bugs Bunny, and Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer Fudd singing Kill the Wabbit to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries.

Zune Update

The top headline on the Zune News Site says, "Don't Kill the 360." Honest. The Zune doesn't even make the top of the page on its own page.

Vista Update

Something about a Silverlight 1.0 Beta QuickStart. Whatever the hell that is. It sounds labor intensive.

I think it's time for me to sauté the zucchini.