Saturday, November 10, 2007

Life, The Universe, and Everything Else. Got to Catch Up a Little Bit.

Let's see. Where to start. Peter Pan opened last night. Apparently it went okay. There was very little spoiled produce on the stage as we left.

I've been reading various opinions and blogs about whether iTunes/iPod constitutes a monopoly. Really interesting. People looking at the exact same thing and arguing about what it is. The iPod/iTunes structure is no more a monopoly than it is a dish of ice cream or a truck tire. It doesn't even get close to matching the definition of "Monopoly." I looked for a definition that comes close, and I came up with:

  • A market structure characterized by a single seller of a well-defined commodity for which there are no good substitutes and by high barriers to the entry of other firms into the market for that commodity.

  • Now, Apple may meet the "no good substitutes" standard in the world of music players and online stores, but only because – unlike competing brands – Apple's stuff doesn't suck.

    All the other definitions of "monopoly" I found were centered on being the only seller of a product or service. There are lots of other choices available for music and players. They just happen to look like ass compared to Apple's offerings. Being the the only company who sells hardware and software that doesn't suck does not constitute a monopoly.

    The iPhone in Europe

    People have built this huge unscalable mountain of expectations for the iPhone across the pond. It's going to be sold in more places, and therefore will sell incrementally more units. It's a great phone. People will buy it. In Europe, the kind of people who will stand in line overnight to get one probably already have one. They've been on sale in the U.S. long enough for Europeans to get them by now if they really, really had to have one.

    A lot of people were expecting long lines and people camped out overnight for the chance to be first. Okay. There were a few fanatic pillocks out there in the rain. Children jumping up and down on the bed on Christmas morning. Sheesh. There'll be plenty to go around. Just wait.

    Of course, the failure of Europeans to storm the castle with pitchforks and torches will be seen as a disappointing showing by people with significantly reduced brain function.

    Apple's Stock Price

    It went down, like 12%, last week. That's bad news taken out of context. In context, the share price is up over 100% in the last 12 months. Also, there has been no bad news out of Cupertino. None. So the stock price went down. That's one of two possible things a stock price can do.

    The GPhone

    The iPhone's new competition. It's going to eat Apple's lunch. Apple should be very afraid of the new open source collaboration led by none other than the king of annoying little text ads, Google. The world of punditbots is agog. They're hypnotized by the shiny thing, and unable to see their surroundings. Otherwise they'd notice the complete absence of anything tangible upon which to hang their verbiage.

    There is absolutely nothing there. Nothing. Thirty or forty companies have announced that they're forming an alliance. Big whoop. There is no hardware, no software, no infrastructure, no business model. There is absolutely NOTHING. If Eric Schmidt jumped up from behind a rock and said "Boo!" as El Jobso walked by, it would be more meaningful.

    From here, I hope it becomes something. Competition is good. Apple needs competition. Currently, Apple is in danger of throwing their full weight against the telecomm door and finding it ajar. They need a little resistance or they will become a monopoly by default. That wouldn't be good for anybody.

    Oddly, I find myself agreeing with John Dvorak on the GPhone. Do I have a fever?


    Leopard rocks. Leopard sucks. Leopard is okay. It depends where you read. I haven't read anywhere that anyone is experiencing any major problems with Leopard. Some people don't like the software firewall changes. There's a data loss problem that, near as I can tell, has been around for a while but is being blamed on Leopard. Some people are reporting minor glitches with Time Machine. A few folks don't like the translucent menu bar; that's a preference that should be addressed soon. It seems to be working fine, though, for the most part.

    Nobody that I've heard of is asking Apple to sell them a computer with Tiger installed. Nobody that I've heard of is downgrading to Tiger after installing Leopard. The way I handle my upgrades from Apple is to just install them and use them. I explore some of the new features to see it they'll make my life any easier or better. If so, I use them. If not I don't. For a few examples: Exposé is one that I never use. Dashboard would be better for me if I could install the widgets on the main desktop; I use it, but not much. Spotlight is cool. I already had a "Downloads" folder in the dock, so that didn't change my life.

    What I notice with Leopard, mostly, is that I haven't had to make any changes in how I interact with my computer to use it. With Windows upgrades, there is almost always some change that I have to learn or adjust to in order to make the computer do what it did before. I hate that. Especially since it never seems to be an intuitive change. OS X upgrades have been incremental and easy to adjust to. Each iteration brings a few more goodies. Not enough to be overwhelming, but just enough to make it fun.

    Okay. I have to do Peter Pan again tonight. I think a nap is in order.

    Right after lunch.