The Macalope Weekly: Farewell

This week we say goodbye to two pillars of the technology community. Well, sort of. Between them, the Motorola Xoom and Steve Ballmer make maybe three-quarters of a pillar. Sandwiched in the middle of these tearful farewells, we’ll take some time to ponder whether or not Apple’s events are even worth tuning in to anymore. Well, we won’t, but two writers for MacNewsWorld will.

Gone. Forgotten.

Alas, it is the Macalope’s solemn duty to report a devastating loss to the tablet community. Bow your heads and please observe a moment of silence …

In loving memory of the Motorola Xoom, 2011-2013.

Somewhere former Motorla Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha slowly drives a 1988 Mustang GT down a boulevard with those words stenciled in Chancery on the back window. Arriving at a carrier store, he silently pours out a 40 of malt liquor onto the pavement. A single tear falls from his eye.

Yes, according to The American Lawyer (tip o’ the antlers to The Verge), Motorola has agreed to can the Xoom brand after being sued by online payment provider Xoom Corp. Thus this one-time “iPad killer” is itself killed. Not with a bang, but with a confidential settlement, the terms of which neither party wishes to reveal.

Now, while this does not mean that Motorola will not continue to ship Xoom-like tablets, you can feel free to stick a fork in the Xoom itself. It’s dead.

So this is a good time to go back and review the fine work conducted by pundits who told us that “Xoom” spelled “doom” for the iPad. Because that’s what we do.

Let us start first with our old friend Don Reisinger, who said back in 2011 that the “Motorola Xoom Is the Perfect iPad Competitor.” “Were there 10 reasons why, and did Don put them into a slideshow?” you ask.

Puh. Leeze.

If you can remember as far back as two years ago, you might recall that the killer “feature” of the Xoom was that it was 4G-upgradeable. That’s right, it didn’t ship with 4G, but it shipped with the promise of 4G, which was almost as good and certainly enough to make it an iPad killer, because who wouldn’t want a tablet that, at a later, unspecified date, you could send back to the factory for a week to get faster roaming Internet access? If only Apple had thought of killer features like this!

When the Xoom was released in February of 2011, customers were told the 4G upgrade would come in the second quarter. Which totally happened if you include the end of September in the second quarter.

Reisinger wasn’t the only pie-eyed Xoomophile. CNNMoney’s David Goldman said Apple needed to “kill it with the iPad 2 event” because the Xoom was such super awesome cupcake frosting magic that the pressure was really on! Goldman pointed out that the Xoom was cheaper. Well, as long as you don’t factor in being tied to a two-year data plan as a cost. And who would possibly consider a long-term contract some kind of a cost?! Pff! The idea is laughable!

It took three years for Android tablets to sell in reasonable numbers, and then largely only by selling close to cost with the hope of making money on media sales. Alas, consumers didn’t see what Reisinger and Goldman saw in the Xoom. Which is kind of understandable when you consider the fun-house of mirrors they had to construct to frame it as an iPad killer.

BOR-ING

No one knows for sure what Apple’s going to announce at its all-but-announced iPhone event next month, but MacNewsWorld wants you to know it’s going to be just like the afternoon lull at the Sbarro in the old mall in downtown Dullsville, USA.

“A Year Later, Apple’s Secret Supply Chain Seems Reined in With Cheesecloth.” (tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King)

Because there have seemingly been some leaks of information, you see, Chris Maxcer assumes we know everything already.

I’m trying to stay excited about Apple’s Sept. 10 iPhone-revealing media ceremony …

Well, don’t knock yourself out. You’re not required to be excited about it.

… but instead I’m settling into the notion that we’ll have a gold iPhone and a bunch of plastic entry iPhone models in vague fugly colors.

Like white. Sooo f-wordingly ugly. And, of course, the colors will be the only difference with the new phones. That’s the big takeaway from all this. Good analysis.

Surely soft and gentle tones aren’t the future of Apple’s innovation?

Well, when you fabricate an argument that makes it that seem the color will be the only thing different about these phones then it sure seems like it, doesn’t it?

At least the sexy new Mac Pro seems to remain black.

PAGING MAT HONAN. MAT HONAN TO THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE, PLEASE.

Unless Apple has some surprises up its sleeve, like an iPhone with a larger screen or an iWatch, the Sept. 10 announcement is shaping up to be something like watching the last episode of Under the Dome after the shooting script has been posted all over the Internet—with photos from the set and spoilers tossed out like candy on Twitter.

The Macalope must have been off the Internet when that happened. Or didn’t care. Probably the latter.

Maybe the days of Steve Jobs-ian irrational thermonuclear punishment are irretrievably gone.

“I have no idea if Apple has anything surprising to announce next month, so I’d better get my complaining about there being nothing surprising in now.”

Maxcer isn’t the only MacNewsWorld pundit to predict big yawns at next month’s event. Erika Morphy asks “What if Apple Holds a Launch Event and Nobody Cares?”

Apple will launch the new device or devices—assuming the date is correct—during a busy period when it could be easy for a lackluster launch to quickly fade from sight.

An Apple launch. Quickly fade from sight. Which Earth are we talking about here? Did the Macalope miss another Crisis event? Like an actual Crisis event?

It will be following Samsung’s week earlier launch of its Galaxy Note III, which is expected to be a high-profile event.

As opposed to an iPhone event.

Uhhh huh.

The new iPhone(s) will debut during the week of the IFA consumer electronics show, when presumably many other products will be unveiled.

Presumably. No one really knows or cares, but presumably.

… Apple has been battling the perception that it has lost its innovation chops, and this slot on the calendar adds to that narrative.

Say, here’s a little experiment we can try: Let’s wait until after September 10th and see whose event gets more press. Like drastically more press. Like, let’s see if anyone even remembers the other events or if the Apple event creates a causality wave that summarily wipes them out of existence.

Now, that may sound crazy, but it actually makes more sense than an Apple event that no one cares about.

In short, a cynic’s viewpoint might be that Apple wants to get lost in the crowd.

Sure, assuming the cynic is also an idiot.

See, there’s a difference between being contrarian and just being cuckoo banana pants. And you crossed that line.

But he was such an easy target!

Huge news on Friday as Steve Ballmer announced that he would be stepping down as Microsoft’s CEO! That’s right, you won’t have his sweaty butt to kick around anymore. While the company starts the process of searching for a new captain of what is, if not the Titanic in mid-sink, then at least the Carnival Triumph, let’s check in with the Winotaur, who is not taking the news well.

WINOTAUR: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

MACALOPE: OK, OK. The Macalope knew this was going to be hard on you.

WINOTAUR: IS THERE A GOD THAT WOULD ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN?

MACALOPE: You mean allow him to continue on as CEO for so long? Not sure where you’re going …

WINOTAUR: AAAAAAAH, WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE GOOD ONES WHO GO SO YOUNG?

MACALOPE: He’s 57.

WINOTAUR: I know! Just think of how many years of wisdom he has left to give!

MACALOPE: Uh, negative ten?

WINOTAUR: You take that back! Name one thing he’s said that …

MACALOPE: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant …”

WINOTAUR: OTHER THAN THAT.

MACALOPE: Well, at any rate, it looks like the Macalope owes an apology to those people who said Microsoft would be a good investment. The stock shot up after the announcement. Although, this probably isn’t what they had in mind.

WINOTAUR: That’s a vote of confidence in the future of Microsoft! We’re just lucky he left the company in such good shape.

MACALOPE: Uh, yeaaah. Sure. Well … other than that $900 million write-down on unsold Surface units.

WINOTAUR: Right, other than that.

MACALOPE: And other than having just completed a huge reorganization that put most of the power in the CEO’s hands. Who will be God knows who.

WINOTAUR: Uh-huh.

MACALOPE: And, of course, other than the bottom dropping out of the PC market.

WINOTAUR: Um …

MACALOPE: And the fact that your mobile strategy is going nowhere and …

WINOTAUR: OK, OK, I GET IT.

MACALOPE: But I only got through about a quarter of the things on this list here.

WINOTAUR: Look. Look. This is a huge, vital company. It’s going to be perfectly easy for it to, uh, to …

MACALOPE: Turn on a dime and accept an outsider as their leader?

WINOTAUR: Uh … right. Anyway, it’s a whole 12 months. He can still change his mind.

MACALOPE: …

WINOTAUR: …

MACALOPE: WHAT?

WINOTAUR: I’m just sayin’.

MACALOPE: Seek professional help. Seriously.

WINOTAUR: Sad times. Just sad.

MACALOPE: The Macalope feels for you, man. He knows what it’s like to lose a CEO.

WINOTAUR: Thanks, man. Thanks for that. I really appreciate it.

MACALOPE: Sure.

WINOTAUR: …

MACALOPE: …

WINOTAUR: …

MACALOPE: Also.

WINOTAUR: I knew you were going to do that.

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