The Macalope Weekly: Smells like teen spirit

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Hey, kids, you remember grunge? Well, bust out your flannel shirts and grow out your hair, because it’s 1993 all over again. This week people are falling over themselves trying to point out that the smartphone wars are just like the PC wars, except with Google instead of Microsoft. Is the iPhone doomed to a tiny market share? Will Android rule supreme? And where’s the Macalope’s Blind Melon CD?

We’ll print anything provided it’s long enough

A column for Business Insider says that while Apple may be the short term winner, it’ll be the long-term loser (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball).

There is no denying Apple has had an incredible run.

But it’s all over now! Why? Ever hear of the PC wars, dude? Read a book! Windows crushed the Mac, sport. It was in all the papers.

Android, with its relative openness, seems to be playing the role Windows played for the Mac.

Sure. Google’s free OS, built to promote their real bread-and-butter advertising business, is exactly the same as Windows, which Microsoft is very adamant about charging for. Go on.

Steve Jobs seems to be repeating the same mistake all over again.

Oh, no, he’s right! Apple’s making a dreadful mistake and should license iOS immediately! Isn’t it obvious this isn’t working out?!

Wait, wait, wait. Says who?

Why, Fabrice Grinda, the author of the piece.


The Macalope hears what you’re saying: “OK, Business Insider, now you’re just making people up.” But, no!

Fabrice Grinda is CEO of OLX and posts regularly at, where this post was originally published.

Ah-ha! Fabrice Grinda runs OLX, the highly-respected free classified site that the Macalope had never heard of before, but he also posts blog post on his blog which then get picked up by Business Insider as link-bait.

Well, case closed.

Wait, what?

Grinda goes on and on with his history lesson—over 1500 words—but the ankle-deep similarities fail to take into account one historical fact: for most of the ’90s, Apple was run by a revolving door of guys with the combined intellect of a block of nutraloaf.

Further, what’s a “win”? Capturing the high end of the market and reaping huge margins seems pretty “winny” to the horny one. It’s fine if you want to point out the similarities between the two OS wars, but your reverse crystal ball act is not as brilliant as you think. It’s certainly not original.

Maybe we can get Noah Wyle to play Steve Jobs again

Both Hollywood and silly pundits love a story. They particularly love a remake of a story, because it means they can phone in their job.

Like InfoWorld’s Paul Venezia. Sure, his piece isn’t nearly as brain-dead as Grinda’s, but it’s a just a slightly better song played on the same “Classic Hits of the ’90s” station. Say, Smashing Pumpkins to Grinda’s Spin Doctors.

The current smartphone playing field looks amazingly familiar. In fact, I think I’ve seen this movie before.

Well, Paul, it’s true that Avatar is just a CGI-based remake of Dances With Wolves, but they do end differently.

As with Grinda, Venezi thinks Apple is Apple and Google is Microsoft, but he also thinks Microsoft is…

…filling Novell’s shoes.

The Macalope thinks this whole comparison is as dumb as a bag full of Zunes, but he did find the idea of Microsoft playing the part of Novell funny because oooh, sick burn.

What the brown and furry one found odd about this piece is that Venezia doesn’t once mention the carriers. From one perspective, it’s interesting that it’s 2010 and you really can have a conversation about cell phones without mentioning carriers, but it’s also probably premature. The carriers are not interchangeable—at least in the eyes of many consumers—and much of Android’s success may be thanks to Verizon.

Which raises another point about Android. Not only are carriers and device makers shipping different versions of the Android OS, they’re shipping different UIs. It’s almost unfair to refer to “Android” as a single competitor to iOS since there are so many flavors.

As painfully simplistic as these analogies are, at least no one’s overtly calling for Apple to license the iOS so far. They recognize that’s crazy talk or at least realize that Apple’s never going to do it in a million silly pundit years.

In case you’re wondering how long a silly pundit years is, they aren’t any longer than a regular year. They just seem longer.

Late out of the gate

Finally, what more evidence of Apple’s impending long-term doomsaster do you need than the word of a competitor?

The chairman of computer manufacturer Acer predicts a bleak future for Apple’s iPad, once the market for tablet devices matures.

When’s that going to be? Is this a geologic timescale we’re talking about? Maybe some time before the sun cools?

The interview, reported in English by DigiTimes, also quoted Wang insisting an open platform—as in Android—would always beat a closed one - such as Apple’s OS.

Like with the iPod.

Acer has delayed plans to release an Android based tablet in the first quarter of 2011, likely to run an improved and updated Android 3.0.

Read: ?“Acer is scrambling after getting caught with its proverbial and, strangely, literal pants down, because it believed that netbooks, like that Baha Men song, would never go out of style.”

Unlike the market for cell phones, Apple owns the market for tablets and there’s no carrier lock-in. Good morning, Acer. This is your third wake-up call.

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