The Macalope Weekly: Technology executives say the darndest things

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[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

It’s not just tech pundits who say wacky things that defy logic or reality. Sometimes it’s industry executives, too. The Macalope’s not sure why—maybe it’s the onset of the holidays and the associated stress—but this week there was a surfeit of them. A veritable plethora. A preponderance. A metric crap-ton, if you will. Put on your hip-waders! We’re goin’ in!

Depends on who you’re talking to

Let’s start with Google Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin.

When asked by Walt Mossberg about Google’s refusal to ban “craplets,” or apps dictated by the carrier and often unremovable, Rubin considered their presence a plus. … “That’s the nature of open,” Rubin said. “That’s actually a feature of Android.”

Closed is a feature of open? Dude, you are soooo wasted! No more for you, dude!

All joking about Rubin being blasted out of his gourd on Four Loko aside, he has a point. It is a feature. It’s just a feature for carriers and hardware manufacturers, not customers. That’s probably not what customers have in mind when they buy their so-very-“open” phone and find it has a bunch of carrier crapware they can’t uninstall, some hardware manufacturer crapware they can’t uninstall, and may require that they have a Windows laptop to update it. It is what the hardware manufacturers have in mind, though, and they thank Google for letting them crap up the experience.


How ya gonna keep ’em down on the outdated farm?

The Macalope’s glad he’s not Nokia’s Marko Ahtisaari. For starters, can you imagine having to spell that name with hooves like these? But more importantly, when you’re a director of design strategy and you have to admit that your competitor’s product is “beautifully elegant”, you know you’ve got your work cut out for you. Which might make you a little defensive.

At the same [time], however, he saw Apple as unfairly creating a perception that Nokia was losing out

Yeah! Where do they get off talking about Nokia losing market share and referring to all those numbers that show Nokia losing market share?! So unfair!

…and alluded to the stereotype of Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field,” stressing that Nokia’s reach was much wider.

“There is this Cupertino distortion field,” he said. “We compete with all phones all over the world.”

Right! Just not very well.

Ahtisaari seems a little short on details of how Nokia’s going to get back into the game, saying they need to “somehow regain the imagination.” Well, have you tried taking it on a romantic weekend somewhere? Or role-playing? Or… Wait, that’s for a failed marriage, not outdated cell phone design.

Ahtisaari’s not the only executive from a phone company that’s bleeding market share who seems unable to accept reality and has a last name that sounds like a second-string Jedi Knight.

RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis wants to assure everyone that once multi-core processors hit smartphones, RIM’s gonna own the market again!

He also said that there was no doubt in his mind that if coach woulda put him in fourth quarter, they’d be state champions. No doubt in his mind.

Life is an Internet highway, I want to charge for it all night long

Finally, France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard said it was time for Google, Apple, Facebook, and those other punk kids with their damn high-bandwidth content everyone loves to get a damn job and start pitching in to pay the rent!

“Service providers are flooding networks with no incentive” to cut costs, France Telecom Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard said last month. “It’s necessary to put in place a system of payments by service providers as a function of their use.”

The Macalope is playing a ringtone of the world’s smallest violin for you.

To be sure, operators are benefitting from the surging popularity of mobile data use. Domestic data revenue at France Telecom, the biggest seller of Apple’s iPhones after AT&T Inc., surged 24 percent in the third quarter, rising to almost 32 percent of network revenue.

Well, maybe Richard’s complaints sounds less whiny in French. The Macalope speaks some French, though, and he has to say that it doesn’t seem likely.

Not everything that comes out of Steve Jobs’s mouth is gold, of course. But, note to other technology executives: if you’re going to try to distort someone’s reality, at least make it sound plausible and not self-serving. If it doesn’t, maybe you don’t want to be saying it in public.

Macworld Insiders, join the Macalope for an exclusive live chat on Monday, December 13 at 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern.

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