The Macalope Weekly: Mis-quotable

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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 was a week for misunderstanding and misconstruing as a Samsung executive apparently had marbles in his mouth about the Galaxy Tab. People still aren’t getting why Apple’s not shaking in its boots about Android, but, in the company’s defense, it’s hard to shake in diamond-studded boots. Finally, Netgear’s CEO would like to apologize for how dumb you are.

Is it competition yet?

Yes, it’s time for another round of the game show that’s sweeping the nation: Is It Competition Yet? The game where we take a critical look at the iPad’s competition and laugh, laugh, laugh, oh, how we laugh.

This week the Dell Streak 7 joined the party, sporting a “low-resolution screen, poor battery life, and soon-to-be outdated OS.” All of which left Engadget wondering “why the guys in Austin decided to bring the Streak 7 to market in its current form.”

Sounds awesome. Welcome, Streak 7.


Well, OK, what about the Galaxy Tab? That got a lot of positive buzz when it came out. How’s it doing?

Oy. See if you can follow this. After a report suggested that 2 million Galaxy Tabs were sold, helping drive the iPad’s market share down to 77 percent, Samsung clarified that these were shipments to retailers, not sales to consumers.

Samsung executive Lee Young-hee corrected this misunderstanding and stated that the number of tablet devices sold to consumers is actually “quite small.”

About 45 seconds and 100 phone calls from Samsung executives later

Samsung on Tuesday disputed claims that it had said its Galaxy Tab sales were well below shipments. It recaptured a segment of the results call (below) and said that executive Lee Young-hee had described the sales to real customers as “quite smooth,” not “quite small” as the WSJ had said.

Yeah! It’s the number of people who didn’t return them that’s small!

Tracking by ITG since mid-November suggests that the return rate for the Android tablet is as high as 15 percent.

Is that high? Well, the iPad's return rate at Verizon stores is just 2 percent so... uh, yes, that's high.

But wait! Samsung denies this as well, saying returns are, in fact (waiiiiiiiiiiiit forrrrrrrrrrr iiiiiiiiiiiiiiit…) less than 2 percent.

The Macalope would kind of like to see Samsung’s work on how they sciencemagically got to a number just a little below the iPad’s return rate. Because it’s probably pretty funny.

Now all eyes turn to the Motorola Xoom, which will feature Honeycomb—the first release of the Android OS that’s optimized for tablets. And possibly bears. Early reviews are positive (like the Galaxy Tab’s were) so surely this is The One. Or we’ll be back here in a month still asking ourselves… Is It Competition Yet?

Some competition would be good

Look what competition’s done for iPhone users. Verizon and AT&T are practically falling over each other trying to throw hotspot features at them. So don’t think the Macalope doesn’t want there to be some solid iPad competition—he’s just still not seeing a lot of it.

It seems likely that, with the help of Honeycomb, Android tablets will do better than they’ve done to date, at least in terms of unit sales. But it’s truly hysterical to hear from Google boosters about “why Apple should be afraid of Android” even as the Apple continues to beat the tar out of everyone in the only measure that has any meaning in the long run: profit. We go through this practically every week, but apparently some people still aren’t getting the memo.

By the way, long-time Mac users should click through to that first piece, because it’s a hoot. It’s like the kids of Microsoft fans who railed against the Mac in the ’90s have grown up and are Android fans railing against iOS. Get a Blind Melon CD, put on your plaid shirt, and enjoy a blast from the past because Apple apparently “sucks” again.

A new Lo

Netgear CEO Patrick Lo provided some expert analysis on Apple this week, prompting the Macalope to wonder whatever happened to John Gruber’s jackass of the week (clearly John has lost his edge over the years).

“Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform,” said Lo.

Um, yeah.

Once you get past the jerktastic parts of Lo’s interview, you’re left with the ones that regurgitate the dull-witted “conventional wisdom” of the technology industry.

“What’s the reason for him to trash Flash? There’s no reason other than ego,” he said.

Lo has apparently never used Flash on a Mac. Or been asked why it’s so bad for Apple to be a gatekeeper but it’s A-O-K for Adobe to be one.

It constantly amazes the Macalope how these brilliant CEOs seem to think Apple somehow needs their advice. They’re either stupid or deliberately spewing bad advice, knowing the company won’t take it, but desperately trying to create any kind of negative buzz. Or they’re stupid and trying to do that.

The Macalope also hasn’t ruled out insanity.

Sensing (or being politely told by his PR department) that predicting Jobs’s imminent disappearance from the scene might have been a wireless bridge too far, Lo attempted to clarify his remarks, because you morons obviously misinterpreted him.

However, I deeply regret the choice of words I used in relation to business decisions Apple must grapple with in the future in relation to open vs. closed systems…

Of course Patrick “regrets” his choice of words because they make him look like an insensitive jerk. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s not an apology, that’s wishing you had a time machine so you could go back and say something differently and look like less of an ass.

…which have been construed by some to be references to Steve Jobs’ health and which was never my intention.

Totally! He clearly meant that Steve would be “going away” soon because he’s going to go on the no-holds-barred Thai kickboxing circuit. It’s weird how some might have misconstrued that.

I sincerely apologize that what I said was interpreted this way, and I wish Steve only the very best.

The only thing Lo “apologizes” for is other people’s interpretations. Which makes no sense. Again, if you’re following along on your score card, Lo hasn’t apologized for anything he’s done, he’s just called everyone a bunch of idiots who took his words the wrong way. “I’m sorry you’re so stupid.”

Jobs is constantly pilloried in the press as a being a heartless jerk. If he is, he’s not up to Lo’s standard.

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