The Macalope Weekly: Terrible mistakes

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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.]

Don’t you hate it when you see someone making destructive life choices? You feel like you’re screaming “NOOOOOOOOO!” in slow motion while they proceed to dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole. That pretty much describes watching RIM this week. Speaking of mistakes, Computerworld makes the fallacious leap that when two people repeat a rumor, it’s confirmed! Finally, while developing for Android may not be a mistake, not also developing for iOS certainly is.

Happy PlayBook Eve!

Here we are, practically on PlayBook Eve, and RIM’s still down in the dumps because people keep pointing at them and laughing.

RIM’s co-CEOs in an interview published Monday went on the defensive against critics of their performance in smartphones. Mike Lazaridis didn’t “fully understand” the reactions and instead wanted to steer people to high profits, growth, and international expansion that was taking the BlackBerry to 170 countries.

His counterpart Jim Balsillie argued that market share alone wasn’t the issue and that RIM could thrive in the next five years just by continuing to grow and be successful.

Now, the Macalope’s frequently pointed out that companies don’t run on market share, they run on profit. And if RIM can continue to be profitable while bleeding market share, more power to it. How, exactly, it’s going to be able to do that when it’s losing the upper end of the market, though, is a big question. How it’s going to retain customers during a major platform shift is another question. A third question is what, exactly, is wrong with its executive team that they think it’s a good idea to keep scheduling these interviews?


As Jim Dalrymple has correctly noted, the smart play would have been to simply shut up and ship. Stop talking to the press! It’s killing you!

RIM co-CEO Lazaridis walks out on interview

What?! No! Not in the middle of an interview, Mike! Wait until the interview is over and then don’t do any more! What’s the matter with you?!

Good grief.

But… next week! The PlayBook! Can you feel the excitement? The Macalope can!

Oh, no, wait, that must just be his shorts riding up again. Because, in addition to making the questionable decision to give interviews, RIM also made the questionable decision to allow pre-release reviews.

And they’re not good.

Few apps, no mail, calendar or contacts (just get a BlackBerry for those!), sluggish and crashy Flash, poor memory management…

Well… it’s not like RIM talked it up or anything.

Oh, right.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Computerworld: where if you get two people to say something it’s confirmed!

iPhone 5 release date confirmed: 2012 (rumor roundup)

Well, you’ve confirmed they’re rumors. Is that what you mean?

Now a credible report from financial analyst Avian Securities seems to confirm the fanbois’ worst fears—Apple (AAPL) won’t release the iPhone 5 until 2012, or perhaps late-2011.

Speaking on behalf of Apple “fanbois,” this is not even close to our worst fear—that would be being stuck in an elevator over a holiday weekend with Rob Enderle and Katherine Noyes. And “credible”? The Macalope’s not saying Avian Securities isn’t a reputable firm, but he’s been following Apple for kind of a while now and he’s never heard of them. “Plausible” might have been the word you were looking for.

Here’s the horse’s mouth, Avian Securities:

Uh, no, the horse’s mouth would be Apple. Avian Securities, as the name indicates, is more “a little birdy told me” territory.

Will the iPhone 5 get delayed until later this year, or maybe even 2012? Heck if the Macalope knows. And heck if Computerworld does.

Why market share might not matter

For the slower students in the class, this week brought more data points indicating that market share and open-source unicorn candy flowers aren’t going to make developers drop iOS in favor of Android. Take this slightly troubled Wired piece by Mike Isaac that discusses the frustrations of Android developers (tip o’ the antlers to Patrick Jones).

The growth of Apple’s iOS remained stagnant, seeing only a 0.2 percent increase over the same period of time.

This is clumsily phrased. Unless you remember from the previous paragraph that Isaac is specifically talking about market share for smartphones only, you’d probably think that sales of all iOS devices only grew 0.2 percent.

Fully 74 percent of respondents said developing for Apple’s iOS gave the best opportunities for paid-app revenues, and twice as many developers claimed their apps were more visible in Apple’s app store than they were in the Android Market.

Oh, sure, but how many said they didn’t want any of Apple’s fascist “walled garden” money because they prefer to live in an open-source utopia where anyone can add to the software and that they actually like really inconsistent controls and coding to multiple screen resolutions? Hmm? Oh, you didn’t ask that question? SURVEY BIAS.

Indeed, despite the complaints [about Android], 71 percent of respondents said that they have developed apps for the platform.

Whether they’re currently satisfied with Google’s OS or not, it looks like developers will continue writing code for it.

The Macalope doesn’t deny that Android’s growth means developers will continue to code for it, but he wonders if the same developers will. Just because they have developed for Android doesn’t meant that they’ll continue to.

You can blather on and on about the importance of market share and make comparisons to the Windows/Mac wars, or you can ask some significant developers—like John Carmack:

“Every six months I’d take a look at the scope of the Android, and decide if it was time to start really looking at it,” Carmack said. “You’re just not making money in the Android space as you are in the iOS space.”

Aside from the profit gap, the gaming veteran also noted that “It’s just fun to develop on iOS.”

Long time Apple customers can feel free to savor the sound of a game developer praising Apple’s OS over the competition’s.

There are plenty of good reasons to code for Android. Maybe you like it. Maybe you want to make an app that you know Apple won’t approve. Maybe your ad scheme doesn’t care if the eyeballs are attached to bodies that actually buy things. Maybe you’re just not a very good designer. But iOS certainly seems to be the favored platform for actually making money, so it’d be nice if the usual cast of lazy pundits would stop pretending that market share is the only yardstick.

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