The Macalope Weekly: Repeating history


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[If you’re the type who only tunes in to the Macalope on Saturdays, please note that Thursday’s column offered a correction about last Saturday’s.]

They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. What about those who actively run away from history? This week, one pundit only wants you to look at where he was right, another uses a common but always funny pundit theme about Microsoft, and a third just never learns.

Don’t look back in anger. Or at all.

The third anniversary of the iPad’s launch has prompted a lot of looking back. But despite the fact that Paul Thurrott calls his piece “Reflecting on 3 Years of iPad,” there’s not a lot of actual reflecting going on in it.

Apple fan boys with fragile egos and long memories like to taunt me with some of my early quotes about the iPad …

Let us stand for a moment and bask in the pale light of the projection going on here.

… I referred to it as an “iDud” when it was announced in January 2010, for example—without respecting the fact that my writings about the devices got a lot more positive when I started using them.

So, your knee-jerk negative first impressions should be consequence-free, no matter how incredibly wrong they were. Got it. Please continue.

I guess it still confuses people on that partisan side of the world to realize that more experience with something can actually alter your opinion.

And the Macalope guesses it still confuses Thurrott that maybe you should actually consider something before declaring it an “iDud.”

But these critics also lack the perspective of my 20 years writing about technology.

“Fan boys with fragile egos.”

No offense to the people who scramble to defend Apple at every turn, but we here in the Microsoft world went down the tablet road a long, long time before Apple did.

Oh. Really? How’d that go?

[sad trombone]

And while I think we can all agree that Apple got some things right with iPad that Microsoft missed with the Tablet PC in 2002 …

Sadly, this sentence doesn’t stop right there.

… it’s also fair to say that the Tablet PC—with its handwriting recognition and ability to treat handwritten text as native data—still outshines today’s Apple mobile devices in many ways.

Seriously? You’re really going with that? “Horse-drawn carriages are, in many ways, better than these newfangled auto-mobiles because it is in man’s nature to enjoy the rich smell of manure.”

[The iPad] was far too expensive, I felt …

The perspective of his 20 years writing about technology.

Now, it’s probably better that Thurrott has changed his opinion rather than sticking to his misfiring guns, which he apparently operates with a twitchy trigger finger. But part of the point of looking back is to try to admit and learn from your mistakes. That, alas, remains an exercise he seems unwilling to undertake.

Microsoft always wins!

Aren’t pundits so cute when they’re earnestly reporting how awesome vaporware is?

Let us harken, for a moment, all the way back to January of 2008. Oh, look how young we were! The Macalope hates to say it, but you’ve put on weight.

Back then the Macalope was plying his trade for CNet, and what did he happen to find? This:

“Apple iPhone Doomed To Failure—Windows Mobile 7 Plans For 2009 Leaked”

That iPhone-killing platform (eventually called Windows Phone 7) wouldn’t ship until late 2010, and it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since.

At the time, the horny one quipped a quip he’s often requipped since:

It’s amazing how future Microsoft products beat current Apple products time and time again, isn’t it? You’d think Apple would have just given up by now.

Yes, five years later and it’s still going on, as Adrian Covert demonstrates writing for CNNMoney:

“At long last, Microsoft has an Apple-beating vision” (tip o’ the antlers to Glenn Fleishman):

Instead of a mishmash of systems out there using outdated Microsoft software with glaring compatibility issues, “Blue” could ensure that Microsoft’s own products evolve at the same rate as the rest of the tech world.

Oh, sure, there was moving to the NT platform and then .Net and probably a bunch of other efforts the Macalope can’t remember, but this time for sure!

But Microsoft’s plan may be even better than anything Apple or Google currently have to offer.

Uh, yeah, that’s kind of the funny thing about plans, isn’t it?

Microsoft still has 90% of the PC market in its corner, and it has the ability to move towards mobile-PC convergence from its strong base of more than 1 billion loyal customers.

Is this a case study in how to write up a press release? Why, exactly, is the mobile-PC convergence a one-way street that leads from the PC? Microsoft’s presence in mobile is minuscule compared to Android and iOS. And when you include tablets in “personal computers,” the share of traditional PCs is more like 60 percent and falling. Alas for its latest Apple-killing scheme, Microsoft remains relevant in the contracting slice of the market.

“Research Firm: PC Sales Plunge as Windows 8 Flops”

“Unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only didn’t provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” IDC Vice President Bob O’Donnell said.

Colvert, however, sees nothing but pie in Microsoft’s blue sky:

Dissolving the barrier between mobile and desktop would be nothing short of impressive.

More of that uncompromising user experience!

In a surprisingly harsh assessment, IDC said Windows 8 hasn’t only failed to spur more PC demand but has actually exacerbated the slowdown—confusing consumers with features that don’t excel in a tablet mode and compromise the traditional PC experience.

Wait, does he means that mobile and desktop operating systems are better off with two different user experiences, each optimized for the platform? Wow! Someone should try that!


Pro tip for you kids looking to be pundits: Everything screws Apple. Somehow. It’s up to you to figure out how. Watch how a pro like Cult of Mac’s Mike Elgan does it:

“How Facebook Home Screws Apple” (tip o’ the antlers to Kyle Cardno).

The lesson Elgan should have learned from his own personal history is “Never talk about Apple. Ever.”

How low will Apple go?

Good question, bro. Thanks for asking the tough ones.

First, Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to grovel and kowtow to the Chinese Communist Party over their obviously false and politically motivated claims about Apple’s warranty.

Now, Apple is being publicly insulted and used by Facebook.

Waaaaaait forrrrrr iiiiiiiiit …

There is no way Steve Jobs would have put up with this kind of humiliating abuse.


Remember, everyone: The people who understood Steve Jobs best are the ones who have been consistently wrong about Apple for years.

The phrase “upper hand” comes from informal neighborhood baseball games.

To decide which team gets to pick who bats first …

The Macalope believes that if you look closer, sir, you will find the game is called “rounders.” Good day to you, sir.

Personally, the Macalope doesn’t know why we should allow ourselves to be schooled on anything, even playground etiquette, by a guy who thought Google+ integration was a killer feature and that the Zune scared Apple “to its core.”

Except lately Google has been losing it. First, Amazon gained the upper hand with it’s [sic] Kindle Fire products. Now, Facebook has gained it with Facebook Home.

Reminder: It’s barely been out for a day and is available on a limited number of Android handsets.

To date, Apple has probably sold more than 500 million iOS device. That’s about half the size of Facebook’s user base.

All of whom will now buy Android phones with Facebook Home on them, The End.

Apple does not offer to let you share via the #2 social network, Google+ …

Ha, OK, Mike, we know you loooove Google+, but while it may technically have more users than Twitter—because Google rams it down the throats of everyone using Gmail—its actual usage is far behind Twitter’s.

And it was built with major input from engineers poached from Apple.

Wrong! They were not “poached” from Apple. They quit working at Apple and started their own company, which was acquired by Facebook.

Must you be wrong about everything?

Facebook Home is obviously a slap in Apple’s face, but it may be acceptable to Apple because it’s also a punch in Google’s mouth.

Look, there’s no doubt that this is another shift in the mobile competitive landscape. Facebook Home looks interesting and it certainly has a lot of eye candy, but Elgan’s histrionics at this point are … well, pretty much what we expect from Cult of Mac.

What would Steve do?

Hmm. You mean the guy who specifically said not to worry about what he’d do?

Good question …

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