The Macalope Weekly: Holiday arguments


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Why do we always have to fight during the holidays? CAN’T WE JUST HAVE PEACE IN THIS FAMILY? But, no, we have to argue about Apple’s advertising and market share! And it’s not even Android market share! It’s Windows Phone! It’s like arguing over nothing!

‘Misunderstood,’ indeed

No one is obligated to like Apple’s new holiday-themed ad. Hey, the Macalope doesn’t like It’s A Wonderful Life. Sorry, he knows it’s a Christmas classic and he does love the sentiment, but when Uncle Billy accidentally hands Potter what would be $100,000 in today’s dollars, it’s the Macalope’s suspension of disbelief that gets its wings. And flies out the window, never to be seen again.

Who entrusts an idiot with depositing $100,000 in cash? Arrgh.

Anyway, so Gizmodo’s Brian Barrett doesn’t like the ad. OK. But the horny one just hates to see someone get the ad all wrong. Even if it’s a snarky technology writer who’s probably just doing it on purpose so he has something to write about.

“Seriously, Enough With This Apple Holiday Ad”

Apple’s new holiday ad has been called, in turn, endearing, note-perfect, and, in a spasm of enthrallment, perhaps Apple’s best iPhone commercial ever. I think maybe I saw a different ad.

No, you saw the same ad. You just misinterpreted it.

You can watch above, but for those who prefer words: We see a family celebrating the holidays, absent Sullen Male Youth, who is preoccupied with his phone. See?

Barrett helpfully clips some shots from the ad and points out the teenager in each of them with an arrow and the word “SULLEN.”

There’s just one problem, oh, smart and snarky technology writer. He’s not sullen. He’s creating. And why is he creating? Because he loves the people around him and wants to make something cool for them—something lasting. Something that captures the moment. OK, he could shoot the footage and make the video for next year, but we’ve only got a minute for this ad.

Even if this young man—who is quite sullen—really is spending every single moment on his phone recording his family’s activities, he’s still not partaking in them.

He’s not, but it’s not because he’s a jerk. He’s taking one for the team. He’d rather be participating, but he’s playing the part of documentarian. Sometimes that’s a valuable role.

Sure, we can argue about whether or not the ad’s realistic, whether or not anyone knows that many teenagers who throw together artsy, heartfelt videos. But, oh, gosh, a holiday ad that’s not perfectly true-to-life? Somebody alert the FCC.

There’s one perfect moment in “Misunderstood,” and I’ll leave it below. There’s nothing to say about it, really, other than that it captures the joy and spirit of the holidays in a single frame.

Except that, also, there’s not a smartphone in sight.

It’s true that these moments can sometimes be ruined by technology. It’s also true that sometimes without technology, they can get lost.

Well, at least we all agree this Nokia ad is horrible.

Something, something religion

Speaking of Nokia, Paul “No one has ever seen me and the Winotaur at the same time” Thurrott sees nothing but blue skies for Windows Phone!

“Windows Phone Turned the Corner in 2013” (tip o’ the antlers to Jim Miles).

It’s true that Windows Phone has had great growth of late, but that corner may go into a one-way street.

2013 was nothing less than a blockbuster success for Windows Phone, which went from industry also-ran to the undisputed third mobile ecosystem …

We’re num-ber three! We’re num-ber three! Yes, while you didn’t quite manage to beat Android’s market share in 2013, as was predicted back in 2011, you did manage to beat BlackBerry’s. BlackBerry, the technology equivalent of a tire fire. Congratulations. You should be super proud of that.

… and is poised to challenge iPhone for the number two spot.

Reaaaaally. Just how large is the Windows Phone juggernaut?

Windows Phone ended 2012 with worldwide market share of 2.8 percent …

But remember, it’s Apple fans who are crazy, out-of-touch zealots.

Now, Apple will see a temporary one-quarter bump in Q4 because of the iPhone 5S, as is the case each time it launches a new iPhone …

Apple’s increases are temporary, Windows Phone’s are 4EVAH.

… and Apple of course performs overly-strongly in just the United States, its richest and home market.

And, well, Japan, where its market share was 76 percent in October. But these are flukes, people!

More exciting for Windows Phone fans is how well the platform is performing against the iPhone in certain key markets.

The key word here is “key.” See, Spain is a “key market” while the U.S. is a fluke and Japan is not worth mentioning. Actually, that’s not right, as Thurrott says the iPhone does well in “just the United States,” so it’s more like denying Japan exists at all.

The distance between Windows Phone and iPhone has been cut dramatically.

In fact, if you throw out the places where the iPhone does really well and only look at the places where Windows Phone does well, it’s even more dramatic! Let’s do that! And then Thurrott links to a report by Kantar Worldpanel that details where Windows Phone is doing well. He oddly fails to quote Kantar when it says:

Windows Phone’s growth isn’t coming from stealing Apple or Android consumers. Only 27% of Apple and Android users change their OS when they replace their handset, and those that do switch tend to move between the two big operating systems.

So, where did Windows Phone get its growth from? BlackBerry. Windows Phone might find it hard to maintain its strong growth in 2013 once that well runs dry. OR NOTHING WILL STOP IT.

But again, the overall trend is positive for Microsoft and negative for Apple.

Isn’t it always? Do you even have to say that?

Haters will always be able to point to apps that are not available on Windows Phone …

People who don’t want to have to wait months for the best apps are “haters.” They hate waiting! QED!

And if the rumors we’re hearing about Microsoft planning to merge Windows RT and Windows Phone in 2014 pan out, next year could be even more interesting.

Or, you could get a CEO that wants to turn the company into a services business! Who knows?!

Hey, it’s nice that Windows Phone is doing better. It should be. But the Macalope will just suggest that having successfully conquered BlackBerry, the follow-up act—conquering a living and breathing company like Apple—might be a bit tougher.

Ghosts of predictions past and present

Let’s back up a second. The Macalope’s not quite done for the year yet, but he wants to make sure we specifically call out something before 2013 draws to a close. Up above he mentioned in passing that Windows Phone was predicted to overtake Android by the end of this year. OK, it’s got another ten days still, but let’s face it: That’s probably not going to happen.

This fever dream was the product of Pyramid Research Senior Analyst Stela Bokun back in May of 2011. If you’re saying “That’s crazy talk, Macalope! You’re making that up! There’s no way someone would have said that! Put up or shut up!” then maybe you should consider the possibility that the holiday stress has gotten to you.

Anyway, the Boy Genius Report dutifully wrote it up at the time so you can see it here:

“Windows Phone will beat Android in 2013, analyst explains”

The analyst attributes the coming Windows Phone boom to Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia; the Finnish cell phone giant is set to bring the end user cost of Windows Phones down, thus accelerating adoption dramatically.

Let the Macalope say this again: This was in May of 2011—less than two years ago. Click through for the chart because it is hi-larious in its whimsical belief in Windows Phone faeries.

Now, in all fairness, the horny one thought years ago that the Android/iOS market share race would be more of an even match at this point, and he’s obviously been proven drastically wrong about that. Well, actually, as it turns out, he was dead on in the U.S., which may point to his personal myopia—he’s tried to be more cognizant of that since then.

The point is, so much of what we read in technology coverage is constructed of little more than used band-aids, kitten dreams, and animated GIFs. Indeed, even as we speak, Thurrott’s comments are being typed up as indicative of where the market’s going.

“Toss Your iPhone: Windows Phones Could Rule the Enterprise by 2015” (tip o’ the antlers to Jorge Arevaio Ruiz)

While the Microsoft mobile comeback might be at quite an early stage, as expertly summarized by Paul Thurrott, it has the potential to return as a major force in the enterprise.

A Microsoft enthusiast cherry-picking the best news for Windows Phone is “expertly summarizing.” Is it too much to hope for a Ghost of Predictions Future to show up and scare tech pundits away from these wild predictions? The Macalope’s seen him. Why can’t they?

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