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« The 2011 Edition of TomiAhonen Almanac has been released | Main | Preview Bloodbath 2: Electric Boogaloo - the smartphone wars in year 2011, will be bloodier still »

February 24, 2011

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Comments

xxjoarka

oh come on Tomi, iPod touches are not computers

Evan

Nokia is going to slide fast, this year.

saurabh

Tomi, You make number crunching so cool :)))

Wish I get the opportunity to learn from you in the near future.

Don McLean

Congratulations to Apple, even though I hate their prison garden approach, it seems most of users don't mind being in prison if it's beautiful enough for them inside xD

Afewgoodmen

Tomi, this is the best analysis I've read of you. Lovely and entertaining.

Dissertation

The Laptops are becoming really famous,generally the laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device,a touchpad, also known as a trackpad,or a pointing stick,so you also said right by telling about some of the latest and great technologies.

Piot

These figures are pretty suspect. It's only US based clueless analysts that think the smartphone is the same as a pocket computer.

Evan

Piot,
Tomi is not US based :)

Alex Birkhead

Great work Tomi, but with the added irony that we may be re-entering an age of the 'terminal', with the 'computing' element of the client outshone by client-server, web application, or 'cloud' services.

With a bit more work, this brings dumber devices right back into the frame! No coincidence that the web and server are Google's playing fields (and Facebook's), so who gets the last laugh if Apple returns to the top just as the 'personal computing' segment and market definition become redundant in the mass market.

Even Microsoft now looks fairly focused on reinventing its consumer and enterprise businesses in this mould (and showing surprising willingness to burn its 'on-premises' boats), with just those critical Windows/Office/WP pieces still to be translated. I've for a couple of years or so been anticipating a version of Windows (8 or 9?) being a joined-up operating environment that bridges nearly all terminal formats in the same way that UNIX- derivatives like iOS and Android already can.

Following this line of thought, I also wonder if Nokia is being coy about the full extent and purpose of its tie-up with Microsoft (most supporters certainly seem to be praying there is more...). If you merge their internet services (M-Ovi, to coin a cool brand!) and envisage more flexible versions of Windows in the future, then the combination looks set to take Google head on and NOK's strategy of burning its own boats starts to make a lot more sense. Still a huge amount of work to do, but it does give them foundations.

Now, where exactly would this market shift leave Apple with its (recently superbly executed) old school proprietary OS, hardware-oriented, walled-gardened, app-centric approach...

Alex Birkhead

Great work Tomi, but with the added irony that we may be re-entering an age of the 'terminal', with the 'computing' element of the client outshone by client-server, web application, or 'cloud' services.

With a bit more work, this brings dumber devices right back into the frame! No coincidence that the web and server are Google's playing fields (and Facebook's), so who gets the last laugh if Apple returns to the top just as the 'personal computing' segment and market definition become redundant in the mass market.

Even Microsoft now looks fairly focused on reinventing its consumer and enterprise businesses in this mould (and showing surprising willingness to burn its 'on-premises' boats), with just those critical Windows/Office/WP pieces still to be translated. I've for a couple of years or so been anticipating a version of Windows (8 or 9?) being a joined-up operating environment that bridges nearly all terminal formats in the same way that UNIX- derivatives like iOS and Android already can.

Following this line of thought, I also wonder if Nokia is being coy about the full extent and purpose of its tie-up with Microsoft (most supporters certainly seem to be praying there is more than meets the eye from this 'transaction'...). If you merge their internet services (M-Ovi, to coin a cool brand) and envisage more flexible versions of Windows in the future, then the combination looks set to take Google head on and NOK's strategy of burning its own boats starts to make a lot more sense. Still a huge amount of work to do, but it does give them foundations. Bear in mind, that in the vaguest of terms, Stephen Elop repeatedly refers to Nokia getting prepared for the 'next disruption'.

Now, where exactly would such a market shift leave Apple with its (recently superbly executed) old school proprietary OS, hardware-oriented, walled-gardened, app-centric, inflated margin approach...

Piot

@Evan

I know Tomi is not US based, but he seems to be agreeing with analyst that are. The idea that smartphones are pocket computers is a fantasy-land created by clueless analysts...... based in the US.

kevin

@Alex: One can easily point to the iPhone as being the first mobile device to move consumers to the Web. (There were many earlier devices, but iPhone was the first to make a difference with mainstream consumers throughout the world.)

And Apple is about to move almost 200m iOS users to the cloud. The largest server farm in the world is about to come on line.

So where would that leave Apple? At the leading edge of the mainstream movement. Clearly ahead of Microsoft, Facebook, and Nokia.

Leebase

I think it was Jobs who likened the "traditional PC" to a truck. At one time all "automobiles" were trucks. Now people still buy trucks, but most people get by in a car.

The general purpose PC will continue to decline in importance becoming the "truck" of the new age. There will be folks who need a truck, or have one family truck and lots of pocket/mobile cars (smart phones, tablets).

Apple has risen primarily by leading this change or kicking into high gear the change that was already under weigh.

Cloud computing is not going to harm Apple in the slightest. iOS and Android are going to be the leading "client platforms" for "cloud computing" with a mix of local apps (games and other apps better suited to local processing) and web services.

Lee

Alex Birkhead

@Kevin: no argument that Apple is in a sweet spot right now, and aware that its mega-datacenter is coming online shortly and that will likely see interesting new things emerge, but so far iTunes, MobileMe, AppStore, etc. have not been joyous web experiences (even MS does better...). They're clearly very effective distribution, retail and toll-both franchises within Apple's hardware-led, controlled worlds, but they don't seem to translate well to the wider mass market, and that could prove an Achilles heel.

I don’t know how the future will unfold, in terms of the relative prevalence of apps and pervasiveness of cloud services, but Google seems to be playing smart and pragmatic by backing both while emphasising the latter. By contrast, Apple still looks locked in to a more traditional model.

So, if emphasis further shifts from device-centricity to web apps and services (cloud), then Apple's relevance looks likely to lessen. Today, people very rarely use Apple software or services if they don't own Apple hardware, and even the owners not much when they are using other terminals, but nearly everyone uses Facebook and Google whenever they can. People often *love* their Apple hardware, but does anyone love iTunes or the AppStore, other than toll-collectors? Granted, people also *love* their Apps, but these are from external developers who can be fickle. Plus many of the best Apps are already integrated with cloud elements.

Apple has other looming challenges, too, and possibly the biggest right now is obsolescence of its highly effective mobile operator divide-and-conquer strategy. Last year, if you placed five major cellco groups around a table, two or three might be beholden to iPhone exclusivity deals. This year, it could be none. That's dangerous for Apple (as Nokia and RIM both learnt the hard way, when they got too big for their boots a few years back), particularly if you're now tuning in to that seemingly choreographed chorus of 'open' emerging from the big operators.

Google seems to have done an impressive job of patching up relations after its Nexus overreach, so is there anyone else they could possibly have in mind when using 'open' as their Hakka...

Piot

@Tomi Error in your "TotalComputers" figure.

You have not counted tablets and iPod Touch-like devices.

kevin

Alex: Yes, Apple is device-centric, in that monetization (and profit) comes through the device sale. But Apple's devices (iOS and Mac OS X-based) are synergistic for an Apple customer so many who own one, will own more than one, because offend additional value that gets unlocked. And any one device is an entry point to the whole family of Apple devices.

Even though Apple is device-centric, those devices are supported by an ecosystem full of services (native or cloud), many of which Apple offers its device owners at a break-even cost. So even though cloud-based services are growing, Apple can offer them itself, or engage third-parties to offer them to its device owners, who demographically are a very attractive set of customers.

So where is the weakness? If an outside service, which gains its value from being the network effect, becomes so popular that it threatens to ignore the Apple customers, while being offered to all of Apple's competing device makers. Those services would include Facebook or Google Search or Xbox Live or Twitter, but not NetFlix or Kindle (at least not as they are offered today). For those network-effect services, can they bypass Apple's 200m iOS customers and still maintain their value? That's the tension.

kevin

The word "offend" in the first paragraph should be "of the." That was the automated spell correction from the iPhone that I didn't notice.

So to finish up, it's not that Apple or Google are more locked into the apps or the cloud. It's not this either-or, but another one. Apple is looking for both for its iOS/Mac ecosystem, whereas Google is just looking for both, whether on the Android ecosystem or outside of it, in order to place ads on it.

Google gets revenue from advertising anywhere; inside Android, as well as outside on iOS or webOS or whatever. Android was created to protect its mobile advertising revenue in those services by ensuring Google would have a mobile platform if Microsoft, Apple, or Nokia decided to squeeze them out of theirs.

Apple gets revenue from Apple devices so it really has no desire for people to use Apple services outside of Apple devices, except if those services that rely on a network-effect. Which leaves Apple efforts like Ping in a very difficult spot.

And altho Apple is looking for both, it will not trade harming its overall ecosystem in order to allow in a particular third-party native app or cloud-service-client-app. Because that means that app or service is the valued entity and can move to take over the iOS ecosystem and begin to make Apple's devices into low-value commodities. (And there's that tension again.)

Apple had no mobile operator divide-and-conquer strategy - it was not intended to pit operators against each other. There are no exclusivity deals anymore - AT&T was the last. Apple used exclusives to pry the value out of the operator entity in the ecosystem, and break the operators stranglehold on end users. The very first, AT&T, gave Apple most of what it wanted - branding, service/warranty, marketing, distribution, direct content sales (including OTA), bypass carrier content, etc. Then the iPhone's sales (and ability to get switchers) got other operators to give in as well. There's no going back. For the iPhone, the operators are just dumb pipes. Today, they can still restrict some iPhone features due to bandwidth, but over time, as bandwidth increases, the operators will become "dumber".

The Wholesale Application Community has been around for over a year with very little to show for it. The operators can talk open all they want, but since they fundamentally compete against each other, it will be difficult for them to ever work together, and by open, they're not talking about Android. As it is, the operators are desperately looking for alternative OS/ecosystems like WP7, since they don't want to be completely dependent on iOS or Android.

Leebase

Where are folks concluding that "the cloud" is the end of "client apps" from? Client apps will be the preferred way to work with the most popular cloud services.

New cloud services will start with web based functionality to get their service out to everyone. Then they will create client apps on the most popular operating systems.

Facebook is a terrific example of this. Facebook starts out as a web service. Then Facebook started creating client apps for the different mobile systems and discovered that mobile has become a HUGE part of how folks interact with facebook.

Facebook doesn't have an iPad app. But there's at least five choices from third party developers.

Same thing with Twitter. Same think with DropBox. Same thing with Evernote.

There is nothing about "the cloud" that in any way threatens Apple's business model. Apple is one of the companies best poised to benefit from the move to "the cloud".

Lee

Mobile Technology

Mobile technology is the latest field where more and more companies are finding new ways to provide their customers better services at very reasonable price.

 Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Am writing from airport lounge, am rushing. I'll return later and will respond to all of you (thank you for many kind comments!)

Please keep discussion going

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Dissertation Writing

Computers of the Apple are becoming really famous and specially designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers,and also a suite of professional audio and film industry software products,so great peace of things you share and the list is also useful to see.

SomeRandomNerd

I'd love to hear why games consoles like the PlayStation aren't "proper computers" - and what (for example) PS3/PSP sales would do to your ranking.

Baron95

Finally - the data that matters!!! Thanks for doing the (hard) work to pull the data together, Tomi. Excellent. Unique. (note: I think you meant 2/3 of Ipods not iPhones being iPod touches).

And the key observation. ALL the Apple devices listed run the same OS. OS X. They ALL can download apps via iTunes. So Apple is on top with the ABSOLUTELY lowest cost of R&D per device. Everyone else has at least a half dozen different OSes in their devices. Really sad.

Unless Apple missteps, it will be hard to match its profits and innovation.

Hello iPad 2 next week. Hello iPhone 4G next summer.

Piot

@somerandomnerd

Nintendo around 36 M consoles (big and small !)
Sony around 30 M

JMontes

So smartphone are now considered as computer.
Guess with Microsft - Nokia deal, we may see different result this year.

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