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« Time For 2016 Total Mobile Numbers: The update to my most popular blog article in any year | Main | USA Election Update for mid-May: The Summer Doldrums for Trump and Hillary »

May 13, 2016



correction on:
2. I meant to say that the software would not need to be compiled for a specific operating system.


OK, some more:

8. There was a company called SCO that declared that they owned UNIX and that Linux had copied UNIX code and demanded royalties from all Linux users and from Novell and IBM. They sued Novell and IBM and threatened to kill Linux. Their claims were bogus and consequently their court case was not doing well and they were lacking funds. Guess who showed up to prop SCO's finances? Microsoft. By proxy, Microsoft tried to kill Linux.

9. Microsoft spread FUD that Linux was infringing their patents. When the big Linux players asked Microsoft to tell them which patents Linux was infringing, Microsoft refused to reveal any (probably because their claims were bogus). But the fact remains that Microsoft wanted to scare the users away from Linux by threatening to sue them over the patents.


Re: 9.
Actually the 310 patents which Microsoft asserted against Linux have been revealed thanks to the Chinese government.
This allowed public scrutiny on these patents to begin. Three months later, Samsung stopped royalty payments to Microsoft. Coincidence?

And I have a #10. Microsoft attacks open standards and subverts standardization organisations to lock customers into their products.

And #11 is Microsoft astroturfing
Latest time they got caught was the "XB1M13" scandal (Google for it) where they made covert payments in exchange for favourable YouTube reviews.


@Wayne Borean:

Your posts clearly shows your bias clouding the view on reality.

"You assume that the Chinese smartphone manufacturers wouldn't have designed their own phone OS, possibly using the BSD kernel as a basis. Just like Apple did with the iPhone! Or the Linux kernel, like Google did with Android."

They might have tried but they would have failed. This was all YEARS before the Chinese became a force to contend with. I'll grant them some skills in hardware design - but sorry, not in software. Anything they would have thrown onto the market wouldn't have stood a chance.

As things are, there's maybe a handful of companies with the sufficient skill to build a smartphone OS and no matter what you think of Microsoft - they actually DID create one. Show me the Chinese that came even close!

"And you assume that PCs run Windows. I bought a new PC in March. It runs OSX. Yes, Macs are PCs too. Macs are heavily used in the content creation industries because of their reliability, lower cost, and superb software."

chithanh declared PCs obsolete, not Windows.
Also sad to see that stupid America is willing to hand the monopoly that Microsoft is about to lose to an even worse abuser.

"We don't need Windows to use PCs."

That may be correct but as things are, 90% of all PCs still use Windows. 15 years people said that 'we don't need Windows', and wanna bet that in 15 years people still use Windows?


About PCs:
"Firstly, PCs are not going away today or tomorrow, or even next decade. But the PC market is in terminal decline, and that decline is accelerating."

"The increased lifespan that you mention has certainly contributed to the decline of the PC market, but Gartner recently reported that the installed base of PCs is shrinking:"

The decline is not 'terminal'. What is happening is that the bloat is vanishing, i.e. users that were merely using their PCs for internet surfing and streaming - stuff that can be done with cheaper hardware now.

"Secondly, I don't think that you need PCs for content creation. What you need is maybe a big screen, a pointing device, a keyboard and access to reasonably fast computation. Neither of these is the exclusive domain of the PC (although admittedly, a PC gets you that all in one convenient package)."

What alternative do you propose?
Tablets? Sorry, but with Microsoft being the only ones having a content creation OS on their tablets this is a joke.
Remote computing: Again, if you think about it, it's a bad proposition. Not only do you need a lot of bandwidth that someone has to pay for, you are handing your fate over to someone else.

"Have you noticed the trend for "remote gaming" lately? This is actually a byproduct of graphics vendors trying to figure out how to replace workstations with less capable clients, and do the heavy lifting server-side."

This will work in a niche market, but if that's where computing is heading, who is to pay for all that infrastucture that'd be needed? Believing that this is where things will head is just naive. The costs will be astronomical and it'd ultimately be cheaper to hand out free PCs to everybody who is interested.
As things stand even wealthy countries have problems connecting everybody at adequate speeds. Where I live I only get a 10 MBit/s connection. And let's not even get started with data security - if all is under the control of the internet industry, some dark times will be ahead.


And one word at the Microsoft haters:

Don't ever believe that Apple is not pulling the same shit. But for some strange reason they do not seem to be on anybody's hit list and appear to get away with it far more easily.


Re 9: I think you are confused and that's probably my fault. I wasn't talking about Microsoft's patent racketeering against Android OEMs, that is much more recent. I was talking about a much earlier event, before the smartphones era, when Linux was eating Microsoft's lunch in the server world. That's the patent saber-rattling I was talking about, and to my knowledge, nobody knows which patents Microsoft planned to use.


> The decline is not 'terminal'. What is happening is that the bloat is vanishing,

I say the decline is terminal, in the sense that the only direction in which the PC market can go is down, and will never recover. At some point, the sales cannot sustain PC manufacturers. I expect Japanese and Taiwanese manufacturers and Samsung to drop out of the PC business first, and mainland Chinese and American manufacturers to stay longest.

Question is only, will the end for PCs look like VHS (disrupted by DVD in 1997, last manufacturer ceased production of standalone VHS recorders in 2008) or more like horse carriages (disrupted by cars, but still manufactured in low quantities).

> i.e. users that were merely using their PCs for internet surfing and streaming - stuff that can be done with cheaper hardware now.

The cheapest PCs that can do Internet surfing and streaming are $150 Chromebooks. Last I checked, smartphone ASP was still twice that (but that might have changed).

> What alternative do you propose?

The alternatives are just being introduced into the market. Microsoft Continuum, Ubuntu Convergence, etc. These solutions will all suck at first, and have a tiny share. But the ones that sucks least will stick. Once they become "good enough" (not necessarily superior), content creation will move away from PC.

> Remote computing: Again, if you think about it, it's a bad proposition. Not only do you need a lot of bandwidth that someone has to pay for, you are handing your fate over to someone else.

I agree personally that it is a bad proposition, but the millions of users who already upload their data into the cloud will not see a problem. Like it or not, this is where we are headed today.

> As things stand even wealthy countries have problems connecting everybody at adequate speeds. Where I live I only get a 10 MBit/s connection.

Bandwidth requirements are quite modest by the way. PSNow (the Sony cloud gaming service) at optimal quality uses around 7 Mbit/s. For comparison, Netflix HD wants 5 Mbit/s. FCC broadband target is 25 Mbit/s.

> And let's not even get started with data security - if all is under the control of the internet industry, some dark times will be ahead.

In the light of malware propagation rates on Windows PCs I don't think that security will suffer. The risks will be different, and users will have less control, sure.

> Don't ever believe that Apple is not pulling the same shit. But for some strange reason they do not seem to be on anybody's hit list and appear to get away with it far more easily.

I think Apple is a pretty bad company too, patent aggressor and all that, censorship, taking away user rights, and so on.
But Microsoft is on a whole other level of evil. They had the computer industry in choke hold for two decades, using unethical and illegal practices to the detriment of the competition and their customers.

Abdul Muis

Microsoft will sell the brand Nokia (for feature phone) to foxcon


Thank you, Abdul Muis, for the good news. So the only profitable part of the mobile hardware business is now gone. Only Lumia remains now and that brand is so screwed up that Microsoft will replace it with the new shiny Surfarce phony which will completely revolutionize the smartphone if one listens to Microsoft's PR.


@Wayne Brady
Assuming these are genuine questions, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo etc. are competing against each other. It is of course not surprising that neither is able to grow to challenge #2, because that growth would have to come at the expense of the others. In a highly competitive low-margin market this is not going to happen.

Lenovo a super power? I don't know who told you that, but better not listen to that person in the future. The Motorola brand is the key to entry in Western markets, and not some magic to make sales go through the roof.

In Europe you can buy wonderful low priced Chinese phones at many e-tailers. Local tech websites report about them quite often. Current value leader is the ZOPO Hero 1. Maybe in the US it is different, or you are looking in the wrong places.


iLulz detected... super iSheep ahead

"Usually people who hate Apple do so because they can't accept people really liking a product they wouldn't want to buy."

iSheep logic.
People hate apple because apple sue samsung.
Apple jealous to samsung.

"People could always simply ignore Apple and not use the software or hardware. Instead some people simply can't tolerate those who are truly happy with something Apple makes."

Apple coukd always sinpely ignore android samsung who did better, and not to sue or say bad word about it. Instead some iSheep simply can't tolerate those who are trully happy with something that use android.

Abdul Muis

Huawei have a good market presence in Europe. I believe ZTE also quite known in Europe.

As for why Xiaomi is NOT focusing Europe/USA, I think it's a smart move. Xiaomi is new, and currently have limited knowledge on the market outside China. Therefore, they should focus on the market that they can conquer easily, such as the Chinese market beside China such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore. Then the big market that loves great value such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippine, Malaysia. This is smart move.

Let's also not forget, that while American have a bias toward China / Chinese products, as the political view between the two is not on the same side. If Xiaomi enter American market, Apple will sue them, and they will lose just because the bias towards them. Even Samsung from Korea that were on the same political side with USA, suffer a court lost for merely selling a device with rounded corner and have slide to unlock lock screen. So, I think Xiaomi did a smart move to first focusing their effort on the market that they could easily conquer, rather than focusing on 6% of market. (If you blame Xiaomi not entering the US because you wanna buy their product, don't blame Xiaomi, blame judge lucy koh, and apple).

Per "wertigon" Ekström


No, hogwash. Do you really think it's pure jealousy?

Then everyone is ragging on Linux because they are jealous of the infinite freedom the Linux system allows.

Incidentally I got this bridge to sell you, contact me more for details. :)


No. You not.
I nail it.
You true iSheep.
You canot tolerate different opinoin.
You ca not acept android better.
You iSheep
A close mind sheep!!!


When do you guys think that Microsoft will pull the plug on its ever more ridiculous mobile undertaking?


"Then again those tablets before the iOS products used to be something else than just rectangles with rounded edges."

Rectangular multi media information devices with rounded corners are not exactly new US West coast inventions:


Tomi gave WP two years and that was about a year ago so according to him WP will die next year. I think Microsoft will try one more time with the SurFarce Phony and if that is a dud then there is the end. If that phone is not a disaster then I think Microsoft will continue to m
ake smartphones.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

First, thanks Abdul for bringing that link to the rumor. Yes the rumors says Microsoft is trying to sell off the Nokia dumbphone busiess and sell on the licence to the Nokia brand up to year 2024 to Foxconn. Foxconn would get to use the Nokia brand to sell its own phones rather than just manufacture devices to other brands like Apple. So Foxconn would have both the scale and the technical ability to produce handsets in premium smartphone class. And were Foxconn to do what Microsoft refuses - release Android based smartphones with the Nokia brand - they would be inherently more popular than Lumia and Windows today (which is not saying much) BUT a non-Microsoft as owners of the Nokia brand could - possibly - achieve the full remaining potential of the Nokia brand when the carrier boycott of Microsoft is taken out of the game. In very rough terms we could look at how the Lumia brand did before Nokia sold it to Microsoft - and add to that the Asha brand which was close to equivalent to low-end smartphones - Asha supported apps on Java and had full HMTL browser on touch-screen modern cameraphones. If we take Lumia and Asha combined, in 2013 they would have had about a 6% share of all smartphones (if we add Asha into smartphone market as Elop tried to argue at one point that they should be haha)

Six percent market share for Foxconn using Nokia brand would give the a 4th place ranking and something roughly around 100 million annual sales in level. Foxconn is no longer overworked with iPhone business. It has made the mock-up designs for most of Apple's project ideas exploring things like the Nano iPhone, a QWERTY based iPhone and a premium camera iPhone - these could all be 'natural' Nokia brand uses for those types of devices. Would a Foxconn-Nokia be a 'real' Nokia, no, of course not. But it would be a very competitive 'me too' Android premium and mid-price brand smartphone with a global brand of very high loyalty. Foxconn could EASILY master the product portfolio to be offering something near what Samsung has today and certainly matching what Huawei, LG or Lenovo have today. And Foxconn could take a current-but-not-in-production product spec, rush it into production running Android, and even have the first Nokia Android flagship in the stores for Christmas if they concluded the deal with Microsoft before the end of May. Certainly no later than early Spring.

And if I could have a choice, of an Android based Nokia, designed by Microsoft 'to not compete quite fairly' with its Lumia on Windows, or to have Foxconn who make iPhones do a clone Android flagship for their brand new Nokia brand - I think its a fair bet the Foxconn device would be better. And the one I'd buy myself..

Now let me mention.. If Microsoft IS talking to Foxconn about selling the Nokia brand - then you can be pretty sure they HAVE had talks with Nokia about selling the ex-Nokia unit back to Finland. That rumor says half of the remaining Microsoft Mobile ie ex Nokia unit staff would be fired and the remaining half absorbed into Surface tablet (and other hardware) side of Microsoft. Foxconn has no need for these people, Foxconn has its factories running with excess capacity right now. And its expensive to fire people. Meanwhile we have heard several times from Nokia that they want to return to handsets (but are currently restricted in the Microsoft contract details to using a third party manufacturer - like Foxconn haha - to sell their phones).

I think the 'Hollywood ending' would be for Nokia and Microsoft to do the deal for the handset business to return. I think Nokia knows best what is the value of what is there and could easily identify what parts are worth taking back and Nokia could still for a few more years milk the shrinking dumbphone business side of that unit, for profitable cash cow business to help cover the costs of retooling and upscaling the smartphone business Nokia would of course do. That Nokia smartphone business would be built on Android but... Nokia could do the deal with Microsoft to commit to say 1 new Windows based smartphone for each of the next 3 years ie to continue the Lumia line enough, for Microsoft not to feel too embarrassed about the whole deal. Nokia would agree to release Windows variants of one of its premium smartphones each year, and offer it to its sales channel, which then could decide if they wanted to sell it. Nokia would also release this Lumia device for Microsoft partners to sell. I am pretty sure Foxconn has zero interest to waste any effort on any Lumias haha. And if Microsoft can't set Surface into a viable enterprise phablet series with the help of an occasional Lumia smartphone (plus the lilliput manufacturers now doing a rare Windows smartphone too) then there is nothing there.

The key is to return the needed sales and marketing staff that went from Nokia to Microsoft (what remains of it) to sell the phones and return the factories and design people related to handsets. To me this seems like an obvious deal that the two new CEOs at both companies should be able to get done - and the Foxconn rumor may just be a negotiating ploy where Microsoft is trying to extract a better price/deal from Nokia (and the earlier press about Nokia's return on Android may have been part of the same negotiating tactics). I think all Nokia fans on this site would warmly welcome the return of 'Rump Nokia' handset business back from Microsoft.

Nokia alone, with Nokia designers now getting to do the Android smartphones they wanted, plus all the clever R&D that Nokia had starting with supreme camera tech - and the big hunger the world still has for the brand - yeah, 6% market share in a 2 - 3 year window I think that would be pretty safe and something near 8% in a 3 - 4 year window as Nokia shifted the last dumbphone business to smartphones. Higher upside than Foxconn. And because Nokia was able to keep the dumbphones business profitable even most quarters that Elop ran the company, and the losses on the smartphone saide only happened with and around Lumia and Windows (from the announcement of Windows till today) - its very likely Nokia could turn that business around rather rapidly. Nokia has turned the ex Siemens loss-making telecoms business around and the ex Motorola loss-making telecoms infra business around so its not like they aren't good at doing that. And all of the fat in the handset business was cut long ago. Now it would be far more a question of what to rebuild and where to expand out of resources spread too thinly currently in what remains at Microsoft Mobile.

Interesting rumor and speculation. I said last summer when Elop was fired that there is only 12-24 months left for the Lumia unit. This would be the time to shut it down. Thats why we're seeing no more Lumia smartphones. Satya Nadella wants to sell the unit rather than just shut it down and won't authorize the development (and marketing) costs of any new devices which will rather be put to the next Surface phablets. Because Nadella is not Ballmer and not married to this Nokia mess, he can also fairly and honestly evaluate what is the best option for Microsoft. But as I've warned on this blog, Lumia was never going to succeed. Windows Phone OS for smartphones was never going to succeed. The ex-Nokia handset business at Microsoft is still going to see more layoffs.. More bad times ahead. Its really time to shut it down or sell what he can out of it to whoever is willing to buy (it may WELL be that Nokia HAD been interested in buying the remains, and then Nokia noticed late last year and early this year, that the handset industry growth is slowing to a crawl and its no more the 'easy money' business it used to be. It may be that Nokia lost interest in re-acquiring the unit, and Microsoft THEN went to find other buyers and landed with the iPhone-manufacturer Foxconn)

Could there be another buyer in that area? Difficult to imagine. Huawei has shown it can be strong without a traditional 'Western' brand and Lenovo is struggling to get gains out of Motorola. Sony is no longer in play. LG is still making a loss. Samsung is too big to buy the remains and doesn't need them anymore. The traditional IT guys have tried mobile (HP, Dell, Intel) and soured on it. If not Nokia, Foxconn may be the only other viable buyer today.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

Then lets talk Windows OS and the future. Not Windows on smartphones which is obviously dead, but Windows on the PC. We need to have context. Brief history of the last 4 decades of computing.

In 1975 the computer world was IBM and the Bunch. IBM had about half of all computers - all mainframes at this time - in the world, and Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data and Honeywell had nearly all of the rest of the planet in computers. There was no universal OS platform. The PC was only being invented soon and would be laughed at by the big computer giants. IBM was one of the Top 10 largest companies on the planet and one of its most profitable. All of the Bunch were in the Fortune 500. Primary use of computers was in business use, in accounting and banking.

In 1985 the PC far outsold mainframes. Microsoft had taken a strong lead powering about 80% of the world's new computers sold. IBM was still a major player in personal computers but new rivals like Compaq and Dell were gaining market share and HP was mostly known for its pocket calculators and printers, not as a PC maker. The laptop had just been invented in Japan so all of Microsoft's Windows market was on the desktop. Apple's Macintosh had just been launched a year prior to revolutionize the PC and make it user-friendly enough for average citizens and not needing to go to computer courses to learn how to operate a PC. Primary use of computers was office utility software, word processing, spreadsheets, accounting.

By 1995 the laptop had grown to take about one in 10 and soon 1 in 5 new PCs sold. But Microsoft had effectively taken over that market too, almost all laptops ran also on Windows. Apple had been very slow to get into laptops. An evolution to miniaturized PCs was being seen which was leading to 'pocket PCs' soon to be known better as PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) which had their own OS wars where Windows did not end up dominating. The smartphone had not been invented yet but would be in just two years when the largest handset maker Nokia joined with the largest PDA maker HP, to stitch together their bulky pocketable devices to create that pocket brick known as the Communicator. HP didn't believe in that project enough to continue it and Nokia took over the idea. Thanks to Nokia's vision we even have smartphones today. Apple didn't believe in the smartphone vision either, they went first with the Newton PDA and then the iPod pocket media player line. But in 1995 Microsoft powered more than 90% of all computing devices sold globally and was becoming one of the most profitable companies on the planet, while the hardware makers running Windows were making razor-thin profits. The primary use of PCs was shifting to the internet and email.

By 2005 laptops were outselling PCs and the smartphone was selling about 1 in 5 total computers in the world. But almost all of the legacy PC makers thought smartphones were not 'proper' computers and laughed at the possiblity of it being any kind of a threat. The mainframe had not died, it was just a tiny niche of 'large enterprise' type of computing uses, with NASA, the spy agencies, etc. The pocket media player was still believed to be a big market niche (in reality it was being demolished by smartphones). The tablet PC had been trialed many ways and nothing worked. Microsoft which dominated the desktop and laptop, was attempting to become a major player in smartphones. Microsoft had about 70% of all computers when smartphones and pocket devices like PDAs and media players were included. The primary use of computers was for search, messaging and social media on the internet.

By 2015 the laptop was outselling the desktop PC; the tablet was outselling the laptop; and smartphones outsold all other computing devices COMBINED by more than 2 o 1. The pocket media player market had nearly vanished like the PDA before it. Mainframes still are made in modest numbers for uses like weather forecasting, Formula 1 racing and rocket science. Microsoft still owns the PC and laptop markets but even in tablets it has lost the war and in smartphones its exit now is pending. Of total computers sold in 2015, Microsoft only powered 15%. Android powered 70%. All PC makers accept that smartphones are real computers and a threat to their existence. All PC makers now admit tablets will not take over the smartphone business (where phablets already outsell tablets) but that tablets are a natural evolution for PCs. The new trends in computer evolution are wearables (Apple Watch haha) and cloud computing, both which further erode the place of the PC. The primary use of computers today is to watch and share videos and pictures, take selfies and social media.

Will the PC die? No. Is its sales in decline. Yes. Did the bulk of PC market shift from desktop to laptop yes but the desktop did not die. Did the big growth in computers come out of tables which now are eating into laptop sales, yes. Will that end as the phablet eats into tablet sales - tablet sales have plateaued, yes. Microsoft owned the desktop and the laptop with Windows. It tried to win the PDA wars the smartphone wars and the tablet wars. It failed in each of those. The only constant in the small computing trend was Apple who did niche premium products which served only roughly-speaking the top 10% of the market. That continues in smartphones and tablets. But for COMMON use of computing today, if you think a modern tablet is not a PC replacement for 90% of homes, you don't understand the market and the consumers. That means Android has already won the war of the PC and Windows and Microsoft have lost. And if you don't think an Android phablet isn't a viable replacement for most who use a tablet, think again. So Android and Google have won the computer platform wars.

The PC will not die just like the mainframe never died. But a desktop and even a laptop PC is a BAD design concept for CONSUMER use. A tablet is FAR better for the modern uses of computers by CONSUMERS. For business use, sure, some millions of desktop PCs and some dozens of millions of laptops will be made and sold. And they will run Windows mostly but some run Macintosh OS and some run Linux (and some very light laptops/ultrabooks run Android). But EXACTLY like how the classic computer industry went from mainframes to PCs and Microsoft came from nowhere to the richest tech company; the same happened now with smartphones and tablets. Microsoft lost it and Windows is dead. Windows will continue to live on the PC and Microsoft will gradually fade into tech history as that tech niche keeps shrinking. But as Android becomes the 'do everything OS' for computing, it will also pose an ever more viable challenger on what remains of the PC market and eventually its Android and the Mac (plus some Linux) which will kill off Windows. Windows is too expensive to produce and maintain when its market keeps shrinking (while the opposite is true of both Android and Apple's OS ambitions)

Windows lost the war, Android won. We are now watching the painful end to an empire (and those of us who hate Microsoft are cheering for its eventual demise completely).

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

Just a note. I expanded on my initial comment here about the rumor of a Foxconn purchase of the Nokia brand from Microsoft - into a new blog article today. In it I also speculate about Foxconn product line, prices, distribution; and about the Nokia option if there might be or maybe were but now have ended, discussions also between Microsoft and Nokia. Enjoy

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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