Microsoft earnings reports:
$7.6 billion write-off on Nokia, no big deal.
$1 billion Xbox writeoff, no big deal.
$900 million write-off for Surface RT, no big deal.
$6.2 billion write-off for Aquantive, no big deal.
Apple earnings reports:
Record profits, stock price takes a nose dive
Apple’s Jony Ive has served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Design for several years now, but Apple has announced today that the executive is being named Chief Design Officer (a newly-created position). Additionally, Ive and will be handing the managerial reins of both the industrial and software design units at Apple over to two new leaders on July 1st.
Next step for Jony: His Royal Highness Grand Emperor of Design, Lord of Edges, Master of Materials, Designator of Textures, Definer of Hues, Defender of Curves.
First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm… Oh wait, wrong fandom.
“His vision for Apple was a company that turned powerful technology into tools that were easy to use, tools that would help people realize their dreams and change the world for the better,” Cook said of Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died in 2011.“Our products do amazing things, and just as Steve envisioned, they empower people all over the world,” Cook continued. “People who are blind and need information read to them because they can’t see the screen. People for whom technology is a lifeline because they are isolated by distance or disability.“People who witness injustice and want to expose it. And now they can, because they have a camera in their pocket all the time.”
The thing I find most striking is how hard it is to do a good Jony Ive impression. Here, compare with this:
Like lots of people, I’m paying attention to the Apple Watch buzz, and doing some of my own speculation. Needless to say, I have no special expertise here. But what the heck; I might as well put my own thoughts out there.
So, here’s my pathetic version of a grand insight: wearables like the Apple watch actually serve a very different function — indeed, almost the opposite function — from that served by previous mobile devices. A smartphone is useful mainly because it lets you keep track of things; wearables will be useful mainly because they let things keep track of you.
Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.
Hmmm… I wonder…
There was a scathingly daft story about the Apple Watch in the Guardian yesterday where someone who’d never seen it or used it opined about it being a major mistep and, to double-down on the daftness, trotted out the vapidly cliched “this would never have happened with Steve” line.
The sad part is, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop discovered the writer was actually a marketing consultant for the watch industry
Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced.“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”
The Apple Watch isn’t an iPhone any more than the iPhone is a Mac. Computing has moved from the server room to the desktop to the laptop to the pocket and now onto the wrist. Every time that’s happened, every time it’s moved to a new, more personal place, those of us who were used to it in its old place have become slightly anxious, we’ve become subject to our own expectational debt.
The CIA has spent almost a decade attempting to breach the security of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers to allow them secretly plant malware on the devices. Apple announced on Monday, 9 March, that it had sold over 700 million iPhones since the first version was announced in 2007, giving some idea of the scope of the CIA tactics.
Revealed in documents released to The Intercept by Edward Snowden, the CIA’s efforts at undermining Apple’s encryption has been announced at an secret annual gathering known as the “Jamboree” which has been taking place since 2006, a year before the first iPhone was released.
Just look at who Apple has hired in the past couple of years. This should be obvious. Not only is Apple not resting on their laurels, they’re pivoting the company in a pretty big way that’s flying under the radar to all but those watching most closely.
And it feels like a smart bet. Because Apple is at a moment of absolute strength, they can use that clout to get the talent on board to change the engine mid-flight. That doesn’t mean it will work, of course. But it sure seems better than sitting back and atrophying as more nimble opponents approach. This is when you take risks.
One user told me that they nearly “stopped” using their phone during the day; they used to have it out and now they don’t, period. That’s insane when you think about how much the blue glow of smartphone screens has dominated our social interactions over the past decade.
Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.
“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”
Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.
The timeframe — automakers typically need at least five years to develop a car — underscores the aggressive goals of the two technology companies and could set the stage for a battle for customers. The market for connected cars may surge to 170 billion euros ($190 billion) by 2020 from 30 billion euros now, according to a German government policy paper obtained by Bloomberg News.
Whether Apple is actually building a car, or it’s just a controlled leak to show that the company has more planned after the Apple Watch, isn’t known yet. What is sure, though, is that Apple is now legally covered if it wants to slap its name and logo onto an automobile.
Using its regular law firm Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, Apple recently expanded its corporate description to not just include the current array of watches, smartphones, tablets and computers, but vehicles, too. And Apple’s lawyers aren’t taking any chances, either. Apple aircraft, anyone?
“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”
“Apple has a very straightforward business model,” he said. “We make money if you buy one of these [pointing at an iPhone]. That’s our product. You [the consumer] are not our product. We design our products such that we keep a very minimal level of information on our customers.”
It also means that Apple’s strategy has made it less profitable than it otherwise might have been, at least in the short term (and even though few shareholders are likely to have noticed, given its massive cash pile).
“We don’t make money selling your information to somebody else. We don’t think you want that. We don’t want to do that. It’s not in our values system to do that. Could we make a lot of money doing that? Of course. But life isn’t about money, life is about doing the right thing. This has been a core value of our company for a long time.”
There are dozens of ways in which Apple’s apparent effort to build an Apple-branded car could go wrong, but there’s one argument against the idea that I’m hearing a lot of that really doesn’t make sense. From Henry Blodget to former GM CEO Daniel Akerson to the LA Times to Yahoo Finance people are saying this won’t work because the car industry is a “low margin” business in contrast to the fat margins Apple is used to earning most of all on its workhorse iPhone.
The misperception here is that Apple earns high margins because Apple operates in high margin industries. The truth is precisely the opposite. Apple earns high margins because it is efficient at manufacturing and firmly committed to a business strategy of sacrificing market share to maintain pricing power. If Apple makes a car, it will be a high margin car because Apple only makes high margin products. If it succeeds it will succeed for the same reason iPhones and iPads and Macs succeed — people like them and are willing to buy them, even though you could get similar specs for less.
danakersonAmid rumors that Apple is developing an electric vehicle, former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has shared his opinion on Apple’s plans, suggesting the Cupertino company avoid getting into a business with such low margins.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Akerson said that Apple may be underestimating the difficulty of operating in the car business, as it’s hard to navigate regulatory and safety requirements. “A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate,” he said
Okay… Here’s Ed Colligan, Ex-Palm CEO on November 16 2006:
We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.
If history repeats itself on this one I will laugh soooo hard…
But perhaps the most interesting thing inside Jony Ive’s office is a motivational poster.
Following up on the payment space, most of your competitors are collecting personal data. You’re not.
We believe customers have a right to privacy, and the vast majority of customers don’t want people knowing everything about them. When you make a purchase, we make a little bit of money. It’s very simple, very straightforward. You are not our product, that’s our product. There’s no need for us to know what you’re buying, where you’re buying, I don’t want to know any of that. We think customers will rebel on that. Similar with HealthKit…you want control over that. So we think over the arc of time, consumers will go with people they trust with their data. People are unknowingly sharing things with others, and info can be pieced together. Over time people will realize this more and demand privacy.
So with Apple Pay we needed something easier than pulling out a credit card, we knew it needed to be secure as well. We never give the merchant your credit card number. We don’t even have it. We’re making up a proxy for each transaction. Think about it…how secure is a card with your number on the front, and then a security code on the back! So Apple Pay had to be private. We’re facilitating a transaction between you, the merchant, and the bank.
By any measure, it was an epic day for Tim Cook.
On Tuesday he was sitting on stage at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco being interviewed by Goldman Sachs president Gary D. Cohn when Apple became the first U.S. company to close at more than $700 billion in market value on Tuesday.
“You will always remember exactly where you were,” Cohn said to Cook.
The milestone caught the attention of the financial world, some of whom had flocked to the Goldman Sachs conference to hear Cook speak on a wide range of subjects from the growth possibilities in China market to the upcoming Apple watch.
Ears perked up when Cook said cash-rich Apple would announce its cash distribution plans on its quarterly earnings call in April.
But Cook also made headlines with what he called Apple’s “biggest and boldest project ever.”
Apple has formed a partnership with First Solar to build an $848 million, 1,300-acre solar farm in Monterey County to power its headquarters, data center in Newark, Calif., all Apple offices and 52 Apple stores in California.
The solar farm will result in significant energy cost savings for Apple, Cook said.
“We know at Apple that climate change is real. Our view is that the time for talk is past and the time for action is now,” Cook said.
This week the Wall Street Journal reported that Department of Justice officials recently met with Google and Apple, and basically told them that their decision to empower consumers would result in the death of children:
The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.
The Journal reports that Apple wasn’t moved by the DOJ’s argument, and found the “dead-child scenario” to be “inflammatory.”
“Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” he wrote in a column in Bloomberg Businessweek.
In his column, the Apple chief said that he had tried to maintain “a basic level of privacy.” But he said he decided that desire for privacy was stopping him from working for the benefit of others.
“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” he said. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”
I’m not surprised for a second, and I’m very happy he took this step.
After previous attacks on Github, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, the Chinese authorities are now staging a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on Apple’s iCloud.
In the early 00s, Finland’s two biggest industries were paper manufacturing and cell phones, led by the then-dominant Nokia. A decade later, both industries are in trouble — and as the country’s prime minister suggested in a recent interview, Apple might be to blame in both cases. “One could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we’ll make a comeback,” Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told CNBC on Monday. “We just have to keep at it.”
The seemingly ongoing battle between Google and Apple has been well-documented, but it’s always at its best when the CEOs start trading blows. In an interview with Charlie Rose last month, Tim Cook took Google to task for its data collection practices. Unsurprisingly, Eric Schmidt wasn’t too pleased with Cook’s representative of his company, so he took the time to respond on a CNN Money segment this week.
“Someone didn’t brief him correctly on Google’s policies,” Schmidt quipped. “It’s unfortunate for him. In the first place, in Google’s case, we have always been the leader in security and encryption. Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple. They’re catching up, which is great.”
First, Tim Cook wasn’t talking about how well they protect data from others – he was talking about how well they protect data from themselves… here’s what he said:
Cook said Apple makes most of its profits by selling hardware, unlike many of its Silicon Valley neighbors that profit from advertising targeted at their users.
“Our business is not based on having information about you. You’re not our product,” Cook said. “I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried.”
So, Let me summarize this back-and-forth:
“You’ve been spying on your users!”
“That’s not true! We protect our users from being spied on by other people all the time!”
So, Schmidt, you’re a deceptive little douche.
If you thought people waiting in line to buy an iPhone 6 was batshitinsane, check this:
Apple invited people to check out the new Apple Watch in person — for one day only — in Paris during Fashion Week, at the Colette boutique on Rue Saint Honoré.