An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
Gartner: Don't Expect Much from Windows 8 Tablet Sales
I'm expecting Windows 8 (or what Microsoft called Windows On ARM—WOA) to perform well in the so-called "media tablet" market—that market for devices that sit functionally somewhere between "real" PCs and smartphones, such as the iPad. But Gartner doesn't share my positive feelings. This week, the analyst firm predicted that Windows would jump from 0 tablet users in 2011 to 4.8 million by the end of 2012, and then to 14.5 million in 2013 and 44 million in 2014. Which sounds good until you realize that those numbers are dwarfed by their predicted iPad and even Android tablet sales. In fact, Gartner doesn't expect Windows to ever catch up to iPad or Android, and it says that Windows 8 will control just 8 percent of the tablet market in 2013 and 12 percent by 2016. On the good news front, tablet sales won't come close to rivaling sales of "real" PCs until 2016 or so, and of course Windows will continue its dominance there. And if you really want to make some lemonade, I'd point out that Gartner's previous predictions for Windows Phone have fallen hilariously short so far. Wait. That's not actually good news.
Nokia Lumia 900 Sales "Exceeded Expectations"
There's been a lot of hand-wringing in the press over Nokia's increasingly dire financial condition due to sagging Symbian hardware sales during its transition to Windows Phone, but let's not miss some good news that was buried in a typical Wall Street Journal article aimed at undermining confidence in the company: AT&T says that sales of the Nokia Lumia 900, which was just launched this week, have exceeded its expectations. In fact, the device, particularly the beautiful cyan version, is sold out at many AT&T locations, with customers waiting on new stock. We're still waiting to hear the exact numbers, but with little precedence for this, it's unclear when this will happen or who (AT&T or Nokia) will report them.
Microsoft Rolls Interoperability Team Into New Wholly Owned Subsidiary
Microsoft this week announced something I still believe to be fairly unique and even somewhat unprecedented in the history of the company: It has moved its Interoperability Strategy team into a new, wholly owned subsidiary called Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. The new subsidiary will be headed by the amiable and well-spoken Jean Paoli, who was previously a Microsoft general manager. In a blog post outlining the change, Mr. Paoli says that the change will facilitate better interaction with open-source and standards-based organizations, and allow the group to move more quickly, accept open-source contributions from the outside world, and more. Groups within Microsoft—like Internet Explorer (IE), which is obviously heavily involved with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)—will continue to engage open-source and standards-based groups as before.
How Apple-Biased Is The New York Times? This Biased
In the wake of the US Department of Justice's (DOJ's) incredible but easily proven accusations of price-fixing collusion against Apple and five of the world's biggest book publishers, there's one thing that all legal experts have agreed on: This case is so damaging and so obviously true, the only truly amazing thing is that Apple hasn't already settled to avoid watching its untarnished public reputation dragged through the mud in court. And yet, you have to give credit where credit is due. In an article in which a quoted legal expert describes the case against Apple as "strong," the New York Times somehow manages to still provide a pro-Apple headline that obfuscates reality while promoting a side issue that has little to do with the entire point of the legal action: "Apple Not Likely to Be a Loser in the E-Book Legal Fight". Since the New York Times obviously expects people to read the headline but not the article, let me explain. What that title means isn't that Apple will prevail in court—even the New York Times couldn't find a single person with that opinion—but rather that, because ebooks are such a small part of the iPad ecosystem anyway, losing this case won't hurt the company or iPad sales all that much. To be clear, Apple is very much likely to be the loser in this ebook legal fight. It's just that the New York Times can't bear to publish that little headline for some reason. It's disgusting. And tiring.
Apple Rejects Book-Pricing Collusion Charge
But then, this was the company that claimed for almost two years that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the external antenna on the iPhone 4, despite clear and obvious evidence to the contrary. "The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon's monopolistic grip on the publishing industry," Apple wrote in a prepared statement, explaining why it colluded with supposed competitors in the publishing industry to raise and then fix pricing. Sorry, Apple, but monopolies aren't illegal in the United States. Colluding with competitors to fix prices, however? Yeah. That is illegal. But since you're ironically (and hypocritically) taking the moral high ground here, I'd also point out that raising the average selling price of new ebooks from $9.99 to $14.99 harms people. Not as much as the China stuff. But in line with your standard corporate behavior, yeah.
Xbox 360 Again the Number-One Console in March (in the United States)
Microsoft is once again touting its continued reign at the top of the US-based video game console sales charts, with its 15th consecutive victory in March 2012. Microsoft sold 371,000 consoles in the United States in the month, good for 42 percent of all console sales. Total retail spending on the Xbox 360—which includes hardware, accessories, and software—was $430 million, Microsoft says (citing NPD data), more than that for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii combined. And 5 of the top 10 game titles for the month—Mass Effect 3, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, NBA 2K12, SSX, and Major League Baseball 2K12—were on the Xbox 360. This all sounds great, but as usual there's a bunch of data Microsoft didn't provide: March was the fourth month in a row in which video game revenues dropped year-over-year, and this month's drop of 25 percent was the worst yet. Hardware sales in particular fell 35 percent.
Apple Releases Tool to Combat Flashback Malware
It's called "buying a PC," since we get how easy it is to combat malware on the Windows side. Drop me a note if you need help making the change. I'm here for you.
Intel Says Hundreds of Ultrabooks Coming in Next Year, Prices to Drop
Ultrabooks are widely expected to become the PC sales leader, thanks to their stunning and light designs, great battery life, and next-generation features. But one aspect of the Ultrabook promise—really low pricing—has yet to materialize. Sure, they're all much, much cheaper than Apple's luxury Macbook Air machines, but beating Apple on price isn't exactly difficult. But not to worry, Intel says: Ultrabooks, which today are priced at about $800 and up, with the sweet spot at about $999, will soon be much less expensive. In fact, with the flood of new machines coming to market this year, Intel expects the average selling price to hit about $700.
Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!
Andrew Zarian and I recorded the latest episode of the What The Tech podcast on Tuesday, and Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday. As always, these episodes should be available soon, generally in both audio and video formats, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all my podcast activities on the SuperSite for Windows.
The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?
If you haven't seen them, we're now offering Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech apps for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too.
Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone
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