An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
Ray Ozzie Says We're in the Post-PC Era
Microsoft's first and thus far only attempt to replace cofounder Bill Gates with another tech visionary failed mightily, and now that failure is speaking out about his thoughts on the post-PC world. Which is to say that Ray Ozzie—the guy who created one decent technology solution and then spent the rest of his life simply reinventing and re-releasing it—now says that the PC is dead. "Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world," Ozzie said this week at a Seattle-area tech conference. "That doesn't mean the PC dies. It just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things ... It's a world of phones and pads and devices of all kinds, and our interests in general-purpose computing—or desktop computing—starts to wane and people start doing the same things and more in other scenarios." OK, that's actually pretty reasonable. But the guy was still a massive failure for Microsoft, sorry.
Surprise! PC Sales to Surge in Wake of New iPad. Guess Why!
So, Apple just announced its latest iPad, and of course the tech press is agog at the latest evolutionary product from Apple that looks identical to its predecessor, and I'm sure in some sad neighborhood somewhere, the usual group of lemmings is queuing up at a store to be the first to own a device that will be obsolete in 12 months. But don't believe for a moment that the iPad 3 is going to usher in the End Of Times (tm) for the PC world. In fact, according to Gartner, PC sales growth is actually going to skyrocket next year by about 10 percent. Why is that, you ask? Because Microsoft's iPad killer, Windows 8, will hit the market this year, accompanied by a full set of competitive slates, ultrabooks, and hybrid PCs that will do to the iPad what the PC did the Mac. At least, that's the plan. My guess is that iPads and Windows 8 devices will both sell pretty well going forward and that no clear winner will emerge. But it's fun to goad the Apple guys. In fact, it's a bit too easy.
Nokia's Annual Filing with SEC Is a Bloodbath
Nokia filed its annual report with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week and, well, it's not pretty. The company lost €1.4 billion in calendar year 2011, during a time in which it transitioned to Windows Phone. And its net sales were also significantly lower then the previous year, €38.6 billion vs. €42.4 billion in 2010, when it earned a profit of €1.3 billion. On the good news front, Nokia still managed to sell 340 million handsets in 2011, just a 3 percent decline. But of those, only 77.3 million were smartphones, a drop of 25 percent year-over-year. Nokia noted in its filing that its transition to Windows Phone (from the failing Symbian platform) was fraught with risks and that it has no other plan to succeed. If you're interested in reading Greek tragedy, you can find the report in PDF format on the Nokia website. I guess time will tell if this was the beginning of the end or the darkest night before a new morning. Or whatever.
iPad 3 Brings a Knife to a Gun Fight
Lost amidst all the normal hoopla that accompanies even the most evolutionary of Apple product updates is the fact that, retina display aside, Apple's latest iPad just doesn't have what it takes to compete with Windows 8. Why do I say that? Because the iOS 5 system that powers the iPad is horribly out of date and still the same stretched-up-from-a-phone OS it has always been. Unlike Windows 8, the iPad OS doesn't offer any real advantages on a bigger screen, and the navigation and app multitasking capabilities are rudimentary. Add that to the fact that the iPad, duh, can't run Windows applications and you have the makings of Apple's long-term approach of "doing the minimum with each update" finally being its Achilles Heel. I'm sure Apple will sell millions of these things—tens of millions—because, well, it's Apple. But this won't hasten the demise of the PC at all. In fact, I expect Apple to once again lose market share in the tablet market this year. And thanks to the iPad 3, the blame falls squarely on Apple.
Microsoft: Sorry, but That Cool iPad App Running Windows Is Illegal
You might have heard about the innovative iPad app called OnLive Desktop that brings a free Windows 7 desktop, Office applications, and Adobe solutions to the Apple's consumer-friendly tablet. If not, check out my review of OnLive Desktop, which actually works quite well. Too well, one might say. Because Microsoft is now claiming that the product is essentially illegal. And that's because OnLive isn't paying for those copies of Windows and Office it's using. "The Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) does not support delivery of Windows 7 as a hosted client or provide the ability to access Office as a service through Windows 7," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Matz wrote in a blog post explaining how OnLive is violating Microsoft's licensing agreements. "We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue resolved." OnLive has no comment, but it's fair to say that this wonderful app will soon change very dramatically.
Federal Government Looking to Sue Apple Over eBook Price Fixing
Remember when Apple illegally partnered with book-publishing companies to raise the price of ebooks and screw customers? Well, good news: The US federal government remembers that too. And now the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is prepping an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, accusing it of colluding with publishers to raise prices. Which it did. Sadly, I don't expect the average selling price of ebooks to go back to the proper and previous level—$9.99 for a new book—but I can dream, right?
Microsoft Announces Plans to Shutter Windows Mobile Marketplace
About a year after it stopped accepting new submissions to its app store for the obsolete Windows Mobile platform, Microsoft this week revealed to customers that it would be shutting down the store on May 9. Windows Mobile, of course, has since been replaced by the more modern and interesting Windows Phone platform, although it's still unclear if this new system has the chops to compete with the iPhones and Androids of the world. But for the 7 or 8 people still mourning, or at least using, Windows Mobile, get in now while the getting's good. The party's almost over.
Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!
This week, Andrew Zarian and I recorded the latest episode of the What The Tech podcast on Tuesday, and Mary Jo Foley, Leo Laporte, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday. As always, these episodes should be available now or soon, generally in both audio in video formats, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all of 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 a Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech app for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of 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. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone.
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