Fortune sums up Strategy Analytics’ blog post:
The data show that Apple’s iPhone 5 overtook Samsung’s Galaxy S3 by some 12 million units in the last quarter of 2012 to become the world’s bestselling smartphone.
That’s not terribly surprising. What is surprising is that according to Strategy Analytics the iPhone 4S — discounted by Apple when the new model came out — also overtook the Galaxy S3.
This will read strange to the ones claiming that Apple’s decline has already started.
The New York Times:
SAN FRANCISCO — For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.
After surreptitiously tracking the intruders to study their movements and help erect better defenses to block them, The Times and computer security experts have expelled the attackers and kept them from breaking back in.
The timing of the attacks coincided with the reporting for a Times investigation, published online on Oct. 25, that found that the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.
Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times’s network. They broke into the e-mail accounts of its Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the reports on Mr. Wen’s relatives, and Jim Yardley, The Times’s South Asia bureau chief in India, who previously worked as bureau chief in Beijing.
The whole article is well worth reading. The story is both shocking and intriguing.
There are plenty of details missing. I hope we will know more soon.
Though, something is striking. This is now out. Why? Isn’t it the goal of these attacks to scare future informants?
Why choose to reveal this? Is China the only country guilty of such attacks in general?
What impact has this article on the countries’ relationships, populations?
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal too.
Brian Lam from The Wirecutter, a website known to point at the best products for consumers to buy:
I don’t mean to be dismissive of Blackberry’s efforts as a company but I know where my loyalties are, and it’s not with android or apple or any company. It boils down to this–I would never ever tell anyone I care about to consider these phones. So, that’s what I think about Blackberry’s new stuff.
Twitter is buying Crashlytics, but will not relocate the team nor will it prevent to serve its current clients.
With Crashlytics and Vine, Twitter is setting a new pattern: Buying startups and leaving them alone to develop products in Twitter’s safe nest.
The model here is Google’s acquisition of Android and YouTube, which it ran for years as standalone divisions.
Twitter’s motives may vary deal by deal. As a Crashlytics customer, it may not have wanted the startup to end up in the hands of hostile rivals like Google or Facebook, who surely wouldn’t mind learning about the ins and outs of Twitter’s mobile-app code.
Vine, on the other hand, seems to have simply charmed Twitter’s leaders with the premise of a new art form, a video version of Twitter’s 140-character tweets.
But whatever the specific reasoning to buy a company, it’s very interesting that Twitter’s breaking from the acquire-hire pattern of buying startups and crushing what makes them unique.
Jonathan Rauch for the Atlantic wrote a nice piece about what it means to be an introvert in a world full of extroverts:
With their endless appetite for talk and attention, extroverts also dominate social life, so they tend to set expectations. In our extrovertist society, being outgoing is considered normal and therefore desirable, a mark of happiness, confidence, leadership. Extroverts are seen as bighearted, vibrant, warm, empathic. “People person” is a compliment. Introverts are described with words like “guarded,” “loner,” “reserved,” “taciturn,” “self-contained,” “private”—narrow, ungenerous words, words that suggest emotional parsimony and smallness of personality. Female introverts, I suspect, must suffer especially.
Disclaimer: I consider myself as an introvert and I enjoyed this article. However, we don’t need yet another movement such as the Introverts’ Rights movement Rauch mentions, in my opinion. We don’t need words like “shy”, “reserved’, etc. to be banned because they are somewhat disrespectful to introverted little kids. Worse, I hope introverts will never feel the need to exist by picturing themselves as discriminated victims of a world dominated by extroverts.
It’s good to learn about introversion. It’s especially good for extroverts to know their counterparts better, but please no need to find another criteria to categorise people. I’m not saying that’s what the article proposes, just that it could be a temptation for certain.
We’ve recently seen the first minute of footage from jOBS, the biographical firm about Steve Jobs with Ashton Kutcher. I’m not sure if Casey Newton saw the whole movie, but he writes for CNET a ‘review’ and makes a good case for certainly the film’s main pitfall.
Yet the filmmakers are more interested in showing Jobs going about the work of being a genius. Over and over again, minor characters explain to him why something can’t be done; Kutcher-as-Jobs smiles enigmatically and waves away their concerns. (It is left to someone else, far off screen, to turn his visions into reality.) We watch Jobs out-negotiate a computer parts store owner, lecture the team making the Lisa, and ride to the rescue of the Macintosh. Each time, he speaks of how the technology Apple is building will improve the lives of average people. Co-workers argue with him, but they never get anywhere, because their parts are poorly written and the filmmakers have no interest in showing their subject being wrong about his work. The film mentions Lisa’s failure but has no interest in what part Jobs played in that failure; all Apple failures in “jOBS” are portrayed as the result of conservative, backward-thinking executives beholden only to their shareholders. The result is that the viewer spends two hours watching cardboard cutouts lose arguments to Ashton Kutcher.
My fear indeed is that the film forgets the context of Jobs’ decisions. We look in 2013, knowing Apple’s success, at what he did and his decisions look natural when they were in fact very risky. I wish the film would explain that, show how crazy some of his ideas seemed at the time and also how inaccurate some were. I’m afraid the film will depict him as an always-right genius who faced backward-thinking people all the time. It is a bit more complicated than that.
In a major exec departure, Square COO Keith Rabois will be leaving the San Francisco payments company.
Square gave no other information about the sudden management change, but sources said disagreements between Rabois and CEO and founder Jack Dorsey were part of the reason for his exit there.
It’s not clear if there were more serious issues between them or whether the parting was related to a specific business problem. But the departure of the No. 2 exec is significant, so definitely more to come on what happened.
It is clearly a loss for Square. Rabois maybe feels it’s time for him to start his own thing. Maybe, we’ll know more soon.
Update: It seems now that he resigned because of sexual harassment claims. As he explains in a blog post, he began a relationship with someone and later recommended him to interview at Square, which worked. Kara Swisher for AllThingsD has an interesting bit:
The man and Rabois were still seeing each other socially until December, when the relationship cooled.
And then came the lawsuit threat two weeks ago, which Rabois said “stunned” him.
Let’s precise that the lawyer and its clients are asking for a payment of millions of dollars to settle the argument. It looks nothing like a genuine claim to me.
Good ad from Microsoft to promote the new Internet Explorer. Something tells me that the “child of the 90s” cord is going to be played increasingly now.
The banjolele makes it good. The accent makes it awesome.
2013 was the first time in many years that Microsoft didn’t host the opening keynote for the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. Instead, the show went to Qualcomm and its CEO, Dr. Paul Jacobs. We weren’t quite sure what to expect beyond a new series of processors, but what we got was weirder than anything we’ve seen in all of our collective years attending CES.
This .gif in the comments tops it off.
David Jolly from the NY Times:
Free’s shock to advertisers was widely seen as an attack on Google, and is part of the larger, global battle over the question of who should pay to deliver information on the Web — content providers or Internet service providers. An attempt to rewrite the rules failed at the December talks of the International Telecommunication Union in Dubai, after the United States and other nations objected to a proposal that, among other measures, would have required content providers to pay.
But he (Xavier Niel, Free’s CEO) has often complained that Google’s content, which includes the ever expanding YouTube video library, occupies too much of his network’s bandwidth, or carrying capacity. “The pipelines between Google and us are full at certain hours, and no one wants to take responsibility for adding capacity,” he said during an interview last year with the newsmagazine Nouvel Observateur. “It’s a classic problem that happens everywhere, but especially with Google.”
I’m pretty sure Xavier Niel knew exactly what he was getting into when he released this. He decided to attack Google mainly and he targeted its heart, where the money comes from: ads.
Free has been restraining Youtube’s bandwidth on his network for a bit now. The move was supposed to provoke Google, but it did not work. Google refuses to finance Free’s investments for bigger tubes. Instead, internet users critisise Free when Free wanted to point out Google’s fault.
With this affair, Niel is able to create a thunderstorm and involve the government. Let’s see if he gets what he wants: money from Google.
Apple® today announced that customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps*, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone. The App Store℠ has over 500 million active accounts and had a record-breaking December with over two billion downloads during the month. Apple’s incredible developer community has created over 775,000 apps for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users worldwide, and developers have been paid over seven billion dollars by Apple.
*40 billion unique downloads excluding re-downloads and updates.
Great success for Apple. Half of these downloads happened in 2012 only, that’s crazy. The App Store is a strength for Apple. Difficult to replicate as Microsoft and RIM know.
It’s not pat to say that the Windows PC market went for volume over quality, because it did: Many of those 20 million Windows 7 licenses each month—too many, I think—went to machines that are basically throwaway, plastic crap. Netbooks didn’t just rejuvenate the market just as Windows 7 appeared, they also destroyed it from within: Now consumers expect to pay next to nothing for a Windows PC. Most of them simply refuse to pay for more expensive Windows PCs.
Thurrott’s argument is very interesting. While the PCs sales were in decline, notebooks seemed to be the solution. They were cheap and sold relatively well, despite low margins. Quantity was the objective. They helped grow the number of Windows 7 activations too. In the long term however, they harmed the PC market. People now expect to buy Windows computers for less than $400.
When Microsoft releases Windows 8 and tries to reverse the trend with more expensive tablets and computers, they don’t sell well, because people expect lower prices.
It makes a lot of sense and it reminds me of many discussions I had with friends who don’t consider buying a PC for more than €400-€500 anymore. Maybe Microsoft should indeed use Windows 8 to reverse the trend, but decrease its prices a tiny bit. I’m not sure.
From everything I’ve read 2012 was a year of monetization firsts for Tumblr – some native ad models for promoted posts, some branded campaigns on topic pages. Even if these were showing promising results it’s very hard to get to $100m booked in 2013. I worked on Google AdSense for three years and have seen YouTube monetization scale from 2007 to now. You need not just inventory but headcount and infrastructure. You need brand and agency relationships which move from their experimental budgets to endemic spend.
However, according to him, the $100 million figure could well be just a journalist’s guess.
It seems clear though that 2013 is the year Tumblr will have to earn money. An objective of $100 million seems very high. Let’s see what they come up with.
Larry Page in an interview for Fortune about self-driving cars:
If we have automated cars, or even if we have some fraction of automated cars, we’ll save hundreds of millions of dollars on parking, just at Google. When you think about your experience, the car can drop you at the front door to the building you work at and then it goes and parks itself. Whenever you need it, your phone notices that you’re walking out of the building, and your car’s there immediately by the time you get downstairs.
That’s a fantastic vision for the future. I wonder though if Google will succeed in licensing its technology, if ever self-driving cars become widespread, or if other organisations will develop their own competing technologies. Is Audi going to create self-driving A6s itself or license the technology from Google ? If it’s the latter, imagine how prominent Google will become if they get licensing fees on each car manufactured.
Will we see self-driving public buses? Will truck drivers be replaced by self-driving trucks?
Or even cabs? Just imagine streets filled with yellow self-driving cabs, just take your smartphone out, hail one with an app. The closest free one stops near you, hop in, enter your address or even say it out loud. Sit back, you’re going home.
Not only was I tasked by Scott Forstall with building a browser and building a team to build that browser, I had to keep the whole damn project a secret. Which, by the way, really complicated the shit out of hiring most of the original team since I couldn’t tell them what they were working on until they took the job.
Don Melton then explains how secret the actual development had to be kept. I don’t want to spoil it for you. It’s a good story though. It’s about the stress and hacks teams have to go through when building a secret product, here it’s at Apple, but it may be at any other company. A piece of history.
You can now read comfortably garytouet.com on your smartphone or tablet. I’ve made a couple of changes so the design adapts to the size of your device. It should make it easier for you to read: no need to zoom, no horizontal scrolling.
I have not been able to test the site on many devices. Please let me know if you spot any bug or if you encounter any issue, I’ll do my best to fix it.
You can reach me on twitter if necessary. I hope you’ll enjoy the improvement.
indie band the shout out louds have released their latest single in a very limited edition 7-inch record that plays on ice. ‘blue ice’ is the first piece of music
the group has released for the past three years and is the first single off the band’s upcoming, as-yet-untitled, full-length album.
the unique frosty vinyl was created in collaboration with ad agency TBWA stockholm, and through experimentation, was created using distilled water to avoid bubbles in the tracks. the records can be spun on a regular turntable and rapidly diminish in quality once the melting process begins,
so a specialized silicone cast allowed for quick removal out of the freezer and instant tunes and be heard.
Useless, but cool. Efficient though to get coverage from blogs, many tweets and to spread the word about the album coming out.
What was the most-Instagrammed place in the world this past year? The answer may surprise you.
I never would have guessed the first two places. The Eiffel Tower comes at the eighth place, the single European location and the second touristic place after Time Square.
The rest isn’t original: 6 locations from California, US.
I wrote a short article when I bought Breaktime.app last January. My hope was to use it to organise small breaks while working on the computer.
A couple of months before I had been prescribed another pair of glasses with stronger correction. As much as I could, I wanted to limit further decline. I then researched and found the 20-20-20 advice: while working/reading something close to your eyes, take breaks each 20 minutes for 20 seconds and look at an object at least 20 meters away to relieve your eyes.
A year and a half of practice later, I had the pleasure to learn from my ophthalmologist this morning that my eyesight has stayed the same (even though the past months have been hard on my eyes: writing my thesis, preparing my finals).
I’m not sure if the stagnation is attributable solely to these breaks, but I am convinced it makes a difference. I’m happy with the result and I will continue.
Daniel Terdiman for CNET took Square Wallet for a test. If you’re not familiar with the service and the revolution it brings to payments, it is worth reading.
What struck me though was Daniel’s experience with a merchant that accepted to pay with Square even though he was still using the classic point of sale system. Daniel’s remark is pretty interesting:
In some ways, this was a more interesting scenario because it demonstrated how much merchants want to be part of the Square universe, even when they aren’t ready to ditch their traditional registers. Being in the Square directory means people like me will find merchants like Cafe Venue, even if actually paying there means a slightly more cumbersome process for the cashiers.
This is telling and pretty cool for Square to know. Its expansion depends on both the customers’ and merchants’ adoption. If the laters find commercial benefits in accepting Square, they will and it will drive Square’s exposure to more customers.
I am yet to read such articles about Square competitors though.
I must say the Surface is the tablet I’ve read the most about after the iPad. I’m intrigued by the device and the OS. The tablet seems to be good in quality and I’d like to try Windows 8.
I started this article with the firm intention to highlight key points in the reviews I’ve read today of what’s to love and what’s to hate about the Surface. Unfortunately, I was left with an unbalanced list, not to the Surface’s advantage.
From what I’ve read the best thing the Surface seems to provide is good battery life, which lives up to the iPad’s, and a good-quality feeling once in your hands. Unfortunately, the rest does not. The 16:9 form factor seems awkward to use as a tablet (very large or too tall) and cumbersome to use as a laptop (unusable on your lap).
Windows RT has a lot of downsides. Microsoft made sure you could use the classic desktop environment but only for 5 apps (IE, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) and it’s impossible to install any other app. What’s the point apart from confusion? Of course, you can install apps from Microsoft’s store, but the selection is poor and many don’t run smoothly.
The type cover, which seems to be the main selling point (see the TV ad), is clumsy.
I won’t rehash everything, but I encourage you to read The Verge’s and Gizmodo’s reviews, even only to watch their videos. They are telling.
I’m not sure why I was expecting so much from the Surface, maybe I wanted Microsoft to come up with something exciting. Sure, I haven’t used one yet, but I don’t feel in a hurry anymore.
Dorsey, the company’s co-founder and CEO, says there were a number of reasons to make Canada Square’s first foray outside the United States, including relationships with banking partners that made it easier to get up and running here quickly.
In light of this, it definitely makes more sense than to enter the UK (bad guess). I still think it would be the easiest market to enter in Europe though, but I don’t know how compliant the banks would be there.
Anyway, it’s pretty cool to see that the first language supported by Square other than English is French.
Let me reiterate: I, an individual with no previous worldwide recognition save for a frontpage Reddit post, managed to alter the behavior of people in Russia, Japan, Uzbekistan, and Italy within the course of 24 hours, all from the comfort of my home while exerting next to no effort.
This guy took several hours during his weekend to fake a leaked photo of a Sony smartphone. It got picked up by roughly 1,000 websites, some were suspicious, some were not.
He explains the hoax and his motivations in the linked article.
Utterly entertaining story for a quiet Saturday evening.
The Wall Street Journal:
“The iPhone 5 is the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled. To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated,” said an official at the company who declined to be named. “It takes time to learn how to make this new device. Practice makes perfect. Our productivity has been improving day by day.”
He admitted that the conflict between assembly line workers and quality inspectors at its Zhengzhou site last month was partly due to the metal casing and other “quality issues,” but he didn’t elaborate.
It surely is disappointing to take your iPhone 5 out of the box and observe scratches and dents. It should never happen, especially for such an expensive device.
However, this article and others have hurt my sensitivity. It’s hard not to feel like a douche when complaining while Foxconn workers are hard at work in horrible conditions. I think I’ll be fine with a little dent.
Saturday Night Live nailed this point in their video.
“I’m ashamed of it,” said Ms. Crosby, a Los Angeles sales representative who said she had stopped pulling out her BlackBerry at cocktail parties and conferences. In meetings, she says she hides her BlackBerry beneath her iPad for fear clients will see it and judge her.
This paragraph is hilarious. It’s fascinating to see how a phone formerly used by business people and loved by aspiring business people is now old-fashioned.
On another level, it’s sad to see RIM doing poorly. As the NY Times reports:
The company’s future all depends on a much-delayed new phone coming next year; meanwhile RIM recorded a net loss of $753 million in the first half of the year compared with a profit of more than $1 billion a year earlier.
Around me it seems there isn’t many Blackberry fans left.
The NY Times:
Square, the popular mobile payments company, has proved just how important designers are by making a surprising acquisition. It announced Monday that it has bought a New York design firm, 80/20, which specializes in user interface design, or designing the parts of apps, Web sites and devices that people touch and maneuver.
It sounds quite bold to acquire a design studio. Obviously this is a talent acquisition and Square made what it had to to secure such talents.
Now, the other interesting part is that the studio will remain in its current office, which will become the New York headquarters for Square. It makes sense to be in New York with the number of potential customers and partners. I wonder though if this has anything to do with the rollout in New York cabs. Is the team going to work on improvements? A new project? Hopefully we’ll know soon.
The acquisition has certainly been made easier by the recent round of investments Square closed. Likely, part of the goal to raise more money was to make such a buy.