Apple needs to take action

Eric Jackson writes for Forbes about what he thinks Apple should do.

Apple needs to start picking off strategic assets as if their life depends on it, rather than continuing on with a plodding attitude that doesn’t match the speed of their competitive environment.

This just sounds like advice from someone who knows nothing about how Apple works. As John Gruber pointed out, Apple’s product strategy is a thousand no’s for every yes.

Apple acquires a company to integrate it into Apple, not acquire something for the sake of it. Just because Facebook is going around buying companies doesn’t mean that Apple should do the same.

The writer strongly believes that Apple needs to take action:

No longer. Apple needs to start playing offense.

It’s time for Apple to get aggressive.

But he fails to explain why. Because Facebook is doing so is a weak argument.

Again, he thinks that spending will make the company better but he doesn’t give an explanation:

The bottom line is I think Zuckerberg or Musk (or pick another young entrepreneur like a David Sacks) would have no hesitation to use Apple’s cash and stock to make it a much better company.

He suggests that Apple buy Tesla:

Well, they could pay $400/share to take out Tesla (TSLA) and make an audacious huge play for the Internet-connected car, as well as snagging Musk into the fold in one fell swoop.

Yes, but it seems that Apple has found a way to do that without having to spend $50 billion.

It is a little coincidental that Jackson suggested that Apple should be aggressive in acquiring services since “it would nice for iMessage not to go down” and a couple of days later WhatsApp was down.

The real impact of CarPlay

Macworld reports on the real impact of CarPlay—software.

Most people probably don’t ever think about the software in their car. And with good reason, too, since most automakers aren’t exactly consumed with a passion for developing software. Even in the cases where car companies do want to pimp the software features, the spotlight’s always going to be on the newest model—they don’t have too much interest in continuing to update the software on older models, especially when it comes to adding new features.

Sound familiar? Because to me it’s reminiscent of the state of the cell phone market prior to about, oh, 2007.

There is a difference between cars and mobile phones. Most people hardly change their cars so the adoption rate would be a lot slower.

BlackBerry CEO on T-Mobile’s campaign to convert BlackBerry users to iPhone

BlackBerry CEO John Chen responds to T-Mobile’s campaign.

Is T-Mobile wrong to offer a better alternative for its customers? Definitely not. T-Mobile should be applauded for putting their customers first and not be afraid of ruffling the feathers of phone makers. Perhaps if BlackBerry put out new products, T-Mobile might actually have something to offer existing BlackBerry users to upgrade to.

Here’s another perspective of how BlackBerry has fallen. WhatsApp started as an app that provided a cross-platform alternative to BlackBerry Messenger. It just sold for more than what BlackBerry is worth.

John Legere’s tweet speaks volumes of difference in how the two CEOs engage their customers:

Four numbers that explain why Facebook acquired WhatsApp

Sequoia Capital gives an insight on why Facebook bought WhatsApp.

Two numbers stand out for me.


WhatsApp has one focus: messaging.

This discipline is reflected in WhatsApp’s unconventional approach to business. After one year of free use, the service costs $1 per year — with no SMS charges. This can save users trapped in expensive data plans up to $150 per year.

And charges only $1 per year.

It’s easy to take this novel model for granted. When we first partnered with WhatsApp in January 2011, it had more than a dozen direct competitors, and all were supported by advertising. (In Botswana alone there were 16 social messaging apps). Jan and Brian ignored conventional wisdom. Rather than target users with ads — an approach they had grown to dislike during their time at Yahoo — they chose the opposite tack and charged a dollar for a product that is based on knowing as little about you as possible. WhatsApp does not collect personal information like your name, gender, address, or age. Registration is authenticated using a phone number, a significant innovation that eliminates the frustration of remembering a username and password. Once delivered, messages are deleted from WhatsApp’s servers.


Rather than invest in marketing, they let the service sell itself.

There may be no greater testament to the viral nature of WhatsApp than the fact that the company has accomplished all this without investing a penny in marketing. Unlike their smaller competitors, it hasn’t spent anything on user acquisition. The company doesn’t even employ a marketer or PR person. Yet like the world’s greatest brands, it’s created a strong emotional connection with consumers. All of WhatsApp’s growth has come from happy customers encouraging their friends to try the service.

I find their success through such a minimalist approach an inspiration.

Google Glass guidelines

For some reason, Google is compelled to post a guideline for Glass users.

It is interesting to note that Google has embraced the use of the term Glasshole:

Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.

As Gruber pointed out, it is a concern if Google has to tell users not to be a creep. Does it mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with the concept of Google Glass? Such as how it will infringe on privacy.

This feels like gun makers putting up a guideline for gun owners not to shoot innocent people. Except that gun makers don’t do that.

Samsung to implement fingerprint sensor in the upcoming Galaxy S5

SamMobile reports on the implementation of the fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy S5.

The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly. Also, you would need to keep your finger flat against the home key and swipe at a moderate speed or else it won’t recognise your fingerprint. The fingerprint sensor is sensitive to moisture, as well. So, don’t try to use it with wet fingers because it will, literally, give you an error and tell you to dry your fingers first.

Whatever happened to all that talk about Apple’s Touch ID being a gimmick?

Asus routers allow strangers to access your files

It’s 2014, so security issues are the norm rather than the exception, but the latest news that Asus left the door wide open on many of its routers is extremely disturbing.

The fact that anybody with your IP address will be able to login anonymously to your attached storage device is bad enough, it’s much worse that a list of almost 13,000 IP addresses of people who are using these vulnerable routers was published online. In simpler terms, that means your home address has been published online, and your front door isn’t locked.

Going through the file listings of other IP addresses I see insanely personal items like whole backups of laptops, family photos, porn collections, and tax documents. Anyone that has the list of IP addresses can potentially download any of those files. I wrote some python to walk through the list of IP addresses and check to see if logging in anonymously is still possible. I’m not bothering to look at anything just see if ftp.login() works and recording the statistics. The numbers are not reassuring. The code is also on pastebin for those who want to run it and help report the numbers.

So far the incidents that have surfaced due to this security issue haven’t been too serious, but it could be a lot worse if someone decided that it’d be a good idea to create a script to access the files of the affected users and delete all the files, or insert some sort of malware.

To make things worse, it took Asus a long time to finally release a patch. Patching the vulnerability is the first step, but the question is how many folks out there who own the affected routers are aware of the issue and know how to patch their routers?

Asus really botched this one badly.

HTC blames Nvidia for delay in One X update to Kitkat

Ars Technica reports on HTC blaming Nvidia for Kitkat update delays. This comes after HTC published a webpage last month to explain the delay in the update to Android 4.4.

Apparently, the outcry from One X owners was loud enough that HTC is “actively exploring” the possibility of a KitKat upgrade. Without support from Nvidia, though, the One X+ and international One X will remain stuck on Android 4.2. When asked why certain Tegra 3-based products like the 2012 Nexus 7 could support Android 4.4 but the One X+ couldn’t, the team blamed slight differences in the various Tegra 3 SoCs.

It’ll be interesting to see what Nvidia has to say about these “slight differences”.

Microsoft vs Microsoft

Ben Thompson writes about Microsoft’s business model.

Farhad Manjoo named Apple, Google and Amazon as companies that he recommend relying on because of their business models.

Microsoft’s chief spokesperson Frank X Shaw was annoyed by Microsoft’s omission from the recommendations:

And with a cross-platform connected ecosystem that spans the workplace to the living room featuring best in class products like Office, Skype and Xbox, we’re a pretty safe bet too.

Microsoft’s chief of marketing Tami Reller gave a very different insight as to how the company makes its decisions:

If that wasn’t clear enough, Reller pointed out that changes to Office’s platforms would be a business decision, not one based on customer requests.

“We come at it from that angle, which is ‘What businesses do we need to drive forward?,’” said Reller. “That’s how we will make the decision [to go cross-platform]. It really ends up being business by business, product by product. There’s no sweeping one decision.”

Ben concludes:

So to summarize, Office is not available everywhere, and probably won’t be anytime soon, because Microsoft has a devices business to prop up. Oh, and Microsoft’s business needs are a priority over user needs. Tell me, Frank, how is that a safe bet?

It might be too late to jump into the device business and the purchase of Nokia is a last-ditch attempt to turn things around. Meanwhile, Microsoft is losing ground in their services as mobile continues to grow rapidly.

Bringing Microsoft Office to iOS might stop the slide long enough for Microsoft to find its feet as a service and device company with its Nokia devices. Time is running out for Microsoft as consumers have already shifted to iOS solutions, Google Drive for iOS, and most recently Apple’s iWork for iOS.

Mozilla plans to sell ads in Firefox

John Gruber comments on Mozilla’s plan to sell ads in Firefox.

Now go to Mozilla’s own weblog, where they announced this with the headline “Publisher Transformation with Users at the Center”. What a pile of obtuse horseshit. If you want to sell ads, sell ads. Own it. Don’t try to coat it with a layer of frosting and tell me it’s a fucking cupcake.

I can’t agree more with what he said. Why would they want to avoid being upfront about it? Trying to spin it to make it sound user-centric just makes them look desperate to please their users.