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.

iOS dominates enterprise market in Q4 2013

MacRumors reports on the iOS domination of mobile device activations in Q4 2013.

73% of all enterprise mobile device activations:

iOS devices accounted for 73 percent of all enterprise mobile device activations and grabbed the top ten spots for most popular devices in the fourth quarter of 2013, reports Good Technology in its Mobility Index Report for Q4 2013.

50% of enterprise smartphone activations:

The device usage report from these enterprise users shows that the iPhone made up 54 percent of total device activations, while Android smartphones followed with just over 20 percent.

91% of enterprise tablet activations:

The iPad maintains a strong hold on tablet activations, claiming 91.4 percent of enterprise tablet activations in Q4 2013, while Android accounted for the remaining 8.6 percent. The iPad was most popular in Financial Services and in Business and Professional Services, with the two sectors accounting for 60 percent of all Q4 iPad activations.

And people still say that the iPad is a content consumption device and has no place in enterprise.

New Android OEM licensing terms leak shows how “open” Android is

Ars Technica reports on the leaked Android OEM licensing terms.

Companies are not allowed to fork Android:

The agreement places a company-wide ban on Android forks, saying OEMs are forbidden from taking “any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android” and specifically disallows distributing or encouraging a third party to distribute “a software development kit derived from Android.” Google has full control over the countries its apps are released in and distribution methods used to distribute the apps. This allows Google to restrict its apps to the Play Store and will keep them out of competing stores like Amazon and Samsung. Google also stipulates that the Google apps must be distributed free of charge, and they cannot be modified, reverse engineered, or used to make a derivative work, and ads are not allowed to be placed in, on, or around Google’s apps.

Google must be the default search engine:

Google also says “all other Google Applications will be placed no more than one level below the Phone Top”—meaning the app drawer is fine—and requires that Google be set as the default search engine for “all Web search access points on the Device.”

The irony:

We’ll close with the most ironic clause in the 13-page agreement: “Open Devices. The parties will create an open environment for the Devices by making all Android Products and Android Application Programming Interfaces available and open on the Devices and will take no action to limit or restrict the Android platform.”

Windows 8 sells 100 million fewer cpies than Windows 7 at 15 months

The Next Web reports on Windows 8 selling 100 million copies less than Windows 7 after 15 months from launch.

Windows 7 launched on October 22, 2009. In October 2010, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 240 million Windows 7 licenses in the operating system’s first year, and in January 2011 that number grew to 300 million at the 15-month mark.

Windows 8 launched on October 26, 2012. In February 2014, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 200 million Windows 8 licenses in the operating system’s 15 months. No matter how you slice it, that’s not good news for the company.

John Gruber nailed it with this comment:

Almost bad enough for the CEO to lose his job. Oh, wait.

He also astutely picked up on how both versions sold in similar quantities in the first six months

Apple and Samsung dominate mobile profits

Investors.com reported on the mobile market in Q4 of 2013.

Apple and Samsung continue to soak up all the industry’s profits, McCourt says. Apple claimed 87.4% of phone earnings before interest and taxes in the fourth quarter, he said. Samsung took in 32.2% of industry profits. Because their combined earnings were higher than the industry’s total earnings as a result of many vendors losing money in Q4, Apple and Samsung mathematically accounted for more than 100% of the industry’s earnings.

Based on the reported figures, Apple and Samsung took in about 120% of the profits. The competitors are making huge losses.

Apple passing Microsoft

Benedict Evans reports on how Apple sold more computers than Windows PC sold globablly in Q4 2013.

This is a pretty good illustration of the scale of mobile: Apple limits itself only to the high end of the mobile market but still sells more units than the whole PC industry.

It is also significant to note the shift towards mobile computing.

The iTunes empire

Horace Dediu writes on how big iTunes is.

On a yearly basis iTunes/Software/Services is nearly half of Google’s core business and growing slightly faster.

The iTunes “empire” of content and services would be ranked as number 130 in the Fortune 500 ranking of companies (slightly below Alcoa and above Eli Lilly).

How the value trap squeezes Windows PC makers’ revenues and profits

The Guardian discusses the impact of the value trap on Windows PC makers.

The problem for Windows PC makers is that they are caught in the “value trap”. Even as prices are being forced down by commoditisation and slumping demand, they have no obvious way to capture any of the money that a consumer who buys one of their products subsequently spends with it.

A comparison reveals the stark difference in profitability between Mac and Windows machines.

And how profitable are Macs on their own, even without that revenue stream? Apple doesn’t break out the figure for Mac profitability. But Horace Dediu of the Asymco consultancy reckons there’s a good-enough rule of thumb: assume that Macs have an 18.9% profit margin, which fits well enough with its historical operating margins.

That metric gives a hardware per-PC profit which has dropped from $241 to $232 – an erosion, certainly, but a margin that Windows PC makers would kill for: it’s more than 10 times greater than their per-PC profit.

LG and Sony are leaving the PC market. Acer might be the next in line if it does not turn its fortunes around.

Apple’s Tim Cook on the smartphone market

WSJ.com interviews Tim Cook and asked him about the smartphone market.

WSJ: Will the smartphone market follow the PC market, where Apple is a niche player?

Cook: I don’t view it that way. There are several reasons. If you look back at the Mac/Windows battle that was going on at the time, you’d find that one of the things that was the catalyst for separating Mac from Windows share was applications. There was a vast, vast difference in the number of applications that was available for the Macintosh than what was available on Windows. Over time, that gap grew and grew and grew. And in fact, the Mac began to lose some key applications. We have over a million apps on iOS. We have over half-million that have been optimized for iPad. That half-million compares to 1,000 for Android tablets. That’s one of the reasons, although not the only reason, why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy because the app is nothing more than a stretched out smartphone app.

It is the attention to details that make the iPad stand out.

Cook: The other thing is that Windows pretty much was one thing. Android is like Europe. Europe was a name that somebody came up with for Americans who didn’t understand that Europe was a lot of countries that weren’t like U.S. states. They were very different. Android is many things. How many people who use a Kindle know that they’re using Android? And you see what Samsung is doing by putting more and more software on top. I think it’s night and day. The compare is so off.

So, no, I don’t see it as same. And I’m not saying this just because I am at Apple because I do understand the PC world at that time because I was in it. It was totally different. If you really talk to the people who went through it and understood it at a deep level, I don’t think any of them would tell you it’s the same.

Sony revises its profit forecast to a $1.1 billion annual loss

WSJ.com reports on Sony’s forecast of $1.1 billion annual loss, down from its previous forecast of $300 million profit.

In an unexpected move, Sony also said it would split off its TV business and operate it as a subsidiary, similar to what it did with its mobile-phone and PlayStation videogame businesses. Sony said the move is aimed at accelerating decision making, while analysts speculated that it could leave open the option of selling the business in the future. For the full year, Sony now expects to record losses from the TV business totaling ¥25 billion—its 10th straight year in the red.

I think Sony plans to sell off its Vaio PC business to get out of having to compete in a shrinking market. It is a wise move ditch PC and focus on mobile devices in the post-PC era instead.