Silly Ballmer….(updated)

Apparently Microsoft’s strategy to return to their former profitability after their last horrendous results will be–are you ready for this– to increase the price of computers. No, I really am not making this up!

But I shouldn’t really have been surprised by this turn of events, here’s what I said back on March 29 in my post about the Windows adverts:

“In anycase, Microsoft has been too clever by half, as the saying goes. This is same race to the bottom that ends with a $199 netbook running either linux, or a version of windows that is priced so low there’s not much profit there.” *

Steve Ballmer could have just read my blog, and not paid all of his marketing whiz kids anything.

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Silly Ballmer….(updated)

Can we start the class war yet? (Windows advert edition)

There’s a lot more than meets the eye in the latest Windows advert. It hits a sweet spot, as everyone is looking for more for less, and is generally against bloat, excess and spending money on things that are over-priced. (Remember the AIG bonuses–just another sign of the times.)

So my take on this is that it’s the beginning of the end of a MacIntosh being cool just for being well-designed. Today not only do things have to be well-designed, but they also have to be good, too. Asking for too much money isn’t good any more. Apple will have to either come out with a less expensive Mac (this is over due anyway) or think of another new spin on things. That won’t work, though. It’s time for Apple to compete in the netbook arena, for example.

How Microsoft put Apple owners on the defensive

Her name is “Lauren” and she’s making the Apple (AAPL) guys nuts.

She’s the young, hip, Volkswagen-driving redhead who stars in the latest Microsoft’s (MSFT) TV campaign. Told that if she can find a 17-inch laptop for under $1,000 she can keep it, Lauren ends up — to the Mac aficionados’ dismay — with an HP (HPQ) running Windows Vista.

“I would have to double my budget, which isn’t feasible,” Lauren says as she drives away from an Apple Store, where 17-inch notebooks start at $2,799. Then she sighs and delivers the ad’s coup de grace: “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.”

Gotta love the directness of the attack:

In anycase, Microsoft has been too clever by half, as the saying goes. This is same race to the bottom that ends with a $199 netbook running either linux, or a version of windows that is priced so low there’s not much profit there.

Can we start the class war yet? (Windows advert edition)

Tipping point reached

As a follow-up to my post “The tipping Point” from 07 December 2007, it seems that several other sources have come to the same conclusion I had: that the eeePC represents a tipping point.

First, there is LinuxFormat magazine, from the U.K., in its edition no. 106 for May 2008. (Still not available in all US newstands. It also has an article that I am very interested in, about sustainable aspects of free software, which I’ll just have to wait for. Also note that back issues of Linuxformat are available as .pdfs here):

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Tipping point reached

A cool device from H-P

Another device that’s similar to the ASUS eeepc: It’s small, light weight and is available with Linux pre-installed:

HP releases its first Linux-powered laptop
Apr. 09, 2008

At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit at the University of Texas Supercomputing Center April 8, Hewlett-Packard announced the release of its first Linux-powered computer to be sold in the United States, the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC running Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Service Pack 1.

HP was expected to offer a Linux desktop, and now it has finally done so. It’s not, however, the Linux desktop that many users expected. Instead of being a general-purpose consumer system or business PC, the Mini-Note is meant for the education market.

Chris Sieger, director of IT Services for Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia, said in a statement, “HP listened to our needs and now is delivering a product designed by education for education.”

So now Dell and Lenovo are probably the two largest hold-outs from the UMPC market. But, the Dell machine has been leaked, and I doubt Lenovo will hold out for long. Why would they?

And, in a related development, a report that talks about why light devices optimized for Web 2.0 run Linux, not Vista. It seems Microsoft did not anticipate Web 2.0 when they designed Vista:

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A cool device from H-P

The eeePC is irrelevant…and it can disappear (into my briefcase)

Now there’s so much competition that even if the eeePC were withdrawn, or if Asus lost their lawsuit against IBM, the momentum of this new market segment would continue without it. Let’s all do remember too that it was the OLPC that started it all. A whole new market segment initiated by a not-for-profit. Part of the trend of the expansion of the not for profit sector.

Of course, the incumbents are trying to shut the barn door long after the horse has left. Here’s one Sony exec.:

If [Asus’ Eee PC] starts to do well, we are all in trouble,” Mike Abary, a senior VP with Sony US’ IT products operation, told Cnet. That’s just a race to the bottom… if mainstream buyers buy it then whoa…” (Found here)

“IF???” Yeah, right Mike, so what planet do you live on? The eeePC has sold more than 400,000 units, and it can’t be kept on shelves. So I don’t see any justification for the “if”. No wonder Sony is in the pickle it’s in.

Sounds like a game consolebut not one that Sony makes. Like the wii, the eeePC is priced below the competition, it is cool, and it fits into the man maximum/machine minimum trend that’s been going on for the last few years. The eeePC does this by being small and unobtrusive. I can throw it in my briefcase and hardly even know it’s there. Try that with a laptop. Less is more.

This form factor is also inherently much more sustainable than a large format laptop–it uses less power, less materials and is going to be easier to recycle. Of course, each manufacturer needs to do the right thing and get their components from green suppliers, using lead free circuit boards and batteries that don’t contain mercury. But being green is always easier when you’re not so big.

But, look at all the great competition there is! What a glorious race to the bottom!

(They are in the order of e_f’s perception of coolness…)

Continue reading “The eeePC is irrelevant…and it can disappear (into my briefcase)”

The eeePC is irrelevant…and it can disappear (into my briefcase)

The tipping point…

The OLPC has succeeded, far beyond what I had expected. What has made it very clear that it has succeeded is the competition that the OLPC has created.

The most interesting competition comes from ASUS’s fabulous little subnotebook, the eeepc, which sells for as little as $299. (Thats right $299–I’m not missing a zero!) It’s the result of collaboration between Intel and ASUS. Despite having a rather weird acronym, it is the tech geek toy and it is also a mass market phenomena. It is the future of mobile computing, and ultimately the consumer desktop as well. It has already sold 350,000 units in its first five months, and ASUS expects to sell 3 to 5 million next year. And it ships with Linux (TM):

1907_l.jpg

Continue reading “The tipping point…”

The tipping point…