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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Battle of the buzzwords: Apple vs. Microsoft

Apple's Schiller and Microsot's Turner. Photos: Apple, Microsoft[Originally posted Sept. 20, 2009 at]

Apple (AAPL) is awesome. Microsoft (MSFT) is muscular. Apple execs speaks in adjectives; Microsoft's in gerunds. Cupertino wants to show us how cool its products are, and how easy-to-use. Redmond wants us to know how hard it's going to compete to grow its market share.

That's the take-away message from the pair of videos pasted below the fold.

The first -- Apple's Sept. 9 "It's only rock and roll" presentation boiled down to just the adjectives -- has been viewed nearly half a million times since it was posted last week by justanotherguy84.

The second -- which we put together Sunday morning at the suggestion of TechFlash's Todd Bishop -- is Microsoft COO Kevin Turner's July presentation to analysts boiled down to just the buzzwords. Turner is, as Bishop promised, a modern master of techno-business jargon.

Let's go to the videos. Each is less than two minutes long.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Microsoft's grinning robots

Charlie Brooker. Photo: The Guardian.[Originally posted Sept. 28, 2009 at]

One of the disadvantages of reading American newspapers is that you don't get Charlie Brooker delivered to your doorstep.

Brooker is a British comedian and, as everyone who reads The Guardian knows, the author of the Screen Burn column that appears in G2 every Monday.

He's also Britain's funniest and most enthusiastic Apple (AAPL) basher -- an honorific he secured with a Feb. 5, 2007 column that included this classic paragraph:
"I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don't use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui." (link)
Now, in Monday's Guardian, he offers a sort of bookend to that 2007 column -- a companion piece in which he reveals his true feelings about Microsoft (MSFT) Windows. He still hates Macs and Mac users, but it's not as if thinks Windows is so great. In fact, he writes:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apple's tablet stoppeth one of five

Rendering: Piper Jaffray[Originally posted Sept. 23, 2009 on]

Coleridge's Ancient Mariner had nothing on Apple's (AAPL) much-rumored tablet.

Without even a prototype -- like Microsoft's (MSFT) -- to look at, 21% of 3,100 respondents in a RBC Capital/ChangeWave survey said they'd be interested in buying an Apple tablet computer in the $500 to $700 price range. That's better than the 9% who said they would be interested in buying the original iPhone in an April 2007 survey -- after Steve Jobs had unveiled it, but before it had been released.

"The promising early interest illustrates the market opportunity for a Mac-based Tablet," writes RBC analyst Mike Abramsky in a Wednesday morning note to clients.

Among the other findings in the survey:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boiling Apple down to its adjectives

Steve Jobs. Photo: Apple Inc. [Originally posted Sept. 15, 2009 on]

Last week we counted how many times Apple (AAPL) marketing chief Phil Schiller used the words "amazing" and "incredible" in his presentation at the "It's only rock and roll event." (Answer: an incredible 15 times each.)

Now someone who calls himself justanotherguy84 has taken the exercise one step further. He (or possibly she) has posted a 2-minute YouTube video of the entire Sept. 9 event stripped of just about everything but the adjectives.

Ever wonder how Steve Jobs and company leave the indelible impression that Apple's products are really great, really easy and just plain awesome?

Check it out below the fold.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Apple's amazing, incredible Phil Schiller

Phil Schiller. Photo: Apple Inc.[Originally posted Sept. 12, 2009 at]

The day after Apple's (AAPL) "It's only rock and roll" event, Erik Sherman asked on CBS's BNET why the media missed the strategic importance of the gaming announcements that were made that day.

He has a point. Apple spent nearly a third of the hour-plus long presentation talking about the iPod touch -- the "funnest iPod ever" -- and how it stacks up against handheld game machines made by the likes of Sony (SNE) and Nintendo.

Yet the attention of the press seemed to be on everything else: the return of Steve Jobs, the video camera on the iPod nano, the camera missing from the iPod touch.

I went back and reviewed the podcast video of the event and I think I've found the reason: Phil Schiller.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why are there no Mac viruses?

[Originally posted Sept. 2, 2009 on]

There are, as far as we know, no Mac OS X viruses in the wild.

To prove that assertion wrong, you only have to name one.

Academic proofs of concept and theoretical vulnerabilities don't count. Neither do computer worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, spam or any of the other nasty species in the zoology of malware.

That eliminates Inqtana-A, iBotNet, MacSweeper and a handful of other examples of Mac malware usually trotted out at this point by PC apologists. Nor can you count the 10-second Zero Day Pwn2Own Safari exploit that got so much press attention last March. None of these, strictly speaking, were viruses.

The issue comes up anew because Apple's (AAPL) latest Get a Mac ads are once again hammering Microsoft (MSFT) for those "thousands of viruses" to which its operating systems and application suites are heir. And that, in turn, has led to a resurgence of comments in this space to the effect that a) Macs are just as vulnerable as Windows machines and b) the only thing that protects them is their miniscule market share.

Those ideas, while widely promulgated on the Web, are wrong. The fact that Mac OS X represents less than 4% of the worldwide installed base of computers might explain why there are fewer Mac viruses. But it wouldn't explain why there are none.

So what's the answer?

First, let's define some terms.