Internet slap fight!

As my response to your post would be too long to jam into a Facebook comment field, I’ve set up a discussion page on my website where we can argue and shake our fists at each other to our hearts’ content. Note that the comments are open, meaning anyone is free to join in on the discussion. All I ask is that anyone commenting keeps it civil. Now that that’s out of the way…

I have to say, I really enjoy when people offer up sources to back up their claims without actually having read them. The NYT link you posted did not say that Apple was the (and here I quote you) “#1 technology corporation in the world.” It didn’t come close to verifying your claim. All it said was that Apple has the highest market capitalization of any technology corp in the world. There is a significant difference.

First, a little background. I’ll quote’s definition of market capitalization:

The total dollar market value of all of a company’s outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying a company’s shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determining a company’s size, as opposed to sales or total asset figures.

Investopedia is owned by Forbes, so I’m thinking that they can be taken as a trusted authority on this particular definition. Should you have any doubts as to its veracity, a quick search on Google (or whatever Safari uses as it’s default search engine) will confirm this.

Now take a look at that definition. That’s what NYT is saying that Apple is number one at. From an investor point of view, you’re gonna love Apple because it’s likely to make you a boatload of cash. If you’re a stockholder, I’m guessing you’re not too unhappy either, seeing as how you’re likely to already have a boatload of cash. These facts, however nice, are not really the main thrust of our discussion. You’re linking a “#1 technology corporation” status with unbeatable quality, which is patently false. Let me demonstrate for you how this is the case:

Let’s compare mp3 players: Apple’s iPod vs. Microsoft’s Zune. The company that Apple pushed into the number two slot was Microsoft. So previous to this article, Microsoft was the “#1 technology corporation in the world.” Using the same logic you applied to Apple’s gaining of this status, that means that the Zune mp3 players were the greatest mp3 players to (and here I quote you again) “ever grace the existance [sic] of this planet?” Hardly. Now you may find this difficult to believe given our current discussion along with our previous tech talks, but in my opinion the iPod Touch beats the Zune hands down in terms of usability and quality. I’ve never been a fan of the old style click-wheel navigation on the iPod Classics, and I also believe that any mp3 player without a screen is just a hopped up USB drive with a headphone jack, but the iPod Touch suffers from none of those limitations. It is definitely a better player than the Zune… if we apply reason and objectivity to it. If we apply the metric of made by the company with a higher market cap, well, in that case the Zune was the clear winner when Microsoft had the higher market cap. It should be plain how this is ridiculous.

I’d also like to point out that the very same article that you posted as proof of your claim goes on to list a few metrics in which Apple is decidedly not the #1 tech corp. I shall enumerate them here in a handy list form:

  1. Revenue: MSFT $58.4 vs AAPL $42.9 (billions)
  2. Net income: MSFT $14.6 vs AAPL $5.7 (billions)
  3. Cash and short-term investments: MSFT $39.7 vs AAPL $23.1
  4. The article also mentions that Google is ahead of Apple in internet connected televisions. Isn’t Apple currently competing in this market with the Apple TV? Looks like they’re not the only game in town anymore, now that Google has announced their new (and hilariously named) Google TV project.

Now all of the above? Lets just put it aside for now. Why? Because none of it makes a good goddamn difference as the the quality of the product or its relative success in the market. None of that financial tomfoolery makes one bit of difference to the smartphone buying public. Does Joe Shmoe care that Apple’s market cap is number one? Hell no. What he cares about is whether the iPhone does what he wants and is easy for him to use. All of these numbers would make his eyes glaze over because they simply do not matter to him. So yes, iPhones are quite popular, but as this Ars Technica article points out, per the NPD Group Android has a greater market share of smartphones as of the 1st quarter of this year (28% vs 21%) in the US.

As an aside, note the third paragraph of that article. Russell, one of your earlier comments indicated how you disliked the closed ecosystem of the iPhone. That third paragraph shows what having an open ecosystem can do for you. Since you seem to be an advocate of freedom with your hardware and software, I’d recommend you check out the open source software movement. They’ve got open, freely available, and freely modifiable software for just about any purpose. Hit me up for more info if you’re interested.

Now, I’d like you all to note the last paragraph of that article as well. This number one nonsense seems to be something that only Apple fans are worried about. Steve Jobs probably doesn’t give a rats ass if he’s first or fortieth, just so long as he has enough money coming in for him to swim in Uncle Scrooge style. I don’t blame him one bit. Were I him, I’d do the same.

If we take a look at another Ars Technica article, this one summarizing a Gartner report, we can see a year over year comparison of the worldwide smartphone market. Note that both the iPhone and Android are in 3rd and 4th place, respectively. What’s interesting here is that the number one and two guys are slowly losing ground to the iPhone/Android juggernaut. They have a significant lead, but it’s likely to shrink over time. What’s even more interesting is the rate of growth of our platforms of interest. The iPhone grew year over year by 112.2%. That’s a pretty nice growth rate, one that most companies would kill for. The Android however grew year over year by 806.3%.

To quote NBA Jam: “BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!”

Yeah, that’s a lot. Now I’m no consumer electronics analyst, but I’m thinking if the Android OS sucked so bad, it probably wouldn’t be experiencing such a massive growth rate. Android is just now entering it’s second generation of phones and Apple is entering what, it’s fourth generation? That’s saying something right there.

And things are going to get even more interesting now. With both Google and Apple expanding into the tablet space (hey Microsoft, where’s your Surface project we keep hearing about?), it looks to be a pretty exciting time to be a mobile computing enthusiast. There’s no telling where things will end up, and frankly, all this competition is a good thing. I’m not a big fan of Macs because the Mac OS has several behaviors that just annoy me. I also enjoy being able to tinker with my computer and not be restricted in my hardware choices, but I love the fact that Apple is no longer at death’s door. It keeps Microsoft on their toes! Do you think that without the growing user base of open source Linux based operating systems stealing away the geekier Windows users and OS X stealing away the users on the opposite end of the spectrum that we would have ever gotten an OS like Windows 7? Easily their best release since freaking Windows 3.11 and the only reason it exists is due to competition in the market. Hell, this is something even Microsoft tacitly acknowledges. Back in 1996, they invested $150 million in Apple at a time when the company really needed it. (If I’m not mistaken, this is also mentioned in your NYT article.) Do I like the iPhone? Nope. It’s not for me for several reasons. Do I hate it? Nope. It keeps the pressure on Google to keep delivering with Android.

At this juncture, I’d like to make mention of a couple of things. Andrew, while I totally understand your dedication towards your iPhone and towards Apple in general, you do yourself a disservice when you make blatantly false statements and engage in ad hominem attacks. Let me explain. You said “did you like how they diagnosed the problem in an instant, and actually solved it so the conference could continue smoothly.” This was proved false by Russell’s link and various reports across the internet of Steve Jobs asking everyone in the audience to get off wifi so he could use it for the presentation. This doesn’t really help your case any.

As far as the ad hominem argument goes, let’s first define that (from Wikipedia):

An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), is an attempt to persuade which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.

Now you many not like Wikipedia as a source, but look at their page for ad hominem and you’ll see they get their definition from West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. I’m gonna go ahead and say that it’s probably a valid definition. When Russ refuted your statement of instantaneous resolution of the network issue during the presentation, rather than respond to his argument, you attacked him and his character. This is not how one wins a debate, sir! You’ve accomplished nothing by calling him a iPoopyhead because he presented an argument you were unable or unwilling to counter rationally. As I stated earlier, by engaging in these sorts of actions you are doing yourself a disservice and you are undermining your own position. You’re a smart guy Andrew, I expect better of you, especially on a topic you feel strongly about! You’re certainly more than capable of reasoned, intellectual debate and I hope that going forward you will engage in such.

So there. That’s my reply to your NYT link specifically and the discussion thus far in general. As Chris said while I was writing this, I am badly in need of a girlfriend. :*(

Comments are open! I encourage one and all to join the debate! I haven’t had a rousing debate in I don’t know how long.


Fun fact: According to WordPress’ word count, this article is 1750 words long.

One Response to “Internet slap fight!”

  1. Daljit of NORN Says:

    A quick note: I added a few sentences in the paragraph after the financial list that I accidentally left out when I first posted this. Hopefully I added it in before anyone read it, but if not, go back and check out that paragraph again.

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