I’ll start this with a confession: I have written and discarded about a half-dozen posts on Bitcoin, but none of them ever seemed “right”. But something else caught my eye in the mean time: a piece on Ars Technica trying to sensationalize an EU investigation into Google’s practices with Android as an “attack on open source”. I’m not sure that the author actually understands antitrust law, even in a casual sense, nor do they seem to know what comprises a predatory practice.
I saw an interesting piece on Microsoft trying to woo Apple iOS developers over to Windows Phone. This got me thinking about developer platforms, and how some companies have limited themselves by limiting their development tools. The idea that I’ve been mulling for a while: if you want developers to build for your device, make your tools available to them on the platform they use. What does this mean? If you want iOS developers, you need to make sure your development system is available on OS X. It also applies in other directions.
I’ve been pondering Google and their Motorola Mobility division, and I wonder if Google has screwed this up. An article on Harvard Business Review puts forward some positions as to why it is a good deal. However, the article has one fallacy in it (that the mobile market is “hits based”. For feature phones it was. Smartphones are more like PCs, with invested content being a barrier to switching), and it overlooks the past year and recent Google product. Here’s my take on where things are right now.
There has been some kerfuffle over the past few days about the acquisition of Sparrow by Google. Sparrow is (was) an e-mail client for iOS and the Mac, and while I didn’t use it myself, I’ve heard good things from other people. Google bought the company specifically to get the Sparrow team and put them on GMail. It was an “acquihire” that occurs on a regular basis in the technology industry. A few people are fairly philosophical about it, but there are plenty that are upset in some way. It’s sad, really, to see people react (or over-react) to a company being bought and their product disappearing. Sure, we all go into a software or service purchase with some expectation (or hope) that the “thing” will stick around. But people who’ve been to this rodeo a few times know one thing: every business can either be bought or go under, no matter how successful it may be, how big or small the company is, or how great the product is. In fact, the smaller the company and the more successful the product, the more likely it will be bought by someone bigger.
I provided some comments to PC World about the Nexus 7. They appear in this article. This may be my shortest blog post ever :-).
Some writers have posited that the Nexus 7 is really meant to go head-to-head with the Kindle Fire, and not the iPad. When you look at the specs, and the positioning messages on the Nexus 7 web site, it might seem that way. The thing it, it assumes that Amazon is a “competitor” in the tablet market in the first place. I’m not convinced that Amazon really cares that the Nexus 7 is better than the Kindle Fire, because they aren’t in the hardware game, they are in the content game. A successful Nexus 7 helps Amazon as much (if not more) as it would Google.
Something occurred to me during an e-mail conversation with a member of the media: the Nexus 7 may just be a one-off device, and not a long-term play for Google. In some ways, it could be an attempt by Google to spur developers to build tablet apps (or make their apps more tablet-friendly), much like the first Nexus phones Google made available through their developer program. I’m not sure that the lack of inexpensive tablets is holding back app development, but this could be a possible motivation. Let’s consider the evidence, such as it is.