Particle Debris (Week ending Nov 14)

| Particle Debris

Recently, Robert X. Cringely at PBS theorized about the departure of Tony Fadell from Apple. That was based on personality issues and the possible arrival of Mark Papermaster. However, John Gruber has possibly shed more light on the whole affair with how he heard a story that Mr. Fadell was against the use Mac OS X in the iPhone while Bertrand Serlet and Scott Forstall were in favor. It's an intriguing prospect.

It's the kind of thing that sounds good to me, even if it's not confirmed. Scott Forstall's fortunes are rising. Mr. Serlet is the current father of Mac OS X. A possibly limited vision by Mr Fadell, an iPod that makes phone calls, instead of a new platform with the App Store, almost eclipsing the ability to play music, could have been an alluring judgment call.

Further, it's not unrealistic to surmise that a time will come when the dedicated iPod as a music player will become a thing of the past as Apple transitions to the iPod touch, the iPhone, mayhap an iPhone nano, and even more capable mobile devices. When I look at the diversion into a boxy iPod nano 3G and then back to the slimmer profile 4G, despite Mr. Jobs' explanations, I wonder if some of the vision and momentum for the dedicated music player had stalled. And so Mr. Fadell had to go. It's all just speculation and a soap opera at this point, but examination by all these astute sources starts to shed some light on things.

On Tuesday, Fortune published a really good background story on Apple's COO Tim Cook: "The Genius Behind Steve." If you're eager to get a feel for the operating style and personality of Mr. Cook, this is the best article I've seen to date.

On Friday, I wrote an editorial about operating systems. I didn't want it to get too long, so I didn't reference this piece by Frank Fox. Basically, what Mr. Fox said is that while Windows 7 won't be remarkably different from Vista, it does give Microsoft a chance to start over. There will be new, more uniform and less controversial system requirements, better hardware, smoother UI, and a more recognizable brand name. It may not be the whole answer, but given Microsoft's constraints, it's a start.

On Thursday, Chris Seibold made an interesting point. Mr. Steve Ballmer appears to say dumb things, but they're only dumb from an outsider's perspective, even more so for Macintosh customers. What Mr. Baller says is always in the context of the Microsoft customer's realm and perspective.
As a result, when Mr. Ballmer says, regarding Android, "I don't really understand their strategy...," it's not because he doesn't understand it. Rather, it's because he knows well how to pose his argument within the context of the Microsoft customer. And sow some FUD. Of course, one can also conclude that's he's running scared, but most executives in his position would be.

The difference with Mr. Steve Jobs is that his genius is the ability to couch his own assertions in a more intelligent, acerbic, humorous way without looking like an idiot -- and still get his marketing message across. With a smile. It's like the difference between John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush.

In my editorial, I also elected not to reference an interesting piece by Don Reisinger who affirmed that marketing efforts and their effects on journalists can dictate the attitudes, if not the fate, of an operating system. It's also all about how the personality of the respective CEOs can sway the public on some very technical products. It's a good companion piece to Mr. Seibold's.

We don't often have much visibility into the Microsoft empire, but if there's one person who is ultimately responsible for Windows, it's not Steve Ballmer, the CEO, rather, it's Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group. Looks to me like this guy is the equivalent of Apple's VP Bertrand Serlet. I read that he replaced Jim Allchin last year.

Have a great weekend!







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