Particle Debris from the Week of April 21

/> On Monday, I saw that another house had burned down thanks to a faulty power supply in an Xbox 360. "The console owner's house has been reduced to a near shack-like state following the fire," a local TV station reported. It's sad, and it's not the first time this has happened. Fortunately, the owner wasn't home this time.

Also on Monday, Eli Hoffmann asked if Dell is "Dead Money" at this point. He cited several reasons why buying the stock at this time is a bad idea. In Wednesday's earnings report, Apple COO Tim Cook mentioned that Apple has now surpassed Dell in notebook sales to education if I heard him correctly. Whatcha Gonna Do, Dell? Lower prices? Push Vista?

Years from now, people will ask why, if we saw it all coming, why we weren't more definitive about the expected fate of Microsoft. There is very little evidence that Microsoft can change its fate and Windows is just too bloated to fix. Apple is coming on strong enough that, while it won't surpass Microsoft for a while, it's time someone said it. Every indication is that, at some point in the future, Apple will become a larger, wealthier company than Microsoft. There. Done.

On Wednesday, Apple published its earnings results and conducted the customary analyst call in. One analyst asked if Apple will continue selling the current model once the iPhone 3G ships. Tim Cook laughed and countered that Apple doesn't comment on new products. But wait! Both AT&T's Randall Stephenson and Apple's Steve Jobs have already announced the iPhone 3G! Mr. Stephenson announced in November 2007 at the Churchill Club in Santa Clara when he said, "You'll have it next year." Mr. Jobs announced the product wen he was in London in September for the O2 launch, and explained in detail why Apple couldn't deliver it earlier. So I would have expected the analyst to counter, "Oh, but Mr. Cook, the product has been announced. We're just asking for whether the old one will be discontinued."

Or something like that.

What's in store for smartphone customers, in addition to merely paying for goods with an encrypted data blast tied to their credit cards, was discussed by Steve Smith on Thursday. Bar codes as coupons on the smartphone display are just the beginning. Just wait until your local grocery store realizes you shop at Kroger every Thursday night and starts to send coupons and offers. Jim Cramer added color when he pointed out that the iPhone is now a fashion accessory for teenage girls.
I thought that was a great video by Mr. Cramer and showed signs of things to come.

You heard it before. A company claims they're growing faster than the competition. That, of course, means they're smaller than the competition. Every math major knows that. At Seattle pi, a Microsoft blogger took pains to reminds us of that with a nice set of charts showing Apple's growth. The glass half empty people see the PC dominance lasting forever. The glass half full people see trends. What ever camp you're in, the charts are a handy reference for historians. Personally, I tend to put more weight on trends than I do the current status quo.

Finally, I saw an article at Seeking Alpha about how, coincidentally, Motorola's loss was almost exactly the same as Apple's financial gain in the mobile phone market. I'm always dubious about drawing strong, technical conclusions when I see that kind of accidental relationship. Even so, one has the gut feeling that there is a relationship. I remember watching Sydney Bristow on Alias pull out her black RAZR in 2004, and it was sooo cool. Now, it's Dr. Amita Ramajuan on Numb3rs with her iPhone. My how quickly Motorola succumbed to Apple.

Who will be next?