MacOS KenDensed: Amazon, Carrier IQ & the FBI

Ken Ray,Festivus KingAmazon is talking Kindle numbers, analysts are talking Mac sales numbers, Sharp isn’t worried about Apple television numbers, and the FBI has your number. If only Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray were a mathemetologist.

Light My Fire
This is one of those things for which Tiny Tim might have wished from the Grinch.

I may be confusing my stories.

The Mac Observer says Amazon is out with numbers for its Kindle eReaders… and they seem to have actual numbers tied to them.

It’s a Festivus miracle!

The numbers are a bit on the soft side, but there are actual numbers. According to the piece, the “seller-of-all” announced this week that it was selling more than a million Kindle devices each week over the last three weeks.

Now I’m no mathematologist, but that sounds to me like millions of Kindles. Officially. So, what are those? Kindle Touches? Kindle Fires? Kindle Kindles? It’s still Amazon they didn’t break the numbers out.

Though they did say the number of Fires sold is in the millions, that demand for the Fire has increased week to week, and they have listed the Fire as their top-selling product for the last several weeks.

Amazon gave something like actual numbers.

I may cry just a tiny bit.

Assuming the Fire is able to maintain its sales pace — not a guaranteed certainty but at least somewhat likely — it could help drive the iPad under 60 percent market share for tablets by this summer.

Electronista has market research firm IDC saying that Android, helped some by the Barnes & Noble nook Tablet and helped a lot by the Fire, could claim 40.33 percent of the tablet space by the middle of 2012, pushing the iPad’s share down to roughly 59 percent.

And yet no one at IDC sees any reason for Apple to worry, with analysts there pointing out that it still has the best collection of apps for tablets on the planet, and thinking that Apple might make a harder push for the iPad in business and education throughout 2012.

Mac Sales: Strong & Soft
Interesting numbers for Mac sales so far this quarter.

iPodNN has Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster looking at new numbers from NPD, and seeing sales for the Mac up 13 percent in the first two months of the quarter versus the same two months in 2010.

Where most of the PC-space is seeing sales declines that sounds pretty awesome. Thing is, though, this is Apple and 13 percent growth is not as awesome as analysts are expecting for the quarter.

Munster calls the numbers “soft,” pointing out that analysts are looking for growth of about 25 percent for this quarter, though there’s still time to make that happen. Last year, 48 percent of computer sales tracked by NPD in the December quarter happened in the month of December itself.

“Also,” writes Munster, “we believe international Mac sales are likely growing faster than domestic Mac units (and NPD does not track international Mac sales).”

So the numbers are soft but the quarter is long. And I’m gonna stop right there because otherwise it starts to sound… yeah…

Apple TV, Schmapple TV
Sharp has a message for the people of the planet: It doesn’t care about your imaginary Apple Television.

When asked about the possibility of such a thing coming to market in 2012, Cult of Mac has the Japanese TV and electronics maker saying, “It’s not something we’re studying very hard.”

Follow up question: Because you’re not afraid of it or because you know it’s going to eat you whether you study it or not?

Of course that question wasn’t asked, as far as we know. Still, the exec who seemed to shrug off the possibility, head of Sharp’s operations North and South America Kozo Takahashi, does have conditional praise for a Cupertino-TV set.

Referring to the part in the Steve Jobs biography where Jobs says he “finally cracked” the connected television, Takahashi says, “I really have no idea what kind of TV it will be … But if he came up with it, I’m sure it will be amazing.”

There is one other interesting bit about the comments. Cult of Mac reminds its readers of the rumors that Sharp has already started converting some of its production lines to produce TFT LCD Panels for Apple’s wonder-window. So maybe Sharp doesn’t worry about an Apple TV because Sharp will make money off of an Apple TV, even if it ends up losing TV sales of its own.

Playing the Android Numbers Game
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made a pretty bold statement last week. Speaking at Le Web conference in Paris, Schmidt told an attendee that six months from now developers will be developing for Android before they develop for iOS devices.

This belief may be supported by his other belief that more is automatically better.

According to AppleInsider, Schmidt said,

Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally. Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you’ll even deliver it first.

He’s a smart guy, but I have to wonder whether developers are driven by volume or by money, ‘cuz if they’re driven by money they’ll probably keep starting with iThings.

It’s interest piqued by Schmidt’s assertion, Flurry Analytics decided to look through its data and see who was pulling in how much from where.

Their finding: If you’ve got a top app on iOS and a corresponding Android version, your iOS app is making more money. Like for every dollar you make through the App Store, on Android you’re taking in 24-cents.

And despite the volume argument, in a year that has seen the Android operating system widen its lead on iOS, the piece says “Android’s share of new project starts has actually declined in 2011.”

Flurry — point blank — disputes Schmidt’s argument that more is automatically better, saying developer support actually seems to be driven by “the consumer’s ability to pay.”


“Within Apple’s ecosystem,” the piece explains, “iOS device users must associate a credit card or gift card with their iTunes accounts when setting up a device. Android, however, doesn’t have that requirement, resulting in less of its users being readily paying customers.”

Oh, but check back in six months.

Captain Wangtastic’s Crystal Ball
JT Wang: Purveyor of the futureIs it cool with you if I start calling Acer chairman JT Wang… Crazy JT Wang?

‘Cuz seriously dude might be a tiny bit touched.

Electronista has C-J-T saying this week that Apple will go away soon.

Well, they are building a spaceship.

Captain Wangtastic apparently told Digitimes that Apple as the only growth game in town will weaken in the next two years, and that Wintel architecture will once again become tech’s fastest grower.

In fairness, he’s not a moron. The exec says he expects ultrabooks to drop in price to around $700 in 2012, and that, he thinks, will lead to “surging growth” in Windows PCs.

Personally, I have a hard time saying “will” but I have no problem saying “could.”

So he’s not a moron, but he can sound crazy at times. Like the time about a year ago when he said people would come to their senses, stop using iPads and once again embrace the netbook. Or the time early this year, when he said the iPad would stop eating into netbook share by March — which nine months later still hasn’t happened.

As for his own company, Mr. Wang says Acer will reduce the number of computer models offered in 2012 down to a third of what it’s offering today, which reminds me of some other company. Can’t think of who… it’ll come to me.

What, Me Worry?
Wanna feel better about the whole Carrier IQ thing? Fast forward.

Kind of looks like the FBI might be doing something with the maybe it’s a keylogger, maybe it’s just a quality assurance app, who could say?

According to a BusinessInsider piece, “The FBI has turned down a Freedom of Information Act request from the blog MuckRock asking for materials related to the data the government can collect from phones using Carrier IQ.”

Quoting MuckRock:

A recent (Freedom of Information Act) request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for “manuals, documents or other written guidance used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or deployed by Carrier IQ” was met with a telling denial. In it, the FBI stated it did have responsive documents — but they were exempt under a provision that covers materials that, if disclosed, might reasonably interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Sleep tight.

Sign on the Dotted Line
And finally this week, it’s official: You never know how Apple stuff is going to do until it’s done.

I talked a couple of weeks ago about an upcoming auction at Sotheby’s that included the original contract that formally created Apple Computer signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne.

The 35-year-old contract was expected to fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000, but when the auction rolled around this week, that neighborhood was a bit low-rent. So the contract sped through it on it’s way to a selling price of $1.3 million. Add in the auction fees, and someone dropped just short of $1.6 on the contract.

Wired says the papers were purchased by an unidentified telephone buyer. I do hope he or she understands he or she didn’t actually buy the company for that amount.