Particle Debris (wk. ending 5/6) Slip Slidin’ Away

It seems that a product is either growing or dying, and when it starts to die, it’s incredibly hard to stop the slide. Here’s an analysis of IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome market share from Computerworld that cites the often quoted Net Applications data. Even with IE9, the gains are offset by departures from IE8, so Microsoft is having a tough time stopping the slide. Firefox is on the decline as well — while Chrome and Safari had slight rises. See Gregg Keizer’s: “IE9 can’t stop Microsoft’s browser slump.”

Of course, one has to decide if one’s going to use a common basis, the desktop, or expand to the mobile arena — and I believe that’s what’s driving (mobile) Safari (iOS) and Chrome (Android) growth. This article didn’t go out of its way to make a distinction, but I believe that it’s the mobile growth that’s driving this effect.

The numbers tell the story, Microsoft’s late entry into mobility is taking its toll. For more insight all this, see Adam Hartung’s “Why Not All Earnings are Equal; Microsoft has the Wal-Mart Disease.” In this article, Mr. Hartung looks at the history of corporate performance, Microsoft’s recent financial performance, and finds that when revenue starts to stall, bad things happen.

When a company hits a growth stall, 93% of the time it will be unable to maintain even a 2% growth rate. 75% of the time we can expect it will fall into a no growth, or declining, revenue environment. And 70% of the time it will lose at least half its market capitalization.”

But Steve Ballmer seems happy.

Back to Apple. Tim Bajarin has been talking to his corporate clients, telling them what they have to do to compete with Apple’s iPad in: “What Will It Take to Really Challenge Apple?” His clients are not liking what they hear and have expressed the same concerns we have defined here at TMO: Android might be doing well on smartphones, but the tablet market is a different animal because iPads are an “I want” product as opposed to phones which are an “I need” product.

Many have told me that they fear Apple could ‘iPod> the market, meaning that Apple could end up being the dominant player in tablets, as it has been in mobile MP3 players. And these concerned vendors often ask what it will take to challenge Apple and keep Apple from dominating the majority of the tablet market in the future.”

Don’t you think it’s ironic that if a company needs to hire a consultant to tell them how to compete with Apple that they’re already too incompetent to do so — even after you explain it to them?

So what are the best tablets of 2011? Here’s a nice synopsis sizing them all up and summarizing their competitive prospects. I pretty much agree with the ordering — except for the RIM Playbook. “Top 10 tablets of 2011, the new leaderboard.” At the bottom, there’s a link to a photo gallery.

So what does it take to compete with Apple’s iPad? Specs? Screen size? Price? Memory? How about none of the above. I’ll unblushingly point you to an article by my colleague, Bryan Chaffin. “Only Two Companies Can Compete with iPad: Amazon & Microsoft.” Refreshing food for thought.

Are you running Windows XP on any PC anywhere? The National Security Agency (NSA) says don’t do that. And they, who monitor all those Chinese incursions and hacks, ought to know. AFter all, it’s 1995 technology. “The NSA recommends you upgrade to Windows 7.” I’ve long since dropped XP inside Parallels 6 and moved to Windows 7.

Are you writing secret notes to yourself on the iPhone or iPad with the Notes app? (“Wow, I’m so in love with January Jones.”) Have you believed they stayed only on your device? Better check. They may have leaked into the cloud by virtue of a careless iOS default. See: “Clearing up iPhone sync confusion.” This is getting ridiculous, isn’t it?

Have you ever paid more than US$5 for an HDMI cable? Here’s an eye opener from Geoffrey Morrison that explains the electronics behind the data transmission in HDMI cables. It’s part of your Saturday morning education: “Why all HDMI cables are the same.

What percent of Apple’s OS profits come from Mac OS X? What percent come from iOS? How might this affect Apple’s thinking going forward? How do Apple’s OS profits compare to Microsoft? The interesting results are here in Horace Dediu’s “Windows generates less than a third the profit of iOS + OS X.”  This is a must-read.

More Slip Slidin’ Away. (With homage to Paul Simon.)

Lately, I’ve written a little about what Apple may be up to with the data center in North Carolina. Here are some interesting thoughts from a guy I like and follow on Twitter: Jonny Evans. “Collected: Apple’s iCloud challenge.” He’s great at these kinds of summary articles that connect all the dots.

So there’s nothing to worry about with Apple tracking your travels (er, make that cell towers near by)? Nothing to worry about by uploading iPhone photos to flickr that have geolocation in the EXIF data? How about the conversion between your IP address and your name? Thank goodness one judge got educated. Ars technica had the story. I need get started on mystery novels that use all these goodies. Watch out Richard Castle!

Finally, if you haven’t had enough to digest so far, here’s a tour de force, five page summary and analysis of the smartphone patent wars at Computerworld. “Smartphone patent fight: ‘World War III’

When you’re a US$100B company, this is your life.