October’s Last Steve Ballmer and iPod Post

As you can see from looking at the blog archive Steve Ballmer and his comments on the iPod have made a bit of a stir and got this humble blog some outside links. After all the hullaballoo I was sent this flash animation that makes fun of Steve’s famous motivational speech to Microsoft developers and the the silouette iPod adverts. Respect to Macboy

Stop Press: Apple numbers rocket

Apple’s financial results go off the scale, Bloomberg reports on the record profits here.

The numbers were driven by iPod and laptop sales, they could have been higher if the iMac was launched on time. You can listen to the Apple audio webcast here. There was an issue with getting adequate supply of G5 micro processors which restricted iMac and professional boxes. Interestingly all the iMacs have been airfreighted to their markets at an increased expense in order to meet customers demand.

Music grew 370 per cent (includes iPods and iTMS), hp counted for six per cent of iPod sales. There was some constraint on the iPods due to some difficulties in getting the required number of hard drives.

More Apple stores expected in the UK after Regent Street, revenue in Europe was up 31 per cent. Education sales were up by almost 20 per cent, back to school higher education sales were successful.

Revenue growth was a key message delivered throughout the webcast.

One of the analysts on the call mentioned that AT&T was trialing Apple systems to get around the Windows virus / malware epidemic and asked what the take up was in the corporate sector.

Apple’s officical press release here.

No one is innocent

So spoke monkey boy Steve Ballmer when he accused iPod users have having devices filled with pirated music. Just in the same way as open standards means compatiable with any 32bit version of Windows, so pirated means not using proprietary Microsoft technology. If you are offended about being called a thief, you can tell Steve what a klutz he is here.

My comments to Microsoft yesterday were as follows:

As an iPod owner I am considering taking legal advice with regards comments that Steve Balmer made that have been widely reported in the media. I do not have pirate content on my iPod. I found his remarks very offensive and will be reconsidering my own and my companies use of Microsoft Office in the future.

I expect a written apology to be forthcoming.

If you are struggling for sufficiently expressive words to use in your complaint have a look here.

UPDATE: Microsoft replied to my comments below

From:

To:

Date:Thu Oct 07, 2004 06:56:00 PM BST

Subject:CST177380468ID – RE:Microsoft.Com ContactUS

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft.com Customer Support with your feedback. We apologize for the delayed response.

I realize that you are reacting on and are offended on a comment made about the music format in Apple’s iPod. We would like to assure you that when Steve Ballmer implied that most of the music on iPods were stolen, he absolutely did not intend to single out iPod owners for criticism. In fact, given that they have access to their very own – and very popular – online music store, they are likely among the most law-abiding consumers of digital music.

But the reality is that piracy remains high in terms of illegal downloads of music, and while online music services are getting better and better and winning more customers, piracy is still a major problem both on the PC and on devices. Microsoft Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) is a great way to limit piracy, and the main point Steve was trying to convey was that it requires a coordinated effort among many industry partners to do it right. More information on this platform is found on this page: http://www dot microsoft dot com/windows/windowsmedia/drm/faq.aspx If you have other suggestions or comments, please feel free to send us another e-mail.

Sincerely,

Teresa Microsoft.com Customer Support

Windows Media DRM has been around for a while, it can be used to limit DRM but has had a limited popularity with consumers hence the reason why iTunes Music Store has much more traffic than the likes of OD2. In fact Apple’s Fairplay system has been accepted my all the major record labels and many UK independent labels such Ministry of Sound (who have their own download service based on Windows Media DRM) have complained about not been allowed on to iTMS fast enough. There is also the wider question of whether DRM is counterproductive and would recommend a read about this initative from successful independent European record label !K7 Records.UPDATE TWO (Friday October, 8 2004 late):

This entry has made the hallowed webpages of El Reg. You can read senior writer John Lettice’s take by following this link.

The Register is read by some 2.4 million individuals worldwide who are interested in technology, if you are one of those readers welcome.

Note: I put the dots in the MS URL so as not to increase the Google Page Ranking of their ‘great way to limit piracy’ but still allow those interested to get the web address for their own interest.

UPDATE THREE (Saturday October, 9 2004):

Wilkommen to any readers of IT&W and Mac Daily News

Typhoon Google

After the devastation that occurred in Florida by hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne signs of a long running typhoon struck in Cupertino, California. The effects of the typhoon centred on the marketing department of Apple Computer and its data centre. Following on from the launch of GMail earlier this year, Apple has upped the capacity of my email account almost tenfold to 125MB for mail and an additional 125MB for online storage.I am one of the original paying customers for .mac services so it is no coincidence that this improvement has occurred in the two weeks running up to the annual subscription payment on my account. Whichever way you look at it, the improvement is welcome and is the most important of a raft of tweaks that Apple has implemented. The alias email address is what I use to give Renaissance Chambara its own contact details.

Here is the text from Apple announcing the changes:

Dear .Mac Member,

We’re excited to announce that your .Mac membership now comes with 250 MB of combined .Mac Mail and iDisk storage. And, in another move designed to make life easier as traffic grows heavier and files grow larger, we’ve increased the maximum email message size to 10 MB.

If you haven’t tried them yet, be sure to check out two additional enhancements recently added to .Mac Mail. There’s a new online spell checker with a customizable dictionary available when you use your .Mac Mail account through a browser. And you can now use aliases as email addresses either for fun or as protection when you need to provide an email address but aren’t entirely comfortable with the requester. If your concerns turn out to be justified, you can then simply remove the alias and create a new one the next time you face a similar situation.

We value your membership and hope you enjoy these enhancements to your .Mac service.

Sincerely,


The .Mac Team Respect to the Sarasota Herald Tribune for the hurricane facts that I have linked to in this entry.

TabletPC yet again

CurrentAnalysis, an industry analyst house that I have some respect for have a very nice top line piece on the TabletPC a couple of weeks ago. The key highlights are that a TabletPC is going nowhere without:

– A stronger retail presence

– A keyboard (what they call a convertible: a laptop were the screen swivels round to become a TabletPC)

– Adoption by the likes of Dell, IBM and AppleThey dont make any mention of:

– substitute products like PDAs, smartphones and Anoto pens

– the fact that the complex packaging and screen hinge will keep the product relatively expensive compared to laptops

– the compelling reason why it would get widespread adoption, especially when more and more people can type faster than writing

– why on earth Apple would want to make one?

Using a TabletPC is kind of like living with your family, it seems like a good idea at the time, but proves a lot harder after you have got used to other arrangements.