Jul 242009
 

With Microsoft, many times the source material is so rich that true snarkiness would be both exhausting and unnecessary.  Gizmodo has posted a copy of what is allegedly a M$ presentation about its proposed chain of retail stores.  Two of the funnier bits: “the Answer Bar” and a proposal to use the stores for birthday parties.  54 slides of shit you can’t make up here.

Jul 232009
 

Pity poor Microsoft.  Coming off the heels of Apple’s record-setting quarter, Redmond…well…

Got absolutely annihilated.

Microsoft whiffed on analysts’ predictions to the tune of one and a quarter billion dollars.  The traditional sinks – online services and the Entertainment and Devices group (Xbox 360, Zune and mobile phone software) – continued their crimson streak in the books while the money-printing Windows and Office monopolies experienced sharp declines.

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell stated “there are some signs that we’ve seen the worst” from the economy, and that, “the spending environment is stabilizing on a sequential basis.”  There’s a recession?  Guess the economy doesn’t affect us all the same way, does it Chris?

Enjoy the schadenfreude, Macheads.

Jul 222009
 

So AAPL crushed the Street estimates yet again (yawn) and analysts, always quick to hop on a good thing once it’s happened, are bullish on the company for Q3.  Oddly, Apple’s third-quarter guidance of 34 percent gross margin and $1.18 – $1.23 in earnings per share was uncharacteristically optimistic, leaving analysts wondering whether Cupertino was really starting to take their roles seriously and have stopped jerking them around like they’ve done for…well…forever.

LOL.  Right.

Apple doesn’t do optimistic, especially with unemployment numbers hitting 10% in several states.  The game Apple plays is low-balling estimates at the conference call so they can smash them at the next one.  If they were to ever come in under their own guidance, it would be disastrous, especially since some of the smarter analysts are wise to SJ’s game.  For them to jack up their estimates in this economy, there’s got to be something in the pipeline, kiddies.   Something big.

Only time will tell (yes – that’s a joke).

Jul 212009
 

It’s time for Apple to report on earnings yet again‚ kiddies.  And the tech analyst keystone cop routine continues.  The beat’s worst weatherman is continuing the “yeah‚ but” style of analysis they teach at Harvard.  The consensus from the Street has Apple reporting earnings at $1.16 per share and 10% YOY growth.

Pffffffft.

Apple will stomp these estimates for 2 simple reasons: 3GS and MBP.  We know the 3GS blew past predicted sales and it looks like the price cut in the MacBook Pro line may make June one for the record books at Apple.   Get ready for the “boom”‚ indeed.

Update: $1.35/share on $8.34B in revenue – a new record for a non-holiday quarter.

Jul 162009
 

Because Ars Technica has an Apple section‚ I guess they have to have one for Microsoft too.  I find a good chuckle there most days‚ though I imagine the humor is unintentional.  Like this gem recounting how “a lawyer from Apple” allegedly called Microsoft to beg them to stop running their “Shitbox Laptop Hunters” ads.

The “cry for mercy” yarn was delivered at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference by COO Kevin Turner:

“And you know why I know they’re (the Laptop Hunter ads) working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey — this is a true story — saying, “Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.” They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business.” (Applause.)

The most fictional call you’ve taken‚ maybe.  And let me add: your sentence structure blows.  Did you start that last sentence wanting to say “it was the greatest single phone call in the history of business” and then chicken out because it was too over-the-top?   You kinda blew the reality cap with the premise‚ so I think you should have run with it.  Besides‚ your lobotomized “partners” would have (applaused) regardless.

So Apple‚ instead of‚ say‚ filing a complaint with the BBB’s National Advertising Division or taking some kind of formal legal action‚ has a representative from their legal department call Microsoft to make a plea for mercy?

skeptical

Skeptical baby calls bullshit on your story‚ Kevin.  Maybe the souls you crushed under the monopoly wheel at Wal-Mart (is this some kind of theme?) pleaded with you prior to being absorbed/destroyed by The Collective‚ but if I were to guess what the  response from Don Rosenberg’s shop would be‚ it would rhyme with “you fucking wish”.

Update: I should know better than to take the context given at arstechnica/microsoft at face value.  Apple’s alleged beef – I say alleged because there is nothing of substance on this other than Turner’s claim – isn’t that the ads are hurting them‚ but that M$ is grossly misrepresenting the price of current Apple offerings in the ads. And not “like $100 off or something”‚ but $300.  So I guess getting a call from lawyers stating you must cease and desist your blatantly misleading advertising is not quite the same as a squeal of “uncle”.  Douchebag.  Some excellent reporting by the good folks at MacDailyNews here.

Jul 152009
 

Microsoft’s Kurtzian descent into madness continues, according to my favorite purveyor of comic relief Mary Jo Foley.  Apparently, M$’s bluster about a retail presence, which I had chalked up to an episode of missed medication in the marketing department, is going to happen this fall, including “scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple.”

What?  No seriously: what?

Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice for Redmond: To have a retail presence, it’s a good idea to have something to sell. The only consumer product that would be considered “worth a shit” – by virtue of the non-Microsoft developers they’ve been able to attract – is stuffing the channel at any local Gamespot.  What were you planning: box displays of Windows 7, and Bargain Hunters ads running loops on Zune HDs?

GUI operating system?  No problem.  Music player?  No problem.  Gaming platform?  No problem.

Retail presence?  No problem.  I can see how ripping off and faithlessly reproducing good products could be seen as a viable strategy for a company with more money than god and fewer good ideas than Michael Bay, but do you really not get why this is a bad idea?

Now I’m all for M$ continuing to rip gaping holes in the profitability of its Office and Windows monopolies, but you can’t seriously think you’re doing your brand any good by increasing your exposure to consumers.  And intimiating in your release that you might somehow, in some way be squaring off against one of the most sucessful retail presences in the history of selling shit?

To quote any shareholder stupid enough to stick around after one quarter of this retardery: “The horror…the horror.”

Bonus factoid: M$’s quest for retail is led by David Porter.  According to the press release, Porter joined DreamWorks Animation in 2007 before spending 25 years at Wal-Mart Stores.  So basically, David has experience with both derivative offerings *cough*Pixar*cough* and monopolies.  He should fit right in.

Jul 072009
 

When you turned 1‚ you were still being spoon-fed your food and crapping in your pants.  After the App Store’s first year‚ Apple has taken a lousy paradigm and transformed it into a marketplace that is spoon-feeding competitors’ efforts their asses and…well…I think they’ve moved past the “crapping pants” phase.

Happy birthday‚ App Store.  Keep kickin’ app.

Jul 012009
 

Everyone’s favorite Microshill Mary-Jo Foley continues to build her case for a Microsoft entry into the mobile phone hardware business: Project Pink.

Not to be confused with a fundraiser for breast cancer‚ the interface for the Project Pink phone is supposedly being designed by the Danger‚ Inc. folks that M$ picked up via acquisition last year.  Who are they?  Aside from being creators of how-to videos that make you want puncture your eardrums with something sharp‚ they were the masterminds behind the Sidekick phone software.

Ed: Danger pulled said eardrum-splitting video.

So it’ll be based on WinMo‚ but with a whimsical Danger overlay?  Maybe smartphone hardware with hip software?  Sounds about as well thought-out as any piece of consumer electronics M$ has put out to me.  Microsoft may also slap their name on the hardware.  Sweet Christ let that please be true.

Even though Microsoft is capable of announcing products that look finished – complete with appearances on late-night TV and star athlete endorsements – 18 months prior to their promised ship dates‚ Mary Jo is having a hard time pinning Redmond down on details.  One thing that is known:  McCann Erickson has been hired to manage the ad campaign for the PinkyPhone.  You may remember them as the firm who directed the Halo 3 campaign for the 360.  In that campaign‚ according to the firm‚ the challenge was changing the question from “how do you pull $40 million of milk from a dried-up titty how do you market a video game?” to “how do you honor a hero?”.  In Pink’s case‚ the challenge will be changing the question from “what the fuck is Microsoft thinking?” to “you guys made the Sidekick?”.

When it comes to shitty follow-ups to competitors’ successful products‚ no one walks into a punch quite like M$.  Here’s to another billion-dollar capital spigot!  Cheers!

Jul 012009
 

One of the recurring themes here at TMA is that most tech writing on the Tubes today sucks.  Badly.  The 2 major shitty writing contingents are: analysts who don’t know their industry and bloggers pretending to be industry insiders who don’t know their industry.

Present company excluded‚ of course.

One of the most telltale signs that you’re reading a spiraling soft-serve turd of tech journalism involves the use of certain phrases that let the author say stupid shit while at the same time let the author off the hook for saying stupid shit.  So‚ as a service to the analyst and blogging communities‚ and all overlaps therein‚ below are two common terms to avoid when talking about technology – or really anything for that matter:

“May or may not.”  Well‚ that doesn’t leave a whole lot of other options does it?  The first person that wrote or uttered these words should have been hit so hard that anyone witnessing the brutality would be strongly deterred from being the the 2nd person to write or utter them.  This is the excremental cornerstone of writing that is supposed to be based on facts or intelligent speculation – which is another way of saying it is the most commonly used term in tech blogging.

“Only time will tell.”  Yes‚ I imagine those things that are not yet known have the option of revealing themselves in the fullness of time.  Was I a horrible analyst whose only claim to fame was the diametric relationship between my predictions for company x and their eventual reality?  Only time will tell.  I propose use of the term as written by any member of the media be punishable by having the author shot in the face.

Man up‚ tech writers.  If you’re going to sling crap‚ don’t throw like a girl.

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