Thursday, April 26, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, April 26, 2012, 1:04 PM
Is Apple Losing Its Mojo?Forrester

Forrester CEO George Colony is taking heat for a blog post in which he argues that Apple began its inevitable decline the day Steve Jobs left this earth.

“When Steve Jobs departed, he took three things with him,” Colony writes. “1) [A] singular charismatic leadership that bound the company together and elicited extraordinary performance from its people; 2) the ability to take big risks, and 3) an unparalleled ability to envision and design products.

“Tim Cook may be no Steve Jobs, but much of what Colony says about the vacuum of leadership at Cupertino is completely untrue,” Wired retorts. “In fact, Apple’s arguably in better shape now than it ever was when Jobs was at the helm.”

Colony insists that Apple is the next Sony, i.e., a company coasting ever slower on yesterday’s innovations. Not so, says TechCrunch. “If anything, Apple can become the next Disney,” it writes. “The cultural products that came from Disney studios are beloved by nearly everyone.”

Just going by the numbers, “the fade Colony describes doesn't appear to be on the immediate horizon,” CNN notes. “This week, Apple reported doubling its profits in the first three months of the year, largely on the strength of the 35.1 million iPhones it sold (a number that far exceeded predictions).”

Still, seeming to fall into Colony’s camp, Jeff Bertolucci writes in PCWorld: “Apple in a way reminds me of a famous musical group that keeps churning out hit after hit. Eventually, the songs fall flat. Creativity fades. In Apple's case, I'm not sure you can pin that inevitability on Tim Cook.”

Adds Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber: “Colony’s pessimism is, unlike most Apple bearishness of late, perfectly reasonable. Apple did not fall to pieces when Jobs died, but no one with a clue expected it to. But Tim Cook and the remaining leadership team have yet to prove themselves in the long run. I’m not saying I agree with Colony (I don’t), I’m just saying his argument is reasonable. Apple is untested in these regards.”

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, April 26, 2012, 1:28 PM
  • Early Android Financials Revealed While always trumpeted as a great success, Google has never disclosed Android’s financial performance -- until now. Back in 2010, with about 20 million Android-operated phones on the market (and a projected 40 million by the end of the year), Google expected to make some $278.1 million in revenue from Android -- made up of $158.9 million in mobile advertising and $3.8 million in app sales. The numbers were included in a quarterly review presentation given on July 12, 2010 by Android chief Andy Rubin, but only just revealed during the ongoing patent trial between Oracle and Google. Regarding the 2010 data, The Verge writes: “That's a staggering gap between ads and app revenue, even accounting for the 70% of app revenue that goes to developers, and Google expected the delta to widen; the company forecast making $840.2m from Android mobile ads in 2012 vs just $35.9m on apps sales.” Recognizing the issue in the quarterly report, Rubin listed: "Market: low rate of app purchases, policy issues" as a "lowlight" for Android. Worse still, Google also expected to boost related revenue with its music service, yet, as The Verge notes, “Google Music remains a consumer afterthought.”   Read the whole story...
  • Spotify Planning Ad-Supported "Radio" Service Spotify is already enjoying success with its current online music service, which functions like a music collection, allowing users to create playlists from specific albums and tracks. Not content to stop there, the London-based company is reportedly working on another format, which, like rival music service Pandora, would operate like radio.  “The new service would start by year-end and be supported by advertising, said the people, who weren’t authorized to talk publicly,” Bloomberg reports. The new, would-be service would already be cheaper to operate than Spotify’s existing service, because royalty rates are lower and set by Congress, Bloomberg notes. What’s more, “An online radio offering would advance Spotify’s strategy of attracting users with free, ad-supported services who can be converted later into paying subscribers,” it suggests. According to Bloomberg, about a third of Spotify users have signed up for paid plans offering unlimited, commercial-free music on computers and mobile devices. According to sources, Spotify has already started notifying some content partners of its impending service.       Read the whole story...
  • Lets Shoppers Pay Cash Seeking the biggest consumer base possible, is launching a “Pay with Cash” feature, which will let users place orders online and then pay for them (with cash) at a nearby store. Joel Anderson, president and CEO of, says the new feature is simply targeting people who don’t have access to debit or credit cards. “The fact that only 15% of our transactions are done in the form of credit at our stores means there’s a large percentage of Wal-Mart customers who are dependent on cash to transact online,” Anderson tells AllThingsD. “We definitely think it is a big opportunity.” Customers using the “Pay with Cash” feature will have 48 hours to pay for their preferred products at a local Wal-Mart store or Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. Once the order is paid for, the items will then ship from a separate location. “The concept is fairly simple in a world where so much energy is being focused on futuristic stuff, like waving your mobile phone to pay for things and digital wallets,” AllThingsD remarks. “But by opening up the site to cash-only users, Anderson said they will now have access to the hundreds of thousands of items that are not carried in the store.” Wal-Mart built the technology in-house, according to Anderson.   Read the whole story...