Paul Thurrott THUD on Steve Jobs’ interview at All Things Digital.

Steve Jobs was interviewed by Walt Mossberg yesterday at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things digital conference (the link includes a video as well as text summary of the interview).

Paul Thurrott weighed in with his thoughts on the interview, and its full of his THUD. Here are some of his comments:

“- Jobs describes the new Apple as being three businesses and a “hobby.” The businesses are Mac, music, and phone. The hobby, curiously, is Apple TV. This is sort of disingenuous. If the Apple TV fails, Apple can claim it was never a serious effort anyway.”

Jobs himself explained his use of the term ‘hobby’: “The reason I call it a hobby is, a lot of people have tried and failed to make it a business. And it’s a hard problem. So we’re trying. I think if we work on it and improve things over the next year, 18 months, we can crack that.” Bottom line is Jobs’ use of the term had nothing to do with claiming it was not a serious effort. Since Paul’s track record at predicting the future is not impressive, I’ll stick with what Jobs said, not what Paul made up.

“- Jobs got into Mac market share and was reasonably accurate, though he of course rounded up on everything.”

I’ve seen Apple’s worldwide share quoted as anywhere from 2.49 (Paul’s favorite) to nearly 2.9. I don’t think jobs calling it “around 3” is an egregious exaggeration. Jobs also says that in the USA its 5-6 percent with 12 percent in the laptop space, neither of which Paul disagreed with.

[UPDATE: See the first comment, left anonymously. It supplies detailed information on Apple’s market share.]

“- No new iPods any time soon, despite some stammering from Jobs that “last September” (when the last iPods were released) wasn’t all that long ago.”

Actually, there’s a new iPod coming in June, and it has a phone in it! Beyond that, everyone on the planet knew there would be no other new iPod until after the iPhone launch, just as everyone knows what interface that new iPod will have.

“- Jobs again disingenuously claimed that there’s no iPod lock-in because “if you look at the total number of iPods and total number of songs sold on iTunes, it’s less than 25 per iPod.” So consumers are “clearly not getting the majority of their songs from iTunes.” That’s not what lock-in means, however. Because iTunes is responsible for about 95 percent of all digitally sold music, and that music can only play on Apple’s products, there’s lock-in.”

The only one being disingenuous is Paul. Blatantly so. He simply ignores Jobs’ comment, which is what matters (nobody is locked in with 25 songs, especially since those 25 can be “freed” at any time). Paul seems to think if he mentions a BIG number it will impress us, and prove his point. I can see why. After all, the entire Microsoft school of business, upon whose teat he feeds, is all about throwing around big numbers to impress. What Paul has always been in denial about is that Microsoft got their 95% market share through monopoly practices while Apple got their share (and it’s not 95%) by consumer choice.

“Remember, Microsoft wasn’t charged with a monopoly on operating systems. It was charged with a monopoly on operating systems for Intel-based PCs. Apple clearly has a monopoly on digitally sold music. Just as clear, however, is the fact that no law enforcement entity has any interest at all in calling them on that.”

I guess this is just a reminder that Microsoft was tried and convicted of a monopoly. Thanks, Paul. As for Apple “clearly having a monopoly on digital music”, that’s nonsense. Unlike with PC Operating Systems on systems ordered from any vendor whose name you can remember throughout the ’90s, one has a multitude of choices from which to obtain music, all supported by the iPod. I remember buying a system in ’95 and getting Windows on it because I was being charged for it one way or the other. I was there, Paul. The “Microsoft tax” wasn’t a myth, it was real! The comparison to Apple’s iTunes is ridiculous. There is no “iTunes tax”. The vast majority of music is not even purchased with it. Microsoft was finally caught, Paul. Too late to do any good, but nonetheless it happened, and rightfully so. Get over it.

“- Jobs proudly noted that there are 300 million “or more” installs of iTunes worldwide, but was then forced to admit something I’ve been trying to communicate for some time now: “Statistically,” as Jobs put it, almost all of those are on Windows. I do give Mossberg some credit for calling Jobs on that quip. “Statistically?” Mossberg retorted. “In reality? In this dimension?” That’s a nice way to tear down a meaningless response.”

Mossberg was simply joining in the fun. If every Mac has iTunes that’s about, what, 30 million? What do you think runs on the other 270 million? Linux? No, it’s Windows. Duh!

“- When confronted with Apple’s use of non-standard AAC instead of MP3, Jobs let loose with a whopper: “We don’t own [AAC]. Anyone can license it, the majority of players out there can play it, and most of the big players out there play AAC.” Those last two points are absolutely untrue.”

Paul should think before he types. The iPod supports AAC, so those last two points are absolutely, undeniably, uncategorically, irrefutably, and without question true! Further, AAC is supported by Zunes, some Sansas, some Sonys, and even some Palms, Nokia phones and Blackberrys. In other words, it’s commonly supported. Apple, like they did with Firewire, USB and LCD displays, is pushing the industry ahead to better standards. AAC can easily be thought of as “MP4”, and with many improvements over MP3 is the best choice. They should not retreat from that position simply because Paul doesn’t get it. With iTunes’ DRM-free in AAC format, any player worth its salt that doesn’t already support AAC will soon do so, and that’s a good thing for everyone.

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2 thoughts on “Paul Thurrott THUD on Steve Jobs’ interview at All Things Digital.

  1. Thanks for the data. I updated the article to direct people to read the comments for more information.

  2. I’ve seen Apple’s worldwide share quoted as anywhere from 2.49 (Paul’s favorite) to nearly 2.9. I don’t think jobs calling it “around 3” is an egregious exaggeration.

    The 2.49 figure is not really meaningful, Thurrott is averaging IDC and Gartner worldwide figures for the latest quarter.

    With IDC numbers the Mac had a 2.57 percent worldwide share, and 2.42 percent with Gartner numbers. That’s up from 2.1 percent (IDC) in the year-ago quarter, which was not a good quarter for Apple. The Intel iMac and the MacBook Pro sold well but of course PPC Mac sales were sluggish in January-March 2006. It didn’t last, the transition was well executed and Q1 2007 is the best Q1 ever in terms of sales, and the best Q1 since 2000 in terms of market share.

    For the full year 2006 the Mac worldwide share was 2.47 percent (IDC), up from 2.27 percent in 2005 and 1.97 percent in 2004. Last year the market share gains were slowed by the Intel transition (bad first quarter).

    The gains are more impressive in the U.S., especially in the U.S. retail segment: 8 percent, +2 full unit share points between March 2005 and Feb. 2007 (3-months moving average, NPD figures quoted in a Pacific Crest research note). And since last year Apple’s dollar share in U.S. retail is firmly in the double digits.

    The 12 percent notebook share is inaccurate, though. I think it was only for June 2006, and only in U.S. retail, a subset of the U.S. market. Thurrott should know this and remind us that Dell sales are not included in these NPD figures. 😀 Apple’s notebook share in U.S. retail is hovering around 10 percent at the moment. In January 2007 it was 10.1 percent, Apple was not in the top 5 in February, the company had a 9.9 percent retail notebook share in March.

    This year with the Mac growing at 3x the worldwide market growth, I hope the worldwide share will be at least 2.7 percent. That’s “around 3,” and I suppose Jobs would say he’s skating to where the puck will be, not where it is. 🙂

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