The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

super vision for what really matters

November11

Warning… Epic Blogpost alert, here.

If you’ve been following this Blog – and, of course, you have – you know that I’m enthralled with the idea of using Android on desktop and laptop computers. We have it working on two HP’s now. More about that to be sure. But, there is more to all of this this than most of you are aware.

The above tantalizing preamble above aside, allow me to get you moving in the right direction with this thought: If you have super powers then use them for good, says I.

And now for the really interesting part…

Google is now part of the evil empire. So, I have to evaluate whether it’s in the best interest of my own shareholders, and that of the world, at large, itself, to keep them as clients. I once had a similar dilemma with WebMD (insider information concerns, and then of course, the situation with the burning house) back around 2001, and another company I can’t name (but, in 2004 they were the largest website development company on the East Coast).

…what? Larry Page, himself, clearly dictated years ago that Google will “do no evil”.

As many faithful readers of this Blog are fully aware, and – don’t bother even trying to deny it, I had a Padawan on my hands named Nicholas Johnson who is a rabid Google and Android fan. He kept me on my toes and would go after me (and Steve Jobs) regarding all things relative to Google and the Android platform.

He did good, in that regard.

It’s certainly because of Nicholas that I now use an HTC EVO 4G cellular telephone that also happens to be an Android device (this will change, at some point. But, for the moment, I’m using it to experiment with, and learn). And, part of that entails putting Android on certain devices in a manner that could possibly unhinge Microsoft. I won’t bother pointing to a prior post about this. Just scroll down. Do it!

In any event, about six weeks ago he (Nicholas) came up with some market share numbers that had the Android platform making significant ground on Apple’s iOS. There is no doubt that one day the iPhone will likely be an also ran. And, that is fine, even by me. Apple sets the stage, if not consistently commanding it. And, they will pioneer and forge ever more promising technology advancements. And, Android will help prove Apple right. And, as a shareholder, I could never complain. And, by the way… You might be aware of the fact that Verizon just picked-up the iPad (even before the iPhone (that’s coming soon). So, that re[presents something of a paradigm (think SKYPE-ish) and how the world might lean into the Apple iOS.

As I mentioned above, I recently picked up the HTC EVO 4G handset offered through Sprint. Once again I was fed up with the awful service we have to suffer at the hands of AT&T. Mind you, I’m convinced it’s not the iPhone, as a hand-set. The AT&T infrastructure is clearly over-loaded. So,  this is really a great excuse for me to continue my open-minded quest for wicked-cool gear. Along the way, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of HTC, itself. They make great hand-sets used by almost all of the mobile service providers (including Apple). I’m not going to offer a review of the HTC EVO 4G, here. Suffice to say that it’s working great. I got used to the Android platform while using my NexusOne (now in the able hands of my eight year old who has upgraded to an HTC HERO). NOTE: I think the HTC EVO 4G is (was?) the first to use Android 2.2. Feel free to correct that information if I happen to be mistaken (but, it’s what Sprint says on all the promotional collateral). And, I’m not dropping any calls, yet. I’m told the voice quality is much better (by my wife any way).

Just in case you want some verification that HTC is onto something, don’t worry about my opinion. Do your own research and focus on consumer reports like the following:

http://reviews.cnet.com/best-cell-phones/

http://www.phonerated.com/menu.php?topic=best+phones+by+category

However, my point might not be what you are warming up to, thus far. So, go ahead and get ready.

…here it comes.

If I am going to preach being open-minded, then I need to make that my stand as well. Always. So, this might mean being in league with Google, other than them being a client of mine.

So, we are going to clear up some information, or even misinformation…

To wit… The battle between Apple and Google in the mobile space has been heating up, to be sure. But, new market share numbers from research firm Nielsen show the race isn’t even particularly close.

According to a recent report released, that compares the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, Apple’s iPhone OS has more than triple the market share Google’s Android operating system. Nielsen puts the iPhone OS market share at twenty-eight percent (28%), while Android’s is at nine percent (9%). The numbers also put Apple in second place behind BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), which has a thirty-five percent (35%) share, and remains the leader in business utilization with a very loyal user base (but, keep watching Verizon – because their adoption of iOS gadgets is a game-changer). In third place is Microsoft Windows Mobile with nineteen percent (19%), followed by Google (not sure what this means, to be candid), Palm four percent(4%), Linux three percent (3%) [this could be interesting in terms of the actual {not Android} emerging open-source community], and Symbian two percent (2%). And, with recent Apple numbers now in-hand, we know that Apple is now selling more units than Blackberry. So, the business world is catching on… So, as to be expected, it’s going to be all about Apple and Google. That’s cool by me because I(and, those that follow me) own both stocks.

NOTE: Apple and Google both moved up by two percent (2%) in the first quarter of 2010. In the same period, RIM and Microsoft both lost two percent (2%) market share. And, this probably reflects the iPad that is changing everything. And, counts as mobile, certainly. I feel compelled to point-out that the iPad numbers failed to meet expectations this quarter. But, this is, ironically, Apple eating itself. What I mean by this is the iPad has everyone thinking twice about what type of mobile computer to purchase. Laptop sales are off as people consider buying an iPad instead – or, possibly the Android-powered tablet. But, the screen size will end up being an issue. And, again, Verizon will facilitate smart business people like John Adamski leveraging that platform to build platforms that also change the world. HINT: A company to watch is: eSenseRetail Corporation.

It should be also noted that when it comes to the mobility wars, Apple’s iPhone (jailbroken units aside) is only sold through exclusive service providers in key markets, whereas Android handsets are sold prolifically by almost all the service providers. To keep things in perspective, it takes multiple service providers and handset configurations combined to compete with Apple that might be setting the standard.

Might?

Pause for a moment and consider this as an abstract perception… Apple’s are not for everyone. But, Android devices are for everyone else. As long as Apple keeps it’s valuation, what else really matters?

Well… My point is that HTC can also set a quality standard. The Android OS is still unrefined. However, the quality of the hardware is outstanding. And, yes, as I’ve mentioned, HTC has it’s hand in building the iPhone. Hardware plus software plays are part of the formula for making money – both commercially and in stock ownership.

By the way… Just to further demonstrate that I’m not biased, my personal opinion is that Blackberry’s (I used the 8900 for awhile) might have the best voice quality. But, that simply won’t matter, soon enough.

Also… Chinese mobile phones are also in demand because they can be had cheap (it’s all relative, eh) and are often better knock-off’s (not only are three cups of tea important in China, but they have three separate levels of manufacturing quality – and, that is crucial in terms of understanding how to do business in-and-around China) than the original manufacturer. For example, six months ago, no one had heard of of G five mobile which was only founded in 2003, and they are now number ten in the world with a focus on China and India.

Swinging this bloated post around…

And, the epic nature of this post will broaden with the harsh reality that Google Inc.’s methods for recommending websites are being reviewed by Texas’ attorney general in an investigation spurred by complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet’s dominant search engine.

So, get your collective heads around the emerging reality that, despite Serg’s and Larry’s best intentions (and, I know they were sincere because I saw their eyes twelve years ago), Google has grown up, and must needs act like a company corporation more concerned for the best interests of shareholders (profits) than altruistic interests.

Thusly, this will herald a strong likelihood that Google has joined the ranks of Microsoft as evil empire, despite it’s aforementioned credo of “do no evil”.

There is more (so much more) you didn’t know…

It’s not commonly understood that Google does not actually make anything. They buy almost everything. Back in July 2005, when Google seemed to have so much money it didn’t know what to do with, it quietly went about buying up a load of start-up companies. Some of these never really saw the light of day: for instance, Dodgeball, a service that allowed you to text a group of friends in a similar way to Twitter, has never really appeared anywhere in Google’s stable. Don’t just take my word for it. Read more, here (do it!): http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/a-complete-history-of-android-470327#ixzz14tk1w6bM.

This includes the Android Operating system. This makes for a vital difference between them, and companies that are true innovators, like Apple. It actually makes Google more like Microsoft, doesn’t it?

The antitrust inquiry carefully disclosed by Google about a month ago (you probably did not read the fine print of their 10-Q, and the media made little too-doo over it)  is just the latest sign of the intensifying scrutiny facing the company as it enters its adolescence.

Since its inception in a Silicon Valley garage twelve years ago, Google has gone from a quirky startup to one of the world’s most influential businesses with annual revenue approaching thirty billion ($30 lots of 0’s).

The review appears to be focused on whether Google is manipulating its search results to (gasp) stifle competition.

FACT: The pecking order of those results can make or break websites because Google’s search engine processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the United States, and handles even more volume in other parts of the world.

QUESTION: Does the Google generation want to acknowledge this? Perhaps of greater interest (to me anyway) is, do they care? And, does it matter?

…no… probably not… yes.

This fascinates me. And, this is why I get to be the “Cultural Architect”.

That aforementioned (I’ll trust your tracking with me, here) dominance, as perpetrated by Google for the benefit of people that pay them (altruism be damned, Larry), means a website ranking high on the first page of Google’s results will likely attract more traffic, and generate more revenue – either from ads or merchandise sales. That is influence. And, manipulation. So, there is Machiavelli raising his head – and, Microsoft that better be ducking theirs (keep reading).

On the flip side, being buried in the back pages of the results, or even at the bottom of the first page, can be financially devastating and, in extreme cases, has been blamed for ruining some Internet companies. That is also influence.

Influence is power. And, Machiavelli wrote the book on that subject: The Prince, in fact (see also The Art of War – and, it’s apropos).

What most of you certainly won’t know, and thank the North American media, for that, is European regulators already have been investigating complaints alleging that Google has been favoring its own services in its results instead of rival websites.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that Google might pride itself on a pledge to maintain open architecture. But, quality will suffer for a long time. And, that is another vital difference between itself and Apple. So, there is Google being a bit more corporate, while Apple continues to lead the way both in terms of its pledge to be the best, and keep it fresh and, altruistic – while also being profitable. Genius, at naught but it’s very best.

Never mind the Adobe FLASH issue. That’s all a feint. Trust me. And, guess what? The end will justify the means, there. That makes sense if you are doing your home work, here.

There is nothing, ultimately sophomoric, about lessons learned at the feet of Machiavelli. That’s another thing Dr. Nick Pappas taught some of us at Radford University.

So… Microsoft could never match the “feel” of Apple (I’ve been using Windows 7 now for five weeks just to research this very point and to avoid any opportunity to be a hypocrite, or uninformed). Google has had it’s shot, but might be facing a big miss, here.

And… Google, not satisfied to let any and all coders into its Android app store (oh, those Babylonian whores), has invited non-coders alike to invent mobile apps of their own with a simple building-block system that, it claims, anyone can use (and, they are).

Did you know that Facebook developer Joe Hewitt isn’t buying Android creator Andy Rubin’s definition of what “open” means. I’ll not add a link to either Facbook or Mr. Hewitt. My daughter uses Facebook. And, I’m convinced it’s all a tragedy if not a plot realized by true terrorists to unhinge our community.

The promise, unrealized as yet, is to let every person who bores their friends talking about what a great idea they have for an app to build the thing and be done with it. Those that are sophomoric, and unrefined will think this is appropriate and fair. But, I’ll take them to task with an admonition that they don’t understand quality and accountability (although some Google apps are certainly great and cool and solid, to be sure).

Bear with me for a bit, this is a bit of a geek fest. You may be rolling your eyes (but if you are I bet you are also concerned about finances), but I’m having fun, with all of this.

Last month Jobs attacked Google’s Android smart phone operating system, arguing there are so many different versions of the software it’s hard to argue the software is accessible to users and developers as Apple’s iOS.

Shortly after that  Andy Rubin (the guy who actually coded Android, acquired by Google) replied, via Twitter, posting a computer command that would allow a developer to download and play with Google’s Android operating system. The message: “open’ means being able to play with the code”.

…Geek me with a spoon.

To help Mr. Hewitt’s point along, however, Android isn’t as open as, say, Linux (i.e. Ubuntu (not to be confused with the African tribal ethical philosophy) – something I use more and more (the operating system, not the philosophy [well... some times], and other open source projects, where anyone can add to the project before each official ‘release.’

Google App Inventor platform for Android demonstrates how markedly Google’s philosophy differs from Apple’s, whose app model it copied emulated to a great extent. Apple wants a velvet rope to keep sub-par developers out, but Google just sent them an engraved invitation, potentially opening the floodgates for exactly the type of deluge of unsophisticated apps that Apple seems so eager to avoid.

To wit…

“App Inventor requires no programming knowledge,” reads the Google’s description of the program, currently in a closed beta. “This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.” That reads cool. But, the result might not be. And, I like knowing. It’s what you don’t know, understand, or can see that can and will kill you first.

In summary, when all things relevant to mobility, handsets, platforms, and service are said and done, I only really care about best-of-class and quality. So, right now HTC appears to make the best quality handsets, and Sprint might be the best cellular service provider, and Apple might be the standard for excellence that drives all of them mad with the passion to innovate, compete and improve.

And, as I’ve mentioned in a prior post, I love it, because the death-knell for Microsoft is booming. Apple is leading Google right down Microsoft’s throat, and they are going to choke on all of it.

Apple will come and go. Perhaps like the old Bell Labs. Google has seen it’s day. Few people will be millionaires now because of it’s stock. And, that reality has also changed it’s culture – just like what happened at Microsoft. Interestingly, employees can still build wealth by owning shares of Apple.

All of that is a good thing. Because we all win. Especially if you understand: The Way Things Work.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

being part of the solution evolution revolution

October13

I’m keenly aware of the fact that many of you are never certain what you’re going to get when you access my blog. You’re numbers continue to grow, so I am reasonably certain you should be rewarded with some insider-like information that will help you make all manner of informed decisions, today to be sure.

As a preamble I’ll begin with:

The word is already spreading… Altough I remain a hearty and ferocious Apple evangelist, I recently picked-up an HP all-in-one touchscreen PC. Although I’m freely going to admit that Windows 7 is more “mac-like” than ever; but, still sucks in comparison, I’ll be running LINUX on it (Ubuntu, to be precise).  But, a key element, to all of this, is that Google’s unique Operating System, Android, is a very lean LINUX (UNIX actually), open-source architecture. Ironically, that finds it following Apple, again – but also explains, in part, the early and productive alliance between Apple (whom leads the way) and Google that acquires the way. Just to be clear, the Apple OS, found on all their hardware, is UNIX-based. So, something big is on the horizon. I’m aware of it. And, I’m going to be ready.

Meanwhile…

He never quite grasped my intentions, but when I bought Nicholas Johnson a NexusOne (aptly named “the Google Phone”) during his short stint with us it was because we, my own collective “we”, had determined that Google was going after Microsoft. Although I have direct access to decision-makers there, discretion is called for, and, I needed to learn about, and observe, all things Google from an outsiders perspective.

I was looking for less passion and more insightful research from Nicholas. In fact, I recently emailed him the following: “Don’t rush in. Wait to champion something until you have more facts than passion. If I’ve tried to teach you anything, that would be it’s foundation.”

Mind you, I have a lot of high expectations for Nicholas, and remain quite hopeful. He is earnest and deserving of a break. I had a few of my own at the hands of better men than myself, to be sure.

Then, as we warm to our primary topic, I’ll offer a quick side note; and, this based upon additional generational perspective:

Google likely seems a, if not, the, company to bet on. But, likely, more so for reasons unfathomable by most people. I’ll point out that many people under forty have a skewed view of Google. They think Google represents “money”, “affluence”, “promise”, “power through influence”, and “innovation” – all a chest thumping demonstration of youth and promise. But, although working at Google is generally believed to be cool, most people that show up there do so at far below tech-industry wage. And, the stock will create little wealth now for employees. So…why slavery is cool I can’t comprehend myself. But, I bought stock Google early. So, they all “work” for me and my own “devices”, anyway. And, that is less so a side note, and an important point, I’ll make as we proceed.

In any event, here comes the good stuff (I’ll suggest you use a highlighter):

Oddly, people aren’t talking enough about the quiet-yet-epic battle being waged between Google and Microsoft. You should know that I believe Apple is creating “white noise” to distract everyone with its unimportant riff with Adobe to discreetly help Google. Consider this… Stop and think about Microsoft’s recent discussions around the acquisition of Adobe as the pieces come together for you, here.

You should expect that the insidious “they” are monitoring this escalating activity because it portends both the downfall of Microsoft, and a terrific short (stock) opportunity for the bold and fearless. As Monday ebbed, shares of Microsoft gained 3 cents to $24.60 on the clearly unspectacular news that it’s Windows 7 Operating System was launching with a series of handsets through AT&T. This is just a reminder that I’ve recently dumped my iPhone because AT&T’s infrastructure is so over loaded that services has become horrific. I’m now thoroughly enjoying my HTC EVO 4G phone through Sprint, thank you. And, the Microsoft handsets look like the Zune for crying-out-loud. So, this piece of news is oh so apropos to this post.

For Microsoft, the new devices represent one step in an uphill struggle. In the most recent quarter, the company’s existing cell phone software accounted for just five percent (5%) of the worldwide (for all you Androids chest-thumping over North American exposure) smart phone market. That compares with forty one percent (41%) for Nokia’s Symbian system, eighteen percent (18%) for Research in Motion’s BlackBerry phones, seventeen percent (17%) for Android, and 14 fourteen percent (14%) for the iPhone.

On another side note… My investors made a fortune buying and owning Microsoft stock through the 90’s. That’s a whole ‘nother story. And, it’s a good one. But, for the purpose of this blog post, suffice it to say, that I hated (I understand that is strong language – especially from an earthly father that teaches his own children to hate nothing) Microsoft for Gates’ stealing Jobs’ (Apple) operating system for Windows. But, I also understood that I could use that effort for my own agenda. So, I did. And, with grim satisfaction because Microsoft is evil. Possibly as evil as Obama. But, that later, and in other posts.

You probably aren’t aware of it but Google has been slowly, but surely, displacing Microsoft as the number PC technology company (Apple, if you care about innovation and shareholder value – and, as an Apple shareholder, I do, is the number one overall technology company). They’ve  done it by clever misdirection. I’ll submit that Google is very similar to Microsoft in that it actually develops very little from scratch. So, “innovation” is not a word I’ll assign to Google. They acquire great technology in the form of applications and tools and then arguably make them better and give them life (Google more so than Microsoft ever did). That is how Microsoft (and numerous HUGE companies that reward shareholders) grew. In fact, that’s exactly what Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, did when he spotted and then acquired what is now the foundation of the Android Operating System back in 2005 (very few of you actually knew that). Larry is president of products at Google and is very good at spotting and acquiring great little companies (his co-founder Sergey Brin is the real technology guy, and something of a magician when it comes to inspiring others around him to integrate, well, a lot of things). Thusly, Andy Rubin, the uber-geek that actually invented Android now works for Google as the head of that project. So… Instead of taking Microsoft head-on in desktops, Google first consolidated their hold on Web search, and only then started moving into Web-based desktop applications (i.e. Google Docs, etc). Then, in 2008, they made their first direct strike at the desktop with the release of their own Web browser: Google Chrome. Along the way they actually emulated Apple and discouraged the Android development community from straying from the Mobile Internet Devices (MID) platform. I’ll pause here and point out that MID is Intel’s name for for mobile devices – that include the Asus netbook. It took some digging. But, we’ve sorted out that Android has two product policies in its code (again, rather Apple-like, eh). Product policies are operating system directions aimed at specific uses. The two policies are for phones and MID’s. The same, but different.

But, now, that’s changing – and, fast. In fact, Android is already a desktop operating system.

Android is, after all, a Linux operating system and it’s always been easy to move Linux from one platform to another.

In other words, Google, not just some technically adept users, is likely thinking about using Android as a desktop operating system. And, this could very well unhinge Microsoft. I don’t see Google making its desktop move very quickly though. Although thanks to Android’s already existing hardware partners in the Open Handset Alliance, Android-powered netbooks could arrive as early as spring this year. But, people might prefer a tablet, similar to the iPad. That strikes me as a more likely future. Apple continues to lead the way. And, thusly, Google will continue to prove them right. But, there are always people like me that want a huge screen in their office. So, an Android desktop is a certainty – if only because I want one.

And… It’s sitting in my office now.

There will be challenges, and as you know, I’m a pioneer for those.

Now, here is some boring information for you to ponder as we come to my ultimate point for all of this:

The primary complication (and, part of my keen interest as an investor) is the ecosystem. One important part of the ecosystem would be to have a set of well-functioning applications (an office productivity suite, for example). Google is mostly leaving applications development for Android to third parties (applications which run in the browser like Google Docs being the notable exception). Open Office is something to ponder, now. Oddly, we don’t see enough of these third parties developing applications for Android netbooks in the next twelve months. But, therein lies just one of the opportunities.

From a decided authority:

“While it is true that Android’s applications are written in the JVM (Java Virtual Machine, Dalvik, instead of Linux developers’ eternal favorites, Gnu C or C++, Android already includes a set of C/C++ libraries. So, porting GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) shouldn’t be that difficult. After that’s done, bringing over OpenOffice 3.0 or the like would be trivial.

But, why bother? Google already has a host of Web-based applications that run great on Chrome.

“Compilation” is a process which needed for a machine such as a PC to be able to use an operating system and understand code. G2 developers (out of the United Kingdom) compiled Android for a regular Intel CPU (which is what the Asus netbook runs on). The G1 phone, the first commercial mobile phone that Android ran on, however used a different processor – the ARM CPU.

Taking that work as credible, I’m going to assume that compilation wouldn’t take that much time.

I envisioned Nicholas up to his elbows in this.

In any event…

Android’s Linux core makes experimental compilations possible. For example, compilations require “drivers”. Drivers are programs which are needed to communicate an operating system like Android with various computer hardware. There are already a lot of Linux drivers, and Linux is able to run on a lot of different computer architectures. As I hinted to above, we are close to having my HP Touchscreen running Linux. Otherwise we’d have needed to build our drivers from scratch.

Based on the progress we see in the Android open source project, we believe that getting an Android desktop to market is feasible under three months. And, the manufacturer will likely be Chinese, and out of Shenzen. Of course, the timing depends as much on decisions by the partners in Google’s OHA alliance and other developers contributing to Android, as it does on Google itself. It is these partners, including device makers and carriers, who decide how and when to adopt Android for different devices and markets. But, that adoption is exploding!

Apparently, mass production of the desktop, tablet or netbook would be possible under nine months. Do it! However, as we evaluate the progress of the various OHA projects, we expect conditions for a mass-market to ripen in 2011, rather than in 2010 (especially with what’s looming on the commercial real estate horizon – more about that in two weeks). Right now a variety a of OHA members, both announced and, perhaps more importantly, unannounced (“we” sometimes refer to them affectionately as “they” of a kind), are working on “special projects” to set up a sufficient ecosystem.

If you couldn’t follow all, or enough, of this. Or, just want the life-changing elements – try and grasp this:

I’ll (and, legion will help me) make sure Apple sets the standard as a quality benchmark that Google will continue to value up. As a shareholder focused on wealth building that makes perfect sense. Then, I’ll leverage that to fund and enable my ultimate mission of vengeance against Microsoft. I own all three stocks, and using the first two to unhinge the third is going to be a nice, long, smooth and deeply gratifying process. This is, after all, an epic story based on good vs. evil (the promise being no evil shall be realized, eh). And, its been a blast to be in the midst of all of it, with the promise of so many more adventures to follow.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

Share this Blog with friends or enemies (via Twitter). Do it!:

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Archives

Email Subscription

Linkedin

View Brian Cork's profile on LinkedIn

Categories



%d bloggers like this: