The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Apples are good for you Androids not so much

October13

last week I saw the new Samsung handset that is running the latest Google Android Operating System: “Ice Cream Sandwich”.

it’s a good device.

…seriously.

solid. and, the OS feels vibrant.

here is some recent press that adds some relevant perspective:

“Google is also helped by its expansion into mobile phones with its popular Android software. The company’s mobile revenue is now running at about $625 million per quarter, a crowing [Larry] Page said Thursday. He sounded confident that mobile will become an even bigger moneymaker with next week’s scheduled release of updated Nexus phone from Samsung and Google’s proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of cell phone maker Motorola Mobility Inc.”

but,  all that said, there’s been some media “stuff” around Samsung and Google holding-off from announcing the Samsung device running the newest Android Operating System out of respect for Steve Job’s recent passing.

that’s rubbish.

and, it’s “reverse marketing” with them trying to come-off like nice guys. the reality is Steve would have RELISHED the competition, and APPRECIATED any announcement coming out, even at his service, because he believed with all his heart that ANY innovation was great for us all. he was confident in his own vision-driven road-map to stand before all-comers.

see a pending Blog post for more. but, of miner consequence, here is a recent article from the The Milton Herald that includes a few quotes from me around Jobs.

now we have even more perspective as to why Apple stuck to it’s standard product roll-out strategy in rolling with the “4S” and not appeasing some people with a preemptive “5” (well… other than the fact that Apple always sticks to it’s, collective, guns). ha! once people see the iPhone 5 (the iPhone 4S is really is already quite a remarkable upgrade), Android will have to stop trying to compete.

and, for the record, the following press offers additional, and relevant, perspective…

Apple has claimed that pre-orders of the iPhone 4S are breaking prior records.

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple says first-day pre-orders of the iPhone 4S topped 1 million, breaking the record set by last year’s model.

Apple Inc. and various phone companies started taking orders for the phone only last Friday. the new iPhone hits stores today. it looks the same as the base “4”. but, in truth, it’s a significant upgrade – but barely heralds the great promise of the iPhone 5.

so… first-day orders for the iPhone 4 were 600,000 when it launched last year (that puts the numbers above around Google in it’s place. “crowing”, indeed.). and, as most of you know, it was then sold in the U.S. only by AT&T Inc. now, the iPhone 4S is also sold by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp.

keep watching Sprint. as I predicted several weeks ago, it’s offering unlimited DATA for Apple’s iPhone users, something AT&T and Verizon can’t and won’t do, [yet]. I’m planning on making the jump to Sprint, myself. and, Sprint has something up their sleeve. look at China as part of the plan. any Android device strategy is going to be kicked-in-the-teeth.

it’s now no secret that Sprint has made what appears to the unwashed unknowing, a Risky $20 billion bet on the iPhone: http://mashable.com/2011/10/03/sprint-20-billion-iphone/?utm_source=iphoneapp.

twenty billion is a debatable figure. or, maybe it’s relatable. but, to be clear, Sprint has reportedly agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones, regardless of whether it can find customers that will buy them. in fact, for the moment, Sprint does not, currently, have anything near that size in terms of smartphone customer-base.

but, that public information is a bit misleading.

my take?

watch what happens with Sprints indirect “partners” in China. this way you (as defined by those that do the research) won’t be surprised by the nationalization of the cellular industry and where the supply of iPhones comes from.

the demand for iPhone (and, NOT Android devices) coming from that region is going to be insatiable.

consider this for additional perspective (I know I’m probably over-using the word: perspective. but, it’s working, today)…

Sprint did not commit to buying $1 billion dollars worth of Android devices.

the companies CEO is betting the house, and his reputation on Steve Jobs’ (and, that of new CEO Tim Cook) go-forward thinking. I’ll be covering this in a great amount of detail in just a few weeks. first, I’ve got some meetings on the West Coast, and some intelligence gathering  work afoot outside of Shenzen, China to work through. but, just be ready. do it!

Larry Page may be crowing today. that’s fine. but, Steve Jobs is likely beaming. and, more of us are with him every day.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

 

Apple always bites back

October5

Sprint did not fall over itself committing to buy Android devices, did they?

I’ll be arguing, sooner than later, that Android devices are for losers. or, possibly simply for those that don’t mind losing. stand by for that. but, when I unleash that hell on Google you can be certain there will be yelling, fist-shaking, and a fair amount of pushing and shoving in many a hallway and Starbucks.

perhaps of more concern, in terms of the immediate, I’ll be discussing the new iPhone shortly, but consider only the recent news regarding Sprint Nextel Corporation. late Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that as Apple Inc. prepared to release the new(ish) iPhone Tuesday, the terms it has squeezed from Sprint reveal the leverage it has over the telecom companies that once drove decision-making.

this is important information for both perspective and as a back-drop for future decision-making.

the Wall Street Journal reported (but, I already knew) that Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier behind ATA&T and Verizon, is making a multi-billion-dollar gamble on the Apple iPhone. Sprint has apparently committed to buying at least 30.5 million iPhones, in a deal the company will lose money on until 2014. but, just so we are clear, this is, in fact, a BILLION DOLLAR BET, on Apple.

prediction – and, you read it, here, first.

watch what happens with Sprints indirect “partners” in China. this way you (as defined by those that do the research) won’t be surprised by the nationalization of the cellular industry and where the supply of iPhones comes from. and, whom buys a lot of those phones committed to by Sprint. the demand for iPhone (and, NOT Android devices) coming from that region is going to be insatiable.

short Google, and buy Apple.

meanwhile…

looking at the new(ish) iPhone 4S… here is a valid line of thinking that I know analysts (and consumers) will pick-up on…

don’t look for a detailed technology overview from me. NOTE: I underutilize technology, but I understand and appreciate it. my role, here, is to add perspective.

so… the new(ish) iPhone 4S is evidently twice as fast as the original 4, and jammed with new features and upgraded hardware (most people will never buy an actual camera again – so, Apple has changed camera-use behavior, if not an entire and separate industry).

the voice recognition software called “SIRI” is stunning, and cool, and I’m already spoiled by it.

there is no bottom-line. the story will only get bigger and Apple technology more impactful to our lives, collectively. the simple fact is that the iPhone 4S is an almost entirely new and very much upgraded iPhone. but, in typical Apple fashion, they are down-playing that and sticking to their road-map strategy and simply calling it the (S), just like they did with the 3S.

the best news is Apple consumers expect miracles. The stock is a miracle. Apple continues to lead down more roads than most people could ever hope to travel.

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

a slice of Apple's market (or, no bones for the clones)

November6

The not likely enigmatic, and potentially un-researched Brian Caulfield at Forbes (hello Brian) recently asked the question:

“Would you build Apple clones if you got a green light from Cupertino for it? Would you buy one?”

You can read the entire article, as uninspired as it is, here: Apple Cloner Wants To Be Declared Legal.

But, here’s a taste:

“The Florida startup is determined to build a business putting Apple’s software on its computers. Would that really be so bad for Apple?”

I dutifully responded to Brian’s article. You’ll see my thoughts there. But, to make it easier I’ll add them right here on this post – because it’s the point I want to make.

Thusly, both my experience and  thinking is:

“No. Historically, when apple permitted “clones” to run it’s Operating System, the user experience, and always, the customer service, was awful. Apple insists that the entire experience be best-of-class from where you purchase your reliable and state-of-the-art technology (the Apple Store), through the user and application experience, to the Genius Bar, in the rare times there is a problem. When other manufacturers are involved Quality Control has to be a major concern. And Pystar is much too unproven in this arena. In, fact, it’s likely this law suit is more about grabbing attention than legitimate business strategy and desire to compete.”

For perspective (certainly to help Mr. Caulfield to remember to research before you write), I’ll add a a bit of history to my experience…

By 1995, Apple Macintosh computers accounted for about 7% of the worldwide desktop computer market. Apple executives decided to launch an official clone program in order to expand Macintosh market penetration. Apple’s clone program entailed the licensing of the Macintosh ROMs and system software to other manufacturers, each of which agreed to pay a flat fee for a license, and a royalty for each clone computer they sold. This generated quick revenues for Apple during a time of financial crisis. From early 1995 through mid-1997, it was possible to buy PowerPC – based clone computers running Mac OS (though OS 7), most notably from Power Computing. Other licensees were MotorolaRadius, APS Technologies, DayStar DigitalUMAXMaxxBoxx, and Tatung. In terms of exterior styling, Mac clones often more closely resembled generic PCs than their Macintosh counterparts.

And, of course, quality was an issue for everyone. We tried to use them in our businesses (we’ve been Apple evangelists since 1984 just as I was graduating from college and figured out early I did not want to bother with telling a DOS computer what to do). It was never a satisfying experience.

Soon after Steve Jobs, triumphantly, should add, returned to Apple. He quickly backed out of recently renegotiated licensing deals with OS licensees that Apple executives complained were still financially unfavorable. Because the clone-makers’ licenses were valid only for Apple’s System 7 operating system, Apple’s release of Mac OS 8 left the clone manufacturers without the ability to ship a current Mac OS version, and effectively ended the cloning program. NOTE: Apple bought Power Computing’s Mac clone business for $100 million, ending the Clone era.

Jobs publicly stated, taking a good and solid jab at the outbound CEO (whose name must not be mentioned), that the program was ill-conceived and had been a result of “institutional guilt,” meaning that for years, there had been a widely held belief at Apple that had the company aggressively pursued a legal cloning program early in the history of the Macintosh, consumers might have turned to low-priced Macintosh clones rather than low-priced IBM/PC-compatible computers. Had it pursued a clone program in the 1980s, in this view, Apple might have ended up in the position currently occupied by Microsoft – an extremely powerful company with high profit margins and a wide base of consumers perpetually dependent on its system software products. Jobs claimed it was now too late for this to happen and the Mac clone program was doomed to failure from the start, and since Apple made money primarily by selling computer hardware, it ought not engage in a licensing program that would reduce its hardware sales.

This is a great lesson in terms of having a clear vision and executing through it. Apple’s products and services are, indeed, considered best in all categories, and they have the delighted customers, profitable bottom-line, and satisfied shareholders to prove it.

By the way… The very fact that Pystar, the cloning company, wants their machines to be declared “legal” obfuscates the fact they know and understand that they are illegal. And, this is a real story that should rile the Apple faithful.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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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

 

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