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  • Bill Gates said Steve Jobs caught Microsoft 'flat-footed' with launch of iTunes Store

    blastdoor said:
    I really appreciate the sincerity of bill’s emails. It’s nice to see the genuine appreciation of a competitor’s capabilities.
    Great people respect their competitors. It has been like this since the beginning of time.

    Bill Gates has plenty of character flaws and weaknesses but for sure he was a ruthless businessman and pugnacious adversary.

    By contrast, his hatchet man Steve Ballmer didn't take Apple seriously, squandered Microsoft's entire mobile presence and let Apple blow past them in terms of market valuation.

    Ballmer was the right guy for a short period of time but couldn't successfully step into a larger leadership role. B-schools routinely use Microsoft as a case study of disastrous failure. Today Microsoft has re-emerged as a powerhouse but only from their enterprise/cloud computing efforts. The current Microsoft CEO can take most of this credit, certainly not Ballmer.
  • 2022 Mac Pro said to use Intel Ice Lake Xeon W-3300 CPU

    Xed said:

    The Mac Pro was a market failure long before the trashcan. It's why they tried a different form factor in the first place. Calling that an "experiment" and in the same breath calling Apple foolish for designing their own chips is about the most assinine thing I've read on this forum.

    The current Mac Pro is better, but it's still not great. I doubt that it ever can be. The overhead is too high for the low volume of sales. The era for giant desktops is long over, regardless of what Golden Age you want to pretend will come back around.
    And yet, the mid-tower case is typical form factor in the HEDT/workstation market.

    Remember that Apple returned to the standard form factor BASED ON THE DESIRES AND FEEDBACK OF MAC PRO USERS. They did not like the trashcan. Apple made a mistake making the Mac Pro design whimsical rather than practical. When the system is under a desk, in a server room, or mounted in a rack, it really doesn't matter that it's a mid-tower PC case.

    Externalizing the PCIe bus via Thunderbolt was also poorly received. It's helpful for a notebook computer or a SFF desktop like the Mac mini. For a larger desktop configuration, relying on Thunderbolt for expansion makes very little sense. As an owner of a Sonnet Breakaway eGFX chassis, I will state that this is a rather large box for just one graphics card. There are no connections for anything else, so an inefficient use of space.

  • Apple's Tim Cook was second highest paid US CEO in 2019

    chadbag said:
    Does anyone know if this is actual vested stock or new grants that have yet to vest?  (And what the vesting schedule is)
    As mentioned by Carnegie, Cook receives both time-based and performance-based grants.

    My guess -- based on Tim's public persona of fairness and equality -- is that his time-based grants are on the same vesting schedule as those of his line employees. In Silicon Valley, this has long meant 20% of the grant's shares vesting one year after the date of the grant followed by 2% additional vesting each month. Thus, to be 50% vested, it would take 1 year + 15 months. To be fully vested for that specific grant, it would take 1 year + 40 months = 4 years + 4 months.

    Tim's sense of fairness shows up a bit in his $3 million salary. He is not playing that $1 annual salary game. He is still contributing to the regular social welfare pots: Social Security, Medicare, SDI, etc. plus other things like a pre-tax medical account ("cafeteria plan") and a long-term care policy. The rest of it is likely withheld for federal and state income taxes. I bet his actual bi-weekly pay stub is less than $50 net.

    Silicon Valley has a nickname for these time-based grants; they are known as "golden handcuffs" because they incentivize the employees to remain with the company.

    His performance based grants are probably described in the company's SEC filings. Note that these types of performance-based grants for senior executives don't automatically vest. They are reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors' compensation committee. Often, performance based grants are not fully granted if the company's performance falls short of the goals set in the grant. In this case, it is usually not an all-of-nothing deal and the compensation committee reduces the amount of awarded grant.

    The Bloomberg figure would have to be that of exercised grants. An unexercised grant -- even if fully vested -- is still theoretical money. Cook -- like others in his category -- periodically exercise vested grants for the primary purpose of portfolio diversification. 

    Of course, the IRS does not care about unvested, unexercised grants. The only figure that is truly important is the value of the exercised grant. That is the number that the IRS (and Franchise Tax Board for Tim) look at.

    My guess is that Tim also donates some of his fully appreciated stock to charitable organizations. There is a considerable tax benefit to donating equities.
  • Apple's take of gaming market suffers due to COVID-19

    Virtually every single entry on that list above Apple is either a full-focus gaming developer, distributor, or publisher (e.g. Valve), or has a major division devoted to gaming (e.g. Microsoft), while Apple is primarily a general computing product and services company.  While Apple does pay attention to mobile gaming, I've posted before that I think they don't really care about gaming on Mac OS, and I don't see much evidence that they'd be heartbroken if even mobile gaming weren't a runaway record shattering thing.

    Not sure this is an apples to apples, or even oranges, comparison.
    You are correct.

    This is even less surprising when one takes into account the platforms and marketshare.

    Apple Arcade only runs on Apple devices running the latest version of the operating system. My iPhone XS is on iOS 12.4.1; no Apple Arcade for me. My two Macs are both running Mojave 10.14; no Arcade games there. And I have a third generation Apple TV. So no Apple Arcade in my home.

    Game publishers like Activision Blizzard have titles that run on multiple platforms, almost all of them with more marketshare and penetration than Apple products. iPhones don't dominate the smartphone market, Macs comprise less than 10% of the PC market, and Apple TV is not the dominant force for set-top TV streamers. Plus Activision Blizzard has titles that run on consoles and likely handheld units. There is no Apple console hardware. Only the most recent iPod touch is supported by Apple Arcade. The previous generation iPod touches (like mine) is stuck at iOS 12.4.6, no Arcade there either.

    You add all of this together and there's no plausible argument for Apple to have a dominant stance.

    I don't even play videogames but this analysis is pretty short-sighted.
  • Comcast extends 1.2TB monthly Xfinity data cap to nearly all customers

    rob53 said:
    We did and used our one free overage so next time it will cost. We have gigabit service and because of COVID we’ve been watching too much TV. Big Sur is a 12GB download so we’ll eat up a bunch with that. 
    Big Sur's 12GB download is chump change.

    Blu-ray discs hold more than that and that technology is about a decade old. And that's just the 1080p stuff, not the more recent 4K Blu-ray content.

    Today's modern videogames are FAR larger than Big Sur.

    Marvels Avengers is 133GB. And that isn't even the record holder. One of the Call of Duty games clocks in well over 200GB. For PC games, 50GB sizes are pretty routine these days.

    I think Microsoft Flight Simulator is about 80GB but requires a high-speed broadband connection because most of the database is stored in the cloud. Apparently all of the data comprises petabytes and keeps growing.

    American residential broadband is slow and overpriced compared to what Southeast Asia and Europe gets. US broadband is downright ghetto.
  • Bill Gates said Steve Jobs caught Microsoft 'flat-footed' with launch of iTunes Store

    danox said:
    mcdave said:
    Microsoft just aren’t good at products, they’ve always lacked the cohesive design capability good products require. They’re the IT equivalent of meccano (we can’t make it do something useful but maybe you can).
    Which why Apple can disrupt Microsoft in the server market, now that they have a in house cpu at anytime they choose to.
    Apple abandoned the server hardware business long ago. We know that Apple has run Oracle applications on big servers (presumably UNIX and Linux boxes) for 20+ years. For the foreseeable future, there are likely certain parts of their business that will require non-Apple software running on non-Apple hardware.

    However, it is my belief that Apple can move a substantial portion of its data center operations away from x64 architecture hardware and to their own custom silicon which is vastly superior in terms of performance-per-watt. This may include custom in-house SoCs that are largely CPU and machine learning cores (no graphics cores) and are optimized for specific tasks compared to a general purpose CPU from Intel or AMD.

    Not marketing this special silicon gives Apple a competitive advantage in terms of operational efficiency.

    If Apple could disrupt Microsoft in the server market, it would be by reducing their reliance on Microsoft server software (which I do not believe they have widely implemented) or Microsoft cloud services (also not believed to be widely used by Apple).
  • 2022 Mac Pro said to use Intel Ice Lake Xeon W-3300 CPU

    robaba said:
    Wow-lots of FUD here.  Only a few minutes before my mid morning shift begins, but I just want to point out a few things.

    M1X is in production as we speak.
    the Mac Pro workstation will feature a chiplet with multiple M1X instances on it.
    These chipsets will be cost effective simply because of the volume of the M1X.
    the Mac Pro Workstation will not need to exist in its current huge chunk of milled aluminum tower format simply due to the fact that Apple silicon produces a fraction of the heat of x86.
    My guess is that Apple will reuse the current Mac Pro chassis for the first iteration of the Apple Silicon Mac Pro.

    I would not expect a redesigned Mac Pro chassis until the second iteration of the ASi Mac Pro. The current Mac Pro design has been on the market for a while and there are now third-party accessories, mounting hardware, etc. for this specific design. Moreover, this Mac Pro has a modular component design, Apple might be able to redesign the individual modules and still keep the main chassis the same (or very close). Remember that Apple prefers to get some mileage out of an industrial design.

    Perhaps more importantly, Mac Pro customers (I'm thinking production houses, etc.) can swap out Intel Mac Pros with ASi Mac Pros without reconfiguring cages, racks, whatever.
  • AirPods Max won't support Apple Music lossless over Lightning, HomePod also left out

    MplsP said:
    crowley said:
    So who exactly is this lossless nonsense for then?
    3 groups:
    1. A select group of audiophiles with both the equipment and the ears to hear the difference and who actually care about the difference.
    2. People who like to think they are more discriminating than they are and want 'pro quality audio' so they can feel like they're listening to the best quality.
    3. People who compare Apple's streaming service to Amazon, Spotify, etc.

    I have a suspicion that group 1 is dwarfed by groups 2 and 3.

    AI has a post describing how to take tell if you can actually tell the difference: How to find out if Apple Music Lossless streaming will make a difference for you 0 of 5 writers who took the comparison test could tell a difference. 
    There's one thing missing here: the content.

    Lossless/high-definition audio is mostly useful for certain types of music, essentially classical for the most part. Of the AI writers' test article, none of the songs used were classical so it's no wonder than the five writers couldn't hear a difference.

    Lossless doesn't really benefit the standard stuff you hear on the radio: contemporary rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, whatever.

    It does make a difference for playback of something like remastered albums of historic recordings like Wagner's Ring Cycle (Sir Georg Solti, late '50s) or Tristan und Isolde (also Solti from this era). Both are considered by recording engineers to be amongst the finest ever made.

    Regular contemporary music doesn't have the dynamic range to truly benefit from high-bitrate playback. Worse, most listeners are doing so in environments not ideal for music listening are are using music as a background soundtrack, not something they are focusing on.

    If you care about sitting on the living room couch and listening to Sir Andras Schiff playing the Goldberg Variations or a Beethoven sonata on a two-hundred year old piano (or the Bosendorfer he travels with), yeah, you might get something out of lossless audio. If you are just listening to whatever Top 40 [email protected] on your AirPods while you're out for a run, forget about it.

    For typical people (Joe Consumer) listening to typical music (mundane radio stuff) on typical equipment (mass market hardware) in typical situations (while you are doing something else), 256Kbps AACs are quite sufficient.
  • California university providing iPad Air bundle for 35,000 students

    This isn't about teaching computing basics to new students. It's expected that these incoming students know basic computing since that's how college applications are filed anyhow.

    This is more about providing a standardized content delivery platform so that students with modest backgrounds have the same access to the educational tools as the ones whose families can afford fancier technology. This also streamlines content creation (textbooks, multimedia content, lesson materials, etc.) for the faculty.

    Not all of the CSU schools are equal and certainly various majors attract a wide diversity of people. If I recall correctly, CSU Riverside has a large number of incoming freshmen who are the first in their family to go to college. It's not just the School of Engineering kids at San Jose State.

    Things that college can hone is deductive reasoning and critical thinking, two skills that many AI commenters seems to failed to pick up on. It also proves that you can FINISH something. Set a goal, pick a timeline and see if you can hit it. In the business world, this is really important to do. In high school, your parents will prod you to make sure you are doing what you need to be doing. In college, YOU -- as an adult -- are responsible for getting it done.

    CSU's distribution of iPads isn't about getting kids familiar with a mouse/stylus/keyboard. They already know about computing: they all have smartphones. Remember that Steve himself called the iPhone "the computer for the rest of us."

  • 'High-end' Apple Silicon iMac may not arrive until 2022

    This probably coincides with the other AI article about Apple attending NAB.  IMHO, I would think there would be some sort of hardware announcement at that time.
    This makes zero sense. Apple does not announce new hardware at third party events. They only announce new hardware at their own events. Same with major software (operating systems, etc.).

    Nobody sane who follows Apple believed that an Apple Silicon Mac Pro was imminent this year. After all Apple themselves clearly stated that their transition to Apple Silicon was a two-year process and we aren't even at fourteen months after the unveiling during last year's WWDC in June.

    Apple does not like to share the limelight with other companies. That's why they bailed out of the Macworld Expo years ago: they make announcements on their own schedule, not someone else's.