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  • Apple 'an amazing company' says Microsoft's Bill Gates

    steveh said:
    Microsoft's "saving" Apple was hardly done out of altruism, nor did it cost Microsoft anything in the long term.

    In 1997, Microsoft bought 150,000 shares of Apple preferred stock, convertable to common shares of Apple stock at a price of $8.25, redeemable after a three year period, for $150 million. Apple was worth ~ $3B at the time.

    By 2001, they'd converted all of the shares into common stock, netting the company approximately 18.1 million shares. 

    By 2003, they'd sold all of it.

    It was mostly optics.
    One of the reasons Microsoft invested in Apple was to make sure Apple survived.  They needed Apple because there were threats of restraint-of-trade suits against Microsoft because of the dominance of Windows and (at the time), Explorer as the default browser.    There were fears the Government was going to get involved. 

    Apple really was in trouble at the time.   There were calls for Apple to either shut down and give the money back to shareholders or sell itself to a company like Sony, which demonstrates how analysts and industry insiders were just as dumb (if not dumber) back then as they are now.

    I've posted this before, but here's some brilliant quotes by these geniuses over the years:

    John C. Dvorak, 1984. “The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a "mouse". There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don’t want one of these new fangled devices."

    former Apple VP Gaston Bastiaens, January 1996.  “Within the next two months, Sony will acquire Apple. … Sony will be the white knight who will step into the picture."

    Michael Dell, October 1997.  "I'd shut [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders."

    Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe, 1998.  "The iMac will only sell to some of the true believers. The iMac doesn’t include a floppy disk drive for doing file backups or sharing of data. ... The iMac will fail. 

    10/5/2000   Michael S. Malone.  Apple R.I.P.   … “Nevertheless, the bloom is off the rose. The incredible run-up Apple stock has enjoyed since Steve's return is over, and the sheen of success that had enveloped the company has been tarnished.    A temporary setback? Don't be too sure. Unlike, say, Hewlett-Packard, Apple has always been a company that deals poorly with failure. When things go bad at Apple, they go very bad. “

    5/21/2001  Cliff Edwards    Commentary: Sorry, Steve: Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work. “New retail outlets aren't going to fix Apple's sales “

     12/23/2006 Bill Ray (Mobile)

    “Why the Apple phone will fail, and fail badly”.  It's the Pippin all over again”

     1/14/2007 Matthew Lynn.   Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move

    “…Don't let that fool you into thinking that it matters. The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won't be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business…

    The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant”

     

    3/28/2007 John Dvorak.  Apple should pull the plug in the iPhone.   Commentary:  Company risks its reputation in competitive business

    … Now compare that effort and overlay the mobile handset business. This is not an emerging business. In fact it's gone so far that it's in the process of consolidation with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia Corp… and Motorola Inc.” 

    Apple just had two record breaking sales and net-income quarters at a time when the analysts and press claimed the iPhone X wasn't selling.  Apple Services alone, if spun off, would make the Fortune 100 list and it's rarely even mentioned.    Apple's net income in fiscal 2017 was LARGER than their net sales in 2009 and before.  One quarter of Apple's Services revenue is LARGER than annual sales of the entire company before fiscal 2004.    And yet the analysts keep trying to imply that Apple is somehow failing.   Either they're completely stupid or this is clearly stock manipulation.     

    I don't care what the article says - Buffet didn't buy more Apple stock because he saw that customers liked Apple and bought into the eco-system - there's no doubt in my mind that he looked at the numbers, which are extraordinary.  There's a good chance Apple will beat the fiscal 2015 net sales record of $233.715 billion as they're already at $149.44 billion after two quarters.   But having said all that, there is a question of what Apple is going to be ten years from now.   I've predicted for some time that 15 years from now, Apple will be an A.I. and robotics company, but with Siri still being so lame, I'm not so sure anymore.  

    fotoformatperpetual3electrosoftStrangeDaysjonagoldjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Wide-ranging Music Modernization Act signed into law

    rcfa said:
    The problem has never been that music is too cheap, but that artists don’t get enough of the pie while consumers got raped.

    Example: LPs were more expensive to produce, store, transport than CDs. Yet CDs were priced higher than LPs, because “consumers get higher sound quality and convenience (no flipping over of records, cleaning off dust, etc.)
    So record companies increased profit margins, artists got the same. When distribution went to download, costs for warehousing, transportation, dealers, etc. disappeared, being replaced by comparatively modest costs for server space. Did prices drop? No! Did artists get paid more? No! So the “record” companies wanted even more profits, but when consumers feeling being ripped off started pirating songs, they were complaining, using the “poor starving artists” as reason why pirating music is evil, all the while they pushed for legislation that made tons of artists work ineligible for royalties, declaring it “work for hire”.

    In other words: as much I’m for artists getting paid fairly I am against consumers getting shafted by corporate greed under false pretenses. If this law doesn’t do anything to actually help artists and curb corporate greed, it’s pretty much useless.
    The "meme" is that physical music was expensive starting with the era of the CD, but it wasn't.   That was just a message from consumers who thought music should be free and who were too cheap to pay for it.   And it's cheaper now than it's ever been.

    The record labels are making far less money than they were during the heyday of physical music, which is why there are only three major record companies left:  Sony, Universal and Warner.  

    In 1948, when the LP was introduced, the first LP sold for $4.85, which is over $50 in 2018 dollars.

    In the 1960's, 45 RPM singles listed for $1 (albeit for a 2-sided single) and generally sold for 64 to 66 cents.  65 cents in 1963 is $5.36 in current dollars.  For ONE SONG (okay, two songs, but no one wanted the b-side in most cases).  

    In December 1953, discounted LP's at Liberty Records in NYC were selling for $3.15.  That's $29.55 in current dollars
    In December 1965, on sale LP's at Sam Goody's that listed for $3.79, $4.79 and $5.79 were discounted to $2.17, $2.77 and $3.77.   That's $17.23, $21.99 and $26.76 respectively in current dollars.
    In December 1970, E. J. Korvettes was discounting $4.98 to $2.88 (Joe Cocker, Van Morrison), $5.98 to $3.38 (deja vu) and $6.98 to $3.88 (Abbey Road).  That's $18.26, $21.43 and $24.60 in current dollars.

    Today, most new CD's retail for $10 to $14 and they tend to have more tracks.  Back catalog CD's are as little as $6  (not that anyone is buying CD's anymore).  That's the cheapest physical music has ever been. 

    The record companies aren't the ones who are selling you downloads and streams, so their servers have little to do with it.  Those are third parties like Apple, Pandora and Spotify who must license from the record labels.   And while we don't know how Apple Music is doing because Apple doesn't break out the numbers, we do know that Pandora and Spotify are not profitable.   (Pandora was just sold to Sirius/XM).  

    The North American recorded music market was $14.6 billion in 1999.  That's over $22 billion in current dollars.    In 2017, the industry did only $8.7 billion.  It's on track to do about $9.2 billion this year, but in real terms, the industry is only 42% its peak size (and those revenue numbers are based upon list prices, so actual revenue to the industry is much smaller).

    And in any case, performing artists, writers and producers deserve to get paid a decent amount of money.   It used to be that successful artists made money from their recorded music and went on the road to support the album.  Today, it's the opposite.  Few are making anything from their recorded music, so their revenue comes from the road and the recorded music backs the tour.   But only the most popular acts can make any money on the road. 

    As to whether artists will still get shafted under this new law, I have no idea.  At least they'll get paid for pre-1972 recordings.  Performing artists (and/or their labels) still won't get paid for U.S. over-the-air radio play.   But it's hard to be convincing about corporate greed when music is the least expensive it's ever been (except for the limited edition, very expensive boxed sets sold to collectors, like the forthcoming Beatles White Album deluxe boxed set and others like it).     Streaming now constitutes 77.1% of the North American business, downloads are 12.6% and physical units are 10.3% (all in dollars at list prices).   Only 18.6 million CD's were sold in the first half of the year.   At its peak in (full-year) 2000, it was 942.5 million.   And lest you think that vinyl LP's are the savior of the industry, only 8.1 million were sold in the first half of the year, more than last year, but less than 2015.   The full year will have fewer LP sales than what just two of the best selling albums of all time sold.    
    bestkeptsecretsphericbaconstangchasm
  • Actually, there is something new about Apple's upcoming iPhone 7

    While I don't disagree with everything the writers and bloggers have to say (I do think it would be a huge mistake to drop the headphone port), journalists have been getting it wrong for decades.   There's also this ridiculous attitude (also expressed by many on this forum) that if everyone doesn't want to upgrade every year, then Apple is doing something wrong.  

    Some examples of past journalistic brilliance:

    John C. Dvorak, 1984“The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a "mouse". There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don’t want one of these new fangled devices."

     former Apple VP Gaston Bastiaens, January 1996.

    “Within the next two months, Sony will acquire Apple. … Sony will be the white knight who will step into the picture."

     

    Michael Dell, October 1997

    "I'd shut [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders."

     

    Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe, 1998.
    "The iMac will only sell to some of the true believers. The iMac doesn’t include a floppy disk drive for doing file backups or sharing of data. ... The iMac will fail.

    10/5/2000   Michael S. Malone

    Apple R.I.P.

    … “Nevertheless, the bloom is off the rose. The incredible run-up Apple stock has enjoyed since Steve's return is over, and the sheen of success that had enveloped the company has been tarnished.

    A temporary setback? Don't be too sure. Unlike, say, Hewlett-Packard, Apple has always been a company that deals poorly with failure. When things go bad at Apple, they go very bad. “

    5/21/2001  Cliff Edwards 

    Commentary: Sorry, Steve: Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work

    “New retail outlets aren't going to fix Apple's sales “

     

    12/23/2006 Bill Ray (Mobile)

    “Why the Apple phone will fail, and fail badly”

    It's the Pippin all over again”

     

    1/14/2007 Matthew Lynn

    Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move

    “…Don't let that fool you into thinking that it matters. The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won't be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business…

    The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant”

     

    3/28/2007 John Dvorak

    Apple should pull the plug in the iPhone

    Commentary:  Company risks its reputation in competitive business

    … Now compare that effort and overlay the mobile handset business. This is not an emerging business. In fact it's gone so far that it's in the process of consolidation with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia Corp… and Motorola Inc.”

     

    anantksundarampscooter63ericthehalfbeexmhillxration alcapasicummagman1979waltgcalimejsric
  • Watch Apple's iPad Pro chew through Fortnite at 60fps

    It’s a powerful iPad, no doubt. Speaking only for myself, the lack of a headphone jack to accept recording studio standard equipment killed the possibility of me buying one for now. I consider this exclusion a shortsighted decision. Surely no “pros” expected Apple to do that.

    I don’t care about Fortnite in the slightest and I’m not going to spend about $2K for a new iPad that’s incompatible with most of my industry standard audio gear.

    Apple sometimes leads in the wrong direction on product design, IMO. They’re not perfect and that’s OK.
    Serious question here: why can't you just use the Apple lightning headphone adapter?  It is tying up the port or the sound quality or an objection to extra cords?
    It was a needless change on Apple’s part (sure they’ll justify it with resons, but those reasons don’t matter to people who place a premium on production speed). It was dumb to eliminate a standard audio port for headphones. My current iPad Pro will accept studio headphones, an adapter for power and a MIDI keyboard or mic without a lot of screwing around. I’m aware my use case isn’t everyone’s. Although I did note with interest similar comments about the elimination of the headphone jack by Alex Lindsay (Pixel Corps) who is even more deeply involved in production. Non-standard equipment changes for no apparent logical reason tends to irritate professionals.
    That's all fine, but an analog headphone jack is not pro level either (except for earphones).   True pro analog is balanced +4dbm on an XLR connector.   A line phone jack at -10dbm is probably also acceptable, but not pro.   A headphone jack doesn't cut it for anything but a headphone.   So you really HAVE to take digital audio out of the port and convert it on another device if you want to use the audio for any pro application.   
    radarthekattmayroundaboutnowrandominternetpersonwatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Eddy Cue repeatedly visited Washington Post, New York Times in failed Apple News+ bid

    When the service becomes huge, as it will, I would keep them out until they are desperate. 

    They got the opportunity of s life time, and turned it down.
    No, it's not the opportunity of a lifetime to share royalties with hundreds of other publications (even aside from the issue of Apple supposedly taking 50% off the top) when you already have a very healthy subscription model, which both the Times and the Post do.   It could have worked if Apple wasn't insisting on needing every article.   The problem with Apple is that they "negotiate" with incredible arrogance.  

    Let's say that there's just 60 publications and everyone gets an equal share and Apple is going to charge $10 a month.   That's $120 a year.  Apple takes $60.   The other $60 gets split among the 60 publications.  So the Times and the Post would each get $1 per year per subscriber.   They currently get a few hundred $ per year.   Even if it were $20 a month, that would be only $2 per year per subscriber.   Why would they do the deal?  It would make absolutely no sense.   
    entropys80s_Apple_Guymuthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidt
  • Researcher calls Samsung's Tizen OS "the worst code I've ever seen"

    Well..Samsung is the company that made a washing machine that caught fire, which I would think would be hard to accomplish.    So what do you expect?   

    sockrolid[Deleted User]palominecalipatchythepiratejbdragoncapasicumlostkiwiwatto_cobracornchip
  • Apple refreshes MacBook Pro with six-core processors, 32GB of RAM

    It's been this way for a while, but I think Apple has lost its mind in regard to pricing.   I think the fact that their executives and managers make so much money (even if offset by absurd housing costs) has distorted their perception of what the masses, even the higher-end of those masses, can afford to buy.

    One can buy an internal Samsung 4TB SSD drive for $1051 and a 2TB for $500.    Of course you can't use that in a MBP because Apple hardwired the storage and made it almost impossible to replace/upgrade.   Apple wants $1200 to go from 512K to 1TB and $3200 to get to 4TB of storage.    Ridiculous.  Apple charges $400 to get from 16GB to 32GB of memory and a 32GB DDR4 kit from a company like Crucial is as little as $350.   And those are (obviously) in quantity one. 

    2.6G / 16GB / 2TB is $4000.    2.9G/ 32GB / 4TB is $6699.   Personally, I think that's absurd.   The only saving grace is that on models released in the last few years, prices came down pretty quickly and there were and continues to be lots of sales.
    aylkwilliamlondon
  • Worries about Apple Watch EKG false positives are inflammatory nonsense

    Unfortunately, this is the "journalistic" world we live in today.   Every website wants clicks and they get those clicks by turning everything into horror (much like local TV news does with weather).  If that means misleading editing of interviews, so be it.  

    When "The Verge" publishes an article stating that people who have home blood pressure gauges also might have false positives and seek care when they don't need it, then I'll take them a little more seriously.   There's nothing wrong with people monitoring their own health.   It doesn't mean they rush to a doctor (if we have a problem in this country, it's that they don't).  It means they have a data point to tell their doctor the next time they go.   
    AppleZulumwhitehodarmld53amagman1979viclauyycbackstabwatto_cobrajony0
  • Tim Cook inaugurates Apple Carnegie Library with help from DC's mayor

    I can understand both sides.   In an ideal world, that library building would have been converted into a great public space.   But the city blew that over many decades and it seems pretty obvious that they weren't going to put in $30 million to renovate it (and if they had, being a Government deal, it would have cost $300 million and taken ten years).   On the other hand, Apple did indeed restore the building and even if one doesn't have the income to afford Apple products, one can walk into the building and use the computers.  I also assume that Apple doesn't occupy the entire building so the building is still being put to other uses.   

    And if the City had come up with the money to restore the building, what kind of public use could the building of had?  Does D.C. really need any more museums?   Even if it had become a museum, most museums are quite expensive today, so I'm not sure how many of the city's residents would have made use (and even if they had, how often do people visit the same museum - once a year, maybe?)   I'm a big fan of public libraries, but the library had moved out years ago.   It probably doesn't have the appropriate configuration to have become a school.   

    On a side note, while Apple products are expensive, when I'm on the NYC subways, I see lots of people who get on or off the trains in working class and low-income neighborhoods carrying iPhones.   I would assume they buy them on the monthly payment plan and they find a way to do it.   With the new NYC minimum wage of $15 an hour, three hours a month can just about pay for a phone.  Or maybe they're buying used or refurbished phones.   

    And yes, it would be nice if today's industrialists got together and left a legacy like Andrew Carnegie did.   But we have to deal with today's realities and at least in the case of Bill Gates' charities, the kind of work he's doing to end diseases might be far more valuable and important than restoring an old building.  
    mwhitefotoformatlarryjwminicoffee
  • Editorial: Apple's super obvious secret -- Services is software


    After all, people were bitching about spending $29 for a battery a year ago and today they are bitching about a $1k iPhone, but they want something cutting edge for a modest amount.
    I don't know anyone  who bitched about a $29 battery.  As far as I'm concerned, that was the deal of a lifetime. it enabled me to keep using my iPhone6 and because of that, it raised my admiration of Apple.   On the other hand, it hurt Apple's iPhone sales because without that deal, I probably would have been forced to buy a new phone, but Apple will eventually get my money anyway, probably this Fall.  The problem isn't so much the list price of the phones (although I do bitch about a $1K phone) -- it's that the carriers mostly no longer subsidize them.  I used to be able to walk out with phone for $200 or $300.  (And no, I wasn't paying out the cost of the phone with the service, because my price never went down after the phone would have been paid for.)

    And I also believe that Apple Care is mostly unethical.   Apple charges a LOT of money for their products - more than most everyone else.  Base configuration of a MBP (16GB/256GB SSD) is $2399 and with a 512GB SSD $2799, but I don't consider those machines well equipped.  With a 1TB drive, it's $3299 and with a 2TB SSD, it's $3999.    For that money, Apple should have enough faith in the reliability of its hardware to provide AT LEAST a two year warranty.   They should't be relying upon Apple Care as a profit center when most of the repairs are due to Apple's own design failures.   

    My MBP screen failed under warranty.   Didn't cost me anything to have it fixed and Apple fixed it in a day, but if it had been out-of-warranty, it would have cost something like $800.   If that ever happened to me, it would be my last Apple machine.   

    Back in the day I owned an Acura, which came with a 5-year warranty.   The cars were so reliable, Acura increased the warranty to six years for existing customers at no charge.  It didn't cost them much because the cars weren't breaking down anyway, but you really felt that the company had your back.   The one time the car did break down, it was because of a part that had been recalled, but I hadn't gotten the notice yet.   I had to have the car towed from New Jersey to my home in NYC and then towed from my home to the dealer.   Acura paid all of those costs as well as the repair costs without any hassle whatsoever.   Now that's service and I didn't pay for any kind of extra warranty.
    Latkocolinngcornchip