Information technology proponents have always been fond of that word “smart”. It’s not hard for a tek-savvy consumer or innovator to view him or herself as a next step in human evolution, a strictly informational animal, elevated above the physical constraints that have burdened simpler ancestors.
And indeed there is something of a “next step” in evolution about Google Inc., which seems to be not only the world leader in online search, online advertising, and a rising force in productivity apps, but also a coming player in energy production, mobility, cooling technology that’s also cool, and TV.
The big bang of computing devices into the mobile space clearly looked like Apple’s iPhone. But as this new universe cools and expands at an unthinkable rate, the early constellations are coalescing around (Google’s) Android’s impressive gravitational field. At the annual Computex show in Taipei, Apple’s iPad has once again set the bar; the hip device this year is the tablet. But where Microsoft’s Windows and Android are both represented, a clear preference for the Android is emerging (sorry again, Steve Ballmer).
“Windows is too big and it’s too full featured for smartbooks and tablets,” Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO at Nvidia said, speaking with reporters in Taipei on Monday. Smartbook is a term used to describe low-cost laptops containing processors designed by Arm instead of x86 chips from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. “The good news is that we finally have an operating system to unite behind. Android is an operating system that has gained a tremendous amount of momentum all over the world,” Huang said. Strong words in an industry still ruled by Microsoft’s founding principles of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
In only one month Microsoft lost a $25 billion lead over Apple in market capitalization, dropped behind by $3 billion, gave Apple the alpha dog status of tech, and all the leverage and power that comes with the sought after top spot.
This is not news to consumers who continue to eagerly mob Apple’s hot new iPhone and iPad models; Microsoft’s consumer products business continues to struggle for every breath. Their decline was underlined by the past weeks of market instability, bringing down the former heavyweight champ’s shares 15%, while Apple’s stock is down just over 6%.
As Windows Mobile gets tired, a hungry pack of Google’s Android based devices, powered by a growing army of developer driven apps, is taking increasing strides in the sector. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Mobile devices set to become the dominant computing platform in the coming years.
Ballmer’s strategy is classic Microsoft: punish and intimidate with a bold reorganization of the company’s struggling hardware unit.
Another Foxconn employee at the Shenzhen plant is dead after falling off a building this Tuesday morning.
With a total workforce in China numbering 800,000, Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer; making devices for leading global electronics brands like Apple and the iPhone. Shenzhen police confirmed the death, and it’s still under investigation as a possible suicide. Nine people have died this year in a series of “incidents” among workers, with two failed suicide attempts.
Discretix expects mobile business security to be catalyzed by a few high profile incidents that will escalate and catapult industry awareness and priority. The immediate response will include mandatory encryption, and other security standards subject to regulatory compliance. A mobile phone/internet device can increase enterprise productivity, but the downside and risk must be taken into consideration. In dollar figures, RIM’s recent acquisition of Certicom weighed in at $100 million, so this downside is not trivial.