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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Motorola Xoom is not a failure because it didn’t sell iPad numbers

I’m sorry if I sound like an Android cheerleader. I love Android phones, but have an iPod Touch and an iPad 2, so I live in both camps.  What is frustrating is Android, for all its success, gets pretty unfairly criticized by even tech circles.  Take the most recent example of allegedly low sales for the Motorola Xoom, the premiere Android tablet.

The Xoom sold an estimated 100,000 units, a spec compared to the millions of iPad 2 sales over the approximately sale timespan.  But you don’t judge success against the blockbuster.  The iPad is the Avatar blockbuster compared to the the Tourist’s healthy box office.

The same comparisons of Android phones get made to the iPhone. No single Android phone will match Apple sales 1 to 1. Android hardware competes with dozens of hardware makers for carrier and shelf space.  Apple has a focused process which works very well for them.  It would be like saying the Macbook Air outsells every Windows laptop and thinking this somehow says every Windows laptop is a failure.

Also note that for most of this sales period, there was only one version of the Xoom compared to 6 different iPads.  Yes, I’m sure the top of the line iPad sold more than the Xoom, but those numbers would likely be more comparable than all iPad versions.

Let’s do some math. The Xoom, retailing for $800, sold 100,000 units. That means Motorola made $80,000,000 in about a month.  Even for a large company like Motorola, that is some respectable revenue.  It’s very possible Motorola expected higher sales. But can we please stop calling Android hardware a failure? Let’s remember how unremarkable the first Android phone, the G1, was. And yet now the total of Android phones are outselling iPhones.  This is a marathon.

Harvard Business Reviews sees Big Content is threatening innovation

It’s always exciting to see a new, mainstream publication see what I and other haves been so concerned about.  James Allworth writes a short piece for the Harvard Business Review about how Big content is strangling innovation with its misunderstanding and animosity against technology. Allworth writes:

Many in the high technology industry have known this for a long time. Despite making their living relying on it, the Big Content players do not understand technology, and never have. Rather than see it as an opportunity to reach new audiences, technology has always been a threat to them. Example after example abounds of this attitude; whether it was the VCR which was “to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone” as famed movie industry lobbyist Jack Valenti put it at a congressional hearing, or MP3 technology, which they tried to sue out of existence. In fact, it’s possible to go back as far as the gramophone and see the content industries rail against new technology. The reason why? Every shift in technology is difficult for them. Just as they work out how to make money using one technology, it changes.

This is nothing new and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who follows Big Content’s approach to technological innovation.   Allworth didn’t even include the TV industry fighting cable television, movie industries fighting TV, and the music industry fearing the player piano (leading to their own congressional hearings in the turn of the 20th century).

Today, Big Content is trying to stifle everything from Netflix to BitTorrent.  Viacom is continuing its billion dollar lawsuit against YouTube.  Media companies prevent web browsers on your TV or phone from viewing Hulu because they want you to pay for the privilege, limiting its usefulness.  Movie companies have announced they want to cut off Netflix’s supply of good movies. Cloud music services and news aggregators both offer products customers want, but the established content providers only see this technology as threats to their current, obsolete business models.

Let’s not forget how that VCR thing worked out. Home video eventually grew to be a larger part of the movie business than the box office.

With the DMCA already oppressively one-sided, Big Content is trying to get the COICA passed which would make legal the domain seizures the government is already engaging it (and finding it to be a complete failure).  Censorship and stifling new, innovative businesses.  Sounds like the perfect way to win the future in America.