Saturday, January 26, 2002
Apple's annual revenues plunged by 33% last year, and its unit sales fell by 32%, so that Apple's total number of units was lower than the increase in sales of Dell PCs. On the revenue side, Apple slumped from $7.98 billion in 2000 to $5.36 billion in 2001. Sales of Macs fell from 4.6 million to 3.1 million, including a 46% fall in sales in Japan. Apple sold 1,768,000 units in the US and 754,000 in Europe. Most sales were iMacs (1,208,000 down from 2,194,000), followed by Power Macs (937,000 including Cubes), iBooks (596,000) and PowerBooks (346,000). This would give Apple a market share of 2.4% if Gartner Dataquest's figures are correct: it puts the total market at 128 million units, including 16,996,000 Dell machines. (I'm sure the Apple figures are correct because they are the ones Apple has supplied to the US government's Securities and Exchange Commision in filing 10-K, here.) But there are consolations for Mac fans. It had amazingly good press coverage for a company that was performing so badly. Also, the failed Cube, the attempt to bolster collapsing iMac sales ("Maybe they'd sell if we did them in polkadots" smacked of desperation), and the five year struggle to ship OS X are things of the past. Things can only get better. But in the longer term, the contrast with Dell is most marked. Apple's revenues have fallen from $11.1 billion in 1995 to $5.4 billion in 2001, while at the same time, Dell Computer's have grown from $3.5 billion to $31.9 billion.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 4:06 PM | | permalink

Geeks v crooks: A wonderful (long) tale of how an online community of Mac users turned cyber-detectives, and managed to help one of their number recover their stolen iMac and printer. Tech detail: they used Timbuktu and Apple Script to find it online, delete their personal data, and find out who had it so the police could go and recover it. Makes you wonder: couldn't computer/operating system manufacturers do more to make computers less stealable?
Posted by Neil McIntosh at 3:01 PM | | permalink

Blogger Pro has launched. This is the long-awaited fee-based upgrade for Blogger, the web tool which makes this weblog tick. We'll be upgrading Onlineblog: it's only $35 (about £25) for a year, and Blogger was good enough to pay for even without the various enhancements available now, or being planned. Much more about Blogger in next week's Online.
Posted by Neil McIntosh at 12:22 PM | | permalink

Friday, January 25, 2002
Perhaps the BBC should be more careful about its choice of file names considering NTK has been on the case for some time, but this week's issue has another choice example --
-- about artist Tracy Emin. Online learned this lesson many years ago after naming a file concerning a certain politician "pantsdown" . . .

Posted by Jack Schofield at 5:44 PM | | permalink

Ten lessons from the debacle include:
(2) It's hugely difficult to build chicken and egg simultaneously. (5) Free is folly. (8) Too early to market? Too bad. (10) Nothing changes overnight. The full list is taken from Investor's Business Daily, January 24. This is a print publication but it was featured in the excellent NewsScan newsletter, here.

Posted by Jack Schofield at 5:20 PM | | permalink

Last night, confronting J Allard (Mr Xbox) in person in London, I asked him about the HomeStation. "There is no truth in the rumours," he said. "We might have had something like that a couple of years ago...." (I hadn't been able to get hold of him before as he is on a European tour, and he hadn't answered my e-mail because, he said, he'd read it on a plane.)
Posted by Jack Schofield at 5:10 PM | | permalink

Thursday, January 24, 2002
Recently I raised the question of PC sales versus sales of DVD players in the US. The answer is that Americans bought roughly 44 million PCs last year, according to Gartner Dataquest figures, compared with 13 million DVD players, according to the excellent table from the Consumer Electronics Association. I don't think anyone who has read the press for the past year would have had the impression that expensive and complicated PCs were outselling cheap and simple DVD players by better than 3 to 1. Indeed, it would be interesting to know if more DVD players were sold inside PCs than separately -- it's certainly possible from the numbers. But don't get too bound up with the astonishing success of the PC market. Sales were down from 49 million last year, and the Intel/Microsoft hegemony won't be able to keep coming up with reasons for people to buy new machines every few years forever,
Posted by Jack Schofield at 6:31 PM | | permalink

Can we stop the deluge of porn spam, and if so, how? Debra Saunders has raised the issue, and deserves an answer.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 5:32 PM | | permalink

Following our little exclusive two weeks ago about Ev William's plans to launch Blogger Pro, more details have emerged from a demonstration given by Ev at a user group meeting in California this week.
Posted by Neil McIntosh at 3:33 PM | | permalink

Remember, you can read today's Online with links here.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 2:11 PM | | permalink is a fascinating guide to anti-consumer and activist groups, the foundations that sponsor them, and the celebrities who lend their names to some causes. "As you read through the site, you may be surprised at some of the connections between these groups and individuals, forming a web of anti-consumer activism -- promoting false science, scare campaigns, inflated public health causes, and sometimes violent anti-consumer actions," it says. It's part of the Consumer operation, though it doesn't say who or what funds that. Still, the site should go down well with 20 Gitanes (untipped), two pints of lager, and a packet of genetically modified crisps.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 12:41 PM | | permalink

Aimster, the file swapping service, has changed its name to Madster. The original name has been transferred to America Online, which owns all words beginning with Aim related to AOL Instant Messaging. America Online is part of the AOL CompuServe ICQ Winamp MapQuest MovieFone Digital City Spinner Netscape CNN HBO DC Comics Time Warner Brothers World Domination Corporation (here).
Posted by Jack Schofield at 11:07 AM | | permalink

Wheels of Zeus! Woz is having another dabble....
Posted by Jack Schofield at 10:39 AM | | permalink

Dixons is also making a play for the Xbox games console market, offering to pre-order machines for half the price (£10 instead of £20). Further, you can try before you buy: Dixons has flown in 20 American systems to put in selected stores (Bluewater, Lakeside, Brent Cross, Croydon's Whitgift Cente, Meadowhall, the Metro in Gateshead -- the Xbox is evidently the first console targeted at mall rats). The distribution includes four (count 'em) consoles to cover the whole of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but you'll be OK if you live in Kingston on Thames.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 12:28 AM | | permalink

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
The CNet series of CEO profiles, mentioned below, looks increasingly like a good idea wasted. In the latest, for example, RealNetworks boss and former Microsoftie Rob Glaser isn't challenged about the fact that so many users hate the invasive way his company's products work. ("Hate hate hate hate. I think Osama Bin Laden created Real Networks to incite chaos and frustration amongst the web-users of the world. Real Networks is surely chaired by Satan," here, is just one of the more extreme examples.) Not that it will matter in the long run. If Real fails, its obituaries will be written mostly by people who will neither know nor care whether Real screwed up. Why bother when it's so easy to blame Microsoft?
Posted by Jack Schofield at 4:45 PM | | permalink

Now you can be the first boy on your block to sign up at, which today kicks off the European marketing campaign for Microsoft's Xbox games console. "Play More" is the theme of the ad blitz that will lead up to the Xbox's launch here on March 14. If you are desperate, The separate Xbox UK site has a link to a pre-order page so you can reserve a system from Amazon or Toys R Us. Deep pockets are not an optional extra.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 2:49 PM | | permalink

AOL/Netscape has filed a civil suit against Microsoft following its crushing defeat in the browser wars. One of the ironies, of course, is that AOL helped Microsoft to victory by adopting Internet Explorer as its default browser. Another is that Microsoft didn't need to behave illegally to win, considering Netscape's strategy was incompetent, its behaviour was appalling, and its code was rubbish.("Until recently, Netscape was one of he most arrogant companies in Silicon Valley history, which is saying quite a lot.The consensus of almost every company that tried to deal with Netscape was that it was unsufferably unpleasant and unhelpful." High Stakes, No Prisoners by Charles Ferguson, p289.)
Posted by Jack Schofield at 2:04 PM | | permalink

[via Memepool:] Not quite as cool as the animated clock we featured last week, but just as quirky: the Humanclock.
Posted by Neil McIntosh at 1:54 PM | | permalink

KaZaA, the file-sharing system, has been bought by an Australian company and is back in operation. KaZaA works fairly well but you have to be careful about the unnecessary scumware that might come along with it, such as TopText, a smart-tagging system. You may want to download a copy of LavaSoft's Ad-Aware too.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 1:27 PM | | permalink

Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Mmm, haven't I read this somewhere before?
Posted by Jack Schofield at 2:46 PM | | permalink

Toshiba has launched the world's thinnest notebook PC.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 2:43 PM | | permalink

Not everybody likes the Handspring Treo.
Posted by Jack Schofield at 2:40 PM | | permalink

The SAS Institute has developed software that can tell when people are lying in their e-mails, says the Financial Times. The more interesting question is whether it works on published journalism. . . .
Posted by Jack Schofield at 1:54 AM | | permalink

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Victor Keegan is assistant editor of the Guardian, and editor of the Online section.

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