In an interview released by Motoring, Mercedes-Benz CEO, Dieter Zetsche, warned Apple that entering the automobile market would be a great error in judgment. This is an interesting statement since Mercedes-Benz’ recently lost its North American research and development chief, Johann Jungwirth, to Apple to work on Titan (the project name for Apple's Car). Apparently Mr. Zetsche and Mr. Jungwirth have different value systems in what makes a good decision and what doesn’t.
When asked whether Zetsche was worried about Apple entering the automobile market, he responded by saying,
It’s time to butter both sides of the bread, because Mark & Werner provide another hour of hilarity while helping you become smarter at the same time... really.
If Detroit’s top brass are operating with the same acumen as former General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, Apple should be tripling their car efforts. Apple taking on Akerson and other automotive "whiz kids" may make former Motorola & Microsoft CEOs (Ed Zander and Steve Ballmer) look like a geniuses.
Earlier this week, Akerson spoke to Bloomberg about rumors of Apple getting into the automotive market. “I think somebody is trying to cough up a Hairball here,” Akerson said. He continued on, talking of how those outside the automotive industry don’t understand it, with the end result being a lot of work for extremely low margins. Akerman ended his comments with a warning to Apple. “They’d better [understand the automobile industry] if they want to get into hard-core manufacturing. We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into a car. They have no idea what they’re getting into if they get into that.” When asked how he would deal with Apple, his response was “How do they deal with us? That’s the question.” Oh wait, that last comment wasn’t Akerson, it was former Motorola CEO Ed Zander that uttered those disparaging comments against the iPhone. But Akerson’s comments are not falling far from the failed “mock Apple” tree. Perhaps history is about to repeat itself – again.
Apple versus Tesla. Tesla versus Apple. A new battle is brewing with claims of Tesla Motors gaining the upper hand on Apple Incorporated, in poaching employees. Last year it was rumored that Apple would be investing heavily in Tesla's upcoming Lithium Ion battery facility in Nevada for a share of the spoils. Evidently the tide has turned and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook can't stand each other... Here's an idea. Why doesn't Tim Cook just reach into his petty cash drawer, buy Tesla and end all of this nonsense.
A bit tongue and cheek for sure, but there is actual validity to Apple purchasing Tesla. Apple suffering brain-drain to Tesla can't continue. In fact, it can't continue to any entity so long they are unable to replenish that talent with greater boy geniuses. Microsoft has suffered over a decade of talent loss to Apple, Google and Amazon, with disastrous results. Steve Jobs understood the value of top talent, while Steve Ballmer clearly did not. Tim Cook's latest actions to buy back its former employees from Tesla showcases that Apple clearly understands the value of top talent, but Apple could do much more than just play tit for tat.
The 2015 Super Bowl was awesome, and most of the ads were of good taste and unexpected twists. With the usual sporting event, commercials are the time that one grabs some food or makes the inevitable lavatory break. However, during the Super Bowl, most quiet down and focus in on the commercials. For well over a decade Apple has forgone advertising during the Super Bowl. Not since its Hal commercial in 1999 has Apple partaken in the biggest one day sporting event the world knows. But Apple’s decision is a wise one.
Today’s media is more polarizing than ever. Pete Caroll and the Seahawks went from superheroes to less than mortals in one play. Carol’s play calling, should it have worked, would have pegged him as a coaching genius. USC, Seattle and beyond. But now? Now he should be fired? He’s horrible? Social media and Pete Caroll are on fire. Like Pete Caroll, ads — especially Super Bowl ads, where expectations for greatness are extraordinary — are immediate targets of the media, circling like ravens waiting for one small trip up to dive in and take their spoils. Why would Apple want to partake in an event which leaves them having zero control? It is completely anti-Apple.
Apple’s fiscal second quarter iPhone sales were simply amazing, but the Cupertino company is showcasing the value in diversity more so than any of its competition. Microsoft is simply a decades old franchise, one-hundred-percent dependent on Windows. Google just showed how unsuccessful it is outside of anything but search. Apple’s model of software coupled with various hardware businesses can withstand blows, and expand in ways that continue to defy the odds — and its detractors — alike.
Microsoft, the once mighty and feared software giant, is only a footnote outside of Windows sales. Office is the monster of business workflow, but without Windows and the forced Office bundles, who would value Word or Powerpoint over other solutions available today? Everything Microsoft had, has, and will have, revolves around Windows nothing more. Bing, Xbox and Windows Phone are all long-term financial nightmares for the Redmond, WA techno-giant.
Microsoft seemed very pleased with itself yesterday, as their Surface franchise managed over $1 billion in global sales for the December quarter. While Microsoft is trumpeting the sales figure, based on an average selling price of $1,000, Microsoft may not have actually sold 1 million Surface devices.
This is Microsoft, a company that has never let reality get in their way. Yesterday they were giddy like school girls about their fledgling 2-in-1 sales increase. Surface revenues rose from $908 million during the September quarter to $1.1 billion in the December quarter. Analysts expected sales of Surface would grow during the largest consumer quarter of the year, but with Microsoft’s massive advertising campaign, the software giant still cannot figure out how to sell over a million of their devices during the largest consumer hardware sales season of the year.
The question that came across my desk this morning is whether Apple’s software is getting better or worse? Thinking back to the initial releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, I can not, with a straight face, say that Apple’s software is getting better. I am not talking about features, but rather quality. OS X Yosemite should never have been released into the public’s hands with its myriad of bugs. Only after its first update 10.10.1 is it now safe to put on my wife’s laptop or my parent’s desktop.
On Monday, Dish Network announced “Sling TV” at CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Sling TV is a $20 per month steaming service that contains a powerful package of networks, including: ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT, CNN, TBS, HGTV, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and more.
Apparently, Dish is the first provider that has finally identified what every consumer already knows – live sports and live news are the only valued reasons to have a cable subscription. ESPN and Fox News are the gold standards, but Dish Network has come pretty close to hitting the bulls-eye. For only $20, even I, a long term cord-cutter am considering this bundle. The package represents an incredible value. But there is a mammoth unanswered question hanging around this service — Why hasn’t Apple been able to make a deal like this?
The long reigning king of the desktop OS is in trouble. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, is rapidly steering the company into the back office and service spaces, while their nascent mobile and desktop platforms are crumbling around them. Microsoft is putting on a brave face continuing to heavily advertise the 2-in-1 Surface debacle, but Nadella is only buying time, as he must surely know that Apple and Google is the two-headed beast that Microsoft can not stop. In less than a decade, Microsoft will be associated with IBM or Oracle, not Apple or Google.
Apple’s iOS is poised for massive world-wide growth in 2015 and beyond, while Android is finding its way into embedded systems, cars and medical devices. Android is free, it is customizable and is a platform which is easy to develop upon. C for microcontrollers, Linux and variants of, are being replaced by Android. And while Google pushes Android onto smartphone hardware that has no Apple logo on it, its permanent home may reside within your next generation cars, boats, microwaves, ovens and smart-fridge. The adoption rate of Android may be subtle, and Google is not able profit from the solutions their software empower, but it will be almost everywhere without anyone even knowing it is there. Microsoft has no ability to play where Google's Android is headed.