This past weekend I spent some time thinking about the two presentations in June by Apple and Microsoft. Apple's WWDC Keynote was once again on stride, showing break-through hardware with the MacBook Pro Retina Display, OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6. All three demonstrate Apple isn't lost, wandering in the desert, but has a plan and knows where it wants to go next. However, Microsoft's announcement manifests how much trouble the software giant is in.
Steve Ballmer did his best to put a smiley face on a project that is clearly late to market. The announcement of Surface would've been revolutionary if Ballmer made it in 2008 — even 2009. While the number three is usually good to Microsoft, Microsoft's third attempt at developing hardware and software together (Zune, Xbox and now Surface) will ultimately fail. The reason why is pretty simple: the market has passed Microsoft by.
If you are one of the many that believe Apple's second quarter earnings report was a monster, think about what's coming and it'll start to look like just an average Apple report. Apple shipped 35 million iPhones during the March quarter. It was an impressive YOY growth story, and the fact iPhone sales were off only 2 million units after a blow-out holiday season, makes it even more so. But looking forward, it's all about upgrade cycles and world-wide growth.
Microsoft's new Surface tablet device, touted as both a tablet and a PC by Steve Ballmer, boasts a 10.6" display. Based on Surface's diagonal screen size, it stacks up pretty well when compared to iPad's 9.7" display, and many others in the 10.1" range. It would seem Microsoft has trumped the iPad in screen real estate.
Not so fast.
If you didn't follow the Microsoft Special Event yesterday afternoon, you missed a real treat. It's a rare occasion when watching Microsoft attempt to steal every single move from Apple, and their presentation came closer than ever before. From the secrecy surrounding Surface, to the event being sprung on the media this past Thursday, the entire event came across as a Redmond retread of Cupertino's panache. But the event didn't hurt Apple. The big hurt came down upon Microsoft's hardware partners. From product stand to keyboard cover, Microsoft declared enemies on multiple fronts. Tablet OEMs to accessory makers, Microsoft is aiming for you.
It's still an open book question: Will Tim Cook succeed as CEO of Apple over the long-term, and perhaps even the short? While the latter seems to be being put to rest rather quickly, the former is a valid question, one worth exploring at the very least.
Based on Cook's Q&A session at the D10 conference, he may not be a tech visionary, but he doesn't believe he needs to be either. Cook is a financial wizard, with a keen eye on how to leverage the supply chain to maximum effect, while leaving the competition scrambling, forever playing catchup. You won't see Tim walking the Apple campus in flip-flops, a white tank top and jean shorts playing the part of Steve Jobs Part II, but he's a mature enough man to understand he just needs to be the best Tim Cook he can be and that alone keep Apple what Apple is – the essence of creative and main street rolled into one simplified solution set.
Our contact in San Francisco sent us these photos. The Moscone West Convention Center looks to be taking shape for WWDC 2012.
With the real market value (stock price) of Facebook continuing to decline from its IPO offering of $38 (as of this writing the price was below $26.50), rumors are starting to abound about Apple buying Facebook. But does that really make any sense? We've heard Tim Cook say Apple buys companies for two reasons: talent and/or technology. While Facebook has some of both the value of the company is in the data it has collected and its massive user base.
Thinking a little different, there is another player out there that might be more suited to gobble up Facebook and it isn't Google.
Episode 81: R2D10 Star Wars: Mark, Karl and Werner discuss Tim Cook at D10, which Macs will soon launch with Intel's new Ivy Bridge platform, Cricket Wireless gets the iPhone (sorry T-Mobile), rumors about the candy-bar iPhone 5, Microsoft Office for iOS, ARM-based Windows RT, and RIMs ever shrinking workforce.
All this and much, much more in Episode 81: R2D10 Star Wars.
Adam Lashinsky, the senior editor at CNN Money wrote an in-depth article on Tim Cook and how he is changing Apple. Adam does a good job of giving us insight into Mr Cook. Tim is much more personal in his interactions than Steve was. But he is also more operational and focused on meeting with investors and keeping the company running as efficiently as possible.
When he was COO, it was Tim’s job to meet with the investors, since Steve had no interest in that part of the business. The rest of the article looks at how Mr Cook is changing Apple. As Mr Lashinsky points out, Tim has received a company with great momentum. So when will Tim really be tested as CEO?