There have been a lot of snarky comments about Apple in the press lately, usually from big media companies or other smartphone competitors. There are so many CEOs fiddling while Apple burns down their little walled cities, there's enough of them for an orchestra. Or at least a hoedown.
First on the list is Michael Eisner, who blames Jobs and iTunes for the Writer's strike, of all things. He claims that Apple has ruined the download model for everybody, and that only Apple makes any money. Everyone else is begging for crackers at lunch. Yeah, right.
The studios make deals with Steve Jobs, who takes them to the cleaners," Eisner said.
"They make all these kinds of things, and who's making money? Apple! They should get a piece of Apple. If I was a union, I'd be striking up wherever he is.
Eisner further predicts that online media won't make any money for another three years. Unless you're Apple, that is. If you're Apple, online media is making money now.Oh, but he's not done. He also predicts that we'll have problems in the subprime mortgage segment for another two years. Huh? Can you say "non sequitur?" I think I now understand why Jobs wanted him out of Disney. Eisner giving me advice on my mortgage is like me giving Britney Spears advice on how to be crazy.
I tend to avoid posting news of "iPhone killers" because it's just not going to be true. There are some companies that have a shot at making an iPhone killer, but they're years away. I think Palm could do it for example, but we won't find out for another year or two. Apple probably doesn't have to worry about that one for a while.
And in the "don't have to worry about it now" category, LG introduced a phone that looks like an iPhone in Europe. I hate to say it, but no one will be excited about the Prada-esque outer stylings of the LG phones until LG can drink in some user interface design mojo. Can you remember to get excited about something called the LG-KS20? I doubt it, though I bet its existence makes Dieter happy.
I know that Google's new linux smartphone operating system Android is supposed to be big news, but I can't help it: I don't think it is, and I don't think it will be. There are already a bunch of linux smartphone systems where all the driver work is done and all you have to worry about is the user interface customization. I checked out the websites of the companies that are part of the Android consortium, and I hate to say it but their UI work appears to be featurephone-based and pretty busy. Not that I'm a UI expert, but still, I know that a clean interface is better than a cluttered one.
There's already a bunch of people doing this, and some of them have a phone out now that does everything already: OpenMoko, QTopia, Access Linux Project, and Palm will probably join this list perhaps a year after Android is actually released. But look at the list of companies in their press release: none of them have shipped their own mainstream user interface before except for Nokia. And I don't think that it's in Nokia's best interests to succeed too much in this venture at the cost of their Symbian S60. I wish them all success, but I think success is a tall order.
I'm glad to see that all of the other smartphone makers are all confident that they'll be able to beat the iPhone, or that they're at least not panicking about it. If you want a list of how other companies are mimicking the iPhone form factor, the BBC has put together a list of the heavyweights.