Surface Pro versus MacBook Air: Who's being dishonest with storage space?

I’ve done the cold, hard math of looking at disk storage for both devices. Here’s the story, in a single picture:


Wait a minute, I can hear you saying. Those bars look remarkably similar. And in fact, the Surface Pro actually has MORE free disk space for user data in one of those bars than the MacBook Pro.

Yes, that’s true.

Here’s the tl;dr version. The MacBook Air 128 gives you 77.3 percent of the advertised storage space for user data. The Surface Pro 128 gives you 75.2 percent of its advertised capacity for storing data. And with one minor tweak that doesn’t affect the system’s capabilities in any way, you can increase the amount of data storage space on the Surface Pro to 81.8% of the advertised capacity.

Ed Bott in a fine piece of investigative journalism reveals the truth about storage space in similar capacity Surface Pro and MacBook Air. Now I wonder why such an analysis did not come out from Windows team?

Collapse Video Of A Glacier The Size Of A City

On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

Chasing Ice won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and has won 24 awards so far this year. Playing in theaters now.

The Economics of Netflix's $100 Million New Show

With Netflix spending a reported $100 million to produce two 13-episode seasons of House of Cards, they need 520,834 people to sign up for a $7.99 subscription for two years to break even. To do that five times every year, then, the streaming TV site would have to sign up more 2.6 million subscribers than they would have. That sounds daunting, but at the moment, Netflix has 33.3 million subscribers, so this is an increase of less than 10 percent on their current customer base. Of course, looking at Netflix's past growth, that represents pretty reasonable growth for the company that saw 65 percent growth from 20 million to over 33 million world-wide streaming customers. Much of that growth, however, comes from new overseas markets. But, even in the U.S., from one year ago, Netflix saw about 13 percent streaming viewer growth jumping from 24 million to 27 million.  

Great breakdown of Netflix's business model of producing content itself.

The Best Business Model in the World

College sports is a multi-billion-dollar business. Do its workers deserve to be paid?

It's a simple question taking a convoluted journey through our legal system. But student-athletes are closer to getting their day in court, since a judge ruled yesterday that NCAA athletes can legally pursue a cut of the billions of dollars flowing to college sports through TV deals.

In 2011, civil-rights historian Taylor Branch made a monster case for paying college athletes in The Atlantic. He predicted that law suits like this could could destroy the business model of the NCAA. To dig into the economics of paying college athletes, I called up Dave Berri, a sports economist with Southern Utah University and the author of The Wages of Wins, who cheekily called the NCAA's rule against paying its own athletes "the best business model in the world."


Symantec Gets A Black Eye In Chinese Hack Of The New York Times

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the paper has been the subject of a sophisticated attack by Chinese hackers for the last four months, following its reporting on the private wealth of China’s prime minister Wen Jiabao. The story offers a rare and detailed post-mortem of what appears to be the work of a team of well-trained infiltrators who systematically and stealthily gained access to and collected the news outfit’s private information as the paper dug into a subject perceived as highly sensitive by the Chinese government.

One fact, however, will be of particular concern to the world’s largest antivirus firm, Symantec: Out of the 45 different pieces of malware planted on the Times‘ systems over the course of three months, just one of those programs was spotted by the Symantec antivirus software the Times used, according to Mandiant, the data breach response firm hired by the Times. The other 44 were only found in Mandiant’s post-breach investigation months later, according to the Times‘ report.

Who do you trust?

Facebook Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Results

Fourth Quarter 2012 Operational Highlights

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.06 billion as of December 31, 2012, an increase of 25% year-over-year
  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 618 million on average for December 2012, an increase of 28% year-over-year
  • Mobile MAUs were 680 million as of December 31, 2012, an increase of 57% year-over-year
  • Mobile DAUs exceeded web DAUs for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012

Recent Business Highlights

  • Mobile revenue represented approximately 23% of advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012, up from approximately 14% of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2012

The last line is most important. Mobile revenue increased by 8% q-on-q and while still small, the upward trend helps. Facebook has now 680 million Mobile Monthly Active Users.

Microsoft Announces Git Support For Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server And Service

Microsoft just made a major announcement that will likely take many developers by surprise. At the ALM Summit in Redmond, WA this morning, Microsoft Brian Harry just announced that its Team Foundation Server and hosted Team Foundation Service (TFS), as well as the complete Visual Studio 2012 suite (through a plugin the company is releasing today) will offer support for Git, the increasingly popular distributed revision control and source code management system invented by Linux founder Linus Torvalds.

This is obviously one of the rarer moments where Microsoft embraces an open source solution that already has a lot of momentum behind it.

This is the new Microsoft - more open, more inclusive and ready to learn from the world.

Philips Exits Consumer Electronics

Philips Electronics has drawn a line under its long history as a consumer-electronics company after failing to compete successfully with the likes of Apple Inc. Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Corp. in the fast-moving industry.

Sign of the times. Only the companies with integrated software and hardware offerings stand a chance.

Apple Reports Record Results

Apple® today announced financial results for its 13-week fiscal 2013 first quarter ended December 29, 2012. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $46.3 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share, in the 14-week year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38.6 percent compared to 44.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Average weekly revenue was $4.2 billion in the quarter compared to $3.3 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The Company sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold a record 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.1 million Macs, compared to 5.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 12.7 million iPods in the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

And the stock is down 10% in after market trading. The below tweet is apt at this time.

Apple Closing = $500 is Not Proof of Conspiracy

One emailer is an oddity, two a coincidence, three emails plus a respected tech site means this is a full blown trend. Thus, I am compelled to address this:

There seems to be a bit of paranoia circulating amongst the intelligentsia ignoramia that the mere fact that Apple’s stock closed at precisely $500 on Friday was proof positive of a grand conspiracy to manipulate markets.

The odds were so strongly against this exact close occurring randomly, the argument goes, that something nefarious had to be afoot.


Note that both options and stocks trade via continuous auction process. This sometimes results in prices being pinned to a strike price (see chart below). There was an enormous amount of open interest n Apple Options, and $500 is a big round psychological number. In this case, the $500 on the nose was the lucky winner.

There are many, many, many things to be angry at Wall Street about.  This is not one of them . . .

Barry Ritholtz puts the Apple stock conspiracy theory to rest.

Facebook Graph Search

Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: "my friends in New York who like Jay-Z") to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that's been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.

Another big difference from web search is that every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience, and most content isn't public. We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.

This is BIG. To understand why, read this great take by John Batelle

Teen survey says Apple is done, Surface is cool

Among teens, Apple is no longer cool. The news comes from the Buzz Marketing Group, an agency that specializes in youth marketing.

Popularity is always a double-edged sword with teenagers and according to the sentiment observed by Buzz, Apple is now too popular to be popular. Replacing iPhones and iPads as the object of teens’ desire is Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet and Galaxy smartphones from Samsung (005930).

“Teens are telling us Apple is done,” Buzz Marketing Group’s Tina Wells told Forbes. “Apple has done a great job of embracing Gen X and older [Millennials], but I don’t think they are connecting with Millennial kids. [They’re] all about Surface tablets/laptops and Galaxy.”

Selling or not, Surface is making a mark on teens - the most technology savvy demographic which each device maker targets and needs acceptance of its products to have real growth.

jcpenney enlists Office 365 in its mission to reinvent retail

Leading national retailer, jcpenney is deploying Office 365 to more than 177,000 employees. jcpenney has more than 1,000 stores nationwide recently underwent a closely watched reinvention of their business.  The company emerged with a bold statement expressing the desire to reinvent retail and become America's favorite store. By embracing the cloud with Office 365, jcpenney aims to improve customer service and increase information-sharing between team members across all their retail locations and their headquarters.

Now an interesting fact for those unaware, Ron Johnson, CEO of jcp pioneered the concept of the Apple Retail Stores and the Genius Bar.

Apple's Next Battleground Isn't TV; It's Web Services

There are hands-down fiascos: MobileMe, Ping and Maps. And there are works in progress: Game Center, iTunes Match and iCloud. And all of them speak to a troubling deficiency that Apple just can’t seem to overcome. One that’s garnering increasingly more public scrutiny. One that, at its worst — say with the disastrous Maps debacle — shows up the company that prides itself on building the “magical and revolutionary” as fallible.

Now read this from an Apple event where Steve Jobs introduced iCloud after Mobileme's failure:
"Why should I believe them? They're the ones that brought me to MobileMe,"

There is still no reason to believe that Apple can do web services. The economics and business models of building and running web services is totally different than making great hardware with equally impressive software running on them. Apple would stick to it’s core competencies and whatever it does on the web services side will be best done through an acquisition.

The Xbox 360 holds onto its sales crown for 24 consecutive months, moving 1.4 million units in December

Today Microsoft announced that its Xbox 360 console was the best-selling console in December, moving 1.4 million units. That made it the best-selling console for the 24th consecutive month, according to the NPD Group.

Xbox 360 titles were also seven of the top ten console games during the month, according to NPD. This implies that Microsoft controlled a large chunk of the total console-spend for the period, a key month due to the holiday sales cycle.

The 2012 Patent Rankings

I.B.M. was granted more patents in 2012 than any other company, the 20th consecutive year in the top spot, according to the annual tally by IFI Claims Patent Services, published on Thursday.

The technology giant is flush these days, so its patent pre-eminence in recent years seems routine. What is more impressive is that the winning streak was just under way when I.B.M. went into a tailspin in the early 1990s. Despite sharp cutbacks elsewhere in the company, I.B.M. kept investing in its research engine.

Google and Apple, rivals in the smartphone patent wars, were the big movers. Google posted a 170 percent jump in patents granted, with 1,151 patents. In 2012, Google ranked 21st in the corporate patent sweepstakes. A year earlier, it had placed 65th.

Didn't find it surprising that they will omit Microsoft from this news. As it is Microsoft is not one of the four horsemen of tech world (and now not even fifth). In any case, Microsoft is 6th in this list with 2613 patents, far above Google and Apple in 21 & 22 positions respectively.

Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia smartphones in ‘solid’ Q4 2012

Straight out of left field, Nokia has today announced that its fourth quarter of 2012 was surprisingly solid, making its stock price spike.

Revealing its preliminary financial results for Q4 2012, Nokia says ‘Smart Devices’ net sales came in at approximately 1.2 billion euros ($1.57 billion), with total volumes of 6.6 million units.

Of those, Nokia, notes, 4.4 million units were Lumia smartphones.

That means Nokia sold more Lumia phones than in the two previous quarters

That's an impressive number, wonder how many of these were sold in US only.

Windows Store crosses 100 million app download mark

This week we also highlighted strong growth in developers building for Windows 8. Since the opening of the Windows Store the number of apps has quadrupled and we passed the 100 million app download mark – just two months after general availability.

This was also expected. The pace at which downloads will happen is only going to increase with more Win 8 sales.

Windows 8 has now sold 60 Million Licenses

At the 11th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech Forum at CES 2013 today, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller announced that Windows 8 has sold 60 million licenses to date. This represents the cumulative sales of Windows 8 including both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new devices. This is a similar sales trajectory that we saw with Windows 7.

Fairly good progress considering we were at 40 Million at the end of November.