What a perfect coincidence.
A colleague told me about another co-worker who has started to build #Android apps for a living.
Since I have done more than my fair share of product development and creation from concept to strategy to full service launch, I said sure until he told me it was for #Android. Sorry, I don’t do Android. Until #Samsung or another ‘Droid OEM comes to me with a new product they want to me to review, I am fully invested in the #BB10 and #iOS ecosystem across Blackberry and Playbook plus iPhone and iPad and MacOSX.
While performing some key research for a client, I “stumbledupon” BlueStacks. At 5 million downloads and counting, this isn’t something to sneeze at. They have a client for Mac, Windows and they even have a Win8 optimized build for Surface Pro. That sounds “neat”.
I will give it a shot over the next while or so and report back.
MacDaddy’s here. :D
Sony SoundForge Mac is worth the promotion. Great product. From Sony!
Mountain Lion #macosx about to be installed.
Here come the speed improvements! Can’t wait to try the “Airplay” feature from desktop Mac to AppleTV.
Still remember the time when a colleague was boasting about his Android unit and some “HDMI” nonsense and I just replied, “Oh yeah, I do that wirelessly with Apple’s Airplay.” He responded, “Show off”.
Is it a good thing? Depends.
Apple’s own acquisitions with Siri and Lala ultimately became part of new Apple products and services. In many cases, acquisitions are talent and technology transfers for products being hatched by larger fish. In some terrible cases, nothing ever happens. In the case of Google’s acquisition of YouTube, it only seemed natural and has proven to be a success.
However, a lot has been said about the Sparrow acquisition by Google over the last few days. I actually “discovered” Sparrow through an AppSumo deal. The product itself, a less messier “skin” to GMAIL, IS (and now, WAS) amazing. It’s fantastic on MacOSX and my iPhone — however, the iPad never got its wish.
But do these acquisitions benefit all parties - including consumers? Hard to tell. In the case of Sparrow, I did actually make an investment (purchase) in the product and based on the email received from Dom Leca, it’s pretty certain the product is end-of-life for MacOSX and iPhone users. In many cases, the startup team moves into larger environs to help make things radically better — perhaps, in the case of Sparrow, the acquisition is really for the 5-person team who hopefully will improve GMAIL because IMHO, the new GMAIL U/X is worse than before.
Did Sparrow sell out?
If you look at what they designed, they do not appear to have been in the game for an acquisition. They passionately wanted to create something people would love. So it is doubtful, they planned for a “sell-out” to Google. More likely, as many have also postulated, it was simply a reality-check. While MacOSX and iOS app stores are new pipelines to revenue for developers, productivity applications rarely serve a “mass market consumer” and are generally niche market. Think about it? It’s a native email app client on MacOSX where Apple Mail (does well enough on MacOSX and iOS) and Mac Office rule the roost. That’s a tough market to make money in considering Gmail’s own native iOS app is now available. Then there’s the news about Mozilla slowing development for Thunderbird (an open source e-mail client available for PC and Mac) and then you soon realize that The Saints Have Come Marching In.
The new startup ethos is one of lean operations and scale. In Toronto, there are far too many startups with 3-to-5 person development teams trying to monetize a niche activity on smartphones in a sea of mobile apps— too many apps, too many me-too’s and a very difficult roadmap to differentiation. So when you don’t have a viable business model (does Instagram have one? Sure, they have many users, 12 or so employees and a $1B price tag from Facebook) and are then poached for IP/technology and staff talent, you weigh your options. No one (we hope) gets into it for the large buyout but that is becoming the viable business model for many niche players in the startup ecosystem.
Most of the startup founders go to these larger organizations with great hopes to infuse their wisdom, ingenuity and passion into new products. But they end up leaving shortly thereafter. When Apple lost to Google in trying to acquire Admob, it rushed to Quattro (not their first choice). Parts of the Quattro team have since left Apple. As well, parts of the AdMob team have also left since the Google acquisition. In March 2011, Facebook acquired Beluga (chat app) in a talent and technology deal and then killed Beluga in October 2011 as part of its broader Facebook messenger strategy.
These acquisitions are always filled with excitement by the startup founders that get acquired. They believe they’ll be able to do great things. Sometimes, the motives are well-intentioned but in many other cases, the acquisitions simply occur to kill competition. Facebook
IS was the most popular photo-sharing network until Instagram came along. Photos are sticky, viral and draw people in. Instagram was a threat to Facebook. So they bought it. Lala and Siri had talent/IP which complemented Apple’s long-term strategies and so far, appear to have worked out well. Better than Quattro has for Apple iAds.
Do you remember other acquisitions that went no where?
- Google buys reMail
- Google buys BumpTop
- Google buys SageTV
- Google buys Apture
- Google buys Katango
- Facebook buys Beluga
- Facebook buys Gowalla
- Facebooks buys Glancee
Why did they happen in the first place?
- The big, like Google and Facebook (competing ferociously), don’t want the competition if they’re already in the market space with similar or planned products.
- Acquired startups have smart talent and thus, skilled talent is hard to come by. This is a factand is quite true as there’s definitely been a large leap in demand for top technical talent today.
- Larger players like Google, Facebook are afraid of smaller startups — they’re agile, smart, passionate and could come out with the next big thing to destroy their current business, platform, or products. Instagram anyone? As a top photo-sharing app, it was displacing viral, sticky activity within the Facebook platform around photo sharing.
- Startups build niche products or services as a business strategy only to be acquired because they know their current innovation isn’t large enough to scale into a proper business model.
- Startup founders truly believe they could do better in larger organizations with their skill-sets. Most find out that the grass isn’t greener in larger pastures.
What does this say for consumer who has to put up with all of this? If you’re paying for products, be prepared to accept this as a new fact of life. You may invest in something that eventually is sold/acquired and placed on end-of-life status. For the free stuff, be prepare for the carnage on your smartphone desktop as it becomes littered with shells of HALF-LIFED products that never get to see the larger light of day.
- Google acquires Mac, iOS email client Sparrow (macworld.com)
- What Google Is (techcrunch.com)
- Acquisitions (samsoff.es)
- Why Facebook Is Still The Perfect Startup (Slides) (techcrunch.com)
- Good Deal: Sparrow for Mac now $4.99, half-price for 3 days (theverge.com)
- Sparrow For iPhone Now Just $0.99 For 48 Hours (cultofmac.com)
One story caught my attention.
It was about the time Steve Jobs flipped (literally) a month before Apple was to launch the iPhone back in 2007. By the way, none of the language below is real. I made it up to make it a little more interesting. Do not sue me. :-)
Jobs: Call in the senior team!
Jobs Peon: Um, okay Stevie! I’ll…er, get right on it!
Senior team: *&^%, what now?
(enter visions of running blonde with hammer throw sequence)
Jobs: What’s wrong with you guys!
Senior team: ……. (silence)
Jobs: Do you see this?!
Senior team: …… (silence)
Jobs: Look at my iPhone prototype! Do you SEE this?!
Jobs pulled the prototype iPhone from his pocket to show a zillion and one scratches on the device. Okay, maybe a dozen or so. But you get the point.
Jobs: Where do you think carry their phone most of the time? Yes, in their pockets! Guess what else they carry in there often? Wallets, money and yes,KEYS! Keys will scratch the screen!
The prototype screen was actually plastic. Steve demanded a glass screen and wanted to see perfection in six weeks. Apple immediately sourced Gorilla Glass from Corning, an American company. This demand literally came a month before Apple was to ramp up production for the launch!
Jobs: I want a glass screen. I want an unscratchable screen! And I want it perfect in six weeks!
The Gorilla glass required great engineers and a company that could do this. One of Apple’s executive knew where and he went to China to secure a bid to cut Gorilla Glass into millions of screens. Subsidized by the Chinese government, this company would become known to all of us as FoxConn.
About six months ago, I joined WIND Mobile as a new customer and opted to purchase the Blackberry Curve 9360. A sleek device with good battery management. Last week, after months of use and more than a bit of hurry, I put the Curve in the same pocket as my car keys. When I pulled out my Blackberry, guess what I saw? Yep, no Gorilla Glass. A nice long scratch in the centre of the smaller screen.
How does that make me feel after spending $450 for the phone without a subsidy? I’m not a happy camper.
You get my point. Attention to detail is everything and what surprises me the most about this story is that the design of that first iPhone came Jonathan Ive and team - a team that has done their fair share of glamorous work with success to boot! Ive, his team and other executives failed in the most basic of user case testing: How would consumers would carry this new, revolutionary iPhone?
Imagine how people would feel paying $600+ or less (with subsidy) for their new product with something as simple as that happening.
Major earmark for brand and product failure.
- Rumor has next iPhone taller, thinner, with flat metal back (electronista.com)
- Foxconn CEO: next iPhone will put ëGS3 to shameí (electronista.com)
- First Parts of the New iPhone 5 Revealed (smartphone.biz-news.com)
- Apple partner Foxconn says Fall iPhone 5 will be the ‘Samsung-killer’ - Computerworld (blog) (blogs.computerworld.com)
- Guest Post: How Liquid Metal & Gorilla Glass 2 may be in the next iPhone (wirelessventuresltd.com)
Source: Business Insider
The media was buzzing for Apple today. It is interesting to see one company get so much buzz and attention. Deserved? Up for debate. Some great product announcements but best left to the folks who “live blogged” today.
I took a few snapshots from some competitors on Facebook on WWDC12 day.
What do you think?
Research in Motion / Blackberry
Samsung Mobile Canada
For MacOSRumors liveblog WWDC summary, click here.