Ignore Me At Your Peril

Everyone is shocked, shocked at gambling in Casablanca by the admission of Nokia that it’s in a death spiral.

I said Nokia was a goner the moment the iPhone was announced.

Apple is gonna kick Nokia’s smug and incompetent asses. Welcome to the tar pit, baby! Join the rest of the fossils, Nokia! Your death spiral began January 2007. Good riddance!

There were people pulling down major bucks for their alleged analytic skills who brayed this:

“Maybe the iPhone will be very successful,” says Martin Garner, director of wireless intelligence for London market researcher Ovum. “Does that knock Nokia off its perch? I don’t think so.”

Nokia itself was summarily dismissive of the iPhone:

When pressed during the Q&A about the striking similarity to the little Cupertino device, Anssi Vanjoki — Nokia’s Executive VP & General Manager of Multimedia — said, “If there is something good in the world then we copy with pride.”

They thought Apple had pulled off some sort of trick and if they could just learn that trick, they’d get the audience back!

Nokia was never the epitome of genius:

As for Nokia… Nokia! This has to be the greatest embarrassment of the three. They started out with a completely blank slate, tabula rasa, to design the next generation of web device. The result was that absolute garbage called the Nokia 770. It’s sequel, the N800, is no better. Both reveal the deranged thinking that is the bedrock of Nokia. What do they produce when given all possible choices? The same damned desktop-like UI that’s been around for ages and ages and ages! Including the horror of pull-down menus! This on a pocketable device! It’s become evident to me that Nokia has gained its global dominance not because its products were so good — but because its competitors’ products were just so damned bad! In the face of the iPhone, the creative bankruptcy of Nokia has been displayed for everyone to witness.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

It took four years for Nokia to admit failure. Four years!

There are still people out there who still think eBooks are a fad. Meanwhile bookstore after bookstore after bookstore after bookstore is dropping dead. From what? Measles? Whooping cough?

As for Palm, I said this:

And then there’s Palm, which has been living on the corpse of old ideas. That Treo has not simply gotten long in the tooth, it has died and has been rotting! Palm has been a maggot on its corpse. Palm, which started out wanting to revolutionize pocket computing, lost its direction, lost its will, lost its imagination, and now will ultimately lose its life as an independent company.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Here we are on February 9th in the year of our lord 2011, four years after I wrote that, waiting for an announcement from Hewlett-Packard about an operating system Palm created.

Yet four years ago, I’m sure Ed Colligan laughed his ass off about what I had written.

Hey, Ed. Where’s Palm today? Where are you today? Who has had the last laugh here, baby?

Everyone thinks Apple is the next Kindle. That because Apple has the traction and the momentum, the game is essentially over, with other companies destined to pick up any crumbs Apple spills off its banquet table.

For anyone who believes that, I have these words for you:

You are a fucking moron!

You couldn’t see what the iPhone would do, you couldn’t foresee Nokia’s death, you couldn’t see the end of Palm, and you probably still buy and read print books.

Apple does not have a Kindle Advantage.

Hundreds of millions of tablets are due to be sold in the years ahead. The fifteen million (maybe seventeen million by now) iPads that are out there are only the Introduction to this story. We haven’t even gotten to the first chapter of this book.

Apple has many vulnerabilities. Even Steve Jobs knows this — but Steve Jobs can only be Steve Jobs, and thus he weakens Apple because of it. He believes he can paper over his sins and errors and even smugness by impressing people with the crass money he can rake in.

Money doesn’t solve everything and money can go away very quickly. Just ask Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America. And where is Lehman Brothers today?

Any dickhead can measure things by the bottom line.

But that invokes the Word of 2011: It’s unsustainable.

Apple’s sleekness camouflages a dark heart. And a dark heart never wins the game. Ask the people of Egypt. They aren’t an aberration, a fluke. They are the breeze of a new wind.

Unlike the Kindle, the iPad is not dependent on a single function. To many people, that is a virtue. To anyone with brains, it’s a huge vulnerability. Amazon only has to essentially deal with six large suppliers and bully everyone else. Apple has to deal with thousands. And alienating one ripples across to everyone. You wind up creating enemies you never even heard of. Perhaps some small person you cavalierly dismiss (as Steve Jobs was once dismissed working out of that garage!). But by doing that, you’ve sown another seed of your own destruction. It becomes only a matter of time. And time always wins.

Look at what the passage of time in just four years has brought!

So, HP/Palm, while I’m very much looking forward to what you will be announcing today, you have less wiggle room than anyone else who has come before you. You must get everything right today. Everything. You cannot make one mistake, you cannot create any ambiguities, you cannot leave people wondering with questions.

You have to get up there and take a stand and stick.

You have to show everyone that you at least have a clue about how Apple can be beaten.

I know where Apple is vulnerable.

I hope you do too.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle, Apple: The Company, Bookstores, Collapse, Digital Overthrow, eBooks: General, webOS

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