Google will buy Apple by 2011, Part 2

Many of you had some interesting reactions and comments to this prior post. Thanks for your comments. Let me try and explain why I believe this will happen in one form or another in the next 3-4 years. Many of you have stated that Google can’t afford Apple as the market cap is too big for them to swallow today. True. But it’s not today I am talking about. 3 years on the web is like 21 years on the planet (web years and dog years are nearly equivalent). First, as you know things change rapidly on the net faster than anywhere else. Google MAY be able to grab the rest or nearly 100% of the market share in search over the next 3 years – and that share will increase their value (and market cap) tremendously. To do this, they will not need any hardware, nor will they need to introduce any gadgets/phones, what not. Its 100% software driven. And, given that the web will have an increasing percentage of ‘vertical’ search (vs. the Wal-Mart Google engine of today), Google will also begin to focus its sights on those verticals as well with its huge pile of cash. Google will buy their way into any search vertical they might miss. And that doesn’t take into account non-web advertising like billboards, radio, newspapers and traditional TV +. Now, let’s look at Apple. The market for cell phones is in a state of flux. How many iPhones can one buy? Saturation will occur and sales will eventually have to slow. Competition will appear and market share will s-l-o-w down and decrease over time. When Jobs makes the iPhone carrier-neutral, the walls all come down. So, how do you ‘sell’ more cell phones to people that they don’t need? One possibility is to give them away with advertising. Second, while ‘Goople’ may seem far-fetched to us today, lacing cell phones with ads (think Android) AND perhaps computers with ads or instead of buying an office suite from MS, using GoogleDocs with ads instead to help increase market share over the PC doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. Would I choose to use a cell service that gave me a free handset combined with no monthly charges in exchange for watching a few ads? Could I and would I use that combination to replace my land-line eventually thereby sneaking this combination right into everyone homes? Would I choose to get a free laptop that does the same type of thing? I might. Would developing countries whose cultures don’t have the money to buy computers and cell communications use such a computer or cell phone? I bet they would.

The same way Apple introduced their new thin laptop without the traditional bells and whistles of all other laptops sounds so much like what Google did when they introduced Search and Adwords, then slowly but surely introduced itself into other traditional media, while their competitors just scramble around to keep up, and can’t so far. And finally, a merger or some combination of the two is not unthinkable. Both company cultures are similar in so many ways. So, think a new form or type of combination or new venture between the two. Maybe not an outright purchase NOW, but its not impossible in the future.

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iPhone on WiFi for free…experiment over.

My friend who DID have an iPhone that he bought off of eBay that was ‘jailbroken’ finally decided to become ‘legal’. We played with this ‘free’ wifi calls for nearly 6 months. He did save a few coins from his sprint bill, did make and receive calls for free and had practically all of the other goodies on the iPhone working OK, but its not quite there yet. Meaning, we estimated that about 60-70% of all calls were either dropped or not received by him. This made the iPhone really not usable for business and a bit annoying. So, after nearly 6 months, he walked into an ATT store and is now totally legal. We enjoyed hacking the iPhone and making it do what its not suppose to do, but in the end, getting phone calls was key and until wifi gets stronger and the hand-offs’ more seamless, we will wait.

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FREE! It Changes Everything

There is an article by Chris Anderson in Wired (actually an excerpt from his upcoming book ) and its some great reading. I am putting up part of it here and link back to the original below.

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Between digital economics and the wholesale embrace of King’s Gillette’s experiment in price shifting, we are entering an era when free will be seen as the norm, not an anomaly. How big a deal is that? Well, consider this analogy: In 1954, at the dawn of nuclear power, Lewis Strauss, head of the Atomic Energy Commission, promised that we were entering an age when electricity would be “too cheap to meter.” Needless to say, that didn’t happen, mostly because the risks of nuclear energy hugely increased its costs. But what if he’d been right? What if electricity had in fact become virtually free?The answer is that everything electricity touched — which is to say just about everything — would have been transformed. Rather than balance electricity against other energy sources, we’d use electricity for as many things as we could — we’d waste it, in fact, because it would be too cheap to worry about.

All buildings would be electrically heated, never mind the thermal conversion rate. We’d all be driving electric cars (free electricity would be incentive enough to develop the efficient battery technology to store it). Massive desalination plants would turn seawater into all the freshwater anyone could want, irrigating vast inland swaths and turning deserts into fertile acres, many of them making biofuels as a cheaper store of energy than batteries. Relative to free electrons, fossil fuels would be seen as ludicrously expensive and dirty, and so carbon emissions would plummet. The phrase “global warming” would have never entered the language.

Today it’s digital technologies, not electricity, that have become too cheap to meter. It took decades to shake off the assumption that computing was supposed to be rationed for the few, and we’re only now starting to liberate bandwidth and storage from the same poverty of imagination. But a generation raised on the free Web is coming of age, and they will find entirely new ways to embrace waste, transforming the world in the process. Because free is what you want — and free, increasingly, is what you’re going to get.”

 

Chris Anderson (canderson@wired.com) is the editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail. His next book, FREE, will be published in 2009 by Hyperion.

 

FeedDemon is now FREE!

The best desktop client for reading and subscribing to RSS feeds just became free (imho). Newsgator, the creator of the software used to charge a one-time $ 29.95 fee to use it permanently (after your 30 day trial). FeedDemon feeddemon.jpg is for both Mac’s and windows and provides the user with a nice initial assortment of feeds to start. Or you can export your feeds into an .opml file from your current reader and import that file into FeedDemon. It has many cool features and is VERY easy to use, even for beginners. Props to Newsgator for giving it up~!

25 million songs and they are all FREE to download beginning at 12 midnight EST tonight!

No spyware, malware or adware included. There’s a new service in town beginning tonight, Sunday January 27th at 12 Midnight EST. You’ll be able to download their application (browser plug-in, not a desktop client) and then grab as many songs as you want, free of any charge. What’s the catch? None. Except, you’ll have to see or listen to an ad. Ads will be shown on musical devices as well. BUT, the songs are not portable to iPods (that won’t last as I’m sure someone will ‘jailbreak’ this). Its Windows only for the moment. Downloads should be relatively fast as it uses a peer-to-peer technology to get you the files. The ‘media player’ is browser based and is a plug-in or add on that you’ll grab from Mozilla/FireFox. The service is called Qtrax qtrax and according to Qtrax it has signed all 4 of the major music labels (although Warner Music has not confirmed this yet). iTunes has about 6 million songs and Amazon has about 3 million to put this in perspective for you. No doubt it has its drawbacks. Correction: it DOES have  no DRM DRM restrictions and has a far larger body of music than anyone else (because its built upon the Gnutella P2P network). Someone will crack the portability issue soon I’m sure. But this is a website to watch. The legal subscription free/ad model applied to music is about to be tested. 25 million songs is a huge catalog. And on their site they scream for you to ‘come and get the music’. I’m sure that’s just what their advertisers are saying too. tougue.gif

Migration to the web or how I learned to give up my Microsoft habit (software)

I think I finally did it. But it wasn’t me. The web finally has matured enough so that I feel confident enough to allow my data and information to be stored somewhere else other than my laptop or computer at home. Since I can remember, I have used as millions have used Microsoft’s Office suite (Outlook, word, excel, power point, etc). I never had a choice. Especially with Outlook. Yes, Outlook. It has all of my contacts, phone numbers email addresses, special notes I’ve made about different friends or family remembers, my passwords and registrations for various sites and software +. I’ve always feared losing my Outlook or having the file become corrupted so over the years I’ve gotten to be somewhat of an expert or at least not a novice in understanding how to back-up and move around my Outlook file (called a “.pst” file extension). I had a computer at work so wherever I worked I needed my numbers addresses etc. So, I’ve had to keep current and up-to-date an outlook file for 2 places – home and the office. This has required that I copy EVERY night before I leave for another physical location (i.e., work) my Outlook file so any email messages or other data like new appointments I’ve entered that night get saved and travel with me to work the next day. Outlook .pst files are NOT small files. Mine is quite large. In order to do this, I’ve had to carry a small portable hard drive (now a flash USB drive because they are larger in capacity than they ever used to be) which I copied my .pst file every night or morning before leaving one place or the other. And there were times I forgot so I had to create workarounds. It was nothing short of a big PIA!

Last week I took the plunge and discarded Outlook – I’ve never been happier. In fact, I’ve discarded the entire MS Office suite. And I can still do everything that I want to do using other productivity tools for free on the web. So, here is what I have substituted for MS Office:

1. Outlook=Thunderbird + a Gmail IMAP account thunderbird logo

Thunderbird, Mozilla’s version of Outlook, looks and feels JUST like Outlook. Its easier to use, faster and backing it up is super fast and easy. Combine this with a free Gmail account (only using IMAP) and you can have your Outlook functionality, store your old email messages and folders and store your new messages as they come into your inbox whether you use a work email address (can be a POP account). Using Gmail’s new support for IMAP is one of the key’s. Think of IMAP as a place to store your email on a remote server/computer that’s always available (Google’s not going anywhere soon in my lifetime so I’m sure my account will be around forever). Think of POP as a local way to store your email information.

2. Calendar on Outlook=Lightning 0.7 lightning add-on for Thunderbird

Grab the free Mozilla add-on called Lightning. This will import your Outlook Calendar into Lightning. Looks and feels just like Outlook. Now, go to Google again and get a free Calendar. Now pay attention. Go get ‘Provider for Google’ another little add-on for Lightning and you’ll be able to save your calendar on the web in Google Calendar. You can add an event in your Thunderbird/Lightning calendar and presto, it shows up on your Google Calendar and vice-versa.

3. Google Docs= MS Word, MS Excel, MS Power Point +

Get a Google Docs account and you’ll be able to create Word or Excel type docs, store them on your computer/laptop AND store them on the web in Google Docs. They are always accessible as long as I have a browser if I didn’t save a local copy on my hard drive.

Backing up Thunderbird and Lightning is easy using Moz Backup. A few clicks of next and you’re done. There is even a way to sync all of this to your Windows Mobile Smartphone or Windows Mobile Phone using GMobileSync. So, even though there is a new vcersion of Office out now and new version due in 2008, I think I’m going this route. I’m no longer tethered to my computer. If I loose my laptop or it breaks – just fix it and re-download my apps. The data will still be there – as long as Google sticks around and they aren’t going anywhere as far as I can tell anytime soon.

Those ‘elusive’ online Academy Award Screeners for 2007…and the winners are:

OscarIts that time again. What do I mean you might ask? Its time to hunt down digital copies and watch this years Academy Award screener’s that are already starting to ‘leak’ their way online. Some even before they hit the theaters. So, we’ll keep a tally here as to which ones have shown up and where to find them. First one off the lot ‘honors’ goes to “AMERICAN GANGSTER” Stay tuned for more!

ps – they are all found right here Calico Jack, The Pirate.

UPDATE: (*note: not all of the below mentioned titles are ‘Academy Screeners’, some are art house pics, some are DVD screeners that were leaked earlier than their DVD street date -most likely by an employee – and all are found in the divx binary newsgroup as well as some others and are available for download for free by anyone with a newsgroup reader, newsgroup account, and some par files). If you need some help understanding how to do all of this, you can look it up on the web here (and its not an easy exercise to do and that’s why services like Limewire and Kazza thrived for so long) or try iTunes.

*The Brothers Solomon, King of California, Redacted, Fifty Pills, The Banishment, In Memory of Myself, The Edge of Heaven, Thieves, The Man Who Shot Chinatown, The Man from Earth, Shattered, September Dawn, Dragon War.