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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Steve Jobs at D: All Things Digital

Engadget has nice coverage of Steve Jobs' appearance today at D. A couple of observations:

- Jobs describes the new Apple as being three businesses and a "hobby." The businesses are Mac, music, and phone. The hobby, curiously, is Apple TV. This is sort of disingenuous. If the Apple TV fails, Apple can claim it was never a serious effort anyway.

- Jobs got into Mac market share and was reasonably accurate, though he of course rounded up on everything. According to Jobs, the Mac has 3 percent market share worldwide (it's really 2.49 percent), 5-6 percent market share in the US (lower than I would have guessed), 12 percent market share in US notebooks, and "double digit" market share in the US consumer market share, with the caveat that "we can't really calculate the consumer market share." So that last one, presumably, is just a guess.

- Jobs promised big things for the Mac at WWDC 2007, which is in early June. I've spoken to Apple about this show and will soon have an article about the company's interesting push to deal with the Windows developers who are now showing up at the event.

- No new iPods any time soon, despite some stammering from Jobs that "last September" (when the last iPods were released) wasn't all that long ago.

- Jobs again disingenuously claimed that there's no iPod lock-in because "if you look at the total number of iPods and total number of songs sold on iTunes, it's less than 25 per iPod." So consumers are "clearly not getting the majority of their songs from iTunes." That's not what lock-in means, however. Because iTunes is responsible for about 95 percent of all digitally sold music, and that music can only play on Apple's products, there's lock-in. Remember, Microsoft wasn't charged with a monopoly on operating systems. It was charged with a monopoly on operating systems for Intel-based PCs. Apple clearly has a monopoly on digitally sold music. Just as clear, however, is the fact that no law enforcement entity has any interest at all in calling them on that.

- There was much iPhone talk, naturally. I don't care much about the iPhone, however.

- YouTube on Apple TV. Yawn. Yet another extremely low-quality source of video that will look horrible on that HDTV you're using with the Apple TV.

- Jobs proudly noted that there are 300 million "or more" installs of iTunes worldwide, but was then forced to admit something I've been trying to communicate for some time now: "Statistically," as Jobs put it, almost all of those are on Windows. I do give Mossberg some credit for calling Jobs on that quip. "Statistically?" Mossberg retorted. "In reality? In this dimension?" That's a nice way to tear down a meaningless response. On the flip side, I also give Jobs credit for his final comeback: "It's like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell." Good one.

- When confronted with Apple's use of non-standard AAC instead of MP3, Jobs let loose with a whopper: "We don't own [AAC]. Anyone can license it, the majority of players out there can play it, and most of the big players out there play AAC." Those last two points are absolutely untrue.

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