WinInfo Short Takes, December 16, 2011

An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...

Bill Gates Not Returning to Microsoft—Plus, Humans Need Oxygen to Breathe and Other Obvious Insights from the Blogosphere
Just a heads-up from Captain Obvious: Bill Gates is not returning to Microsoft. Obviously. No? OK, this week Bill Gates said he was not returning to Microsoft and will focus his energies on the far more important goal of fixing the planet. Got it? Good. Moving on.

Dell Abandons Netbook Market
There was no announcement, no press conference, and no industry event marking this milestone. But PC giant Dell this week quietly revealed that it would no longer make netbook-class PCs and would focus instead on devices with larger screens and more capabilities. The revelation, such as it is, can be revealed by visiting the company's website and searching for a portable computer. Doing so reveals that the company no longer sells portable PCs with small screens, and it's directing users to its 14" Inspiron models instead. Dell Marketing Director Alison Gardener said later in the week that the company would focus on the new ultrabook category instead. "Thin and powerful is where it is at for us," she noted. My guess is that we're going to see more than 100 new ultrabooks announced at CES next year, and that 2012 will be the year of the ultrabook.

Amazon Now Selling More Than 1 Million Kindles Every Week is famous for many things, but it's not very good about revealing sales figures for its own products. So I was sort of amazed this week to see the online retailer giving its first-ever peek into how well the Kindle ebook readers and Kindle Fire tablets are selling. And, no surprise here, but they're going gangbusters. Amazon says it's now selling more than 1 million Kindle devices every single week, and that the Kindle Fire in particular has been its best-selling product ever, since it was released in early November. In fact, sales of the Kindle Fire have only increased week-over-week through the holiday season, Amazon says, thrusting a dagger into the Apple-happy media's recent attempts at casting doubt on the device's success. As a reminder, the Kindle Fire costs just $199. That's not half the price of an iPad—it's less than one-third the price of the average cost of an iPad. And that, folks, is why this thing is selling through the roof. 

Nokia's First US Windows Phone Will Be the Lumia 710
Nokia announced this week that its first US-based Windows Phone handset will be the Lumia 710, the cheaper and less interesting of the two Windows Phones it revealed in October. The device will be sold on T-Mobile, which is also the cheaper and least interesting of the various wireless carriers in the United States. My advice is to wait until January, when Nokia will announce its plans for a US-based version of the Lumia 800 that will be sold via AT&T Wireless, according to internal Microsoft documentation I've viewed.

No Verdict in Novell Antitrust Suit Against Microsoft, But I've Already Rendered My Verdict: Death by Incompetence
This week, a jury of 12 people has considered evidence in an antitrust trial taking place in Utah that pits Novell owner Attachmate against Microsoft. The crime? That Microsoft unfairly abused Novell in the early 1990s in its mad bid to destroy WordPerfect, which was then still pretty popular. Except that it wasn't: As a book called Almost Perfect explains, WordPerfect's inability to compete was entirely its own fault, as first WordPerfect and then Novell (which purchased WordPerfect in 1994) backed the wrong strategies and died from self-inflicted wounds. More specifically, WordPerfect backed IBM's OS/2 heavily because it wanted to see Microsoft's Windows fail. Whoops. It never caught up, and WordPerfect market share sunk from 50 percent in 1994 to less than 10 percent in 1996 when Novell jettisoned the product for pennies on the dollar. Point being that it's fun blaming others for your problems. But in this case, the troubles were all internal. I wrote a lengthy editorial about this topic if you want to know more.

IDC: iPad Dominance Continues—Plus, the Sky Is Blue and Bigfoot Is Fake
The analyst geniuses at IDC are back this week with their latest missive, no doubt carved into stone tablets and relayed via a bearded man in robes. And the subject of this week's Message From On High (tm)? That the iPad will continue to dominate the market for so-called media tablets during the holiday season despite selling fewer units than previously expected and ceding market share to some newcomers. The tablet market is being shaken up somewhat by Amazon (with its Kindle Fire) and Barnes & Noble (with its Nook), but for the most part it's just iPad and everything else. And as for the other Android tablets ... eh. None of them are selling at all, IDC says. Thank God we have these guys. I don't know how we'd figure out the tech market otherwise.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Now a "Household Name" Thanks to Apple Lawsuits?
Speaking of Android tablets that no one is ever going to purchase, the good folks at Samsung are busy making lemonade in the wake of several damaging legal cases brought down on it by Apple, which is more than a little miffed that Samsung is copying its product designs. Samsung believes that the legal trouble has made its Galaxy Tab tablet brand a "household name," and it's even advertising it as "the tablet Apple tried to stop." But really what's stopping the Galaxy Tab is Android and the fact that no one really wants a device that looks exactly like an iPad but is, in fact, not an iPad. 

BlackBerry 10 Phones Delayed to Late 2012 ... They Still Make BlackBerry Phones?
By the time Research In Motion's (RIM's) next-generation smartphone platform arrives, I'm not even sure the company will still be around. During an earnings conference call that you have to just know was pretty horrible to begin with (flat revenues, dramatically lower earnings, a tablet no one wants), RIM revealed that its next-generation smartphone platform, called QNX, BBX, BlackBerry 10, will be delayed from early 2012 to late 2012 so that the company can take advantage of a coming new-generation chipset. And hey, this company can certainly afford to wait, so what the heck? What's next from RIM? A new netbook?

Wait, Wait, Wait—You Mean Part of the iPhone Was Actually Made in the United States? Come On!
Apple's hubris is all over its products, from the dramatic expense of these luxury items to the bold exclamations of "Designed by Apple in California" (followed by the smaller—if required by law—statement of "Made in China"). But shocker of shockers, it turns out that at least one component in some of Apple's iOS devices (the iPhone 4S and iPad 2) will soon be made in—gasp!—the United States. How did Apple's strict policy of minimizing the cost of manufacturing while maximizing margins allow such a travesty to occur? I have no idea, but Reuters is reporting that Samsung will soon be producing Apple's A5 chip in a factory in Austin, Texas. That's in the United States, if barely. I just checked. But I have to assume that Apple will cart in illegal aliens from Central America, keep them in barely livable conditions, and generally make their lives miserable in order to approximate how Apple's products are usually made in China. You gotta maintain appearances.

This Week, on the Windows Weekly Podcast

Mary Jo, Leo, and I recorded a new episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on the usual day and time (Thursday, 2pm ET), so the new episode should be available by the end of the weekend on iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found, in both audio and video formats.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on TwitterFriendfeedPaul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and the SuperSite Blog. Coming soon: Windows 8 Secrets!

TAGS: Windows 8
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