Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Mar 2009 16:00 UTC
In the News During these financially dire times, it's always interesting to keep en eye on the sales figures of computes, to see if the downward trend is still running. Sales figures from February analysed by NPD indicate that while Mac sales went down, sales of Windows PCs went up. Mind, though, that these figures are US-only.
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My Bummer Statistic
by fretinator on Tue 17th Mar 2009 16:19 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

I just bought a netbook - Asus 1000HE with Windows XP. I will actually be running Ubuntu. It's a shame that I contributed to the Windows sales statistic for March. Unfortunately, the 1000HE gave me the most bang for the buck. For $399 at Amazon, I got 2GB ram, 160GB hard drive, a 9 1/2 hour battery and an Atom N280 chipset with a 667mhz frontside bus. I noticed the price just went up $25 at Amazon after I bought it. Also, it's shiny blue!

There were several places that sold a Liux version (Asus 1000), but it had a shorter battery life (5-6 hours), an N270 chipset and a 40GB SSD which was actually an 8GB primary and a slower 32GB secondary disk. Also, it would be about $50 more (zareason.com, amazon, newegg).

I also considered the HP 2140 business netbook with Suse Enterprise Desktop, but it would have been close to $600!! All of the other HP's came with 3 cell batteries - a definitely no go for me.

Reply Score: 7

RE: My Bummer Statistic
by polaris20 on Tue 17th Mar 2009 16:47 UTC in reply to "My Bummer Statistic"
polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

I just bought a netbook - Asus 1000HE with Windows XP. I will actually be running Ubuntu. It's a shame that I contributed to the Windows sales statistic for March. Unfortunately, the 1000HE gave me the most bang for the buck. For $399 at Amazon, I got 2GB ram, 160GB hard drive, a 9 1/2 hour battery and an Atom N280 chipset with a 667mhz frontside bus. I noticed the price just went up $25 at Amazon after I bought it. Also, it's shiny blue!

There were several places that sold a Liux version (Asus 1000), but it had a shorter battery life (5-6 hours), an N270 chipset and a 40GB SSD which was actually an 8GB primary and a slower 32GB secondary disk. Also, it would be about $50 more (zareason.com, amazon, newegg).

I also considered the HP 2140 business netbook with Suse Enterprise Desktop, but it would have been close to $600!! All of the other HP's came with 3 cell batteries - a definitely no go for me.


Those are nice books! I'd love to get one too, and run Ubuntu on it.

Is it just me, or are these monthly sales figures kinda stupid? If Apple were down 16% for a whole year, or even a whole quarter, it'd be meaningful to me. But just a month? The next step is to be concerned with daily stock prices. Oh wait..... ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: My Bummer Statistic
by DevL on Tue 17th Mar 2009 16:51 UTC in reply to "My Bummer Statistic"
DevL Member since:
2005-07-06

Same here. Just got my ASUS S101 delivered and it runs Ubuntu. I never once booted Windows on it but it'll still count as a "sure" sign that everybody wants Windows on their NetBooks. :-(

That said, I'm otherwise happily living completely de-Microsofted with a bunch of Macs and Linux computers.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: My Bummer Statistic
by FunkyELF on Tue 17th Mar 2009 18:39 UTC in reply to "RE: My Bummer Statistic"
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

That said, I'm otherwise happily living completely de-Microsofted with a bunch of Macs and Linux computers.


You're almost there. Just gotta get rid of those Macs and you're all set, unless you're already running Linux on them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My Bummer Statistic
by broch on Wed 18th Mar 2009 15:39 UTC in reply to "My Bummer Statistic"
broch Member since:
2006-05-04

ridiculous statement: how many users are buying desktops/notebooks with windows and switch to linux? Total of 1%?
This really will skew statistics.

I use linux/BSD (no windows dualboot) for very long time but it always amazes me how so called fans are trying to make things up.

Windows rules desktop market and you switching to Ubuntu does not affect statistics at all.

Edited 2009-03-18 15:41 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: My Bummer Statistic
by fretinator on Wed 18th Mar 2009 16:06 UTC in reply to "RE: My Bummer Statistic"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

1. I not saying I'm a LARGE part of the overall statistics. For PERSONAL reasons, I felt it was a shame.

2. As far as the actual percentage of users who do this, I don't know if anyone has a grasp of the number who buy Windows but run Linux. All I know is I have bought an awful lot of Windows licenses but I run Linux. At any given time, I may have 4-5 computers with Windows License stickers on them running Linux or BSD.

My main point was that it is often cheaper to buy a Windows computer and convert it than it is to buy a Linux computer. Hopefully that won't always be true.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My Bummer Statistic
by matthekc on Thu 19th Mar 2009 23:58 UTC in reply to "My Bummer Statistic"
matthekc Member since:
2006-10-28

Get your Windows refund!
If you won't use the software you are owed a refund.
One guy got 500$

Reply Score: 1

The numbers
by mckill on Tue 17th Mar 2009 16:43 UTC
mckill
Member since:
2007-06-12

It should be noted that the 36% number is from desktop sales only where a lot of people were expecting and waiting on a hardware refresh which was just released.

The laptop sales according to the report only saw a 7% drop.

Reply Score: 1

Give us a bl**dy mid-range desktop, Apple!
by orfanum on Tue 17th Mar 2009 17:20 UTC
orfanum
Member since:
2006-06-02

Spread the risk, broaden your portfolio, meet the demands of a different group of users, buck the credit crunch trend, and allow me to retire my G4 gracefully without sacrificing too much cash or ability to upgrade!!!

OK, rant over, but there was a serious point in there

Reply Score: 3

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree whole heartedly, but unfortunately I don't think we'll ever see a midrange i7-based desktop. They just don't seem interested.

Reply Score: 2

Sales were down in February
by tyrione on Tue 17th Mar 2009 17:21 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

before the entire line refresh.

Sales now are steeply rebounding.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sales were down in February
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 17th Mar 2009 17:23 UTC in reply to "Sales were down in February"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Sales now are steeply rebounding.


Any links for this? I could add them to the story.

Reply Score: 6

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Gracias, added.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sales were down in February
by kaiwai on Tue 17th Mar 2009 19:59 UTC in reply to "Sales were down in February"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

before the entire line refresh. Sales now are steeply rebounding.


Hmm, that was strange, I noticed that you were marked down for some reason, so I have added a point onto your post.

Even just casual observance on mac forums will tell you that many were holding off for a refresh due to the rumour mill in "any time soon" mode. I know if I heard of a refresh and an iMac wasn't an incredibly important purchase that I needed straight away - I would have held off for the refresh.

It will be interesting to see what their international sales figures are like - the financial crisis in the US may have spread in the form of slow or negative economic growth but the vast majority of countries don't have banks on the verge of collapse. Although the US sales might be shrinking, the telling sign will be international sales which IMHO Apple should focus heavily on developing as dependence on the US market can be devistating as seen by Chrysler own financial situation where their over exposure to the American market has resulted them going belly up several times it is corporate life.

Edited 2009-03-17 20:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sales were down in February
by shis-ka-bob on Tue 17th Mar 2009 20:34 UTC in reply to "Sales were down in February"
shis-ka-bob Member since:
2007-02-05

I don't have statistics, but I have a new iMac. This is my first Mac since an Mac SE in the late 80's. I am really happy with it so far.

Reply Score: 1

They may get my $ too
by runjorel on Tue 17th Mar 2009 17:48 UTC
runjorel
Member since:
2009-02-09

I started my 'Apple' journey when they started making systems with Intel. I have been through several systems but my current setup is a 1st gen Mac Pro and a last gen 'Blackbook'. I love OS X, Apple's Customer Service (for the most part), and their hardware design. OS X just seems to make more sense to me than Windows or linux. I also like the Unix backend.

So what's the tough part? Two things: 1) The software I develop is mostly for windows or linux. So that means most of my day is spent in some emulation of another OS. 2) I am not a huge gamer, but I like to game on a PC (vs consoles). The games for Mac tend to be slower but manageable, and it's not easy to update hardware (easy being finding parts as well as how much you have to pay for them). Let me put it this way: I could purchase/build a brand new awesome PC that would beat the Mac Pro in every performace area for the same price it would cost me to upgrade my Mac Pro's CPU and video card..AND it still wouldn't be a screaming fast system...AND its about 2 years old from when I bought it!!!

I would much rather stay in the Mac world, but with Windows 7 being a good alternative to Mac OS and considering that a PC would solve the two issues I mentioned above, I think I will be returning to the Windows/Linux side of things. OS X is awesome. I love how consumer centric Apple is (even though sometimes it can be a burden), but I am realizing in the long run, that practicality is better than a 'neat-o' and beautiful OS.

P.S. - I don't mean to say that OS X is not practical. I just believe for someone in my position, there are a lot more hurdles you have to jump through. Some people may be fine with that, but for me, I think a PC with Windows 7 will be my next purchase or build.

Reply Score: 3

RE: They may get my $ too
by google_ninja on Wed 18th Mar 2009 04:19 UTC in reply to "They may get my $ too"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Have you tried running studio in fusion? I met an MVP at a conference awhile back who was exclusively on macs + vmware.

Reply Score: 2

yes, US only
by lqsh on Tue 17th Mar 2009 18:21 UTC
lqsh
Member since:
2007-01-01

Here in Canada the economy is not bad* and spending has not decreased, and I just bought another Mac.

*According to Canadian national TV news

Reply Score: 1

RE: yes, US only
by poundsmack on Tue 17th Mar 2009 18:38 UTC in reply to "yes, US only"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

not just the US. Most Europian countries and and Asian markets are also deeply recessed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: yes, US only
by averycfay on Tue 17th Mar 2009 19:51 UTC in reply to "yes, US only"
averycfay Member since:
2005-08-29

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2009/03/15/8758156-cp.html

This seems to say that the Canadian economy is actually shrinking faster than the U.S. economy.

Actually, as bad as the U.S. economy is, the rest of the world is worse including, most significantly, Europe. That's the primary reason why the dollar has been growing stronger vs. almost any other currency in the past couple months.

Reply Score: 3

alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

Its less than conclusive, because one would like to see the effects of the product line update, such as it was. And one would like to see whether the trend continues in March.

But it is rather more than just suggestive because this is a repeat of PC sales rising and Mac sales falling, its not like it is the first time.

Inquiring minds are asking three questions at this point.

Question one is about the desktop market. Everyone outside the community will admit that the mass market for decent spec and quality systems is at Euro 500-600. Apple simply does not have an entry at that point. The Mini has been engineered to a form factor which is of purely niche interest, and price performance has been heroically sacrificed to achieve it. The iMac is way over the odds in price and includes an obligatory monitor purchase which few will need. So the question is, whether Apple really has a viable desktop strategy?

Notice that this is not a case of staying clear of the dirt cheap bottom of the barrel stuff. That's often alleged. but the real cheap stuff now is around Euro 200-250 for a base unit. What Apple is avoiding is mainstream middle of the road decent spec. Is that viable? In a deep prolonged recession?

The second question is whether as the laptop market migrates, as it clearly is doing, into a lower priced and more portable form factor, where what people want is to be able to put it into a handbag or portfolio, the strategy of staying in the high priced large sized segment is viable.

Notice that the iPhone etc are not entrants in this market. No-one who is in the market for the Eeepc and similar will consider it as an alternative. Its only the desperate faithful who suggest this. Notice that thin does not cut it either. Thin 13 inch screens do not fit into a handbag.

The third question is when will Apple shares be a buy, and at what level? As to when, don't hold your breath. And as to the level, hold on tight, this could turn into the Cresta run any time.

But it does depend on what happens in March and April. This is why it is less than conclusive. If things turn up in these months, we'll be OK. If its more of the same, well, hold on tight.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by FunkyELF
by FunkyELF on Tue 17th Mar 2009 18:32 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

The figures are all year-over-year, so February 2009 is compared with February 2008.
Seems like a stupid way to compare figures. I don't know what happened a year ago in February? Did they release a new computer, laptop etc? Actually, didn't the MacBook AIR come out last Feb?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by FunkyELF
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 17th Mar 2009 18:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by FunkyELF"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Seems like a stupid way to compare figures. I don't know what happened a year ago in February? Did they release a new computer, laptop etc? Actually, didn't the MacBook AIR come out last Feb?


It's the best way, since it keep seasonal influences out.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by FunkyELF
by jimbofluffy on Tue 17th Mar 2009 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by FunkyELF"
jimbofluffy Member since:
2008-07-15

It's the best way, since it keep seasonal influences out.


You can seasonally adjust by month/quarter for each 12/4 data points in the year and then look at the entire series. That is how macro data is used.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Snapper
by Snapper on Tue 17th Mar 2009 18:58 UTC
Snapper
Member since:
2005-11-16

I'm one of those who wiped the Linux based OS on my Eee 701 and went with XP. Mind you, it was a stripped down version so as to leave me with 2.3G available out of 4 total after loading several apps.

I'm no longer impressed by Linux running on all sorts of hardware....that is a given. I am impressed that XP seemed to run very well on this hardware.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Snapper
by kaiwai on Wed 18th Mar 2009 04:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by Snapper"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm one of those who wiped the Linux based OS on my Eee 701 and went with XP. Mind you, it was a stripped down version so as to leave me with 2.3G available out of 4 total after loading several apps.

I'm no longer impressed by Linux running on all sorts of hardware....that is a given. I am impressed that XP seemed to run very well on this hardware.


There lies the contradiction in the Linux message; lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support. That is why I find it funny when I hear people talk about the evils of Apple and yet find that their selection of hardware when using Linux is just as limited, if not more, than if they tried to setup a hackintosh.

My Acer Aspire One is going to my brothers girlfriend and I'll start using my Macbook again; when push comes to shove, as much as I'd love the idea of a third part candidate in the operating system race, the reality is that it'll never match the big two.

If Linux were just a minority but had some really great ideas but it were too avant garde for mainstream - it wouldn't be so bad. The problem is that Linux needs so much work. Case in point, both ath5k and madwifi on acer aspire one results in large downloads being corrupted - 90mb rar downloaded last night corrupted. The ath5k constant disconnections and incompatibility.

When you can't get the fundamentals right - you have lost before you have left the gate.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 05:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Case in point, both ath5k and madwifi on acer aspire one results in large downloads being corrupted - 90mb rar downloaded last night corrupted. The ath5k constant disconnections and incompatibility.

When you can't get the fundamentals right - you have lost before you have left the gate.


For interest: the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers. Madwifi is deprecated.

Obligatory link:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NjYyMw

The developers behind the popular MadWiFi Linux driver were ceasing work on it in favor of starting up a new driver called ath5k using OpenHAL. Two of the key developers were also hired by Atheros, the wireless chipset company itself.


I find that it is often important to get such attributions correct.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Snapper
by evangs on Wed 18th Mar 2009 07:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Snapper"
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

He said ath5k _and_ madwifi. He didn't claim of imply that the ath5k and ath9k drivers were written by the madwifi team, rather that he's tried both sets of drivers and they've failed to deliver.

Remember, it's important to read what was posted and not what you think was posted.

Edited 2009-03-18 07:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 08:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

He said ath5k _and_ madwifi. He didn't claim of imply that the ath5k and ath9k drivers were written by the madwifi team, rather that he's tried both sets of drivers and they've failed to deliver.

Remember, it's important to read what was posted and not what you think was posted.


Excuse me?

Where did I even imply that I thought he said that the ath5k and ath9k drivers were written by the madwifi team?

Here is the direct quote from the OP that was problematical:

"There lies the contradiction in the Linux message; lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support."


This statement attempts to infer that Linux is poor because the Linux developers couldn't be bothered to support some hardware fully.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The actual situation is that Linux developers are dead keen to support as much hardware as they are allowed to. They have developers at the ready. They will work for free. They just need the chip-makers to send them the specifications, and they will write drivers for free, and continue to support that hardware in the kernel, for free, for as long as anyone needs the drivers. They will even sign an NDA and promise not to reveal the specifications to anyone else. They will even purchase specifications if they need to.

Obligatory supporting links:
http://news.samba.org/announcements/pfif/

Further, there are Linux driver developers actively asking for more work to do:
http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/linux_driver_project_status-2008-04....
"The Linux Driver Project (LDP) is alive and well, with over 300 developers wanting to participate, many drivers already written and accepted into the Linux kernel tree, and many more being currently developed. The main problem is a lack of projects. It turns out that there really isn't much hardware that Linux doesn't already support. Almost all new hardware produced is coming with a Linux driver already written by the company, or by the community with help from the company.

There are two main classes of hardware, video input devices and wireless network cards, that is not well supported by Linux, but large efforts are already underway to resolve this issue, with the wireless driver issue pretty much taken care of already, however there are a few notable exceptions."


http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS6669895837.html

The Linux driver developers are ready, waiting, and more than willing to do whatever work is required.

The problems that remain are twofold:
(1) Chip makers who refuse to publish specifications of how their chips work to enable drivers to be written, and
(2) Hardware OEMs who seem to put exactly those chips in their machines and ignore other chips for which perfectly working Linux drivers are available.

Now Atheros was, for a long time, a chip maker of the type mentioned in (1) above. This made the reverse-engineered Madwifi driver necessary. It often didn't work properly because the Linux driver developers in the Madwifi project were working in the dark.

Suddenly, netbooks appeared on the market. The original netbooks could only run Linux. They were selling like hotcakes. A whole new market was opening up. It looked for a while as if, if there wasn't a good Linux driver for your chip, then your chip would miss out on a whole new market.

At that point, Atheros hired some developers specifically to write a driver for Linux for their range of chips. The Madwifi project said "great, now we will have a proper driver for Atheros chips, made by Atheros developers, so we can close up shop".

Then, Microsoft started to push Windows XP Home for netbooks. Bigger and better netbooks came out, with hard drives, and Windows pre-installed. If they offered a Linux, it was only for the low-end model, and it would be a limited, constrained, and partly-closed version of Linux. The wireless chips would all have poor support, and the drivers would be proprietary, so that it was hard to put an unconstrained full version of Linux on them.

That is the point we are at now. The Atheros drivers reportedly don't work well ... even though they (now) come (effectively) from Atheros. Even though there are heaps of wireless chips that work great with Linux, such as Intel chips ... many netbook OEMs are choosing chips with no Linux drivers, or only poor drivers.

Hmmmm.

You do the math. Draw your own conclusions.

Whatever you come up with, it most certainly is well established that this situation is NOT a case of "lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support". That conclusion is just plain wrong.

PS: Also, remember, it's important to read what was posted and not what you think was posted.

PPS: This situation, where a monopolist is trying to use leverage and behind-the-scenes deals to try to squeeze a competitor out of a new market, is exactly why it is so very refreshing to see a new netbook come on the market with an unconstrained full Linux OS pre-installed as the default offering.

Edited 2009-03-18 08:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Snapper
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Mar 2009 09:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Snapper"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Even though there are heaps of wireless chips that work great with Linux, such as Intel chips ... many netbook OEMs are choosing chips with no Linux drivers, or only poor drivers.


Apart from the paranoid PPS added later to your post, this is a very valid question. There are more Linux-friendly chips out there than chips that are not - then why do we see the latter ones more often? It makes no sense to limit your own possible market penetration.

The only thing I can think of is that the non-Linux friendly chips are somehow cheaper. Even if it's only two cents per chip cheaper, this does add up in the long run.

However, that does not explain why some companies go out of their way to avoid Linux friendly chips. I mean, Intel offers a complete platform with its Atom chip, yet most netbook makers still choose other chips - which, in my book, only makes them more expensive than just using the stock platform from Intel.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 09:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

" Even though there are heaps of wireless chips that work great with Linux, such as Intel chips ... many netbook OEMs are choosing chips with no Linux drivers, or only poor drivers.


Apart from the paranoid PPS added later to your post, this is a very valid question. There are more Linux-friendly chips out there than chips that are not - then why do we see the latter ones more often? It makes no sense to limit your own possible market penetration.

The only thing I can think of is that the non-Linux friendly chips are somehow cheaper. Even if it's only two cents per chip cheaper, this does add up in the long run.

However, that does not explain why some companies go out of their way to avoid Linux friendly chips. I mean, Intel offers a complete platform with its Atom chip, yet most netbook makers still choose other chips - which, in my book, only makes them more expensive than just using the stock platform from Intel.
"

Hear hear. Well said.

Obligatory supporting link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_open_source_wireless_dri...

If Intel chips are more expensive (but I can't see why they would be) ... then Ralink, ZyDAS, Realtek or even an older PRISM chip offer alternative options.

These are all a lot more sensible choices for an OEM (wishing to make a machine on which Linux was an option) than either Atheros or Broadcom.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 09:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

There are more Linux-friendly chips out there than chips that are not - then why do we see the latter ones more often? It makes no sense to limit your own possible market penetration.

However, that does not explain why some companies go out of their way to avoid Linux friendly chips. I mean, Intel offers a complete platform with its Atom chip, yet most netbook makers still choose other chips - which, in my book, only makes them more expensive than just using the stock platform from Intel.


Exploring this question a bit further (obligatory link):
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=asus_eee_top&num...

Why?

It seems to be a nice machine.

The tiniest bit of work on the part of the OEM would have made it work with Linux.

So why limit your machine and your possible market by not doing that tiny bit of work?

There are quite a number of large deployments of OSS and Linux happening quietly all over the world. The French gendarmerie were recently one of the few that received any media attention.

Links:
http://www.workswithu.com/2009/03/17/where-ubuntu-fits-between-appl...
http://www.h-online.com/open/IDC-says-Linux-offers-firms-potential-...
http://www.tectonic.co.za/?p=4366
http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62052282,00.htm?s...
http://www.techradar.com/blogs/article/economic-plight-boosts-linux...

It doesn't make sense ... unless there is some non-obvious payoff for making it not work with Linux.

Edited 2009-03-18 09:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Snapper
by kaiwai on Wed 18th Mar 2009 10:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Snapper"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Excuse me?

Where did I even imply that I thought he said that the ath5k and ath9k drivers were written by the madwifi team?


When you reply to my post making the following statement:

For interest: the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers. Madwifi is deprecated.

Obligatory link:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NjYyMw

The developers behind the popular MadWiFi Linux driver were ceasing work on it in favor of starting up a new driver called ath5k using OpenHAL. Two of the key developers were also hired by Atheros, the wireless chipset company itself.


I find that it is often important to get such attributions correct.


You've clearly made the claim:

"For interest: the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers. Madwifi is deprecated."

The concluded your post with:

"I find that it is often important to get such attributions correct."

To which you are stating that I made the claim that madwifi developers and ath5k/ath9k are one in the same through the use of your conclusion as a way of 'correcting' me when no correction was even required. What relevance your statement has to my post - god only knows, all I did was pointed out that the two different drivers on offer both failed. I pointed this out so that those who say, "ok, that failed, did you try [driver name]", I could say, "yes" before they answered the question. Call it a pre-emptive answer to an expected question.

Here is the direct quote from the OP that was problematical:

"There lies the contradiction in the Linux message; lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support."

This statement attempts to infer that Linux is poor because the Linux developers couldn't be bothered to support some hardware fully.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The actual situation is that Linux developers are dead keen to support as much hardware as they are allowed to. They have developers at the ready. They will work for free. They just need the chip-makers to send them the specifications, and they will write drivers for free, and continue to support that hardware in the kernel, for free, for as long as anyone needs the drivers. They will even sign an NDA and promise not to reveal the specifications to anyone else. They will even purchase specifications if they need to.


When they are given specifications the drivers are crap at best. Prime example of this would be, ath5k and the NUMEROUS bugs and NUMEROUS features that are missing, such as the ability to operate in noisy environments, the ability to handle jumbo frames (sometimes referred to in routers as burst transfers) etc. etc. So even when the 'goodies' are provided they don't step up to the crease and make a viable driver.

As for the rest; its bullshit conspiracy theories - we might as well say that the monopoly is the result of the man in the moon using a super sonic laser that only Microsoft employee's can see and control from their office in California to threaten who don't comply with their demands. In the end the fact remains that ath5k/ath9k have two dedicated engineers and the support is atrocious.

Reply Score: 0

RE[6]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"When you reply to my post making the following statement:


For interest: the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers. Madwifi is deprecated.
"

Sorry, but they are two separate statements, both correct. There is a reason why these two statements are in separate sentences.

The madwifi developers did start an attempt at ath5k, but they shutdown madwifi and left further development of Atheros drivers for Linux up to the Atheros employees who had been hired by Atheros specifically for that task. Hence "madwifi is deprecated". The people who were working on madwifi dropped it. Two employees from Atheros started writing drivers for Linux. Different people. Hence the statement "the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers".

All of this information, especially the fact that madwifi is deprecated, is readily available on wikipedia article on Atheros, under the topic of "free software support".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheros

If I was having trouble with wifi drivers for Linux, and I knew the name of the wifi chip maker, then this is the first place I'd look.

Then I would know not to bother with the madwifi driver any more.

I am a bit surprised that the ath5k driver didn't work for you, though. I would have thought that Atheros themselves would be able to write a driver for their own chip.

So I googled for the following search terms: ath5k acer aspire one

Here is the top hit link:

http://linux.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lists/Kernel/2008-08/msg06477.ht...

Oh dear. It doesn't fully work also. No WPA.

So Atheros cannot even write a working driver for their own chips.

I still don't see how this failing of Atheros, first to refuse to give Linux driver developers any specifications, and then later to write a flaky Linux driver for their own chips, in any way reflects on the Linux developers.

kaiwai:
"There lies the contradiction in the Linux message; lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support."


No. Not so. You have got the wrong actor. It was not the choice of "Linux" to have poor support for Atheros. That was strictly Atheros' doing.

Later, also kaiwai:
When they are given specifications the drivers are crap at best. Prime example of this would be, ath5k and the NUMEROUS bugs and NUMEROUS features that are missing, such as the ability to operate in noisy environments, the ability to handle jumbo frames (sometimes referred to in routers as burst transfers) etc. etc. So even when the 'goodies' are provided they don't step up to the crease and make a viable driver.


Sigh! You still don't get it, do you?

Linux driver developers never got any specifications from Atheros. Madwifi was written as a reverse engineering effort (ie. without having specifications). ath5k and ath9k are both written by Atheros.

It says so here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheros#History
"In July 2008 Atheros decided to change policy and hired two key Linux wireless developers Luis Rodriguez and Jouni Malinen and released an open source Linux driver for their 802.11n devices. Atheros also released some source from their binary HAL under ISC license to help community add support for their abg chips"


Atheros has the specifications for Atheros' chips ... but Linux driver developers, including those who were on the madwifi project, don't have them. Never had them. Still don't have them. They aren't the authors of the current ath5k or ath9k drivers anyway.

You are barking totally up the wrong tree. When you said ... "There lies the contradiction in the Linux message; lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support." ... you got entirely the wrong people as being responsible.

Edited 2009-03-18 13:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Snapper
by kaiwai on Wed 18th Mar 2009 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Snapper"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

When you reply to my post making the following statement:

For interest: the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers. Madwifi is deprecated.

Sorry, but they are two separate statements, both correct. There is a reason why these two statements are in separate sentences.

The madwifi developers did start an attempt at ath5k, but they shutdown madwifi and left further development of Atheros drivers for Linux up to the Atheros employees who had been hired by Atheros specifically for that task. Hence "madwifi is deprecated". The people who were working on madwifi dropped it. Two employees from Atheros started writing drivers for Linux. Different people. Hence the statement "the ath5k and ath9k wireless driver for Linux is written by Atheros developers".

All of this information, especially the fact that madwifi is deprecated, is readily available on wikipedia article on Atheros, under the topic of "free software support".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheros

If I was having trouble with wifi drivers for Linux, and I knew the name of the wifi chip maker, then this is the first place I'd look.

Then I would know not to bother with the madwifi driver any more.

I am a bit surprised that the ath5k driver didn't work for you, though. I would have thought that Atheros themselves would be able to write a driver for their own chip.

So I googled for the following search terms: ath5k acer aspire one

Here is the top hit link:

http://linux.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lists/Kernel/2008-08/msg06477.ht...

Oh dear. It doesn't fully work also. No WPA.

So Atheros cannot even write a working driver for their own chips.

I still don't see how this failing of Atheros, first to refuse to give Linux driver developers any specifications, and then later to write a flaky Linux driver for their own chips, in any way reflects on the Linux developers.


1) You claimed that I stated that the madwifi driver and the ath5k/ath9k drivers were developed by the same people; you again have provided no proof to back up such claims. The only claim I have made is that I have tried both sets of drivers and both fail to perform as it should - demonstrating that I have made an effort to try and get it to work instead of just giving up in five seconds as some do with Linux.

2) Do both set of programmers write software for the Linux kernel (aka drivers)? yes? well, then they're a Linux developer. You're still a Linux developer even if you're not part of the kernel team - just as a person who writes software for Windows is considered a Windows developer.

3) WPA works with both ath5k/ath9k and madwifi - you might wish to hone in on you googling skills because it most certainly does work; the issue relating connection issues is related to a reset fault in the driver which is being addressed. The reset issue might give the impression of WPA incompatibility at times but it is in no way related to it. Also, you are quoting a post from August 2008 - you do realise that it is March 2009? you do realise that in the 7 or so months that things could have actually changed? or do you just randomly click on the top result with out considering it could contain out of date information?

4) Madwifi does support my hardware, as of the latest 0.10.5.6 snapshot marked on 4 February 2009 which is available from the snapshots page. Again, I tried this and ath5k/ath9k to see whether madwifi performed better; I wanted to cover all my bases when it came to finding solution to the problem.

Edited 2009-03-18 20:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 09:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

He said ath5k _and_ madwifi. He didn't claim of imply that the ath5k and ath9k drivers were written by the madwifi team, rather that he's tried both sets of drivers and they've failed to deliver.


Read more about this situation here (obligatory link):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheros#History

History

In the free software community, Atheros has been known for not releasing appropriate documentation that would allow free software developers to write open-source drivers to support their wireless devices without reverse-engineering, thus OSS support for Atheros hardware was rather limited. There are still some completely free open-source drivers written via reverse-engineering techniques. For example, Reyk Floeter of the OpenBSD project has reversed-engineered the HAL-module of the ath driver found on FreeBSD, and provided a completely free driver to Atheros devices. Also Nick Kossifidis of the MadWiFi project based on Floeter's work started madwifi-old-openhal branch on feb. 2006 in order to create a free driver for Linux.


...

Current situation

In July 2008 Atheros decided to change policy and hired two key Linux wireless developers Luis Rodriguez and Jouni Malinen and released an open source Linux driver for their 802.11n devices. Atheros also released some source from their binary HAL under ISC license to help community add support for their abg chips


So, if the Linux drivers for Atheros chips are still flaky ... whose fault is it do you imagine?

Also ... if you are Acer, and you wish to put out a new netbook that could have eithr Linux or Windows as the OS, then why would you chose an Atheros chip with flaky Linux drivers over an Intel wireless chip with long-term support in Linux?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_open_source_wireless_dri...

What any sensible (or trustworthy) OEM would choose is a wireless chip with "supported" as the last word under the "development" column in the above article, and which had been that way for some time.

Intel, Ralink, ZyDAS or some Realtek.

Edited 2009-03-18 09:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Snapper
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 05:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Snapper"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

There lies the contradiction in the Linux message; lots of freedom as so long as you only have the hardware that we choose to support.


Au contraire, if you are a chip-maker, you can get a Linux driver written for your chip, for free. Labour is donated.

Obligatory supporting link:

http://kerneltrap.org/node/7636

Linux: Free Linux Driver Development

"You will receive a complete and working Linux driver that is added to the main Linux kernel source tree. The driver will be written by some of the members of the Linux kernel developer community (over 1500 strong and growing). This driver will then be automatically included in all Linux distributions, including the 'enterprise ones. It will be automatically kept up to date and working through all Linux kernel API changes. This driver will work with all of the different CPU types supported by Linux (for the CPUs that support the bus types that your device works on), the largest number of CPU types supported by any operating system ever before in the history of computing."


It is not the Linux developers who are choosing to fail to support some devices in the Linux kernel.

Remember, it is important to get the attributions correct.

Edited 2009-03-18 05:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Too expensive
by cmost on Tue 17th Mar 2009 20:04 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

I know people have heard this complaint about Macs before but it bears repeating: They're too damn expensive for what they are. I can go to tigerdirect and snag a tricked out PC with pretty much every feature present on the Mac for a fourth to a sixth the price. Of course I wouldn't get OS-X but I could even add that myself through various questionable means. And I have the ability to swap out components in the future as upgrades become available. Now that Apple is using commodity hardware, they need to lower their prices already.

Edited 2009-03-17 20:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Too expensive
by Kroc on Tue 17th Mar 2009 20:07 UTC in reply to "Too expensive"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

*You* have the ability to do that. Regular users don’t. Regular users buy appliances, not DIY-kits.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Too expensive
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 02:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Too expensive"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

fretinator:

I just bought a netbook - Asus 1000HE with Windows XP. I will actually be running Ubuntu. It's a shame that I contributed to the Windows sales statistic for March. Unfortunately, the 1000HE gave me the most bang for the buck. For $399 at Amazon, I got 2GB ram, 160GB hard drive, a 9 1/2 hour battery and an Atom N280 chipset with a 667mhz frontside bus. I noticed the price just went up $25 at Amazon after I bought it. Also, it's shiny blue!

There were several places that sold a Liux version (Asus 1000), but it had a shorter battery life (5-6 hours), an N270 chipset and a 40GB SSD which was actually an 8GB primary and a slower 32GB secondary disk. Also, it would be about $50 more (zareason.com, amazon, newegg).


DevL:
Same here. Just got my ASUS S101 delivered and it runs Ubuntu. I never once booted Windows on it but it'll still count as a "sure" sign that everybody wants Windows on their NetBooks. :-(


Kroc:
*You* have the ability to do that. Regular users don’t. Regular users buy appliances, not DIY-kits.


This problem of having to buy a Windows XP Home netbook, because that was all that was offered, when one really wanted Linux, has been up until now a vexing problem here in Australia. Typically, if a Linux option was offered at all, it was only offered on the low-end machines without a hard disk.

Happily a local supplier has just announced a way for Australian consumers to get what they want (as established by Kogan via a user poll) without (necessarily) being counted as yet another statistic for Microsoft sales.

Obligatory supporting links:

http://www.kogan.com.au/shop/kogan-agora-netbook-pro/

http://www.itwire.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=238...

http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Review/139701,first-look-kogan-agora-...

It looks quite nice. The Linux option is touted to be the cheapest 10-inch netbook available in Australia. It seems to be unique in the world of 10-inch netbooks with a HDD (160GB) in that Linux gOS is the pre-installed OS offered, and Windows XP Home is only available by special request for extra cost.

Edited 2009-03-18 02:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Just on the Kogan Agora Linux netbook
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 03:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Too expensive"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Obligatory link:

http://www.itwire.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=238...

"The Agora Netbooks start at $A499, and like many such devices use an Atom CPU, in this case the 1.60GHz N270.
...
Other specifications include a 1024 x 600 display, 160G hard drive, a 1.3MP webcam, microphone, Wi-Fi (b/g), Ethernet, three USB 2.0 ports, VGA, and a combo memory card slot.

Costing an extra $A40, the PRO variant boosts the RAM from 1G to 2G, adds a USB Bluetooth dongle, and replaces the standard three-cell battery with a six-cell version said to be good for up to six hours use.


Hang on a minute. 160GB hard disk, 2GB RAM ... aren't those specifications beyond the limits which Microsoft set for netbooks for which it agreed to make XP Home available?

Obligatory supporting link:

http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2008/09/microsoft-eases-restri...

"Originally, Microsoft set the screen size limit at 10.2 inches and the storage capacity at 80GB to be able to run Windows XP. Computer World reports that Microsoft has now eased those restrictions and will allow larger systems to run Windows XP.

The new limitations on netbooks and other computers running Windows XP will be a screen size of 14.1 inches and a storage capacity of 160GB. Microsoft did not increase the CPU or RAM specifications, which still limit netbooks running XP to a single-core processor and 1GB of RAM. "


The answer is yes, they are beyond the limit set. The Kogan Agora PRO netbook falls within the relaxed storage limit for the hard disk, but it has twice the allowed RAM.

I wonder if Microsoft will nevertheless alow Kogan offer XP Home as an option on the PRO variant?

If they do ... Microsoft will then have twice relaxed the limits. So much for the "limits" then ... this always seemed to be a bit of a silly strategy on Microsoft's part anyway.

Edited 2009-03-18 03:04 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Too expensive
by flanque on Tue 17th Mar 2009 22:11 UTC in reply to "Too expensive"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Apple need to increase driver development for more hardware. It doesn't really matter that much that they use commodity hardware. If there's no driver support it's as good as proprietary hardware to me.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Too expensive
by kaiwai on Wed 18th Mar 2009 04:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Too expensive"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple need to increase driver development for more hardware. It doesn't really matter that much that they use commodity hardware. If there's no driver support it's as good as proprietary hardware to me.


What isn't supported? do you mean more USB and Firewire devices? I agree that there is a serious lack in the number of third parties providing solutions for Mac's, but that is up to the established individual companies to decide whether entering the Mac market is worth their while.

It also isn't Apple's responsibility support hardware from vendors who flat out refuse to allow Apple access to hardware specifications. How can Apple assure an end user a consistent experience and claimed support if their understanding and support of a given component of hardware is based on reverse engineering and a lot of hacking around? it can't be done. You may be happy with Linux device driver writers claiming support but reality is that only the very small subset of the device is fully supported - but Apple customers expect more, so if there is a claim of support by Apple, they want it properly and fully supported and not a buggy mess of pain and misery.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Too expensive
by flanque on Wed 18th Mar 2009 04:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Too expensive"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I mean Apple should do more to encourage development of drivers from hardware vendors.

It's not as though MacOS has anywhere near the hardware compatibility that Windows or Linux does.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Too expensive
by kaiwai on Wed 18th Mar 2009 04:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Too expensive"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I mean Apple should do more to encourage development of drivers from hardware vendors.

It's not as though MacOS has anywhere near the hardware compatibility that Windows or Linux does.


1) Linux support is terrible; half finished and buggy drivers which only support, if lucky, 50% of the hardware's functionality is hardly what I'd call "hardware support".

2) Again, how do they accomplish that? they accomplish that by expanding their market share and thus make it a viable market for companies to enter into. What else are they supposed to do? waste millions of share holders funds going around playing politics by selecting certain companies and thus create an unlevel playing field in the Mac marketplace?

Reply Score: 1

Glory days of Mac
by Kishe on Tue 17th Mar 2009 20:31 UTC
Kishe
Member since:
2006-02-16

G4 was the Glory days for MAC, now they're basically just overpriced, glorified PCs

Reply Score: 4

aahjnnot
Member since:
2008-07-24

I've said it here before and I've been flamed here before. But here it is again: Apple is making the same mistake that the Detroit Three made over the past few decades. The lesson of history is that in consumer goods with a high cost to market, you ignore lower market segments at your peril.

Remember this sequence? We won't sell small cars: there's no margin. Don't bother with mid-market saloons - the Europeans can make them more cheaply. Forget luxury saloons - there's more margin on SUVs. It's all about margin, baby; volume is a mug's game. Oh wait...

Now compare it with this. Forget beige boxes: there's no margin. Don't bother with netbooks - the Taiwanese can make them more cheaply. Forget mid-market towers - there's more margin on top end worstations. It's all about margin, baby; volume is a mug's game. Oh wait...

Reply Score: 0

ameasures Member since:
2006-01-09

An interesting comparison with Ford, GM and Chrylser:

Frankly the Detroit problem was largely one of agility of mindset. Apple sets its own pace in this respect, and has the bank balance to prove it.

The stock market takes the view that Apple NEEDS Steve Jobs, and how well they would/ will cope without him is an open question.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I've said it here before and I've been flamed here before. But here it is again: Apple is making the same mistake that the Detroit Three made over the past few decades. The lesson of history is that in consumer goods with a high cost to market, you ignore lower market segments at your peril.

Remember this sequence? We won't sell small cars: there's no margin. Don't bother with mid-market saloons - the Europeans can make them more cheaply. Forget luxury saloons - there's more margin on SUVs. It's all about margin, baby; volume is a mug's game. Oh wait...

Now compare it with this. Forget beige boxes: there's no margin. Don't bother with netbooks - the Taiwanese can make them more cheaply. Forget mid-market towers - there's more margin on top end worstations. It's all about margin, baby; volume is a mug's game. Oh wait...


A small difference; the cars made in America by the big three are crap - low quality in every regards; that is why they are failing and nothing to do with pricing. If pricing were the only consideration then no European car would sell in New Zealand given that Korean and Japanese cars are cheaper.

Crap products sold at high prices will always lose; Apple doesn't sell crap products at high prices - there lies the flaw of your claims. You're comparing a flawed model (the American car industry) to one that is working (Apple).

Edited 2009-03-18 04:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Crap products sold at high prices will always lose; Apple doesn't sell crap products at high prices - there lies the flaw of your claims. You're comparing a flawed model (the American car industry) to one that is working (Apple).


Yes, there is a substantial difference in the circumstances, the US car industry had very high market share, which Apple has never had, its always been a niche player. The mechanism of destruction of the US car industry was its failure to control costs and entitlements, which raised the cost base and in turn made the cars poor value for what they were, and in turn made the companies vulnerable to the entry of lower cost competitors. Apple has been living with lower cost competition, more or less successfully, for the last 25 years.

But his point nevertheless deserves more consideration than you give it. He is saying that retreat to the high end in search of preserving margins is not a viable strategy in mass markets, and this has often been true. He is right, there are many many cases showing it.

It is always a temptation for a management team, because getting and holding the position of the low cost producer (not the low cost seller) is painful and very hard work and requires constant innovation and creative change. He is also right in his account of how management justifies the retreat - the account given is always that we cannot make x as cheap as them, then that we do not compete for cheap commodity crap markets. An alternative is to find some way of maintaining continuing differentiation as a company in some way so that your high company cost position delivers value to customers.

The difficulty is sustaining this as markets and products change. The trends at the low end have a way of eroding this differentiation.

The management contempt for the low end they are losing is mostly simply complacency and denial, and it does not end well, because the area being retreated to shrinks and becomes subject to the same trends, which are actually market wide trends and not, as management has tried to believe, confined to a particular market segment.

There is a serious danger for Apple. It has in effect abandoned the mid range well specified machine for the mass market. It is in the process of doing the same thing in laptops as the underlying trends of increased quality and lower prices and higher performance enable dominance by good quality low priced products, in the same way that the well specified Euro 500 machine dominates the mid range.

I do not know whether Apple management is subject to the same delusions the Mac fans are, when they characterize the segment of the market that Apple has abandoned as crap, cheap junk, race to the bottom, commodity. If so they are in the denial that is very common to companies executing the retreat strategy and the same fate will happen to them. One dangerous sign is their increasing resort in recent years to compulsion and lockins. This is not the behavior of a management team that is thinking hard enough about controlling company costs and meeting market and customer needs.

We must see what happens in the coming months, but it is perfectly possible, if February's results are repeated in March, April and May, for the current year on year decline to become the start of a vicious spiral down in computers. It happened once before.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, there is a substantial difference in the circumstances, the US car industry had very high market share, which Apple has never had, its always been a niche player. The mechanism of destruction of the US car industry was its failure to control costs and entitlements, which raised the cost base and in turn made the cars poor value for what they were, and in turn made the companies vulnerable to the entry of lower cost competitors. Apple has been living with lower cost competition, more or less successfully, for the last 25 years.


Explain to me this; in New Zealand all our cars are imported - how come I don't see a single American made car on the roads in New Zealand. Its not just costs, they were crap cars to begin with.

But his point nevertheless deserves more consideration than you give it. He is saying that retreat to the high end in search of preserving margins is not a viable strategy in mass markets, and this has often been true. He is right, there are many many cases showing it.


Again, the value of the product is decided by the consumer; Apple doesn't enter into the enterprise market so all the marketshare you are throwing around is meaningless. At the end of the day the question one has to ask is whether the fact it runs Mac OS X differentiates and local technical support (as standard) their product enough as to justify the premium they charge. So far there is a reasonable number of people who do think that the cost is worth it.

Oh, and his example doesn't need more consideration because it was based on a flaw pretext. Again, crap quality cars sold at high prices where as there were superior products being sold at cheaper prices. Unless some how you can tell me that Mac's are crap compared to generic PC, he has no functional example left.

It is always a temptation for a management team, because getting and holding the position of the low cost producer (not the low cost seller) is painful and very hard work and requires constant innovation and creative change. He is also right in his account of how management justifies the retreat - the account given is always that we cannot make x as cheap as them, then that we do not compete for cheap commodity crap markets. An alternative is to find some way of maintaining continuing differentiation as a company in some way so that your high company cost position delivers value to customers.

The difficulty is sustaining this as markets and products change. The trends at the low end have a way of eroding this differentiation.

The management contempt for the low end they are losing is mostly simply complacency and denial, and it does not end well, because the area being retreated to shrinks and becomes subject to the same trends, which are actually market wide trends and not, as management has tried to believe, confined to a particular market segment.

There is a serious danger for Apple. It has in effect abandoned the mid range well specified machine for the mass market. It is in the process of doing the same thing in laptops as the underlying trends of increased quality and lower prices and higher performance enable dominance by good quality low priced products, in the same way that the well specified Euro 500 machine dominates the mid range.

I do not know whether Apple management is subject to the same delusions the Mac fans are, when they characterize the segment of the market that Apple has abandoned as crap, cheap junk, race to the bottom, commodity. If so they are in the denial that is very common to companies executing the retreat strategy and the same fate will happen to them. One dangerous sign is their increasing resort in recent years to compulsion and lockins. This is not the behavior of a management team that is thinking hard enough about controlling company costs and meeting market and customer needs.

We must see what happens in the coming months, but it is perfectly possible, if February's results are repeated in March, April and May, for the current year on year decline to become the start of a vicious spiral down in computers. It happened once before.


Again, if you have no product differentiation outside of price - what do you compete on? name a single difference between HP, Dell, and other manufacturers that doesn't involve price/specifications.

You may think that a long term pushing a business model that leads to ones own destruction may sound great - but I'm sure those running Apple want to last for the long term. We've already seen so far in the financial world where people put short term gains before long term survival and growth.

Edited 2009-03-18 08:27 UTC

Reply Score: 0

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Apple is a badge engineering company. It is selling standard mid range PCs for a premium price on the promise of running OSX.

It also pursues a strategy of staying in the upper 25% of the market by unit price, and having no entries in the mid range segments.

Is it viable long term? We have to see. There is a reasonable chance that it will blow up. The reason is that given by the original poster. Retreat to the high end is rarely a viable strategy, because they come after you there too. Lets wait for the sales numbers from the next three months.

Remember, if differentiation of OSX slips, it definitely blows up. As it did when Win95 and Win 98 matched Classic, and XP far exceeded it. It could happen again. The increasing reliance on lockin is a worrying sign. But in the end, its the sales figures that will speak. If they carry on heading south, watch out below.

Reply Score: 2

jptros Member since:
2005-08-26

Apple doesn't sell crap products at high prices

That depends on who you ask.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by lemur2
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Mar 2009 13:39 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

kaiwai:

"In the end the fact remains that ath5k/ath9k have two dedicated engineers and the support is atrocious."


True. These two people are Atheros employees. Blame Atheros.

This has nothing to do with Linux driver developers. Talk to this person about (some of) them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Kroah-Hartman
http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/linux_driver_project_kickoff.html
http://www.linuxdriverproject.org/twiki/bin/view

Here is a list of possible targets for new drivers:
http://www.linuxdriverproject.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/DriversNeeded

Here is the list of wifi cards were the Linux driver developers have not been asked to write a driver by the chip maker, and Linux driver developers have no information:

http://www.linuxdriverproject.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/DriversNeeded...

Several mentions of Atheros on this list.

Edited 2009-03-18 13:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Glare screen
by netsql on Wed 18th Mar 2009 17:35 UTC
netsql
Member since:
2005-09-09

I want to buy a mac laptop, but can't afford the 17", only one w/ o glare screen.

I look at it all day long, so must be non glare. Once they give me a non glare option cheaper I will get it.

Reply Score: 1