ABOUT a dozen years ago or so, I was coming out of H&H Music after purchasing a large fake-book in what would ultimately prove a futile attempt to figure out how hit songs are composed. Nearby, in the set of strip centers just outside Baybrook Mall, was a “Gateway Country” store, easily visible from a zillion miles away by its big, black and white cow colors.
Every time I saw that Gateway store, it depressed me. As an Apple aficionado I had watched my favorite computer decline steadily throughout the late ’80s and into the mid ’90s under the stewardship of stiff CEOs from Planet Suit’n’tie. Both the company and its products seemed to get bleaker by the year. The computers looked more and more like generic, beige boxes, not significantly different than their market-dominating cousins on the Windows side. OS 8 and 9 looked more like a copy of Windows than ever, the interface items becoming greyer and squarer with each iteration. And Apple’s retail presence was almost completely confined to obscure, local, niche stores that didn’t do a particularly good job of showing off the product in any public way. As if to cement the certainty of Apple’s demise, Gateway, the then-juggernaut of the PC world, suddenly built their stores all over the place.
I never set foot in that Gateway store (something I now regret) — not out of spite but because I thought that my depressing feeling about Apple’s fate would only get ten times worse once I had seen the Gateway glory firsthand. So in my mind, I imagined a stunning, clean interior with gleaming, screaming-fast computers neatly arranged, and friendly, bright, knowledgeable employees brimming with answers to every doubt one might have about why to buy a Gateway PC. “If only Apple had something like that,” I thought at the time, “but I guess you have to command Gateway-like volume to support the cost. Oh well.”
And then, as in the old cartoon with the scientists at their blackboard ... a miracle occurred. First, in what seemed like a wildly improbable move, Apple bought out NeXT, and reinstalled Steve Jobs back at the helm — at first in a so-called “interim” position, but then as time went by in what became clearly a permanent leadership post. Mac OS got a complete overhaul and became OS X. The first iMacs appeared, and I’m ashamed to say my honest initial reaction was, “Oh no, a tiny, cute, all-in-one Mac! This time in candy blue! Steve’s back and he’s crazier than ever!” But that reaction would turn to new respect and admiration just months later when, to my surprise, iMac sales turned out to be quite robust.
And the miracles didn’t stop. Just as suddenly as they had appeared, the Gateway stores all closed! Just like that. And at about the same time, Apple announced that they would be opening a set of retail stores around the country. Pundits quickly predicted dismal failure for these stores — after all, if Gateway couldn’t do it, how could Apple? — but I had a gut hunch it would work, especially when I heard that Apple’s goal for these stores was just that they break even. Exactly: Don’t lose money on them, and get people seeing Apple from a pro-Apple perspective for the first time ever. That sounded right to me. And, as if we didn’t all know by now, it worked beautifully. The Apple stores were everything I imagined the Gateway stores had been, and more.
Then came the iPod. As soon as I saw the first commercial for it, with a Cosmo Kramer-like New Yorker jamming his way out of his apartment to the hopping sounds of the Propellorheads, I breathed a sigh of relief: I had almost taken the bait and bought a Creative Nomad just weeks earlier when my all-things-tech buddy Jim Kluka (now an Indianapolis home theater designer) showed me one in the Vegas Harrah’s. Cool indeed, but not quite portable enough and not quite user-navigable enough, I thought. Better wait until they come out with a smaller, easier-to-use model. And they did — Apple did. Imagine that!
No sooner did the iPod take off than the pundits once again predicted doom. Here comes Microsoft with their own music store technologies and DRM, and they’ll license it to anyone who wants to buy! Meaning everyone but Apple. Too bad, said the naysayers, it’s going to be a repeat of Windows beating out the Mac all over again. And VHS beating out Beta. But a few pro-Apple voices said no — Beta only ever had dominance of an infant market, and the Mac never rose above 10% market share. Neither product was beaten out of a dominant share of a mature market. That position has been enjoyed only by VHS, by Windows — and now, by iPod. Needless to say, the iPod is still going strong, years after the Beta/Mac analogy wore thin and dropped off the op/ed radar.
Need I even mention iPhone? Icing on the cake. Its the PDA and the cell-phone both finally done right, and with an even better iPod thrown into the bargain. Who will confidently predict its failure? Anyone? Anyone? And hey, I think I just heard someone say that Apple’s market share in computers (not handheld devices) is rising towards 10% for the first time since the mid ’80s. How high will it go this time? Wait, did I just hear the sound of Windows proponents grumbling that Vista is a basket of headaches? And how about all those viruses swarming all over the Windows community? I’ve never installed anti-virus software on my Mac, never even configured a firewall. It just doesn’t seem to be a problem.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see that Gateway store with its white paint blazing in the insane Texas heat. Now comfortably relegated to the status of memory. Thank you, Steve. Miracles do happen.
September 3 — Just heard that Gateway has now been bought out by Acer, for a small fraction of their valuation back when I used to see that Gateway store at Baybrook Mall. Oh, and Baybrook now has an Apple store. In the mall. I’ll have to check it out if I’m ever back in Texas.
January 30 — You know those somewhat-cool-looking Dell kiosks you see in many malls? The kiosks where you can play with Dell products, but not actually buy anything? Dell’s just announced they’re getting rid of them. Too sweet. (Update: After a near-four-year hiatus, the Dell kiosk has reappeared at one of my local malls, Polaris Fashion Place. It looks significantly cooler than the old one, but still doesn’t seem to be attracting crowds.) (Update: That new kiosk lasted a little over a year; now it’s gone again.)
March 18 — At its peak (in the latter half of the ’80s) the Mac had nearly 10% market share, then sunk to 5% or less for a very long time after that. NPD just reported that the Mac hit 14% last month, and was 25% by revenue. It has begun. (Note: 25% / 14% = 1.8, which means that, on average, Mac users paid 80% more for their computers. That does not, however, mean that a Mac costs 80% more than a similarly equipped PC — do a price comparison and see for yourself. It simply means that the average Mac user buys a better-equipped model than does the average PC purchaser.)
April 11 — This is just getting better and better every few months. Gartner analysts say Windows is collapsing due to bad design.
May 1 — Joel On Software’s very negative assessment of Microsoft’s “architecture astronauts”, which reminds me of Surface, and how you can’t use Windows-dominance leverage against successful third-party products when those successful third-party products don’t actually exist. (And don’t miss this hilarious episode of Fake Steve gloating over the iPhone SDK and the equally hysterical first reader response and its counter-response!) (Update 2009.11.25: Sadly, all the original comments are now gone. But the article itself is still available here.)
July 16 — Apple passes Acer to become #3 U.S. PC vendor. Say, didn’t Acer recently buy up Gateway?
July 24 — Satoshi Nakajima, chief architect of Windows 95 and 98, switches to Mac, and “says that he’ll never touch a PC again.” Steven Smith, most ardent Zune supporter, gives up and says he will hide his Zune tattoos.
October 21 — iPhone is now the top-selling smartphone beating out second-place BlackBerry by 25%.
November 10 — iPhone is now the #1 selling model of mobile phone (not just smartphone) in USA, beating out the former #1, Motorola’s RAZR.
December 5 — Worldwide, iPhone now outsells all Windows Mobile devices combined.
January 24 — Microsoft is getting ready to lay off 5,000 people. Apple’s experienced steady revenue growth throughout the Bush recession.
February 10 — Microsoft shareholders enraged at billions and billions of dollars of R&D with nothing much to show for it.
March 2 — Ages 12, 9, and 6, the children of Bill Gates are prohibited from owning an iPod or iPhone.
April 30 — Remember this update from one year ago (see above)? Apple had a record quarter in the middle of a recession. Well here we are a year later, the recession is still going strong, and Apple just eclipsed last year’s record quarter with another record quarter. Microsoft’s year-over-year quarterly profits are down 32%.
May 21 — iPhone market share doubled from the year-ago quarter.
May 24 — Three pieces of malware found on factory-fresh Windows netbook.
May 29 — Dell’s net income falls 63% from the year-ago quarter.
June 3 — Apple’s New York glass-cube store pulled in revenue of $440 million last year — and all during a recession.
June 22 — iPhone 3GS sells over one million units during its opening weekend.
July 3 — London Stock Exchange to abandon Windows. The iPhone is now the best-selling smartphone in Japan, a country that supposedly wasn’t interested in the iPhone. (Update: The London Stock Exchange switched to Linux, and they’ve been having some problems with that.)
July 28 — Apple’s market valuation now greater than HP and Dell combined.
August 4 — The iPhone now pulls in a third of all mobile phone profits worldwide (not just on smartphones).
August 6 — Remember the highly successful IBM ThinkPad line of laptops? That was sold off to Lenovo? Lenovo just reported a $16 million loss for the quarter.
August 12 — iPhone sales increase more than 6x during the second quarter of 2009.
August 17 — iPhone now the bestselling phone (not just smartphone) in Japan.
September 2 — Of the fifteen entrants in Microsoft’s own app development contest, the only one to develop for a non-Microsoft platform (the iPhone) wins the contest.
September 4 — Dell’s latest quarterly year-over-year profits are down 23%.
October 19 — Mac sales up 17% from the year-ago quarter. And they’re higher than any quarter in Apple’s history — including holiday quarters (which this wasn’t).
November 5 — iPhone app count now past 100,000. Steve Jobs named Fortune’s “CEO of the Decade.” Apple now has no debt and greater liquid assets than any other tech company.
November 19 — Dell’s net income drops 54% from the year-ago quarter.
November 23 — The iPhone is now 50% of all mobile data traffic in the USA, UK, and worldwide.
November 25 — Last month Apple received nearly half of all desktop computer retail revenue in the USA.
December 17 — In about a year in Japan, iPhone takes close to half of the smartphone market.
December 21 — January-October 2009 data show that more iPhone 3G phones are in use than any other single model of mobile phone in the USA.
January 25 — Mac sales up 33% from the year-ago quarter. iPhones up 100% from the year-ago quarter.
February 1 — NPD now reports that 90% of all $1,000+ computers sold in the last quarter of 2009 in the USA were Macs. That’s not just by revenue, it’s not just by retail, and it’s not just by laptops.
February 5 — Former Microsoft VP describes Microsoft as a “failing,” “clumsy,” “uncompetitive,” “inept,” and “dysfunctional” company, crippled by “internecine warfare,” that has experienced “a steady exit of its best and brightest.” “It’s not an accident that almost all the executives in charge of Microsoft’s music, e-books, phone, online, search and tablet efforts over the past decade have left.”
February 9 — The iPhone is now 25% of all smartphones sold in the USA.
February 25 — Apple just sold its 10 billionth song on iTunes.
March 14 — Total remote access Windows trojan found in factory-fresh Energizer USB charger software install. Apple’s market cap now about equal to Walmart. Mariposa botnet client found on factory-fresh Android phone.
March 19 — Three pieces of malware found on up to 3,000 HTC phones.
April 24 — iPhone is now 72% of the Japanese smartphone market.
April 30 — Apple passes Motorola to become largest U.S. phone maker. Major provider of Windows anti-virus software accidentally breaks large number of its users’ PCs. Microsoft’s Bing division reportedly losing over $700 million per quarter. HP purchases Palm for $1.2 billion.
May 17 — The iPad sells a million units in less than a month.
May 26 — Apple’s market cap now larger than Microsoft’s, putting Apple in the number one spot for tech companies worldwide, and the number two spot for American companies of any kind (behind only Exxon Mobil).
June 22 — The iPad sells three million units in well under three months. Apple stops taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4 after receiving 600,000 of them in one day.
July 9 — The just-released-then-cancelled Microsoft KIN phones are alleged to have sold only 503 units in their few weeks on the market. Fortune magazine picks Steve Jobs as the smartest CEO in tech, and Apple’s Jony Ive as the smartest designer. Apple now has more cash than any other American company of any kind.
July 20 — The iPhone 4 sells three million units in its first three weeks. Apple has its best quarter ever, with profits up 77% from the year-ago quarter.
July 23 — Dell ships computers with physically undeletable (i.e. hardwired) malware. Dell settles with SEC for $100 million after being found to have padded their books for about twenty consecutive quarters with under-the-table, don’t-use-AMD’s-chips payments from Intel. “[The SEC] claims that, at their peak, the exclusivity payments from Intel represented 76% of Dell’s quarterly operating income.” After spending $500 million to buy Sidekick, and more money to turn it into KIN, Microsoft is now writing-off the project to the tune of $240 million.
August 5 — Apple’s already-very-high retail store revenue was increased 73% by the iPad.
August 10 — Android trojan discovered to silently send text messages that run up charges on the user’s phone bill.
August 18 — SEC says over 25% of Dell shareholders want founder and CEO Michael Dell to be ejected from the company.
August 31 — Android’s app DRM quickly cracked; Google says developers are at fault. Apple’s App Store hits 250,000 apps. AutoCAD, one of the last big you-must-use-Windows holdouts, is coming to Mac OS X in about a month. Microsoft allegedly preparing to spend $500 million on Windows Phone 7 promotion over the next few months.
September 3 — Apple selling iPads about as fast as they can make them — and making about two million per month, pushing its manufacturers for three million.
September 11 — Apple’s manufacturer producing about 4 million iPhones per month. And last I heard, Apple’s still selling them about as fast as they can make them.
September 16 — Best Buy CEO says that up to half of their notebook PC sales have been devoured by the iPad.
September 23 — Apple’s mobile phone profits now higher than Nokia, Samsung, and LG combined. Apple passes PetroChina to become the #2 company in the world by market valuation — just 15% less than #1 Exxon Mobil.
October 3 — Iran’s computing infrastructure being wrecked by a Windows virus. Almost a year after Windows 7’s release, only a fifth of Windows users are using it, and two-thirds of Windows users are using the ten-year-old Windows XP. Update: Windows version percentages about the same three months later.
October 19 — Apple’s App Store passes 300,000 apps. Apple has another fantastic, record-breaking quarter. Advertising Age names Apple “Marketer of the Decade.”
October 30 — CNN article calls Microsoft a “dying consumer brand.” In Microsoft’s 2010 summer quarter, during which their revenue rode to a record high on pent-up corporate refreshes from Windows XP to Windows 7 (25% higher than their year-ago quarterly revenue) — Apple’s revenue exceeded Microsoft’s by 25%. Last quarter, Apple took nearly half of all profits in the mobile phone industry.
November 11 — HP pays over $16 million to settle charges of using bribery to get their computers into school districts in Dallas and Houston.
November 26 — Last quarter, Mac sales grew three times as fast as the rest of the computer industry. Oprah Winfrey names the iPad her “No. 1 favorite thing ever.” HP sells off 98-acre Cupertino campus; Apple buys it up.
December 7 — MarketWatch names Steve Jobs CEO of the Decade.
December 23 — Since its release a few months ago, the new Apple TV has been selling about 375,000 per month: faster than any similar device. Microsoft announces that its hardware partners sold 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 phones its first six weeks — to stores and mobile service providers: No consumer sales figures are provided. The Financial Times names Steve Jobs Person of the Year.
January 21 — Last quarter, of all major computer makers only Apple and Toshiba experienced unit sales gains from the year-ago quarter, with Apple gaining 44% more units than did Toshiba. Apple’s iTunes App Store passing 10 billion downloads. Apple has another amazing, record-breaking quarter. Apple passes Nokia to become the biggest mobile phone provider by revenue. Microsoft has laid off thousands of workers over the past few years, and is experiencing a huge, upper-management and engineering brain drain.
January 26 — iPad App Store passes 60,000 (iPad-specific) apps. According to a Reuters report, Apple’s quarterly profits are about to beat Microsoft’s for the first time in twenty years. (Update: Apple came close, but not there yet.)
February 1 — Microsoft’s online services lost $2.5 billion last year. Microsoft’s Bing search engine found to be using Google search to decide what pages to return for some searches. (Update: Microsoft denies this.)
February 4 — The Verizon iPhone 4’s preorders break Verizon’s first-day sales record in 2 hours — and 15 hours after that, they have to stop taking orders so there’ll be some phones to sell on the retail start date.
February 14 — Apple passes Sony and Motorola in total handset sales. Microsoft cancels Drive Extender, the latest in a long line of failed file-system projects. Microsoft paying Nokia at least a billion dollars to use Windows Phone 7 in future Nokia smartphones. Apple, which uses Samsung-manufactured chips in many of its products, is on the verge of becoming Samsung’s biggest customer.
February 18 — During 2010, the “year of Android,” Apple’s iOS App Store was #1 with over 80% of all mobile app revenue. (Android was #4 after #2 RIM and #3 Nokia.)
February 23 — January Mac sales 20% higher than January 2010. Microsoft’s first update to Windows Phone 7 is a huge screwup that renders some users’ phones permanently unusable. Apple’s stock price is up 70% from a year ago.
March 4 — Apple sells its 100 millionth iPhone, and has paid out $2 billion to iOS app authors. Apple sold 15 million iPads in its first 9 months — more than all Windows-based tablets combined over the past ten years. 21 Android apps discovered to be infected with malware. Canadian couple billed thousands of dollars per month when their Galaxy phone goes berserk with data usage — at one point using 30 hours of data in a 24-hour period, according to the couple. Apple is Fortune’s Most Admired company for the fourth consecutive year. Microsoft is reportedly going to release Windows 8 tablets in the second half of 2012 — about a year-and-a-half from now.
March 11 — In a move that no PC maker would have dared attempt back in the ’90s, HP now announces that all its future PCs will ship with not just Windows, but also a totally separate, non-Microsoft OS: webOS. Microsoft, owner of such generic-sounding trademarks as “Windows,” “Office,” and “Word,” is now trying to persuade a court that Apple’s trademark on “App Store” is too generic — and that Apple’s trademark filing uses too small of a font.
March 16 — Last Friday, the iPad 2 went on sale and very quickly sold out everywhere. Apple opened its stores extra early yesterday for the second shipment, and that too sold out completely in a short time. After four years of sliver-of-the-market sales, Microsoft reportedly canceling the Zune.
April 3 — iPad 2 generating new lines every time a new shipment arrives. WWDC sells out for the fourth year in a row — last year it sold out in eight days, this year in under twelve hours. Barron’s names Steve Jobs world’s most valuable CEO.
April 7 — Clorox employees, formerly given BlackBerries but now allowed to choose their own phone, adopt iPhone by 92%.
March 13 — In first quarter of this year, U.S. Mac sales grew 10% over the year-ago quarter, while the rest of the PC market shrank 11% — and Acer fell 42%. Acer is now behind the Mac in U.S. PC sales, and that’s not counting the iPad.
April 18 — March Mac sales up 47% from a year ago.
April 20 — Apple posts yet another incredible, record-breaking quarter, in which revenues were up 83% from the year-ago quarter, and profits were up 95%. Apple has outgrown the PC industry for the 20th consecutive quarter. Apple passes Nokia to become the biggest mobile phone vendor by revenue. J.P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz calls Apple a “magical growth story,” and says that Apple’s growth “defies the laws of gravity.” Total sales of Apple TV approaching 2 million.
April 29 — Apple’s cash reserve now greater than the market valuations of RIM, Nokia, and Motorola combined. Three months ago Apple came close to beating Microsoft’s quarterly profits — this time they did beat them, by 14%.
May 2 — Apple now receives 50% of all profits in the mobile phone business.
May 14 — Apple’s April sales more than double what they were a year ago. Skype, which has been operating at a net loss, purchased by Microsoft for $8.5 billion. iPhone named “Fastest-Selling Portable Gaming System” by Guinness World Records.
May 20 — Last quarter, Mac sales grew 66%, almost 15 times as much as the rest of the industry’s 4.5% growth.
June 3 — Apple now worth more than Microsoft and Intel combined.
June 10 — Apple is now the world’s largest buyer of semiconductors by amount spent.
June 18 — Per current stock prices, Apple now has about enough cash to buy RIM, Nokia, Motorola, and HTC combined.
July 7 — Apple’s App Store now at 15 billion downloads; Apple’s running at a billion downloads per month and selling nearly five million iPads per month.
July 13 — Apple is the fastest growing retailer, up 80% year-over-year. (Note: “Fastest growing” usually implies “really tiny” — in this case, not so much.)
July 22 — Apple opening 33 new retail stores over the next two months. Since their start ten years ago, Apple retail has seen over a billion visitors. Apple has yet another amazing, record-breaking quarter. Apple’s iPad business is now twice as big as Dell’s consumer PC business. Microsoft omits Windows Phone 7 data from its quarterly results report. Apple now selling more smartphones than Nokia, putting Apple in first place. Apple projected to soon pass Exxon Mobil in market valuation, which will put Apple in first place for all companies of any type, worldwide. Acer has second consecutive quarterly loss.
July 26 — RIM laying off over 10% of its workforce. A survey shows that over a third of consumers want to buy the unannounced iPhone 5 “sight unseen.” Android phone return rate may be as high as 40%. Microsoft’s Online Services Division (i.e. Bing) has lost money every quarter for the past 22 quarters (typically several hundred million dollars per quarter).
July 30 — Apple now has two thirds of the profits in the mobile phone industry. Apple’s cash reserves now greater than those of the U.S. government. Electronic Arts says iPad is “our fastest growing platform.” Google TV returns reportedly outnumbering sales — Apple TV selling about half a million units per quarter.
August 10 — Apple now has the highest market valuation of any company in the world.
August 11 — Microsoft’s smartphone market share fell over the past two quarters from 8% to 5.8%.
August 19 — HP kills its much-hyped iPad knockoff, the TouchPad, and plans to spin off its Windows PC business. Apple’s sales overtake Lenovo’s in China. Apple now as valuable as all 32 euro zone banks combined.
August 25 — Acer posts a quarterly loss of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Android malware surges while iOS remains malware-free. Apple Retail makes more money per square foot than any other retail chain — 89% more than second-place Tiffany & Co. Google settles with the U.S. DOJ for half a billion dollars for running illegal drug ads.
August 29 — HP, the largest maker of Windows PCs, is apparently imploding.
September 8 — Lowe’s now using Apple’s iPod Touch based point-of-sale system.
September 22 — Apple tops computer satisfaction survey for the eighth consecutive year. Microsoft’s Bing division bleeding about a billion dollars per quarter. HP pays their CEO of eleven months $25 million to get lost — their third eight-figure CEO-ejection payoff in about six years.
October 4 — iOS App Store now past 500,000 apps. iPad past 140,000 iPad-specific apps.
October 18 — Steve Jobs’s death evoked a huge outpouring of sympathy and respects from all over the world. iPhone 4S sells over 4 million units on its opening weekend. Apple’s latest quarterly results: iPhones, Macs, net profits, and iPads are up 21%, 26%, 54%, and 166%, respectively, over the year-ago quarter.
October 21 — Acer posts second straight quarterly loss.
October 28 — LG Mobile, a major Android phone manufacturer, reports a net loss of $128 million — more than twice last quarter’s loss. Android’s ability to run the most current OS on their phones is reportedly atrocious. Apple’s sales in China more than quadruple from $3 billion to $13 billion in one year.
November 4 — The iPhone is now over 60% of all mobile web traffic. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dips below 50% of desktop computer web browser market share. Steve Jobs’s biography is now the top selling book in the USA. New Windows virus takes total control of your PC if you just open an infected Word document. The only phone maker to grow its subscriber base since last June is Apple. The entire mobile phone subscriber base is now over 10% iPhones.
November 11 — Logitech’s CEO says that its investment in Google TV “was a big mistake” that “cost us dearly.”
November 17 — Android malware reportedly jumps 472% in the last four months. Annie Leibovitz calls iPhone the “snapshot camera of today.” Study indicates that iPhone has passed BlackBerry as the phone of preference in the enterprise. After over four years of hype, Microsoft’s Surface is finally available — to pre-order — for a mere $8,400.
November 21 — If you include tablets, Apple is about to become the highest-volume computer maker in the world.
November 27 — An IBM study indicates that over 10% of all Black Friday online sales (of any kind of product at all) were iPhones and iPads.
November 30 — RAM chip makers who bet big on never-ending PC growth are losing tens of billions of dollars while the iPad continues to sell like hotcakes with just half a gig of RAM. Apple now selling more iPads than Dell sells PCs.
December 2 — RIM loses $485 millon on unsold PlayBook tablets.
December 9 — Mac sales growing more than six times as fast as the computer industry average.
December 12 — Mac App Store tops 100 million downloads.
December 21 — After several years of using the position to announce lackluster products that subsequently flopped, Microsoft says this year’s CES keynote will be their last. Steve Jobs posthumously awarded Special Merit Grammy, and honored by sculpture in Budapest, Hungary.
January 4 — Microsoft reportedly paying $10-$15 bounties to cellular provider retail staff for each Windows Phone 7 phone they sell.
January 13 — The fastest-growing computer language is now Objective-C, the language used almost exclusively for iOS and Mac development. If you include tablets, Apple’s market share is now at least as large as that of any other computer maker.
January 16 — Apple now the eighth most valuable brand, worldwide. For the first time since the mid-1980s, Windows PCs are now slightly less than 50% of all personal computing devices, having been on a very consistent, accelerating, percentage-share decline since about 2005.
January 20 — iOS now ahead of BlackBerry in corporate network usage. Apple’s market valuation now twice Google’s. According to the FBI, two former Dell employees were involved in a $62 million insider trading scam involving Dell and Nvidia stock.
January 24 — Apple has an astounding, record-smashing quarter, in which its profits exceeded Google’s revenue, and iPad sales (double the year-ago quarter) exceeded U.S. Windows PC sales. Apple has sold over 4.2 million of the new, iOS-based Apple TV boxes. Apple’s liquid assets nearing $100 billion, and closely following an exponential growth curve for the past six years. Every year since the iPhone debuted, it’s sold more than all previous years combined.
January 28 — In the U.S., Macs (just Macs, not iPads) increased 21% from the year-ago quarter, while the rest of the personal computer industry shrank 8.5%. According to Symantec, five million Android users may have been infected by a single malware package. Wisconsin using Microsoft settlement money to buy iPads.
January 30 — If you count tablets as computers, Apple has now passed HP to become the #1 computer vendor. Apple’s iPhone revenue alone is now bigger than all of Microsoft’s revenue, and Apple’s total revenue is more than twice Microsoft’s.
February 3 — Apple now makes 75% of the profits in the mobile phone industry.
February 9 — Apple now worth more than Microsoft and Google combined.
February 14 — A fifth of all U.S. money consumers spent on electronics this past holiday season went to Apple. Forbes contributor Dave Thier calls Microsoft’s retail stores “very sad places,” “pathetic,” and “a cheap knockoff of Apple.” “Microsoft [is] a company that seems to have no sense of what it is.”
February 24 — HP’s profits down 44% from the year-ago quarter.
February 29 — The iOS app store is on-track to pass 25 billion downloads in a few days. Apple’s market valuation now at half a trillion dollars.
March 2 — Apple tops Fortune’s most-admired companies list for the fifth year in a row.
March 22 — iPhone now outselling BlackBerry in RIM’s home country, Canada. Even though they make their processors only for their own products, Apple apparently on-track to become the top mobile processor maker within a year.
March 31 — Half of all U.S. households have at least one Apple product. Google makes four times as much revenue from iPhone as from Android. According to Nikkei BP’s brand survey, Apple is now the top brand in Japan.
April 3 — Apple’s Tim Cook rates highest in Glassdoor’s CEO survey. Best Buy, one of the biggest retailers of Windows PCs, posts a $1.7 billion loss, and announces the closing of fifty stores. Market analysts now setting stock targets that promise to make Apple the first trillion-dollar company ever.
April 6 — The most popular camera on Flickr is the iPhone 4, and the top four phone cameras on Flickr are the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. Veterans Administration terminating its Microsoft contract. Over a third of all U.S. teens have iPhones.
April 10 — Microsoft spends $1.1 billion on a bunch of AOL patents. Sony, long-time maker of the VAIO series of Windows laptops, just announced an impending $6.4 billion loss for its latest fiscal year.
April 19 — Apple retail stores’ per-square-foot revenue 17 times the U.S. retail average, and over twice the number two retailer, Tiffany & Co. At a Michael-Dell-hosted Dell conference, guest moderator Mads Christensen tells the nearly all-male audience that women don’t belong in tech, and that men should tell women, “Shut up, bitch!” — Christensen apparently well-known for this position long before being invited to moderate the Dell event. After investing heavily in Windows Phone 7, Nokia announces a quarterly loss of $1.7 billion and net sales down 29% from the year-ago quarter.
April 25 — The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, which sold out in twelve hours last year, sells out in less than two hours. The CEO of HTC credits the company’s just-announced 70% profit drop to the iPhone 4S. Apple has another great quarter, including a 94% profit increase from the year-ago quarter, and China sales five times the year-ago figure. The iOS App Store has over 600,000 apps, and over 200,000 iPad-specific apps. Apple’s still selling iPads as fast as they can make them. Microsoft appears to be slowly morphing into an enterprise-only company. Report finds that 20% of all Macs are carrying Windows malware — i.e. malware that won’t even run on the Mac at all, but can get copied to Windows PCs where it does something bad. Denver Broncos to use iPads as their playbooks for the upcoming season.
May 4 — Per market data (and despite NPD’s survey-based reports to the contrary) the iPhone was 50% of last quarter’s U.S. smartphone market. Apple still making nearly 3/4 of all mobile phone profits, and only two other mobile phone companies are making a profit (one of them just barely). iPad is 95% of all tablet web traffic. Nokia class-action sued for fraudulently “telling investors that Windows Phone would ‘halt its deteriorating position in the smartphone market.’” The e-ink Kindle and the Kindle Fire — the only significant competition to Apple’s tablet and e-book businesses — are estimated to have experience a dramatic sales plunge in the last quarter. Microsoft paying $300 million for about 1/6 ownership of Barnes & Noble’s NOOK e-book business.
May 12 — Apple, for some time now worth more than any other traded company on the planet, is now also the second-fastest growing tech company.
May 15 — In Forbes, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer tops list of CEOs who need to be fired. If Apple’s earnings continue closely to follow an exponential growth curve, as they have for the past twenty quarters, then even the company’s relatively low P/E of 14 will give it a market cap of about $2 trillion in less than three years.
May 18 — Microsoft offering to clean the pre-installed bloat-crap-ware off your new Windows 7 PC — for just $99. HP, the only buyer of Intel’s Itanium chip, apparently tried to hide from public knowledge the fact that Intel wants to cancel that chip, and that HP paid Intel over 2/3 of a billion dollars to keep making it (on top of, of course, actually buying the chips). In a year, Apple rises from position #35 to #17 in the Fortune 500. HP laying off 30,000 people. British Parliament getting 650 iPads. Amtrak to use iPhone for ticket scanning.
May 22 — Google finishes buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Since Apple’s market valuation passed Dell’s six years ago, Apple’s valuation has risen nearly 600%, while Dell’s has dropped more than 60% — Apple’s valuation is getting close to twenty times that of Dell.
May 31 — TSA buying a thousand Macs and a thousand iOS devices. RIM stock trading temporarily halted as CEO issues warning of looming losses and layoffs, and its unsold inventory balloons to $1 billion. Apple sells and replaces its entire inventory every five days. iPhone is nearly a quarter of worldwide smartphone market.
June 8 — RIM and Nokia both have a market cap less than their book value (i.e. less than the money they could raise by shutting down the company and selling off its physical assets). Seven months after its release, Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” is on only about 7% of Android devices. Apple’s proposed nano-SIM standard adopted by the ETSI. ZDNet contributor Andrian Kingsley-Hughes describes Windows 8 as “awful,” as well as “terrible, horrible, painful and execrable,” and “a design disaster,” plus he adds, “And I don’t say this lightly.”
June 14 — Total revenue paid out to Apple’s third-party app developers passes $5 billion. Nokia laying off 10,000 people, closing three major facilities in Canada, Finland, and Germany, and warning of larger losses than last quarter’s. Microsoft charging its OEMs about $85 per tablet to run Windows RT. Microsoft buying Yammer for $1.2 billion.
June 22 — HTC stops all sales of its phones in Brazil, due to its inability to turn a profit.
June 26 — About 26,000 iPads purchased by San Diego school system.
July 8 — HTC experiences a 57% drop in its year-over-year quarterly profits. Microsoft Internet Explorer’s share of all web browsing has very steadily declined over the past eight years from more than 80% to less than 17%.
July 14 — Describing Microsoft as a “toxic stew of internal antagonism and warfare,” “heading down the path of self-immolating chaos,” Vanity Fair dedicates nine pages to a scathing Kurt Eichenwald article on “Microsoft’s Lost Decade,” detailing Steve Ballmer’s horrible management policies, bad product decisions, and embarrassingly wrong predictions of Microsoft success.
July 19 — Nokia, exclusive maker of Lumia Windows Phones, suffers a net loss of over a billion dollars for the third consecutive quarter.
July 23 — Microsoft reports its first quarterly net loss ever: almost half a billion dollars. Estimate suggests that each Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone) sold corresponds to AT&T spending $450 marketing the phone.
July 30 — Apple has another excellent quarter, with profits up 20% from a year ago, and Apple TV sales now at 1.3 million units per quarter. Gabe Newell, former Microsoft employee and co-founder and head of Valve, the most influential PC game company, says “Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.”
August 1 — iPhone is now a third of the U.S. smartphone market.
August 3 — HTC’s revenues down 27%.
August 9 — iOS now likely the most popular gaming platform ever. iPad approaching three-quarters of the tablet market in China. HP announces impending quarterly net loss of $9 billion. FTC fines Google $22.5 million for purposely and silently evading users’ privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser, which also violated its own 2011-Google-Buzz-case consent agreement.
August 13 — Fresh after being bought by Google, Motorola Mobility is axing 4,000 people — a fifth of its workforce. Last quarter, for which IDC estimated Samsung to have sold 2.4 million tablets worldwide, a court-ordered sales-figure-reveal shows that Samsung sold only 37,000 tablets in the USA: less than a sixtieth of IDC’s global estimate. AT&T stores soon to use iPad-based point-of-sale system.
August 17 — iPhone now estimated to be over 40% of all smartphone sales in the U.S.
August 23 — Apple now most valuable company ever, passing Microsoft’s 1999 record. (Microsoft is now valued at less than half of what they were then.) U.S. State Dept. cancels order for 2,500 Kindles. Android malware triples over the past few months. Dell profits down 18% from the year-ago quarter, and consumer product revenue down 22%.
August 27 — Apple wins big court victory over Samsung’s extremely close mimicry of its products. Windows 8 getting really bad reviews from normally pro-PC people. In 2008, Korean prosecutors reportedly sought a seven-year prison term and $347 million fine against Samsung’s chairman Lee Kun-Hee for bribery, which was bargained to a three-year suspended sentence and a $109 million fine — now he’s back running Samsung. (Update: Lee awards vice-chairmanship to his son.)
September 7 — Walmart testing iPhone-based self-checkout system. Delta Airlines to use 4,500 iPads in its airport hubs. Over the past five years, HP’s stock has lost 60% of its value. In eight out of the last eight smartphone satisfaction surveys by J.D. Power & Associates, iPhone ranks #1.
September 11 — American Airlines replacing all pilot flight bags with iPads. In addition to being the highest valued company in the world, Apple is also the eighth-fastest growing.
September 24 — PC Magazine rates iPhone 5 fastest smartphone. Walmart and Target have stopped selling Amazon Kindle e-readers and tablets. iPhone 5 launch-day lines at Apple stores 83% longer than for the iPhone 4S. iPhone 5 sells five million units on its opening weekend. Apple named best brand and best design team at the Design & Art Direction Awards. Simple web-link discovered that erases all user data and settings on several models of Samsung phone. Update: Via the same technique, it may be possible for a weblink to permanently disable those phones’ SIM cards, rendering the phone unusable by anyone until the SIM card is replaced with a new one.
September 29 — Piper Jaffray survey indicates that two thirds of consumers plan to make their next phone an iPhone. Texas Instruments, whose mobile processors powered non-Apple tablets including the Playbook, Fire, Xyboard, and various Galaxy Tab models, is now exiting the mobile processor business. Urban Outfitters getting rid of registers in all 400 stores, replacing them with iPads. iPad’s share of tablet web browsing reportedly at 98%.
October 4 — In a year, Apple jumps from eighth most valuable brand to second, behind only #1 Coca-Cola. Best Buy targeted for takeover. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen describes Windows 8 as “puzzling, confusing.” To cut costs, Nokia considering selling its headquarters. (Update: No longer considering it — doing it.) Google has blown possibly $20 billion on Android so far.
October 8 — HTC’s profits drop 79% from the year-ago quarter.
October 11 — For the first time since the dot-com bubble burst twelve years ago, year-over-year PC shipments have likely declined. HTC exits the U.S. tablet market. Nearly a third of all U.S. teens have an iPad, and 40% of all U.S. teens use iPhones.
October 16 — Microsoft reportedly building between three and five million Surface tablets this quarter, and estimated to spend at least $1.5 billion advertising Windows 8. Free-to-use iPads built into McDonald’s in Virginia Beach. Panasonic reportedly seeking to exit the TV-making business, and instead make iPad screens.
October 24 — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency switching from BlackBerries to iPhones. As reported by a European blogger, Amazon intentionally remote-wipes a user’s Kindle (deleting all her many purchased e-books), terminates her account, prohibits her from ever creating a new one, and refuses to provide her any coherent explanation of what she did wrong — she’s apparently dumbfounded, and received no warning that anything like this was going to happen. (Update: Amazon apparently has restored her account, but still offers no explanation.) In the third quarter of this year, iPhone was 77% of AT&T’s smartphone activations. Apple has sold a total of 100 million iPads, and they haven’t even started selling the iPad mini. Motorola Mobility (now owned by Google) posts a quarterly net loss of over half a billion dollars.
October 27 — U.S. government declares that “jailbreaking” (i.e. hacking) your tablet is illegal. Apple has another record quarter, and now has over $120 billion in cash. From the year-ago quarter, revenue’s up 27%, profits are up 24%, iPhone unit sales are up 58%, and iPad sales are up 26%. Amazon has a quarterly loss of over a quarter of a billion dollars. (Note: iPad sales might actually be up 44% from the year-ago quarter.)
November 7 — The iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad sell 3 million units in their first three days on the market. HTC’s October revenue 61% less than it was a year ago. Apple opening over 30 new stores in 2013.
November 15 — HP’s PC chief calls Microsoft’s Surface tablet “slow” and “kludgey.” Apple pays another $2.5 billion in dividends to its shareholders, while its cash hoard continues to grow. Fierce Wireless names Apple CEO Tim Cook most powerful person in the wireless industry.
November 23 — HP CEO announces that they were “misled” by Autonomy, a company they purchased last year for $11.5 billion — it may be worth less than a quarter of that amount. NTSB ditching BlackBerry and going with iPhone. Sales of Macs to businesses up almost 50% from the year-ago quarter, while Windows PC sales to businesses shrank. According to a Nielsen survey, iPad is the most desired tech item among both children and adults.
November 27 — Barclays buys 8,500 iPads. A two-hour Piper Jaffray survey of the Apple and Microsoft stores at the Mall Of America on Black Friday, shows the Apple store selling an iPad about every five minutes, and the Microsoft store selling no Surfaces at all. GM announces it will be integrating Apple’s Siri into its cars. Per Statista: In the past year Apple made 20% more profits than Microsoft, eBay, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Amazon combined, over twice the profits of Dell, Intel, Asus, Acer, IBM, HP, and Lenovo combined, 8% more profits than Dell, Intel, Asus, Acer, IBM, HP, Lenovo, Disney, News Corp., TimeWarner, Viacom, and Comcast combined, and over three times the profits of Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and RIM combined. Of the combined profits of all companies (including Apple) mentioned in the previous sentence, Apple takes almost a third.
November 30 — Microsoft sells 40 million Windows 8 licenses — to PC manufacturers. In Microsoft’s home town, the Lake Washington School District’s PCs are being wrecked by a Windows virus. iPad has over 70% of the tablet market in China. NOOK, now 1/6 owned by Microsoft, reportedly losing money. Microsoft’s original manufacturing order for 4 million Surface tablets in 2012 now cut by half. Samsung reportedly spending ten times as much as Apple on marketing.
December 6 — App developers reportedly shunning the Microsoft Surface. T-Mobile to carry Apple products in 2013. MIT internet entrepreneur Philip Greenspun calls Windows 8 a “Christmas gift for someone you hate.”
December 13 — Japan’s biggest cellular provider blames its recent net loss of over 40,000 subscribers to its not carrying the iPhone. Nokia engineer posts blog entry showing the world how to pirate Windows 8 apps and in-app purchases, and remove in-app ads, without rooting (a.k.a. “jail-breaking”) your Windows 8 phone. Dell exits the smartphone market. Piper Jaffray survey finds that in the USA, more than half of potential smartphone buyers are planning to buy an iPhone 5. In 2012, over 94% of unique new mobile-device malware attacks were for Android. Time Magazine names iPhone 5 gadget of the year. Microsoft asking Apple to take less than its usual 30% if Microsoft brings Office to iOS — Apple not interested.
December 31 — Popular e-magazine TNW cancels their Android support due to the iOS edition outselling the Android edition 80 to 1.
January 7 — Hyundai to add Siri integration to their upcoming cars. HTC’s quarterly profits down 91% from a year ago. Apple’s App Store passes 40 billion downloads — half of that in just the past year.
January 11 — Microsoft’s business in China is about one twentieth of its business in the USA, while Apple’s business in China is about to pass its business in the USA. Apple wins Technical Emmy award. Steve Jobs memorial created in St. Petersburg. Out of all corporate tax money collected in the U.S. last year, 2.5% of it came from Apple.
January 15 — Fresh from being fired, former Windows chief Steve Sinofsky is now apparently using an iPhone. Lynn University in Boca Raton issuing iPad apps, instead of textbooks, to all incoming freshmen.
January 26 — Apple has another record quarter, with higher-than-ever revenue and profits. Apple’s rapidly growing cash hoard now almost one third of their market capitalization. Apple’s 2012 profits higher than any company’s, ever. iPhone is now over a quarter of the global smartphone market. In the last quarter, AT&T’s U.S. smartphone sales were over 84% iPhones. Samsung warns investors of shrinking profits. Hacking (a.k.a. “jailbreaking”) your phone is now illegal in the USA.
January 31 — Valve’s Gabe Newell, who called Windows 8 “a catastrophe” last summer, now says that Apple can take over gaming in the living room “really easily.” iTunes serves at least 2.5 times as much online video as any competitor. Siri will be an option in Honda cars this year. Microsoft makes no mention of Windows 8 sales in its latest earnings report. Barnes & Noble, maker of NOOK (1/6 Microsoft-owned), planning to shutter a third of its stores.
February 6 — Microsoft spending $2 billion and Dell spending over $22 billion to buy back all of Dell’s stock, ending public trading of the company — Apple’s cash hoard now $137 billion. Samsung’s marketing budget now over 13 times Apple’s. HP now making computers that run Chrome OS instead of Windows. In China, a spam-sending malware package is controlling 620,000 Android phones. FaceBook reportedly not on speaking terms with Google; instead allying with Apple. Ben Curtis, the actor who played the “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell!” guy in the early 2000s, now uses an Apple laptop. In official statement, HP says Dell “has a very tough road ahead.” An update to Kaspersky anti-virus software renders Windows XP users unable to access the internet, nor any local intranet. Australian Department of Treasury switches from BlackBerry to iPhone. Apple sells 25-billionth song on iTunes.
February 11 — Michael Dell releases an “Open Letter to Customers,” in which he says, “The agreement to take Dell private represents an exciting new chapter for our company and for you, our customers.” Apple now makes more revenue from iTunes and accessories than any mobile phone maker (save Samsung) makes from mobile phones. Home Depot replacing 10,000 BlackBerry phones with iPhones. Nike decides not to bring FuelBand to Android.
February 14 — Reportedly, every app you buy on Google Play “gives the developer your name, suburb and email address with no indication that this information is actually being transferred.” According to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt, Microsoft is losing $2.5 billion per year by not having Office on iOS. Apple paying out another $2.5 billion in dividends today. New Zealand police buying 10,000 iOS devices. Jim Balsillie, co-founder and former co-CEO of RIM (now BlackBerry), sells all his BlackBerry stock. Staples soon will be selling Apple products. Xbox founder Nat Brown says that an apps-enabled Apple TV “will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U, and xBox ... I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can”. LinkedIn giving 3,500 iPad minis to its employees. HP planning mobile devices that run Android, not Windows. Dell employees’ stock options simply killed in the planned privatization of the company. Steve Ballmer reportedly taken to roaming the halls of Microsoft with a baseball bat, and bringing it with him to meetings.
February 28 — Survey indicates business activations of mobile devices last quarter were 77% iOS devices. Apple is Fortune’s most admired company for the sixth consecutive year. Robin Jacob, the UK judge who just a few months ago forced Apple to display on its website a notice proclaiming that Samsung did not copy Apple, is now working for Samsung. Barnes & Noble warns that its one-sixth-Microsoft-owned NOOK division will report larger losses than the year-ago quarter. HP sells off webOS (née Palm) to LG. Superbrands names Apple the #1 business brand in the UK.
March 8 — In the last year, Apple grew more than Google, Microsoft, Dell, HP, BlackBerry, and Nokia combined. comScore says that Apple is now #1 in smartphones with 38% of the market, its closest competitor being Samsung at 21%. Google-owned Motorola Mobility cutting another 1,200 jobs. The number of new malware attacks per quarter jumped from 49 to 96 on Android in the last two quarters of last year, while on iOS it dropped from 2 to 0. Laptop magazine rates MacBook Pro #1. Microsoft fined an additional $700 million for refusing to comply with the terms of their 2009 EU settlement. Denmark charges Microsoft $1 billion for unpaid taxes. Disney World replacing turnstiles with iPod Touch based scanners.
March 18 — Samsung now has three co-CEOs. CNET’s Molly Wood calls Samsung’s Galaxy S4 presentation “tone-deaf and shockingly sexist.” Hacker who released e-mail addresses of 114,000 iPad users sentenced to 41 months in prison. (Update: Sentence vacated by appeals court after he spent a year and a half in prison.) Cupertino hotel adds Apple TV to every room.
March 23 — Nokia CEO Stephen Elop tosses interviewer’s iPhone on the floor. iCloud is the most used cloud service in the USA. iPhone tops J.D. Power smartphone satisfaction survey for the ninth time in a row. Cleveland Museum of Art installs iPads to facilitate self-guided tours. Walmart expanding iPhone self-checkout system to twelve additional markets. Barrington IL buys its high schools 600 MacBook Airs. U.S. Department of Defense buying 650,000 iOS devices.
April 5 — iMessages sent from one Apple device to another are uncrackable by the DEA — but crackable if a non-Apple device is the sender or receiver. Ray Lane, co-chairman of HP, resigns, along with two other prominent board members.
April 16 — Microsoft to come out with Office for iOS — in the fall of 2014, about a year-and-a-half from now. Forbes article says, “now it is official that Windows 8 is a flop.” Almost half of all U.S. teens have an iPhone, and nearly two-thirds plan to buy one as their next phone. BlackBerry Z10 returns reportedly exceeding sales. (Update: BlackBerry denies this.) Independent study finds Bing returns five times as much malware as Google. On its first day of carrying the iPhone, T-Mobile experiences “lines out the door” at almost all of its 3,000 stores. Of the five highest-paid U.S. executives, only Oracle CEO Larry Ellison doesn’t work for Apple.
April 17 — In the PC industry (iPad not included), the Mac is taking nearly half of all the profits. Intel’s profits down 25% from the year-ago quarter. Popular Windows antivirus software Malwarebytes accidentally “cripples” thousands of PCs.
April 20 — “BadNews” malware package may have been downloaded 9 million times on Google Play. Windows PC manufacturers say “Microsoft is ‘destroying’ the PC industry,” and “Windows 8 has ‘handed over millions of customers to Apple.’” Apple designer Jonathan Ive makes TIME’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.
April 25 — iTunes is nearly two-thirds of all movie downloads, and two-thirds of all TV show downloads. According to Soluto’s crash report database, the most reliable Windows PC is the MacBook Pro running Windows. Apple has a decent quarter, with revenue, iPhone sales, and iPad sales significantly higher than the year-ago quarter, and Mac sales holding steady while the rest of the PC industry is slipping badly. WWDC, which sold out in less than two hours last year, sells out in less than two minutes.
April 29 — Nilay Patel in The Verge documents “Dell’s downward spiral,” a ten-year timeline of failed computers and consumer electronics — a nice companion piece to Vanity Fair’s “Microsoft’s Lost Decade.” For the second consecutive time, iPad ranks first in J.D. Power’s tablet satisfaction survey.
May 3 — HTC still scraping by in break-even mode. Alisher Usmanov, the richest person in Russia, buys $100 million of Apple stock, saying it has tremendous growth potential over the next three years. Apple’s App Store passing 50 billion downloads, not including updates and re-downloads.
May 10 — In a year, Apple jumps from position #17 to #6 in the Fortune 500. Major investors in Nokia — Microsoft’s Windows Phone hardware partner — tell its CEO to “switch to another road.” Google-owned Motorola hit with EU antitrust charges. Acer president Jim Wong says, “To be honest, there’s no value doing [a tablet that runs] the current version of [Windows] RT.” Microsoft thinking about buying Barnes & Noble’s NOOK for $1 billion. Microsoft has sold 100 million copies of Windows 8 — to PC manufacturers. International Space Station dumps Windows in favor of Linux because they “needed an operating system that was stable and reliable.” Microsoft asking Apple to develop iTunes for the ex-“Metro” Windows 8 tiles interface — Apple not interested.
May 17 — Which?’s retail satisfaction survey ranks Apple stores #1. Dell’s profits down 79% from the year-ago quarter. Al Lewis in The Wall Street Journal declares “Steve Ballmer’s Epitaph,” in which he quotes former Microsoft executive Joachim Kempin saying, “[Ballmer] has no clue about technology. All the guys around him agree with him or they get fired,” and, “I’m going to order a gravestone in 2014. It will take between four to six more quarters for this to play out.”
May 18 — For the past eight years, Apple’s iTunes revenue has closely followed an exponential growth curve. Despite paying the highest dividends of any company in the world for the past year, Apple’s cash hoard still following an exponential growth curve. Latest quarterly data says that, while iOS remains malware-free, Android malware following an exponential growth curve.
May 22 — iPads and iPhones cleared by U.S. DOD for military use. U.S. Air Force replacing all paper manuals and flight plans with iPads. For the third consecutive year, Apple takes the top spot in BrandZ’s most-valuable-brands list (for any company in any business). HP’s profits down 32% from the year-ago quarter. iPad’s share of e-commerce-website tablet traffic holding at about 90%.
June 10 — Status from WWDC keynote: WWDC is the longest-running developer conference in existence at 24 years. Two-thirds of WWDC attendees are first-timers. Total registered Apple developers: 6 million. Apple retail now at 407 stores, and seeing a million visitors per day. Apple has over half a billion iOS user accounts, including more accounts with credit cards attached than any other internet store. Apple has paid out a total of $10 billion to iOS developers (half of that in just the past year), which is about three times all other platforms combined. Over the past five years, Mac sales grew 100%, while PC sales grew 18%. The latest version of Mac OS X reached 35% adoption in six months, while Windows 8 didn’t reach 5% adoption in the same amount of time. iCloud is the fastest-growing cloud service ever, with 300 million accounts. Total iOS device sales have passed 600 million.
June 19 — Apple’s iBookstore sales grew 100% last year. Feds ask Apple for data from Apple’s users (iMessage, FaceTime, Siri, and Maps activities) — Apple says no, we can’t; it’s all encrypted and we don’t have any way to decrypt it. Microsoft preparing to open copycat mini-stores in Best Buy, just like Apple’s. Apple wins big against Samsung with rubber-banding patent. Los Angeles Unified School District spending $30 million on iPads for every student — Microsoft urges them “not to rely on one platform.” Maine schools — previously required to use Windows computers but now given a choice between that or Apple products — choose Apple by 92%.
June 25 — After its tablet losses more than wipe out its bookstore profits, Barnes & Noble quits the tablet business.
June 28 — BlackBerry posts quarterly loss of $84 million.
July 4 — Affecting virtually all Android devices released in the last four years, master key vulnerability discovered which makes it possible to add malware to apps without the system being able to tell that the apps have been modified. (Update: Less than a month later, live exploits of this vulnerability found in the wild.)
July 8 — Microsoft’s MSN TV (formerly WebTV) shuts down after sixteen years of failure — Apple TV now selling about 1.6 million units per quarter and growing exponentially. Apple ranks #1 in customer satisfaction in Samsung’s home country, South Korea. Google-owned Motorola’s Droid phones found to be silently sending sensitive personal info to Motorola — and doing it without encrypting the data. The most popular Android app — Facebook for Android — found to be silently harvesting the user’s phone number before that user even attempts to sign in or create an account. Nokia buys Seimens for $2.2 billion. Barnes & Noble’s CEO resigns. In the Fortune Global 500, Apple jumps from #55 to #19.
July 16 — In 2012, Apple TV was 56% of the streaming devices market. After trying to copy nearly everything about Apple including its retail stores, Microsoft is now going to a functional, rather than divisional structure, a plan used by pretty much just one large company: Apple. Longtime industry reporter Barb Darrow says, “Every single former Microsoft exec I’ve met with in the past two years — and there have been quite a few — carries a MacBook Air.”
July 19 — BlackBerry’s new Z10 phone found to be silently sending the user’s e-mail account and password to BlackBerry. Microsoft does a $900 million write-down on unsold Surface tablets. (Update: Now the subject of a class-action lawsuit against the company.) Last quarter, iPhone was over half of all Verizon smartphone activations; Verizon’s iPhone sales are up 44% from a year ago. Google caught blatantly plagiarizing Apple patent illustration. Google-owned Motorola cuts another 5,400 workers.
July 25 — Apple passing 1 billion podcast subscriptions. Electronic Arts now makes more money from Apple’s platforms than from any other company’s. Over the last two months, iPad’s share of web traffic usage has gone up from 81% to 84%. Apple wins Harris Interactive’s “Brand of the Year” in the computer, tablet, and mobile phone categories. BlackBerry sheds 250 more employees.
July 31 — HTC warns of its first-ever operating loss, and says it will focus less on high-end smartphones. Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface Pro combined revenue is less than the Surface RT write-down alone, and far less than Microsoft’s marketing budget for the same period. Asus chairman Jonney Shih says Windows RT “is not very promising.” Samsung found to be faking benchmark results for the Galaxy S4. At the BBC, the Android development team — three times the size of the iOS team — struggles to match the BBC iOS app’s video playback quality.
August 3 — PBS Frontline’s iOS app not coming to Android any time soon due to the difficulty of supporting the great variety of Android devices. President Obama vetoes an ITC ban on several models of iPhone and iPad, which was based on Samsung’s complaint that Apple refuses to pay patent fees (and other compensations) vastly greater than what Samsung agreed to take when its patents were included in now-unavoidable wireless communications standards. After a near-one-year stock price slump, Apple now again has the highest market valuation of any company in the world, in any business.
August 10 — Android has another big malware surge. Unpatchable WiFi security vulnerability found in Windows Phone 8. Like Dell, BlackBerry allegedly now considering buying back all their stock and exiting the stock market. Acer posts quarterly loss, says “We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible.”
August 15 — BlackBerry’s (then RIM’s) stock price peaked about a month after the iPhone launched in mid-2007, and since has lost over 95% of its value. BlackBerry stock trading temporarily halted as its board forms a special committee to sell the company. Apple distributing another $2.8 billion in dividends to its shareholders. If Microsoft had held on to the $150 million in Apple stock they were forced to buy as part of the late-’90s code-stealing settlement, instead of selling it off as soon as they legally could, today it would be worth $9 billion, and would be earning $220 million per year in dividends. Brazil sues Samsung for $108 million over labor violations. Touchscreen laptops, on which Windows 8 depends for its most interesting new features, appear to be tanking in the market. Demolition of the old HP campus in Cupertino begins, to pave the way for Apple’s new spaceship campus. Canalys study of the quality and availability of tablet apps finds iOS to be dramatically ahead of Android. Microsoft’s Windows Phone YouTube app blocked by Google for terms-of-service violation — part of an ongoing back-and-forth feud between the two companies over what kind of YouTube app Microsoft is allowed to create.
August 22 — Study shows that 20% of all iPhone users switched from Android within the past year. After writing down Surface RT inventory to the tune of nearly a billion dollars, Microsoft now giving them away to schools if those schools use Bing For Schools to search the web. Samsung photo contest awards first prize to a stolen photo. Germany deems Windows 8 unsafe for government use due to “back doors that the NSA could use to remotely control any [Windows 8] computers.” Lucky Frame’s game “Gentlemen!” releases on Android, and initially experiences a paid-to-pirated ratio of 8-to-2,462 (0.32%), which later matures to 144-to-50,030 (0.29%). Japanese customer satisfaction survey places iPhone 5 and iPad mini in its top spots.
August 31 — Barnes & Noble’s retail CEO sells most of his Barnes & Noble stock. Hawaiian Airlines to offer iPad minis as in-flight entertainment. Ex-Microsoft manager David Auerbach recalls how stack ranking was kept secret from non-manager employees for years, who were “systematically lied” to — managers even pretended the stack rank didn’t exist in the private presence of other managers who already knew about it. “This sort of organizational dissembling skews your psyche. After I left Microsoft, I was left with lingering paranoia for months, always wondering about the agendas of those around me, skeptical that what I was being told was the real story.”
September 5 — Microsoft buys Nokia’s mobile business and patents for $7.2 billion — in PCWorld, Mark Hachman describes the merger as “Fail plus fail equals more fail.” Japan’s largest wireless carrier, DoCoMo, reportedly will soon carry the iPhone. In a possibly precedent-setting decision, Google-owned Motorola decisively loses its $4 billion suit against Microsoft over the use of FRAND-committed patents: Motorola ordered to pay Microsoft’s legal expenses, plus another $11 million just for trying to sue over these patents at all.
September 11 — HP removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Dyson founder says Samsung is ripping-off Dyson’s patented vacuum cleaner steering technology. (Update: Samsung now suing Dyson just for saying that.) Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday” is an ongoing, problem-causing mess.
September 20 — Within 48 hours of its release, one out of every three active iOS devices updated to iOS 7.
September 23 — After halting stock trading again, laying off another 4,700 people, putting its three private jets up for sale, and reporting a near $1 billion quarterly loss, BlackBerry now sold for scrap to a holding company. In the U.S. House of Representatives, a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans use iPhones.
September 27 — Apple sells nine million 5s and 5c iPhones in three days; alerts the SEC of higher-than-expected margins. Apple apparently planning to double the size of its huge Oregon data center. Boeing creates iPad apps for plane maintenance. BlackBerry cancels its quarterly results call. T-Mobile stops stocking BlackBerry phones. Microsoft-purchased Nokia paying its CEO of three years $25 million to go away. MLB stadiums adopt Apple’s iBeacons technology.
October 5 — Interbrand finds Apple now the most valuable brand of any company in any business, worldwide. Apple hires a top Nike Fuel Band developer. VW shows off car repair app for iOS. Delta Airlines adopts Microsoft Surface 2 tablets for pilot flight books — the pilots reportedly “fought hard for iPad,” and say that Delta’s IT department long has been “in bed” with Microsoft. Three major Microsoft investors want Bill Gates to be ejected from the board, because his “presence on the board effectively blocks the adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes.” Apple now has 10% of all U.S. corporate cash. At least fifty Samsung executives inappropriately accessed confidential Apple-Nokia licensing documents that were supposed to be seen only by Samsung’s legal counsel. To get Apple’s rubber-banding patent invalidated in Germany, Samsung cites the existence of prior art: Apple’s own presentation of the original iPhone in January 2007. Samsung caught faking benchmark results again, this time on their tablets. Samsung’s chief mobile products officer resigns. SEC concludes its four-month investigation into Apple’s overseas cash and taxes; takes no action. BlackBerry hit with shareholder lawsuit for “inflating the stock price by painting a misleadingly rosy picture of the business prospects of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone line.”
October 10 — Google’s Eric Schmidt calls Android “more secure than the iPhone,” unintentionally draws laughter from his audience. President Obama, who recently vetoed an ITC ban on Apple iPhones over FRAND patents, now declines to veto an ITC ban on Samsung phones over non-FRAND patents. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear ad closely copies Apple’s original iPhone ad. Apple now poaching talent from the disintegrating BlackBerry.
October 18 — Verizon iPhone activations up 26% from the year-ago quarter. Good Technology reports that business activations of mobile devices are 72% iOS devices, tablet activations are 90% iPads, and custom business apps are 95% for iOS. Samsung — about to be fined $18 billion by the EU for illegally suing other companies over standards-committed (FRAND) patents — offers to stop these suits for five years if the EU will drop the charges and void the fine. Major iPhone multitouch patents upheld, paving the way for suits against most Android phones. iPhone coming to U.S. Cellular; will now be on all five top cellular service providers in the USA. New Windows malware, CryptoLocker, scrambles your most important files, then offers to unscramble them for $300.
October 31 — Motorola reportedly “is now on pace to bleed $1 billion a year out of [Google]’s bank account.” Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch suffering a return rate over 30%. Southwest Airlines to provide in-flight entertainment from Dish on iPads. Dell takes four months to find out why some of its computers smell like cat urine. Intel plans soon to start manufacturing ARM chips. The “Rockstar” corsortium (which includes Apple) files suit against Google over six of Rockstar’s recently purchased Nortel patents — including a patent on the technique of tailoring ads to relate to a user’s search results. T-Mobile’s CEO joins the ranks of famous people who have used their Apple device to post a public message about how much they like one of Apple’s competitors.
November 7 — Acer has near-half-billion-dollar quarterly loss; CEO resigns. BlackBerry changes its mind about selling off to a holding company, and instead fires its CEO and borrows $1 billion to keep the company going. Forbes ranks Apple the most valuable brand of any company in any business for the third straight year.
November 16 — International Space Station infected with a Windows virus. Apple about to distribute another $3 billion in dividends. Steve Jobs posthumously inducted into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame. Microsoft ending its employee stack-ranking system. Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO, creates iPad-exclusive culinary app. Pfizer, one of BlackBerry’s biggest customers with 90,000 employees, now ditching BlackBerry. Jon Evans in TechCrunch calls Apple’s Xcode “a joy to work with. It’s slick, fast, powerful, helpful without being intrusive,” plus “[t]he debugger works seamlessly, and the simulator is fast and responsive. But Android? Oh, Android. The current state-of-the-art IDE ... is embarrassingly bad. Slow, clunky, counterintuitive when not outright baffling, poorly laid out, needlessly complex, it’s just a mess.”
November 22 — Mountrath Community College switches its students from physical textbooks to e-books, and experiences “major technical issues with the majority of the HP Elite Pad tablet devices,” causing the principal to declare it “an unmitigated disaster.” Fortune names Apple’s new retail chief, Angela Ahrendts, their #4 Businessperson of the Year. Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Activation Lock rejected by U.S. service providers. Macy’s testing Apple’s iBeacons in two major U.S. cities. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch appears to be a big flop.
November 29 — In Japan this past month, iPhone was over three-quarters of the smartphone market. Black Friday sales on mobile devices were over 80% from iOS devices. Futuremark de-lists multiple Samsung and HTC tablets and phones from its benchmark ratings due to cheating.
December 5 — iPhone about to launch on China Mobile, the biggest cellphone service provider in the world, by subscriber count. Honda to feature iPhone-based, in-dash touchscreen. Soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer tweets his support for Samsung from his iPhone. Just three months old, iOS 7 is now on three-fourths of all iPhones in North America. Analytics firm Parks Associates finds that Apple’s desktop computers are now more desired than any other company’s this holiday season. The Wall Street Journal runs a scathing critique of Judge Denise Cote’s treatment of Apple, calling her and her “prosecutor friend” Michael Bromwich an “abusive” “star chamber” that is “shredding the separation of constitutional powers” — Cote “indulged Justice Department arguments that have no precedent in antitrust jurisprudence” and “essentially ruled before hearing the evidence,” then gave Iran-Contra/BP oil spill fixer Bromwich “flatly unconstitutional” “carte blanche to act as the inquisitor of all things Cupertino.”
December 9 — Noon yesterday at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, the Apple store was a “crowded” center of activity, while the Microsoft store was a ghost town with “zero shoppers.”
December 11 — Newly found Android vulnerability allows malware to audio-bug the surrounding area, even when the device is not in use. Microsoft-purchased Nokia may owe India $3.4 billion in back taxes. iPhone sales see huge increase in China. Southwest Airlines now supports Apple’s iMessages in-flight for just $2 per day.
December 26 — Beyoncé releases her new album as an iTunes exclusive; it immediately becomes #1 in more than a hundred countries, selling over 800,000 copies in three days. BlackBerry reports quarterly loss of $4.4 billion and sells off five of its main-campus buildings, plus the land they’re on. Tim Cook rumored soon to be discussing with President Gül a $4 billion iPad purchase for Turkey’s school system. “Evasi0n” team’s hack (a.k.a. “jailbreak”) of iOS 7 found to be funded, to the tune of $1 million, by a Chinese software piracy website. After unsuccessfully bidding $3 billion for Nortel’s patents, Google now asking the courts to preemptively invalidate them.
January 9 — Grocery chains Giant Eagle and Safeway deploying iBeacons at over a hundred stores. HP cutting another 5,000 jobs, bringing their total restructuring layoffs to 34,000. Apple’s App Store sales were $10 billion in the last year alone. Newly privatized Dell reportedly planning big layoffs. In the last quarter, U.S. Mac sales increased 28% from the year-ago quarter, while the rest of the PC market shrank 11%.
February 7 — Google selling off Motorola Mobility for almost $10 billion less than they paid for it. Impending Dell layoffs rumored to hit over 15,000 employees. Apple about to distribute another $3 billion in dividends. Sony, longtime maker of the VAIO Windows PC, posts a billion-dollar loss, announces 5,000 layoffs, and sells off its PC-making division. Samsung reportedly put instructions in its olympic athlete gift bags telling the olympians that they must cover the Apple logo on their iPhones during the opening ceremonies — since the story broke, the IOC says, no, nobody has to cover their Apple logo regardless of any gifts from Samsung, and now Samsung is denying the whole thing happened. Bill Gates spends entire first day back in office at Microsoft trying to install Windows 8.1.
February 13 — If the iTunes content/services system was counted as a separate company, it would be #130 in the Fortune 500. Barnes & Noble lays off its entire NOOK hardware engineering staff. Whole Foods now using iPads for checkout registers. Including desktops, laptops, and tablets, Apple now selling more computers than the entire Windows world combined, and earning 87% of all profits in the mobile phone business.
February 28 — Microsoft reportedly cutting the price of Windows by 70%. Android 4.4 KitKat, launched last September around the same time as iOS 7, has reached only 1.8% of active Android users, while iOS 7 is now on 82% of active users’ iOS devices. iPad Air named “Best Mobile Tablet” by the GSM Association. Apple TV (unit sales plus post-purchase rentals/sales of movies and TV shows) is now a billion-dollar-per-year business. Apple tops Fortune’s Most Admired Companies for the seventh consecutive year; Microsoft not in the top ten.
March 6 — Cortana, Microsoft’s copy of Apple’s three-and-a-half-year-old Siri, coming to Windows Phone in another month or so. A month after being ousted as CEO, Steve Ballmer calls Microsoft a “2.5-trick pony.” Microsoft’s attempt to recruit tech-savvy individuals to convince others to upgrade from XP generates “a torrent of abuse” from angry Windows 8 users. New Android malware tool, Dendroid, makes it easy to install malware in any Android application and get it through the Google Play store’s anti-malware screening process.
March 19 — Brand Finance names Apple the most valuable brand of any U.S. company in any business. Thanks to software bloat, Samsung’s 16GB S4 gives just 3.7GB more usable storage than an 8GB iPhone 5c. Fortune names Apple CEO Tim Cook among the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”
March 28 — Users of Microsoft Word “under active attack” via newly discovered vulnerability which “makes it possible to remotely seize control of computers.” Apple has sold a cumulative total of half a billion iPhones. Nearly half of businesses are offering to let their employees use Macs instead of Windows PCs. BlackBerry suing its own Senior VP of Software, to stop him from taking a job at Apple. Some Google-Play-distributed Android apps are using the device’s battery/processor power to mine digital currency silently, in the background. Microsoft announces Office for iPad; Apple will get its usual 30% cut. BlackBerry posts $420 million quarterly loss.
April 7 — In “The Fallacy of Android-First,” Dave Feldman, Emu co-founder, recounts all the problems he had trying to release his product on Android, and how he switched back to an iOS-priority business. Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s new head of retail, made a Dame of the British Empire.
April 11 — While iOS remains malware-free, the top-selling Android app is “Virus Shield,” a $4, 4.5-star item that turns out to be a con that doesn’t protect your device in any way at all. Popular Android app “Brightest Flashlight,” downloaded 50 million times, found by the FTC to be sending users’ real-time locations to the app’s creator. All HP buildings demolished; land now cleared for construction of Apple’s new spaceship campus. Apple apparently planning to develop their own baseband (cellphone radio) chips. HP settles SEC bribery charges for $108 million. Samsung suing a newspaper for more than a quarter of a million dollars because they wrote negatively about the S5 phone — the paper says its report was accurate. “Heartbleed,” the massive hole in OpenSSL security, affects millions of Android devices, but not iOS or Mac OS X. Court-exposed documents reveal Android’s prominence in the tablet market to be a massive fraud — the iPad probably still owns 80-90% of that market. Samsung, the only significantly profitable Android device maker, has been planning for years to ditch Android.
April 16 — ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes calls Android fragmentation a “toxic hellstew of vulnerabilities.” Excepting Apple, the top four Silicon Valley companies by revenue — HP, Google, Intel, and Cisco — make combined revenue less than Apple’s. James Kendrick in Mobile News notices that as he moves around downtown, “I see iPads, lots of them, everywhere I go. ... What I rarely see, almost never in fact, are Android tablets.”
April 25 — iOS malware stealing users’ passwords — but only jailbroken devices are affected. Samsung apparently lied to the court when it said that no third party was indemnifying it over patents — Google was doing exactly that. Samsung opens “innovation museum” that spans from famous early inventors like Bell, Edison, and Faraday, to today’s modern smartphones and tablets — but the only Apple product on display is the Apple II home computer circa 1976. Apple has its best non-holiday quarter ever. Longtime head of Google’s Google+ division abruptly resigns, and reportedly the multi-year push to force Google+ onto Gmail and YouTube users will be stopped. J.D. Power’s latest smartphone satisfaction survey finds iPhone #1 on the four largest U.S. carriers. In France, Google may owe $1 billion in back taxes, plus a “sizable” penalty.
April 29 — Samsung reportedly paying some sites $100 to link (not via ads) to videos promoting Samsung products. The iPhone is about to pass Nokia in total phone sales, smart and non-smart combined. European antitrust regulators tell Samsung and Motorola to stop suing other companies over FRAND patents. In CNBC’s list of the 25 most influential businesspeople of the last 25 years, Steve Jobs is #1. iTunes accounts now at 800 million, and very closely following an exponential growth curve for the past six years — doubling every year-and-a-half.
May 2 — Thanks to twelve years of steady selling (basically since he stepped down as CEO), Bill Gates now is no longer the top individual owner of Microsoft shares, and at the same rate he will sell off all his remaining shares in about four years.
May 4 — In his latest article, Kurt Eichenwald writes, “Sam Baxter, a patent lawyer who once handled a case for Samsung [said] ‘I represented [the Swedish telecommunications company] Ericsson, and they couldn’t lie if their lives depended on it, and I represented Samsung and they couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it.’”
May 9 — New Android malware disables your phone, tells you that your phone “viewed illegal porn,” then demands a $300 “fine” to reactivate the phone. Apple passes Staples, to become the #2 online retailer, behind only Amazon. Samsung’s latest phone, the S5, has serious problems with its fingerprint sensor. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gives lifetime achievement award to Apple designer Jonathan Ive.
May 23 — Japanese court rules that Samsung has been abusing FRAND patents against Apple. App developer Game Oven discovers gyroscopes on Android devices to be a hit-and-miss affair, with some gyroscopes broken on one axis, some faked with other sensors, and some missing altogether. In the Netherlands, Apple wins broad injunction against patent-infringing products from Samsung. Samsung’s lawyers call Apple a “jihadist,” and say that Apple’s suit against Samsung is “Apple’s Vietnam.” China bans Windows 8 on all government-used PCs. Not long after buying Nest, Google tells the SEC that it may soon start displaying ads on thermostats. HP now says it may cut another 16,000 employees.
June 2 — Google shutting down Motorola’s Ft. Worth, TX smartphone factory. Minnesota’s St. Paul school district dumps Dell and goes with iPads instead. Apple moves up from position #6 to #5 in the Fortune 500, and is the only tech company in the top fifteen.
June 18 — The Durham, NH Police Department has its Windows PCs scrambled by CryptoWall, which is demanding a hefty cash ransom to unscramble them. Costco, which stopped carrying Apple products five years ago, apparently planning once again to carry them. Thousands of secret keys found embedded in Android apps, easily discoverable by examining the compiled apps with a byte-level editor.
June 29 — FaceBook phone goes nowhere; its development team disbands. The much-and-long-ballyhooed shift to Android-first mobile development continues to not occur. Buyers of Google’s Chromebook Pixel, promised 100MB/mo. of Verizon data for two years, are abruptly cut off after one year. Google’s I/O (developer conference) keynote is “strange,” “disorganized,” “unrehearsed,” “boring,” “surprising in all the wrong ways,” “weird,” and full of failed demos that evoke “awkward mumbling from the audience.” In late 2007, Nokia apparently paid millions of euros to extortionists who somehow had obtained Nokia’s app-signing keys. Veteran actor Gary Oldman, who has appeared in HTC smartphone ads, apparently using an iPhone. BlackBerry’s U.S. market share now at 0%.
July 18 — Microsoft announces layoffs over three times bigger than its biggest ever: 18,000 persons — or one in every seven employees — will be let go, slowly, over the next year. A few weeks after Apple bought Beats, Samsung announces their own line of headphones and portable speakers. Lenovo stops shipping small Windows tablets in the U.S. due to lack of demand. Samsung, “angry” about its latest quarter’s miserable results, retroactively rescinds a hundred executives’ bonuses.
August 1 — Despite iPad sales down 9% from a year ago, Apple still has a very good quarter with profits up 12%, iPhone up 13% (55% in BRIC nations), iTunes sales up 25%, and Mac sales up 18% while the rest of the PC market shrank. After being evicted from San Francisco Bay last winter, Google’s mammoth, four-story, retail showroom barge now is being sold for scrap.
September 8 — Jen Taylor, who did the voice of Cortana (Microsoft’s copy of Siri), apparently using an iPhone. Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, who appeared in a Samsung presentation several days ago, apparently using an iPhone. Getty Images sues Microsoft for massive copyright infringement. Microsoft pays the NFL $400 million to use Surface tablets, but the TV announcers call them “iPad-like tools.”
September 18 — Microsoft apparently discontinuing the name “Nokia” in its recently purchased Nokia mobile division, bringing the era of Nokia mobile phones to an end. HP pays over $100 million to settle bribery charges in multiple countries. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus see four million pre-orders in 24 hours. Over a thousand authors sign a letter asking Amazon to stop its strong-arm sanctions against Hachette. Korean brokers brace for another bad quarter from Samsung. Microsoft buys Minecraft (Mojang) for $2.5 billion, as its three founders, including Minecraft author Markus Persson, leave. Microsoft’s Silicon Valley lab, Microsoft Research, shutting down.
September 26 — Comic Neal Brennan, the voice of some Samsung commercials, apparently using an iPhone. Microsoft shutting down its Trustworthy Computing Group. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sell a record ten million units in three days. Apple leads the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s ranking of PC manufacturers for the eleventh consecutive year. iPhone 6 Plus and 6 capture the top two spots in DxO Labs’ smartphone camera tests. Samsung exits the European laptop and Chromebook markets. L.A. Clippers probably replacing their iPads with Surface tablets — because Microsoft ex-CEO Steve Ballmer bought the team for $2 billion. In its latest quarter, BlackBerry posts a net loss of $207 million, and had revenue 42% less than the year-ago quarter.
October 26 — Steve Ballmer, “Bill Gates’s longtime best friend and anointed successor,” and Gates no longer on speaking terms. IDC admits Apple into its top five computer makers for the first time ever (in fifth place), but excludes iPad from its figures while including Windows tablets, netbooks, and netbook/tablet hybrids — if they included iPad, Apple would be #1. Despite historically unprecedented stock buybacks, Apple’s market valuation now almost 50% greater than #2 Exxon Mobil, and more than 50% greater than #3 Google. Amazon posts quarterly loss of $437 million — over ten times as bad as the year-ago quarter. Apple to build an average of one new store in China every month for the next two years. Apple now has sold a billion iOS devices. Italy’s Supreme Court bans Microsoft’s contracts that require PC makers to pay for Windows even if a PC is sold without it. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users discover that they can use Apple Pay at Rite Aid and CVS, despite those retailers being members of the non-Apple “CurrentC” coalition — so, just to block Apple users, Rite Aid and CVS shut down their NFC payment stations at all of their stores, preventing any of their customers from using any mobile payments system at all.
October 29 — After less-than-clear statements from MCX (CurrentC) about what will happen to non-compliant members, big-box discount chain Meijer (a member) refuses to turn off its NFC terminals, and Apple Pay continues to work there. Samsung’s profits drop 60% from the year-ago quarter, while its mobile device profits drop 74%.
November 25 — Bluebox Labs discovers many different models of popular Android tablet to be pre-infected with malware, “shocking” security holes, and backdoors. Sony warns of $2 billion net loss for 2014, mainly due to its abysmally performing smartphone division.
December 8 — Huawei rep says that no company ever made money from Windows Phone. Barnes & Noble ends its e-book relationship with Microsoft. Google’s Nexus 6 phone was planned to have a fingerprint reader, but it was cancelled.
December 16 — United Airlines equipping each of its 23,000 flight attendants with an iPhone 6 Plus. The Financial Times of London names Tim Cook “Person of the Year.” Windows and Android hit by advanced, new malware package, but non-jailbroken iOS is unaffected. Ford dumps Windows Embedded, embraces Apple’s CarPlay. Thanks to his sale of Beats to Apple, Dr. Dre sets the record for most profitable year enjoyed by any musician ever. Real’s decade-long antitrust suit against Apple (for its now-long-defunct FairPlay DRM) ends with the jury deciding that Apple did nothing wrong.
December 29 — 39,000 Windows PCs hit by TorrentLocker ransomware, which is estimated to have earned well over half a million dollars in ransoms. BlackBerry posts $148 million quarterly loss. CNN names Tim Cook CEO of the Year. In London, the flagship “Samsung Experience” store (i.e. extremely close copy of Apple retail) shuts down after only eight months, due to lack of business. Worldwide, during the holiday shopping spike, Apple got over half of all new-device activations.
January 8 — Amazon’s Fire Phone (iPhone wannabe) and Echo (Siri wannabe) both flop hard; the responsible executives are promptly eliminated. After “almost two months,” since the release of Lollipop, less than one tenth of one percent of Android devices are using it — even when counting only those devices that can use the Google Play Store. (About a third of those devices are using last year’s version, Kit-Kat; the other two-thirds are on even older versions.) Samsung warns investors to expect yet another disappointing quarter.
January 17 — Google publicly exposes three unpatched Windows vulnerabilities after giving Microsoft ninety days to fix them. Popular mobile game Monument Valley, available on iOS, Android, and Amazon devices, earns over 80% of its revenue from iOS, and less than 15% from Android. After sixteen years, notorious Microsoft shill Paul Thurrott abandons his Paul Thurrott’s Supersite For Windows — his new site, Thurrott - News & Analysis for Tech Enthusiasts, is non-Microsoft-centric in name only.
January 22 — Apple logos are everywhere in the audience at Microsoft’s Windows 10 press event. BlackBerry CEO John Chen recommends that developers on any platform be required by law to port their apps to all well-known platforms.
January 28 — Apple has the most profitable quarter of any company, in any business, ever — the S&P 500’s bottom 435 companies’ combined profits for the past six years are less than Apple’s profits from last quarter. Sony shutting down its Music Unlimited service.
February 3 — Apple’s historically unprecedented dividend program rolls on, with another $2.8 billion quarterly disbursement. Millions of Android phones may have been “hosed” by malicious apps from the Google Play store.
February 13 — Samsung issues warning that its smart TVs listen to everything you say, and share what they hear with Samsung and other companies. The iPhone’s extreme success in Japan causing Samsung to consider exiting the Japanese smartphone market. CEO Tim Cook dismisses the oft-cited-against-Apple “law of large numbers,” saying, “We don’t believe in such laws as laws of large numbers. It’s just sort of an old dogma, I think, that was cooked up by somebody.” In the S&P 500, Apple’s profits are now over 43 times that of the average non-Apple member. Only nineteen nations have a GDP bigger than Apple’s market cap. The iPad has 83% market share in Samsung’s home country, South Korea. Apple to build biggest-anywhere solar farm, in Monterey county, CA.
February 17 — New Wall Street Journal article says court-appointed Apple overseer Michael Bromwich is a “fixer-for-hire” with “long-time political connections to Judge Cote,” and “no prior antitrust experience but does have the dubious honor of being the first and only involuntary monitor ever in civil antitrust litigation.” The article cites Bromwich’s bill to Apple for $2.65 million — including $1,100 per hour for time he spent in court when Apple was arguing for his removal. The author agrees with Apple that Bromwich’s appointment is “illegal and unconstitutional,” and recommends that the court “sack Mr. Bromwich and end what is a major abuse even by the standards of modern antitrust.”
February 20 — The majority of all UK e-mail is read on Apple hardware. Fortune names Apple “most-admired company” for the eighth consecutive year. Lenovo PCs found to be preinstalled with Superfish, which not only injects ads into web pages where they didn’t already exist, but subverts the HTTPS (secure website) protocol in a way that makes it possible for hackers to engineer man-in-the-middle attacks against Lenovo users when they access any secure website — such as their bank’s.
March 16 — Apple added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Windows anti-virus software Panda recognizes itself as malware, quarantines and deactivates itself, “bricks PCs.” Businesses still using Windows XP are causing poor sales results for Intel. Its first tablet since it killed the hard-flopping PlayBook three years ago, BlackBerry releases the “high-security” SecuTABLET — only $2,300.
March 28 — Fortune names Tim Cook the World’s Greatest Leader. UK buys iPads for all 650 members of the House of Commons. Samsung, freaked-out about the success of the iPhone 6 in Korea, pressuring the government to pass laws that will make it impossible for Apple to compete in that country.
April 7 — Samsung pays 500 student-like twenty-somethings to come to its S6 phone launch event, as if in spontaneous attendence. Popular Windows antivirus software Malwarebytes identifies Dell’s support software as malware. Intel merges its mobile and non-mobile financials to hide massive mobile losses.
April 17 — After spending billions of dollars on its public cloud service over the past several years, HP reportedly abandoning it. Mac sales grow 8.9% over the year-ago quarter, while the rest of the PC industry shrinks 2.6%. Reportedly, the Android 5.0.2 update “bricks” Google’s own Nexus phones, and Google disavows responsibility, effectively saying “talk to ASUS (our manufacturer).” After trying to find a way around Megacode (Windows ransomware), police departments in Maine decide to pay up, and say that “Next time, we’ll just pay the ransom on the first day and be done with it.” Google may be about to be hit with $6 billion EU antitrust fine. Bloomberg finds Apple’s Tim Cook to be the most pay-efficient U.S. CEO.
April 29 — Apple has their best non-holiday quarter ever, with revenue about equal to their holiday quarter of fifteen months ago, and a cash hoard approaching $200 billion. Best Buy, a prominent member of MCX’s CurrentC consortium, decides to support Apple Pay; the next day, MCX replaces its own CEO. Samsung’s profits are down 39% from the year-ago quarter; its mobile division profits are down 57%.
May 7 — 2014’s highest-paid female executive in the USA is Apple’s Angela Ahrendts. Google’s home town, Mountain View, nixes Google’s futuristic campus plan. (Eight-month update: Apple gets an enthusiastic green-light for its San Jose development plans, even though it hasn’t really figured out what it wants to do there.) Google study finds that one out of every 25 Google page views is compromised by Superfish or a similar SSL-defeating ad injector. Since Harvard dumped its Apple stock two years ago, those shares have nearly doubled in value.
May 20 — After Apple dramatically improves its iCloud-based Photos app, Google reportedly severing its own photo service from the “stagnating” Google+ social network.
June 19 — iOS 9 to support the use of third-party ad blockers. New York’s Mineola school district moves 75% of its curriculum to iPads. After writing off as a loss $8.8 billion of the $10.3 billion it paid for Autonomy, HP now paying another $100 million to settle a lawsuit over that loss. German parliament unable to remove Windows spyware, “may need to replace all [its] software and hardware.”
June 30 — Google’s Chromium browser silently installs audio listening software on PCs. Samsung PCs silently disable Windows Update. Microsoft selling off large chunks of Bing Maps and its advertising business.
July 9 — Chinese consumer protection group sues Samsung over irremovable smartphone bloatware. Samsung warns of another impending bad quarter. HTC’s market valuation craters to a ten-year low as it reports monthly revenue down 60% from the previous June. Microsoft writes off its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia’s mobile phone division as an $8.4 billion loss, and announces 7,800 layoffs on top of last year’s 18,000.
July 21 — iPhone now earning 92% of all profits in the smartphone business, and has about 50% of the U.S. market. Authors and publishers band together to request DOJ investigation into anticompetitive practices by Amazon. Court rules that 55,000 Xbox 360 users may class-action-sue Microsoft over the device’s tendency to ruin discs. Apple Watch satisfaction rate measures at 97%, substantially higher than either the iPhone or iPad in their launch years. Toshiba, long-time maker of Windows PCs, found to have reported over $1.2 billion of fake profits — nine executives (including the CEO) resign.
July 31 — Apple has its best-ever Q3, with revenue up 33% from a year ago. Apple is #15 in the Fortune Global 500. Microsoft posts $3.2 billion quarterly net loss, about six times as bad as its worst ever. iOS device unit sales now passing Windows PC unit sales. Microsoft retires the name “Internet Explorer” due to its severe unpopularity. Windows 10’s Solitaire game shows periodic ads, but you can disable them for $1.50/month. Samsung’s mobile division profits down 38% from the year-ago quarter. LG’s smartphone division hovering on the edge of profitability. Firefox CEO’s open letter blasts Microsoft for playing anticompetitive games with Windows 10’s default browser settings. IBM switching up to 3/4 of its workforce from Windows PCs to Apple Macs.
August 13 — After struggling for seven years to eradicate the Windows botnet Conficker, researchers conclude that a million PCs “might remain infected forever.” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, says Google+ is part of a “painfully long list of unsuccessful Google products.” Immediately after launching, Windows 10 hit by new ransomware, “CTB-Locker.” iOS 8 now on 85% of active iOS devices, while Android 5 “Lollipop” stuck at 18% adoption. Upgrading to Windows 10 disables DVD playback until you pay $15 to re-enable it. After the release of Apple Watch, U.S. sales of conventional watches takes biggest dive in seven years. HTC’s market valuation now less than its cash on hand. HTC phones found to be storing users’ fingerprints as plain, unencrypted images. Rite-Aid changes its mind, decides to accept Apple Pay. Android hit with multiple, serious, new vulnerabilities which are unlikely to be patched on most users’ phones any time soon.
August 26 — HTC reports quarterly loss of a quarter of a billion dollars, and 2,250 layoffs. Lenovo announces 3,200 layoffs. According to The New York Times, Amazon has an employee stack-ranking system every bit as bad — if not considerably worse — than did Ballmer’s Microsoft. CurrentC mobile payment system delayed. Google’s Ara (build your own iPhone-like phone from parts) delayed. Microsoft shutting down Nokia phone plant in Salo, Finland, killing up to 2,300 jobs. Court finds that Samsung stole TSMC trade secrets, then used them to beat TSMC to Apple contracts.
September 4 — ESPN sports commentator Bill Simmons (now with HBO) says of Microsoft-ex-CEO Steve Ballmer’s ownership of the L.A. Clippers: “Ballmer has shown ZERO evidence that he knows what he’s doing. And it’s been the best kept secret in the NBA for 15-16 months.” Lead audio engineer for Microsoft’s HoloLens leaves for a job at Apple. Apple and Cisco form major partnership to provide mobile networking enterprise solutions. Samsung in its longest streak of monthly valuation losses since 1983. Amazon’s smartphone/tablet development lab hit by layoffs, as “numerous” projects are cancelled. New Android ransomware tells its victim that their phone has been disabled by the NSA, and that they must pay a $500 “fine” to restore it. Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch is not an Android device. BlackBerry buys cybersecurity firm Good Technology for $425 million.
September 17 — New, porn-themed Android malware takes your picture with the phone’s front-facing camera, then shows you its photo of you along with a demand of $500 to re-enable your phone. Microsoft downloading 6GB, Windows 10 installer to Windows 7/8 PCs, without users’ consent or knowledge. Apple rumored to be dumping Samsung and making TSMC its exclusive A10-chip manufacturer. Google found in violation of Russian antitrust laws. iPhone 6S on-track to beat iPhone 6’s ten-million-units-in-three-days launch record. Apple Pay partner count passes 500. HP axing another 25,000-30,000 people, bringing its total layoffs in the last three years to as many as 85,000. Microsoft’s Zune music service shutting down. Android lockscreen can be bypassed just by entering a long string of random text. In a live demo, Microsoft’s Cortana spectacularly fails to understand what CEO Satya Nadella is saying, causing him to give up after three tries.
September 21 — Appeals court rules that Apple-v-Samsung lower court should have permitted Apple to block use of its patents in Samsung products, instead of allowing only monetary compensation. Despite being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to use Microsoft Surface tablets, NFL announcers and players still calling them “iPad-like tablets” and “knockoff iPads.” Samsung once again warns of gloomy quarterly results, and is laying off 10,000 people at its headquarters. iOS 9 adoption faster than any previous iOS version.
September 30 — After contracting ten years ago to replace Michigan’s 1960s-mainframe, records-management system, HP now being sued for failure to deliver. iPhone 6S & 6S Plus sell 13 million units in three days, exceeding last year’s record-setting launch by 30%. BlackBerry barely exceeds $50 million quarterly profit, announces its first Android phone. Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer announces imminent launch of its $1,800, Android smartwatch — but warns of tough 2016 ahead. Microsoft about to open a five-story, 5th Avenue retail store, five blocks from Apple’s famous glass-cube store.
October 9 — Beautiful, futuristic, 770,000-sq-ft, Sunnyvale campus to be occupied by Apple. Interbrand names Apple #1 global brand of 2015. Samsung’s price-to-book-value ratio hits a 13-year low. Microsoft, which in the ’90s rarely, if ever, referred to its competitors’ products by name, now openly comparing its new products to Apple’s. The world’s #1 smartphone maker just four years ago, HTC now unable to compete at either the high or low end of the market. After buying Motorola Mobility from Google, Lenovo sees its quarterly PC profits mostly erased by near-$300 million mobile device losses. Microsoft Lumia’s U.S. carrier availability has been atrocious for years. BlackBerry CEO says his company may abandon hardware altogether, becoming a software/services outfit.
October 13 — Judge Cote quietly discontinues Michael Bromwich’s involuntary oversight of Apple, without any admission that it was a mistake, while Bromwich calls Apple “its own worst enemy” in his final report.
October 18 — Dell buys IT services firm EMC for $67 billion. Windows 7/8 PCs aggressively nagging users to install Windows 10, with no obvious way to choose no-and-don’t-keep-asking-me. Windows’s ubiquitous “Start” menu now displays ads. IBM, transitioning most of its employees from Windows to Mac, finds that Mac-using employees need tech support 1/8 as much as they did with Windows. Japan’s engineering, architecture, and construction companies standardizing on iPad.
October 30 — ExecRank names Tim Cook top CEO of 2015. Besides earning far less revenue than iOS, Android development also found to be 30% more expensive. Rounded to the nearest 1%, Amazon’s latest quarterly profits are 0% of revenue. Microsoft cuts another 1,000 people. Amazon stops selling Apple TV and other video streaming devices that compete with its own Fire TV. Google Play store lets anyone post transparently abusive, one-star reviews of apps they’ve never even downloaded. Samsung reportedly laying off 30% of its workforce, and forcing managers over 50 to “voluntarily” retire.
November 18 — Even after being offered $5 million for the product placement alone, actor Daniel Craig opposes Bond’s use of an Android phone, says that “James Bond only uses the best.” After spending $6 million renovating a 5,400-sq-ft planned NYC flagship retail store, Google scraps it. Three new strains of in-the-wild, Android malware can’t be removed even by wiping the phone — the owner must get a new phone (and hope it doesn’t get infected too). AMD, longtime provider of Windows PC CPUs, being class-action sued for lying about the number of cores in its latest processors. Samsung’s Galaxy Note tablet has a stylus that can be easily inserted into its holder in the wrong direction, which permanently damages the device; Samsung’s solution is to affix a warning label telling you not to do that.
November 24 — iPhone now takes 94% of all smartphone industry profits. MIT research finds that “half of the communications connections established by the top  free Android apps are hidden to the user, and much of the data is being transmitted for unknown purposes” that have “no bearing on the user experience.” iOS App Store passes 100 billion downloads. After six days on the market, LG pulls its Urbane smartwatch due to hardware issues. Dell installed a self-signed root certificate on its computers that enables man-in-the-middle attacks against Dell users when they access any secure website (like their bank’s).
December 3 — While Google, Facebook, and Qualcomm spend 15%, 21%, and 22% of their revenue on R&D, respectively, Apple spends just 3.5%. The Boston Consulting Group names Apple the most innovative company of 2015. United Airlines equipping each of its 6,000 customer service reps with an iPhone 6 Plus. HP kills its low-end, Android tablets.
December 31 — Apple’s enterprise business is growing 40%/year, and by itself would currently place Apple in the 15 largest tech companies. Toshiba announces $4.5 billion net loss for the year, and “drastic restructuring,” including 7,000-10,000 layoffs. After three years of ridiculous, anti-Apple predictions, Berenberg analyst Adnaan Ahmad is fired. Apple got nearly 50% of new-device activations this holiday season; Samsung got nearly 20%. Google to massively alter Android’s API so it no longer violates Oracle’s Java copyrights. Microsoft knew for years that over 1,000 of its HotMail customers had been hacked, and deliberately chose not to tell them about it.
January 8 — Samsung warns of tough year ahead. Scammers pretending to be Dell apparently have obtained access to copious detail of Dell’s customers’ history with the company. Apple’s App Store exceeds $1 billion in sales for the holidays. Normally at least ten years for every version of Windows, the security-patch support life for Windows 8 will abruptly end just three years after its release.
January 14 — Worldwide in 2015, the only PC maker that experienced unit sales growth, not shrinkage, is Apple. Apple and now-irrelevant Motorola reportedly are the only two phone makers who haven’t tried to cheat benchmark tests. AnTuTu’s latest benchmarks indicate iPhone to be much faster than any other smartphone. New, antivirus-resistant, Android malware “can spoof the user interfaces of apps from at least 31 banks from across the world and two mobile payment service providers.”
January 27 — Oracle-v-Google exposes, to Google’s significant dismay, that Google has made less revenue from Android in its entire history than Apple made from the iPhone alone in its most recent quarter — and that Google pays Apple $1 billion/year to be the default-but-easily-user-changeable search engine on iOS (which is 1/3 of the revenue they get from showing ads on iOS search results). AFC championship game stalls when Patriots’ tablets stop working — and just like that, the announcers know to call them “Microsoft Surface” instead of “iPad.” Apple once again posts the most successful quarter in the history of corporations, slightly besting their year-ago record. Windows Phone chief Joe Belfiore apparently using an iPhone. In China, Apple is now the most-sold-smartphone brand — the country’s top-selling three models of smartphone are all iPhones.
February 11 — Apple continuing to issue nearly $3 billion in dividends every quarter. Eli Lilly equipping 15,000 field personnel with iPads. iPad Pro is the top-selling detachable tablet/laptop product of the holiday quarter. Like Apple, Samsung now supports third-party ad blockers in its mobile browser — but when third parties create those blockers for Samsung’s mobile browser, Google removes them from the Google Play store. Russia about to ban Windows on government PCs. Samsung enters “state of emergency” as it becomes official that Apple will use only TSMC for its A10 chip.
February 19 — Despite having almost three times as many paid subscribers as Apple Music, Spotify unable to turn a profit. Google-owned Nest reportedly “a toxic corporate culture” — one former employee calls it “the worst experience of my career ... I still wake up with something like PTSD occasionally from getting yelled at and bullied by Tony Fadell almost literally every day while I was there,” while others called it “an atmosphere of ‘fear’ and said that sitting near Fadell’s office meant hearing a constant barrage of shouting.” After likely-Windows-based ransomware cripples major L.A. hospital’s day-to-day activities for over a week — causing them to use pen, paper, and fax machines, and to redirect patients to other hospitals — the directors decide to pay the $17,000 ransom, and say that the infection was random, not targeted. Likewise with a South Carolina elementary school, which pays half that amount to escape a similar ransomware paralysis. Apple is Fortune’s Most Admired Company for the ninth consecutive year.
February 26 — Similar to Dell’s mall kiosks of several years ago where you could look at Dell products but not buy them, Samsung to open huge, New York, flagship store where you can’t actually buy anything. Vicious new ransomware, “Locky,” depends entirely on Microsoft Word’s willingness to automatically launch potentially malicious scripts when you open a Word file. Forced updates to Windows 10 are switching users to Microsoft apps involuntarily. Mobile device failures are 85% Android, 15% iOS. Windows 10 now displaying full-screen ads for video games and movies on users’ lock screens; they’re on by default, but can be turned off if you know where to find the obscure control switch, whose name doesn’t say anything about ads. France now actively seeking $1.8 billion in back taxes from Google. The Baidu web browser for Windows and Android found to be silently sending all kinds of personal information about the user’s computer and browsing history to Baidu’s servers, sometimes without encryption — “Researchers also discovered that the browser checks [for] and downloads updates but does not use code signatures. This practice exposes users to MitM (Man-in-the-Middle) attacks that allow an attacker to send malicious files to users disguised as a Baidu update.” A new piece of malware — which has gotten into the Google Play store at least 340 times — invisibly clicks certain ads, making it appear to paying advertisers that users are clicking on their ads, when they really aren’t. About 2/3 of Android phones don’t use encryption on the data they store.
March 8 — In its first year, Samsung Pay lost $17 million. Quicken — one of the last major apps that sorely neglects its Mac version in the apparent expectation that everyone will soon be on Windows — bought by HIG, which immediately announces it is doubling the size of the Mac development team. Apple Watch has taken 2/3 of the smartwatch market, by units sold. First in-the-wild Mac ransomware appears, but paralyzes no one, and is quickly defeated by Apple.
March 18 — Involuntary, surprise updates from Windows 7/8 to Windows 10 angering users and disrupting businesses — including medical practices. Apple tops list of companies where executives are treated equally regardless of gender. Two years post-Microsoft, ex-CEO Steve Ballmer now loves Linux. Google ex-CEO Eric Schmidt apparently using an iPhone. FTC warns Android developers to stop using SilverPush spyware, which covertly monitors (via the phone’s microphone) what TV shows are being watched in the same room as the phone.
March 29 — Likely hit by Windows ransomware (they won’t say), major Baltimore/Washington DC hospital chain “very much in crisis mode,” with hospital workers “communicating through a pager system and via courier,” and using “paper transactions where necessary.” Dell selling off its IT consulting division for $3 billion — less than 5% of what it’s paying to buy EMC.
April 5 — Google-owned Nest kills its recently purchased Revolv home-automation hub — customers who bought lifetime subscriptions are now simply SOL; the device will become a functionless brick in less than six weeks.
April 22 — Mobile malware is 99.9% for Android, 0.1% for iOS. In Kindle Unlimited, fake (auto-synthesized garbage-text) books with fake readers are siphoning off money that should be divided only among the authors of real books with real readers. With a steadily shrinking market for Windows PCs, and no significant headway breaking into the mobile-device processor market, Intel abruptly drops two top executives, announces 12,000 layoffs, and delivers a “forecast for growth dropping to low single digits.” Amid strong indications that Apple will soon use Intel, not just Qualcomm, for baseband phone chips, Qualcomm CEO and his top staff now unable to say “Apple” or “Intel” even when obviously referring to them in their speeches. EU charges Google with antitrust violations. Apple about to become the first foreign-based retail chain in India. Apple makes 40% of all profits earned by Silicon Valley companies.
April 30 — Cisco discovers total-control backdoor invisibly operating on 12 million Windows PCs around the world. Despite its first year-over-year drop in over a dozen years, Apple still reports more quarterly profits than Google, FaceBook, and Amazon combined, and Samsung’s quarterly mobile-device profits are less than 1/4 that of Apple. Huge, don’t-you-wanna-upgrade-to-Windows-10, nag box appears in the middle of KCCI 8’s live weather report, causing meteorologist Metinka Slater to say, “Ohh, ‘Microsoft recommends updating to Windows 10.’ What should I do? Uhh, don’t you love it when that pops up?” Over the past several years, Apple has bought back and retired $117 billion of its own stock. Microsoft changes Cortana so that, from now on, it will search the web only with Bing, and return the results only in Microsoft’s own Edge web browser. Intel cancels Atom, ending its long-running and very expensive attempts to drag the archaic x86 ISA into modern mobile devices. Microsoft not even in the top five tablet makers, while Apple holds at #1 with about as many tablets as the next three makers combined. To its customers, U.S. toy maker unwittingly pushes CryptXXX (Windows ransomware), which demands $500 after encrypting their files.
May 14 — TIME names iPhone most influential gadget ever. Samsung reportedly giving away its S7 phones to boost their apparent success. Apple and SAP announce major partnership to provide mobile enterprise solutions. Microsoft ending free Windows 10 upgrade program, will now charge $119 for the cheapest version. As an extreme measure to stop ransomware attacks, the U.S. House of Representatives blocks all apps hosted by Google’s appspot.com. True Religion outfitting its salespeople with Apple Watch. Seven years running, Microsoft’s blatant copies of Apple retail are still “pretty empty.” Forbes names Apple the #1 brand of 2016. Italy’s military switching from Microsoft Office to open-source LibreOffice, saving up to $33 million. Both released about half a year ago, iOS 9 now at 84% adoption, while Android 6.0 Marshmallow has reached just 7.5%.
May 26 — Password-skimming, Windows malware infecting ATMs worldwide. As part of its attempt to collect $1.8 billion in back taxes, French police raid the offices of Google France. Microsoft giving up on consumer smartphones, laying off 1,850 more people, and taking a $950 million write-down. When it bought Nokia, Microsoft apparently promised to construct a data center in Finland, but it was never built.
June 25 — Hours before Apple’s WWDC, Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26 billion, then immediately cancels LinkedIn’s internal watch-the-WWDC-livestream party. Like Samsung with Tizen, Huawei has been secretly developing its own mobile OS, so as not to be dependent on Android. Randomware attacks (virtually all against Windows PCs and Android devices) are up 500% over the previous year — an “epidemic” with “no end in sight.” New, “Godless” malware package, found in numerous Google Play apps, “can root 90% of Android phones.” NASCAR team pays $500 to free $2 million worth of their data from Windows ransomware. After her business is substantially harmed by an involuntary update to Windows 10, California travel agent sues Microsoft for $10,000, and wins (Microsoft pays, but denies any wrongdoing).
July 21 — Dell discontinues its Venue tablets and exits the Android tablet business; purchased tablets will receive no further OS updates. The Classic — BlackBerry’s attempt to revive interest in their brand by returning to ’90s-style keyboard phones — has failed at market, and is being discontinued. The Android malware that generates fake clicks on ads may be running on ten million phones. J.D. Power rates Apple Watch #1 in smartwatch customer satisfaction. Windows, which used to be a use-it-forever pre-install on every PC for about $50 per, now slated to become an $84/year rental. New Windows ransomware accepts payment from its victims, but doesn’t decrypt their files, because it actually erased those files irrecoverably. EU brings more antitrust charges against Google. Artist loses 14 years of work when Google-owned Blogger platform deletes his blog. U.S. Army Special Operations replacing Android with iOS because Android “‘freezes up’ and has to be restarted too often,” whereas iOS is “seamless ... The graphics are clear, unbelievable.” To avoid Android fragmentation problems, Salesforce decides to support no Android phones other than Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus. TSMC, already the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s about-to-release A10 processor, reportedly also will be the exclusive manufacturer of the next (A11) Apple processor. France finds Windows 10 to be collecting excessive user data, serves Microsoft with formal order to comply with data protection laws.
July 28 — Popular wireless PC keyboards from HP, Toshiba, and others (not Apple) found to use no encryption — keystrokes can be silently intercepted and/or actively simulated “from hundreds of feet away,” and the flaw is fixable only by replacing the entire keyboard. Steam, the extremely popular gaming platform by Valve, allegedly under slow attack by Microsoft, via a plan to make it work less-and-less well on Windows over the next several years — meanwhile, the Mac version of Steam will be unaffected. Microsoft announces another 2,850 layoffs. Last quarter, Google’s (now Alphabet’s) “moonshot” projects lost $860 million — 30% worse than the year-ago quarter. Microsoft hit with two new suits over its upgrade-to-Windows-10 tactics. Now passing a billion sold, iPhone is the most popular product of all time.
August 4 — After a year-and-a-half of hype, Microsoft starts selling HoloLens, at a price of $3,000. All versions of Windows from the past four years found to leak user account credentials via a bug that was discovered almost twenty years ago and still hasn’t been fixed. Apple’s total payments to third-party app developers pass $50 billion. Over 100 prominent designers and educators contribute to amicus brief urging U.S. Supreme Court not to upend Apple’s victory over Samsung.
August 22 — QuadRooter, a set of four total-control vulnerabilities in Qualcomm processors used by “hundreds of millions of Android devices,” probably won’t get fixed on any large percentage of those phones any time soon, if ever; the FTC and FCC are now investigating Android’s security update process. Apple’s year-old iPhone 6S easily beats Samsung’s brand-new Galaxy Note 7 in speed tests, plus the Note 7 suffers from “hiccups,” “stutters,” and “delays.” Samsung’s two-year-old music streaming service, Milk, to shut down in one month.
September 8 — After more than six years of paltry sales, Google discontinues the Nexus brand. Nougat, the upcoming version of Android, won’t run on “practically every single Android flagship” that’s more than a year-and-a-half old, nor a lot of newer ones as well. Google “announced a host of partners for Project Ara at its developer conference in May and said it would ship a developer edition of the product this autumn” — but now is cancelling Ara altogether. Android phone makers seem averse to mentioning, much less promoting, Android. Samsung recalls all Galaxy Note 7 phones worldwide, after some of them explode while charging. Per Apple’s live event: Apple Watch is the #2 watch brand, behind only Rolex, and is the #1 smartwatch by far. Dell cutting 2,000 jobs.
September 28 — Apple tops American Customer Satisfaction Index’s PC/tablet category for the thirteenth consecutive year. Aetna giving Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees for free. Apple and Deloitte announce enterprise solutions partnership. Russian government dumping Microsoft Outlook and Exchange from 600,000 PCs. BlackBerry ends all hardware production, “now will focus on security and software.”
October 11 — Microsoft Band, Microsoft’s me-too answer to the FitBit, cancelled. Interbrand names Apple world’s most valuable brand, for the fourth year in a row. In its Pixel phone event, Google touts the unreleased phone as having the best smartphone camera in DXOMark’s tests — but neglects to mention that the test doesn’t include the available-for-purchase iPhone 7 Plus. In less than a month, iOS 10 adoption rate is at least 54%, and possibly 67%. Samsung permanently cancels the Note 7 after less than two months on the market.
October 17 — Bringing a Galaxy Note 7 onto any U.S. flight is now punishable with stiff fines and confiscation of the phone. Samsung estimating the immediate monetary losses alone from the Note 7 fiasco at $5.3 billion, and is still unable to find the cause of the phone’s fires/explosions.
October 21 — In disgust, Patriots coach Bill Belichick dumps NFL-mandated Microsoft Surface tablets, says he will use pen and paper instead. Samsung users whose property was damaged to the tune of thousands of dollars by the Note 7 are angry that Samsung won’t pay for repairs. IBM’s IT head now says that, thanks to lower support needs, Macs are three times cheaper than Windows PCs.
October 26 — Korean law firm files class-action suit over Samsung Note 7 fires. “[H]alting its rollout in 10 cities and laying off staff as its chief executive Craig Barratt steps down,” Google Fiber appears to be going the way of Google Glass and Project Ara.
November 4 — Counting the net losses of some smartphone makers as negative profits means that Apple now takes 104% of all smartphone industry profits. For their own good, New Zealand’s telecom industry terminates stubborn Galaxy Note 7 users’ access to the mobile data network, to force them to turn in their phones.
December 15 — Apple has 2/3 of the premium smartphone market in India. While Samsung has been saying they can’t find the cause of the Galaxy Note 7 fires, an engineering company has independently studied the phone’s internals, and found that the battery was just packed too tightly — it “simply did not have enough physical room for error.” Wall Street brokerage Drexel Hamilton calls Apple “one of the most underappreciated stocks in the world.” In ten days, Samsung will remotely brick all Galaxy Note 7 phones, to force their owners to stop using them — Verizon says it will block this update from reaching its customers. Popcorn Time (Windows ransomware) will release your data for $780, or for free if you purposely infect your friends, and at least two of them pay. After years of enthusiastic speculation by its fans, Google apparently dropping out of the self-driving car business. Japan Airlines and Finnair to use iPhone and iPad apps for plane maintenance.
December 21 — After Acacia and Conversant somehow successfully sue Apple over a FRAND patent they bought from Nokia (i.e. a patent that was made an unavoidable component of telecom standards after Nokia agreed to receive a stipulated amount from every phone maker, and never to sue for more), Apple now countersuing for antitrust violation. Barnes & Noble’s latest tablet found to be pre-loaded with ADUPS total-control spyware. Samsung bought Viv (former Siri developers) to create a Samsung-only Siri-alike, but Google may squelch it with an Android non-compete clause.
December 28 — Apple got over twice as many holiday-season device activations as any competitor, and 30% more than any seven competitors combined. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission hits Qualcomm with record $865 million fine for abusing FRAND patents against major phone makers. LG smart TV infected with Android ransomware.
January 2 — Samsung’s year-ago investor warning to expect a tough 2016 could scarcely have been more accurate; now Samsung warns of a tough 2017 ahead.
January 15 — Korean prosecutors seeking arrest warrant for Samsung’s CEO, on bribery charges.
January 27 — Apple sues Qualcomm, exposing a long trail of ugly, illegal, extortionist activity by that company. St. Louis public library system paralyzed by Windows ransomware, which demands $35,000 — the library says it will instead “wipe its entire computer system and rebuild it from scratch, a solution that may take weeks.” Hacker of celebrities’ iTunes accounts gets nine months in prison. Cockrell Hill TX police department has eights years of records encrypted by Locky (Windows ransomware), discovers their backups are also Locky-encrypted, consults with the FBI, then decides to wipe the affected systems and give up the data as permanently lost.
February 17 — In Licking County OH, 1,000 Windows PCs used by the local government seized by ransomware; the county shuts down all its PCs and phones to stop further spread, reverts to using paper forms, and calls in the FBI to help. Apple tops Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” for the tenth consecutive year. Samsung CEO arrested in government corruption probe. HTC to quit making budget phones, instead “will focus on premium devices, which have a higher profit margin.”
March 1 — Apple’s market valuation now at least $130 billion above any other company — but Google searches on the subject still feature hand-picked snippets of year-old news stories when Google’s valuation was briefly higher. Korean prosecutors formally charge Samsung CEO and other top execs with bribery and embezzlement. Federal appeals court overturns $530 million verdict against Apple by patent troll, and nullifies as too vague the patents on which the suit was based. Google discontinues its Pixel Chromebook laptop.
March 10 — After having its grandiose office park rebuffed a couple years ago by its home town of Mountain View, Google now presents plans for a dramatically smaller, conventional office building, with an opaque roof styled to vaguely evoke the memory of what it was going to be — meanwhile, Apple Park (a.k.a. “spaceship”) nearing completion.
April 7 — U.S. Labor Dept. accuses Google of “‘extreme’ gender pay discrimination.”
April 20 — Google Chromebooks continue to collect data about students’ activities and report that data to Google, “usually without a real choice to opt out.” Bose headphones, one of the main competitors to now-Apple-owned Beats, found to be secretly monitoring the listening habits of users, and sharing that info with third parties. Tim Cook receives Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award. Apple Pay competitor Plastc goes belly-up, leaving its investors in the lurch.