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.
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 24 — 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.
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 hit with a class-action suit 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,” 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 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 huge court victory over Samsung’s extremely close mimicry of its products. Gartner says that app development is now a $9 billion business — since iOS apps generated $5.7 billion of revenue in less than four years (averaging $1.4 billion per year), that means that iOS represents about one sixth of all app revenue worldwide. 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 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. 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 + Comcast, and over three times the profits of Nokia + Samsung + HTC + RIM. 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 declining.
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 (now 1/6 owned by Microsoft), 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.
Febuary 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. 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 anti-malware 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 anti-trust 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 declining.
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. After shrinking to a quarter of the thickness it once was, thirty-year-old magazine PCWorld ceases publication. 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%. Google buys mapping startup Waze for nearly $1 billion. 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 the amount 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 — Another big surge in Android malware. 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 place 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. 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,” 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 14 — 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 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.
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 4 — 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.