On Tuesday, 15 February 2011 I penned The Nokia/Microsoft Alliance & Android's Commoditization Of The Mobile Computing Platform... In said missive, I apparently foretold the future, to wit:

The Nokia/Microsoft Marriage via Force of Android team up is definitely a plus for Nokia despite the appearance that Microsoft ex-management is moving heavily into company. Nokia probably makes some of the best hardware around, but there OS game has been lacking for some time. The only real unaddressed issue is that Elop never addressed the real reason why he didn't adopt Android, and the MSFT alliance doesn't address it either. Reference this quote from Endgadget:

Nokia did talk with Google about adopting Android but decided that it "would have difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem" and the "commoditization risk was very high -- prices, profits, everything being pushed down, value being moved out to Google which was concerning to us." Microsoft presented the best option for Nokia to resume the fight in the high end smarpthone segment."
 
Elop goes further, recognizing what I have been saying for about a year now, and that isGoogle/Android is at the forefront of the mobile computing wars - Nokia: 'Our first priority is beating Android. Again, I query, how is Elop going to do that if he is afraid to commoditize the platform though. Android is commoditizing the whole smartphone space, not just the low end.

If anything, the pressure on the high end is heavier. Look at the Evo and Samsung Galaxy series phones and how they are so much more capable than the iPhone for the same price. Then you have the next gen of phones available next month, ex. the Atrix and LG 1080p, 3D, dual core and quad core phones. If you haven't seen this tech, I strongly suggest you read , it's impressive. This tech is moving lightning fast and the price points aren't budging, although the margins are collapsing in this fast moving space.

As you can see, it was easy to see HTC margins collapsing 3 years ago while it was actually in its heyday. HTC is not the only one either. Samsung and Apple are suffering the same fate, simply reference Have We Reached "Peak Premium Smartphone"?

How is Elop going to address this by using Windows OS? He has to do more than just charge more, he has to produce better product at competitive prices, which keep getting lower. Elop will have to license the Widows OS, which is an expense, one that he would bear to nearly the same extent if he used Android. I feel he mistakenly looks at this as Google commoditizing the Android platform, in lieu of the more reasonable perspective of Google commoditizing the entire portable computer space. They can do this because they benefit regardless, as long as the masses are moved to the cloud. See

    1. Android Now Outselling iOS? Explaining the Game of Chess That Google Plays in the Smart Phone Space

Long story short, the only company that is positioned to come out on top of this hardware battle is Google, at least thus far. But that begs the question, what if one of the other big boys catches on? On Thursday, 25 October 2012 I penned Microsoft Is Doing What The "Has Been Giants Of Yesteryear" Were Afraid To Do, Make A Radical Change BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!, to wit:

Roughly 3 years ago in my "mobile computing wars" series, I foretold of The Creatively Destructive Pace of Technology Innovation and the Paradigm Shift known as the Mobile Computing Wars! In particular, I warned of the benefits to the consumer and pitfalls to the potential losers of the battle between Apple, Microsoft and Google, reference There Is Another Paradigm Shift Coming in Technology and Media: Apple, Microsoft and Google Know its Winner Takes All. By the way, by Q1 2010, it was already evident to BoomBustBloggers that Research In Motion was a goner - ). While the bulk of my opinion and analysis was directed between the upcoming heated battle between Apple and Google (The Mobile Computing and Content Wars: Part 2, the Google Response to the Paradigm Shift and An Introduction to How Apple Apple Will Compete With the Google/Android Onslaught) which was accurately called, I also appeared to be the lone gunman in warning that Microsoft is not even close to being out of the race just yet - . This was early 2010. Well, nearly 3 years later, we have MSFT doing what IBM, LOTUS, HP, DELL, and a wide variety of other tech companies simply didn't have the balls to do. What is that, you ask? They risked cannibalizing their cash cow revenues and kicking their lazy, unmotivated (despite declining margins and market share, via ass whoopin's from Google and Apple) OEM's in the nuts, forcing either an exponential growth via a pheonix-like rebirth style wake-up call or a collapse from atrophy.

You see, although Microsoft doesn't get much mobile respect these days (and for good reason), their Windows mobile platform is quite capable. After securing the full purchase of Nokia's handset business and licensing of its patents, MSFT is actually well positioned to do some damage in the space if it truly has the balls to do what it takes. Before I go on, let's take a look at the weapon of choice that I would use...

Review: Stellar camera makes Nokia Lumia 1020 first Windows phone worth loving 

In less than a month, the Lumia 1020 has become this reviewer’s go-to smartphone for taking shots of everything from family to friends to practices.

It's the 41-pixel camera that makes the Lumia 1020 competitive as a point-and-shoot and phone all rolled into one.

NOKIA

It's the 41-pixel camera that makes the Lumia 1020 competitive as a point-and-shoot and phone all rolled into one.

The best camera is always the one you have with you. And these days, the camera you have with you can be one of the best cameras you've ever used, too.

That's the key selling point for the Nokia Lumia 1020, the first Windows phone that's actually worth loving. It runs on the same Windows Mobile OS that Microsoft has been pushing for the last few years — the sometimes clever, sometimes annoying software that is still searching for its place in an Apple-vs.-Android world.

But never mind that.

It's the hardware that makes the Lumia 1020 competitive. To be more specific, it's the camera, all 41 megapixels of it. It's a potent point-and-shoot and a decent phone all rolled into one, and in this era of Twitpic, that's something that draws attention.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/review-nokia-lumia-1020-stellar-camera-article-1.1444253#ixzz2dx1jI7ux

So, what happens if you take that hardware, it's competent but not necessarily Android-dominating OS, and embue it with the two things that 90% of smart phone consumers use and want, but don't have available on their smartphones? What is that, you ask? Well, I'm talking about fully capable Microsoft Office and X-Box gaming! Integrate full, usable, uncrippled Office suite and the full port of XBox gaming and media on this Nokia handset with just a tad larger screen with no premium in pricing and you start attracting power users such as myself to the table. When people like me sit down and eat, we often bring our family, friends, readers, followers and clients. That's how Android did it!

The caveat is... In order for Microsoft to accomplish this they will have to eat margin compression in the short to medium term - and big time. Of course, anyone paying attention knows MSFT will eat this dish best served cold anyway, it's just a matter of who serves it to them. Either they do it themselves and leave room for expanded revenues to compensate, or they let Google's Android force feed them at the compression table. The decision is theirs, I suggest they choose wisely...

Subscribers, see also... 

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Quartz.com has an interesting set of articles on the topic of the peaking of the smartphone market. Let's start with thier commentary on Samsung, "Yes, Samsung is acutely aware that we’ve reached “peak trophy smartphone” - as excerpted:

South Korean electronics giant Samsung reported soaring profits on Friday, but despite the company’s attempts to manage expectations, the results undershot estimates and its stock dropped almost 1%. That’s on top of a 13% slump in June that wiped $26 billion off Samsung’s value—a bigger loss than Sony’s entire market capitalization.

This may seem odd, given that its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has flown off the shelf, supported by a super-sized marketing campaign. The problem is that amid steep competition, there aren’t many customers left who can afford flashy trophy phones and don’t already have one.

As a result, Samsung’s management is beginning to pivot away from its current reliance on the Galaxy series—it announced a $1 billion increase in investmentexpected to go to other businesses on Friday—even if it is still keen to tap into some developing markets still hungry for shiny high-end telephonic gadgets. It already leads the world in televisions, chips and displays, and recently launched a high-end OLED television. Its memory chip business announced a 71% increase in operating profit from last year, and it has a powerful reputation in many emerging markets.

Of course, BoomBustBloggers were on this at least a year and a half ahead of time, referencing Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing ... and Computer Hardware Vendors Are Dead, Part Deux! As excerpted:

I warned in plenty of time to both avoid loss and profit on the short side for each company:
rotten blackberriesrotten blackberries

Research in Motion in early 2010: 

Rotten plus GreenAppleRotten plus GreenApple

Apple from 2010 till the ultimate short call in October just past: Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

andriod-vs-appleandriod-vs-apple

I also laid clear the path to Google's prominence as far back as 2010, when there was not a peep from the sell side, see Google's Q4, 2012: This Looks To Be The Leader Of The New Distributed Information Paradigm .

Now, Samsung seems to be the most innovative of the handset vendors to date, but if I'm right, they will end up having to innovate in a commodity space just like the traditional PC manufacturers (Dell, HP, etc.) have to do now. Why?  Because of point number Three...

The new PC is not even a PC anymore, its a multi-tiered, multi-function, distributed cluster of interactive, location aware, multimedia applications sharing your social activities and data through a network of servers - in short, it's the cloud!

For right now, GOOGLE IS THE CLOUD! See my video descriptions of Google's business models above.

 Quartz then went on to write "Tim Cook is right. Smartphones haven’t peaked", as excerpted:

Tim Cook on peak smartphone: "I don't believe that."

There’s been plenty of concern lately that the market Apple arguably created—high-end smartphones—is approaching the saturation point. Quartz has written a ton on the dynamic, whether it be the ongoing importance of lower-priced feature phones for social media or the recently leaked photos of what’s rumored to be a new “cheap” iPhone.

Goldman Sachs’ chief Apple watcher Bill Shope raised the issue with the man himself, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in the company’s after-earnings conference call yesterday. Here’s the exchange. (Highlights ours.)

Shope: Despite the fairly substantial iPhone upside this quarter, there’s been increasing concerns that the high end of the smartphone market is reaching saturation point and that growth may be harder to come by for really for all vendors. What’s your perspective on that and the current industry dynamics? And Tim, do you think there are new innovations and services in the pipeline that can reinvigorate the premium segment of the market, after what’s obviously been a bit of a tough 2013 for that segment for the industry?

Cook: From a growth point of view for Apple, our key catalyst will always will be new products and new services. And these are both in existing categories that we’re in and in new categories. In addition to this, we have opportunities in distribution from carrier relationships to expanding our retail stores, expanding our online store and continuing to expand the indirect channel. And we also have a market expansion opportunity.

Peter (Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO) mentioned enterprise in his comments and the share positions that we have there, over 60% in both iPad and iPhone and I think we’re at the very front-end of that, and so I think we have lots of growth opportunities. And I don’t subscribe to the common view that the higher-end, if you will, the smartphone market has hit its peak. I don’t believe that, but we’ll see and we’ll report our results as we go along.

For the record, some argue that there could still plenty of iPhone growth to be had in the US. Wonky analyst Horace Dediu notes that the latest ComScore survey data shows some 98 million Americans older than 13 (that’s nearly a third of the country) don’t use smartphones as their primary phone. And he argues in this recent post that even with 60% smartphone penetration in the US, “the rate of adoption of smartphones is not slowing in any perceptible way.”

Obviously, I beg to differ. First of all, the rate of adoption and overall growth rate is slowing. This is natural and to be expected, though - particularly since the market is still experiencing healthy growth. It is by far not the biggest issue at hand, and I feel the article is missing the bigger picture. Even if the high end smartphone market is still matching its historical growth projectory (which it is not), the margins on said growth are shrinking, and shrinking rapidly. Apple's financial dominance, it's share price and much of its cache are predicated on being able to sell pretty widgets at 50%-70% margins. Google's extreme success with Android, it's negative margin business modeland the natural law of economics and business market maturation guarantee those margins are a thing of the past as I've promised in years past - Right On Time, My Prediction Of Apple Margin Compression.

Steve Cook preaches innovation, but Apple is being out-innovated at a ridiculously rapid clip. Not only are the Andriod phones and tablets producing hardware/software configurations that are making the iPhone (and to a lesser extent, the iPad) look historical and dated, but Google is at the forefront of the next generation form factor for the new "smartphone". 

In addition, Apple is losing market share in a market whose growth is slowing. I warned about this two years ago. There is a positive correlation between margins and market share, and chances are when you start losing much of the latter, the other will follow suit.

As excerpted from "Is Tim Cook Cooked? Market Share vs Profit Margin, part 2 - Follow What I Do, Not What I Say!" 

... the financial metrics, over time and in handset companies, heavily favor market share over initial profit margin. As a matter of fact, I demonstrated that as market share decreases margins drop commensurately, or in other words "Quantity is quality in a fast moving, technologically dynamic market!"

In early 2010 I warned on Blackberry (then RIMM), with market share loss to Android being the prime determinant... . I put significant data out in the public domain to illustrate my point and put explicit price points out for subscribers, ie. RIM Smart Phone Market Share, RIP? Was I right?

Blackberry market share vs margin correlation analysis

The has been the case with IBM, Nokia, Dell, HTC, Apple, Blackberry, etc. Mr. Cook, take the advice of Mr. Jobs if you don't wish to follow Mr. Middleton. I actually do believe that Cook understands these dynamics and is just putting on a dog and pony show for the media but his corporate actions don't bear this out. I strongly suggest they start spending that $174B cash horde on something other than massaging hedge funds.

So, does Mr. Cook's lack of adherence to Steve Jobs wisdom portend a potentially uber-successful company misunderstood by the markets (meaning time to buy stock) or is this the beginning of the end of an iconic corporate era?

 See also I See A Game Changer Through Google Glass. You see, the smart phone market is naturally morphing into the contextual computing market, but some of the big boys simply don't know it yet. We might as well stop calling them phones.

I refer my subscribers to the research documents below for the answers... 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call - October 2012, the month of Apple's all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

Subscribers, see also... 

 
Published in BoomBustBlog

hgcocaine 

 In NYC, a kilgoram of cocaine goes for about $23,000, or $20,000 if you get a good price. This is about twice what it costs 25 years ago. As you can see, inflation hits the drug trade as well. Only serious drug dealers buy kilogram, for that's the amount you need to buy to gain real margins and economies of scale when moving product retail. This can add up to decent money! A gram of cocaine, which is what the retail user who regularly consumes buys, is about $60 in NYC (remember, prices vary by location and availability, just like any other commodity). Sixty dollars times 1,000 units (a kilo is 1,000 grams) is $60,000, or a 200% markup - or 66% profit margin. The ability to mark your product up 200% is common to very, very few industries. This is one of the major reasons why people sell drugs, the profits are.... damn near illegal.

 image-2

 Whether you are into drugs are not, let's face it... Drug dealers are in a high margin business which very, very few can match. The evidence supporting this premise is prevalant.

imageSeized-cocaine-009

Of course, there are higher margin businesses and not all of them are as fraught with the frictions and risks of the cocaine trade. Here's some metrics from one of them...

Cost to produce  $193 
Retail price on the street $649
Product markup 336%
Gross margins 70.2%

So, what is this product?

MartinHajek iPhone 5 fakes 1 

Of course, those who follow me know that Apple's outsized margins will not last, and as a matter of fact have been trending down for well over a year - reference Right On Time, My Prediction Of Apple Margin Compression... 

Reggie Middletonss Ultimate Apple Value Infographic

So, why is it that a $496 billion business such as Apple succumbs to margin compression over a relavitely short period of time, but cocaine dealers don't (cocaine prices nearly doubled over the last 25 years while portable tech fell by as much as half)? Well, the answer is that natural market forces have full access to Apple's business model. The cocaine industry is protected, in part, by government intervention. By outlawing cocaine, there's a guaranteed demand and a guaranteed limitation of supply. So, which business is more profitable? Why, it's health care silly?

I know you're saying... Healthcare???!!! WTF?!

You're damn skippy. Take a look at these margins. This is a Glidescope. It's used to view down a patient's trachea. It consists of a wired camera enlcosed in a curved plalstic probe and a low resolution screen. It doesn't have any other sensors that I can discern, no discreet processor, random access memory, CPU, memory or anything else that I can find that materially adds to the production price, save an onboard tutorial. What it does seem to feature is a well throught out design to the physical probe, which apparently has an anti-fogging feature and is low temperature to prevent burning of the surrounding tissue (very few modern mini and micro cameras/LEDs produce that level of heat nowadays anyway).

Now let's attempt to back into the cost of production. The screen would likely be one of the most expensive components. A cursory (as in not exhaustive) search yields a 7 inch screen available for between $1-$10! One could assuming we had to have it custom manufactured to include the hard buttons at the bottom, which would mean a minimum of about a 5,000 lot order, so let's add an extremely conservative 50% premium which puts us at about $10 to $15.

The camera would be the next expensive item to source. Although this is not the appropriate form factor for this application, the resolution should be about right. I'm confident that I could source the appropriate price for the same price as an iPhone 4 front camera, which is about $6 - or less. Including a low heat LED light, would add about $.11 - $2 on top of the price, as well as anti-fogging mechanism (another $2 or so) so let's put the whole price at the $9 peg. FYI, an 8 mp camera [4x the resolution] can be had for $19.  The wire connecting the camera within plastic probe would have a negligible production cost, of let's say.... $1

There's a rechargeable battery and a plastic housing. These costs are quite variable, so let's go in the middle of the road and choose a 2000 mah battery ($8 or so, about two to three hours of use - Glidescope currently only good for 90 minutes per charge) and injected molded housing ($10).

 The only components left would be the tripod stand and the probe. The probe would cost about $2, and stand would cost about $17.20 (yes, it is expensive).

Adding this up at the midpoints, we get:

Camera & assembly  $9 
Screen  $12 
Connecting wire  $1 
 Probe $2 (x24, # of probes in a package)
Battery $8
Housing $10
Stand $17.20
Total Part

$105.20

Assembly/packaging

$8

Total

$113.20

 So, in a nutshell, I could put this device together for under $120. I'm fairly confident in these numbers, but let's assume that I'm off - significantly off - in my cost estimates. To err on the side of caution, let's put a 100% premium in EVERYTHING! That's right, assume everything was twice as expensive as I thought it was. That still puts the cost to manufacture at under $226.40. Using this new, inflated number, what do you think the markup on this device is? The key to cloning this product is to avoid patent infringement on the blade (probe), which has a specific curve. A curve that can be replicated sans a few degrees or better yet have user adjustable angles. This should avoid the patent and leave room for increased performance.

I will give you time to ponder this, considering how much drug dealers can get away with marking up their product, and how much Apple succeeded in marking up theirs, even through auntie economics is bringing the fruit company back in line with reality...

image006

 The Glidescope is available from Verathon for only a 4,361% markup. Yeah, you heard that right! The product retails for $9,825 and it has plenty of buyers. It's actually considered cutting edge tech. The profit margin on this product is literally 98%. That's almost PURE cash! I verily query thee, why in the world would anyone sell drugs when they can sell medical equipment to hospitals? This insane, damn near criminal level of profit puts Tony Montana to shame!

hgcocaine

So, how is such a level of profit achievable in a capitalistic society where the forces of free market economics come into play? Who the hell knows? Free market economics likely do not have a heavy hand in this company's profit margins. Near guaranteed  (if not indirect) revenues from insurance companies... A moral hazard economy from end users that do not bother to shop for price since they are totally insulated from pricing due to insurance company payments... A government that uses the health care industry as a job creation maintenance engine that ulitimately erodes economic activity instead of increasing it by making job redundancy and inefficiency more of a goal than an impediment.

I can go on for quite some time. Even more interesting is the fact that I believe I can break this cycle of inefficiencies. I'm actively experimenting with Glass as an interface to existing equipment that will both significantly extend the usefulness of said equipment while simultaneously cut the costs of siad equipment by negating the need to purchase/upgrade said equipment.

The possibilities are near endless. You should have seen my face as I walked through one of the biggest hospitals in NYC and was made abreast of the cost of some of the equipment widely used, ex. the Glidescope.

CAM00258CAM01753

Stay tuned for a list of companies soon to be disintermediaried, as well as what I will be doing with Glass, specifically. Any healthcare professionals who feel they have value to add are welcome to reach out to me, reggie at boombustblog dot com.

Published in BoomBustBlog

As I said in 2010, 2011, 2012 and this year, the less than free Android business model is killin 'em - Apple in particular. On Friday, 02 September 2011 I posted Google's Android Now Leads In Market Share, Growth Rate and Potential Buyer Preference. I made it clear that Apple's slowing of Google's growth was paramount to their continued success. I take it they didn't get that memo. Earlier this year I posted "Is Tim Cook Cooked? Market Share vs Profit Margin, part 2 - Follow What I Do, Not What I Say!" and it went something like this:

Tim Cook was in the media yesterday weighing in on market share. It's as if he is in a delirium, that is if you believe his words, which I don't. He states that for Apple, quality is more important than quantity (or something of that sort). As per Endgadget:

Apple's head honcho Tim Cook is chatting up Android's growth explosion, and it turns out he's not flustered. "Do I look at that? Of course, I don't have my head stuck in the sand," said Cook." But for us, winning has never been about having the most." Instead, he stands by the old Apple line of quality versus quantity. "Arguably, we make the best PC, but we don't make the most," he added. "We made the best music player, and we wound up making the most -- but we didn't initially."

Mr. Cook is ignoring his own ex-boss's words. For those who didn't read my piece yesterday, "Blackberries, Apples & Fruit Borne Successitis - The Problem With Excess Profits Is Hubristic Management Tends To Take Eyes Off The Prize!!!", I quote:

What ruined Apple was not growth … They got very greedy … Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible … they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years. What this cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share.

You see, my post yesterday clearly showed that the financial metrics, over time and in handset companies, heavily favor market share over initial profit margin. As a matter of fact, I demonstrated that as market share decreases margins drop commensurately, or in other words "Quantity is quality in a fast moving, technologically dynamic market!"

In early 2010 I warned on Blackberry (then RIMM), with market share loss to Android being the prime determinant... . I put significant data out in the public domain to illustrate my point and put explicit price points out for subscribers, ie. RIM Smart Phone Market Share, RIP? Was I right?

Blackberry market share vs margin correlation analysisBlackberry market share vs margin correlation analysis

The has been the case with IBM, Nokia, Dell, HTC, Apple, Blackberry, etc. Mr. Cook, take the advice of Mr. Jobs if you don't wish to follow Mr. Middleton. I actually do believe that Cook understands these dynamics and is just putting on a dog and pony show for the media but his corporate actions don't bear this out. I strongly suggest they start spending that $174B cash horde on something other than massaging hedge funds.

Fastforward to today and reference this IDC press release:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. August 7, 2013 – Despite beating Wall Street expectations in terms of shipment volumes, Apple's share in the worldwide smartphone operating system market posted a year-over-year decline during the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13). Meanwhile, Android and Windows Phone both managed slight increases during the same period. According to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 236.4 million smartphones in 2Q13, up 51.3% from the 156.2 million units shipped in 2Q12. Second quarter shipments grew 9.3% when compared to the 216.3 million units shipped in 1Q13.

"The iOS decline in the second quarter aligns with the cyclicality of iPhone," says Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Without a new product launch since the debut of the iPhone 5 nearly a year ago, Apple’s market share was vulnerable to product launches from the competition. But with a new iPhone and revamped iOS coming out later this year, Apple is well-positioned to re-capture market share."

"Last quarter we witnessed Windows Phone shipments surpassing BlackBerry and the trend has continued into the second quarter," said Ryan Reith, Program Manager with IDC's Mobility Tracker Programs. "Nokia has clearly been the driving force behind the Windows Phone platform and we expect that to continue. However, as more and more vendors enter the smartphone market using the Android platform, we expect Windows Phone to become a more attractive differentiator in this very competitive market segment."

Smartphone Operating System Highlights

Android maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its Galaxy S4. Not to be overlooked were LG and Chinese vendors Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE, which each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions. Combined, these vendors accounted for 62.5% of all Android-powered smartphone shipments during the quarter. Still, the remaining vendors within the Android ecosystem should not be overlooked, as many have developed a strong local presence within key developing markets.

...and this was exactly as predicted in Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing ... and Smartphone Hardware Manufacturers Are Dead ...

iOS finished the quarter as the clear number 2 operating system, showing that, even without new product launches, demand remains strong. Moreover, Apple added new mobile operators to its camp, boosting short-term volumes and cementing long-term end-user relationships. What remains to be seen is how the new iOS 7 will be received once it reaches the market later this year, as much of the look and feel of the user interface has been revamped.

Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms, and in the process reinforced its position as the number 3 smartphone operating system. Driving this result was Nokia, which released two new smartphones and grew its presence at multiple mobile operators. But beyond Nokia, Windows Phone remained a secondary option for other vendors, many of which have concentrated on Android. By comparison, Nokia accounted for 81.6% of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during 2Q13.

BlackBerry saw its market share decline during the quarter, reaching levels not seen in the history of IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. However, BlackBerry has shown steady progress since the launch of its BB 10 platform, which has grown to three models, additional mobile operators, and a greater presence within its total volumes. It is still early days for the platform, however, and BlackBerry will need time and resources to evangelize more end users.

My opinion on Blackberry hasn't changed for 3 years... See Blackberries, Apples & Fruit Borne Successitis and BoomBustBlog Research Performs a RIM Job!

 

Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 Q3 (Units in Millions) 

Operating System

2Q13 Unit Shipments

2Q13 Market Share

2Q12 Unit Shipments

2Q12 Market Share

Year-over-Year Change

Android

187.4

79.3%

108

69.1%

73.5%

iOS

31.2

13.2%

26

16.6%

20.0%

Windows Phone

8.7

3.7%

4.9

3.1%

77.6%

BlackBerry OS

6.8

2.9%

7.7

4.9%

-11.7%

Linux

1.8

0.8%

2.8

1.8%

-35.7%

Symbian

0.5

0.2%

6.5

4.2%

-92.3%

Others

N/A

0.0%

0.3

0.2%

-100.0%

Total

236.4

100.0%

156.2

100.0%

51.3%


Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, August 7, 2013

This chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic are available by clicking here.

Top Android Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 Q3 (Units in Millions) 

Vendor

2Q13 Unit Shipments

2Q13 Market Share

2Q12 Unit Shipments

2Q12 Market Share

Year-over-Year Change

Samsung

73.3

39.1%

48

44.4%

52.7%

LG

12.1

6.5%

5.8

5.4%

108.6%

Lenovo

11.4

6.1%

4.9

4.5%

132.7%

Huawei

10.2

5.4%

6.5

6.0%

56.9%

ZTE

10.2

5.4%

6.4

5.9%

59.4%

Others

70.2

37.5%

36.4

33.7%

92.9%

Total

187.4

100.0%

108.0

100.0%

73.5%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, August 7, 2013

Top Windows Phone Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 Q3 (Units in Millions) 

Vendor

2Q13 Unit Shipments

2Q13 Market Share

2Q12 Unit Shipments

2Q13 Market Share

Year-over-Year Change

Nokia

7.1

81.6%

4.1

83.7%

73.2%

Samsung

1.0

11.5%

0.3

6.1%

233.3%

HTC

0.4

4.6%

0.4

8.2%

0.0%

Huawei

0.2

2.3%

0.0

0.0%

N/A

Others

0.0

0.0%

0.1

2.0%

-100.0%

Total

8.7

100.0%

4.9

100.0%

77.6%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, August 7, 2013

Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

So, does Mr. Cook's lack of adherence to Steve Jobs wisdom portend a potentially uber-successful company misunderstood by the markets (meaning time to buy stock) or is this the beginning of the end of an iconic corporate era?

I refer my subscribers to the research documents below for the answers... 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

For Google...

Subscribers, click the following links for my updated price targets on Google (click here to subscribe) and read  Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?:

The biggest risks to these price points are:

  1. A market that's being levitated by central bank magicians running short on magic spells...
  2. Regulatory pressure, which I feel is quite material and inevitable, but will not be a major factor in the near term.

Related links...

Was The Google Purchase of Motorola A Hardware Disaster With Overpriced Patents?

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call - October 2012, the month of Apple's all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

Published in BoomBustBlog

I have yet to release my review of Google's most recent quarter earnings results, but thus far I've seen nothing that would materially sway me from the conclusions drawn from the last set of forensic valuations released to subscribers (Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?). One question that I am getting is "Did Google overpay for its Motorola acquisistion?"
Quick answer, I seriously do not think so. Please understand, the Wall Street fee/commission churning machine along with the tabloid financial media which has to churn content for advertising eyeballs has taught many (if not most) to view the investment world one fiscal quarter at a time. This is not a prudent, not sustainable model for building long term success. One of the most admirable traits of Google's management is their proclivity to think longer term, and to plan and invest accordingly.
Below are excerpts from the big Google report that I put out two years ago. It outlines the acquisitions that Google had made to date. Among these acquisitions are investments that the financial media and the sell side analytical community swore were overpriced because they actually ate their own BS sandwiches, literally convincing themselves that one quarter at a time is the way to run a business poised to take over an industry.

Three examples come to mind also happen to be three of the largest acquisitions - YouTube, AdMob and Android. Were they worth it? What single company controls and/or leads in internet video content distribution, computing OS (not just mobile OS, but all computing OSs), and mobile advertising? All three of these acquisitions amounted to less than $5 billion and for that amount and additional investment, Google literally and absolutely dominates each and every one of those industries. 
Google Final Report Sep 29 Page 53Google Final Report Sep 29 Page 53 copyGoogle Final Report Sep 29 Page 54Google Final Report Sep 29 Page 54 copy

Compare and contrast this to the Microsoft/Apple/Blackberry consortium that paid $4.5 billion for 6,000 telecomm related patents from Nortel. These companies are ALL currently lagging in growth and reach compared to Google, even if you just consider this one investment or if you look at their entire enterprise. The reason? Google's management is considerably more entrepenurial and are more adventurous at risk taking.

Google purchased Motorola for its cell industry patents for protection of its Android OS. Everything else that came with the deal was gravy. Factoring the handset/hardware biz, the set top box biz (recently sold) and the patents, the patents were purchased extremely cheap (17,000 of them) compared to what the RIMM/MSFT/Apple consortium paid for the Nortel patents ($4.5B for 6,000 patents). Even with the patent value significantly downgraded, it's still was a better deal than its competitors. Motorola can now be used to directly drive down the cost of hardware and hardware profit margins.

Motorola sales price in billions
Purchase  $(12.50)
Sale of Set Top Division  $2.35
7 years tax loss carryforward  $5.60
2012 Motorola Mobility US NOL  $1.00
2012 Motorola Mobility Foreign NOL  $0.70
Net Purchase Cost for 17,000 patents & Motorola Mobility handset business  $(2.85)
Cost per patent  $167,647 This is a rough estimation to use as a gauge. Each patent is different, of course!
Recent Microsoft Rulling against Google demands $1.8M annual licensing fee for 2 patents.
Using this ruling, which was widely considered a loss of Google, we get the following ANNUAL yield on investment 537%
One must realize that Google Purchased 17,000 patents and the first cell phone manufactuer as well as one of the top tier manufacturers for nearly half of the their competition paid for just 6000 patents - RIMM/MSFT/Apple consortium paid $4.5 B for 6,000 Nortel patents.
Google will use the Motorola Mobility unit to further push down smartphone margins and costs instead of using it to make more profitable phones. Remember, Google is in the data business, not the smartphone business. The more people that have smartphones at any cost, the more money Google makes.   

One of the reasons why I think Google's missing of the mean analysts forcasts this quarter is not that big a deal is the extremely value rich product pipeline of product's nearing launch. As a beta tester and early explorer of Google Glass, I'm convinced that Microsoft, Blackberry and Apple have absolutely nothing to compare. Expect Google to expand its advantage over these companies materially over the next fiscal year.

Here I present...

Glass for the Hospitality Industry

Glass for Real Estate

Subscribers, click the following links for my updated price targets on Google (click here to subscribe) and read  Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?:

The biggest risks to these price points are:

  1. A market that's being levitated by central bank magicians running short on magic spells...
  2. Regulatory pressure, which I feel is quite material and inevitable, but will not be a major factor in the near term. 
Published in BoomBustBlog

Following up on my timely post "Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen, Pt 2", I comment on Meredith Whitney's OpEd in the Financial Times. If you remember, she - like I - warned of municipal defaults years ago and was ridiculed for such. Ms. Whitney is quoted as saying:

"As jarring as the reality may be to accept, Detroit's decision last week to declare bankruptcy should not be regarded as a one-off in the U.S. municipal market." she said.

"There are five more towns like Detroit in Michigan alone. There are many more municipalities across the country in similar positions."

"The bill for promises past is now so large for some cities and towns that it is crowding out money for the most basic of services – in the case of Detroit, it could not even afford to run its traffic lights," she said.

"Will [lawmakers] side with taxpayers, unions or the municipal bondholders? If they back residents, money will be directed to underfunded public services at the expense of pensions and bondholders. If they side with the unions, social services will continue to be cut and the risk to bondholders will increase considerably. If they side with bondholders, social services and pensions are at risk."

In the case of Detroit, elected officials, for the first time in a very long time, are siding with residents, Whitney said. This is a new precedent that boils down to the straightforward reality of the survival and sustainability of a town or city, she said.

"After decades of near-third-world conditions in the richest country in the world, the city finally stood up and said enough was enough,"

Well, this is the problem. Defaulting on revenue bonds where the underlying asset (ex. a housing project, utility, or infrastructure project) is not generating the sufficient cash flows is part and parcel of the risk of investing in said class of bonds. This is widely accepted and understood, which is likely why those bonds have a slightly higher yield.

For some obscene reason, defaulting on the general obligation bonds which purportedly carry the "full faith and credit' of the municipality as a back stop is deemed as wholly different affair. The reason? Who the hell knows? This is a point I tried to drive home in the original  Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen article in 2011. Backing by the full faith and credit of a public entity does not make an investment risk free. To the contrary, if said entity is fundamentally insolvent, the investment is actually "riskful"as opposed to risk free.

Treating these bonds as unsecured in the bankruptcy is essentially the way to go. If you don't want to do that, well you can still consider them backed by the full faith and credit of the insolvent municipality, which is essentially unsecured - and move on anyway - particularly as many potential collateral assets of value would have likely been encumbered by agreements with a little more prejudicial foresight.

A GO default from a city the size of Detroit will dramatically change the face of GO bonds going forward. Now that the hoi polloi and tax free investing masses have been awakened, a true accounting of the risks involved will cause a much more realistic risk premium to be placed on GO bonds everywhere.  This wll be in addition to the natural increase of rates coming from the end of a 28 year natural bull market in bonds, in addition to the economic and market snapback borne from the end of the artificial eztension of said bull makret through ZIRP and direct credit market maniputlation by the Fed.

Yes, a triple whammy coming to a bankrupt (or soon to be) state, city, town, or political subdivsion near you!

The good news? Those pension funds that hold municipal assets (due to the uneccesary tax shielding from muni's in a qualified account, not many) will get a higher yield on their bonds. The bad news? That yeild likey will not get paid!

This may push rates higher in general, after all they're artificially low to begin with. ZIRP has done it's fair share of damage, and a snap back to market rates will hurt all the more...

And then there's those monolines who're just working out that 90x leverage problem from the housing crisis (reference A Super Scary Halloween Tale of 104 Basis Points Pt I & II, by Reggie Middleton)...

And then...

Of course, we can't leave out those rating agencies who warned us all about the impending doom...

And from the must read post, Banks, Monolines, and Ratings Agencies As The Three Card Monte (Wall)Street Hustlers! Its a Sucker's Bet, Who's Going to Fall for it in QE2?

Three Card Monte is a scam designed to separate a fool from his/her money. It is quite efficient, particularly when fools are involved!

The Boogie Down Bronx

The big secret to the Morgan Monte Scam is that it is 10% sleight of hand and 90% teamwork. Even if you are not deft enough to capture the sleight of hand, the key in avoiding it is to recognize the team players, whose key player is often YOU - The Mark!

The retail/typical qualified fund investor = "The Mark"

Monolines/FIRE sector= The Operator/Hustler!

Sell Side analysts = "Jess"

Rating agencies = "Paul"

How its done in the UK

Reenactment of 2009's entire year of Wall Street earnings

How its done on Wall Street, see outset...

Next, up we let the late Biggie school you on how Wall Street banks follow the Ten Crack Commandments!

Published in BoomBustBlog

Last Wednesday I posted BS... Defined: Bernanke Seeks (BS) to Divorce QE Tapering From Interest Rates - OR - Economic Prestidigitation! wherein I ridiculed the notion of being able to withdraw economic financial aid while expecting rates not to spike. The fact of the matter is we are the at the end of a 33 year old bull market in credit. Or, to put it more accurately, we are at the end of a 5 year synthetic extension of a 28 year old credit market bull run....

I urge readers to keep in mind what I expoused in Apple Bonds Proven To Have A Nasty Taste wherein Apple bonds lose 9% in six weeks:

We Clearly & Obviously Ending A 3 Decade Bull Market, Likely At The Tail End Of The Largest Global ZIRP Experiment Ever!

And this final aspect is the kicker. We are likely culminating the end of a three decade secular bull market in bonds. Why in the world would anyone want to buy debt now, in a good, bad or mediocore company? Reference a chart of ten year rates over time, and you will see that once you get this close to zero (and the applied end to excessive ZIRP), there's no way to go but up. As excerpted from theMarket Realist site:

Yes, this goes for muni investors as well! Municipalities have a dual edged sword up the ass. Not only are higher funding rates to be expected from a shifting market, but the actual fundamentals of municipalities are in the crapper as well, putting an even larger premium on what is already a steep increase in funding costs. What do  you think happens next?

It's not as if we couldn't see this coming a mile away - or at least 2 to 5 years ago...

Wednesday, 14 May 2008 The Municipal bond market and the securitization crisis

ARS market – composition as on 31 December 2007

image004.gif

Student loans? Ruh Oh!

Saturday, 24 May 2008 The Municipal Bond Market and the Asset Securitization Crisis, pt 2

image001.gif

Thursday, 20 January 2011 Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen

In the multifamily housing segment, default rates increased significantly and were extremely high for the period 1987-90, i.e. at the time of the S&L crisis when real estate lending was reckless due to declining lending standards by banks and other financial institutions. The default rate peaked in 1988 in the eleven year period reviewed to 4.31%, followed by 3.41% in 1989.

 Don't let me say I told you so. Will those monolines start feeling part 2 of credit crunch?

Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More ... 

What is the Fallout of the Ambac Bankruptcy on the ...

My Analyst's Comments on MBIA/Ambac/Moody's ...

Moody's Affirms Ratings of Ambac and MBIA

Published in BoomBustBlog

Glass vs iPhone subsidized

My latest appearance on the Max Keiser show at 11:52 in the video.

As for Android, Google, Glass, security and privacy, I took the liberty of posting the discussion from the my last article on this topic. It should be of interest to both the paranoid and the techy types....

0#14 Continuing what I said on Google Glass — John Boyd2013-07-16 12:02
Reg, As to your replique to my comment about Google Glass being a real time snooping tool for the NSA, I would say that what you say is true for those of us with the technical skills to build from the Android source code and then load it on to our phones (maybe there is a business opportunity there). The other issue is whether one can control what gets automatically loaded on the phone subsequent to deploying one's own build. Most people would not be up for the challenge. But I'm seriously thinking there's an opportunity there! :-)
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0#13 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — me 2013-07-15 19:28
Reggie, love your posts, mostly. Just one comment. Android is open source. Google apps are not.
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0#12 Spying — tfs 2013-07-15 07:44
There is no safety in using Andriod vs IOS vs Windows.

Everything you do is being monitored at carrier level. The NSA taps the cables.

Anyone who thinks DuckDuckGo and StartPage are safe are delusional. Entry and exit points to these services are again tapped at the wire level. The NSA would have no problems in illiciting the certificates supporting https.

You can see why American telecom companies want the contracts to rebuild communication infrastructures in countries their Wmpire has just dismantled.
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0#11 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Nat 2013-07-15 04:39
Quote:
Yet through disinformation borne ignorance, we already have the masses clamoring for a "safe' closed proprietary OS like iOS as compared to an open tool chest exposed to oh so many eyes.


That's not true. No-one is choosing iOS or Windows OS in order to be "safe". Similarly, next to no-one is choosing Android in order to be safer either.

OS's are chosen because of the hardware people think they want after seeing the promotion. If not the hardware, people choose the OS because of the apps they've seen their friends use, or promoted 'cool' apps.

As you say Reggie about the banks, no-one cares until some large section of society really suffers a loss. When it comes to surveillance and police states, waiting for that loss means you've already left it too late (unless you're watching from another country..).

As an aside, I really don't see people warming to being so constantly connected to hardware/communication etc. You will get a lot of people adicted to it like they are the internet, 24 hour news etc but I think it will wear a lot of people down and they'll reject the idea in the longer term - even you took off the headset in the Keiser Report interview the other day as I presume it was a distraction?
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0#10 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 21:06
>You don't have the ability to submit 
>changes to even be considered for 
>acceptance

Your precious Google bozos made a mess of their Open Source modules. They scooped up open source, made copies of it in such as way changes can't be freely propagate back and forth to the original Open Source they took.

They just scooped up Open Source, copied it and moved it into their brand new projects. Really just a copy and paste type hack. 

Google are using Open Source, but have done so it such as way as not to contribute back to the ecosystem they are using. Yes, they have their own brand new Open Source project with a brand new name, but the original modules they scooped up won' have changes easily propagating back and forth.

This is what happens when Google hires people straight out of college with no real world experience. Like hires like.

Google Chrome is hardly a beacon of engineering brilliance on Google's part. The hard part was done by Apple - WebKit.
Apple produced the first fast JavaScript compiler.
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0#9 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 19:23
>Windows and iOS all have the same 
>problems, except for the facts that 

Isn't the core of iOS based on the Open Source operating system FreeBSD? FreeBSD rocks.

Apple's Safari web browser is based on the Open Source component WebKit, which is turn in based on the Open Source web browser Konqueror. Apple's JavaScript to machine code compiler (used in their web browser Safari) is again Open Source.

WebKit is a HTML5 and CSS renderer and supports multimedia and much more.

Google based their Chrome web browser on Apple's WebKit. If it wasn't for Apple, Google Chrome would exist in its current form.

By the way when I've developed websites, I've noticed the exact same JavaScript bugs in Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome. I wonder how that could have happened. It could just be a coincidence.

As I said before even if you have the entire source of Android read by people around the world, it still isn't secure. There are so many other lines of attack outside the handset.
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0#8 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 19:15
OK you do have a valid point. A mainly Open Source operating system has to be more secure.

But really there are so many lines of attack.

By default Android does not have good security - who you communicate with can still be tracked. You need to get 3rd party software to be really secure on Android.

Building an operating system from source code is a difficult operation. There will be so many dependencies. Not many people will be able to do this.

I may make mistakes in some of my points, but you are meant to read all of what I say and take it as a whole.

> Your multiple posts here 

Isn't that an ad hominem attack?

I am not a fool. Nor am I something that has crawled out of the woodwork.

I run a small business that sells a relatively inexpensive product to a very large number of people. I've sold my product to Microsoft, Intel, Apple and a vast number of other companies. I am not a fool. I've even sold my product to at least two companies that Google has taken over.

You are incidentally one of my favourite guest speakers to appear on the Keiser Report. You concisely summarize Google's business model as cost-shifting. I can see the smartness is saying things concisely.

I do advertise on bing.com and on other websites as well. They charge $0.05 to $0.15 per click. As a lot of companies only get 1 sale per 100 website visitors, this is a fair charge.

Google charging $0.80 to $5 per click is excessive. I don't know why Google does this. Surely the number of potential advertising customers they have is vast. They should aim to have low costs and make it up on the volume. To extent this is what I do.

Look I am really trying to make a valid point here and what I say is echoed across the Internet.

Google charges advertisers too much. All their money for acquisitions and their internal army of people that can't write software anymore without getting a check book out and buying it has a cost. That cost is borne by advertisers.

All I am saying is that Google is a hard man over money.

I have studied all the other companies in my niche. I see competition selling products at a very low cost if they don't use Google advertising. I see competitors charge 50% more than me when they turn on Google Adwords.

I just want to get a word out that having everybody use Google has a cost. That cost is the increased cost of products sold by everybody that is not Google.

Google spanks you if you use the display network as they say your click-rate is lower and so your cost per click on the search network has to go up.

If you use an exact phrase match with the words x, y and z and another company with nothing to do with you occasionally advertisers with the words a, b and z, then Google will spank you again as they say the competition is paying more, when they aren't really your competition at all.

I see the cost of products sold on the Internet go up 50% and all the cash rolls into Google.

Monopolies are bad. People need to use other search engines such as ixquick.com and duckduckgo.com
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#7 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security —ReggieMiddleton 2013-07-14 15:59
I have a very balanced view. Your multiple posts here show that your view may be less than balanced. If you have a problem with Google's advertising methods, you should choose another provider. There are alternatives, particularly in social media. You can also alter your approach to Google. The algorithm change was likely more to improve the credibility of search results than to hurt your business. Either way, you can find experts that maximize efficacy of coding for Google search results. Comparing to Bing, Yahoo, etc. is less relevant they have inferior products when one factors in capabilities, which is likely why they have less market share.
The network effect creates an unfair advantage, yes.... but to obtain the network effect advantage you likley had a superior product to begin with. Ask users of Microsoft Office...
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#6 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security —ReggieMiddleton 2013-07-14 15:53
Quoting Betty B.:
> Who has the time to read through a mountain of computer source code? Computer source is difficult to read and understand. Reading source code written by other people and understanding it, will take longer than writing it yourself.

Nah! We are not protected.

Just listen to the objections you are raising and you can see how and why Android is safer to the populace than all of the popular competition. Windows and iOS all have the same problems, except for the facts that
  • You dont have access to the code

  • You don't have the ability to submit changes to even be considered for acceptance

  • With Android, you don't need for Google to accept your personal changes, you can simply roll your own personal version and use it for yourself which should be the preference for the paranoid types. You can't do this with any other popular OS.

  • The amound of independent eyes on Android trumps that of any other OS, by far. If something has a chance of getting caught (ex. spy code) it will likely get caught on Android code base. This has already happened, read XDA developers code posts for the HTC Evo
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0#5 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 14:22
Forgot to say, you can do anything you want with software.

There is nothing to stop someone taking Open Source software and just before building it into runnable code, adding a crack to make intercepting or decrypting communication easier.

How can one little change be spotted in reams of incomprehensibl y machine code assuming you even know what version of all the different source code modules to compare against? Even if you read through all the code it would take you a lifetime.
 
#4 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 13:20
> This means that anyone and everyone can 
> modify the code base and if those 
> modifications (improvements) are 
> accepted into the official code base

Yes, but there is still Google sitting as a referee deciding what gets into the official code base.

Suppose I want to triple the bit length they use for SSL / https, will Google let me submit the changes?

If all communication is being snooped then you have no protection. Even if you use encryption, the NSA will still have a record of who you are communicating with and how much traffic goes between you and where they are located.

Even if you use encryption, if the bitlength isn't high enough President ODumber will crack it. I don't know enough about cryptography, but if the algorithm has a flaw then you are vulnerable as well.

They can still tell what search terms you are using.

Do you use an encrypted email client? Encrypted voice over a phone line? How do you know for sure the software you download doesn't have a flaw in it. Very few people are smart enough to understand the level of mathematics to determine this, plus have knowledge of software as well. Who has the time to read through a mountain of computer source code? Computer source is difficult to read and understand. Reading source code written by other people and understanding it, will take longer than writing it yourself.

Nah! We are not protected.
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0#3 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 11:31
Perhaps Reggie should try to get a more balanced view of Google. I can't say enough monopolies are really bad for the world. Maybe consumers can get some free stuff in the short term. But free doesn't exist. If one person gets a freebee, someone else is getting screwed out of money.

The Internet freed people to produce innovative goods without high start-up costs of having to have bricks-n-mortar shops. I myself started up a company producing a product head-and-shoulders above all of the competition. My website used to be at the top of Google's search results. Whether it is intentional or not, Google have jacked up my advertising costs and bang! in one search algorithm update knocked me off the front page. On bing.com and other alternative search engines, I'm near the top.

When I started out, my website didn't have good natural search results. But I could reach a large number of customers cheaply via cheap click rates. That time has passed now. Google's greed is blocking off the Internet for small companies wishing to start up with limited advertising budgets.

Reggie get a balanced view of what is going on and look at the links below.

benedelman.org/.../...


www.benedelman.org/
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0#2 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — Betty B. 2013-07-14 11:23
Reggie Middleton is a smart man and I always enjoy listening to his insights.

But there is a flip-side to Google and Reggie should think about this as well.

Reggie waxes lyrical about Google’s cost shifting and cheaper-than-free goodies. There is a real cost to this.

I have advertised on Google Adwords for years. That experience has made me dislike Google as a company. I got stung with obvious click fraud. I emailed Google at least twice. They denied click fraud ever takes place. I have paid Google vast sums of money over the years and as a long-standing customer they should have taken the time to examine the evidence I gave them. My whole daily budget was used up immediately at the start of each day on an Indian screensaver website. Yes, immediately. When I turned off the display network, my daily budget wasn’t used up in a whole day when my adverts displayed direct on google.com. Plus I looked in my webserver logs and I had no real visitors from this 3rd party publisher.

Google Adwords contains a mass of code trying to extract as much money as possible for Google from advertisers, even at the expense of making it uneconomic to advertise with them.

I displayed for a while on the display network, where typically the click-through rates are lower. I emailed Google about my eye-wateringly high click costs on the search network. I was told the display network was making my search network costs higher! This is wrong. There should be no linkage between the two as everybody knows the click through rates on the display network as lower than it someone was doing a specific search direct on google.com. If you get low click through rates, Google bumps up your cost per click.

For long stretches of time, I have had no competition in my niche advertising on Google. I sell low cost products and quite frankly none of my competition can afford Google’s high costs in a low product cost market. Yet my click-rates are uneconomically high in the absence of direct competition. This is so wrong. Google's auction model is opaque at best.

Google explains this via broad matching and synonyms. It seems if a big company – with a totally unrelated product to yours – uses broad matching for their keywords, then even only a 1 keyword overlap in a phrase of 3 -4 keywords, will bump up your click costs. This is wrong.

If bing.com can charge $0.05 for a click, then why doe greedy Google need to charge at least a whole order of magnitude more and often much more than that?

I should also mention that I set a daily budget. Google regularly went over that increasing my monthly costs to well over what I can reasonably pay. I searched the Internet and I found out Google has been sued over exceeding peoples’ set budgets.

My response was to set my daily budget 20% below that wish I wish to pay. Everything is geared up by default to sting people – perhaps unintentionally .
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0#1 RE: Irish Fraud, Google, Glass, NSA and a False Sense of Security — jason lantz 2013-07-13 16:35
this is one of the most uninformed statements I've ever heard.

 So, let's revisit Glass. Glass is a cool device, but from a hardware perspective, it's not expensive to build once engineered. If the Moto X can be sold for $200, that will likely be the ceiling for Glass, which would probably be sold for less if subsidized by Google. Throw in a half billion dollar ad budget (Glass is already extremely popular and is not advertised or even for sale yet) and you have a definite game changer in the mix.

Imagine if these computer glasses that changes the way we do everything sold for $150, with the full marketing awareness powers of Google behind them. Uh Oh, it's a whole new world.

Glass vs iPhone subsidizedGlass vs iPhone subsidized

Subscribers, click the following links for my updated price targets on Google (click here to subscribe) and read  Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?:

The biggest risks to these price points are:

  1. A market that's being levitated by central bank magicians running short on magic spells...
  2. Regulatory pressure, which I feel is quite material and inevitable, but will not be a major factor in the near term.
Published in BoomBustBlog

From my appearance on RT's Prime Interest last Tuesday.

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From one of my reader's comments on the topic of NSA, privacy and Android..

"most people see Google Glass as real-time snooping tool for the NSA."

That's because most people are (if your statement is in any way true) are ignorant to how things truly work. Glass is powered by Android, which is open sourced. This means that anyone and everyone can modify the code base and if those modifications (improvements) are accepted into the official code base then the whole world has the ability to examine those changes as well as the entire code base. 
This makes Android and the hardware running Android the safest popular mobile OS available because it is near impossible to hide things from driven eyes that want to find things.
Contrast this to a closed commercial system like Windows Phone or iOS where the government simply has to compromise one codebase or one company and it has an in to all users, none of which can see or modify what they have purchased.
NSA to Android is like having to lock a million doors, with tens of millions of keys floating around in the hands of hundreds of thousands of locksmiths. NSA to Apple iOS, et. al. is like having one door with one lock, and nobody has the key - locksmith or not!

If you were the NSA, which would oyu rather have as the world's primary OS? Mass adoption of a single commercial, closed system such as Windows of iOS is the NSA's wet dream in comparison to the veritable nightmare that Android and all of its eyes and tinkerer's must be. Yet through disinformation borne ignorance, we already have the masses clamoring for a "safe' closed proprietary OS like iOS as compared to an open tool chest exposed to oh so many eyes.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Let's face it, in order for the few to thrive, a majority have to suffer in apathy, ignorance and the resultant bliss before the storm! Is that the way it is? Is that the way it has to be? Well, apparently that's the way it's going down in Europe. I have issued very, very explicit warnings on the ex-sovereign entity known as Portugal. Despite such. and despite my track record on such matters (see Who is Reggie Middleton?), the financial media, sell side and practically the rest of the world hailed an "all's clear" as absolutely nothing has gotten better yet several things have gotten worse. 

What has come of it? Well....

From ZeroHedge: Portugal's Presidential Warning Spikes Yields To 8 Months Highs

UPDATE: 5Y now +126bps (biggest jump in 19 months - snce the record highs) and rest of Europe is catching their systemic risk flu

Bond Spreads...


Of course reasons are given for this spike that come from very smart people who do very impressive things. The fact du jour is that this spike was guaranteed to happen, and it was guaranteed to happen this year. That's right! Guaranteed, and all paying BoomBustBlog subscribers knew this to be a fact TWO and a half (that's 2.5 for the number nerds amongst us) years ago! Did I (or my subscribers) know that the Portuguese government would come close to blowing up this year? NO.

So, exactly how did we know? Well, let's start by acknowledging today's date. July 12, 2013. Next we dig into the BoomBustBlog archives, going back to...

Monday, 06 December 2010 The Truth Behind Portugal's Inevitable Default - Arithmetic Evidence Available Only Through BoomBustBlog

The inevitable truth of the matter is that several European states WILL default, and default they will. If Germany, or any other economy that still has its druthers to it decides to stand in front of said occurrence, it will likely be dragged down as well. The Germans apparently realize this. See this excerpt from our discussion on the topic regarding Ireland's prospects for default:

... from the post  wherein BoomBustBlogger Nick asked:

Reggie-

Do you have any reason as to why they are choosing 2013 as a deadline ? Seems like an arbitrary date.

Well, Nick, just follow the money  or the lack thereof…

So, what debt raising and servicing soveriegn nation that was unsustainable in 2010 was lent even more debt to become even more unsustainable. The chickens come home to roost in 2013, post IMF/EU/Bilateral state le veraged into Ireland loan/Pension fund raiding bailout! What Angela in Germany was alluding to was what all in the know, well… know, and that is that Ireland is already in default and those defaults have been purposely pushed out until 2013. Angela simply (and wisely from a local political perspective, although unwisely from a global geopolitical standpoint) admitted/suggested was that the defaults will be pre-packaged and managed ahead of time. The EU politbureau insists that politics rule the day, and no prepackaged structure be in place for the Irish defaults to be. This means the potential foe even more carnage through the pipelines of uncertainty!

 

Tuesday, 07 December 2010 The Anatomy of a Portugal Default: A Graphical Step by Step Guide to the Beginning of the Largest String of Sovereign Defaults in Recent History

... Let's jump straight into Portugal's situation, and remember that many of these countries have deliberately mislead and misrepresented their fiscal situations for years (see Once You Catch a Few EU Countries “Stretching the Truth”, Why Should You Trust the Rest? and Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!).

This is the carnage that would occur if the same restructuring were to be applied to Portugal today.

Yes, it will be nasty. That 35% decline in cash flows will be levered at least 10x, for that is how much of the investors in these bonds purchased them. A 35% drop is nasty enough, 35% x 10 starts to hurt the piggy bank! As a matter of fact, no matter which way you look at it, Portugal is destined to default/restructure. Its just a matter of time, and that time will probably not extend past 2013. Here are a plethora of scenarios to choose from...

This is Portugal's path as of today.

Even if we add in EU/IMF emergency funding, the inevitability of restructuring is not altered. As a matter of fact, the scenario gets worse because the debt is piled on.

Monday, 12 March 2012 Portuguese Liquidity Trap: When You Add Too Much Liquidity To F.I.R.E. It Burns!

 

In this followup to Greece Is Trying To Convince Portugal To Make F.I.R.E. Hot I think we should get straight to the point - Anyone who doesn't believe that Portugal is clearly set up to for a bond route, and that it is seriously considering a default is either lying to themselves, believe human nature has changed, and/or really hasn't bothered to review the math. Here's proof of a Portuguese default presented with logic, numbers and pretty colorful graphs. The full spreadsheet behind all of the calculations, scenarios, bond holdings and calculations can be viewed online here (click this link) by professional level subscribers. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

 

Published in BoomBustBlog