9: Fish Bicycle Scenario


00:00:00   - Sorry, so what are we talking about tonight?

00:00:02   - I think it was actually kind of a slow week in tech news.

00:00:05   - It was.

00:00:07   - I think one thing I definitely

00:00:08   did wanna talk about though,

00:00:10   and I probably should have read more about it beforehand,

00:00:12   but oh well, is this IDC PC sales are doomed to report.

00:00:17   And do either of you know the specifics of it?

00:00:21   I know the gist of it is that PC sales are way, way down.

00:00:24   - Well, it's not way, it's like 14% or something, right?

00:00:27   - But isn't that like the biggest drop in a decade

00:00:29   But only because it was an industry that was always growing.

00:00:32   Every year you sold a little bit more, and then it's just not just a slowing growth,

00:00:37   but a reversal.

00:00:38   Now it's—I don't even know if it's a reversal.

00:00:40   See?

00:00:41   None of us read enough about this.

00:00:42   But at any rate, it's 14%.

00:00:43   It's not like a 90% drop or a 50%.

00:00:46   It's 14%, but people freak out about it.

00:00:49   If you were to graph all these numbers, I think it would look like, "Oh, well, it's

00:00:53   clear that growth is leveling off, and then it starts to turn downward, and that's what

00:00:59   you would expect, right?

00:01:03   I don't know. I think it's worth discussing and thinking about why people buy new PCs

00:01:11   and when people buy new PCs. Because obviously, some degree of this growth was just population

00:01:21   growing and more people getting a computer at all.

00:01:28   I'm sure that factor was responsible for probably the majority of PC sales maybe in

00:01:33   the 90s and probably a good amount of PC sales still in the 2000s.

00:01:39   But I would guess that now, these days, the PC market probably relies a lot on upgrades

00:01:48   in this decade. And the last one probably as well.

00:01:53   And so, I have these theories, and I don't really have anything to back this up except

00:01:57   my own personal experience and having previously been a PC guy and a tech support guy and everything

00:02:03   else. One of my theories is, so in the 90s, when I got my first computer, and so this

00:02:12   is when I started paying attention, plus I was a little bit young in the 80s, but so

00:02:17   So in the 90s, I feel like most people—like, why would you upgrade your computer?

00:02:22   Why would you buy a new computer?

00:02:24   And I feel like in the 90s, the biggest reasons were significant speed upgrades or new capabilities.

00:02:32   Like if your old computer didn't have a modem and you either added a modem to your

00:02:36   computer or you got a new computer with a modem, later on you have networking support,

00:02:41   once broadband comes in the very late 90s.

00:02:43   You had the addition of things like sound cards and CD-ROM drives and major new hardware

00:02:50   capabilities that sometimes required new computers and sometimes were just done as upgrades.

00:02:55   And then similarly, back in the '90s, RAM was so incredibly scarce that an old computer

00:03:03   and a new computer would actually be substantially differently performing even just two years

00:03:09   later because the new computer would be able to afford more RAM. And CPUs were doing things

00:03:17   like adding math coprocessors and adding hardware floating point ability, things that now just

00:03:24   every computer and watch and HDMI adapter has built in, but back then they didn't.

00:03:30   They also had the Mission Impossible operating system where this operating system will self-destruct

00:03:35   in six months to two years. Your computer would just slowly get worse and worse and

00:03:38   worse and what does a regular person do in that situation? Time to buy a new computer.

00:03:42   That's what it comes down to. If the thing you have gets worse or broken or bad or inadequate

00:03:50   in some way, that's when you replace it. A good comparison is television sets where the

00:03:55   television set you had, it still shows TV shows. Does it turn on? Do the channels change?

00:03:59   Okay, I'm fine. And HDTV was like, "Okay, well now I feel it is inadequate because I

00:04:04   saw my friend's HDTV and mine doesn't look like that. It's time to buy a new TV." But

00:04:08   Otherwise, people who are not video files would just keep their TV unless the TV stopped

00:04:13   performing the job that it was supposed to do.

00:04:15   And PCs used to be like you'd buy them, and in two years, it wasn't even as good as the

00:04:20   day you bought it, forget it, compared to your friend's computer, where it also pales

00:04:23   in comparison.

00:04:24   But it just degraded.

00:04:26   Software would get slower, and we'd get viruses, and the bugs would surface.

00:04:28   Well, that was later, though.

00:04:30   I feel like in the 2000s, I would say that was more when that happened.

00:04:35   In the '90s, I think it was much more about computers were actually advancing significantly

00:04:43   past their hardware capabilities.

00:04:44   It was like HDTV came out every year.

00:04:47   Every year, you'd see your friend's computer or the computer in the showrooms, and it would

00:04:50   be like looking at your regular TV versus an HDTV.

00:04:53   And you'd be like, "Oh, well, mine sucks now."

00:04:56   But in the 2000s, I feel like there was also this major move towards laptops and wireless.

00:05:03   And that helped drive a lot of sales.

00:05:05   another way your thing could suck. Look at this guy. He's in a coffee shop. He's being

00:05:09   cool and hip, and I'm attached to this gigantic full height tower.

00:05:15   To that end, when I was in school, which was 2003-2004, I got a ThinkPad that had a built-in

00:05:22   802.11b card. So rather than having this PCMCIA card with the little pimple, well not little,

00:05:29   it was this huge bulbous thing sticking out the side, kind of like an SD card does in

00:05:33   in a Mac today, well, I actually had a ThinkPad with a built-in, and I think it was a Cisco

00:05:38   card no less, and oh man, I thought I was hot stuff.

00:05:42   Oh yeah.

00:05:43   Because the three places on campus that actually had wireless at Virginia Tech at the time,

00:05:47   I could do it without having that stupid PCMCIA card hanging out of my computer, and it was

00:05:51   amazing.

00:05:52   But it's interesting because, to go back a step, I remember vividly my dad and I taking

00:05:57   our 386 and adding a math co-processor to it.

00:06:01   And so I feel like...

00:06:03   Yeah, exactly. And so I feel like there was a period of time where advances were happening

00:06:08   slow enough that you could kind of staple them on the computer you had. And I would,

00:06:13   based on NoFacts whatsoever, I feel like that was early to mid-90s. And then Marco, I think

00:06:17   you're right. Then all of a sudden, the velocity really cranked up, and then you had

00:06:21   to replace an entire computer or an entire motherboard to get the next advancement.

00:06:25   Sure. Although to be fair, prices plummeted during that same time.

00:06:28   Also true.

00:06:29   The computer in '94 was like $2,500, and then by '97 I built a whole new one from parts

00:06:34   for like $900.

00:06:35   I mean, it was a substantial difference.

00:06:37   Well, that's silicon consolidation.

00:06:39   Shrinking means you can fit more stuff on fewer chips.

00:06:41   Fewer chips cost less money, blah, blah, blah.

00:06:44   It's to the point where our iPhones, you get the whole system on a chip, right?

00:06:48   I feel like in the 2000s, there were still these things happening.

00:06:53   There were still these big new reasons why you'd want a new computer, and a lot of that

00:06:58   had to do with wireless and people moving from default of buying desktops to default

00:07:03   of buying laptops.

00:07:05   But I think a lot…

00:07:06   I was working briefly in the tech support business in the mid-2000s, and I was for very

00:07:12   many years before and after that still doing it on the side for friends and family and

00:07:16   stuff.

00:07:19   It was very, very clear that starting in probably the early to mid-2000s, a lot of people were

00:07:25   replacing perfectly good computers because they were full of malware and people thought,

00:07:29   "Oh, it had slowed down because it's too old, I guess. I have to get a new one." They

00:07:33   wouldn't think to reformat and reinstall Windows. That was never considered. They would

00:07:38   just go out and buy a new computer even though their whole world was perfectly fine hardware-wise,

00:07:43   which is a comical and tragic waste of resources. But I feel like that certainly boosted PC

00:07:50   sales and probably is still to some extent, although anti-malware tools are way better

00:07:54   now and way more widespread, but that has to be a lot.

00:08:00   No, exactly.

00:08:01   Like, people don't know.

00:08:02   Regular people don't know.

00:08:04   They would say, "Oh, I'm out of space.

00:08:06   I have to get a new computer."

00:08:07   Right.

00:08:08   Or, "It got slow and I didn't knowingly do anything to make it slow, so thus it must

00:08:13   be that technology has progressed past me and it's time to get new hardware," where

00:08:17   where you're absolutely right.

00:08:18   In reality, it is, well, and John is right as well,

00:08:21   it's a Mission Impossible operating system

00:08:23   where every six months you're gonna have

00:08:25   to reinstall Windows from scratch.

00:08:27   And especially without really good backup solutions,

00:08:29   or, I mean, this is a time before in-home networks

00:08:32   were a thing, or for the most part, anyway.

00:08:35   - And it was very expensive to have three times

00:08:37   as much hardware space as you actually needed.

00:08:39   - Right, right. - Well, nobody backs up now,

00:08:40   either, let's not kid ourselves.

00:08:42   - That's true. - That's true.

00:08:43   - I mean, the Mac users probably have the highest percentage

00:08:46   anybody just because of Apple's incredible push with Time Machine and like the Apple

00:08:50   Store experience where there's likely to be someone during your purchase experience

00:08:54   who told you that Time Machine exists and it's a thing you might want to consider

00:08:57   doing and it's not that hard.

00:08:58   But the percentage is probably just depressingly low for Mac users and even more depressingly

00:09:03   low for regular people.

00:09:04   Yeah, I would guess that's true.

00:09:07   But either way, my point is that let's say you had, and I don't remember a really

00:09:11   really valid number at the time.

00:09:13   But let's just say you had a gig of MP3s in early 2000s.

00:09:17   Where are you gonna put that gig of MP3s

00:09:18   while you're reinstalling everything on your hard drive?

00:09:21   And I mean, you could burn it to CD,

00:09:22   and obviously there's many other options that existed,

00:09:25   but they weren't commonplace.

00:09:26   And that's assuming you're confident enough

00:09:28   in your abilities to even reinstall Windows,

00:09:30   of which eliminates 99% of the population to begin with.

00:09:33   - Well, that's why everyone was just raced

00:09:35   into the arms of appliance-like devices

00:09:37   like iPods and smartphones.

00:09:38   Because that, I mean, that's the story here,

00:09:40   like, "Okay, people aren't buying PCs. Why? Because they replace their PCs with a smartphone

00:09:44   or with an iPod or with a combination." Because if you have that gig of MP3s, you're probably

00:09:48   pretty geeky to begin with. But anyone with a gig of MP3s who is not geeky probably has

00:09:55   it on a phone or an iPod that works more like an appliance that gives them a fighting chance

00:09:59   of preserving that in some way. Like, they trash their PC, they get a new one, but they

00:10:03   just plug their iPod into it and it says, "Do you want to sync with this?" I don't even

00:10:06   if it allows you to do that crap. But like, I would imagine that the lifeboat for their

00:10:11   music is these small handheld appliance-like devices, and it's not so much like, "Oh, they

00:10:16   like them better because they're small and handheld and people have to have a phone anyway."

00:10:19   It's just that they work. They're so much more friendly to people. You know, you can't

00:10:24   screw it up. You can install apps, uninstall apps. There's very little you can do. I don't

00:10:27   think specifically Apple devices, but even Android phones are much less intimidating

00:10:32   and much less easy to accidentally screw up than a PC.

00:10:36   So I was surprised that people say, "Well, I can get Facebook on this.

00:10:40   I can send text messages.

00:10:41   I can make phone calls.

00:10:42   I can look at the few websites I want to do.

00:10:45   And I get Netflix on my TV.

00:10:48   Remind me again why I have a computer?"

00:10:50   I think that's why a lot of people are assuming this report is, or assuming that this decline

00:10:57   in PC sales is being caused by tablets.

00:11:02   And I think it's really being more caused by smartphones.

00:11:04   Yeah, tablets, I mean, they don't help.

00:11:08   They're not helping matters, but smartphones,

00:11:11   it seems it's got to be by far.

00:11:13   It's the stealing the growth market of the people who

00:11:17   previously were going to buy a computer,

00:11:19   but now don't feel the need for one of those

00:11:21   who keep upgrading their phone every couple

00:11:23   of years for a similar cost to buying a really terrible PC.

00:11:27   I know PCs are way cheaper than you think they are, John.

00:11:30   People buy PCs at Costco and Sam's Club for like $300.

00:11:35   I'm saying the phone is a similar cost.

00:11:37   It's $299 for your fancy smartphone,

00:11:40   plus the contract that you're probably going to get anyway

00:11:42   so you can text all your-- you know what I mean?

00:11:44   That's factored in.

00:11:45   It's like, well, you've got to have a cell phone.

00:11:47   And yeah, the data plan is a little bit more expensive.

00:11:48   Hey, it's only $300.

00:11:49   Well, you could have bought a $300 PC.

00:11:51   And honestly, you should buy a $300 smartphone

00:11:54   instead of a $300 PC.

00:11:55   You will be much more satisfied with it.

00:11:57   And in this day and age, if you are at all interested in owning a computer and you live

00:12:02   in a first world country, you probably have already owned one.

00:12:06   Unless you're like 10 years old or something.

00:12:09   But you've probably already owned one.

00:12:11   And so you are faced not necessarily with the decision of, "Should I go out and buy

00:12:16   a new PC this year?

00:12:18   But should I upgrade my PC this year?"

00:12:21   And I feel like people are doing so much more.

00:12:24   You're right.

00:12:25   People are doing so much more on their phones now.

00:12:26   the phones have become the primary computing device for so many people. I feel like so

00:12:34   many people probably have these great new smartphones, whatever kind, I don't really

00:12:39   care, these great new smartphones, and then they have some laptop from 2008 that's creaking

00:12:47   and falling apart, some Dell Inspiron piece of garbage, and this creaky plastic thing

00:12:53   that has Windows XP on it that they hardly ever use. Maybe they open it up a couple times

00:12:58   a year to get some file or do something that they can't do on their phone. But what's

00:13:05   their motivation to upgrade that computer ever, as long as it still works? And even

00:13:09   when it breaks, what's their motivation then? I have to wonder, how many people—there's

00:13:15   some minimum amount of computing, especially in the internet age, that you have to do to

00:13:18   feel like you're part of society. You don't necessarily have to have a Facebook page,

00:13:22   would probably have to have email,

00:13:24   and you'd probably have to know about the web.

00:13:26   And there's a baseline of like, you

00:13:29   are part of our regular first world country society.

00:13:31   You have some connection to the internet and electronic device.

00:13:35   And that's the thing that used to be bringing people along

00:13:38   and they'd buy PCs.

00:13:39   But I wonder how many of the people--

00:13:41   like once you cross that baseline,

00:13:42   how many people use personal computers for "leisure,"

00:13:45   I guess, put that in quotes or whatever.

00:13:47   Where most of the time, you're at work, you're commuting,

00:13:51   you're doing stuff.

00:13:52   You're not like, your leisure time is small for the working person during the day.

00:13:56   You have your job, you have your family, you have all those responsibilities, then you

00:13:58   have a small amount of leisure time per day that you can watch TV, you can go to a movie,

00:14:02   you can go out, like whatever you want to do during that leisure time to engage in your

00:14:05   hobbies.

00:14:06   How many people choose to take any portion of that leisure time and sit in front of a

00:14:10   personal computer?

00:14:12   I would imagine it's very small, especially if they can get their sort of societal baseline

00:14:16   participation in the internet age all during the day by looking at their phone.

00:14:20   Well, I wouldn't assume it's that small of people who want to have computing-like activities

00:14:27   during that time. I think especially social networking, especially Facebook. But even

00:14:32   before that, casual games. In fact, I would even say that it's probably likely that that

00:14:41   number of people is still increasing. The number of people who would rather spend that

00:14:45   that leaves your time either... TV was obviously the big answer in the past, and still is probably

00:14:51   the predominant answer, but now you have, especially as computers moved first to laptops

00:14:57   and now to phones and tablets so predominantly, now you have the option to be checking email

00:15:03   and browsing Facebook while you have the TV on and you kind of have to pay attention to

00:15:07   it, and that's a very popular option. And there's a lot of people who just go to the

00:15:11   computer room or their computer desk or whatever and spend their leisure time browsing Facebook

00:15:17   and playing little games and stuff instead of watching TV.

00:15:21   That I think is still growing and still has plenty of room to grow.

00:15:25   When I picture it, I have trouble picturing someone going off.

00:15:27   I guess maybe it's because I'm picturing a desktop computer and that's why I can't

00:15:30   picture it.

00:15:31   Maybe if I picture a laptop and they're on the couch anyway that it seems more plausible.

00:15:34   But I just see them getting this done throughout the course of the day with their phone.

00:15:40   And even when they're sitting and watching TV, they're having the phone next to them.

00:15:42   I don't see anyone going off into a room where there's a desktop sitting down in that chair

00:15:45   and doing stuff for long periods of time.

00:15:47   And I don't see people so much sitting on the couch with their laptops open.

00:15:50   I think they used to do that until phones and a little bit tablets.

00:15:54   But I don't know.

00:15:55   It's hard for me to gauge because there's this circle of computer connectivity savvy

00:16:00   surrounding me through my own influence of my family and everything, making them all

00:16:04   get iPods and get computers.

00:16:07   I don't know what it's like outside that circle.

00:16:11   It's hard to observe.

00:16:12   It's also worth considering the connectivity problem.

00:16:16   That certainly at your house, people who have computers

00:16:19   tend to have Wi-Fi these days, usually

00:16:21   because it comes for free with your internet connection.

00:16:23   But if you have a laptop and you want to bring it anywhere,

00:16:28   most people don't tether.

00:16:30   Most people don't have 3G cards in their laptops.

00:16:34   Most people, their laptops are only

00:16:36   connected if they have Wi-Fi somewhere. Despite what many geeks like to think, Wi-Fi is nowhere

00:16:42   near ubiquitous, not even close. But if they have a smartphone, that's effectively always

00:16:51   connected.

00:16:52   So it's almost like, I feel like computers now—this isn't a perfect analogy, but

00:16:58   Bear with me.

00:16:59   I feel like computers now are kind of like PDAs in 2003.

00:17:03   You know, like they were cool and they were useless for them

00:17:10   but these other things were coming up

00:17:11   and just destroying the relevance of that market because--

00:17:15   - It's not gonna get wiped out like PDAs did though.

00:17:17   - No, it won't and that's why it's not a perfect analogy

00:17:19   but I think it's a similar level of relevance

00:17:22   to people now.

00:17:23   - Well, sort of.

00:17:25   What you forget as a spoiled person

00:17:27   who works out of the house and doesn't have to go to an

00:17:28   office like John and I, is that even business people whom

00:17:33   don't, on the strictest sense, their living

00:17:35   isn't in the computer.

00:17:36   By that I mean they're not writing code or doing

00:17:38   something on those lines.

00:17:40   Business people still have PCs and droves because they need

00:17:42   to do corporate email, they need to write Word documents,

00:17:44   and they need to write PowerPoints, and

00:17:46   so on and so forth.

00:17:46   So I don't think anything you've said is necessarily

00:17:49   incorrect, but I think we should point out that this is

00:17:51   all true of outside of the workplace activities.

00:17:55   And all sorts of professions these days are still completely and utterly tied to having

00:18:01   a computer in front of you always during the workday.

00:18:04   Yeah, that'll be interesting.

00:18:05   Oh, yeah.

00:18:06   Canary, like to see, like, I don't know what, that's a good question, like what's a steady

00:18:10   state is going to be, you know, going forward?

00:18:12   Like, how will this settle, sort of how, how TV versus movies kind of settled in after

00:18:16   the invention of television, you know, it didn't wipe out movies, but the ratio is sort

00:18:19   of adjusted to a, a, not a steady state, but not as dramatic as, you know, at first.

00:18:24   was no TV and all of a sudden there is, houses shake out. But yeah, once the majority of

00:18:28   people who would have gone into work and sat in front of a PC no longer do that and they

00:18:34   sit in front of something else, that'll be the bell. And that's why I think the PC won't

00:18:38   like the movie theaters. The PC won't go away because there are certain tasks that, I mean,

00:18:43   it depends on what you call a PC. Is your PC a big screen with a nice keyboard that

00:18:49   you sit in front of, but actually all it is is a bunch of naked peripherals that you walk

00:18:53   walk up to with your phone and it magically connects them?

00:18:55   Is that a PC anymore or is that your smartphone, right?

00:18:57   I don't know the semantics, but I'm saying like,

00:18:59   a thing with a large screen and a more efficient

00:19:03   input device than you can get in a handheld device,

00:19:05   whatever that thing is, and I'm just gonna continue

00:19:07   calling it a PC, I don't think people are going to go

00:19:11   to work and not sit in front of one of those.

00:19:13   Or even if it's like you go to work and you put your hands

00:19:17   into the neuroreceptors and put on your glasses,

00:19:19   like you know what I mean?

00:19:20   the thing that is at your desk lets you get your job done,

00:19:23   that's not gonna be a phone,

00:19:24   because the constraints are different.

00:19:27   It doesn't have to be small to fit in your pocket.

00:19:29   Why would it be?

00:19:30   Now maybe the entire smarts of your work experience

00:19:32   are on something the size of a phone,

00:19:33   and you carry it with you,

00:19:34   but that experience of taking advantage of the fact

00:19:39   that you don't have to be battery powered all the time,

00:19:41   and you don't have to fit into your pocket,

00:19:43   you can work more efficiently

00:19:44   when those constraints are lifted.

00:19:45   And I don't think that will go away,

00:19:46   but I do think those constraints don't apply

00:19:49   to lots of activities,

00:19:50   like, you know, dorking around on the web or reading web pages or playing on Facebook

00:19:55   or using Twitter or whatever, like, so many categories of things you don't need those

00:19:59   constraints.

00:20:00   So I think the ratio will adjust between these smart devices and I think eventually it will

00:20:04   start to blur where the only distinction really is.

00:20:08   How much room do you have for input/output peripherals and what is your power budget?

00:20:12   Are you near a plug?

00:20:13   Do you need to be portable?

00:20:16   That seems like what the long-term thing is, where this distinction between smartphone

00:20:19   and PC will be, we'll keep trying to draw that little fuzzy line as they slowly merge.

00:20:24   Not that we're all using smartphones again, but once the smart guts and the input/output

00:20:31   start becoming sort of interchangeable, it really doesn't make sense.

00:20:34   It's kind of like when the iPad came out.

00:20:36   It's like, "Is it a PC?"

00:20:38   It throws the old categories for a loop and you don't really know how to talk about

00:20:41   it.

00:20:42   I think stepping back a half step for a sec, I wonder how much of this PC sales downturn

00:20:49   businesses are responsible for. Because we know businesses buy lots of PCs, they always

00:20:53   have, and I don't think that's necessarily changing. However, at least not yet. As you

00:20:59   said, I think who knows what it will be in five or ten years, but certainly for now it

00:21:03   does seem like everyone's still buying PCs and using Office apps and stuff like that,

00:21:09   and I think that's going to be with us for quite some time.

00:21:12   But how many new PCs do businesses buy in a recession

00:21:19   where there's no new jobs for anyone?

00:21:22   If you aren't hiring a lot of people,

00:21:25   then you're not buying PCs for new employees.

00:21:27   And obviously, there's some annual number

00:21:32   of PCs that will fail or wear out or be lost by salesmen

00:21:36   and need to be replaced in any organization.

00:21:38   But besides that basic churn rate of replacements, what reason would businesses have to upgrade

00:21:48   their systems if they've found something that works for them?

00:21:51   What has the business software world offered to justify upgrades in the last, I don't

00:21:59   know, 12 years?

00:22:01   In my experience in the corporate stooge world, the upgrade rate doesn't seem to have changed

00:22:08   much. It seemed like the personal computers on people's desks turned over at the same

00:22:15   rate when I started in the job market in the late '90s and now, which is not particularly

00:22:20   rapid—one, two, three years—and different companies have different policies, and it

00:22:25   depends on the time, the size of the company, the bureaucracy, and the kind of deals they

00:22:28   have with Dell for whatever they're putting in.

00:22:31   It wasn't like, "Oh, back when the internet was new, we got a new PC every year, but now

00:22:36   now it's every three years. The average over my career has been a similar turnover rate,

00:22:41   which has been surprisingly slow for me, to the point where most of the people have a

00:22:46   PC that they're using that they think is old and crappy and they don't like, but they

00:22:49   still have to wait another year before they can get a new one.

00:22:52   I would agree with that. I would actually also double down and say that in my experience,

00:22:57   and I work for a fairly small consulting firm in Richmond, but we consult with fairly large

00:23:03   some of which are Fortune 1000 or Fortune 500 or something like that, big is the point

00:23:08   I'm driving at.

00:23:09   And in both our firm and our clients, I've seen a MacBook airification of general laptops

00:23:17   in the workplace.

00:23:18   And by that I mean, not necessarily everyone's getting a MacBook Air, but almost everyone

00:23:22   I know that doesn't write code for a living, so regular people, they're all getting either

00:23:27   MacBook Airs, and that does happen, or they're getting whatever Dell or Lenovo equivalent

00:23:33   is that's very thin, very small, very light, and very portable.

00:23:37   And that kind of goes back to what you were saying, John,

00:23:39   about what will the future bring?

00:23:42   Is portability really paramount?

00:23:45   And it seems like even for people who don't travel for a living,

00:23:47   everyone's got a laptop now, and everyone's

00:23:50   got something that vaguely resembles a MacBook Air,

00:23:52   or is a MacBook Air.

00:23:54   And furthermore, a lot of times I wonder if the PC sales

00:23:57   downturns are related to Apple doing better in the business

00:23:59   world.

00:24:00   And you could attribute that to maybe people bringing

00:24:03   their own devices and IT departments being forced into supporting them. You could say

00:24:07   it's because IT is chosen to support them, but one way or another it seems like I see

00:24:14   a lot more Macs today than I ever have before, and I don't think that's a particularly

00:24:18   profound statement or observation. And so I wonder if that's reflected in this report

00:24:24   that you're citing, Marco, that PCs aren't selling as well.

00:24:27   I wonder also how much has to do with because so many business computers used to be desktops

00:24:34   and so many of them now are laptops, even for regular employees that probably could

00:24:39   have a desktop, for so many businesses now laptops are the new default or the most common

00:24:44   type that they buy.

00:24:46   Laptops don't last as long as desktops in use.

00:24:51   First of all, if you have some kind of turnover, if you come into a job, it wouldn't be that

00:24:57   unheard of for them to give you somebody else's desktop that's like a year and a half old,

00:25:02   that still works fine for your job purposes, then you just get someone else's computer.

00:25:06   You might, if you're lucky, get a new keyboard and that's about it. But with a laptop,

00:25:10   like, A, it's a much harder sell to use someone's used laptop because—

00:25:15   So what are you talking about? They're going to use laptops in a second.

00:25:18   Well, but how used? Because laptops show wear a lot.

00:25:22   Completely used. Completely used.

00:25:23   Like, really? Because I think, you know, a desktop, you can replace a keyboard for $12

00:25:26   and it looks new. But a laptop, like the whole top case...

00:25:28   They don't replace the keyboard, they give you the old keyboard.

00:25:30   Ew, and you get to have someone else's...

00:25:32   With the person's fingernail clippings in it, yes.

00:25:34   Oh, God.

00:25:36   It's rough out there in the real world, Marco.

00:25:38   Okay, well the other thing is, at least also with laptops,

00:25:40   they tend to have two major problems.

00:25:44   One is that they just, because they're portable, because they're going to get banged around a bit,

00:25:48   I don't think they tend to last as long.

00:25:50   No, they may break, because how people treat laptops is horrifying.

00:25:54   Right.

00:25:55   And the second thing is a very, very common laptop problem is needing a screen repair.

00:26:01   And screen repairs usually, once it's out of warranty, they're almost never worth doing

00:26:05   because they're so expensive on laptops.

00:26:07   So I feel like in general, if I had to guess, I would guess that the average business laptop

00:26:14   is in service for less time than the average business desktop.

00:26:18   That is true.

00:26:19   That would make you think they'd be replacing them more.

00:26:21   But that's definitely true.

00:26:22   I see how PCs are treated in the office now that there's so many more of them.

00:26:25   I feel like Adobe owes the world some restitution for their--

00:26:32   Flash destroys laptops of all kinds.

00:26:34   Mac, PC, I see these--

00:26:36   Are they heat?

00:26:37   Yeah, because they do a Google Hangout or whatever.

00:26:40   Not just Google Hangouts, HTML5.

00:26:42   But anything that involves Flash, whenever I'm in a meeting

00:26:44   and I hear someone's tiny little high RPM laptop fan going,

00:26:49   it's a good bet that where I peek around their screen,

00:26:51   had some tab with some stupid flash thing running in it. And I hear it, and you know

00:26:56   that sound of the laptop with the fans cranked up? Unless you're doing like H.264 encoding

00:27:00   or something, that shouldn't be happening on your work machine, but it's so common.

00:27:03   And I'm like, "That can't be good for the computer, you know?" Of all the other things,

00:27:08   spilling your coffee on it and clunking it around and dropping it on the table and tipping

00:27:12   it off your desk and all the other terrible things that happen to laptops, on top of that,

00:27:16   they're all running hotter than they should be because of flash.

00:27:19   And the other thing I should point out is that, again, being as part of a small firm,

00:27:23   I think we have somewhere around 80 employees.

00:27:25   That's small?

00:27:27   Yeah. Oh, you have no idea.

00:27:29   But anyway, so being part of a small firm, believe it or not, we are relatively progressive.

00:27:34   And so we have been issuing Macs to people that are not developers.

00:27:39   And we've been issuing them to developers for a while because the developers are all demanding it.

00:27:43   But one of the reasons that we're very reluctant to issue Max to regular people who don't

00:27:51   really need it is because—

00:27:52   Is that really an appropriate use of "whom"?

00:27:54   No, probably not.

00:27:55   I get yelled at so many times as "who, whom, that guy," whatever.

00:27:59   It doesn't matter.

00:28:00   The point I'm driving at is—

00:28:01   Just say "who" every time.

00:28:02   I'll say "who" every time.

00:28:03   But anyway, the point I'm driving at is that the reason we don't get Max more often

00:28:07   is because Dell has such an unbelievably great warranty, or maybe not warranty, but service

00:28:13   plan, such that you can pretty much dropkick a Dell, and they will be there either that

00:28:18   day or the next day with whatever part you need. They will come to our office, they will

00:28:22   fix it, and you will be done within 24 hours.

00:28:24   I was going to say how much of these PC vendors realize how much they owe to Apple's complete

00:28:29   indifference to the enterprise market. They are just not interested. But Dell comes and

00:28:34   returns? That's nice.

00:28:35   Can you, the idea of Apple doing on-site help is laughable.

00:28:40   There are Apple business liaisons and they make motions in that direction, but they're

00:28:44   not willing to do what it takes, nor should they be as far as I'm concerned.

00:28:47   I think they're wise to stay out of that business because I think it's poison.

00:28:50   But by Apple being so terrible at business and so terrible at servicing businesses compared

00:28:54   to Dell or any other PC resellers who are just willing to do anything for you and just

00:29:00   have a machine ready to execute, that's got to be keeping many crappy PC companies afloat.

00:29:08   Because like Casey said, I have also experienced an incredible increase in recent years of

00:29:14   regular non-geek people who want Apple hardware, whether it be phones to replace their BlackBerry

00:29:21   or laptops to replace their Dell laptops, and are willing to make noise about it and

00:29:27   make it happen in companies.

00:29:30   And that is a fairly new phenomenon,

00:29:33   at least in my work experience, where--

00:29:35   it used to be that people were a little bit disgruntled

00:29:37   and they'd look at the neat little Mac that was over there.

00:29:39   But it's like, oh, whatever.

00:29:40   I've got to get my work done.

00:29:41   But now, we've crossed some sort of threshold where it's like,

00:29:44   you know what?

00:29:44   Why can't I have a Mac?

00:29:46   I think that would be nice.

00:29:47   And then the poor IT companies have to,

00:29:50   oh, I've got to figure out how to get a Mac.

00:29:51   And maybe there's a local reseller who gets it.

00:29:53   And what happens when it goes bad?

00:29:55   The poor IT people have horror stories of like,

00:29:57   I had to go to the Apple store.

00:29:59   That's not how corporate IT works.

00:30:02   A human being is not supposed to carry a computer to a store in a mall.

00:30:04   That is not how corporate IT works.

00:30:07   Once that happens, you know, so that tension still exists there.

00:30:10   And I don't think Apple's interested in that market, and so I don't know how that's going

00:30:13   to resolve itself, because the people want it, but it's a terrible experience for corporate

00:30:17   IT.

00:30:18   Right, and it gets worse because the particular MacBook Pro I have is a 15-inch non-retina,

00:30:25   a late 2011 and we put 16 gigs of RAM in this thing and most of my developer co-workers

00:30:31   have basically the same machine and one of the machine, one of my co-workers machines,

00:30:37   his motherboard got fried somehow and so our IT guy…

00:30:41   Steve McLaughlin Casey, this is a Mac. I believe it's called

00:30:42   a logic board.

00:30:43   Casey Neuman Oh, whatever. It's in Marco email, but anyway,

00:30:47   about whom as well. But anyway, the point I'm driving at is that our IT guy, who's

00:30:52   awesome awesome awesome guy he took it to the mall to the local Apple store

00:30:56   which is literally three miles from our office and they took one look at it and

00:31:00   said oh this model doesn't support 16 gigs of RAM that's why you fried your

00:31:03   motherboard or logic board that'll be $700 please and you think Dell would do

00:31:07   that absolutely not Dell why did he go to the mall store like I was I was just

00:31:12   about to give disclaimers like please don't write it I know Apple has actual

00:31:15   business service now this was like stories from a long time ago when the

00:31:18   Apple server came out but this is recent where your IT guy went to the Apple

00:31:21   store? I don't think we have resellers or whatever.

00:31:25   You're 80 people. There are vars around who will do that stuff for you, but I think

00:31:30   even Apple itself has programs that you can get into if you're any kind of company to

00:31:34   not have to bring things to the Apple store. And that very well could be.

00:31:38   I have a business account guy at the Apple store.

00:31:40   Yeah, but does he come to your house? No, I still have to go there.

00:31:43   He doesn't come with a replacing computer in his hand and hand it off to you and just

00:31:47   take the other computer away? Do they do that for people? I don't even know.

00:31:51   Dell, the Dell experience is like, or any kind of enterprise class hardware, they come,

00:31:56   you get the new thing or the fixed thing within like two hours and your problem is solved.

00:31:59   It's re-imaged, everything's back the way it was, like that's how corporate IT is supposed

00:32:03   to work. And you know, server is the same type of thing, it's like a four hour window,

00:32:06   like if your, you know, EMC hardware goes down, your stupid support contract is supposed

00:32:09   to have a geek with the neck beard parachuting into your data center within hours and fixing

00:32:14   your thing. That's why you pay a bazillion dollars.

00:32:17   And that's the thing is it's all "free" and then my poor IT guy, he goes to Apple

00:32:22   and they say, "Okay, that'll be $700 and by the way we need to send this thing to God

00:32:26   knows where in order to get it done."

00:32:28   I mean, how is…

00:32:29   Why would he buy anymore Macs that way?

00:32:30   Okay, first of all, I don't think it's possible for an un-specified or for an unapproved

00:32:36   quantity of RAM to fry a logic board.

00:32:39   No, no, that's…

00:32:40   I agree.

00:32:41   That's exactly the point.

00:32:42   Second of all, he failed the number one rule of Apple do-it-yourself third-party RAM upgrades.

00:32:47   which is always keep the Apple RAM and put it back in whenever you bring it in for service.

00:32:53   Well, and you're absolutely right, but it doesn't negate the point that that is a really,

00:32:59   for lack of a better word, offensive experience for him. And why would he continue to buy

00:33:03   Apples, knowing that if anything breaks, the owner is screwed and thus he is screwed?

00:33:09   Well, because those stupid employees keep whining for it. I mean, that's the tension.

00:33:12   It's essentially, "It, Apple doesn't want to support IT.

00:33:15   IT doesn't want to buy Apple, but the employees want Apple."

00:33:18   And there's just this constant struggle.

00:33:20   But the tide has been shifting.

00:33:21   It used to be that IT just held the line.

00:33:23   No, you can't have a Mac.

00:33:23   There are no Macs in this company, period.

00:33:25   No, you can't bring your Mac from home.

00:33:27   That was the old story, and that slowly shifted.

00:33:29   And once people got their foot in the door,

00:33:32   as far as I know, I was the first officially

00:33:34   corporate-purchase Mac in my company four years ago.

00:33:38   Now, when you get hired, I believe it is an option

00:33:42   for most people to say that they would like a Macs, and tons of people have requested

00:33:46   Macs. In fact, often they get a Mac alongside their Dell. So they have their Dell thing,

00:33:51   their "real work computer," but they also have a work-purchased MacBook Air, MacBook

00:33:57   Pro, something like that.

00:33:58   Really?

00:33:59   Well, I think what happened was Apple attacked from the top there. Apple made products—and

00:34:02   I don't know if this was intentional or not, probably not—but Apple made products

00:34:05   that were so good that the bosses started wanting them.

00:34:09   And so it depends on-- I feel like how soon Macs were

00:34:13   permissible or supported in your IT infrastructure

00:34:16   at your work probably depends a lot on how high up the IT

00:34:21   department ranks authority-wise and how long it took for

00:34:24   somebody who ranks above them in authority to want to bring

00:34:28   in their own iPhone or iPad or MacBook Air.

00:34:30   The bosses brought the iPhones in alongside--

00:34:33   And the MacBook Airs.

00:34:34   Blackberries, maybe, but I would say the developers, if you have a company with whiny developers,

00:34:40   and they're the ones who brought the Macs in for the desktop type of thing.

00:34:44   Yeah, but they were bringing in...

00:34:45   They want to develop, they want to have a Unix system where you can develop Unix software,

00:34:48   but you can also do GUI stuff all in one machine, no Cygwin, no Linux servers that you would

00:34:53   test agent to.

00:34:54   Right.

00:34:55   So those are the two portals.

00:34:56   It's like C-level executives make anything happen because they run the company and they

00:35:00   want an iPhone, they're going to get one and that cascades into Macs.

00:35:02   Although for my experience, C-level executives have not been clamoring for Macs.

00:35:09   They're perfectly happy to sit there with whatever the cutest little ThinkPad is because

00:35:12   they really don't know how to use computers.

00:35:14   That shows what kind of companies I've worked for.

00:35:16   I've not worked for companies where the CEOs are computer nerds, let's say.

00:35:19   See, and as a software consulting firm, I knew that the tide had turned when one of

00:35:27   our C-level execs—I don't even remember his title, which is funny because there's

00:35:30   four C-level execs. But anyway, he had asked for a Retina MacBook Pro when the 15-inch

00:35:36   Retina MacBook Pro was pretty much brand new. And that was the first time I had seen a "business

00:35:42   person" have a Mac. And since then, I'd say it's a 50/50 split between Macs and

00:35:47   PCs. But all of the business people are all getting things like I was talking about earlier

00:35:52   that are approximately the same form factor as a MacBook Air, whether or not there's

00:35:57   Apple on the on the display. Ultra books. It's one of these. I love, I love, you know,

00:36:02   this is this is something that the PC industry does all the time and it isn't

00:36:05   just the PC industry that does this but but they certainly do it a lot which is

00:36:09   you take something that's having some success and you immediately genericize

00:36:14   it and start discussing it as if it's a category even if it's not really yet.

00:36:18   And like tablet? Exactly. Tablet, even even like PDAs back when like pretty much

00:36:26   the only game in town was Palm and the Palm pilots. Actually, before it was the US Robotics

00:36:33   Pilot 1000, I think, first. It isn't just Apple that gets targeted with this. Any company

00:36:41   that has some kind of innovative thing, the analysts and the press start genericizing

00:36:47   it because they want it to be a category because then it's better for them and there's more

00:36:53   to talk about, it's more interesting. And it totally sucks the life and originality

00:36:58   out of the originator, I guess. So it definitely happened with tablets. And then it of course

00:37:05   happened with Ultrabooks. Ultrabook was the generic name for MacBook Airs. And everything

00:37:12   that looks exactly like them and has their exact specs.

00:37:14   Well, Intel came up with the name Ultrabook.

00:37:16   Yes, that's true.

00:37:17   They coined it as generic, but it's like, it's kind of, sometimes it doesn't happen.

00:37:20   podcast it didn't happen with. I don't know if they tried to do like broadcast audio,

00:37:24   internet audio, but podcast stuck and that became the Kleenex of what we're doing right

00:37:28   now.

00:37:29   Well, Leo Laporte tried to make Netcast and it just didn't stick outside of his network.

00:37:32   Yeah, I mean, sometimes you just can't get it out of the way. But Apple didn't have a

00:37:37   generic name for the MacBook Air, so that's too much of a mouthful. iPad could have potentially

00:37:43   stuck, but tablet had been preexisting, like Windows for pen computing and all the grid

00:37:49   thing. Tablets had been around for ages, so that was kind of an established term.

00:37:53   Well, sure. But that's not what—like, the iPad was so different from that.

00:37:56   I know, but it's a rectangle that you touch. It doesn't take much—like, that generic term had been

00:38:01   out there pre-existing. Well, you didn't touch the old ones.

00:38:05   Have you ever used the old tablet PC from the—I think it was the late '90s or early 2000s, when

00:38:10   Microsoft did their second or third version of what they called tablet PC?

00:38:14   And it was actually decent. It was like they had the convertible ones,

00:38:18   - They have these again now.

00:38:19   - Fold it back on itself.

00:38:20   - Yeah, it had like a little swivel hinge.

00:38:22   - Yep, yep.

00:38:23   - Yeah, my friend had one of those.

00:38:25   And it was actually really interesting to use,

00:38:27   but it was similar to,

00:38:30   if you imagine using Windows 8 only in desktop mode

00:38:34   on a device with no keyboard.

00:38:36   You know, like that's kind of how it was.

00:38:39   Like there were some affordances for pen input

00:38:42   in some applications and the system would, you know,

00:38:45   throw up the onscreen keyboard kind of hackily as needed,

00:38:47   But it wasn't a very polished or robust system.

00:38:51   It wasn't.

00:38:52   And it's funny you bring it up because my wife is a school teacher, a high school teacher.

00:38:55   And when she was in college or university, depending on where you are, she was actually

00:39:00   given one of these tablets, these Microsoft tablets, to use during her in-class training,

00:39:08   which student teaching, I couldn't think of the name of it for a second there.

00:39:11   And I don't recall why she liked it, but she was like the only person on the planet

00:39:14   that really, really liked having one of these pen-based Windows machines.

00:39:19   I'll have to ask her after the show what it was that she liked about it, but she swore by it.

00:39:24   Well, my friend loved his. I mean, it was really great for note-taking.

00:39:29   Especially if you're standing up. Like, you would be with a lot of teaching and a lot of professions.

00:39:34   You know, a lot of times it's just contextually it's kind of hard to sit down and open up a laptop and type.

00:39:39   and type. But even without that, if you just like handwriting and if you handwrite a lot

00:39:45   of your notes, that's probably still a better experience than using an iPad.

00:39:50   People liked it for the same reason. All the good things that we like about iPads now,

00:39:54   a tiny fraction of those were present in any sort of tablet form factor thing. Microsoft

00:39:59   really snatched a feat from the JAWS victory with the whole tablet thing because they were

00:40:03   just investing in it so early and so often. I experienced the same thing. People with

00:40:09   those stupid swivel head things. It was just terrible plastic hardware and everything.

00:40:12   But there was enough of the things we love about the iPad, the fact that you can use

00:40:15   it on your lap, the fact that you could touch it if you want to. All that stuff was like,

00:40:19   "It's just a tiny bit of an..." And there's enough in there where people were like, "Hey,

00:40:23   this thing is a piece of crap, but there's something about it that I kind of like,

00:40:25   and you'll latch onto it and say, 'Yeah, I'd like more of that.'" But Microsoft could not

00:40:29   get out of its own way. It's obvious now in retrospect what they should have done.

00:40:35   I say this about all the things.

00:40:36   They were just too-- same thing with Windows CE and Windows Mobile

00:40:40   and everything.

00:40:41   They were too married to Windows everywhere, PC everywhere.

00:40:44   That is the paradigm.

00:40:46   They would never have done anything like iOS and the iPad

00:40:48   where it has no application compatibility with the Mac.

00:40:51   Looks nothing like the Mac.

00:40:53   Works nothing like the Mac.

00:40:54   If Microsoft had done that back when it was playing with all these things,

00:40:58   it would have had four chances, four complete chances

00:41:01   to screw up before the iPad even existed.

00:41:03   Instead, every single one was like, "Oh, you got a start menu on your phone."

00:41:06   You're like, "Are you kidding me?

00:41:08   A start menu on my phone?"

00:41:09   That shows they just didn't get it.

00:41:10   So they had—it was all there for the taking.

00:41:14   They just could not get out of their own way, couldn't get rid of Windows and Office.

00:41:17   That's the story of Microsoft.

00:41:19   And you know what's really funny is the college I went to is Virginia Tech, and they

00:41:24   have a really, really great engineering program.

00:41:27   And I'm looking at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering fall 2013, spring 2014 computer

00:41:34   requirement because everyone is required to bring a computer.

00:41:37   OS, Windows 7 or 8, professional 64-bit, processor, third-gen Core i5, blah, blah, blah, blah,

00:41:44   input device, integrated Wacom, Wacom, Wacom, whatever it's called, NTRIG or S-Pen or companion

00:41:50   slate/tablet.

00:41:52   That is required.

00:41:53   Wow.

00:41:54   To this day.

00:41:55   this year's computing requirement. Weird, huh?

00:41:58   That's really interesting.

00:41:59   And supposedly, I don't know anyone that's in school anymore, but, because I'm way

00:42:03   too old for that, but I've heard rumblings that there are some things about it that are

00:42:08   really great and a lot of things that are really terrible. And one thing I was going

00:42:11   to bring up was, even way back when, when we were talking about like in the early 2000s

00:42:16   when these pen computers were sort of kind of popular, one of the things that I think

00:42:20   a lot of people liked about it, Marco, I think you alluded to this, was note-taking, specifically

00:42:25   OneNote, which was a Microsoft Office app that I have used and actually is really darn

00:42:29   good for taking notes. And it's very freeform and I'm sure there's equivalents on the

00:42:33   iPad now that I'm not even aware of, but at the time it kind of stood by itself as

00:42:38   a really, really awesome note-taking app. And like you said, Marco, when you can do

00:42:41   that with a pen, it's no different than paper really. It was probably better.

00:42:47   Well, it's different, but it's…

00:42:48   Well, you know, right. You know what I mean.

00:42:49   …it's really… I mean, it's way better than using a capacitive stylus on a capacitive

00:42:53   you really, if you're going to be handwriting notes or doing anything with a pen on a regular

00:42:58   basis, you really want a resistive screen or whatever the Wacom, are those resistive

00:43:03   the Wacom ones or are they just a special kind of capacitive?

00:43:06   Pressure sensitive is what you do. There's several aspects of this.

00:43:09   Yes. You want a screen that your hand will not trigger, basically.

00:43:12   Yeah, well there's this pressure sensitive and there's also proximity detection. So this

00:43:16   capacitive touch, proximity detection, which I'm not sure how that one works, and then

00:43:19   plain old pressure sensitivity. So palm, all the palms are pressure sensitive. You'd have

00:43:22   to press on the screen to make it register anything. The Windows tablet things and the

00:43:27   Wacom tablets, I believe, have proximity. They can tell when the pen is near it because

00:43:31   it hasn't even touched it yet. And I think right now, the current Wacom—that's what

00:43:35   I'm going to go with. I'm going with Wacom.

00:43:37   I believe it's Wacom, but I always say Wacom just because it's fun. Just like I say the

00:43:41   F in key.

00:43:42   Yeah, Wacom. They should have pronunciation guide on their

00:43:44   website and maybe they do, but we have not looked at it, obviously. But I think what

00:43:48   they currently do is they do the pressure sensitivity in the pen, if I'm correct. I

00:43:51   I don't know. I know at one point they've done this where the pressure sensitive device

00:43:55   is inside the pen and the surface that you're drawing on does not actually give like the

00:43:59   old Palm screens used to give.

00:44:00   I think all the Wacom tablets, I think they've always been like that. The pen is somehow

00:44:05   smart but somehow doesn't use a battery. I don't know if it uses induction to power itself

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00:46:02   So going back a second, there was some news or rumor or something.

00:46:07   We are so ill prepared for this show.

00:46:09   were some news or rumor or something that Microsoft Office for iOS was delayed or something?

00:46:13   There was something about Office for iOS this week. What was that?

00:46:16   Yeah, there was a leaked schedule that's some sort of leaked, supposed leaked document

00:46:21   from inside Microsoft that had Office for tablet type systems as 2014. And so, like

00:46:30   everyone was saying, well, they're not going to release it for iOS before they release

00:46:33   it for Windows RT or whatever, and therefore if there is an iOS version of Office, it's

00:46:40   not coming until 2014, too.

00:46:41   I think that was the gist of it.

00:46:42   The point was that lots of people thought maybe this year Microsoft would ship Office

00:46:47   for iOS, and this supposed unverified leaked thing from inside Microsoft had the number

00:46:54   2014 on it instead of 2013.

00:46:56   And that's the story.

00:46:57   That's all you need for a story.

00:46:58   Do you think, I mean, as we were discussing 15 minutes ago about businesses and their

00:47:03   computer usage and everything, do you really think that Office for iPad is going to be

00:47:10   a big deal if it ever does come out?

00:47:11   Like, in the sense that…

00:47:12   Yeah, they've waited too long.

00:47:14   Like, it's…

00:47:15   Yeah.

00:47:16   It's…like, the longer they wait, the less important and relevant it becomes, and I'm

00:47:19   not turning out my nose at it because I think it will be useful.

00:47:22   I think the most interesting thing about Office for iOS is how the hell that dance between

00:47:27   these two Cobras is going to work, or this Cobra and this mouse. If you decide, you know,

00:47:32   Apple and Microsoft are like, "Is Microsoft going to give, I guess they're going to give

00:47:36   Apple 30% of their office sales?" Like that is just, I mean, like, I don't even know how

00:47:42   that's going to work. Or is it going to be like free, but there's going to be in-app

00:47:45   purchase or a subscription and there'll be subscription only. So Microsoft gets recurring

00:47:48   revenue and they don't mind giving up the 30%. I don't know. And what is it going to look like?

00:47:53   and how is it going to have file compatibility? Will it use iCloud? Will it have Dropbox integration?

00:47:58   Will you need to sign up for Microsoft SkyDrive and it'll do HTTP requests to Microsoft servers?

00:48:03   There are so many unanswered questions about how would this... It's like a fish bicycle

00:48:07   scenario. How is this even going to work? I don't understand. And that, to me, is much

00:48:11   more interesting than does the iPad suddenly become legitimate because it has Office, because

00:48:16   I don't think people care about that.

00:48:17   Well, see, I don't know if I'd be so sure.

00:48:20   I think your average consumer, your average business consumer is assuming that the iPad

00:48:26   is a brick that is useless for doing normal day-to-day business things because it doesn't

00:48:31   have Office.

00:48:32   Now, as it turns out, I think that's bogus, but I think your Joe Schmo business consumer,

00:48:39   I bet you it will be a big mental shift once it's available.

00:48:44   That's based on NoFacts.

00:48:45   It won't be like, it'll be the same way the keynote is available on iOS and the Mac.

00:48:49   So no matter what presentation you have, it'll work identically in both places, right?

00:48:53   No.

00:48:54   Like, think of all the crazy, like, "Oh, you embed this Excel chart, this chart in

00:48:59   this thing, and this PowerPoint, and it's linked to this Excel document, and when you

00:49:02   update the Excel document…"

00:49:04   Businesses still use that stuff.

00:49:05   You can't do that on iOS.

00:49:06   Like, there's just no way.

00:49:08   Like, you have to…

00:49:09   It's not going to work the same as it does on a desktop.

00:49:11   And that I found is the bar where it's like, you know, because I have Office on my Mac,

00:49:15   but you know, people still turn their nose up at it and rightfully so.

00:49:18   Because it's like, look, we're passing around what should be a text file, but instead it's

00:49:23   a Word document that for some reason has some crazy macro thing in it or something.

00:49:28   And it doesn't look right on your Mac.

00:49:30   So just open it in your VM and just don't even bother with this.

00:49:34   Like, if it's not 100% compatible,

00:49:37   I found an amazing variety--

00:49:40   a pointless variety-- but an amazing variety

00:49:42   in the features of these individual files

00:49:45   that people use in Office for Windows,

00:49:49   and that having Office on the Mac--

00:49:51   like, maybe it gets the foot in the door,

00:49:52   or maybe it checks a checkbox.

00:49:54   But in practice, all the time I come across documents

00:49:58   that do not look the same on the Mac and the PC.

00:50:00   So what hope is there, really, that someone's

00:50:03   to be able to take a document, somehow spirit it over to your iPad, and it will function

00:50:07   correctly there.

00:50:08   Even just in a viewing.

00:50:09   Forget about editing.

00:50:10   Just like, will it look the same when I open it?

00:50:11   I have very little faith that this will be.

00:50:14   So I think it'll be the same type of phenomena.

00:50:15   Well it's got Office, and it will get in the door, but in practice it's going to be like,

00:50:19   "Look, if you didn't create it in iOS, it's going to look different there, and some things

00:50:22   might not work, and if you want to see the real budgeting spreadsheet, you have to open

00:50:26   it on a PC."

00:50:27   And I would say also, that's not that different from the status quo.

00:50:31   you're totally right that if it's gonna be like a different edition of Office, if it's

00:50:36   gonna work differently at all, which it almost certainly would have to, then that's gonna

00:50:41   be like a major problem for integrating into businesses.

00:50:45   But right now we already have that. Right now we have pages, we have iWork on iOS. So

00:50:51   we already have something, a situation now where people can open MS Office documents

00:50:57   on their iOS devices.

00:50:58   in a half-assed way. Right, and it kind of works, and if you're

00:51:02   coordinating with someone else who's using the PC version, you'll probably have issues,

00:51:07   or you'll at least have inconsistencies and weird formatting problems.

00:51:10   I mean, for crying out loud, at our office, people still send Word documents, emails,

00:51:15   and make web pages with links that the URL of links is "G" colon backslash because everyone

00:51:21   has their G drive mounted. It's just so common.

00:51:25   or triple slash, you know, like, you know, share name for like a share that's mounted

00:51:30   on everyone's PCs because the IT pushes it all in.

00:51:32   Like that's how the world works.

00:51:34   And it's like, if you are the guy with the Mac and you go, I clicked on the link and

00:51:37   nothing happened, they're going to be like, oh, well, just, just look at it in a PC.

00:51:41   It works there.

00:51:42   What a shame.

00:51:43   I mean, that's the world, that's the world the Macs come into.

00:51:47   And that's why like the people who get them are like the people who can support themselves

00:51:50   because IT doesn't want to support that.

00:51:52   They can't make everyone stop authoring documents with PC-specific features or paths to shares

00:51:57   that are not mounted on it.

00:51:58   It's just backslashes instead of slashes.

00:52:01   Like, "Well, it works fine for me on my Windows machine."

00:52:03   I don't see what your problem is.

00:52:05   I completely agree.

00:52:06   My point is simply that—and I think you yourself had said this, Jon—that it gets

00:52:10   the foot in the door and it at least lets it become part of the conversation.

00:52:15   Whereas I think for an average business user, if there's no office, it's not even a discussion.

00:52:19   I'm not even going to give it a shot.

00:52:21   In reality, even if there is Office, it's going to be a piece of garbage, not because

00:52:24   it's Microsoft, but just because there's way too much complexity for that platform.

00:52:29   But I think just having it there would be a big win in the sense that it would at least

00:52:34   let the iPad enter the conversation.

00:52:36   Well, Windows 8 is really the real entry of tablet computing into the Office, because

00:52:40   in theory, once the few more revs of silicon and Windows 8 non-laptop laptops will become

00:52:49   with a real deal. And I see no reason if Microsoft is able to keep going on this course that

00:52:56   they can't produce what's essentially that thing that, you know, the convertible tablet

00:53:01   we were just talking about, essentially that but the non-crappy version. Because now finally

00:53:05   in something that small with no keyboard attachment or maybe that clicky keyboard or maybe a full-size

00:53:10   keyboard that you can Bluetooth to or whatever, suddenly you have real computing power, a

00:53:14   reasonable small screen, maybe the possibility to hook it up to another screen.

00:53:19   It's a dockable laptop without a keyboard that turns into...

00:53:22   It's the whole Windows 8 concept, and I think that is a reasonable concept for businesses,

00:53:26   because if it's an x86 in there, you can run the "real" versions of Office, which are still

00:53:31   going to be incompatible with the Office 97 documents that people are still passing around

00:53:36   in companies all over the world.

00:53:39   That will move things on, and I think that's Microsoft's goal, is like, "Okay, we would

00:53:43   like to see a Windows 8...

00:53:44   instead of an Ultrabook, a Windows 8 tablet, but really it mostly gets used as a PC, but it also doubles as a tablet when you move it.

00:53:50   Like, that's what they're going for. And that seems reasonable to me.

00:53:53   And once that happens, then it's like, well, everyone else has these little things that look like squares that you carry.

00:53:58   Can I have the thing with the Apple logo on the back that's a square that you carry?

00:54:01   And the distinction is like, well, this has an x86 chip and it runs real office.

00:54:05   I think that would be even less of a barrier. It was like, all right, well, that's a rectangle too.

00:54:09   You can try that rectangle. Does it have Office? Yeah, but they don't know that that doesn't help you.

00:54:13   you. Well, I think, I mean, it's worth considering, would Microsoft withhold Office from iOS as

00:54:20   a competitive advantage to boost Windows 8 tablets?

00:54:22   No, they're just not done with it. You think? I don't know. I think...

00:54:28   They may not have embarked on the project with gusto at the moment the iPad was announced.

00:54:32   They're like, "Oh, get the Mac Business Unit. They need to get working on Office for iPad."

00:54:35   Maybe they didn't do that, but at this point it's not like they're holding it back. They

00:54:38   just have not been scrambling to get it. Maybe they probably are scrambling to get it finished

00:54:42   at this point, but yeah, I just think it's a factor of team size and syncing with whatever

00:54:49   the crazy strategy is going to be for pricing and figuring all that, that they just started

00:54:53   on it when they finally got all their ducks in a row about what they were going to do,

00:54:56   and they're writing it, and it will be done when it's done.

00:54:58   I don't believe that. Honestly, I think right now, maybe two years ago, I would have believed

00:55:04   that they wanted Office everywhere, and they're going to put it on the iPad. Okay. But now

00:55:10   Now that they have their own alternative to the iPad, they are competing directly with

00:55:15   iPads and iOS for professional/business/office use, I can see them totally wanting to keep

00:55:24   Microsoft Office and the real Microsoft Office, they've already used that as a selling point.

00:55:30   That these are tablets you can also get real work done on.

00:55:33   I can see them wanting to keep that exclusive and not ever making an iPad version of Office.

00:55:39   They'll make one.

00:55:41   Maybe it'll be crappy.

00:55:42   Maybe it'll be like it's made by a different team.

00:55:44   It's not really compatible.

00:55:45   I think it will eventually be there once they get everything sorted.

00:55:49   Their tablets already have Office and iPads don't.

00:55:52   They are milking the exclusivity period now.

00:55:54   I don't think there's anything to be gained by them extending it out for years and years.

00:56:01   Why do they keep making Office for the Mac?

00:56:03   not about to yank that away and say, "Well, if you want office, you have to get a PC."

00:56:06   They make money on these things.

00:56:07   That's the bottom line.

00:56:08   The Mac business unit makes the money, and I'm sure Office for iOS will as well.

00:56:13   They'll price it at a whole $9.99, or maybe it'll be a recurring subscription.

00:56:18   I don't even know what they're going to do, but I'm sure whatever they do, it'll

00:56:23   make them money.

00:56:24   Well, another thing to consider is—and I'm talking a little bit out of my wheelhouse

00:56:28   But I know I've heard a lot of rumblings around our office that it would be considerably cheaper for us to start using

00:56:35   Microsoft their office 365 or whatever it is

00:56:39   Which I don't know and barely anything about but apparently is all like I think it's web-based. It's like Google

00:56:45   Docs and Google spreadsheet or whatever, but anyway, apparently there's some office 365 thing

00:56:51   Whatever that means that I'm being told is actually considerably cheaper

00:56:56   And I believe that's a subscription-based thing.

00:56:57   Regardless if it's native software or if it's web-based,

00:57:00   it's subscription.

00:57:02   And so that makes me wonder, John,

00:57:04   if you're absolutely right, that if something arrived on the iPad,

00:57:07   maybe it'd either be part of this Office 365 thing,

00:57:10   or it would, at the very least, be a subscription one way or the other.

00:57:13   Microsoft has had the subscription bug in their butt for so many years,

00:57:16   and it's just such a hard sell.

00:57:18   I mean, Adobe's managed to-- I wouldn't say pull it off,

00:57:21   but they've managed to not have just gigantic backlash.

00:57:25   Because Adobe did the subscription thing. They continue to sell it alongside. And

00:57:28   it's the type of thing where people, I think, mentally resist the notion of,

00:57:32   "Why do I have to pay every year for this thing?" But I think once they get on that train,

00:57:35   and if you do subscription really well, if you actually... If it's not just the same exact

00:57:40   experience you had before, only now you pay every single year. If it's like, "Oh, well,

00:57:44   now you get your updates instantly, and it's nice and clean, and you never have to worry about

00:57:47   licensing." You can give all the benefits that you could possibly have with a subscription.

00:57:51   If you can deliver on those benefits, I think it is possible to bring the IT guys in.

00:57:56   Because the IT people are already paying whatever the hell thing you pay Microsoft for their

00:57:59   like.

00:58:00   You get access to all of our software for free.

00:58:03   Those deals that they make with companies where you license this and every year you

00:58:06   pay this amount of money for your exchange server and you get an unlimited number of

00:58:09   seats and any software in our library that you want, you can download license-free versions

00:58:14   of it and distribute.

00:58:16   That is basically a subscription, but it has to be renegotiated and repurchased and stuff.

00:58:19   It would be nice if it was just automated through your computer and you're just connected

00:58:23   to the big Microsoft servers and money flowed from your company into theirs every year.

00:58:28   That's the dream.

00:58:29   Isn't that what .NET originally meant?

00:58:32   Wasn't the .NET initiative originally one of the names for their subscription plans?

00:58:37   I don't think so.

00:58:38   I mean, it's an umbrella term that covered many different things, but I always associated

00:58:42   with the Common Language Runtime and that whole big ball of wax.

00:58:46   I thought it related to their Microsoft Live, before it was Microsoft Live or MSN Live,

00:58:52   whatever they're calling it now.

00:58:53   I think it was .NET Passport.

00:58:56   That's what I'm thinking of.

00:58:57   That was something else.

00:58:58   Yeah, but to most people, .NET is .NET is .NET.

00:59:01   Just like iCloud is iCloud is iCloud, even though under the hood it's many different

00:59:05   technologies doing many different things.

00:59:07   I don't know.

00:59:09   The point is, don't use iCloud.

00:59:11   So, there's another sad tweet of some person who got their app rejected because their iCloud

00:59:18   download wouldn't complete because they were testing it and they got rejected for that

00:59:22   reason. Everyone's got their limit. And who knows if that was even what the actual problem

00:59:26   ended up being, but that's what he thought it was. So, it's like, "Alright, well, I will

00:59:31   now rip the guts out of my app and start over."

00:59:34   I once pulled the print feature out of Instapaper's iOS apps, which actually, by the way, started

00:59:41   still angers like three people who used it.

00:59:45   So I developed this print feature.

00:59:48   It got my app rejected twice.

00:59:51   And then during one of the big iOS upgrades,

00:59:53   I think going from four to five, something

00:59:57   broke about it really badly.

00:59:58   And I was just like, you know what?

01:00:00   I've probably spent more time testing this feature, just

01:00:03   using it in development, than all of my customers

01:00:06   combined have used this feature.

01:00:08   But now you've got a misleading name for your-- it says right

01:00:10   Instapaper.

01:00:12   If it doesn't instantly turn things into paper,

01:00:14   I'm one star useless.

01:00:16   Well, I removed the feature, and three people got angry.

01:00:20   But most people-- I announced on Twitter, hey,

01:00:22   I'm going to remove this feature because it's

01:00:24   being problematic to support.

01:00:26   And almost every response was, you can print from Instapaper?

01:00:32   No one even knew that was there.

01:00:35   And I have to wonder-- and this is kind of Office related--

01:00:38   Like, how many people print from iOS devices?

01:00:42   I've never seen someone do it, nor have I ever done it myself.

01:00:45   The only person I know that does it regularly

01:00:48   is my father, who is very forward thinking.

01:00:52   But for some reason, he likes him some pieces of paper.

01:00:56   And so I know he does that.

01:00:57   He just hates trees.

01:00:58   That's what it is.

01:00:59   Apparently.

01:01:00   He's a terrible, terrible man.

01:01:01   Last I heard, anyway, he prints from his iPad

01:01:06   somewhat regularly and from his iPhone as well, I think. But he just, I don't know,

01:01:10   he's one of those people who just likes paper.

01:01:12   I think AirPrint, it's one of those really cool technologies that's just come out way

01:01:16   too late. It's like black CDRs. Remember those? The ones that had the black bottom surface?

01:01:22   They were that cool, yeah.

01:01:24   Well, they would have been really cool if they came out like five years earlier.

01:01:27   Oh, the PlayStation had colored ones too, right?

01:01:30   Yeah, they were all black, yeah. But just like this technology, AirPrint is this awesome

01:01:35   technology like there's no more print drivers as long as your printer supports this one particular

01:01:39   driver. That's not a technology it is a uh it's a choice it's a business a business innovation sure

01:01:43   where like finally we have the leverage to force the damn printer manufacturers to stop making

01:01:48   this byzantine zoo of crazy ass hardware and say no you do it all yourself we talk to you one way

01:01:54   and you take it and you print it and i don't want to hear about it you don't get to install any

01:01:58   drivers you don't get to do it like because that's that's why printers have been so terrible like

01:02:01   it's not a technology problem, it's a business problem, because printers were made by various

01:02:06   companies, operating systems were made by others, and this thing called a driver exists,

01:02:09   and it was just never going to be a happy ending.

01:02:12   And most printers were like soft printers, like soft modems, where the printer itself

01:02:16   would have very minimal computing power and would do almost no computations.

01:02:21   Well, that's a recent innovation. That was actually an exciting thing. That was like,

01:02:24   "Finally, it's going to solve this printing problem. We're going to make the printer super

01:02:27   dumb, we're going to put all the smarts in the driver. That'll solve the printing problem,

01:02:30   No. Just moved it around. What you really need to do is just say, "You don't get

01:02:35   to install a driver. This is what we're going to put out there. You will receive it

01:02:39   and you will print it, and if you don't, your printer will appear to be broken, and

01:02:43   that's it." This is like the Legacy Computing Podcast.

01:02:46   It is. Do you want to talk about cassette tapes next?

01:02:51   Yeah. Oh, sure. Why not?

01:02:54   Rewinding them with a pencil. Pros and cons. Be kind, rewind.

01:02:59   Let's wrap it up. Thanks again to our sponsor, Squarespace. Go to squarespace.com/ATP to

01:03:06   get a free trial and credit us with that referral and check it out if you want to make a website.

01:03:14   Do we want to shill for people to review us on iTunes?

01:03:21   Yeah! Let's do it. Yeah. Why don't you please review us on iTunes if you like us.

01:03:27   And if you don't like us, please email John.

01:03:31   And uh...

01:03:32   Is it because you looked at how many reviews you have and you got the press because there's

01:03:34   so few of them?

01:03:35   Because there aren't many.

01:03:36   Honestly, I usually forget to look at all.

01:03:38   So I end up looking like once every, I don't know, two months or so usually at my iTunes

01:03:43   reviews.

01:03:44   But usually, there aren't really that many usually.

01:03:47   Alright, so you hear that, reviewers, you don't have to say anything about Marcos, he

01:03:50   never looks.

01:03:51   But I look all the time, so say nice things about me.

01:03:52   As do I.

01:03:53   There you go.

01:03:54   I'm vain enough that I look regularly.

01:03:55   Cause it was accidental, or it was accidental.

01:04:01   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him.

01:04:06   Cause it was accidental, or it was accidental.

01:04:11   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:04:16   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:04:21   @C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:04:25   So that's Casey Liss M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:04:30   Auntie Marco Armin S-I-R-A-C

01:04:35   U-S-I-C-Racusa

01:04:37   It's accidental, accidental

01:04:40   They didn't mean to

01:04:43   ♪ Accidental accidental tech podcast ♪

01:04:47   ♪ So long ♪

01:04:50   - My favorite review is that one from the guy who was like,

01:04:53   Marco isn't that bad on this particular podcast.

01:04:56   (laughing)

01:04:57   - Take what you can get.

01:04:59   - Yeah, seriously.

01:05:00   [ Silence ]