Tuesday, July 5, 2011

makes you wonder where they get the numbers

We went to see Cars II on Saturday night with our granddaughter. It was the #2 grossing film of the night for the nation, in 4,115 theatres, grossing $9.5M

We went to see Midnight in Paris on Sunday night. It was the #10 movie in the US that night, in 858 theatres, with $1.3m gross.

What was amazing to me is that Cars II was in its second week, and there were maybe twenty people in the theatre in the heart of Silicon Valley. "Midnight" was sold out at the first four theatres we tried with Fandango ticketing, and for the show we got into, it was jammed, probably two hundred people in the theatre, the seventh week after release. Every week of the first six for it have gone up in numbers, but no weekly number exceeded what Cars II did on that one Saturday night.

I don't question the box office numbers. But I do wonder why the 'on-the-ground' experience is so misaligned to what the numbers say.

I'm reminded of this because I am old enough to remember the MacIntosh and the original IBM PC. No one in Silicon Valley thought the PC had any lasting value (well, okay, 'no one' is a bit strong, but even Andy Grove was dismissive and his chips were in it); lots of folk were enamored of the Mac. The PC though won the dollar contest in business, hands down, by a margin of better than an order of magnitude.

So if there is any solace for HP today, after the dismal reviews of the TouchPad this weekend, maybe they can liken the iPad to the Mac, and the TouchPad to the PC?

No, no, don't go down that path, Charlie

my experience re iPad

The day before Mother's Day, I wanted to get something electronic for my wife. She's used her Kindle sporadically, her Blackberry non-stop, her MacAir faithfully, and her HP PC from Cisco grudgingly, compared to her 27" iMac. She did work for HP for five years, admires the company to this day.

I loved the Sharp Galapagos, esp. the 10" screen, in March in Japan, but it didn't clear the FCC reqments in the US until today, and won't be available for months. So, in reading all the webdata, the Barnes and Noble Color Nook looked like the best bet. She reads every magazine there is, so this would be perfect, I felt.

Staples had a display of both color and B/W Nooks, as well as every Kindle model, the Motorola Xoom, and the Nokia, Samsung, and Sony machines. Android was available for all but the eBooks. I could fondle each machine, try it on National Geographic, Travel and Leisure, and Bon Appetit magazines,and also browse the web.

The Nook sucked, in a word. Poor quality, poor feel. The Xoom was the best, but not overly intuitive.

Four people were in the store, none looking at these 'hot items'. I asked the clerk which were the most popular. She said she'd sold a couple of Xooms. I asked which she preferred. She ducked her head, and whispered, "The iPad, but we don't carry it."

I went to the Apple store at the Stanford Shopping Center. I was the 32nd person in line to get a number to wait for a Specialist, who could take my order. I could fondle (after waiting behind a crowd) one of the twelve iPads on display while I waited. When my Specialist got to me, twenty minutes later, he said they were out of all iPads except the hefty-accesoried model for several hundred extra dollars, but he could sell me a very nifty gift card, and maybe by using the on-line store, she could get one in two or three weeks. Or, he said, she could check back next week.

She loved the gift card. I mentioned the Xoom and the Nook alternatives. She said, "you are kidding, right?"

The following Saturday, we were at the Apple store at 9:55am, they open at 10am. We were the 21st customer in line. No one else seemed to be anywhere in the mall. They told her, try the on-line, it'll be faster.

She got her iPad two weeks later. She loves it. I mentioned the TouchPad this weekend -- she said, "aren't they a little late?"

Ouch, and then some

This post has got to be concerning. What a great 'on-the-ground' report.
Jason Perlow wrote: "today on my lunch break I headed over to Best Buy over at Garden State Plaza, one of the busiest shopping malls and retail complexes in the entire country. Granted, the 4th of July weekend probably isn’t the smartest time to launch a new tablet. In New Jersey, a lot of people scooted out early and went down to the shore last night. But Garden State Plaza still was filled with plenty of cars at 11:30AM today. I parked my car outside of Best Buy. No lines out the door, no police attempting to keep order. I walked in.
I glanced at the security guard. “Where is the HP display, you know, for the tablet?”

“Oh… all the computer stuff is upstairs.” He motioned me to take the escalator. I took the ride to the top.

I walked over to who appeared to be the retail sales manager. “So where’s the TouchPad?”

“The what?”

“You know, the HP Tablet. The one that goes on sale today.”

“I don’t think we carry that here.”

“You’re supposed to be their primary retail launch partner, how could you not have them?”

“Well, all the HP and tablet stuff is over there… (pointing) it might be on display, if you get the SKU, just get one of the stock boys to get one out of the cage.”


I walked over to the tablet area, where there was a prominent display for the iPad and various Android tablets, including the Acer Iconia, the ASUS Transformer and the Motorola XOOM. Off to the side, on an empty white formica table was the HP TouchPad.

Nobody was huddled around it. Nobody was playing with it. There were no lines of people asking to buy one. There was one other gentleman who came to buy an ASUS Transformer who asked me a few questions about it while I fondled it and took photos of the store.
I motioned over to the stockboy and pointed at the SKU for the TouchPad. “Can you get me one of these out of the cage?”

“Sure… you want the 16GB or the 32GB? We’ve got about sixteen units in stock if you want to buy more of them.”

“16GB, thanks. Do you have any accessories, like the Touchstone or the cases? Or the keyboard?”

“Nope. I can check the Fashion Center store though. (calls other store on phone, asks for the electronics department, waits on hold for about 30 seconds) No, no accessories. The other store has about another 20 of these. Here’s your tablet, I hope you like it, it seems pretty cool.” He hands me the box.

“I was kind of expecting HP to have a better display, with demos and stuff. Maybe a customer rep to show it off.”

“Yeah, well, HP came over to Garden State Plaza earlier in the week for an event when the Transformers movie came out as sort of a double promotion. But they haven’t been here since. I heard they may have given the guys some training at the other store.”

“How many of these have you sold today?”

“You’re the first.”

I handed the cashier my AMEX, paid, and walked out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

confusion in the marketplace?

Friday's Wall Street Journal carried the following (by Ben Worthen and Ian Sherr):

"H-P's device, the TouchPad, comes more than a year after Apple started selling its iPad. In that time, Apple has sold more than 25 million tablets and added nearly $100 billion in market capitalization. H-P, meanwhile, has lost $50 billion.

H-P is planning a marketing blitz for the TouchPad. But it faces an uphill battle in the fast-growing tablet market, which is dominated by the iPad and crowded with devices from Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility..."
Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303763404576418063248909764.html#ixzz1QyINXwXQ

A classic, really snotty article, by journalists with their heads parked where the sun doesn't shine. HP lost virtually all of the capitalization due to the Hurd debacle, not for lack of a TouchPad. And as we've documented here for several years, the Hurd shell game was essentially over, and whoever was next would have to deal with a shortchanged deck.
Yes, Apple's stock has gone nuts, rightfully, and the i-Pad is a huge winner (as are the i-Pod, the i-Phone, and the i-Mac). But Cisco, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Motorola, Intel, Oracle, SAP, and even IBM stocks have fared poorly also -- check it out, and no one is suggesting that they should be head-to-head compared to Apple's success.

Saturday's WSJ Blog repeats the quote, adding that: "Fifth Man in a Four-Man Race’: Starting today, H-P will have employees stationed in over 100 Best Buy stores, selling its new TouchPad tablet priced at $499. The device debuted to some mixed reviews, earning plaudits for its WebOS and criticism for everything else. A major negative, the lack of native applications. H-P said that the TouchPad will have 300 apps—roughly 89,700 apps less than Apple’s iPad. The company is working with software makers to develop programs for the device, but with no established customer base there is little incentive for developers. The WSJ tracks down a mobile games maker, Bryan Duke of Acceleroto who says, “I can reach a bigger audience—more happy customers and more potential revenue—with [Apple’s] iOS,” he said."

Well,duh... HP pointedly said for months that it is building a Business TouchPad, not an entertainment TouchPad. Accelerato builds games that no IT manager would allow to run in a business setting. So do the porn guys, but their stuff sells. An X-rated producer could give an equally appropriate WSJ quote.

We just hosted three grandchildren this week, two are eight years old and one is thirteen. We compared notes for our i-Pads (yes, we each have one). The thirteen year old girl had over two hundred apps; two were worth adding to my wife's iPad which she uses primarily for her business, but also for magazines and even the WSJ. Of my wife's seventeen apps, the girl wanted one. The eight-year olds had already used their monthly allotment of minutes, and filled a quarter of the memory with streaming video shot around their house. The first sixteen movies appeared mostly to show the family dog wandering all about. Deathless video, destined for YouTube.

Serious laptop users, serious book readers and researchers, and most folk who work for companies have real work to do -- if the 89,700 apps now available on the iPad and not on the TouchPad, help dramatically in those contexts, they'll be ported soon enough -- provided that HP can establish that it has built a quality product for real business users, overcoming the clear shortcomings of all current iPad-like devices for such environs. But such observations don't make good press copy.