Author Archives: Michael Gartenberg

Michael Gartenberg is a partner at Altimeter Group. His weblog can be found at gartenblog.net. Contact him at Gartenberg AT gmail DOT com Views expressed here are his own.

Context is the killer app for the digital consumer

Context is the killer app for the digital consumer

As recently as a five years ago, it was relatively easy to segment the mobile market into business users and consumers. Business users had specific needs, as did consumers, and rarely did those needs intersect. Today, the idea of segmenting users into the classes of business vs. consumer is becoming archaic and to attempt that level of breakdown will lead to erroneous views of the market.

Snow Leopard is Just Plain Cool: Gartenberg First Hands On

Snow Leopard is Just Plain Cool: Gartenberg First Hands On

This fall will see the introduction of new operating system releases by the two major vendors in this space. For the first time in recent memory, Apple and Microsoft will go up against each other head to head with the newest versions of their platforms, released within weeks of each other. First up is Apple with Snow Leopard. Originally announced for a late September release, Apple surprised the market with an early ship date. Users will be able to pick up their copies starting on the 28th. Pricing for the release is $29 for Leopard users looking to upgrade. For Mac users still on Tiger, Apple offers the Snow Leopard box set which includes Snow Leopard along with the latest versions of iLife and iWork for $169.

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Windows Mobile: Don’t write it off yet

Windows Mobile: Don’t write it off yet

Windows Mobile has been around for a long time. It started life in 1996 as Windows CE (which some say stood for Consumer Electronics and Microsoft insisted was an acronym for nothing) with the first clamshell device coming from Casio, called the Cassiopeia. Over time, it's evolved into a stable platform, with both enterprise and consumer appeal and devices from multiple vendors available for carriers around the world. Despite selling 20 million devices last year, there's still a lot of negative buzz about the platform. Bloggers, analysts and journalists have all called the platform's future into question (while still calling for a mythical Microsoft-created phone) and continue to raise the question of platform viability. I think the latest version of Windows Mobile, 6.5 addresses many of those issues along with strong support from OEMs who are still committed to the platform and will help drive business adoption further over the next 18 months.

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Understanding the Mobile Rule of Three

Understanding the Mobile Rule of Three

It's an interesting challenge. Lots of mobile devices that are all vying for the consumer pocket (and wallet). But just how many devices will consumers carry with them at any one time? The answer is important as that also helps define which devices will be successful and which ones will fail. Conventional wisdom holds that most consumers prefer to carry only a single device, and while that wisdom is correct it only tells a partial story. We've done some interesting research at Interpret that says there's more here than conventional wisdom would indicate and that consumers are willing to carry more than one device; however there's also an upper limit on that number.

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The Wright Brothers and Frequent Flyer Programs or Why Predicting the Future is So Hard

The Wright Brothers and Frequent Flyer Programs or Why Predicting the Future is So Hard

Life as an analyst is exciting. For fifteen years, I have had the privilege of standing at the center of the technology universe, observing the technology landscape, charting the major tends and offering my predictions for the future. In that course of time, I watched as fundamental changes occurred. Changes that were large enough to alter the course of the industry. Changes that were sweeping in nature. The funny thing is they were all changes that were almost universally missed by the pundits and experts.

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Time for Apple TV to go from Hobby to Strategic Product

Time for Apple TV to go from Hobby to Strategic Product

With the successful launch of the iPhone 3GS last spring and a new version of OS X and a new crop of iPods expected this fall, one player in Apple's lineup seems to have gone missing, namely Apple TV. On Apple's financial conference call, the device that Steve Jobs once described as "a hobby" was not mentioned once. I hope Apple hasn't given up on this category as there's a lot of value and function in Apple TV that has yet to make it into other products in this space.

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Five tech things I want

Five tech things I want

We've come so far these days in the world of personal technology but in some ways, we're still missing the mark. Sure it's the middle of summer but here are five things I'd like to see on the market this (or any) holiday season:

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Blame it on the network

Blame it on the network

We've come a long way. It was not long ago when most of us had but a single screen in our homes – the television set. (Of course in our house growing up, we had a lot more than that. I come from a family of early adopters). Over time, we added second and third TVs as well as an entirely new category of screen in the form of the personal computer. Increasingly, both TVs and PCs are now found throughout the home, connected to each other as well as the Internet. Net result, a dramatic increase in the complexity of consumer infrastructure. In short, it just doesn't work most of the time for too many folks and I blame the home network. Oh, it's not merely three screens consumers are dealing with but rather multiple PCs, TVs, and other stuff with a screen on it.

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Chrome OS is sound and fury signifying nothing

Chrome OS is sound and fury signifying nothing

With much sound and fury, the blogosphere and Twitter all respond to Google's "bombshell" announcement that they're launching Chrome OS sometime in the 2nd half of 2010 (which I might add is a long time from now). Already, folks who have never seen it, used it or spent five minutes with it are claiming it's huge threat to Windows. (Oddly, if that's the case, wouldn't it also be a threat to Apple and Mac OS, an argument I've not seen but perhaps that's another story).

While it's early to be dismissive, this is far from a slam-dunk success. It feels more like another way Google is attempting to provoke Microsoft. Something, which Google seems to like to do with increased regularity. (Actually, it feels like Google likes to give Microsoft a smack on the side of the head with a sharp stick form time to time).

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