The Google Phone (and Netbook): More Fun With "Journalistic" Dumb-Dumbs
Apologies in advance, dear readers. I realize I’m beating the same topic drum two posts in a row. But I can’t resist. Only a few hours after publishing my earlier Google Phone-themed writeup which, among other things, posited:
The wild card here is pricing. Will Google leverage its substantial fiscal war chest and substantially under-price the Nexus One as compared to unlocked handsets past, under the assumption that subsequent ad revenue will justify the upfront subsidization?
I saw an absolutely ridiculous post from Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan, ‘analyzing’ the feasibility of Google offering the Nexus One for free. That’s right, free. Note that I earlier said ‘under-price’. I was thinking $300-$500. Not free.
Yes, Matt. "Google has a gigantic $22 billion pile of cash. Just sitting there. It had profits of $1.64 billion last quarter, on revenues of $5.94 billion. It has a lot of money." And yes, advertising is lucrative. And yes, the mobile Internet is big, and getting bigger. But Matt’s ‘analysis’ ignores the reality that the cellular carriers on whose support Google would be reliant in the U.S. would openly revolt and do everything in their power to block access to their networks by Google’s gratis cellphone.
The service providers are heavily reliant from a fiscal standpoint on the lengthy lucrative contracts that subsidized handsets hook customers into signing up for…along with the lucrative fees the carriers charge when customers terminate those contracts early. Yes, even T-Mobile, in spite of its recently introduced no-contract plans. And Matt’s analysis also ignores the reality that not only would a Google gratis cellphone crater the market for any other Android-powered handset that partner HTC might want to sell, it’d also fatally damage the embryonic Android programs at other key hardware suppliers such as Motorola and Samsung.
Now for TechCrunch. Infamous founder Michael Arrington, who ignited the Google Phone frenzy last Friday night, now claims that his ’sources’ tell him Google will begin selling a branded netbook by this time next year, running the Chrome O/S. I buy the belief that at least a few brand-name OEMs will take the plunge on Chrome O/S-based netbook experiments in time for Christmas 2010. And given Chrome O/S’s heavy reliance on HTML 5 and other CPU-agnostic technologies, I even concur with Mike that at least some of them will used ARM-based CPUs such as Nvidia’s Tegra series and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon. But c’mon, Mike. Wouldn’t a Google-branded netbook squash all of that burgeoning OEM partner goodwill, to Microsoft’s benefit? And anyway, aren’t you the same guy who erroneously claimed a month back that the mythical ‘Google Phone’ would exclusively rely on VoIP over Wi-Fi and WiMAX networks? Yeah, I thought so.
Although the title of this writeup includes the word ‘dumb-dumb’, I actually think that both Matt and Mike are being quite shrewd. Shrewd in a way that dispenses with any shred of journalistic ethics integrity (assuming either one of them even knows what journalistic ethics are), mind you, but shrewd nonetheless. Realize that their businesses are completely reliant on advertising revenue maximized by maximizing the number of eyeballs that visit their sites. So as you can probably already ascertain, the motivation to make attention-grabbing albeit (as I hope I’ve shown above) logically ridiculous claims is pretty high. Even if the ’sources’ that supposedly feed the writers these claims are nothing more than make-believe voices in the writers’ heads.
Readers, whenever you see something online, please carefully consider the source before accepting whatever you’re being offered. Consider the writer’s business and technical competence as exemplified by his or her educational and professional background, along with his or her past prognostication track record. And consider what ulterior motive the writer might have in passing along whatever ‘information’ he or she is sharing, along with whatever subtle-or-not slant he or she is putting on the presentation and the conclusions.
P.T. Barnum is generally (but not universally) credited with first uttering the famous phrase, ‘There’s a sucker born every minute‘. Don’t be a sucker.