Paul Kedrosky

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Stalking the Billion-Footed Mobile App Developer Beast

One of the primary cues I used two years ago when going short RIMM was the sliding developer interest in the Blackberry platform. Where did I see that? Well, it was partly anecdotal – from developers I know and trust, plus from startups I’ve invested in or talk to – but it was also the excellent quarterly IDC mobile app developer survey.

The latest version of the IDC Appcelerator survey is out, and the findings are, as always, interesting.

IDC survey

First up, interest in the Blackberry platform continues to fall, while developer interest in Apple remains unsurprisingly high. The former is, of course, more than a litte hard to square with the following graph i tweeted today.


Let’s leave that aside. What’s more interesting is the stubborn middling level of interest in Windows 8. Yes, it has improved since the last quarter, but it hasn’t improved commensurate with the Microsoft marketing...

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The Return of App Flux

One of the first signs of stasis and eventual decrepitude in any ecosystem is an absence of flux. So long as things are changing – appearing, disappearing and, most importantly, replacing – the system is alive.

That’s partly why mobile apps had begun to seem stale to me. As I have written a few times, I haven’t changed any of my front page apps on my iPhone in years.

And the first page is what matters. Because on-screen real estate is precious, and, like most, I rarely get past the first page of my device, so whatever is there had been be something that I use all the time.

To be fair, now and then I might have added something, but then I fairly quickly removed it again, leaving the core first page apps the same. That isn’t exactly the sign of a vibrant app ecosystem, if no new apps came along that could knock something else off the front page.

This year, however, has been different....

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Amazon vs Wal-Mart: Holiday E-shopping Wars

It’s no secret that Amazon and Wal-Mart going toe-to-toe this holiday shopping season online. The two companies are the go-to online places for people – which is to say, me – who hate shopping and hate malls.

With that in mind, JPMorgan has released its annual look at holiday online buying, comparing prices of a basket of 50 goods across Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target.

Amazon vs Wal-Mart

It really comes down to Amazon and Wal-Mart, however, as they are the only online retailers JPM looked at with most of the 50 items in stocks. Even then, however, there are six cases where only Amazon has the product, not Wal-Mart (which is why the total below is not 50).

Amazon vs Wal-Mart

While Wal-Mart beats Amazon more regularly on price, what is interesting is how it does it. In six of 18 cases where Wal-Mart has lower online prices, the difference is a penny, showing that Wal-Mart is likely scraping Amazon prices in some...

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RIM, You’re No Nortel

More than a few people are fond of bringing up the example of Nortel when it comes to RIM’s ongoing decline. The comparison is extreme, as the following figure should make clear.

To turn back the clock, however, let’s remind ourselves how extreme Nortel was, Back In The Day. My favorite example: At its zenith Nortel accounted for a staggering 30% of TSX market capitalization. The Toronto exchange was essentially the Nortel exchange.

Did RIM ever become as important to the TSX as Nortel? No way, and not even close. Of course, it did have an echo boom in the post-Nortel years, as the following graph (using Bloomberg data) shows. But RIM peaked at around 5% of TSX market capitalization. (Apologies for the horrible color choices; will fix later when I get a chance.)

RIM vs Nortel

As Senator Lloyd Bentsen might say, “I worked with Nortel, I knew Nortel, Nortel was a company I invested in. RIM, you’re...

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Google vs the BEA on U.S. Durable Goods

I was messing about this morning with Google Domestic Indicators – a search-based measure of economic activity in the U.S. – just as the August durable goods orders numbers came out. I was curious how those numbers matched up again Google’s, so I put together the following graph to see.

The upshot: Google’s indicator has been not bad in 2012, as well as in the second half of 2011. Early in 2011 the two were far apart, however.

Google vs BEA

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