Start Up No.1,001: Mars One hits zero, automate Google Docs!, Saudi patriarchy app under fire, boo to blitzscaling, and more

Mm, tasty! Must be why Amazon snapped up mesh startup eero. CC-licensed photo by Alan Levine on Flickr.

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A selection of 12 links for you. Really millennium bug-proof, eh? I’m @charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Amazon buys mesh WiFi startup Eero to connect smart homes • Engadget

Jon Fingas:


Amazon is still busy snapping up companies to bolster its smart home business. This time it’s acquiring Eero, the startup that has developed a solid reputation for its mesh WiFi routers. There’s no mystery as to why it’s making the move — it likes the thought of an easy-setup WiFi system that can connect all the smart devices in your household, even in remote corners.

“We are incredibly impressed with the eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work,” Amazon’s Dave Limp said.

The company hasn’t said how much it will pay for the deal or when it will close.

While it’s too soon to say exactly what Amazon has planned for Eero, it’s easy to see how the acquisition could help its bottom line. There’s now a vast range of Alexa-aware devices that need reliable internet connections to work properly. Ring’s doorbells and sensors could also benefit, as could Amazon’s streaming services and Fire TV devices. With Eero, Amazon could become a one-stop shop that supplies both smart home gadgets and the routers you need to get them online.


Wonder if this makes it more or less likely that eero will come to the UK. Also, one reader tells me that Ring-branded equipment is being sold off in corporate auctions: maybe there’s an Amazon rebrand (Echo Video?) on the way. I wonder if eero will also get rebranded.

Also: a missed opportunity for Apple.
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Mars One is dead • Engadget

Daniel Cooper:


The company that aimed to put humanity on the red planet has met an unfortunate, but wholly-expected end. Mars One Ventures, the for-profit arm of the Mars One mission was declared bankrupt back in January, but wasn’t reported until a keen-eyed Redditor found the listing. It was the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, previously the founder of green energy company Ampyx Power. Lansdorp’s aim was to start a company that could colonize one of our nearest neighbors.

Mars One was split into two ventures, the non-profit Mars One Foundation and the for-profit Mars One Ventures. The Swiss-based Ventures AG was declared bankrupt by a Basel court on January 15th and was, at the time, valued at almost $100 million. Mars One Ventures PLC, the UK-registered branch, is listed as a dormant company with less than £20,000 in its accounts.


Oh well, have to make do tidying up here rather than messing up there.
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Google Docs gets an API for task automation | TechCrunch


Google today announced the general availability of a new API for Google Docs that will allow developers to automate many of the tasks that users typically do manually in the company’s online office suite. The API has been in developer preview since last April’s Google Cloud Next 2018 and is now available to all developers.

As Google notes, the REST API was designed to help developers build workflow automation services for their users, build content management services and create documents in bulk.

Using the API, developers can also set up processes that manipulate documents after the fact to update them, and the API also features the ability to insert, delete, move, merge and format text, insert inline images and work with lists, among other things.

The canonical use case here is invoicing, where you need to regularly create similar documents with ever-changing order numbers and line items based on information from third-party systems (or maybe even just a Google Sheet). Google also notes that the API’s import/export abilities allow you to use Docs for internal content management systems.


That has been a long time coming. It’s quite Javascript-y, and needs a special download and so has to be run from a specific machine (including servers).
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China’s demographic danger grows as births fall far below forecast • WSJ


Chinese leaders in 2016 scrapped the decades-old one-child policy after economists warned it was creating a demographic time bomb for China, contributing to a shrinking workforce and a rapidly aging population.

New data show the reversal isn’t having the anticipated impact. The number of newborns in China dropped to 15.23 million in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That’s two million less than 2017 and 30% below the median official forecast of more than 21 million.

It was also the lowest level of births since 1961, when millions were struggling to survive during China’s Great Famine. Newborns eventually become workers, making them essential to economic growth in the long run.

“The demographic outlook does appear to be deteriorating faster than officials had expected,” analysts at Capital Economics wrote in a recent research note.

That’s making it harder for officials to lower taxes much to stimulate growth, since doing so could make it tougher to shore up underfunded pension programs. It’s also making it harder to encourage consumers to boost spending, as more people worry over health and retirement costs.

The demographic outlook is fueling fears China could grow old before it gets rich, leaving it with too few workers to cover the cost of its aging population. That could stoke economic troubles that far outlast turbulence from trade battles this year.


China’s median age is about to cross over the US’s (at 38 years old) and start catching up with Japan’s 48 years old. The proportion over 65 compared to those of working age is forecast to pass the US in 2040, though still be behind Japan.
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Apple iPhone sales in China fell by a fifth in fourth quarter, says IDC • Reuters

Brenda Goh, Sonam Rai and Sankalp Phartiyal:


Apple no longer breaks out detailed numbers on iPhone shipments in its quarterly results, meaning that surveys and channel checks by the likes of IDC are often the clearest indicator of shifts in sales.

The figures in the report showed a 19.9% fall in Apple’s smartphone shipments in the final quarter of 2018, while Huawei’s grew 23.3%. That reduced Apple’s market share to 11.5% from 12.9% a year earlier, the report said.

“Besides regular performance upgrades in 2018 and small changes to the exterior, there has not been any major innovation that supports users to continue to change their phones at the greatly increased price,” the report said.

“The severe macro environment in China and the assault of domestic brands’ innovative products have also been reasons for Apple’s continued decline.”

A separate report from another common industry source, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint, earlier this month confirmed a similar sharp fall in sales in India – another big emerging market where Apple is struggling.


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YouTube attempts to tame self-created conspiracy monster • NY Mag

Madison Malone Kircher:


David Hogg… survived the Parkland school shooting that left 17 of his classmates and teachers dead, only to have to endure viral videos peddling a conspiracy that he was not a high schooler, but rather a paid crisis actor. Following the shooting, the video of Hogg spiked to the No. 1 trending spot on YouTube before the platform finally took it down. A different video from the same user purporting to show Hogg “forgetting his lines” was left up even after the other video was removed by YouTube. (It has since also been deleted.) This week, Valentine’s Day will mark one year since the Parkland shooting.

[Former YouTube engineer Guillaume] Chaslot wrote [on Twitter] that YouTube has two options when it comes to curbing conspiracy-theory videos: that “people spend more time on round earth videos” or that the company “change the AI.” “YouTube’s economic incentive is for solution 1,” he continued. “After 13 years, YouTube made the historic choice to go towards 2.”

It feels like we’re giving YouTube way too much credit here [for downplaying conspiracy videos]. YouTube didn’t have to give Alex Jones, a man who claims the shooting at Sandy Hook didn’t happen, a platform for as long as it did. (YouTube finally banned Jones in August 2018.) Just like (before January) it didn’t have to let people continue posting scientifically debunked schlock about how vaccines cause autism just because those videos technically weren’t violating the rules. The company isn’t going with option two at great cost to its bottom line. The company is going with option two because the cost of people calling it out for going with option one for so long is becoming untenable.


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Apple, Google criticised for Saudi Absher app that tracks women • INSIDER

Bill Bostock:


Apple and Google have been accused of helping to “enforce gender apartheid” in Saudi Arabia, by offering a sinister app which allows men to track women and stop them leaving the country.

Both Google Play and iTunes host Absher, a government web service which allows men to specify when and how women can cross Saudi borders, and to get close to real-time SMS updates when they travel.

Absher also has benign functions — like paying parking fines — but its travel features have been identified by activists and refugees as a major factor in the continued difficulty women have leaving Saudi Arabia.

Neither Apple nor Google responded to repeated requests for comment from INSIDER over several days prior to publication.

INSIDER reported on the existence of Absher last week, along with the story of Shahad al-Mohaimeed, a Saudi teen refugee who evaded the system to claim asylum in Sweden.


Bets on whether this will be removed? It’s a bit like Find My Friends (which we call Stalk My Family), but with added patriarchy: insert woman’s passport number, number of journeys she can make, and a place where they can cancel her permission to travel. It’s had more than a million downloads.

But what app store rule(s) does it break?
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The fundamental problem with Silicon Valley’s favorite growth strategy • Quartz

Tim O’Reilly:


Hoffman recalls his own success with the “blitzscaling” philosophy during the early days of Paypal. Back in 2000, the company was growing 5% per day, letting people settle their charges using credit cards while using the service for free. This left the company to absorb, ruinously, the 3% credit card charge on each transaction. He writes:

“I remember telling my old college friend and Paypal co-founder/CEO Peter Thiel, ‘Peter, if you and I were standing on the roof of our office and throwing stacks of hundred-dollar bills off the edge as fast as our arms could go, we still wouldn’t be losing money as quickly as we are right now.’”

But it worked out. Paypal built an enormous user base quickly, giving the company enough market power to charge businesses to accept Paypal payments. They also persuaded most customers to make those payments via direct bank transfers, which have much lower fees than credit cards. If they’d waited to figure out the business model, someone else might have beat them to the customer that made them a success: eBay, which went on to buy Paypal for $1.5 billion (which everyone thought was a lot of money in those days), launching Thiel and Hoffman on their storied careers as serial entrepreneurs and investors.

Of course, for every company like Paypal that pulled off that feat of hypergrowth without knowing where the money would come from, there is a dotcom graveyard of hundreds or thousands of companies that never figured it out. That’s the “risks potentially disastrous defeat” part of the strategy that Hoffman and Yeh talk about. A strong case can be made that blitzscaling isn’t really a recipe for success but rather survivorship bias masquerading as a strategy.


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Apple ‘black site’ gives contractors few perks, little security • Bloomberg

Joshua Brustein:


Apex is one tiny part of a sprawling global network of staffing firms working with Apple; it is not even the only firm staffing the facility at Hammerwood Avenue. For Apple Maps alone, workers are spread across several locations in Silicon Valley, as well as in Austin, Texas; London; the Czech Republic; and India, according to people who worked on the project. The operation involves thousands of contractors. At Hammerwood, the population has exceeded 250 at times, although the number fluctuates and Apple declined to give a current count.

Places like Hammerwood undermine the mythology of Silicon Valley as a kind of industrial utopia where talented people work themselves to the bone in exchange for outsize salaries and stock options. A common perception in the Bay Area is that its only serious tech-labor issue is the high cost of living driven by the industry’s obscene salaries. But many of those poorer residents work in tech, too. For decades, contractors and other contingent workers have served meals, driven buses, and cleaned toilets at tech campuses. They’ve also built circuit boards and written and tested software, all in exchange for hourly wages and little or no job security.

In different forms, temporary labor as an alternative to full-time employment has grown across the U.S. economy. Companies in many industries now use staffing firms to handle work once done by full-time workers. The technology industry offers one of the starkest examples of how the groups’ fortunes have diverged. While companies aren’t required to disclose the sizes of their contingent workforces, there’s ample evidence that tech companies use large numbers of contractors and temps. Last year, Bloomberg News reported that direct employees at Alphabet Inc.’s Google accounted for less than half its workforce. 


Back in 2012, Alexis Madrigal was let inside one of the places where Google updates Google Maps. “It has all the free food, ping pong, and Google Maps-inspired Christoph Niemann cartoons that you’d expect, but it’s still a low-slung office building just off the 101 in Mountain View in the burbs,” he wrote. Wonder if he just didn’t see the bits where they queued for the toilets, and so on. Clever PR.
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Yeah, Apple is probably building a modem • DIGITS to DOLLARS

Jay Goldberg:


the fact that the modem team is just now moving likely means that their modem effort is still fairly nascent. There is a lot of work to be done here, especially in building out support for older wireless standards. Any modem today has to support all the existing cellular standards going back to 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE. That is a time-consuming process. Moreover, to be competitive, Apple’s modem will have to build 5G capabilities. If they are starting from scratch, it is hard to see them finishing all of that in less than a year, even at an incredible sprint. Admittedly, Apple is always full of surprises, so they probably have some clever shortcut that escapes us mere mortals, but even still, it is pretty unlikely that next year’s (2020) iPhone would have an Apple modem.

Second, this is bad news for Intel who is currently the sole source supplier for iPhone modems. Apple has been long rumored to be working on its own laptop CPU to replace Intel, and now it seems Apple is also designing out the Intel modem. We suspect that Intel will still provide something to Apple’s modem, perhaps some form of IP license or sale of software libraries to speed up the development. There is also an outside chance that Apple just buys Intel’s modem team. We have no idea if this is happening, but it would certainly speed up the hiring for Apple’s modem team.

Third, there is a possibility that this is an Apple head fake of some sort. Why did this story leak now and who leaked it? Reuters only cites “two people familiar with the move”. This does not sound like an Apple employee. The author, Stephen Nellis, covers Apple and Qualcomm, and seems to have a pretty broad contact network. So one scenario is that Apple directly leaked this story, probably as a way of ratcheting up the pressure on Qualcomm, any means necessary for World War Patents. Another scenario is that Apple’s modem team has gotten big enough that keeping it secret is just not possible anymore.


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Airpods 2 with grip coating, and AirPower, said to launch this spring • Macrumors

Tim Hardwick:


Rumor site MySmartPrice said one of its “trusted sources” claims the AirPods 2, tipped for release this year, will offer better bass response thanks to improved internals, and both the earbuds and case will include a special matte coating to enhance grip, similar to a coating used on the glass back of Google’s Pixel 3 phone.

The report also repeats previous rumors suggesting Apple’s second-generation AirPods will feature health monitoring features, including heart-rate monitoring, and claims that battery life is likely to be more or less similar to the current model.

In addition, the site believes the new AirPods 2 earphones will be available in black and white colors and cost around $200, a $40 increase on the current price, although whether this detail comes from the same source or just speculation is unclear.

The site’s source offers no concrete launch window for the AirPods 2, however in a separate report this morning, DigiTimes reiterated previous rumors from its supply chain sources that Apple will release new-generation AirPods in the first half of this year. Apple supplier Inventec is a major assembler of AirPods and expects its shipments to grow further as a result of the launch, which has also been tipped for early 2019 by well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Meanwhile, MySmartPrice claims Apple’s AirPower wireless charging pad will be thicker than originally planned due to an internal 8-7-7 coil configuration, and will finally be released in Spring this year, “alongside the wireless charging case for the first-generation AirPods.” Apple is expected to release a standalone AirPods case that can be purchased as an upgrade for existing AirPods to enable wireless charging.


If correct, that separates heartrate monitoring from the Watch, which would imply Apple foresees broader benefits from the health space. Even in the UK, the number of people you see wearing them is surprising: it’s a bit like when the iPod became a sleeper hit almost overnight in 2003.
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Exclusive: undercover spy exposed in NYC was one of many • Associated Press

Raphael Satter on attempts by the mysterious NSO Group, whose software was used to hack activists’ phones in Mexico, to entrap those suing it:


Who hired the undercover agents remains unclear, but their operational and digital fingerprints suggest they are linked.

The six operatives all began approaching their targets around the same time with individually tailored pitches. Their bogus websites followed the same patterns; all of them were hosted on Namecheap and many were bought at auction from GoDaddy and used the Israeli web design platform Wix. The formatting of the websites was similar; in at least two instances — MGP and Lyndon Partners — it was identical. Even the operatives’ email signatures were the same — consisting of three neatly packed, colorful lines consisting of a phone number, web address and email.

The operatives’ LinkedIn pages were similar, too, featuring men in sunglasses shot from a distance, facing away from the camera, or at unusual angles — a tactic sometimes use to frustrate facial recognition algorithms.

Despite the indications that the undercover agents are all linked, there is no conclusive evidence who they might work for. An Israeli television channel, Channel 12, broadcast a report on Saturday claiming that an Israeli private investigation firm, Black Cube, had been investigating issues around the lawsuits against NSO. The TV channel showed secretly shot footage of the Cypriot lawyer, Markou, and the London journalist, Hamid, which matched the pair’s description of their encounters with undercover agents.


Lying to people about who you’re working for is much harder now if they intend to check you. Does the company exist? How long has the website existed? Why are the photos odd? All this has changed spycraft dramatically.
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified

14 thoughts on “Start Up No.1,001: Mars One hits zero, automate Google Docs!, Saudi patriarchy app under fire, boo to blitzscaling, and more

  1. re. AppStore rules, from

    “We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”

    So, apparently that one isn’t over the line for Apple.

    • PS: Stalk my Family is incredibly useful when you’re trying to find someone in a large beach or park, or even unknown city. The Google version has several settings, the sanest one is: deny all location requests except from a list of people, and for those approved people, display for 5 mins an alert/notification that offers to deny the request; allow request only if approved or after 5 mins w/o refusal.

    • While many in the west easily agree that the Saudi regime is oppressive and vile, that app is apparently lawful in Saudi Arabia. So the question, again, is, what line is it over? What rule(s) of the App Store, or Google Play, does it break? Bear in mind that if you’re going to make this exception you have to come up with a framework to explain why you’re doing it, so that variations on this app can be measured against it. Is it bad if the app only knows how long the woman’s journey is? Is it bad if it allows them to give permission for a woman to drive? To get on a plane? If the alternative is they can’t drive or take a journey or get on a plane, isn’t withholding the app bad?
      It’s trivial to say “oh I don’t like this, it should be banned”, but much harder to describe the moral framework in which you can decide whether something very similar to it should or shouldn’t.
      So go ahead. Parse the moral framework for us.

      • 0- The lawfulness of the app is not even a parameter, Apple bans plenty of apps that are completely lawful, actually most apps Apple bans are lawful. I’m surprised you’re even mentioning that point ? Cult Of Mac has the list of the 10 most egregious banned apps, I don’t think a single one is illegal. , well the rip-off Mario one infringes IP.
        1- The app doesn’t have to break a specific line, Apple reserves the right to ban at will, and freed themselves from having to “come up with a framework”, they “know it when they see it”. I’m unclear why I should have to do the work/thinking a trilion-dollar corp won’t. What was Apple’s rationale when they banned the “I’m rich”, “Baby Shaker”, “Herb Converter”… apps ?
        2- It’s not me raising issue with the app, it’s Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Unlike Apple, I tend to side with those prima facie.
        3- Human Rights Watch et al. are not asking for “an exception”, just begging to differ about the outcome of the regular review process. That app went through Apple’s regular review process, which concluded that an app that monitors, controls , restricts and alerts about women’s movements is OK. They’re begging to differ, I’m guessing they think any tool that makes that monitoring easier helps with the monitoring, “if you’re not hindering you’re helping”. Apparently the main way to escape the monitoring is to log in as the guardian and change alerts/phone#, I’m guessing it’s easier for the guardian to constantly monitor those in an app than on the web. Again, ask them.

        I’ll return the question: why do you think that app doesn’t cross any line ?

        I fully agree that the main issue by far is with the social and legal system in Saudi Arabia. But I’m failing to see the line that makes Absher apps OK, Google Search China not OK, Amazon Face Recog not OK, Apple hosting servers on China gov’s platform OK,… Unless the rule is: whatever Apple does is OK, whatever others do isn’t. Which seems to be the case.

      • Well done finding an article from 2013 with banned apps. I’m Rich: deceptive. (Notice that Apple is still struggling with subscription apps which hide or obfuscate how much and how often and whether you’ve subscribed.) Baby Shaker, Slash: encouraging violence, poor taste. Herb Converter: encouraging illicit activities. Come on, this isn’t hard. You might not like it, but any half-decent lawyer could make a good case for removing them.
        As I keep asking, given that the Saudi app is *legal*, and about activities that *are legal in the country where it’s done*, are you saying Apple should apply American sensibilities to apps in other countries? Can’t you see what an incredibly slippery slope that creates? It would mean if the US prohibited alcohol, you couldn’t have a wine app in the UK or France.
        I agree with Amnesty and HRW about the app being repellent, but the place to put the pressure on is *the creators of the app*, not Apple (or even Google – you don’t seem to think Google should ban it? Or do you? You’re silent on this).
        On the review process – one has to assume that the woman whose phone is being monitored has “accepted” the app. Now, that might be true, or it might be coerced (in a few? Some? Many? Situations), but I’d like to know how you think Apple or the app could tell that consent was given freely v given under coercion.
        This is why I say you need to set out a moral framework. If you’re saying that apps where someone consents to being tracked (by entering their passcode etc) aren’t allowed, fine. But you then wipe out a lot of apps. Family members can’t be tracked? What about kids?
        The water here might look shallow but you’re quickly in over your head.

      • 1- Google has, wisely and far-sightedly, chosen to not have final say on what apps users can run on their devices so, reciprocally, Google’s stance doesn’t matter. Google can’ t ban the app, Apple can. For the record, I think they should ban it too, not that it’d make a difference.

        2- I disagree with your assertion that the other banned apps are illegal. a) virtual is different from reality, otherwise most games are illegal so the “but it’s violent/nasty” argument doesn’t work at all; b) apps can be seen as art, I personally think art is supposed to give me feels, and I know that baby shaking app would (not good feels, heh ?); c) herb dealing was legal in some places, are you arguing US laws should… oh wait, you’re telling me I’m the one doing that ? Color me confused. Plus the app isn’t about transacting herb, but about measuring it d) how is “I’m rich” deceptive ? It’s a way to show you don’t care about money, it’s right in the title, the price isn’t obfuscated, the non-functionality is actually advertised…
        In the end, Apple is deciding stuff regardless of laws. The “but it’s legal” argument should work both way. If an app should be sold because it’s legal, then all apps that are legal should ? Apple obviously isn’t following that rule.

        I agree with you the main issue are the IRL ones.

        I think you misunderstood the app. It’s not a tracker installed on the woman’s phone. It’s a front-end to the tracking system, for use by the guardian, that allows him to set real-world limits checks and alerts (at ID/passport checkpoints, via carrier tracking of the woman’s phone, in the police databases….). It makes interacting with the oversight system much more frictionless, in all practicality allowing a change from “allow my wife to go downtown” to “call me each time you want to leave the house and I’ll allow it in the system”.

  2. re. China

    – I’m curious if Apple’s fall is mainly delayed upgrades, or switching to Android. My take on it is that Apple has been selling itself as high-end, when in reality it’s mostly safe-end, and no-button redesign + prices + political issues = no longer “safe” in China. There’s a non-zero probability it”ll get banned as a retaliation for Huawei’s ban anyway ?

    – Also in headlines, Xiaomi -35% in China, while still going strong in India. Looking at China vs India and Xiaomi vs Huawei, the most striking difference is that Honor/Huawei has glamorized its designs (fancy backs and showy number of camera sensors) while Xiaomi biggest strength is its basic (features and design) Redmi line. Redmi just became a separate brand, we’ll see if the mainstream Mi line manages to get glamorized, right now it’s more spec-oriented and (the horror !) still only has plain casings.

    • So boring to have to point out. It’s delayed upgrades. Switching is a tiny proportion of users these days. It was and still is the wet dream of Android fanatics, but it just doesn’t happen to any appreciable extent any more. Apple says it expanded its user base in China, as I recall.

      • The general figures are 90% loyalty for Android and 85% royalty for iOS, with the general argument saying it’s much lower in China because the ecosystem is chat-based so fairly OS-independent. Also , that was 2 yrs ago.

        That’s why I’m wondering, and I think it’s justified, though by no means could it be extrapolated to other countries. Still looking for actual data, something beyond “wet dream” discourse.

      • *sighs* Here’s an amusement. Open a spreadsheet. Put in two large numbers at the top of two columns labelled “Android” and “iOS”. For fun, give Android 2000 and iOS 400. On the third column, put a formula: this number is the sum of those two columns.
        Now for each row below, make the Android column = 0.9 (90%) of the value above, plus 0.15x (15%) of the iOS column. In the iOS column, put what’s left from the third-column total minus your new first-column total.
        Paste this formula into 20 rows or so.
        Let us know how it looks. Play around with the numbers. Amuse yourself. For extra marks, derive the general formula for stability.

      • To help you derive the general formula where the ratio of Android to iOS remains the same, at those loyalty figures: you’re looking at an iterative formula where
        Ai+1 = 0.9Ai + 0.15IOSi and IOSi+1 = 0.1Ai + 0.85IOSi. Simply find the mixture where the values in step i+1 are the same as in step i.
        You might be surprised.

      • I’m unclear how that answers the China question, esp if that 50% loyalty slide is true.

        As for total switchers = % x volume, I don’t really need a spreadsheet to figure that out. I was just pointing out that iOS’ famous loyalty is actually lower than Android’s. Since switchers % are fairly similar, I’d assume in the long run populations end up fairly similar. It’s irrelevant though because a) extrapolation is inherently flawed, that’s why I’m fishing for current data and b) long-term is especially inscrutable in IT and fashion, at the intersection of which the iPhone is.

      • Also, you don’t need a spreadsheet to solve for stability. You’ve even got one too many equations since iOSi = 1-Ai and we’re solving for Ai+1 = Ai.

        Ai +1 = 0.9Ai + 0.15 (1-Ai)
        Ai+1 = 0.15 + 0.75Ai
        Solve for Ai+1=Ai (stability)
        Ai = 0.15 + 0.75Ai
        0.25Ai = 0.15
        Ai = 0.6. At stability, Android’s share is 60%

        Conveniently, the other equation yields the same result.
        1-Ai = 0.1Ai + 0.85 (1 -Ai)
        1-Ai = 0.85 – 0.75Ai
        -0.25Ai = -0.15
        Ai = 0.6

        My confidence in 6th-grade (IIRC) maths is restored.

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