TWIT 798: The Lighthouse Keeper and His Robot Butler

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

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Regarding RCS and Apple - this is how I see the situation: Until Apple’s users leave the platform because of Apple’s choices, there will be no real pressure for them to change any behavior.

This isn’t a condemnation of Apple’s choices, but we need to recognize our own culpability in the decisions made by other companies. Look at the keyboard issue (and Touchbar issues) with the last-gen Macbook Pros. People railed against those keyboards and what happened? Sales rose on that generation of Macbook Pro. Because people voted with their wallet - whatever they said or complained about, they decided that owning a MacBook Pro was worth more than the issues they had with the keyboard. Even if they could get the same job done on other platforms, they felt (rightly or wrongly) that owning a MacBook Pro was more important than having to get that keyboard repaired or having a useless (to them) touchbar instead of function keys.

This is, in fact, the main issue in general with technology companies and the complaints people have with them. We complain - but complaints aren’t action. Spending habits are action because they can be objectively measured. Usage is action for the same reason. So if I continue to buy Macs and continue to use them (or Twitter or Facebook or Amazon or whomever) then my actions prove the lie of my words. I don’t really care enough about iMessages to use a different platform. I don’t really care enough about the butterfly keyboard to stop buying Macs.

Until we change our habits - we have no reason to expect Apple or Google or Facebook or Amazon or Microsoft to change what they do and how they do it.

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I don’t want to get into what Facebook or Twitter should do, or whether they have too much power, etc. I just have a specific question with regards to Section 230 and its intended idea of protecting “platforms”, as well as the distinctions between platforms and publishers. Does adding a “fact check” notation and some links push Twitter towards being a publisher rather than a platform? Does algorithmically promoting Groups and Posts make Facebook a publisher? Are they a publisher because they curate a feed from among my many friends, rather than simply being the place where I go and see all my friends’ posts as they’re written?

I’m curious to know how widespread the iMessage dominance is - speaking as someone from the UK, I’m not aware of it being a thing here (the default messaging app of choice is WhatsApp, which does basically everything described in the segment), and I don’t get the impression that it’s that common globally either. It is quite weird listening to a long discussion about a problem that doesn’t exist here - admittedly, we have the different problem of having the dominant messaging platform be owned by Facebook (and still proprietary), but I don’t think there’s any particular stigma about having an Android device like I keep hearing about in the US. Obviously there was a time when WhatsApp (and similar services) didn’t exist, but I don’t feel like iMessage took hold in quite the same way, and people were fine with SMS and other, older services like Skype and MSN.

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It is the same here, signal, telegram and WhatsApp are Filmen. The iPhone doesn’t have enough market share here to make it make player.

Every iPhone user I know has either telegram or WhatsApp.

My entire extended family uses iPhones (and, by extension. iMessage). We are the only Android users in the bunch, and - frankly - we’ve been left out of group chats because of the awkward way iMessage works with non-Apple users.

Battery life is irrelevant to me. I probably use less than an hour a month of battery, the rest of the time my laptop is docked and connected to 2 large external monitors, a decent keyboard and a good mouse.

Does adding a “fact check” notation and some links push Twitter towards being a publisher rather than a platform? Does algorithmically promoting Groups and Posts make Facebook a publisher?

Absolutely not.

Please read Mike Masnick’s excellent explainer on TechDirt.

Specifically this paragraph:

To be a bit more explicit: at no point in any court case regarding Section 230 is there a need to determine whether or not a particular website is a “platform” or a “publisher.” What matters is solely the content in question. If that content is created by someone else, the website hosting it cannot be sued over it.

Really, this is the simplest, most basic understanding of Section 230: it is about placing the liability for content online on whoever created that content, and not on whoever is hosting it. If you understand that one thing, you’ll understand most of the most important things about Section 230.

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Agreed. UK here, mixture of iPhones and Androids and nobody even attempts to use Apple Messages. All our friends and family chats are on WhatsApp. The only person who complains is my daughter - who’s in the US on an iPhone :slightly_smiling_face:

So I’m not convinced Messages is driving sales for Apple really. Apple ignoring RCS is shortsighted IMO.

I think that is dependent on location and consumer segment. In the US, it is at minimum helping drive retention/loyalty among younger consumers, particularly teens. From a global population standpoint that may not seem like much but I’d guess the US accounts for ~40% of revenue.

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Thanks Leo. Will read this evening.

oh man, the messaging discussion. When you all were talking about seamlessly going between mobile and a desktop, all I kept thinking was “we have solutions already, FB/WhatsApp, Google, Telegram…”

The easy solution is to install the 3rd party app. Everyone gets to enjoy a better experience. Why do we not do that in the US? I know the cost of SMS/MMS overseas is what drove 3rd party, but is that really it? Not that I want to really use a FB property.

But ultimately, Apple will have to support RCS. If it is indeed the replacement for SMS/MMS in the long run. However, we’re moving at a snails pace so it will be too late to mean anything probably.

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So that begs the question of whether a playlist is content, no? Spotify doesn’t make the music, but I bet they claim their arrangements and groupings of songs are their proprietary content. So if Facebook is pushing a selection of other people’s content (or blocking some from reaching you) is that not akin to them making a playlist of that content? If so, then they are indeed a publisher of those playlists, and should be culpable for any harm that brings.

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The last figures I saw for iPhone were last year, but they struggle to get mid-teens market share outside the USA, a couple of countries have higher penetration, but the last time I looked, in Germany, Apple’s iPhone has less market share than the Windows Phone did, when Microsoft killed it.

Yes, I couldn’t understand that either. Switching between desktop and phone is easy with Telegram, WhatsApp & Co.

We’ve had flat rate SMS for years (and you only ever paid to send SMS before that, no idiot would put up with being charged to receive an SMS). But I know hardly anyone who uses SMS, this year I’ve had maybe 3 SMS that weren’t one-time codes for app activations.

Not my area of expertise but Statcounter’s October 2020 numbers put iOS at 35% share in Germany and 32% in Europe (60% in USA). Those are respectable numbers, but make it unlikely iMessage will overcome historical trends that brought 3rd party messaging apps to prominence in Europe.
https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/germany

According to Statista, their market share was at 26% in July, up from 19% that time last year.

Apologies for changing the metric without saying so. For this discussion I think usage share (% of smartphone users) is more pertinent than market share (% of devices sold during the stated period), given the discussion of iMessage network effects, which are dependent on installed base.
As for Windows Phone, I’ll have to chase down those numbers another time. Hard to believe we’re already five years out from the 950 launch.

While hearing the discussion about Windows as a service on the cloud, the question that rang through my head is, what about gaming. One of the other major uses for windows is for gamers; the best graphics drivers are written specifically for windows, games are compiled and developed with only windows in mind, and there are entire marketplaces (steam, Origin, blizzard, etc) that exclusively or mainly use the windows platform. If windows shifts the the cloud, where does this market go? It definitely will not go to Xbox, there is antipathy between the platforms and people like pc gaming for custom built systems they control which will never translate to a console, but with Mac on their own silicon and not supporting external gpus very well, and a hostility for Linux (blizzard will ban people for trying to play their games from Linux platforms) where does this market go?

Doesn’t it just go to cloud streaming?