Life on the mobile edge: Revenge of the fanboys

Some people get really ticked off when you say their robot baby is ugly

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An unpleasant reality is out there for many readers: The only mobile platforms doing well are Apple's and Google's, and both companies seem to anger certain segments of the technology community in a very visceral way, especially Apple. When I criticize Windows Phone 7, WebOS, Symbian, MeeGo, or BlackBerry, there's a hue and cry about bias.

But let's look at the facts: Windows Phone 7's first version was so inadequate that its sales don't even show up in most surveys; it's a percent or two at best. HP killed WebOS a year after buying it and five weeks after releasing its first real product using it -- that is, one not already developed by Palm. Nokia has all but killed Symbian and dropped MeeGo like a hot potato. BlackBerry sales continue to decline significantly, as RIM continues to deliver less than it has promised. Shooting the messenger won't change the facts on the ground.

Oddly, no one called me a Microsoft fanboy this week when I suggested Windows 8 could displace Apple's dominance in the tablet market, if Microsoft actually delivers on the promises made at its Build conference. Seems like a double standard may be in effect!

Then there are those who claim I have a financial bias. Some assert that I own stock in Apple. I wish I did, given how much it has appreciated in the last decade, but the truth is I own no stocks in any company. And I would not own stocks in technology companies because of the job I have.

A pitifully funny claim related to alleged financial bias is one that pops up periodically from commenters such as "LA Tablet": "What he doesn't disclose here, and on any of his other recent articles bashing non-Apple products and technologies, is that he makes a living evangelizing Apple products as well as writing books on Apple products (he is the author of 'Mac OS X Lion Bible' and 'Exploring iPad 2 for Dummies')."

I make nowhere close to a living on these books, and the fact that I wrote them is both in my InfoWorld bio linked from every blog post and in the author byline that appears in every review and feaure I write -- and I'm the one who made sure these facts were disclosed to readers. Their publisher asked me to work on these books because of my experience, and these books are completely independent from Apple, as are the 20 other books I have written on other technology subjects. I'd be equally happy to write Android versions of these books; I've even proposed it, but the publisher thought the market was too small.

OK, I had to address the claims of material bias and conflict of interest. They're the kind of poison the Web is unfortunately quite amenable to spreading. But the disagreements, the passions, the different choices and criteria so many readers have -- I love it. Keep it coming! You know I will.

This article, "Life on the mobile edge: Revenge of the fanboys," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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