Scoble Gets it (Almost) Completely Wrong

On Tuesday I had took a few minutes to read through Robert Scoble’s article over at his Scobleizer blog. Where his articles don’t normally sway me too much, this one felt more and more inflammatory to me as I got deeper into it. When I was done, I went back and read it again just to make sure I was not seeing the wrong things or getting the wrong impression. If you are not familiar with the article, let me summarize it for you; He doesn’t seem to care much for Android yet. He’s unimpressed so far. That’s okay though, because you are not required by any laws to be on board with any one thing or idea. I would like to take this opportunity, however, to refute some of his points. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with his entire piece, just most of it.

Right away he claims that ‘this developer API is uninspired because they are bribing developers with $10 million in prize money’. So Google is offering a prize. Big deal. It’s not like people weren’t going to write for this OS anyhow. What Google is trying to show here is that the little guy can get rewarded handsomely if they can come out with that killer app. It’s not just about ‘Big Software’. Aside from that, wasn’t it just a few months ago that Google made huge headlines by offering their ‘X’ Prize for the first private team to put a robot on the moon? Is Google trying to grease the palms of our space teams? It’s just incentive. Nothing more.

Ok, moving on. I want to tackle some of his reasoning as to why Android gets a yawn from him.

‘It was released without a personal approach’.
Why is it necessary to make a big deal and put out really flashy promotional stuff and throw big elaborate press conferences and shows? Didn’t Google get the industry buzzing just the same with their approach? The world was waiting and watching last Monday. We wanted the steak while Scoble wanted the sizzle.

‘This stuff is still vaporware’
Aren’t all ideas vapor until the product actually exists? Just because you personally weren’t handed an Android device to play with doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t. Scoble goes on to say that ‘If you want my support for your platform I need to be able to use it and show it to my friends’. This is basically the same argument that anyone can make about something. In fact, just because I have yet to hold an iPhone and play with it doesn’t mean I see the value in it. I think we can all agree that we’re not talking about Duke Nukem Forever here.

‘The UI looks confused’
He argues that the iPhone will be the handset his wife will go back to because the touch based operation is much easier to user. Now, I’m nowhere as close to Silicon Valley as he is, but even I know about HTC’s TouchFlo technology. I also know that they have plans to enhance and upgrade that technology for the next generation of handsets. Do you think an iPhone knows the difference between a finger and a stylus? Try again.

‘Google needs atomic videos’
I do agree with him here. Google could have broken the large video down into small segmented clips detailing specific features or functions. However, this is not going to be enough to keep the developers away. I’m actually of the opinion that these developers don’t need the glitter. They’re looking for the details. “Just the facts, ma’am.”

I think Scoble sounds a bit resentful towards Google and how he was treated at the Open Social press conference. Sounds like sour grapes to me when he tells us that he wasn’t allowed to use his professional camera so he was forced to use his cell phone. He takes time to remind us that he was able to do that and more when he spent time with John Edwards. He also talks about how all the big names like Business Week, WSJ, and LA Times were in the room, but TechCrunch wasn’t. Ok, so maybe TechCrunch should have been in the room and not only conferenced in. Isn’t logical to assume that the companies and organizations that were in the room are going to be the sources from where the world ends up getting their information? Yeah, so there are thousands of daily visitors to tech and gadget sites, but AP articles spread just as fast. I’ve not seen my local newspaper quote these sites (yet).

He really lays blame on Google for coming out after Apple’s foray. He says it looks too much like ‘a poor copy of the iPhone.’ I wonder how many people were going around saying that the first Chevy looked like a poor copy of the Ford. Can we say that the first LG flip phone looked too much like Samung? Scoble then says he wants to see kyte.tv on his phone, which the iPhone doesn’t do yet. He says he wants to see a killer podcasting-creation features. Again, something that Apple doesn’t do. Well, when you have open source, you have the capability for both of those functions. Try this argument again a year from now. I’d be very surprised if neither of those come about with Android.

The last point I really take issue with is his assessment that Google is only good at being a search engine. ‘Are you sensing that Google is just not very good at technology evangelism? After all, look at how successful Google has been outside of search. It hasn’t really had a good home run that we can point to outside of that.’

Has anyone introduced him to AdSense, Gmail, Google Docs, Blogger, Orkut, or Google Maps yet?

But what do I know, I’m just a blogger, right?

Agree or disagree with anything said here? Leave a comment!

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