The extraordinary thing about Macs is its ability to convert sales into profit — no other computer manufacturer does it as well as Apple. For every $100 worth of computer that Apple sells, Apple makes $19 of profit whereas competitors are lucky to make $4. That’s more than 4x the margin, which is amazing.

PC makers feel the sting, but Macs still comprise less than 7% market share so Microsoft hasn’t felt the same kind of pressure. The Redmond company soon will, however. In Apple’s latest quarterly report, Macs grew 21% compared to the previous year’s quarter, over a time when the overall PC market is flat. Apple hasn’t done as well since 1995.

Apple has traditionally focused on the high end market; but more and more, Apple has been willing to compete in the middle. That’s why Apple is still selling the the non-retina MacBook Pro, the original iPad mini and the iPhone 5C, even though those products aren’t likely to garner the same high customer satisfaction scores that Tim Cook often brags about.

While Mac units shipped grew 21%, revenue only grew 18% — evidence that the average selling price of Macs sold has declined. This is a signal that Apple intends to grab market share.

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According to Forbes, Microsoft will launch its wearable device in the coming weeks in time for the holiday season. It’s a health focused device and will work with Android, iPhone and of course Windows Phone.

I had written my concerns about the viability of a Microsoft wearable device before, and now that I’ve used the Moto 360 daily the last few weeks and the Pebble before that for over a year, my skepticism has only increased.

Let’s first examine the upside. Assuming Microsoft can pull off a great product and generate lots of interest and sales, it could undercut Android Wear and Apple Watch. Why develop (hardware and/or software) for a restricted platform, when there’s a successful multiplatform-platform available?

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Didn’t know what to write today, and then @nilanp came to save the day:

My answer to that is great design is everywhere. Lots of tech companies have great design. The problem is not everyone cares.

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There’s a story on TechCrunch today on how Microsoft’s market value exceeded Google’s market value. I don’t know if this is news, but I suppose it’s interesting to check in from time to time on how the public markets perceive the two tech giants.

What caught my eye were two comments from those claiming to be from two prestigious venture capital firms: Accel Partners and Silver Lake Partners.

Here’s an angry one from Han Lee, Accel Partners:

Dear writer, do you really not know the difference between market cap and enterprise value? Pathetic.

From Jeff Schnabel, Operating Executive at Silver Lake Partners:

Total enterprise value is a more accurate measure of a company’s value (market cap is only a piece of the puzzle – the value of the company’s publicly traded equity).

If you look at TEV, Google is still worth more than Microsoft ($306.4B vs. $290.4B)

What is Enterprise Value and how’s it different to Market Value you may ask? Finance people love to confuse lay people to make themselves look smarter, so let’s peel away the jargon.

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If a PC company had flat sales, you might think its CEO would go, “Phew, not bad when the overall market is declining.”

Not really though: Lenovo, HP, Dell Acer and ASUS all increased sales the past quarter even though the overall market declined. Apple too. It’s not clear which PC company is suffering, but the strong get stronger while the weak exit.

So flat iPad sales — despite whatever Tim Cook may say — is alarming to Apple and Apple watchers. Moreover, now that Apple is selling larger phone sizes, people are finally realizing that you don’t need a big phone and a small tablet. The bigger iPad will need to grow a lot faster for the overall business to grow.

The iPad may not be one of the weak, but it is not one of the strong either. What should Apple do? The company has two possibilities: 1) make the iPad more appealing to a new market segment, and/or 2) deliver the same proposition to the existing market segment better.

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Google announced three new devices today: the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player. Of the three, I predict the Nexus Player will yield the greatest influence.

The Nexus 6 looks like a good phone but it now has a $650 price, which means it competes with all the other flagship phones. Chinese manufacturers like OnePlus and Xiaomi continue to offer the best performance-to-price ratio on the market.

The Nexus 9 wants to be a productivity device with its detachable keyboard, but its 9-inch display is simply too small for it to be a capable laptop replacement. It might fill a niche, but it won’t be the converged device I’m looking for.

Of the three Nexus devices announced today, the Nexus Player is the most interesting. It will compete with other streaming boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, WD TV, Boxee, et. al., but that’s the boring part. Where the Nexus Player has the potential to disrupt its competitors is in games, which Google is taking seriously enough to launch a dedicated game controller. Android’s already extensive game library will be the Nexus Player’s differentiator. Apple TV, your move.

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Since forever, smartphones and tablets were banned from flights despite a total lack of evidence they posed any danger. The US and UK came to their senses recently and lifted that restriction, while the rest of the world is still stuck with flight attendants badgering passengers to put their electronics away.

Everyone has a story. I remember one stewardess — really, a bully — stand and watch me not just put the phone on airplane mode, but actually power it off. I tried explaining how there was no evidence using electronics (especially while on airplane mode) was bad. I don’t remember what she said back exactly, but I do remember the spit flying everywhere and high decibel levels.

All the while, my buddy next to me was giggling under his breath while his Kindle stayed open. The flight attendant hadn’t realized that e-ink display was also an electronics device as she went nuts over my iPad.

With the rule change in place, I wonder if that stewardess ever thought back to our pleasant exchange.

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