Delenda Est Carthago

In 256 B.C. the two superpowers of the ancient world went to war. Rome, a rapidly growing agrarian society, needed to secure the Mediterranean coast of Italy against invasion. Which meant Rome needed control of Sicily, because it was just off their southern coast. As a society of farmers, they needed their borders safe to protect their land.

Carthage, a mercantile society, saw Rome encroaching on the Mediterranean Sea and saw a threat to their shipping lanes. Sicily was the main shipping route between Carthage and Italy. They needed control of the Mediterranean in order to continue their dominance as the premier merchants of the ancient world.

Each vision of the future was mutually exclusive. They couldn’t both dominate the Mediterranean, yet neither could afford to lose it. The ancient world was falling away and only the winner would have the power to shape the new era.

The ancient beige-box world of computing is falling away while the new era is busy asserting itself in a dozen different form factors and price points. Google and Apple are two companies currently betting everything on mobile computing, each with very different ideas about how to make money.

Where computing goes, gaming follows. How the average person uses a computer will change drastically in the next decade. How the average person games will change even more.

This is not just another console war.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.—Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs

Apple is an empire built on selling hardware. Yes, they make money from their app store and iTunes, but over 80% of their revenue comes from iPhones, iPods and Macs. Their investments in OSX and iOS are money spent chasing hardware sales.

Apple has built this empire on the power of design. They understood far before anybody else in the hardware space that once you can no longer make money just selling raw computing power, when computing power is commoditized, you can still make money selling a symbol of computing.

Apple’s hardware and user interface design is the envy of every other technology company on the planet. The iPhone on its release was a disruptive technology, but not because it was more powerful than what had come before. Its sheer elegance was disruptive. The fact that Apple could use sheer design to topple the cellular networks’ monopoly on cellphone software is staggering. A hand-held cellular internet device you actually want to use was so revolutionary that it sent every other smartphone manufacturer into a complete panic. It’s no coincidence that 3 years later almost every new smartphone released is some variation on the iPhone design.

The weakness of Apple’s business model is that design can be copied very easily. Hardware design can be ripped off with enough time. User interface design is even easier to copy. There is nothing in the iPhone that was technically revolutionary, aside from the extent of Apple’s control over its use. Every single piece of the iPhone has been implemented before and will be implemented again. As you read this, Google and their partners are rapidly spending a ton of money proving it. Patents, trademarks, brand names and dancing silhouettes set to indie rock tunes can only go so far. Information is cheap. Copies are even cheaper.

We did not enter the search business; they entered the phone business. Make no mistake: They want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.—Steve Jobs discussing Google’s Nexus One

What happens to Apple’s profit margins on hardware once their competitors catch up?

There’s always more information out there.—Google Corporate 10-Point Philosophy, #7

Google’s official mission is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They succeeded so well that they have literally changed the way the world thinks. The existence of Google has fundamentally changed the computing landscape, like the Roman Empire’s roads that crossed boundaries and connected distant cultures. Google is currently busy obliterating the ancient pre-Internet world of computing. But that’s not how they make their money.

Google is an empire built on advertising. Google’s employees are paid with AdWords money. For all the fancy services Google gives away for free, the (comparative) accuracy of their targeted AdWords is the secret to their business success.

If Google’s business model has a weakness, it’s the dirty little phrase called “content aggregation”. You only go to Google as long as you can find what you want. Google needs to know where everything is at all times, which is why Google has an army of computers constantly scouring the internet for every piece of data it can find. They can only do this because the web is an open standard, and the internet connects all of them together for free.

If Google did not act, we faced a Draconian future, a future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice.—Google’s VP of Engineering for Mobile Vic Gundotra, discussing Google’s motivation for creating Android

What happens to Google if all data is locked up behind proprietary apps again, like the databases from the stone ages of computing—all applications (and their data) requiring approval or worse, a proprietary, closed platform to run on? Google lives and dies by open access to data.

As of May 2010, 59% of all adult Americans go online wirelessly.—Pew Internet Mobile Access 2010 Survey

The past decade has seen computing explode beyond the walls of the cubicle. Now everyone is on Facebook, Google is a verb, and it’s almost a faux pas for anyone to not have an email address. But the computers they’re using to do this don’t look like the beige boxes of my formative years. Laptops now outnumber desktops in computer sales. Netbooks went from a chimera to dominating the low end of the computing market inside of 2 years. Computing has broken out of the cubicle, and that means the computer needs to leave the desk.

The definition of the word “computer” is rapidly coming to imply the prefix “mobile” for the average American. If you can’t put it in your pocket or backpack and take it with you, it’s not going to be relevant for long. And the process of how those computers become unplugged and modified to fit into your pocket matters to the computing industry. Will the content, and necessarily the platform underneath it, be open? Will it be an elegant, well designed little device with every app in its place (and no app out of place)?

Zynga Inc., maker of the Mafia Wars and FarmVille games played on Facebook, may be valued at $1 billion ... . That could make San Francisco-based Zynga the third-largest U.S. videogame publisher by market capitalization, bigger than Take-Two Interactive.—Bloomberg

When computers leave the desk, our games are inevitably going to follow. The videogame industry is changing rapidly due to pressure from social networking and mobile computing. EA is investing heavily in iPhone development. Sid Meier is going to release an iteration of the Civilization franchise on Facebook. And Zynga is busy using the underrated free-to-play model to rake in cash hand over fist.

The driver behind all these changes is the ubiquitous nature of internet access that’s spread thanks to mobile computing. FarmVille is a game you can play in any web browser (and on several phones) and it’s one of the most successful games in the world. It can steal a few seconds of attention (and real world cash) from millions of people anywhere they have a web browser, at any time of day.

Which is why Google has invested over $100 million in Zynga, apparently on the sly. There are rumors of Google Games launching later this year. Google’s platform isn’t Android, it’s the web—and that’s why the most popular game to ever hit a web browser is a perfect fit. Apple currently holds the lion’s share of the mobile gaming market, but that only holds as long as their overall smartphone marketshare is dominant. Which is why Apple has a stronger than normal interest in locking developers into their platform. Once their competitors catch up to their design, their only hope is to maintain that lock-in. Apple’s Game Center, the iOS4 EULA’s renovated stance on cross-platform development, the App Store’s approval process—these are all just fronts in the war to keep game developers and gamers on their platform.

Game development is a business, and they have to follow the money. This won’t just stay in the Facebook time-waster ghetto for long. If you think traditional PC gaming has taken it hard in the aughts, expect to be shocked by the next decade. iPads can play RTS games superbly. A 3G iPad can play an MMO anywhere you can get a cellphone signal. There’s no genre that a PC can do that a multitouch tablet, console, or some combination thereof can’t.

Yes, there will still be PCs. Yes, there will still be consoles. But they won’t matter nearly as much, because your iPad/Android tablet is as powerful as either one. More importantly, you can buy some variation on one for less than $100. I imagine with this crowd there are several of you shaking your head and harumph-ing under your breath. Just remember, there will be a day where your kids will wonder where that weird “QWERTY” thing that pops up on the screen came from.

Google and Apple have been in open warfare for a while now, but gaming is clearly the next major campaign. The winner gets to set the rules about how our games are made, and who gets to make them. On gaming’s little island of Sicily, do we start learning to speak Punic or Latin? It’s just too early to tell.

In 146 B.C., Rome burned Carthage to the ground, destroying almost all records of Punic civilization. Most of our knowledge of ancient Carthage comes from the historic records of the Romans. Rome literally erased Carthage from the face of the Earth.

One way or another, we’re all going to learn a new language.

Comments

PyromanFO wrote:

You are right, I should probably clarify and say that it's very easy to copy the first 80% of design, the rest is actually quite hard. If Windows destruction of the Macintosh in the late 80s can teach us anything about the current struggle though, it's that sometimes 80% of the design is good enough with all the other mitigating factors such as price, power and app selection come into play.

I don't really expect Google to ever really nail a design as good as the iPhone. I do think they're already "good enough" for many users, and still have some room to grow. 100% of the iPhone's design elegance? No, but they'll probably get to that 80% soon enough.

If that isn't the truth ...

I can tell you my phone is 50% iPhone and it kinda blows. I'd like it be either more like an iPhone or not at all cause the interface is not very friendly. Then again, I didn't really want it to be like an iPhone, I just wanted the full keyboard.

Anyway, great article and I rather like the metaphor with Rome and Carthage, but I like Roman history, so ...

fangblackbone wrote:

Games sell platforms. After all the dust is settled in the war, and a winner erases its competitor into myth, all it takes is one game to reignite the war.

The king is dead, long live the new king!

War. War never changes.

Games sell platforms. After all the dust is settled in the war, and a winner erases its competitor into myth, all it takes is one game to reignite the war.

The king is dead, long live the new king!

PC gaming could die and be dead for a decade until someone releases WoW 6 and suddenly there is a market and potential again.

The current console wars pit Sony against Microsoft with Nintendo playing Switzerland and raking in bank.

The players may change but the war is constant. We will surprise ourselves and be surprised at how much those surprises repeat themselves.

edit: great article btw Pyro

PyromanFO wrote:

If Google wins Apple cannot maintain it's control over it's App Store, because everything will be on the web. You'll run your games on your iOS device in Safari, and they'll be just as good as native apps. Apple will be relegated to just another, very expensive, platform. It'll be the 90s all over again.

The biggest irony is that Apple's anti-flash crusade and HTML5 push is the best thing for Google. It's the best thing for the internet as a whole, too.

cube wrote:

The biggest irony is that Apple's anti-flash crusade and HTML5 push is the best thing for Google. It's the best thing for the internet as a whole, too.

That's highly arguable, especially when you look at hidden software patents in HTML5. Or at the steps Flash has taken to open itself up as a platform recently.

Switchbreak wrote:
cube wrote:

The biggest irony is that Apple's anti-flash crusade and HTML5 push is the best thing for Google. It's the best thing for the internet as a whole, too.

That's highly arguable, especially when you look at hidden software patents in HTML5. Or at the steps Flash has taken to open itself up as a platform recently.

I think the best situation is competition between the two, which is the way things are developing and is nothing but good for us.

I don't necessarily like the Punic Wars analogy, because there's no "winners" or "losers" in this market. We all win - Apple makes money, Google makes money, and we the customers benefit greatly from lower prices, better hardware, and better service. Apple is good at disruptive technologies, and that's good. Other people can come along and commoditize those technologies, and that's good too. There's very little downside, and a metric ton of upside, to simply letting the competition continue.

I also think this is the third or fourth time the PC has been declared dead as a platform, and I really wish people would give up that kind of black and white mentality. Yes, you might be able to play an MMO on your iPad, but the experience sucks - it's a tiny screen, the sound is weak, and you need a keyboard to do it comfortably ... at which point you basically have a crappy PC. Desktop PCs will always offer a better gaming experience in some genres, because they have better cooling, will always be more powerful, have more space, and will always be cheaper.

Mobile computing won't replace PCs, it'll just move in alongside. Games that work on mobile platforms will expand to that platform. Games that are best on PC will continue to be on PC, just like before. This isn't a zero-sum game.

garion333 wrote:

Anyway, great article and I rather like the metaphor with Rome and Carthage, but I like Roman history, so ... ;)

Second. I was happy that I still understood the Latin title and then got deliciously sidetracked in some wiki pages about Rome and Carthage.

Switchbreak wrote:

especially when you look at hidden software patents in HTML5.

Source?

If you're talking about the video tag, then the tag is not the problem as all it does is link to a video file on a server. The problem is getting a good quality format that can be used by all browsers for free, choosing that format is the difficult and well publicised tech problem. Even then it's not an insurmountable problem as the video tag can link to multiple sources to cover all your bases if browser support is split between formats.

The video tag is one part of the whole spec, which is updating the 13 year old HTML4. There's a lot more new important stuff in there too

Scratched wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

especially when you look at hidden software patents in HTML5.

Source?

If you're talking about the video tag, then the tag is not the problem as all it does is link to a video file on a server. The problem is getting a good quality format that can be used by all browsers for free, choosing that format is the difficult and well publicised tech problem. Even then it's not an insurmountable problem as the video tag can link to multiple sources to cover all your bases if browser support is split between formats.

The video tag is one part of the whole spec, which is updating the 13 year old HTML4. There's a lot more new important stuff in there too

There's the video issue, and then the issue of Apple holding patents on things like the Canvas element.

Switchbreak wrote:
Scratched wrote:
Switchbreak wrote:

especially when you look at hidden software patents in HTML5.

Source?

If you're talking about the video tag, then the tag is not the problem as all it does is link to a video file on a server. The problem is getting a good quality format that can be used by all browsers for free, choosing that format is the difficult and well publicised tech problem. Even then it's not an insurmountable problem as the video tag can link to multiple sources to cover all your bases if browser support is split between formats.

The video tag is one part of the whole spec, which is updating the 13 year old HTML4. There's a lot more new important stuff in there too

There's the video issue, and then the issue of Apple holding patents on things like the Canvas element.

From your link:

Wikipedia wrote:

The [WC3] disclosure means that Apple is required to provide royalty-free licensing for the patent whenever the Canvas element becomes part of a future W3C recommendation created by the HTML working group.

Canvas is also implemented in all current browsers except for IE8. The H264 video codec issues much more worrisome, because that's controlled by the big movie studios.

Y'know, for all the console vs pc vs mobile devices arguments that are raging around, there's a point that should be considered.

Where are all these mobile gamers coming from? I'd classify web-games as 'mobile' games - but we already know that a huge majority of these people are not 'gamers' in the classical sense of the word. The huge change in the last 5 years hasn't been a shrinkage of the gaming market; rather, it's been a massive influx of those people who never used to game at all - the people for whom the barrier of technology and design was too high to get them interested in sitting down in front of a computer in the first place. Once those barriers fell, a previously untapped resource of consumers has been flooding into the market, driving a boom in mobile computing as a game platform. Point being, it was not the mobility that made mobile games so successful, it was the ubiquitous home PC with web access.

So to deliver the whole parcel of 'the future of mobile (web) games' into the hands of the mobile devices is pretty premature. I think it's important to remember that market share just means new units sold, not units already in hand. A LOT more people have a crappy old pc with an internet connection than they have iPhones. And, as shown by the increasing market share of netbooks, those people are happy to turn over to a low powered pc that can do most things they want it to do for a cheap price. I wonder how many netbooks stay at home without moving around much, just because they're simpler and cheaper than setting up a pc.

Great analogy, though I had always thought of things more in terms of a Water Empire.

That implies some sort of baseline of interactive capabilities between all mediums of gaming...and I don't see that happening any time soon. Even though viewing a web page on your phone may not be appreciably different from viewing it on a PC, I think there is a much larger difference in the experience between playing a game on a phone vs. playing it on console/PC. To push that even further, I'd even say that the "ground level" for required interactivity in gaming is much higher than the interactivity required for most everyday computing activities.

Exactly what I was thinking. I mean, even if you could somehow put, say, Heavy Rain on an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, etc., and you could somehow give it decent control, is that the type of thing you'd really want to play on the train or bus? If not, what incentive would there be to make games like these? Some kind of universal standard for games across all platforms would certainly be good in many ways, but not if the mobile market was what developers all pandered to. Not to say that all mobile gaming is shovelware. (Just most of it.)

As someone who works for one of these companies, I find reading things like this very interesting. I would really love to wade in and share my thoughts, so here goes... Wait! Who are you?
What? I wasn't going to say anything! I sweaaaar...

In all seriousness, I think Pyroman has an interesting viewpoint, and I think his reading of the climate is overall pretty good.

Ultimately as a consumer, I love what I see in the Apps Store with respect to gaming. There are very needed improvements to be sure, but overall I've come away with very positive experiences. I am very keen to see what Google does with their gaming strategy in the coming months, and if nothing else, I think we all stand to benefit from the "pioneering" these two companies are engaging with respect to the hardware + gaming front.

HedgeWizard wrote:

As someone who works for one of these companies, I find reading things like this very interesting. I would really love to wade in and share my thoughts, so here goes... Wait! Who are you?
What? I wasn't going to say anything! I sweaaaar...

In all seriousness, I think Pyroman has an interesting viewpoint, and I think his reading of the climate is overall pretty good.

Ultimately as a consumer, I love what I see in the Apps Store with respect to gaming. There are very needed improvements to be sure, but overall I've come away with very positive experiences. I am very keen to see what Google does with their gaming strategy in the coming months, and if nothing else, I think we all stand to benefit from the "pioneering" these two companies are engaging with respect to the hardware + gaming front.

Precisely how I feel about it. The article certainly isn't anti-Google or anti-Apple, because I think they've both done absolutely amazing things to transform the computing world that everyone who works at either company should be very proud of.

Wherever you stand on the issues, the hope is to educate people about the causes behind them. Apple isn't doing this because Steve Jobs hates Google. Google isn't doing this because they hate Steve Jobs. There's a reason for all of it.

Since no one else has questioned this part of the article, I will...

Yes, there will still be PCs. Yes, there will still be consoles. But they won’t matter nearly as much, because your iPad/Android tablet is as powerful as either one. More importantly, you can buy some variation on one for less than $100.

That implies that I can buy an iPad or Android tablet that "is as powerful as" my PC or console "for less than $100". The cheapest iPad I see is over $500, so that rules it out immediately, regardless of whether it's actually as powerful as my PC or console. I did find a model of an Android tablet for less than $100. Here are the specs:

CPU: 600MHz
Storage: 2GB

Yeah, I don't think that'll run Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, etc.

Other than that, it was a good, thought-provoking piece. Well done, Pyro.

MeatMan wrote:

Since no one else has questioned this part of the article, I will...

Yes, there will still be PCs. Yes, there will still be consoles. But they won’t matter nearly as much, because your iPad/Android tablet is as powerful as either one. More importantly, you can buy some variation on one for less than $100.

That implies that I can buy an iPad or Android tablet that "is as powerful as" my PC or console "for less than $100".

That one made me to a double take too, but my guess is the author was thinking "by the next decade," a decade by which we should "expect to be shocked" by things like a sub-$100 tablet that does stuff like run CivV and StarCraft II and BioWare's Star Wars MMO beautifully. The only thing that should shock you at that point is seeing me somewhere other than my couch.

CheezePavilion wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Since no one else has questioned this part of the article, I will...

Yes, there will still be PCs. Yes, there will still be consoles. But they won’t matter nearly as much, because your iPad/Android tablet is as powerful as either one. More importantly, you can buy some variation on one for less than $100.

That implies that I can buy an iPad or Android tablet that "is as powerful as" my PC or console "for less than $100".

That one made me to a double take too, but my guess is the author was thinking "by the next decade," a decade by which we should "expect to be shocked" by things like a sub-$100 tablet that does stuff like run CivV and StarCraft II and BioWare's Star Wars MMO beautifully. The only thing that should shock you at that point is seeing me somewhere other than my couch.

Yes the paragraph is speaking about the next decade, sorry if that wasn't clear.

I'm not sure I buy into the idea that mobile computing is some Highlander-like game in which there can ultimately be only one left standing. It's certainly true that the more information which is free and accessible, the better it is for Google, but it doesn't follow from that that 100% of information MUST be such or else Google's model doesn't work. Likewise, while Apple's designs innovations can and will be copied, that doesn't make it impossible for Apple to stay far enough ahead of the curve to stay in business either.

I think there's room enough for both sides to remain major players, and I hope they both do. I've never purchased an Apple product and likely never will, but I'm glad they're there. There were mp3 players before the iPod, and they were terrible. Just because I found the iPod to be far too expensive in relation to its utility (and, as time went on, far too expensive in relation to its competition, which typically had more features and a more open ecosystem) doesn't mean I wasn't glad that somebody finally got it right and pointed the way for everyone else.

Likewise, I may have very little interest in the iPad per se, but I'll be watching very intently over the next couple years as someone makes a tablet that does more, more openly, at half the price. Would that happen without Apple to make the iPad and their legions of loyal fans who'll buy anything with a lowercase 'i' in front of it? I think not.

Great article, Pyro. Love the analogy.

Admittedly I'm biased here. But I will say that while the iPhone was first, let's not pretend that Android needs to do a lot of catching up (well, except in the game market). Some Android phones surpass iPhone performace/features in some aspects. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses.

Technological advancement has slowed. Chips aren't getting faster. Chip features are getting a little smaller, but we're pretty close to some fundamental physical limits. All the research in the last few years has been on power dissipation, not zoom-zoom. A few days ago, one of the Ars Technica editors posted about how they haven't done any in-depth processor articles because nothing interesting has happened in the last few years. They've put more cores on chips, but those cores look like early Pentiums and most of the real work has been in keeping them from melting.

Now, mobile devices have reached the point where they're kinda sorta as powerful as a 10 year old PC. But there's not a lot of headroom for increasing the computational power on a handheld device. Your not going to get a handheld device that can run Crackdown at 1080p with 10,000 freaks on screen and Red Faction destruction physics, even 15 years from now.

So, you're still going to have the bifurcation in the market between hardcore gamers playing their AAA titles on their mini-supercomputers and everyone else playing some variant of Farmville on interpreted HTML 5.

In fact, I could see the whole mobile computing argument going the exact opposite direction from today's current trends. Maybe in a few years, tablets, phones and netbooks will become nothing more than dumb terminals, displaying a wireless signal generated by a much more capable box sitting in the basement. These boxes would be available at different price points and capabilities. A household could buy one, plug it in, and it would interface with and drive most all of the capabilities of the devices within wireless range - cameras, tvs, tablets, phones, watches, netbooks, etc.

Something like a 3rd or 4rth gen Xbox would probably function really well in this sort of role...

Aetius wrote:

I also think this is the third or fourth time the PC has been declared dead as a platform, and I really wish people would give up that kind of black and white mentality. Yes, you might be able to play an MMO on your iPad, but the experience sucks - it's a tiny screen, the sound is weak, and you need a keyboard to do it comfortably ... at which point you basically have a crappy PC. Desktop PCs will always offer a better gaming experience in some genres, because they have better cooling, will always be more powerful, have more space, and will always be cheaper.

Mobile computing won't replace PCs, it'll just move in alongside. Games that work on mobile platforms will expand to that platform. Games that are best on PC will continue to be on PC, just like before. This isn't a zero-sum game.

It's not a zero sum game, but just look at the marginalization of the PC over the past 5 years. I bought a copy of PC Gamer to read on a business trip, and was shocked to find the only AAA game review was for the new Splinter Cell. Every other game was either a mod or an indie game.

I think a better analogy is what has happened to the music industry over the past decade in the face of the rise of new media and technology. New competitors like DVDs sucked cash that would normally go to CDs. And watching DVDs and playing around on the internet (and PC & console games) sucked time that would go toward listening to music, and voila, a rapidly shrinking industry.

In 5 years we'll see this trend continue, as devices like tablets muscle their way in. Which is a shape, since PC is my favorite (only) gaming platform.

Great article and great discussion.

Great metaphor. I hope Carthage wins, can't stand those nouveau Italians wanting to take over the world.

More seriously, I don't think it's a war where only one player will survive. I suspect that in 5 years Android, thanks to its openness, will have a majority of the market and the iPhone/iPad will be a niche product with a fairly significant userbase.

I am really looking forward to the Android tablets that are in development at the moment.

As for the perceived ascendance of mobile computing, I do see the possibility that tablets will eventually take over the market for everyone except the boutique user.

I'm not sure if that will mean less people are playing games on consoles or uber-PCs, or if the ubiquitous mobile computing will be growing the wider market. Probably a bit of both.

polq37 wrote:

Technological advancement has slowed...

I think that's a bit harsh, one of the skills of good engineering is working against constraints and advancing in spite of them. It's never wise to use absolutes though, ask Bill '640k' Gates, look at the brick phones of the past, or when a primitive computer by today's standards would take up half a room. My mouse probably has more processing power in it than the computers used to send people to the moon. Even the most skilled, knowledgeable and insightful people can't make good predictions all the time, the future is uncertain.

One thing you do hint at is that there are a lot more factors in play now, and not everyone has come around to working with the changing landscape, the obvious example being fewer faster cores versus many slower cores. There's a much wider spectrum of devices that you can call a computer, more ways to use them, different objects they will be contained within, and only more will be developed in future.

wordsmythe wrote:

Does that make *nix users the Mongol hordes or something? The future Ottoman Empire? The Visigoths?

A better analogy would be "that one Japanese army officer living alone on an island who never learned that the war ended years ago, and his side lost."

peterb wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Does that make *nix users the Mongol hordes or something? The future Ottoman Empire? The Visigoths?

A better analogy would be "that one Japanese army officer living alone on an island who never learned that the war ended years ago, and his side lost."

Nah. They're more like the Illuminati or the Philosophers from Metal Gear Solid. The general public doesn't know much about them, but they actually rule the world.

It was a trick: The *nix users are actually a loosely related group of time travelers passing through in the background. They include The Doctor, Doc Brown, and Keanu Reeves.

Meanwhile: When are services like OnLive going to move onto the tablet and mobile space? 2015 sound about right?

peterb wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Does that make *nix users the Mongol hordes or something? The future Ottoman Empire? The Visigoths?

A better analogy would be "that one Japanese army officer living alone on an island who never learned that the war ended years ago, and his side lost."

Except that Mac OS X (and iOS, by extension) are the most common *NIX platform out there right now.

I only have a first generation iPod Touch and I'm already chafing at the control Apple is imposing. iTunes is really hard to work with for my purposes. Google's iPad alternative can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

Ranger Rick wrote:
peterb wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Does that make *nix users the Mongol hordes or something? The future Ottoman Empire? The Visigoths?

A better analogy would be "that one Japanese army officer living alone on an island who never learned that the war ended years ago, and his side lost."

Except that Mac OS X (and iOS, by extension) are the most common *NIX platform out there right now. ;)

So that makes Linux the Etruscans?