FUD Award of the Week

So who wins MoD’s first ever FUD Award of the Week?

It’s (drum roll please)

PCWorld and Retrevo Analyst Manish Ranthi for their article on Retrevo’s surveys about customer’s interest in purchasing an iPad. Surveys pre and post iPad media event are compared.

PC World wins for a nice editorial combination of actual survey data interspersed with analyst opinion. For example, Ranthi indicates a resistance from survey responders towards paying for  a 3g service, in the next sentence it shifts to an analyst opinion.

“Apple’s decision to add a $130 surcharge on 3G-capable iPads didn’t make many friends. According to Retrevo’s polling, 59% said they wouldn’t spring extra for 3G; only 12% said they would fork over the $130. Others have called the higher cost “ridiculous” because the necessary parts cost Apple less than $20.”

The “Others” are analysts not actual customers. The “Others” opinion has nothing to do with the actual buying habits of the 1000 potential customers surveyed which is the alleged point of this whole article.

Ranthi wins points for stating actual survey results on one issue, then loses points for parroting back analyst opinion on other issues.

“Rathi said there was lots of blame to go around for the increase in consumer no votes: lack of support for Flash and multitasking, lack of a killer application and the $130 surcharge for an iPad that includes 3G connectivity.”

Nowhere in the article does Ranthi ever point to any actual customer data on lack of support for Flash, or lack of support for multi-tasking.

Finally, both PC World and Ranthi win the award for not stating some of the differences in their two surveys, instead the focus of the article is on one real negative result of the survey for the iPad, citing a 100% increase in individuals who would not buy an iPad, and have heard of the device (26% to 52%). When actually comparing the two surveys though, there’s only a 15% increase (61% to 70%) in the two groups indicating that they would not purchase an iPad.

Our other nominees this week.

1. Wiglaf Journal has a laughable piece on why the  iPad will be a total failure. Part of their argument is “Apple has a host of other ones (problems) with the iPad.  According to the New York Times News Service, Many women are saying the name evokes awkward associations with feminine hygiene products.  People from Boston to Ireland are complaining that iPad, in their regional brogue, sounds almost indistinguishable from “iPod,” Apple’s music player.”

Seriously these are actual arguments against a piece of technology. Ridiculous FUD.

2. eWeek has an article about how Win7 will beat back the Mac OS X challenge. The main problem with this article is not the arguments made but their reasoning. It’s essentially circular in nature.

Win 7 is better than Mac OS X because in a previous article we said it was. The arguments in the previous article include not enough 3rd party software for OS X (this argument from 1995 is nowhere nears as relevant any longer and eWeek certainly doesn’t provide a list of missing software). A strange argument about not enough web apps for OS X, again list of examples not provided (Twitter is shown, but Twitter works fine in Safari). Finally OS X Finder is accused of being difficult to use, but no actual real life example of how Win7’s file manager is more efficient is provided. So Win 7 is just better. Because.

Other points that are dubious or completely not researched include;

“On the features side, Mac OS X’s native apps, including Mail and Finder are in desperate need of an overhaul. They’re not awful software packages, but they leave much to be desired.”

First off both programs have been overhauled for Snow Leopard. Second, Mac Mail supports Exchange something which Win7’s bundled email client does not do. So in one clear way, Mac Mail is superior to Win 7’s email client. It ‘s never explained why both apps need an overhaul. They just do.

Another feature of Windows 7 that trumps OS X is “Windows XP” mode. The article actually criticizes Apple for not having something similar in the Mac OS X. This is just a stupid argument. How exactly is Apple supposed to build into their OS, support for programs running on a Microsoft’s OS? Even if Apple could clone Windows XP from a technology standpoint, doing so would open them to a massive lawsuit by Microsoft. It’s not a practical endeavour for Apple, and a ridiculous criticism. The author seems oblivious to the fact that you can run Windows XP on OS X with either Parallels or VMWare Fusion which gives OS X a Windows XP mode. It’s not really a gap if the Mac user wants to have access to Windows XP apps.

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