There Are Two (or More) Sides to Every Post

Carl Weinschenk
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The blogosphere is full of strong opinions that are energetically defended. In the best cases, the back and forth is enlightening and funny. In the worst, it is profane and depressing.

It doesn't all have to be so contrarian, however. During the past week, I've posted about Google's Chromebook and Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet. Both posts - the Chromebook post featuring my opinion and the PlayBook post relying more on skepticism from other sources - were rather negative.

In the spirit of positivity, I enjoy offering other opinions. Here's one part of my post on the Chromebook:

The point is that there simply may be enough form factors out there. Whether a specialized device geared to a particular operating system will succeed will be answered by the marketplace, of course. The visceral feeling is that a device aimed at a very specific niche - one based on finding millions of folks willing to buy into a concept that seems a bit limiting - will have a hard slog. The devices won't be cheap, and will be squeezed from below by phones, above by laptops and, I guess, from the side by iPads and other tablets. I understand that this is Google, which is full to overflowing with brilliant people. But this just doesn't seem like a concept that is destined to get a whole lot of traction.

Perhaps, but there is another side (or more) to the story. CTO Edge's Wayne Rash sees merit in the concept, but doesn't think it will kill Windows, while ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols suggests that the Chromebook clearly is a play against Microsoft's desktop empire. Vaughan-Nichols points to attractive pricing and packaging for business, ease of use, security, great availability of applications and Google's brand name and recognition. The breadth of his conclusion suggests that I missed the point:

Dare I say it? I think for the first time in decades, Microsoft is facing real trouble on the desktop. Seem unlikely? Remember when everyone used Internet Explorer and then along came Firefox? I see the desktop market at a similar tipping point.

The PlayBook post focused on the lack of a native email app and problems with early versions of the operating system as signs that RIM is fumbling. The immediate counterpoint didn't come in the form of alternative interpretations by a blogger. It came as sales figures. RIM, according to RBC analyst Mike Abramsky, has sold about 250,000 of the devices in the U.S. since its April 19 launch. The company, this InformationWeek piece says Abramsky wrote to his clients, is on track to sell half a million by the end of the quarter.

The story goes on to discuss other devices lining up to take on the iPad. The conclusion is that the Apple device still is by far the Big Kahuna, though it may not be quite as big a Kuhuna as it was before:

Apple has lost a little ground, though. When it debuted the iPad 2, Apple claimed to have more than 90% of the tablet market. It lost 8 percentage points. Samsung owns 4% of the tablet market, Dell owns 3%, and Motorola owns a pathetic 2%. According to Nielsen's numbers, 9% of the tablet market belongs to "Other." RIM's PlayBook wasn't included in Nielsen's most recent research.

It's a certainty that a product will lose market share as new entrants emerge. It also is clear that the PlayBook's early numbers are good. Perhaps the product is good - as a commenter on my post suggested - or RIM's BlackBerry reputation is carrying it. The bottom line is that there are two sides - at least - to every story or blog item.

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