A Message To Eric Schmidt And Android: Put Up Proof Of Profits Or Shut Up

There will be one billion Android devices—smartphones and tablets—in use within a year, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said.

Schmidt made the prediction during an interview with AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the 92nd Street Y in New York Wednesday night.

Google is activating 1.3 million Android devices a day.

“Do the math,” Schmidt said. ~ via Business Insider

Doing The Math

All right, Mr. Schmidt. I’ll do the math. Activations are only part of the equation. The numbers that you keep conveniently not telling us are margins, revenues and profits. Activations without those numbers are meaningless. Market share without those numbers are meaningless. You want us to do the math, Mr. Schmidt? Your numbers – without context – are mathematically meaningless.

Now I have no doubt that Android has margins, has revenues, has profits. I have no doubt that Android is making money. What I SERIOUSLY doubt is just how much money Android is making. You want us to take you seriously, Mr. Schmidt? Tell us those numbers.

Market Share Myopia

We are OBSESSED with market share numbers when we should be obsessed with profit.

— Market share is a COMPONENT of profits. It means nothing in and of itself.
— Market share is the factor. Profit is the solution.
— Market share is just one of many top lines. Profit is the one and only bottom line.
— Market share is the means. Profit is the ends.
— Market share is not the goal. Profits are the goal.

Where Are The Numbers?

A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large. ~ Henry Ford

So where are Google’s numbers for Android? They have them. They’re just not sharing them. Why do you suppose that is?

When a company has favorable numbers, they shout them from the mountain tops. When a company has numbers that are unfavorable, they remain stoically silent. This is the industry norm.

— Apple seldom talks about Apple TV
— Samsung stopped reporting their tablet sales numbers
— Amazon never reveals sales or profit numbers for the Kindle Fire
— Microsoft actually does reveal the exorbitant amounts they lose on Bing. Go figure.

When a company says nothing about a product’s profits, they are telling us something. And that something is not good. Their silence speaks volumes.

No Profit, No Glory

“Business is all about solving people’s problems – at a profit.” ~ Paul Marsden

It is somewhat ironic that I keep reading stock market “bears” claiming that Apple is a “bubble” when Apple is one of the few companies that actually reveals their numbers and is built upon a solid foundation of revenues and profits. If a company wants recognition, if a company wants to be taken seriously, if a company wants us to respect what they do, then they need to reveal their profits.

There should be a new rule when reporting on companies. Unless a company is making a profit, words like “successful”, “winning”, “dominating”, and such should be banished. If a company wants the glory, they should have the guts to reveal their profits.

Market Share and Margins and Profits, Oh My!

Everyone obsesses over market share but anyone can achieve market share if they don’t care about profits. All they have to do is lower their prices or sell their goods or services at a loss.

— Market share is easy.

— Profit is hard.

— Market share plus profit share is genius.

Stop Talking About…

The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit. ~ Samuel Gompers

Now here come the excuses, the rationalizations, the justifications. “But, but, but…profit isn’t everything! There are more important things like…”

Please stop. There’s nothing more important to a business than profits. Stop talking about:

— market share without context.
— how much profit you’re going to make in some distant, undefined future.
— how much you’re making from some undisclosed and undiscoverable content, advertising, data gathering or other nebulous activity.
— how your business model is different and it shouldn’t be compared to other companies. You’re wrong. Every company’s profits can and should be compared. Profits are the great equalizer.

The proof is in the profits. If you don’t the have profits, you don’t have the proof. And if you don’t have the proof, then please, just stop talking.



Does anybody use Google+ any more? That seems to be the question floating around these days.

The Goog, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Google+ project made its debut two months ago and by the end of its first month had a user base of 25 million worldwide, becoming the fastest-growing social media network in the admittedly short history of social media networks, according to the digital business analytics firm comScore. Almost immediately afterward, Experian Hitwise, an online consumer behavior and marketing consultancy, began reporting that Google+’s rate of growth was slowing, and that the average amount of time Google+ users spent on the site was declining. Then the otherwise respected website GigaOm trumpeted the dubious results of a “voluntary sample of more than 10 million Google+ users” that purported to find “that a whopping 83 percent of Google+ users are currently classed as inactive.”

People are asking if Google’s flagship social media service is destined to follow the trajectory of Google Buzz and Google Wave. People are wondering if social media fatigue is a factor. For me, it’s privacy fatigue as much as anything.

The Sage

But back to the question: Does anybody still use Google+? As often is the case, I find myself in total agreement with Yogi Berra: “Nobody goes there any more; it’s too crowded.” Millions of people use Google+. Millions more are waiting to get in. But I don’t go there anymore.

My enthusiasm for Google+ was never great to begin with, and it diminished after Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, explained that Google+ is really an Internet identity service with social media elements.

Schmidt, according to a transcript of a Q&A session at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, said that Google+ is “an identity service with a link structure around your friends.” In other words, it’s a product that helps Google sell ads more effectively by gathering information about its users. To that end, Google+ does not allow anonymity. It has a “real names” policy and requires users to provide traceable personal information. “It’s central for Google to have such a service,” Schmidt said.

We'll see you ... later

Asked how Google can justify requiring real names if doing so puts some users at risk, especially in unstable political climates, Schmidt said, “Well, the first comment is that Google+ is completely optional. In fact, many, many people want to get in. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to.”

By its own admission, Google developed Google+ as a more effective way to gather personal information from users and their friends that Google can then use to target advertisements more profitably.

Here’s what you signed when you signed up for Google+:

“By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

“You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.”

I’m taking Eric Schmidt’s advice: I don’t have to use it.

How about you? Has Google+ become an important part of your social life online?