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Today in Tech: Why It's Good News if Apple's Mac Sales Disappoint


Mac buyers are wise to wait until later this year to buy a shiny new computer, Oracle and Google trade blows in court, and how to use Google Maps to survive the coming zombie apocalypse.

Apple (AAPL) might disappoint on Mac sales in next week's earnings call, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. Munster says that, based on data from NPD, we can expect that Mac sales in the first quarter will be 5% higher than the year before, Apple Insider reports. Apple-watchers are expecting a 14% increase. The analyst chalks this up to the fact that Apple hasn't made any major changes to the Mac lineup in over a year. This means that would-be buyers are merely waiting to avoid the risk of obsolescence, as All Things D's Walt Mossberg advises both Mac and PC buyers to do. Some would-be buyers are waiting for the next generation to come out, presumably with Intel's (INTC) latest Ivy Bridge processors, which will start shipping next week. Munster predicts that a hardware upgrade in the next quarter will send sales way up. I think it will make me jealous.

Apple is definitely a post-PC company. Hell, it even took the word "computer" out of its name. Mac sales only represent 15% of Apple's revenue, but sales are benefiting from the popularity of Apple's other products. My totally unscientific survey of Manhattan cafes confirm this trend.

Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison did a pretty poor job of testifying in court yesterday in his company's intellectual property lawsuit against Google (GOOG). Oracle is suing Google over the unlicensed use of 37 Java APIs in the Android operating system, and the case could set a precedent on the IP status of programming languages. Google's lawyers somehow got Ellison to admit that he isn't even sure whether Java is actually owned by anyone; they showed a video of Ellison himself saying that, indeed, nobody owns Java, and praising Android and welcoming Google's use of Java. Google's presentation also shows that before Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, Google had the full, ardent support of the language's creators.

The trial, which is being live-tweeted by Wired's Caleb Garling, could have far-reaching effects on the software industry. It's even possible that Android applications will all have to be re-coded.

Oracle's lawyers, for their part, dredged up some damning emails showing that high-up Googlers were fully aware that they were stealing Oracle's (then Sun's) bacon. For instance, this email from Andy Rubin, SVP of Mobile, told CEO Larry Page, "If Sun doesn't want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language -- or -- 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way" (emphasis mine).


It should be obvious by now that Facebook (soon to be FB on the Nasdaq (^IXIC)) is still Mark Zuckerberg's personal project. The Facebook board was only privy to the deal that made Instagram's handful of employees multi-millionaires after it was pretty much decided. Mark Zuckerberg, with 57% of the vote, has no check on his power to make huge decisions like this on his own. According to the Wall Street Journal, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom wanted $2 billion, and Zuckerberg talked him down.

ALSO: Google Maps is really useful. Especially during the zombie apocalypse. Bookmark this Map of the Dead to help you find gun stores, grocery stores, armories, and cemeteries to help you survive and avoid having your brains eaten. (Hat tip to Mark Wilson at Fast Company.)

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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