Silly me believing stuff I read on the Internet. First there was the The register's story about only 26,000 iphones being activated in the UK.
Next came Electronics weekly's usual "Made by Monkeys" e-mail - I'm not sure how I ended up on the list for it, but I haven't unsubscribed because once in a while there's a gem in there like Gender specific user interfaces, which people seem to find funny on multiple levels. Directly below that there is something about An Apple Power Mac G5 Oozing Coolant.
Then Russ came along with a comment to my iPhone post At least the iPhone isn't packed with 'toxic chemicals'! That smartphone is making me feel ill! and a link to a Greenpeace report where Microsoft got a pretty bad review. We've made some environmental progress (especially in software packaging) but Microsoft can't claim to be up with the leaders in the hardware industry. But (Russ) Microsoft doesn't make Smartphones and PDAs we only supply the OS to companies like Dell, HP, HTC Motorola, Palm, Samsung and Toshiba, (HTC and Palm aren't on the Greenpeace survey, off the others only Motorola ranks below Apple). Having seen that corrosive coolant story I wanted to find the link to it. Being sure I'd seen it on The Register I couldn't find it, a quick search turned it up , but not before I'd got side tracked into two other items....
One was from Greenpeace (again). Titled "Missed call: the iPhone's hazardous chemicals" it says that in May "Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, claimed: "Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead of, most of its competitors" on environmental issues. Yet when the iPhone launched in June there was no mention of any green features of the phone from Apple. So they tested one and criticized it's use of PVC and brominated fire retardants. [Their criticism of Microsoft's hardware centred on the presence of these two, and the slow schedule we have for phasing them out]. They also comment "The disassembling also revealed the iPhone's battery was, unusually, glued and soldered in to the handset. This hinders battery replacement and makes separation for recycling, or appropriate disposal, more difficult, and therefore adds to the burden of electronic waste.". I thought a non-user changeable battery was bad, but soldered and glued ? That's just perverse.
The other was back at The Register, this time about Dell shipments of Ubuntu Linux. The Linux community bombarded Dell with 130,000 requests on their Idea-storm web site, but as the register put it only a fraction of these zealots were willing to back their votes with cash. Dell have sold something 20 Million PCs in the last six months, of which - if the register is to believed - 40 thousand are running Ubuntu. That's 2 PCs in every thousand. 0.2%. Now I don't want to big up Linux's market share, and I don't know what proportion of that is accounted for by Ubuntu; but I would have bet that it had more than 0.2% of the market. Do people who want Linux work build their own PC (Or have it built to their own spec) rather than go to the likes of Dell ? I don't know. But what about those 130,000 requests? Were they all distinct individuals ? Were they potential customers ? Or did Dell fall victim to an astroturf campaign ?