"A Moratorium on TechCrunch"

In an article for The Kernel, Milo Yiannopoulos discusses his growing distaste for TechCrunch, skewering the popular site's incumbent Editor in the process. Following the exodus of a handful of key writers and the associatively disdainful handling of such personnel changes, Yiannopoulos writes:

Like any publication, TechCrunch thrived when it did two things well: made you laugh, and made you think. It no longer does either. You can only get away with reporting free from personality or ego if you’re a really spectacular journalist.

But there is, quite literally, no one left at TechCrunch I admire enough to make me put up with its bizarre self-obsession and the awful spectacle of its implosion.

I tend to disagree with the notion that TechCrunch is dying, but I certainly agree that the stewardship of Erick Schonfeld has been fairly abysmal. Of course, from the outside, there's only so much validity I can lend to such an assertion, but it seems to be a fairly common belief amongst the tech community. 

The most notable problem, in my eyes, has been the lessening sting of TechCrunch's once scrappy and competitive tone. While many good writers remain at TechCrunch, much of their focus has seemingly fallen inward. Purposeful or not, this introversion has fostered an unpleasant air of arrogance. Although TechCrunch has arguably always prided itself on some semblance of arrogance, it was often well justified. With the latest changes and the "spectacle" surrounding them, I'd argue the arrogance is significantly less warranted.

Schonfeld has done well to retain Alexia Tsotsis, but without his own replacement, I worry for the site's long-term prospects. Still, while Yiannopoulos uses this as an opportunity to launch some sort of aggressive tirade against the site, my perspective falls in much more passive ground. TechCrunch is an enormous site - one with the capacity for truly brilliant, cutting coverage. Although some tumultuous months have shaken the site's foundations, there is certainly no reason to regard the site as dying.

The timing of Yiannopoulos' attack - given the recent furor surrounding M.G. Siegler, Mike Arrington, Path, and Nick Bilton - strikes me as somewhat opportunistic. Riding on the coattails of the controversy, Yiannopoulos looks to draw attention to their original stomping grounds at TechCrunch but, in doing so, paints a rather negative picture of himself.

Personally, I won't be removing TechCrunch from my RSS reader any time soon. I think the site has plenty of potential and, with the removal of Schonfeld, could well claw its way back. With the apparent negativity for online journalism still fresh in memory, I think it's a good practice to adopt even the most basic sense of optimism for the industry.

Misanthropy is not a path toward success, and projecting it upon industry peers - in light of recent events - does not sit right with me.

"Why Samsung Is The Next Apple"

Today, Techcrunch's John Biggs has penned a controversial article suggesting that Samsung is on track to become "the next Apple." Citing Samsung's various successes with smartphone and television sales, Biggs suggests that Samsung may be moving toward a media environment akin to Apple's iTunes ecosystem. In and amongst Biggs' fairly unreasonable argument, he writes:

This isn’t about Android or iOS or Windows Phone – it’s about Samsung making and selling millions of phones to millions of people. Samsung is mercenary. They’re happy to use anyone’s OS as long as it puts phones into boxes and boxes into shopping bags.

The arrival of CES this week has prompted an outpouring of negativity toward the consumer electronics industry's propensity toward rapid product obsolescence, unreasonable product cycles, and poorly planned products. Samsung, regardless of its various successes, is renowned for the perpetuation of such characteristics. Insofar as the company is a "mercenary," Samsung lacks dedication to its own products just as much as it lacks dedication to a sole operating system.

For as long as Samsung competes against itself for product sales, it will fail to build a compelling and encompassing environment. Releasing multiple iterations of the same fundamental laptop concept per year, repeatedly and unnecessarily updating televisions, and peddling so many phones that an absurd naming convention becomes requisite are hardly the practices of a company meticulously conscious of its image and its consumer.

Samsung's flagship devices are on the market for mere months before being quickly shoved into a lesser light by their younger, sleeker siblings, thus relegating former products to pathetic support page memoriams, infrequent updates, and eventual obsolescence. While some of these products might be objectively good, without control over the software, Samsung lacks the latitude to provide and facilitate lengthy support lifetimes for its devices.

Until Samsung can shed its existence as a "mercenary" company, it is impossible for Samsung to become the next Apple. Regardless of your opinions of Apple, it is easy to identify and appreciate the extent of control, thought, and consistency across its product lines.

Samsung, on the other hand, is in the business of selling all the devices, appliances, and televisions that it can push out the door. Sure some of those might incorporate some novel concepts, but without lasting support or a dedicated ecosystem, Samsung lacks the ability to swivel its "good products" into an Apple-esque ecosystem. Interaction between devices is merely scratching the surface, and is simply and unquestionably not enough to compete on the same scale as Apple.

Moreover, limiting product release cycles, extending support, and developing its own ecosystem of complimentary media and software are paths that Samsung has chosen to avoid, and are paths that, in all likelihood, Samsung will continue to ignore.

Samsung has a winning model, but it is certainly nothing like Apple's. Nor should it be.