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November 25, 2012

Comments

I think that provider beta workadaddy who used to go around with a Blackberry now gets a Motorola Atrix or a year-old Galaxy S II because he can find them on sale and wants to care for his family's money so his daughter can study abroad and his wife can savor gourmet cupcakes.

Also because he thinks he would look like a poseur walking around with an iPhone.

Or it could just be that Apple devices appeal to the sort of people who covet the latest technologies. Techno-geeks are more likely to do their shopping online. Android devices appeal more to traditional (and, probably, older) people who still shop in person.

My take is simpler than that: with its few devices and unique port, Apple users used to have a lot of accesories at their disposal, some of them of very top design from specialized companies. With its tons of different sizes and ports, any given Android device has only a handful of accesories of very generic design. So it's not that Android users doesn't have the money to spare on accesories, it's that they really doesn't have a lot to choose from. "Frugal" doesn't certainly apply to those 5"+ cellphone mostrosities whose size is beyond anything useful.

I said "used to" in the paragraph above because the Lightning adapter have just screwed both users and accesory suppliers alike. Along with some other shoot-in-the-foot moves of late, I really believe that Tim Cook et al. is out of ideas and will simply promete new twisted ways of increasing revenue without adding any value.

My guess is that Samsung is going to become the new winner that takes all in the world of electronics (I mean Apple actually outsource them to make parts of their devices) and soon we will have a Samsung / Android cult where we had an Apple one. Can someone offer an HBD insight of why those South Koreans were able to grew that big?

You're overthinking it, HS.

Apple is "cool". Android isn't.

Yes, it's that simple.

HS has me nailed. Two refurbed Galaxy S phones bought on ebay 18 months ago (for me and wifey) running on Walmart Family Mobile.

Not that this makes me a genius, but it did take some independent research to figure out which phones would work on this service. Something most Apple users wouldn't dream of doing.

And yes these phones are a step down from the iPhones most of our friends have, but well worth the cost difference (to me). And the gap is narrowing every day.

Everyone here is reading way too much into this. Out of mobile/tablet consumers women disproportionately prefer iOS, Android is 61% men. Who does the holiday shopping? Women.

The only holiday presents I'll be buying are those for my wife. She will handle the shopping for literally every other person that I'm obligated to buy for. Kids, siblings, parents, friends, nieces and nephews, co-workers. Wives and girlfriends buy all those presents.

Furthermore consider that to the extent that men do by presents they wait till the last minute. Who's ever heard of a bunch of men getting excited about black friday sales. Every male I know will basically just do a mad dash the week before Christmas.

@javhert
"Can someone offer an HBD insight of why those South Koreans were able to grew that big?"

yeah, what's going on with south korea? they are getting really powerful. and not just in tech, in pop culture too. that kind of thing matters. exporting is exporting, no mater what kind.

yeah, i am talking about PSY and his gangham style song.

You could only make the frugal claim if Android users actually bought less, which isn't discussed - the platform used to buy things is irrelevant to the "frugal" conclusion.

RE the mobile device issue, it's possible Android users are more squeamish about using that type of device to buy online (I certainly am, and I buy pretty much everything but clothes and groceries online)) and that I-device users are unaware of any risk (I've heard from more than one Apple user that Apple products are immune to malware).

"really want Apple devices but are too frugal to buy them"

ATT IPhones don't cost any more than comparable Android phones. They even have a 99 cent IPhone.

"According to IBM, 24% of Black Friday online shoppers used a mobile device, and the vast majority of those used were iOS."

Shoppers are bringing iOS devices because more retail outlets are offering "price matching" in order to keep up with Amazon.

"Apple is so successful because they have won the hearts and minds of spendthrift consumers, who are the most profitable customers to have."

Apple is successful because they combine great hardware and software with beautiful designs which signal their computers are luxury goods.

Apple is the BMW of the IT industry.

"And I have to admit that I appreciate Apple's packaging. The spartan white boxes look so much more high class than the busy and loud boxes of all other brands."

Phase 1) HS is dubious of Apple's hype.

Phase 2) HS nervously ventures out from his cubicle unit to retrieve iOS device and see what everyone is talking about.

Phase 3) HS realizes iOS devices signal high social status.

Phase 4) HS buys more Apple products to impress elites.

Phase 5) Apple's sales skyrocket while Half Sigma goes broke trying to ingratiate himself with elites.

It's all going according to the script...

While there are probably a few techheads who buy Androids for geeky reasons, I suspect the that majority of people who buy Android devices really want Apple devices but are too frugal to buy them.

This is exactly my reason. I had a iPhone 3G for three years before I dropped it one too many times. Bought a used Samsung Galaxy S off eBay and quite enjoying it.

Apple attracts more "geeky" customers?
I know it's personal experience, but that's not what I've seen among my engineering friends.
Too much generalization is hurting the quality of the articles.

[HS: I wrote the opposite in the blog post, that geeks buy Androids, or I should say nerds, because nerds don't understand aesthetics very well, they just see that Apple products are more expensive for the same microprocessor.]

"It's all going according to the script..."

Must be those liberal arts professors....

Apple = SWPL items

Androids = Prole devices

Maybe iphones appeal to women shoppers, but the sophisticated users I know prefer the Galaxy S III or the Nexus 4.

"Apple = SWPL items

Androids = Prole devices"

What about Windows phones like the Nokia Lumia?

"Apple = SWPL items

Androids = Prole devices"

Apple = waste of money for most people

Android = a good investment for most people

A real prole wouldn't have a cell phone with a data plan

Apple appeals to well-to-do middle-aged people who are too old to learn a lot of complicated technical stuff anymore and just want devices that work.

Iphones are easily the best phones. Only people who care about price get something else.

When I first moved from Blackberry to iPhone I didn't realize that Androids are cheaper.

I just chose the iPhone since I knew that its Web surfing is a million times faster than the crappy Blackberry Curve.

I'd be interested to see what percentage of these "mobile devices" are tablets. I have a hunch it's way easier to shop on an ipad than a phone and most of the tablets, or at least the big ones easy to browse and shop on are ipads.

[HS: Amazon has a very well mobile-optimized site, and your credit card and address are stored, so it ought to be easy enough to shop Amazon on an iPhone. But many other vendors are less advanced.]

this apple bashing is just getting out of hand. apple stuff works like it's supposed to, has an ergonomic UI, is relatively bug and virus free, and is well designed and manufactured with quality materials. why is it so shocking and offensive that they can charge a premium for this? some people want to pay more for a better product. it hardly makes them stupid. we can all buy our clothes at walmart and drive shitty hyundais but that's not a life that all of us care to live.

@ HS

I want the product that will fulfill my needs with the least amount of headaches. And I want the best bang for my buck. Android fits that bill. I couldn't care less what everyone else has.

Your saying "cheap" or "cheapskate" wouldn't have changed my opinion. I view thrift in moral as well as financial terms. I don't comment when I see people pissing away money on crap. Because you can't tell others how to spend their own money. But I'm disgusted by spendthrifts and think they're foolish.

The HTC phone I bought a couple of years ago cost more than the iphone that was available at that time.

I would never buy a second hand phone...probably stolen.

"Apple products are more expensive for the same microprocessor."

That right there sums up why I've always avoided Apple and their products.

Besides I don't want to be like the kind of people that have iPhones and iPods. They're the wrong kind of "cool." They're the "look at me, I'm so cool" kind of cool - not the down to earth, genuine, unassuming kind of cool.

If being SWPL is high class, then I don't want to be high class. SWPLs lack substance and integrity.

People are trying to claim the Iphone doesn't have any more functionality, but they are wrong.

Over the weekend my friend showed me his Android phone. It "crashed" once. I've NEVER seen an Iphone ever crash ever. This never happens with apple.

I also tried using an Android tablet once. Whereas on the Ipad it quickly and seamlessly understands all your hand motions and Android tablet seemed to get it wrong a lot more.

Also, the icons and text on the Apple product are always easy on the eyes. The Android has a lot of small text and icons that were annoying to read.

Also the apple products work seamlessly with each other. I can steam everything through my $99 apple TV that hooks up all my content through my sound system and makes it easy to get new content on the spot. One good example is I can pull up my photos from my iphone right on my TV to show guests. When I tried using the samsung app built into the TV I couldn't make it fullscreen (in fact borders were cutting the photo size by 70%).

Maybe the processors are the same, but the apple stuff is just way way easier to deal with.

I have an Android because my husband picked it out for me. He has had an Android himself since they came out. He did lots of research on it and competing products, which I know because he talked about it a lot. He does not pinch pennies on electronics, so if Apple were better I'm confident he would know this and have one.

If I had done any Black Friday shopping, which I didn't, I probably would have have done it online. I would not have used my smartphone. I don't understand why anyone with access to a desktop or laptop would use a smartphone to shop.

I do not understand the whole Black Friday thing, either. Maybe I'm missing something. I think a true cheapskate would be scrambling to get the best deals, and I failed to do that. But it is true that I don't like to shop.

Maybe young people are more likely to have Apple products, and more likely to online shop via smartphones, because they're always hanging out with their friends in coffeeshops or whatever.

you are all missing the point about the appeal of apple products. you have this ridiculous straw man concept of an apple consumer in your minds. i have had multiple iOS and android products. android puts you closer to the metal. but it crashes more often, hangs, and is just more jittery/unpolished in general.

i have also had many windows and iOS computers. with windows, you have to make a hobby out of making it do what it is supposed to do. not being a computer nerd, i don't take any pride in having those skills. my time is better spent on other things, like earning money and having sex.

i liken my preference for apple products to my preference for jap cars and digital watches. yes, i can buy a BMW that requires a ton of expensive work or an american muscle car that requires me to get under the hood. i can also buy a stupid mechanical watch that requires oiling and expensive maintenance. but i value my time more than the paltry psychological boost out of feeling superior to the rest of benighted mankind by saving a couple of bucks on a computer and knowing some arcana about how to navigate an unintuitive android or windows OS.

any of you that have careers where losing time to doing this nonsense is a serious opportunity cost will understand this.

"Android = a good investment for most people

A real prole wouldn't have a cell phone with a data plan" -Chris P.

Everybody these days do; I really wouldn't call that a status factor and basing class on consumer habits is kind of prole-y anyway; it implies you have no cultural/family attributes to back your class. Most people who do, get what they like and not care. Apple happens to be what a lot of people like.

As ive said, I don't see the appeal of Apple laptops, as I'm a Sony Vaio guy, but I feel nobody has perfected the touch screen platform the way Apple has. Even comparable priced tablets fall behind the iPad in my opinion. The Android app market is getting huge nonetheless; I think it's because more people are using it, because the way things are going, fewer and fewer people can afford Apple. Google has done a really good job "racing to the bottom" in price availability (hence, the Chromebook), wheras thats not Apple's biggest concern.

Case in point, I paid $3.99 for Angry Birds on Apple, only to find out when I got my Android phone, it was free there. That was irritating.

I still use a dumbphone and have been on the sidelines forever with paralysis by analysis. From my perspective, it seems iphones are less buggy and more streamlined but a bit too restrictive. Android seems more fragmented both in the number of types of phones and the apps available. I fiddled around with each type of phone, and the thing I didn't like about Android phones is the clutter and the 3d animations. I can see Android phones constantly crashing with the apps and clutter. It's like Myspace. the iphone is very sleek and simple. just rows of apps. no cool 3d animated graphics. it just runs more smoothly, and I'd imagine would crash less and have few bugs. Also, support for Android phones come from the phone company not from Google. Oftentimes, the flagship phones get great support with lots of updates, while the lesser and older phones don't get much support with no more updates. also, why the heck are android phones getting so massively big? that's just tacky and cumbersome.

"I have to say that after playing with both an iPad and a Nook, the Nook sucks in comparison."

I have a Nook Color. It does everything I want a tablet to do - I can read eBooks, check email, and websurf. I have downloaded some free and $0.99 games for my kids. Not sure why I would want to pay $200 to $400 more for an iPad that does the exact same things.

A lot of what I'm reading in these comments just sounds like people who have iphones prefer their iphones because they already know how to use them.

"why is it so shocking and offensive that they can charge a premium for this?"

With respect to the product being described here, they don't. Again, IPhones are not more expensive than Android phones.

"it crashes more often, hangs, and is just more jittery/unpolished in general"

If you stick with Android apps that are comparable to ITunes apps, this is not true. For better or worse (and for low info consumers probably worse), Android doesn't restrict availability of apps, and some of them cause system instability. If you pay attention to reviews on the app store, it's easy to avoid problems. Apple products (all of them) are a much more appropriate product for low information/knowledge consumers.

"A real prole wouldn't have a cell phone with a data plan"

?

"When I first moved from Blackberry to iPhone"

That's like moving from a pickup to a Lexus; entirely different product with a different mission. As they move into the enterprise market Apple and Android are going to kill what's left of Blackberry. It's a mystery to me why anyone would buy a Blackberry today; a sad story of a company dying as a result of failure to keep up with their own technology.

"It's a mystery to me why anyone would buy a Blackberry today"

Because they didn't buy it; their company gave it to them for free.

[HS: And companies continue to buy them because change requires resources.]

It's funny that Kurtosis gets so defensive over comments here making mildly-critical but true observations that Apple users are primarily concerned with status and that Apple products are usually no better than comparable (and less expensive) alternatives. Again, this shows that Apple users don't like their brazen status whoring exposed, and when these facts are presented to them they fall back on the propagandistic platitudes they hear from Apple about how their products "just work" etc.

I have used Apple products for a long time myself, and I see them as decidedly inferior, particularly in the 2nd era of Steve Jobs. Not to mention that Apple's stance as a technology company has become consistently against individual rights to own the products they buy or make informed decisions on what to buy.

Well, I have an Apple iPod touch *and* a Google Android cell phone (as well as a Microsoft Zune MP3 player - I'm an equal opportunity electronics patron!). I use the iPod touch (which I owned before the cell phone) strictly for work-related medical applications, and I'm very pleased with it for that purpose. However, I really dislike the touchscreen for actual typing, so I prefer the Blackberry-style keypad on my cell phone for texting. Overall I'm pretty happy with all these choices and I'd buy the same ones again.

"Or it could just be that Apple devices appeal to the sort of people who covet the latest technologies."

Wozniak prefers Android.

My understanding is that geeks prefer Android - is it because Android is open source?

[HS: Android itself is open source, and the devices themselves are open in that you can add any files you want to them, while Apple is closed, you can only add to it what Apple has decided to allow, which are certain types of documents (including audio/visual documents like mp3s) and approved Apple Apps from the App Store.]

"With respect to the product being described here, they don't. Again, IPhones are not more expensive than Android phones."
_____________
Depends on the android model. But overall iphone provides a better value than Androids of similar specs.


"If you stick with Android apps that are comparable to ITunes apps, this is not true. For better or worse (and for low info consumers probably worse), Android doesn't restrict availability of apps, and some of them cause system instability. If you pay attention to reviews on the app store, it's easy to avoid problems. Apple products (all of them) are a much more appropriate product for low information/knowledge consumers."
_________________
See with Android, you've got to spend time doing this time researching crap. Sometimes it's much better to spend your precious finite time doing something else. People often mock others who don't perform extremely indepth analysis about every single choice they make and being mindless sheeple for being mentally lazy about certain choices. But I prefer simplicity and using mental shortcuts when they provide net value for me. Time in finite, and we can't possibly do through analysis of the tens, hundreds or more options and then thoroughly analyze the tens, hundreds or more factors within those options. There comes a point when over-optimizing leads to sub-optimizing. I sometimes like not having to be overly vigilant about stuff and just want it to work.

Addendum to above. Wozniak has an Iphone but thinks Android is more advanced, in certain ways.

http://bgr.com/2012/01/16/steve-wozniak-android-has-leapt-ahead-of-apple-in-many-ways/

Six of one....I am agnostic, still using a dumb-phone, but going to upgrade after the first of the year.

Actually, Wozniak prefers Windows Phone to both Apple and Android. "I'll be carrying the Windows Phone with me almost everywhere."

http://blogs.computerworld.com/20099/wozniak_windows_phone_is_so_beautiful_steve_jobs_might_have_been_reincarnated_by_microsoft_to_help_design_it

Windows Phone should really be more popular. It's a great system; superior in many respects to anything else on the market (once you get used to its unusual interface). On the other hand, getting Windows phone now, before it catches on, will separate you from the crowd and may earn you hipster points :).

[HS: The fact that he would make a public statement against the the company he cofounded shows that he's a NERD.]

"It's funny that Kurtosis gets so defensive over comments here making mildly-critical but true observations that Apple users are primarily concerned with status and that Apple products are usually no better than comparable (and less expensive) alternatives. Again, this shows that Apple users don't like their brazen status whoring exposed, and when these facts are presented to them they fall back on the propagandistic platitudes they hear from Apple about how their products "just work" etc."

I have not met one Apple user who thinks that his consumption patterns raise his status one iota. Where are these people you speak of?

I have an iPad, Apple TV and some Apple desktops at home. I have an iPhone. Outside of the iPhone, the other products never see the light of day outside my house. No one sees my consumption patterns, and I don't much care what other people use. Where does status play into this? I've never understood this status association with Apple-anything. Someone explain this to me.

Apple products do work more smoothly for people who don't like to be bothered getting under the hood. I had never owned an Apple product until 18 months ago. Now all my personal electronics/computing/telephony products are Apple. It started with my computer after I was done with 15+ years of wrestling with shitty Wintel boxes. Next came my Android phone which I had to jump hoops through to power-optimize. Also very crash prone. I even had a Zune HD. Not bad, but the software was awful in comparison to iTunes. I can go on. Perhaps that 2% of Apple computer marketshare in 1997 just wanted to epatez le bourgeoisie as you are so inclined to believe, but outside of that rump I suspect most Apple users are converts like me.

Trading money for time is not status whoring. It is an economically rational decision for people with high opportunity costs of time. If you enjoy futzing with software and OS's, good for you. Since we are getting into name calling, that would make you a "computer nerd." Nyah nyah nyah.

I read this blog as much for the comments as the actual articles.
I have an iPhone and have owned three or four iPods but I won't buy apple products again. I'm not particularly displeased with their quality or anything, it's just that I really could get by just fine without a smartphone and I hate how the iTunes library automatically erases all your music if it doesn't recognize your computer. My next phone will probably be an old school phone and my next music player will probably be a zune or just a conventional mp3 player.

I also get turned of by the whole apple culture. Walk into any apple store and the employees all look like pretentious hipsters-people I personally can't stand. I don't want my money to fund a corporate culture like that.

[HS: If it makes you feel better, the hipsters working at the Apple stored are still getting paid crappy retail salaries.]

In New York, 90% of SWLPs on subway use iPhones. Compared to ~60% of black people who use iPhones and ~40% who use Android.

"I also get turned of by the whole apple culture. Walk into any apple store and the employees all look like pretentious hipsters-people I personally can't stand. I don't want my money to fund a corporate culture like that."

If there is anything I don't like about Apple, it is the retail-level employees. A few years ago, I was very close to converting to Apple. Considering a Macbook Pro for work/play. However, trying it out, I noticed, as warned, that mild electric shocks happen. I asked one of the hipsters in the blue t-shirts about this and he gave me this smug "actually, sir, aluminum doesn't conduct electricity."

You don't have to be a condensed matter physicist to see the fatuity in that statement.

That set my conversion back another couple of years. The smarmy attitudes of Apple retail slugs was the sole reason that I resisted going Apple for so long. It was only until my work/home Lenovos drove me to the edge of madness that I put aside my pride and converted at last.

@kurtosis:

***I have not met one Apple user who thinks that his consumption patterns raise his status one iota.***

If you are really serious, then you are missing the distinction between conscious and unconscious status behaviour. For many of these people, using an Apple product provides an instinctive, tribal sense that one belongs to the "right group" - the same as many other status markers.

***the other products never see the light of day outside my house. No one sees my consumption patterns, and I don't much care what other people use. Where does status play into this? I've never understood this status association with Apple-anything. Someone explain this to me.***

SWPLs are quite capable of unconciously feeling smug and superior about having made choices that no one else knows about.

Which Nook? I got the HD+ a couple weeks back.

[This comes after a Galaxy 10 this time last year, and Kindle v1 I got over the summer. A buddy and I have started a company making Android apps. There's been a couple times I was going to comment with links to it, but I've made enough crime-speak here over the years, I decided such wouldn't be prudent.]

Anyway, the HD+ screen is to-die-for. The rest of the specs are great for the price, but the Android over-lay they put on it is annoying for this experienced Android user. I suspect they focus group-ed it with little old ladies. Also, they have it locked-down pretty tight against apps coming from outside their own store. That IMO is ridiculous. As a developer I've figured out how to work-around it, but it's a PIA and not something anyone could accomplish. If I'd bought a Nook solely for personal use, I'd be pissed. I also find it suspicious the professional product reviewers _never_ mention this limitation.

The Fire, in contrast, has been the easiest device to stick any old executable on to. Works with Mac like a champ.

"[HS: Android itself is open source, and the devices themselves are open in that you can add any files you want to them, while Apple is closed, you can only add to it what Apple has decided to allow, which are certain types of documents (including audio/visual documents like mp3s) and approved Apple Apps from the App Store.]"

Bingo! Funny how this is only mentioned way down in the thread. I prefer a supplier that doesn't control what I can run on my phone. Apple is a zoo. Android is a jungle.

It is a pretty gross oversimplification to say either that (a) iPhone users (generally) only buy Apple due to status or (b) Android (generally) users only buy Androids because they are too cheap to buy an Apple.

I'm an Android user mostly for geeky reasons. Most Android users aren't such for the same reason that I am. However, the fact that Android runs such a large spectrum of products means that it has some significant advantages over iPhones for a lot of people regardless of price (it's noteworthy that some of the highest-selling Android phones are actually the high-end ones where the savings are marginal to non-existent).

Want a large screen? Apple won't give you one. Want a physical keyboard? Apple won't give you one. Want a smaller tablet? Apple wouldn't give you one until recently. There's nothing wrong with Apple not wanting to serve people who actually think different.

And an iPhone is fantastic provided that you want what Apple thinks you should want. They're more difficult to screw up, they keep the carriers from shoveling too much crap onto the phone, and so on. I have no love for Apple or iPhones, but they do have something to offer.

I'm a software developer who owns an Android. I've never owned an Apple device, they've generally struck me as overpriced and not really offering anything better than competitors (iPod was probably superior, but I never owned an mp3 device). I didn't buy anything on Black Friday either, not only am I cheap but my family hadn't decided on what they wanted.

Apple Store employees seem to be paid somewhat better than "multibrand" retail employees, as do employees of other single-brand stores:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/06/23/imagining_a_better_world_what_if_the_apple_store_were_the_worst_job_around_nbsp_.html

@Galvani, thanks for the link to the article about Woz preferring Windows phones. Reading it, I realized that the reason I don't have a smartphone is because I think a lot of them really ARE ugly. The moment I saw the Windows phone advertised on TV I thought it was beautiful. I agree with Woz. Maybe I'll hold out for a Windows phone.

"What about Windows phones like the Nokia Lumia?"

Any phone that isn't an iPhone is now prolish, with the exception of the Blackberry, which has no classification and is headed for extinction.

"SWPLs are quite capable of unconciously feeling smug and superior about having made choices that no one else knows about".

Can't you blame them? They usually live in better areas, in nicer apartments, go to better schools, shop in better stores (imagine a SWPL fumbling in Best Buy or Walmart) and earn more than the average (unless they live a good life funded by their parents).

Apple is for left-wingers, hipsters, and women. More and more, Android is swarming, particularly with Samsung, who are ascendant right now everywhere in the world except America.

iPhone was the first mass smart phone, and Apple deserve credit for that, and their latest iPhone 5 is a masterpiece. But it is the perfection of yesterday's breakthrough, it is not a harbinger of the future. That distinction belongs to Samsung.

Two weeks ago I spent the equivalent money on a new phone as what could have purchased me a brand new Apple iPhone 5. But I didn't buy the iPhone, I adjudged the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE to be the superior product, in every way.

More and more people are making this same judgement, especially in the growing Asian markets which will drive the largest proportion of profit growth in the decades ahead as opposed to declining America.

The commenters above who complain about Android's laggyness have not used Jellybean 4.1 and 4.2. It is almost as smooth as iOS now, and will continue to improve. Apple is played out, Android is on the swarm, read the trend and bank on the future my friends.

"Any phone that is not an Iphone is prolish"

I think that is bullshit. No further comment needed.

"[HS: The fact that he would make a public statement against the the company he cofounded shows that he's a NERD.]

A NERD who is worth billions and who is now on his fourth wife. He can afford to say and do what he wants. Those articles say that he owns all three types of phones. He's also taught 5th grade and got an electrical engineering degree after he was rich under the name Rocky Raccoon, or some such. He danced on Dancing With the Stars and made a fool of himself. So what? He has earned the right to do what he wants and say what he wants.

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