Our World. Our Minutae.

Monday, July 10, 2006

10 Reasons Why the Microsoft Portable Music Player Will Fail

10) First the rumored features of WiFi, Community & Trading your AAC tracks for WMA tracks.

WiFi. The MusicGremlin that is out now is proving that it sounds like a feature you want but the reality is that, it’s not all much of anything. First, WiFi is not broadband. That’s why Apple can build it into your iPod right now but why – when a direct connection is hundreds times faster? Also WiFi coverage is spotty – presumably you have to stand in one spot until it downloads. Who here really wants that?
sides, how well is Rhapsody doing with ipod owners?

It also seems much more likely that a hacker will crack that open within hours so every mp3 track you own will appear to be a m4p track and by noon, MS will probably be on the hook for a billion tracks and they’ll have to shut it down.

But most of all, how many people trust MS will get it to work correctly. They cannot get PLAYS4SURE to work correctly on every machine when it’s plugged DIRECTLY in – how are they going to get WiFi working and sell you tracks while you walk around? It’s not.

Or look at their attempt at the feature set today with their WMP11 player – it will go and grab all your CD cover art. Surprise or no surprise, most reviewers note that it cannot find obscure artists like Bill Joel or U2.

9) MS has failed in EVERY consumer venture since 1998. From remotes to Barney (remember those? And fittingly, here's the 'patch') to home networking to watches to WebTV to online music stores - that launched in 1999 but that Apple managed to outsell in 6 months CUMULATIVELY three years later.

And the Xbox/360? When you spend $400 to sell every unit, how many more “successes” can you afford?

8) Information is already leaking like a sieve. Any enticing feature will be included in the Apple iPod updates coming out by this fall or holiday season.

7) It will antagonize MS’ many partners – they will fight tooth and nail to hold MS at bay. So far, there’s Creative, iRiver, Samsung, Sony, Philips, SanDisk and others fighting for 10% to 20% of the leftover market. These companies all have direct relationships and many other products to offer to consumer electronic retailers not just Xbox (hardly any profit), and now another mp3 player. And some of these companies will be fighting to stay alive.

If anything, it further confuses consumers – do I want MS & their music service? Do I want Napster & iRiver & Plays4Sure but not MS music service? Do I want Creative & MTV Urge or can I still use MS music service? Or is it just too much damn work – how about SIMPLIFY with ONE solution EVERYONE else seems to agree on – itunes & ipod. Because people want to listen to music! Not play DJ - not have to use GoogleSpreadsheet to figure what's a better deal.

People choose the ipod for many reasons but mostly for CONVENIENCE. There are cheaper players and players with more features (I think even MS fans would agree it’s not in their most remote possibility that MS will design a mp3 player that looks better than the ipod) but no one beats the ipod for convenience.

ONE CLICK buys, and/or loads, AND syncs: music, movies, music videoes, photos, album art, podcasts, and/or audiobooks …

ONE CLICK.

Any bets the MS player will take more than one click just to turn on?

6) MS “marketing prowess” and ad dollars … stand back while the mighty gauntlet is thrown … er, yeah … it would be like Bill Gates as an ultimate fighter … MS spent $4 BILLION, yes BILLION dollars to try and take out AOL and LOST … if you can’t even defeat AOL – how can MS hope to beat back Apple, Sony, Samsung, Creative, iRiver & SanDisk?

In fact, they can’t even market you products based on their “fabled” OS – tablet PC’s, Media PC’s and that watch OS … all MAJOR launches that would sweep & revolutionize the industry. All TREMENDOUS flops. It’s the same marketing team – all ignored because when consumers have a choice, they seldom choose MS.

5) Their REAL REPUTATION. People tolerate their OS because they thought it was the only game in town … now, that it’s not and Bill Gates is leaving the company, what’s Microsoft again? When consumers have a choice, they seldom choose MS – certainly not since 1998. Because MS is the kludgy company with the not-quite working things with unattractive looking products. And of course, the requisite blue screen of death jokes.

4) They don’t really understand consumers. It’s a mixture of ignorance and arrogance … don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming Apple isn’t arrogant either but at least it’s the right arrogance for these times.* MS believes that by asking consumers what we want and because they’re so brilliant, we’ll buy it.

The problem is consumers say a lot of things they want but in reality, not really. We want low fat food, car pool lanes and flying cars but we don’t really want to eat low fat food more than once every two months; we don’t really want to drive around our neighborhoods picking up people or re-arranging our schedules; and we want a flying car that looks like a Ferrari/F-14, is under $15k.

The problem is MS’ culture is built on serving Enterprise & Gov’t Agencies who say exactly what they want, when they want it and how much they’ll pay. They are brilliant at selling to them. And that’s all fine and great.

They problem is that’s just not exciting enough for MS. They want our hearts, minds & wallets. They got a taste of it in the 1990’s with Win95 & 98 and ever since has been trying to get into our good graces but yet, the harder they try, the further they fall.

They just don’t understand when we say we want something, they “deliver” it – yet we don’t buy it (see next)

* Apple’ arrogance is different. Their aloofness is the allure. We don’t really care what you want. We will show you something … in good time. If you appreciate it – you understand. If you don’t, that’s your loss.

That is also why Apple can’t really sell to Enterprise, they just don’t care enough to beg like MS. Apple’s sales pitch is – here it is. If we release it, we think it’s great so why would we need to say much else?

3) In addition to the clueless arrogance, the other part of equation that brings MS down is their bureaucratic culture now. After the great success and cash flow of MS Office and Windows maintenance contracts, MS new mantra is continuous & PREDICTABLE revenue flow. They try and create every new division and product with that in mind. Again, what works fine in the corporate/enterprise/agency marketplace does NOT work in the consumer marketplace. Consumers loathe the monthly payment – it reminds of their utilities, credit cards and mortgage but to bureaucrats, what could be better than a PREDICATBLE & MONTHLY revenue stream? Hence MS attempt to take down AOL. 25 million people write a $25 check to AOL EVERY MONTH! (It’s now down to 18 million people a month using AOL). Or their attempts to get into the cable industry or the cell phone industry – we just want 10% of your take every month. That’s why they thought they had locked up the music & movie industries with their DRM & servers – just give us $.10 to $1.00 on every transaction … why were they were so hot on setting up Passport and a micro-payment system or why Bill Gates bought Corbis, the stock photo company – pay us X dollars to look or use this photo! (Remember he built those 10 plasma screen savers in his house? He presumed we would all do that and buy some package from Corbis every month).

This is the only reason they entered the video game marketplace. They saw that Sony made $5 to $10 on every PS2 disc sold and that online gaming meant $10 to $20 a month EVERY month. PREDICATABLE. The bureaucrats dream. Their new virus protection plan – again, sign up every year! Or why would MS spend millions designing an OS for a watch? All they saw was the PowerPoint presentation of $5 a month. No one stopped to say, why would anyone pay $5 a month for a weather report in tiny scrolling typeface when the same amount of time spent reading a watch face, you could simply look up for a BETTER weather report ALL AROUND YOU?

That’s the main difference with Apple. Your iPod works fine without ever using the iTunes Store … if fact, you can turn off the Store so it does not even show up … you think MS will offer that feature?

That’s why MS pushes subscription music – PREDICTABLE revenue stream … or what they want to do with this portable music player – add ads. Watch ads. Get free music. The problem is when you decide it has to be a predictable revenue stream first and then design the product around it – you’ve become a utility.

Microsoft is the only high-tech company that aspires to be a utility.

2) That’s one deadly DESIGN combination. Before you begin every venture, the bean counters want to know how you intend to generate revenues every month. Now design your product around that along with the 200 things consumers said they wanted – never mind what might be more or less important – just jam it all in there – the actual consumer is the furthest thing on our mind.

Perfect example. On the TREO, to use the speakerphone, there is a button SPEAKERPHONE. You press it. On the MS Q phone? Under the PROFILES MENU, go two deep and select SPEAKERPHONE. Which was designed by humans who actually use a phone and which was designed by a bureaucrat who just finished a stint at the DMV.

Microsoft – the DMV of technology.

1) It has already failed. Every other WMA player company is much nimbler (well, maybe not Sony :-) so already whatever MS produces will be heavier, bulkier, wonkier and dumber than products from Creative, iRiver, SanDisk, Samsung, etc … (the Xbox 360 is the work of hundreds of people after studying an ipod for 300 hours – bwahahaha).

It will have some annoying call-home-sign-in feature that only a bureaucrat could dream up … of course, they’ll tell you it’s to help you find new music but basically if you buy a Mariah track, there will be a 30-second ad pointing there might an obscure artist you’ve never heard of – Celine Dion. The WiFi will work sporatically, good luck getting a track replaced if the DL fails or they’ll charge you $19.99 a month for nationwide WiFi. MS will lose interest quickly as they start to lose the video game console fight to Sony & Nintendo and when/if they actually ship Vista in the middle of 2007 and/or when Google launches GoogleOffice for FREE on the internet.

They’ll all turn their eyes to Steve Ballmer to lead them out of the morass (the same guy who admits he missed what Yahoo, Google & Apple) were up to. The blame game will begin.

Meanwhile, Apple will probably announce an 8” ipod with a nano mini dock attachment to make it a nano mini mac …

MS should not let their player see the light of day – as a mythical beast, it will do much better – alighting far fetched rumors but if it were actually to step out into the sunlight. It will seal MS’ fate and announce to the world with trumpets that MS is truly a utility now.

33 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good music players, can slip into your pocket, or be taken out for a jog.

WiFi = bigger battery = weight.

We saw just how svelte the Origami / UMPC was..

11:58 AM

 
Anonymous Peter said...

Some Microsoft bashing, but you have some good points.

You do bring up the good point about consumers and asking them what they want. Yes, it is good to do that. But you have to take what they say with a grain of salt.

Yes, I want an MP3 player with WiFi. I want to be able to connect to streaming radio stations. I also want it to have a built-in web browser. It should also pick up and record FM radio. Oh, yeah, it should definitely have video--a nice big screen--and be able to pick up and record digital TV signals, too! It needs to be indestructable--good solid construction. It also needs to be light--I don't want to carry around this big heavy thing, so it needs to be small, too.

So what Microsoft will do is come up with a device which has all these things and does none of them well. All the hardware necessary for FM, DTV, and WiFi as well as the nice big screen will make it too heavy. The interface will be clumsy with a built-in web browser and support for all the hardware options. Antennas and such will make it worse.

I also agree about Microsoft's "consumer identity." Most consumers I know don't buy Microsoft products. They buy Dell, Gateway, Compaq, HP. They happen to get Microsoft software with it. But they don't actually go out and buy Microsoft software.

I remember a few years ago when Microsoft released Windows XP, most people didn't buy it. They went and bought a new PC with it installed. It was easier. The iPod has the buzz for "easy music."

12:49 PM

 
Blogger Galtzo said...

Awesome article.

You make a lot of interesting points.

Microsoft bashing? Maybe... at least it was deserved bashing of Microsoft. In fact they're due quite a bit more.

1:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone remember the Homer Simpson Car ?

: )

1:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed the "analyst" who claimed that M$ entry would be nirvana because M$ supports so many more "platforms."

Let's see Apple's iTunes/Music Store/iPod supports Windows, Mac OS, and Motorola cell phones and is compatible with a VAST array of completely independent third party devices (even when yo consider the limits placed on protected AAC files). M$'s WMA/V (both with and without DRM) tech supports Windows, Windows, and, of course, Windows; and a few third party devices that can/MUST support Windows and Windows ONLY. Everything else is a kludge (like Real hacking into Protected AACs).

2:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You somehow managed to get to the truth through all that MSFT venom. Nice job.

rayted32

5:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dead on brother! Dead on.

7:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW.... Well said, one other thing should be mentioned. I think it was Steve Jobs who taunted MS by saying he thought they would go ahead and bring out some kind of Xplayer or whatever. I think this is a deliberate move on Apple's part to lure MS into deeper waters..... they will be clearly out of their league and Apple can just sit on the shore while the H.M.S microsoft slowly fills with water.......

11:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply brilliant! Kudos.

9:40 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Q speakerphone dilemma, Walt Mossberg wrote this in his Mossberg's Mailbox column on June 29: "Yes, I erred when I wrote that. I just blanked on the hardware button, which I certainly knew about, having carried a Q for a couple of weeks while testing it. We have already run a formal correction, and I hereby apologize to Motorola for implying that the process was clumsy, when it's simple."

By no means do I love Microsoft, just wanted to get all the facts correct so the M$ Fanboys can't derail your commentary, which is great!

10:28 AM

 
Blogger dino said...

Amazing article. You hit the point right on the head. Awesome job!

10:46 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow so much FUD over a product that may never even see the light of day.

3:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Minutiae"

/nazi

4:45 PM

 
Blogger Williams said...

Is it just me, or is this whole article just someone whining about MS'es past failures.

Say what you will, but the Media Player + WiFi idea is a brilliant idea and I'm frankly shocked that Apple didn't come up with it first.

Hey... maybe there is some true innovation over at Microsoft. Imagine that.

5:08 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Say what you will, but the Media Player + WiFi idea is a brilliant idea and I'm frankly shocked that Apple didn't come up with it first."

Rumors are Apple did come up with it first. But everyone saw it coming as the next logical step in the evolution of media players. Apple is good at keeping secrets these days, well, at least better than MS.

6:06 PM

 
Blogger Russet Shadows said...

Wifi? Did you read the article at all? Wifi means energy; energy means battery; battery means weight and thickness. That's anathema to a portable device.

Now if something was simply a music player and wifi, then it could work. But M$ doesn't work like that. They'll try to cram in every feature under the sun, too. Then there's the nature of wifi coverage, dead zones, and so on, unless M$ wants to become a national wifi provider, too. Their experience with AOL has proven that to be a failing strategy.

Now given that M$ hasn't succeeded in a while, why would you suddenly expect them to succeed now? That is wishful thinking, or more strongly, a delusion.

7:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, I want an MP3 player with WiFi. I want to be able to connect to streaming radio stations. I also want it to have a built-in web browser."

I bet that web browser will be IE the same browser with all those bugs. Your M$ player will be riddled with viruses and spyware and then you'd have to pay a monthly charge to have M$ scan your portable media player for viruses and malware.

7:47 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much does Jobs pay you?

3:09 PM

 
Anonymous TheBizofKnowledge said...

I just wanted to say thanks for the excellent post. I don't have an opinion one way or the other about Zune (not until it's here anyway), but it's refreshing to see someone actually take time to lay out their arguments point by point rather than just dismiss the device simply because they don't like MS.

11:34 PM

 
Blogger Tiga said...

This whole WiFi nonesense is going to be Microsofts key selling point, but in reality (and on top of the combined weight and size increase) who is really going to use WiFi?

We won't be allowed to share songs, because that's illegal, we could use it to transfer songs via PC, but with USB and Firewire still much more responsive, this isn't the right time to use WiFi as a replacement. We could use it to buy music on the go, but that sort of thing only really works in Japan for some reason.

I'm not at all interest in WiFi and I think Apple are thinking the same way. Of course, and without sounding too biased, if anyone is going to pull of the WiFi feature to good use, it's going to be Apple.

11:21 AM

 
Anonymous aitrus said...

Refering to Microsoft as "M$" discredits any points you might have. You're doing me a favor, because when I see that I know not to read any further.

But it's still a little frustrating. You can make a valid point without childish personal attacks.

11:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just linked to your virus piece. Congratulations, it's ^%*^%*% great!

Just for future reference, I noticed the misspelling of "minutiae" in your heading "OUR WORLD. OUR MINUTAE."

7:20 PM

 
Anonymous Jordan said...

I really dislike the whole "MIKKKRO$$$OFT" attitude this had.. Now, I agree that the Zune isn't going to be the success the iPod was, but I disagree with your notion that the Zune will/does suck. Microsoft generally lowballs a market with their first product (which the Zune is) and then improves upon it rapidly until it is the best product. I think that the Zune is/will be a very solid product, probably better than the iPod in some aspects and worse in others, but will not be a failure or a bad product. A good friend of mine is getting a zune when it comes out, so I'll see how much better or worse it is than my iPod 30gb video ipod.

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"10) First the rumored features of WiFi, Community & Trading your AAC tracks for WMA tracks."
WiFi is a feature that you're not forced to use. There is no downside to having it. While it could have been implimented in a better way, you must consider some things. If Microsoft didn't limit how often you can play WiFi downloaded tracks, think of the lawsuits by the RIAA. Also, updating over WiFi is a good idea in theory, but not in practice. If you owned a PDA or a laptop, you'd know that using WiFi uses quite a bit of battery power, and is significantly slower than USB2.0 transfer. To do this in practice, the player would need to be plugged in. This is, however, possible in the future. Advents such as more powerful batteries and UWB (Ultra-Wide band) make this very practical, but still years off into the horizon. It's a pipe dream with today's technology.

I'd also love to trade my AAC tracks for WMA tracks. I have a good $200 worth of songs in Apple's AAC that I can't play when I am in Linux (I use Amarok as my player), and can't play with anything other than iTunes and my iPod. With iTunes 7 being the most glitchy piece of trash I've seen (Sorry Apple, waiting for 7.1 or 8..) I can only play these on my iPod.

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"9) MS has failed in EVERY consumer venture since 1998. From remotes to Barney (remember those? And fittingly, here's the 'patch') to home networking to watches to WebTV to online music stores - that launched in 1999 but that Apple managed to outsell in 6 months CUMULATIVELY three years later."

Microsoft has had its flops, but could you consider the Xbox a failed consumer venture? I honestly don't see how you could, being as it was an economical success and a pretty nice product compared to the market's other offerings. They lose money on the consoles, but gain it on the games. Microsoft isn't the only one doing this either, and the loss is closer to $200 than $400. Sony is going to lose quite a bit with each PS3, and based on what I've seen, I'm expecting the WII to cost less than it is worth. Another notable consumer venture was their mice, which are generally regarded as top-notch. Heck, couldn't you consider Windows to be a consumer venture? The only Windows that wasn't a tremendous commercial success was Windows ME (which was quickly replaced by Windows 2000)

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"8) Information is already leaking like a sieve. Any enticing feature will be included in the Apple iPod updates coming out by this fall or holiday season."

That's a good thing; I'd like for Apple to have a better player by this holiday system. It causes the market to evolve, and means a better product for cheaper for the consumer (you and I). This probably put the idea of WiFi or Bluetooth into the heads of the guys at Apple in charge of the iPod.

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"7) It will antagonize MS’ many partners – they will fight tooth and nail to hold MS at bay. So far, there’s Creative, iRiver, Samsung, Sony, Philips, SanDisk and others fighting for 10% to 20% of the leftover market. These companies all have direct relationships and many other products to offer to consumer electronic retailers not just Xbox (hardly any profit), and now another mp3 player. And some of these companies will be fighting to stay alive."

I think Creative/etc will actually be quite happy if Microsoft lowered Apple's market share. Apple's market share is higher than Creative/etc's because their product is very well known. If something else replaces it, there will be opportunities for Creative/etc to grab a bigger bite of the market, if not the majority of it.

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"If anything, it further confuses consumers – do I want MS & their music service? Do I want Napster & iRiver & Plays4Sure but not MS music service? Do I want Creative & MTV Urge or can I still use MS music service? Or is it just too much damn work – how about SIMPLIFY with ONE solution EVERYONE else seems to agree on – itunes & ipod. Because people want to listen to music! Not play DJ - not have to use GoogleSpreadsheet to figure what's a better deal."

Is competition not a good thing? I think having several options is better than only one myself. Besides, windows media player's installation gives you graphical logos of each of the music services, some basic information on them, and has a default option. This can also be changed at any point in time, in case you change your mind.

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"People choose the ipod for many reasons but mostly for CONVENIENCE. There are cheaper players and players with more features (I think even MS fans would agree it’s not in their most remote possibility that MS will design a mp3 player that looks better than the ipod) but no one beats the ipod for convenience. ONE CLICK buys, and/or loads, AND syncs: music, movies, music videoes, photos, album art, podcasts, and/or audiobooks …"

I see things as quite the opposite. While sitting infront of my computer, watching a third party program re-encode my collection of hundreds of video clips into Apple's single video filetype is supports made me wonder why I even bother with a product that is so darned inconvenient. I then looked back to the days of my Creative player, where all I had to do was drag and drop tagged mp3's to its folder that mounts like a thumbdrive to put a song on it. It was nice being able to give friends a song, put a song on my friend's 360, and carrying songs computer to computer without needing a special program to interpret the filenames apple gives your music in the iPod's hidden folders to simply copy an mp3. Rediculous!

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"6) MS “marketing prowess” and ad dollars … stand back while the mighty gauntlet is thrown … er, yeah … it would be like Bill Gates as an ultimate fighter … MS spent $4 BILLION, yes BILLION dollars to try and take out AOL and LOST … if you can’t even defeat AOL – how can MS hope to beat back Apple, Sony, Samsung, Creative, iRiver & SanDisk?"


AOL is a pretty big company. It's pretty hard to wipe away the world's largest ISP, y'know? $4 Billion isn't really much to Microsoft either.

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"In fact, they can’t even market you products based on their “fabled” OS – tablet PC’s, Media PC’s and that watch OS … all MAJOR launches that would sweep & revolutionize the industry. All TREMENDOUS flops. It’s the same marketing team – all ignored because when consumers have a choice, they seldom choose MS."

Flops? Now you're just getting silly here! I've never seen a single Tablet PC sold without Windows XP Tablet edition, nor an HTPC without Windows MCE. Heck, every computer coming out of Dell/HP/Sony/Toshiba/IBM/etc comes with Windows MCE unless you opt to pay extra for pro. It is basically XP Home plus. Tablet edition really did move the tablet industry along quite well, incase you don't follow the laptop market but like to comment on it. If you work on computers a lot, as I do, you'd probably notice that more computers ship with MCE nowadays than don't simply because it is cheap and essentially the same as Pro, minus a few networking features which you wouldn't use on anything but a business network anyways (And besides, most businesses are moving to VPN nowadays).

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"5) Their REAL REPUTATION. People tolerate their OS because they thought it was the only game in town … now, that it’s not and Bill Gates is leaving the company, what’s Microsoft again? When consumers have a choice, they seldom choose MS – certainly not since 1998. Because MS is the kludgy company with the not-quite working things with unattractive looking products. And of course, the requisite blue screen of death jokes."

Alright, now you're just spouting "MIKKKRO$$$UCK" crap. People haven't chose Microsoft since 1998? I guess I'm just imagining their 90+% marketshare on the OS market, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, and Windows Vista then. If you want to make this at least debatable, I'd move your timecap up a little, being as Win2k was the best OS of its time. Anyways, if we're talking bluescreens, I hope you understand that the NT kernel is arguable one of the most stable operating systems out. Why does NT-based windows bluescreen so much then? Microsoft actually has little to do with any bluescreens. What is at fault are antiviruses that edit your kernel (McAffee, Norton. Fixed with Vista though, since it will have a "black-box kernel) as well as third party drivers. Windows doesn't bluescreen on its own, but the shitty drivers for your Creative sound card, your video card drivers, etc. can cause it to. Blame hardware manufacturers not testing their shit properly, not Microsoft.

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"4) They don’t really understand consumers. It’s a mixture of ignorance and arrogance … don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming Apple isn’t arrogant either but at least it’s the right arrogance for these times.* MS believes that by asking consumers what we want and because they’re so brilliant, we’ll buy it."

Yes, the company with 90+% marketshare OBVIOUSLY knows nothing about the consumer. You may want to rethink that one a little.. You're probably posting on a Macintosh, with the notion that Microsoft's product doesn't appeal to the consumer because it doesn't appeal to you. That is called bias, and Macintosh appeals to a niche market (you). You're not the average consumer, you're not where the money is, and what pleases you doesn't please the masses.

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"The problem is MS’ culture is built on serving Enterprise & Gov’t Agencies who say exactly what they want, when they want it and how much they’ll pay. They are brilliant at selling to them. And that’s all fine and great."

Actually, Microsoft won a monopoly suit against the US Gov't. They really don't have to please jack shit.

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"They problem is that’s just not exciting enough for MS. They want our hearts, minds & wallets. They got a taste of it in the 1990’s with Win95 & 98 and ever since has been trying to get into our good graces but yet, the harder they try, the further they fall."

Actually, if you follow the history of Microsoft, much of that money goes towards moving the computer industry forward. Computers wouldn't be where they are today without Microsoft (along with Intel, IBM, and a few other notable companies). That shiny plastic white Macintosh you're typing on was brought to you by direct market competition from Microsoft! Thank them!

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"That is also why Apple can’t really sell to Enterprise, they just don’t care enough to beg like MS. Apple’s sales pitch is – here it is. If we release it, we think it’s great so why would we need to say much else?"

You should factor in that Apple really doesn't even attempt to sell to enterprise, or make their operating systems usable in a secure business environment. The market is too tightly owned by companies like Novell, SUN Microsystems, HP, (and other UNIX companies), and Microsoft. Companies become deeply entrenched into the market because enterprise buys for tried and true reliability over bleeding edge features. Apple hasn't tried at the enterprise market long enough to become entrenched into it, although they are beginning to (With Apple OSX Darwin).

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"3) In addition to the clueless arrogance, the other part of equation that brings MS down is their bureaucratic culture now. After the great success and cash flow of MS Office and Windows maintenance contracts, MS new mantra is continuous & PREDICTABLE revenue flow. They try and create every new division and product with that in mind. Again, what works fine in the corporate/enterprise/agency marketplace does NOT work in the consumer marketplace. Consumers loathe the monthly payment – it reminds of their utilities, credit cards and mortgage but to bureaucrats, what could be better than a PREDICATBLE & MONTHLY revenue stream? Hence MS attempt to take down AOL. 25 million people write a $25 check to AOL EVERY MONTH! (It’s now down to 18 million people a month using AOL). Or their attempts to get into the cable industry or the cell phone industry – we just want 10% of your take every month. That’s why they thought they had locked up the music & movie industries with their DRM & servers – just give us $.10 to $1.00 on every transaction … why were they were so hot on setting up Passport and a micro-payment system or why Bill Gates bought Corbis, the stock photo company – pay us X dollars to look or use this photo! (Remember he built those 10 plasma screen savers in his house? He presumed we would all do that and buy some package from Corbis every month)."


This actually makes up for a somewhat small chunk of Microsoft's profits.

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"That’s the main difference with Apple. Your iPod works fine without ever using the iTunes Store … if fact, you can turn off the Store so it does not even show up … you think MS will offer that feature?

That’s why MS pushes subscription music – PREDICTABLE revenue stream … or what they want to do with this portable music player – add ads. Watch ads. Get free music. The problem is when you decide it has to be a predictable revenue stream first and then design the product around it – you’ve become a utility."

Before you go and write about Windows Media Player 11, try downloading it and seeing for yourself. You can chose to remove the store(s) while installing, whereas iTunes defaults to having the store.

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"2) That’s one deadly DESIGN combination. Before you begin every venture, the bean counters want to know how you intend to generate revenues every month. Now design your product around that along with the 200 things consumers said they wanted – never mind what might be more or less important – just jam it all in there – the actual consumer is the furthest thing on our mind.

Perfect example. On the TREO, to use the speakerphone, there is a button SPEAKERPHONE. You press it. On the MS Q phone? Under the PROFILES MENU, go two deep and select SPEAKERPHONE. Which was designed by humans who actually use a phone and which was designed by a bureaucrat who just finished a stint at the DMV. HURF DURF..."

The Q is actually a Motorola product, buddy. I'm going to assume you meant to say that the Motorola Q runs the Windows Mobile OS. Even with that said, your argument is rather invalid because Microsoft didn't make the Motorola Q, and because the Palm Treo also comes in a (much better) Windows Mobile variant, proving that there is a possibility of having a speakerphone button, and the Q doesn't have one because of Motorola, not Microsoft. If we're talking PDA's though, I had two Palm Zire 71's and they're both dead due to poor design and a craptastic OS. Honestly, who still buys a PDA that isn't windows mobile? I guess Blackberries make sense for Boeing employees, since they can't have cameras though.

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"1) It has already failed. Every other WMA player company is much nimbler (well, maybe not Sony :-) so already whatever MS produces will be heavier, bulkier, wonkier and dumber than products from Creative, iRiver, SanDisk, Samsung, etc … (the Xbox 360 is the work of hundreds of people after studying an ipod for 300 hours – bwahahaha)."

I don't know about you, but the Zune looks pretty damn slick to me. Its exterior is scratch-proof, which I find very appealing, as I'm not a fan of Apple's "scratched up plastic front with a metal backplate that attracts fingerprints and scratches also" look. Sure there's cases for the iPod, but they're ugly and bulky. If Apple used some higher grade plastics or a different material altogether, you wouldn't need a case..

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"It will have some annoying call-home-sign-in feature that only a bureaucrat could dream up … of course, they’ll tell you it’s to help you find new music but basically if you buy a Mariah track, there will be a 30-second ad pointing there might an obscure artist you’ve never heard of – Celine Dion. The WiFi will work sporatically, good luck getting a track replaced if the DL fails or they’ll charge you $19.99 a month for nationwide WiFi. MS will lose interest quickly as they start to lose the video game console fight to Sony & Nintendo and when/if they actually ship Vista in the middle of 2007 and/or when Google launches GoogleOffice for FREE on the internet."

Actually Windows Media Player doesn't phone home unless you tell it to in the preferences menu, or if you specifically tell it to while installing (with a checkbox that defaults unselected). iTunes, on the other hand, has a Mini-Store which gathers information about what you listen to, and phones home for marketing reasons (AND recommends you music). The Mini-Store defaults to turned on, and Apple has changed the methods of disabling it with every new version of iTunes in order to get more people to leave it on. As far as track replacement, I had a HDD crash a month ago, so I shot apple an email asking if they could resend me my downloaded music, being as this was unpredictable. They promptly repled, telling me to buy my music again ($200+) if I want it. Also, I'd fucking kill for $19.99/mo WiFi access. Are you crazy?! It's $45/mo or more with the current providers and runs on the shitty cell network in its current state! Nationwide 802.11 would be awesome for $19.99/mo. With Voice Over IP, you can use the nationwide WiFi as a phone service, which would save me a good $40/mo over what I'm paying, plus I wouldn't have to pay for wireless nationwide internet from verizon, which costs $45.00/mo. I'd LOVE it if Microsoft saved me $85 a month, and on a better protocol nontheless!

Also, can I see your sources on this one? I've been following the Zune development, and I haven't heard even a mention on a call-home-sign-in or a nationwide WiFi implimentation. I'll ask my buddies at Microsoft, but I think they would have mentioned this to me if it were true. Then again, they aren't exactly in the Zune's development team..

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Anyways, I'm betting you'll delete this instead of refuting my arguments. Either that, or reply with a bunch of MIKKKRO$$$UCK jibberish. Oh, and please don't play the Microsoft fanboy card on me; I run Linux as my main OS. I boot into XP occasionally to run games, but that's about it.

11:23 PM

 
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

See how wrong you were. The Zune was so good Microsoft decided they don't even need to make it anymore.

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