Thursday, November 09, 2006

Microsoft just doesn't get it

A while ago, I posted about my father-in-law Fred's search for an MP3 player. At the end of that post, I said:
"I will enjoy seeing the failure of Microsoft's new Zune player, as I enjoyed seeing the failure of Dell's."
It's not that I wish ill on Microsoft (although I strongly dislike how their monopolistic behavior has stifled software innovation over the last two decades), I just believe that they don't get it. If they are unable to push their view of the world onto the consumer, then they don't know how to compete. They fundamentally don't know how to define and market products if they don't have a huge market share hammer to wield. So, when I say that I will enjoy seeing Zune fail, I mean that I will enjoy seeing them schooled in a competitive marketplace.

What made me revisit this topic? I just read this article on Forbes.com, which has several examples of how the folks at Zune just don't get it. Granted, it's an opinion piece based on sketchy hard data, but the examples are exactly what I would have expected from Microsoft.

[Just after I originally posted this, I stumbled across an actual review of the Zune. This author makes several similar points as the one above, but he closes with an interesting thought:
"Version 1.0 of Microsoft Anything is stripped down and derivative, but it is followed by several years of slow but relentless refinement and marketing. Already, Microsoft says that new Zune features, models and accessories are in the pipeline."
Of course, as Zune is working hard to catch up to what iTunes/iPod already has, Apple continues to march onward.]
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