Friday, January 06, 2006

I love watching Apple's rivals talk about the success of the iPod, and why their own devices and software have not enjoyed the same level of market penetration (heh-heh "penetration").

First up in the "not really getting it" stakes is Microsoft's Stevie B with this quote that reminds me of George H.W. Bush's "vision thing" gaffe:

We've got a lot of work to do. On the PC, our stuff is still the most popular stuff out there. It's not true in the portable device space, and I think we have to do some stuff to simplify the experience.

"Do some stuff to simplify the experience". Yeah, that. Maybe they could do some, like, interaction design or whatever. And calling theirs the most popular "stuff" on the PC is a bit like Ford saying "yeah, we have the most popular Taurus out there".

But then C|Net make a nice point about MS's branding around portable music players:

Virtually all devices that use Microsoft technology carry the company's "Plays For Sure" logo, intended to show compatibility among all the devices and online services that Microsoft's products mesh with. But there's been a catch: Not all the devices have actually been fully compatible with subscription services.

I like the "Plays For Sure" logo. It serves the purpose of introducing fear and doubt where it may not have previously been, the way a car that proudly bears a sticker saying "Guaranteed not to blow up and kill you in a horrible fiery death!" would.

But the very best part of all about the "Plays For Sure" logo is that there is a caveat to it - a disclaimer that says "May not actually be true. Not valid in AK and HI. Price and participation may vary. Caveat emptor" - aah, the big print giveth, and the small print taketh away, because in fact all the music for which you pay a monthly fee so you can continue to enjoy it, the big differentiator over Apple and their so-last-year "perpetual license" model, you can't actually listen to it on your not-an-iPod because it doesn't actually Play. For. Sure.

The winner, though, in the "denial is not just a river in Africa" sweepstakes comes from Mark Farish, senior product manager for Samsung Electronics America, who says:

Apple has buried the market with advertising for (iPod and iTunes), and since then it's been difficult for any other company to shake that bedrock

Riiight. It's Apple's superior advertising muscle - that's why they're so far ahead. It's not because the iPod doesn't need a poxy "Plays? Oh ya, ya sure, ya betcha!" sticker, or because they've already "done some stuff" to de-shittify the experience, it's because Apple has better advertising.

But ultimately this is all good news for Apple, because so long as these dilweeds continue to believe that all they need is better advertising and slogans to convince users that, really, bleeding from the eyes is a good thing, that wanting to smash that shiny plastic gewgaw you just bought to smithereens because it won't play the Smithereens is healthy, normal, and above all a fun experience, Apple ain't got nothin' to worry about.

No comments: