So MS is going to release its music player (in conjunction with Toshiba) in time for the xmas season. Many are those who predict a flop. However, if Jobs and company don’t take this seriously, they are missing the boat. Let’s back up…
MS always puts out crappy 1.0 products, with 2.0 they become competitive, and with 3.0 they are generally the best. NT 3 was the 1.0 launch, nothing to worry the competition. With NT 4 (2.0) MS became competitive, and with Win 2K (3.0) MS sealed the deal and ruled the corporate desktop.
The first Xbox was a joke, everyone laughed, particularly Sony. With the release of the Xbox 360 (2.0) folks quit laughing. I would guess with the future release of 3.0, Sony will be crying.
MS listens to its customers, they take feedback, they implement. You could never convince the apple fan base or the open source zealots that MS makes some great products. They would have you believe that MS just somehow got lucky. That they somehow created a monopoly and then abused it without making a good product. These people are not paying attention.
Apple could learn from the folks at MS. Give the users what they want. Quit cherry picking junk that looks good on stage but does not work in the real world.
So, in my estimation, Zune will launch, it will suck, people will laugh. Next year some time, Zune 2.0 will launch, and folks will take notice…they will say things like: “You know, in some ways Zune is as good as the iPod.” [This is also the point where Apple will sue them.] Then with the advent of Zune 3.0, MS will have the killer product that we all must have.
Apple needs to be nimble, they need to start listening to users, quit with the easy flashy garbabe and do some real innovation…is Steve Jobs and company up to it? Ask me that again xmas 2007.
My version 1.0 to 3.0 theory only holds in existing markets. MS doesn’t do quite so well when inventing new markets. Note the Media Center and Tablet. MS invented these markets and spent a lot developing them. I don’t think it is as clear that they can hold onto them…this is the chink in the MS armor that Apple needs to exploit as they finish the transition to the consumer electronic company that they seem intent on becoming. I for one wish them luck…