Thursday, July 27, 2006

Will Microsoft's Zune be a better iPod?

Apple loyalists who scoff at the idea that anyone, including or especially Microsoft, can take marketshare from Apple's iPod, are forgetting a very basic business truth.

Articles like the one in IT Wire are typical of the hubris of some Apple fans.

What the loyalists are forgetting is the fact that unlike a relatively small cadre, albeit in the millions, of shoppers who will buy nothing but Apple products, the mass market, hundreds of millions, does not work like that.

The iPod will own the market as long as no other company comes out with a better product. If Microsoft can design something that looks cooler and does more and is simpler to use, the iPod will become history.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Microsoft can do that. It took years for their handheld manufacturing partners to erode Palm handheld sales. With so much overhead built in the Win CE handhelds were clunkier and less efficient, unable to run native Office applications on a handheld better than Palm did with an Office simulator.

Now all handheld sales are declining as cell phones do almost everything a handheld can.

Final word to all of those Apple adherents, and to Apple as well. Don't be complacent. The market is a fickle place.

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