Saturday, May 14, 2005

Gates Is Speaking Too Early

Bill Gates has publicly joined the pundits who say that Apple will hurt the iPod by keeping it locked into their software just as they lost the desktop market by doing the same thing. I think he's wrong. First, unlike the pc market, there are no IT departments telling me what type of mp3 player I have to buy. Second, mp3 players are not software. You cannot simply buy some software and stick it on your player. In the pc market, Windows came to the fore in part because people could install it on the computers that they already owned. Not so with mp3 players. Here you MUST buy the hardware too. Third, being extremely strong in one segment of a large and diverse market (graphic based computer segment when most computers were command line) is much different than being extremely strong in ALL existing segments of a small and homogenous market (there are hard drive players and flash based players, and Apple owns both segments).

Oh, and did Bill just happen to forget to mention that he and Microsoft have something at stake? Kind of like mudslinging in politics, isn't it? Can't brag on what he's got, so he's got to trash the opponent.