A $50 Microsoft iPod Killer? Feh!!

by Hadley Stern

Related link: http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~33~2174543,00.html



Microsoft is apparently preparing to battle the iPod. Not satisfied with decimating the Macintosh with undercut pricing (and, admittedly, a more sound distribution model) Microsoft wants the iPod to have a more Apple-like 5 percent market-share.

But will it work? Yes, and no.

Yes, because there is a significant percentage of people out there who simply don't appreciate the stunning combination of design, technology, and usability that is Apple. These people appreciate a cheap price, languish in the familiarity of all things Microsoft, and don't appreciate good design.

No, because this percentage of people is not 5 percent! The only reason Apple currently has such a low percentage of market share is because of the corporate market. Fueled by cost savings (helped along by Microsoft’s more sound distribution model as above) corporations flocked to Windows. Yes, they have suffered with buggy systems, viruses, and more but that is beside the point. To the bulk of working America a PC is, well a PC. This has led to parents demanding more and more that their children have a "real-world" experience with computers in schools which leads to less and less Macs in the school. It is a downward spiral that leads to 5 percent and until the Mac conquers the corporate domain I'm afraid it’s going to stay that way.

Where does that leave the iPod? Glad you asked! Because most consumers won't have PC's forced upon them by their bosses they will have a choice. And because Apple (wisely) released the iPod for both Mac and Windows everyone can use an iPod.

Yes, there will still be those who chose mediocrity over Apple. But something tells me that more than 5 percent of the population get it. And no matter what monopolistic cannons Microsoft aims at Apple this is a battle it can't win.

Do you think Microsoft can beat the iPod in the marketplace?


27 Comments

jimothy
2004-05-28 06:58:32
$50 iPod killer is a myth
The article states that Microsoft will undercut the iPod by 80%, but in truth, it's only 50%. Microsoft's "$50 music player" will compete directly with Apple's "$100 iPod mini".


(If my point was missed, I mean that both devices are merely inventions of the press.)

bhuot
2004-05-28 07:56:34
real difference
The real difference is that most people who use a computer all day at work don't really understand what they can do with a computer. The iPod they understand - it's much simpler. Another reason why Macs have done so poorly since OS X came out is that they don't advertise. If I hadn't already tried Linux before and had experince on a real UNIX, and wasn't interested in trying something new and kept up on technology news, I wouldn't have known that Macs are totally different then they were even a few years ago and they hold more value anyway you count it than PCs do. To get people to move to OS X, they need to advertise like they do with the iPod. Microsoft gets by on nothing but advertising - think how much Apple could do who actually has a great product.
BrentN
2004-05-28 08:00:47
Picking nits
I don't buy the "real-world" PC argument. Parents have very little input on school IT decisions. My feeling is that schools are hiring low quality IT staff, for whom Windows is all they know and can (barely) handle.


Also, this is a nitpick, but you really should have said, "fewer and fewer Macs." Computers are denumerable.

mwalker
2004-05-28 08:41:45
Office
MS Office is to Microsoft like Michael Jordan was to the Bulls.
cambioncur
2004-05-28 09:48:29
re: $50 iPod killer is a myth
what are you talking about, the cheapest ipod (according to pricegrabber.com) is $229, retailing at $249! $50 would be a welcome change! course i love the way ipods look, but like most apple stuff i dont have the money to buy it! :D
Chirael
2004-05-28 15:46:03
Typical MS strategy
Microsoft may or may not compete on price, but they almost certainly will do what they've done countless other times, namely try to leverage their existing monopolies to take over this new market too.


For instance, they'll do what they did to Netscape and create an easy API for MS developers to use, for quickly creating software on this portable device (no doubt using a Wizard in Visual X.Net Studio).


Or they'll tie it into the Windows synchronization mechanism, or they'll build in an MS Office document type viewer so people can play PowerPoint presentations on the device, or they'll tie it into Outlook so people can e-mail song fragments, etc. etc. etc.


My guess is that competing on price will be a second thought, competing by leveraging existing monopolies will be the preferred method since it has worked so well in the past.

Isaac112086
2004-05-28 15:54:52
.
the Ipod has some serios software glitches.... so you really shouldn't act like there great... I'm getting Linux kernal installed to mine as soon as the Linux kernal starts working with USB 2.0, or better if it worked with USB 1.0, but I'm not sure if that's one of there goals....
Isaac112086
2004-05-28 15:56:19
.
the Ipod has some serios software glitches.... so you really shouldn't act like there great... I'm getting Linux kernal installed to mine as soon as the Linux kernal starts working with USB 2.0, or better if it worked with USB 1.0, but I'm not sure if that's one of there goals....
sackofwine
2004-05-28 17:33:30
Microsoft's Demographic
Isaac112086, learn to spell and write correctly, jackass. You should love M$'s X-Pod...Microsoft is counting on the uneducated masses to make their foray into digital music profitable. I'm betting it won't be...much like the X-Box.
sackofwine
2004-05-28 17:36:44
re: $50 iPod killer is a myth
You missed the whole point of the post you replied to. Stay in school, kid!
jimothy
2004-05-29 14:15:46
re: $50 iPod killer is a myth
And I tried, I really tried, to help him out there with my last sentence, Can't win 'em all...
scorpicon
2004-05-29 16:18:12
re: $50 iPod killer is a myth
I've never seen an iPod _mini_ for $100. Where can I pick one up? I can't even get a 512 USB disk for that cheap.
d_raywood
2004-05-30 11:18:11
Nonsense
Microshite are only putting this story out with a view to suggesting to gullible and naive people that the iPod is too expensive. I'd like to see a Microsoft portable music player released at $50, because no doubt it would be shit, and hopefully it would encourage more people to break free from the herd and support a company that innovates rather than uses it's financial muscle to buy/settle litigation for products/ideas stolen from others.


Equally, their policy of slagging off Apple's rights management approach to digital content as opposed to their own which they claim offers more choice and greater freedom(what the ****), is just ludicrous.


The bottom line is that is that Microrubbish feel obliged to detract from Apple's success because they are worried that their ill-gotten dominance is under threat, and as usual they will try to muscle any competitor out of the market.


I can see why some people might feel that Apple hardware is too expensive, even though the reality is quite the opposite, maybe because Apple does seem to target a different market sector the average PC vendor.


Would the release of Mac OS X for the PC help Apple's market share? I think it would and with the superb applications that OS X sports, Apple has a much better offering than M$.


Of course I would wish that Apple continue to offer it's own hardware were this to become a reality since I and of course millions of current Mac users would no doubt still wish to buy our whole computing solution from Apple.


Competition in the hardware sphere is something Apple already faces from the multitude of PC vendors who have little choice but to install an inferior windoze OS by default.


Apple should be bold.


GZero
2004-05-30 11:32:09
MS Music Player vs iPod = XBox vs. Playstation 2
Remember when everyone was worried about how the XBox was supposed to dominate the video game market over the PS2 becasue of MS "Marketing muscle"? At last count, the PS2 STILL outsells the XBox something like 6 to 1.


The MP3 player situation will be no different for Microsoft. Good luck to them, though ;-))

GZero
2004-05-30 11:37:19
Read the whole story
http://macobserver.com/article/2004/05/28.3.shtml
microcrap_sucks
2004-05-31 08:04:33
Love to know what those glitches are
What glitches? I have owned my iPod since December 2003, and I have not had one problem with it, not one, so I am not sure what you are talking about. Do you own one? Maybe the glitch happens when you connect it to a microsoft based PC (Piece of Crap). By the way, go back to school and learn how to spell.
school1012
2004-05-31 11:14:18
Better Mouse Trap
I have found that most of the time Microsoft has done a better job and making software then other companies have. People call Microsoft a monopoly but the truth is Apple is more of a monopoly then microsft ever was or is. Apple sells their own hardware, not allowing 3rd parties get involved. A company that tries to control all areas of their computer is a monopoly. Microsoft has only made software, they never got into hardware. Apple is the true monopoly.
school1012
2004-05-31 11:19:04
Typical MS strategy
If microsft makes a better product who cares.
retchless
2004-05-31 20:55:37
This argument could go on forever....
Both Apple and Microsoft have some great things going for them. Windows XP and Mac OS X are two excellent operating systems that any user would feel equally comfortable in, given a bit of experience. Both are equally stable and feature rich. Apple's iPod is an excellent product. They took a good idea and refined it into a solid piece of machinery. It's not fair to say at this point that Microsoft will try to use their monopolistic power to gain market share with a sub-par product. Redmond has done its fair share of innovating in the past, and I wouldn't be surprised if the so-called X-Pod impresses everyone with its features and stability when and if it ever gets released. But no matter what Microsoft does, Apple has already taken the first step. Microsoft will be forever blamed for copying a Mac idea, even if, in the end, the Microsoft product ends up better. Buy a product based on its merit, not based upon the company produces it.
jimothy
2004-06-01 08:19:18
Better Mouse Trap
"Microsoft has only made software, they never got into hardware."


Unless you count mice, keyboards, video game consoles, joysticks, etc. as hardware.

jimothy
2004-06-01 08:20:57
re: $50 iPod killer is a myth
"...inventions of the press."
school1012
2004-06-01 14:19:13
Better Mouse Trap
Got news for you. They made the software for that NOT the hardware.
jdodds
2004-06-02 16:15:31
This argument could go on forever....
It's not fair to say at this point that Microsoft will try to use their monopolistic power to gain market share with a sub-par product.


I think it is fair to say that Microsoft will try to use their monopolistic power. Microsoft has already disparaged the iPod for not supporting WMA.


The only thing in doubt is whether they will be pushing a 'sub-par product.'


retchless
2004-06-05 23:04:34
This argument could go on forever....
We are in agreement then. I agree with you that Microsoft generally uses their monopolistic power to accomplish most things... but generally, their products are pretty well thought out and designed (with a few notable exceptions like Win 9x). So if an "X-Pod" were released, I'd be willing to have a look before immediately blacklisting the product.
Brian_B.
2004-06-27 03:38:35
Better Mouse Trap
"Apple sells their own hardware, not allowing 3rd parties get involved" This is only because Apple canot aford to sell only software. They can hardly stay sfloat as it is, selling computers and the OS. If they just sold the OS ($130) insted of the computers ($800-$52,000[i checked the site... this is as high as a system gets]) they would take a large profit cut. I agree that in the long run it would be better for them, but i'm not sure if they could stay in buisiness off the money they got from contracting the 3rd party company untill such time as it becomes a profitable venture. Just my 2 cents is all.
E.V.
2005-08-15 09:03:51
re: $50 iPod killer is a myth
Don't you people read before you post?


The guy who posted the $100.00 iPod was referring to the iPod Shuffle. It is only $99.00 at most locations that sell them. It is a Flash-based player that holds 512Mb of storage (about a thousand or so songs). The next up version of the Shuffle is a 1Gb model Flash-Player that runs about $149.00


What he was saying is that the $50.00 piece of garbage Microsuck will release will more than likely be a Flash Player just like the Shuffle. But, the article as well as the media are totally misrepresenting the expected product because I guarantee you they cannot afford to release a comparable the higher end iPod unit for 50 bucks. And they WON'T!


It will not be a Hard-Drive driven, Operating System-based whirlwind like the high-end iPods are.


It will be a pice of junk like EVERYTHING else M$ has released.


The best thing is... it won't even work on their own systems... just like everything else they steal and release as theirs.

MinorThreat0X0
2005-12-30 11:50:41
iPod service....
If there's anything I have a problem with, it's Apple's policy on defective products. I have used and enjoyed every iPod I've owned and I've only been an iPod customer for 1 1/2 years. I've had four of them. Each one had a differnet issue. Hard Drive, Battery, Screen, etc.


Like I said, I use them and enjoy them but this can't be coincidental. Oh, did I mention that my wife's iPod mini purchased in March 2005 just began to display the "sad iPod" icon... That makes Five.