Tyromaniac : Truth will triumph in the end... after everybody has left
Updated: 7/22/05; 2:57:51 AM.


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Thursday, May 12, 2005

My answer to Bill Gates

Bill Gates: Cellphone will Beat iPod [Slashdot:]

As usual Chairman Bill mixes up little truths with half lies to create a big lie in order to FUD its competition away. Here is what I would say to him if he, or somebody else, throw those lines at me.
FRANKFURT, May 12 (Reuters) - Microsoft founder Bill Gates sees mobile phones overtaking MP3s as the top choice of portable music player, and views the raging popularity of Apple's iPod player as unsustainable, he told a German newspaper.

"As good as Apple may be, I don't believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run," he said in an interview published in Thursday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Then why does Microsoft makes software to play music in Mp3 players? Is it stringing its partners, like Creative, along in a failed business model? Is that fair?
"You can make parallels with computers: Apple was very strong in this field before, with its Macintosh and its graphics user interface -- like the iPod today -- and then lost its position," Gates said.
This is bigger Bull than Longhorn. Apple never had more than 20% of the Personal Computer market and lost that when it failed to capture a significant portion of the huge business purchases. Not only has Apple more than 70% of the Mp3 Player market, but there is no significant business purchases of Mp3 players, so Microsoft can't sweet deal into it.
Apple has around two thirds of the global market for MP3 music players, which store thousands of songs on pocket-sized disk drives or smaller flash memory chips, and sold more than 5 million iPods in the last quarter.

But it faces increasing competition not only from the likes of Sony <6758.T>, whose iconic Walkman dominated the personal audio market for two decades, but also from mobile-phone companies integrating MP3 players into handsets.
Lies, stupidity and Mp3 Players. Increasing competition? Apple hasn't fell a single drop in market share since it started selling iPods, so increasing must mean there are more players around, but who cares about the number of participants when you get the lion share? And, by the way, Sony players are not compatible with music stores other than the Sony one... disconnect I think it is called...
Partly in response to pressure from Apple, Microsoft is now positioning itself to be a key player in the growing market for digital movies, pictures and music and grow beyond its core Windows operating system business.

It is working with partners such as Samsung <005930.KS> to provide its Windows Mobile smartphone software to 40 handset makers.

"If you were to ask me which mobile device will take top place for listening to music, I'd bet on the mobile phone for sure," Gates told the newspaper.
This is not so clear. Most people do not have smartphones (less than 10% of the market, most of them Symbian based). A lot of people carry the two devices and would rather have only one, but most would rather keep a simple phone and a simple, but powerful player. Pricewise it's cheaper to buy a 200$ 4GB Mp3 player plus a 100$ (or less) phone, than getting even the cheapest Hard disk based phone. The HD based phones are bigger and harder to use than most people want... If you say that flash memory based phones are cheaper than 300$, it is true, but if you change to a flash based Mp3 player you are talking about 100$, not 200, and that's almost what a decent sized memory card will set you back! The N-Gage is still the cheapest stereo phone, and it cost 250$ with a 512MB SD card.
In the United States, however, Microsoft smartphones have been overshadowed by Research In Motion's BlackBerry wireless e-mail device, which has sold 3 million so far.
Yes, but in the rest of the world it is Symbian that's making waves with the Treo and Blackberrys (phones) being just a blimp in the radar. The fact that Symbian phones have not picked up in the US is consequence of the stupidity of providers there, and that's going to hamper the Music phone market as well in the US, so there will be iPods (in the US) for quite a while.
Gates said that Microsoft's rival Windows Mobile 5.0 -- which will let e-mails pop up on a user's phone as soon as they arrive, and which is expected to be running phones on the market in the next few months -- would be cheaper.

"The BlackBerry is great but we're bringing a new approach," he said. "With BlackBerry you need to link to a separate server, and that costs extra. With us, the e-mail function will already be part of the server software."

"Therefore I'd venture the prediction that Microsoft will make wireless e-mail ubiquitous."

Hmm! It is already ubiquitous, but thanks to Wi-Fi and Blackberrys not Microsoft...

At the end, I do believe the phone will be the best way to get and hear music, but the iPod show how the relationship between content delivery and playing has to work in order to conquer the public. Until we have all the ingredients (a fast, cheap network, easy and timely delivery, cheap phones with stereo capabilities and easy of use) the iPod will be king. And by the time we get all those together, who is to say Apple will not have move forward? Can't end this without quoting Cody Willard from TheStreet.com "Anyway, the Street is abuzz with word that Gates says iPod is in trouble. What's he supposed to say? "Apple (AAPL:Nasdaq) won the digital music wars before we even got on the battlefield"?"

3:36:03 PM Google It! What do you think? ( Thoughts) Who linked? []   

As you know, I have wanted to try a music subscription service for quite a while, but since all of them were Windows only I wasn't really motivated. With the release of Yahoo Music yesterday I decided to take the (free 7 day trial) chance. It is Okey, very similar to iTunes, I was surprise that you actually download the songs and can even play them while not connected to the network (I imagine that that's until the day your subscription runs out). One thing that impresses me is th elow quality of sound, granted it could be that my office Windows box does not have a great sound card (Why should it?), but any iTunes song in the same box sounds better than that, even though the bit rate is presumably smaller and the format is somewhat better. I won't keep the subscription, simply because it is not my machine. Until they come up with a Mac version, I am an iTunes Music Store exclusive customer.

Update: The more I use the player the less I like it. The lack of smart playlist is really bad (How can I hear the songs I downloaded that I haven't heard yet?), but nothing is worse than the player droping sound from time to time... I don't understand why... Must be a Windows thing...

11:47:03 AM  What do you think? ( Thoughts) Who linked? []   

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