||Thursday, May 12, 2005
My answer to Bill Gates
Bill Gates: Cellphone will Beat iPod [Slashdot:]
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.
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.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?
"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.
"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.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...
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
Hmm! It is already ubiquitous, but thanks to Wi-Fi and Blackberrys not Microsoft...
"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."
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
3:36:03 PM Google It!
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...
© Copyleft 2005 Alfredo Octavio.