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I-Pod competitors- nothing ventured, nothing gained

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Saturday, Mar 4, 2006

When oh when are these stupid tech companies gonna learn that they’re not gonna outdo Apple with tiny bells and whistles?  Evidently, they’re not gonna learn any time soon as Samsung is about to take the plunge and get their butt kicked.
  
Their new Z5 Flash player is the latest attempt to overtake the I-Pod.  Nine months from now, let’s see what kind of music toy everyone’s gonna want under their Xmas tree.  Hint: it’s not going to be the Z5.


An interesting New York Times article details how the programmer who came up with the I-Pod’s software is working on this new and supposedly improved product.  With him on board, they gotta beat Apple, right?  One problem that the article notes is that the I-Tunes interface is part of what makes the I-Pod so attractive to consumers.


Another thing is that, I never get tired of saying this, the I-Pod simply has this ultra-chic aura to it that other MP3 players can’t match (at least yet).  There are players with much larger capacities for songs, ease of use, lower prices, etc. that are made by name-brand companies who’ve been making hand-held electronics much longer than Apple but that doesn’t mean squat.  It’s the design, stupid!  It’s also that by now, the name I-Pod and the idea behind it is so burned in our psyche that it overpowers the idea of competitors- that’s why the device owns a overwhelming majority of the MP3 player market. 


If you want a nice simple lesson on how and why Apple kills the competition in this regard, there’s a really funny faux-commercial at You Tube showing what would happen if Microsoft were packaging and marketing the I-Pod.  They’d make it look like a fine-print ridden mess that no one would give a 2nd thought to.  Need more proof?  Dig this Business Week article that explains how Japan is falling over itself for the I-Pod, despite the threat from MP3 players crammed into the latest cell phones.


It’s not that I-Pod will always dominate the market but it’s kind of funny and sad to see these electronics companies keep thinking that they can take back their own turf just by making a better product.  That ain’t how the market works all the time.  Perception and glossy, surface style mean a lot too.  How else could you explain Tom Cruise’s acting career?

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