03 February 2005

iPods & Microsoft

When I was in London, I was amazed at how many iPods I saw. I loved it. Especially considering my handful of Apple stock is now worth about 5 times what I paid for it, thanks in a large part to the ultra cool iPod. (As a side note, the rest of my stock portfolio is about 1/2 what I paid for it...)

Anyway, it was cool to see all those iPods in London, and it is cool to know so many are out there and this excellent music player is a hit. My wife is even knitting 'iPod Cozies' for them (but that's a different story).

What I want to talk about today is Microsoft and iPods. Apparently, according to a Wired News Story, iPods are very popular at the Microsoft home base, and it is scaring management.

It should. The iPod experience, alone and when connected to a computer (whethee it is a Macintosh or a Windows-based PC) is exactly as it should be - something that just works, and works well. Like plugging in a vacuum cleaner and turning it on. It might take a second to find the thingy that makes the arm swivel, but you don't really worry about it and get to vacuuming - it just works the way it should work. The iPod is the same (except for the sucking part).

You see, the Microsoft managers are scared because they can't do something like that. They can't make software that just works, without a bunch of fiddling and conunterintuitive junk, bugs and security flaws and restrictions. They can't make an interface that anyone can just figure out with a few minutes of experimenting. And they know it.

And until they saw all those iPods on the Microsoft mother ship, they didn't think that they had to get their act in order, because of their monopoly on the computer market. But the huge number of iPods shows that there is a crack in the dam, and eventually it will crumble. I'm not saying Apple will do it. Maybe, but probably not alone.

Anyway, what pisses me off is that apparently there are some managers sending out memos to employees forbidding iPods at Microsoft. These iPod totin' Microsoft employees have voted with their wallets, and it's obvious - they don't want to drink the Microsoft Kool Aid. And why should they, after all, it is America, land of the free, right?

It will be interesting to dee what happens when one of them gets fired for bringing an iPod to work. We'll see then if there is still freedom in America or wether the world's biggest monopoly and richest corporation can buy off the courts like they did the Justice System a few years ago.

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