Living in a Windows Media World

Here’s what gets my goat: how come Apple gets away with “ripping off” their customers while Microsoft gets slapped in the wrist for trying to do the same thing? If they’re both doing the “same thing,” shouldn’t both companies be held liable for such actions? What’s sauce for the software goose is sauce for the software gander, I may claim with a splash of naivete. While Microsoft commands a hefty portion of the computer desktop space, *WHO* has the lion’s share of the portable media world sewn up? iWill give you one guess. Here are a couple of factoids about “everybody’s favorite gadget” you might not know:

  • Market research firm iSuppli has taken apart the new video-enabled fifth-generation iPod and concluded that the 30GB device, which sells for $299, costs Apple $151 to manufacture — a profit margin of around 50%. ‘This is in line with what we have seen with other iPod products from Apple,’ says iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty.
  • An iPod armband, which is nothing more than plastic and velcro, sells for $29.

Dunno. To me, it looks as though Apple needs to have a bite taken out of it – which is the only reason why I’m admonishing the DOJ for making such a decision. Certainly, it was a gutsy (and admittedly boneheaded) thing for Microsoft to consider without first going to the hardware and software vendors… but all hope is not lost. I’m recommending that Microsoft hold a summit of sorts, inviting the big players in the Windows Media space to campus for a weekend retreat. The only task scrawled upon the whiteboard should be: “How the hell are we going to get our act together?” Without true competition, Apple’s gonna become the next Microsoft – believe it. There’s nothing close to an iPod today, and I wouldn’t expect to see anything close to it for at least a year after Vista is on the streets (if then).

[tags]windows,apple,ipod,vista,microsoft,windows media,doj,velcro,antitrust,gadget[/tags]