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Lesson One: No One Misses The Boat

There are some cliche phrases that are so incorrect, I don’t understand why writers continue to lean on them. One of the worst showed up in a post at Download Squad:

I think Microsoft is putting out some decent software (Vista, Office, etc) but I think they have largely missed the boat on the digital lifestyle. Apple has that covered.

Wow. Forget about the fact that the many, many Media Center enthusiasts would completely disagree. Forget that, if you had to ask which best-selling device is more a part of a “digital lifestyle”, most people would pick the Xbox 360 over the iPod, because the 360 is part of a “connected experience” the iPod lacks, especially unless Apple TV takes off.

No, none of that bothers me. Fine, ignore the success Microsoft’s home entertainment products have enjoyed. I can see how you would argue that they are not as successful as I would claim. However, to claim that Microsoft “missed the boat” is ignoring history.

Did Microsoft “miss the boat” when Windows 1.0 wasn’t as good as the Mac, and didn’t sell? If there was a boat to miss, Microsoft wouldn’t have released version after version until Windows 3.0 garnered enough respect that Windows 95 was able to storm the market and bring about ten years of Microsoft market leadership.

Did Microsoft “miss the boat” with Xbox 1? If there was a boat to miss, then the lower-than-Sony sales of the first Xbox would clearly have translated into even worse sales for the XBox 360, and Microsoft wouldn’t have a chance in this console generation.

Did Apple “miss the boat” with almost every damn thing they did from 1994-1997, until Steve Jobs returned to set things right? If so, there would have been no chance of the Mac gaining market share and the iPod becoming a hugely popular device.

There is no boat to miss. Don’t lean on it, because you just sound stupid. Microsoft’s Zune could fail for fifty years, then all of a sudden be a success. It’s how the market works, anything can happen.

January 12th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Media Center, Apple | 4 comments
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  1. Apple is always okay to get the uneducated vote for being the king of the “Digital Lifestyle”. There are many reasons, but it’s hard to argue that the iTunes Store has been a big hit.

    The “Digital Lifestyle” is more than just downloadable media though. It’s about everything being connected, not just a portable device and your HDTV. It’s about your whole home, and all of your other traditional media.

    Apple has not hit on the PVR side. They have not covered what to do with peoples existing DVD libraries. And most importantly, they have no provided a system that can really connect the home. By this, I mean everything from gaming, to HDTV, to downloads, to home automation, to the car, etc.

    That’s not to say Microsoft has done it either, because they haven’t. They are however closer then Apple to being able to provide it.

    And yes, I’m a Media Center user and my $299 will go to an Xbox 360 and not Apple TV.


    Comment by Chris Lanier | 1/12/2007

  2. “Digital Lifestyle” in this context refers to iLife-suite creative applications like GarageBand and iMovie. Microsoft is a clear also-ran in that product space.

    Comment by Lazlo | 1/12/2007

  3. Digital lifestyle has always referred to consumer products. How many people use GarageBand, honestly, or have a need for it? iMovie, yes, as well as Windows Media Center, Xbox 360, iPod, Windows Mobile, giant TVs, media receivers, GPS devices, home automation, all part of the digital lifestyle. If you think the digital lifestyle is a small number of people tweaking in GarageBand, you’re missing the boat.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | 1/14/2007

  4. Microsoft DOES miss the boat in areas such as DVD/Movie creation, simple page layout & typography and system automation/shell scripting. And Vista’s audio technical headaches are a different story. As a consumer I demand full MPEG-4 support in Windows, a page layout (and not a word processing) app which also offers rich typography, and doing time-killing tasks fast like Automator on the Mac.

    Comment by someone | 1/14/2007

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