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Apple vs Microsoft: tech trends future war

It’s as if the battle never ended, isn’t it? Maybe it didn’t? Maybe the battle is still burning away, only Guerilla war style. Small pockets of conflict, scattered here & there. Right now, the air is thick with bullets as the major games consoles do battle over the thirtysomething market…

While mortar fire can be heard in the adjoining valley of home entertainment, with HD and Blue-Ray cutting through enemy lines, racing for cover.

The crackle of small-arms fire shatters the still of the city, as house-to-house battles ensue. Web browser market shares waxing & waning, slipping into secluded side streets as widgets and the massed ranks of Web 2.0 RIAs gather in doorways and shelled-out store fronts, biding their time.

And in the distance, at the mist-shrouded grey shores of portable music & video, the lapping waters are red with the blood of those that have fallen. Those brave but foolhardy souls, those portable music players laying face down in the wet sand.

They seemed like such a good idea at the time, with their FM radios and their voice recorders. Undone by ‘mission creep’ and the logistical nightmare of their software-to-hardware interfaces.

And emerging from the fogs of this digital war, those two great protagonists meet again to trade ideas and trade blows for show.

Messrs. Gates & Jobs meet once more on Wednesday in Carlsbad, California, at The Wall Street Journal’s D Conference.

“I don’t think the success of the iPod can continue in the long term, however good Apple may be… I think you can draw parallels here with the computer. Apple was once extremely strong with its Macintosh and graphic user interface, like with the iPod today, and then lost its position.”
— Frankfurter Allgemeine, May 2005

I take that one quote from Bill Gates, because I feel that it best represents his thinking, and how his thinking – and that thinking being the group-think of mostly everyone on the payroll at Microsoft – is out-dated, out-moded and nowt but the artifacts of an aged business model.

It’s also quite telling of Bill’s thinking in general.

If you break that quote down, what he’s essentially saying is: “we just sit around, watch the really clever people do all of the hard work, and when their creativity falls short of an equally great marketing plan, we step in, clone the concept and commoditize the whole thing to hell & back!”

It’s also a way of thinking that relies almost entirely on Apple’s incapacity to learn from historical errors. Which if we attribute those errors entirely to Steve Jobs, then they’re likely never to be repeated, no matter how long those at Microsoft sit around and wait.

Not so much innovative but iterative.

But it’s served Microsoft so well over the years, so why change now?

If that’s the question they’re rhetorically asking of themselves, then I’m not going to help answer it for them…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

2 replies on “Apple vs Microsoft: tech trends future war”

Hi Steve and thanks for the great comment!

I see it like this: every tech’ trends ‘blogger in the world is going to be opining over this one event, so it becomes a question of perspective and differentiation.

So clearly that effort hasn’t been wasted…

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