M$ Playing Chess with Apple - Apple to lose again....

Thread Title:
Microsoft's Consumer Electronics Endgame
Thread Description:

Some enlightening analysis of Microsofts consumer electronics and DRM strategic moves in the context of a rerun of the PC market battle Apple and M$ fought so long ago.

From Russell Beattie, threadlinked above.

Well, I've been watching Microsoft's moves over the past few weeks and I can pretty much say that it's game over for a lot of Microsoft competitors, though they may not realize it yet. To me the decisive move was their MSN Video announcement which included deals with MTV as well as TiVo to make sure that TiVo To Go recordings play on Microsoft Mobile devices. That's when I saw the big picture: Microsoft's DRM strategy and Windows Media WMA codec are going to allow them to have a massive advantage in the consumer electronics market, which includes everything from MP3 players, to mobile phones to your set-top box, to a host of other converged devices.


What's important is that Microsoft *owns* the alternative to Apple and is already branching out to areas like movies and home-recorded content. It's amazing to see history repeating itself, no? Apple lost the PC desktop because it refused to license its Graphical User Interface and now they're going to lose the Consumer Electronics market because they've failed to license their FairPlay DRM technology.


Everyone was laughing at Bill Gates' gaffs this week at the CES. The bluescreen of death, etc. But did you *see* what they were showing off? They have set top boxes, mobile phones, PDAs, portable video players, game consoles and more all running Microsoft software, and most importantly, all supporting the same Windows Media codec and DRM. The final piece of the puzzle was the TiVo To Go announcement. Now it's not just content you buy, it's your personal content as well.

There's a fair bit more to read and it's a great post, check it out and tell us what you think.

Why is it that Apple are so great on one hand, the GUI, the COOL, and so utterly blind on the other? What is it about Apple that seems to doom them to ultimate failure despite fantastic kit like the iPod?


> What is it about Apple that

> What is it about Apple that seems to doom them to ultimate failure despite fantastic kit like the iPod?

I don't think you can call Apple a failure. I don't think they will ever have the same dominans as MS but it's hardly any failure. In fact, I think its part of the strategy ... You can not keep the "cool" image if you become as big as MS. You either stay cool or grow really big. The same thing that we've seen happen to Google. Google used to be the geek-pet and now they are just another public company figting to make as much money as fast as possible. Not cool - but more profitable :)


You think they lost the desktop battle so they could remain cool? I doubt that very much Mikkel heh...

Look at what they're doing to their cool image by suing their FANS.. Sheesh! I really think they lack something very important somewhere in management, they seem to get so close to the finish line, to appear to have won the race or at least to be in the lead by a long way and then they cock it up over tight fisted silliness...


You can not keep the "cool" image if you become as big as MS.

This has nothing to do with their 'shooting yourself in the foot' behaviour.

You can keep the 'cool' image whilst still adhering to a sound business strategy and not leaving massive gaps for the competition to stroll in and steal the market.

ypu can keep your doomday the

ypu can keep your doomday theories for all I care but to label Apple a failure is bullshit


You're missing the point Mikkel. Im not saying they aren't making money, or aren't a profitable company, just that they could do so much better - which is failure to reach full potentiall due to mistakes.


The big question brought up by Russell in his blog post was, "where will this leave Nokia?" Apple is important here too but dimingishly. For instance there about 8 million iPods out there but Nokia shipped 50 million handhelds last quarter alone. This is definetly a play for Apple's business but MS's real mobile-media target is Nokia. Where will Nokia be if they don't license "Play's For Sure?"

2005 will be all about time-shifting, MS's licensing partnerships with Tivo for its Tivo-To-Go to deliver video to Windows based devices will be a smash.


ypu can keep your doomday theories for all I care but to label Apple a failure is bullshit

Classic bollox rhetoric, twist your opponents words to make defending your shaky argument possible.

Nobody labelled Apple a failure - Nick's words were:

What is it about Apple that seems to doom them to ultimate failure despite fantastic kit like the iPod?

Which is nothing like the words you are trying to put into his mouth so that you can trash them.

This is a comment on their future, based on mistakes they apear to be making now and in the past.

It is a comment on how they are able to get some things SO right and then fail to fully capitalize on them.

I thought better of you than that, Mikkel

You wouldn't by any chance be a Mac user experiencing a knee-jerk reaction, would you?

Fat Lady Ain't Singing

Hi, I'm Brad and I'm a Mac user... :)

It ain't over. M$ is trying to do an "Intel Inside" type campaign - that really didn't help Intel all that much in the long term. And when you come down to it it is just a sticker - I'm not sure you can overcome the negative PR M$ is getting right now. But M$ will always have the highground so long as they control most of the desktop OS's on the planet.

The more M$ tries to connect everything the more they will run into monopoly complaints. That will only build up over time.

However, I do think Apple could do more with Quicktime to make it competative in the marketplace. The problem is more likely one of resources - Apple is a much smaller company and cannot fight all battles on all fronts. The first battle Apple must win is getting people to switch to a Mac. I think that will be the battle in 2005.

Also there are wildcards in this story ... rumor has it the BBC is tired of paying royalties every time they stream video over the internet because the three current standards, Real, Windows Media and Quicktime are all proprietary and not free. BBC wants to go into online streaming big-time. So the rumor is that the BBC is developing a new open source (I think) media standard. That could become very interesting if it happens.

Open Source Streaming

I have only the vaguest of recollections for that, got any links Brad?

As it happens...


It's for streaming video, but if it is released as open source almost anything goes as to what uses people will find for it.

Apple owns much of the Video technology

About a year ago, Apple quietly bought up any company that had any technology to do with Video creation and editing.

If you do anything Video, Apple gets paid.

I think thye will make big mo

I think thye will make big money with their new Mac Mini. At $500 it is worth giving it a shot:


Havent we seen this before?

I remember a few yrs back Microsoft invested in Apple. I dont recall what their explanation was, or the dollar amount, but to me it looked like they had to keep Apple from going belly up...Apple was their only competitor at the time. Microsoft had no idea how costly the word monopoly would eventually be.
Apple then comes back with a vengeance, in a completely different industry only to have Microsoft crush them again? How much will it cost Microsoft this time to keep them alive?

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