Listen up, Palm marketing people. If you’ve just launched your big breakthrough product, and the only way you can explain that product to people is to run ads comparing it to another product — well, you’ve pretty much already lost, haven’t you?
I mean it’s marketing 101. Do you remember what the ads for the original iPhone looked like? You remember seeing anything in those ads about the BlackBerry or the Treo? No. It was a whole new thing — sui generis, as the French say. It had to be. If all we could do was to make a slightly less shitty BlackBerry, and offer it for a few bucks less than what RIM was charging, we would not have bothered to make the product. Honest.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about Palm’s real weakness. Palm got a lot of credit for hiring Ruby and other Apple people, like it was some big coup to steal them away. But the truth is this was the worst thing they could do. You know why? Because they’re Apple people. They can only think like Apple people. Which means they’re going to make Apple products — or actually Apple clones. And yeah, maybe in some small ways their products will have an edge. Maybe for some brief period of time they’ll have some feature that we don’t have. But they’re clones. The proof of that is right there in their own ads — the ads that are all about us, and which only help boost our business.
Because the fact is, nobody wants a wannabe Apple. Or a clone Apple. They want a real Apple. Duh, Palm. Duh. But thanks for the free advertising.