Monday, November 30, 2009

Start your engines, Cyber Shoppers

Apple store online has lots of great bargains, today only – why aren’t I getting paid to do this again?


I want a new iTouch, somebody, OK? Is that too much, to ask?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Microsoft Stores will succeed – for now

I’ve been pondering Joe Wilcox’s blogpost about his visit to the Borgstore. (Nice graphic, Brinke, I never would have guessed Flanders as a Borg supporter). The one thing that sticks out is that all the personnel look like the customers –

regular people – whereas, when you enter

an Apple Store and you’re not only struck by all the oh wow gee magical wunnerful everything,

you’re also taken by the employees. I think that’s the main difference –

except also that there’s no iPods, Macbooks, MacMinis, MacPros, iPhones, iTouches, etc., on display. And since the Borg’s appeal is the great unwashed, that market segment

probably will gravitate towards Microsoft Stores in great numbers, but only to  Circuit City’s and other electronic retail establishment’s detriment, but not Apple’s, as Apple has a mystique and ineffable sense gee whiz wonderment and coolness about it that you can’t kill. It’ll be the Porsche show room next to the Ford car lot, essentially.

And don’t be surprised if in the future Redmond does buy a major PC or electronics hardware supplier or two to make Microsoft machines to sell in its outlets – which is fine – they’ll be gauche, clumsy, garish, cheap and uncool –  but people will buy it all the same, because they don’t know any better.

Yet, Microsoft still doesn’t get it. Its competition isn’t Apple and hasn’t been for years (who knows, maybe they know that, they just want some of that recent Apple success to rub off). While Redmond thinks it’s having one last hurrah right now, Google will ultimately be the game changer for a lot of people in this industry. Windows 7 and Office will be probably the last time OEMs accept resignedly what Redmond has to offer. Businesses will rethink  about what they want in their back end and on the desktop. Oracle might be the one company who can stand up to what’s about to happen – or not. Larry ain’t no spring chicken; Benioff won’t be dazzling bullshitting anybody with his regurgitated half-assed take on CRM and cloud services for long, either.

These Borg Boutiques will pop up like KrispyKremes and Subways outlets for five years and then WHAM, the bottom will fall out, they’ll have to close three quarters of ’em and consolidate.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We have your credit card info, and we are unstoppable

See, our business isn’t about selling PCs, or selling iPods or iPhones. What we’re actually selling is a management system for digital assets — music, movies, books. In fact, what we’re really selling is convenience. And according to Tim Bajarin, no one can stop us.

That’s right, Tim Bajarin, one of the best and brightest IT consultants out there, now says that, “Apple is perhaps the most influential company in the personal computer and CE market. And this is driving its competitors crazy.” Tim also points out that we’re not actually in the PC or CE business. We’re doing “digital asset management,” and we’ve got credit cards from 100 million people on file. That’s right — 100 million paying customers, who can buy with a simple click of a button, which makes us a very attractive platform for third-party developers. While everyone else is making devices, we’re providing a holistic solution. Money quote:

It’s no wonder that people are flocking to Apple stores and buying Apple’s new PC and mobile devices in increasing numbers. In the end, while consumers may like Apple’s hardware, what they’re really buying is Apple’s simple way of managing, aggregating, protecting, discovering, distributing and slinging digital content around their PC and device networks.

At the moment I don’t get the sense that other PC and CE guys really understand what Apple has become. While they have been fighting wars on form, function and prices, Apple has boldly transformed itself from a mild and not-so-meek PC company into the most powerful digital-asset-management company on the planet. And for the time being, it is unstoppable.

Tim’s right, of course. Look at Sony, or Microsoft, or Google, or anyone. They still don’t get it. They’re still out there talking about chips, or features, or whatever. Or now they’re all hot for design. But they think design means making pretty objects. It doesn’t. It means making a system of pieces that all work together seamlessly. It’s not about calling attention to the technology. It’s about making the technology invisible. That’s design. Sometimes we all sit here looking at the other guys and kind of scratching our heads at how clueless they are. I mean it’s kind of amazing, isn’t it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Apple retail employees are threatening a walk-out

Yes, it’s true. The ingrates at a store in Lynnwood, Washington (not far from Redmond — coincidence? We report, you decide) are threatening to walk out to protest the “abusive” working conditions at their clean, well-lighted Apple retail shrine, which, let’s be honest, is about a hundred times nicer than the houses and apartments these loser live in.

Frankly my feeling is they should consider themselves lucky to be able to spend so much time in my gleaming emporium. In fact, they should be paying me. But Ron Johnson says that’s not legal. Well, there’s nothing we can do to stop them from walking out. Except I’d like to remind you all that if you walk out, you don’t walk back in. That’s right. You’re all fired. Just like Nixon and those air-traffic controllers. I’m serious, people. You do not tug on Superman’s cape, as Bob Dylan once sang. You don’t like working at the Apple store? Fine. Goodbye. Have fun over at Best Buy.