It Was Good While It Lasted

By Deane Barker on March 17, 2004

Microsoft: Europe iPod killer will debut in 2004: Sad as it makes me, let’s just consider this an advance obituary for the iPod.

The first handheld gadgets to play music and movies on Microsoft’s “iPod killer” software will be available in Europe in the second half of 2004, the world’s largest software company said on Thursday.

The gadgets will run on Microsoft’s yet-to-be-unveiled Portable Media Center software in a direct assault on Apple’s iPod.



  1. yes, all 2 million purchasers of iPods will just throw them in the trash and a buy a piece of Microsoft hardware.

    Bah. Humbug.

    They can have my iPod when they pry it…etc..

  2. Don’t count the iPod out…first off, have you seen this Creative player? It’s about as sexy as Bea Arthur in a nightie and about as big as half a laptop. The reason why the iPod is the high-water mark is for the visceral reaction it causes with most people. From it’s physical design to the way it works, it makes people want to own one. Case in point is the iPod mini…$50 cheaper than a full-sized iPod with 11Gb less drive space and they can’t keep them in stock.

    Not to mention that it is next to impossible to read about any portable media player without seeing at least one comparison to the iPod.

    Apple has captured mind-share with the iPod which is almost as important as the market share it currently commands.

  3. What is the deal with this iPod fanaticism? I find it disturbing that people are so easily swayed by a neat case. There are plenty of other devices that are just as functional as the iPod, hold more, and cost less. It’s a very strange thing that people would pay such a premium for Apple branding or the unique plastic body.

    Conversely, I have yet to see a PVP that wasn’t among the ugliest brick-like devices ever constructed. I’m not looking for something as elegant/overpriced as an iPod case, but it would sure be nice to have something that didn’t weight a pound and didn’t need two hands to operate.

  4. I’ve always wondered how much Mac users’ fanaticism has to do with asthetics. If Macs were, say, uglier than PCs, would they have as many fans? I lot of the Mac mystique is wrapped up in how they look.

  5. If you’re talking about the look of the actual box, I couldn’t care less what my Mac looks like. It sits under my desk and I never see it. One of the Mac’s I owned longest (actually my Mom still uses it) was the ugliest piece of beige Power Computing you’d ever see. From a support perspective I like the boxes Apple has made in the last few years because I can flip them open in 2 seconds, literally. Earlier models not so much.

    I’m sure there are a certain number of people who have no clue and bought a Mac because it looked cool. But for most of the die hard fans, I think it’s more about a certain sense of quality and attention to detail. I think of it as along lines of why I like driving Honda’s. It’s not one or two features, it’s the thousands of little design details that all fit together. When I use a PC, which I have to about half the time, I feel like I’m using something that was designed by five different people who never talked to each other. A Mac feels like something that one person built. IMHO.

  6. Well said Michael. Is a Powerbook a sweet looking piece of hardware? Sure. I KNOW you’ll agree with me Deane cause you said as much when you saw mine. In the case of Apple, slick looking hardware gives you a taste of the care that was put into developing the OS inside. It’s not like the case is cool and the OS is junk. In Apple’s case they compliment each other perfectly. It’s how you interact with a Mac and other Apple hardware that makes all the difference. I can’t even explain it very well. You just have to sit down and work with one for a while and you’ll understand. Sort of like your many Linux desktop experiments Deane. You gave Linux a shot, do the same with OS X.

  7. Give me $1,500 and I’d be glad to. I tell you what — I’m looking at spending $400 or so on a decent PC. You throw in the difference, and I’ll gladly make it a Mac.

    I gave Linux a shot because it was free. PC’s are so cheap they’re almost free.

    Is OS X better? Sure, probably. Is it 3x better to match its 3x price? Nope.

  8. The more I think about it, the more I come up with this: a Mac purchase cannot be rationally justified. It just can’t. When you look at price, software availabiliy, interoperability, etc., a PC is an obvious choice.

    In every argument I’ve had about this (and I’ve had a lot), the Mac users always come down on the side of emotion. The Mac is just…better, and they can never quite explain why.

    This is fine. You can have your Mac. And the price.

    This is the exact same thing I say to my neighbor who drives an Audi. I drive a 10-year-old Honda Accord. It gets me where I need to go, and it’s reliable. Is it an Audi? No. But it doesn’t cost as much as one, either.

    What I’m saying is that this PC vs. Mac argument is nothing new. We could have the same argument over cars, watches, houses, etc. Mac users are paying a luxury price for a luxury experience. Great, go for it.

    Me? I’m kind of a 1994 Honda Accord type of guy when it comes to computers. I’ll save money and skimp on the extras.

  9. Rob just sent me a link to the Apple Store, and I was about to post something really impressive about their prices. A refurbished G5 for $249? Awesome.

    Then I realized that this price was just for the extended warranty. Bummer.

    The $600 eMac is not so bad. I could perhaps be talked into that.

  10. Okay Deane, I think I can trump your argument about buying something only because it looks nice. I recall hearing one time, “Great applications do not come from great code; great applications come from great design and usability.” Now granted you were talking about website usability, but I think you’ll agree with me that the same could apply to this discussion as well.

    If you’re wondering where that’s from, look for the post you so appropriately titled “Why Beautiful Things Work Better.”

    Don’t try to make us believe you don’t think looks matter. You know better.

  11. So, you’re saying the beauty of both the Mac hardware and LS X causes you to be more productive and more creative?

    Huh. Good point. I never thought of this. However, the cost vs. benefit analysis doesn’t quite pan out for me. Would I be more productive and creative, maybe. Would I be 2x more so? I don’t think so. (Notice I dialed down my multiple.)

    But, then again, does an Audi provide a nicer experience than my Accord? Sure. Is it 20 times as nice (his $80,000 Audi vs. the $4,000 my Accord is probably worth)? Nope.

    But Audis still sell really well…

  12. All I can say Deane, is go ahead and spend the extra 200 bucks and get the eMac. You won’t be sorry. Beautiful 17″ monitor, Quartz display, firewire for externals, OS 10.3, lots of software extras only a geek could love, no worries about viruses, etc… I could go on about how Macs are built using higher quality components than your $400 PC, but I don’t want to bore you. And if you’re open to having some of your preconceived ideas about Macs broken down, visit, click the “PC Myths Debunked” link.

    Can we expect Deane to come over from the Dark Side? I’m not holding my breath waiting, but go ahead and do something unexpected!

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