Sunday, February 27, 2005

iPod Explosion: Content-Centric Platforms Surround Microsoft on All Sides

CNET News notes with other techie journals the ins and the outs of Apple's new gaggle of iPods, from color displays for photos, new case colors and a bitsy little Shuffle model to compete with less expensive players in the marketplace. Apple's aiming to become the default player for music lovers in all price brackets and making a tentative move towards bypassing PCs as the multimedia platform of choice. Rumors were flitting about that Apple also may make a bid for the floundering TiVo business, rounding out the picture of a content-centric consumer content play. Creating a multimedia culture that doesn't rely on Microsoft's PC dominance while accepting that dominance as a leverage point for now is a strategy that just might work. At the same time Microsoft also seems to have failed in securing other new platform venues for content, having nominal luck with PDA handhelds but being largely skunked in smart phones and text devices such as RIM's Blackberry. More and more content providers are getting less attached to Microsoft platforms as key components of the choicer parts of their revenue streams, even as Mozilla's Firefox chips away at Internet Explorer's prior lockdown of the PC desktop for Web content. In sum Microsoft's approach to content doesn't seem to be paying off very handsomely, being constantly locked in to strategies that put legacy platform revenue needs above the needs of content users looking to solve problems with innovative user-centric solutions. Expect this trend to continue as more business and consumer content makes its way onto alternative platforms that solve content problems rather than computing problems.
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