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Bill Gates: "iPod's success won't last"...and "we made a mistake with the Xbox"...

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In this article, Bill Gates says that he believes the Mobile Phone will take over the iPod in terms of portable music. While I'm not sure his prediction is right (although he makes some good points), I do not consider myself a Bill Gates hater.


Later on, he admits that Microsoft made some mistakes with the release of the Xbox. I wonder what mistakes he's referring to, specifically. And also, what has MS done to address these mistakes?


Don't hate me because I brought up Bill Gates. If anyone can find more info on this article, or other examples of Mr. Gates' opinions on these matters, please share.



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Later on' date=' he admits that Microsoft made some mistakes with the release of the Xbox. I wonder what mistakes he's referring to, specifically. And also, what has MS done to address these mistakes?




I was just trying to enumerate these to a friend who just sent me this.


1. The Duke controller!

2. Too easily hacked/modded

3. too big/bulky. (Japanese hated it.)


that's all I can come up with.




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First, I think Gate's comments on the iPod are partly designed to be self-fulfilling. I think the timing is interesting, coming a couple of days after Yahoo announced it's new online store (which i think is good, because Apple needs some competition). Apple's stock dropped 2% yesterday on that news. Which is the perfect time for someone like Gates, who has a vested interest in the demise of iTunes and the iPod (given that neither use competing technology from MS), to remind the world of Apple's past failings and draw parallels to the present.


The factual content of his comments are pretty boring. I think it's plainly obvious that the days of specialized devices for tasks (one device is a phone, one is a music player, a game device, a browser, a movie player, a camera) are short. There will be as much convergence as there can be, and music+phone is an easy one. the phone is the most popular portable device (no evidence to back that up, but I can't imagine it's not true). It's no accident that Apple's been talking up an iTunes Motorola phone. The main hold-up for major device convergence right now is size. Components need to get smaller before you can cram a phone, a movie player, an MP3 player, and a camera into one device that does those things as well as a dedicated device do each of them now.

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I think Cringely is closer to the mark, in that Apple is more likely to license the iPod technology out for clones than it is to die off:

What Steve hates is hardware competition, but iPod clones will only happen at a point when Apple has decided to get out of the business of making its own iPods. Think about it. If Apple licensed iPod technology, the company would receive from its OEMs a per-CPU license fee of anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on how smooth Steve is as a salesman and how desperate the would-be OEMs are for that license. As Apple's profit drops on each iPod it makes, eventually the per-CPU figure will approach what Apple might receive from licensees. At that moment it makes more sense for Apple to license clones than it does to make more iPods. Licensing clones AT THE RIGHT TIME would lead to huge clone sales, effectively killing any significant iTunes competitor. And in the long run, iTunes is where the money is.
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Of course the ipod will drop off, as it seems no technology is timeless. I think gates is way off about it happening anytime soon, just as a guess off the sales numbers on the current smartphones. I think ipods have just becoming an economically viable option for most people. They will be around for a while.

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I don't know, working in tech Moore's Law seems to apply to more than just number of transistors these days. Everything is shrinking while getting faster, including product window times and prices. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple either clone out iPods by end of the next year (2006), or announce some new product that launches them in a new direction (like an iPod that doubles as a cell phone - ahem.) To sit still is to die for them, pressing your advantage is par for the course in tech survival.

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