Mac news for Mac people

Monday, August 16, 2004


Phil Schiller To Keynote Apple Expo Paris

Philip W. Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, will present the keynote address at Apple Expo Paris later this month.

Dell, Apple Set Up New Beachheads In Taiwan

Apple recently announced that it would set up a flagship store and two franchised shops in downtown Taipei.

Apple's Strategy A Familiar Tune

With more competitors jumping into the market, the question is whether Apple will be able to keep its dominance in the portable music player market or whether the iPod will eventually go the way of the firm's Macintosh business.

Mentor: Students Benefit From Laptop Program


Why 2004 Won't Be Like 1984

Whether you like it or not, there's a high-stakes competition going on to establish a de facto standard DRM format, and at the moment, Apple is winning. THis game is far from over, and Apple's going to be damned if they're going to give RealNetworks or Microsoft a helping hand.


What's Wrong With Windows XP Lite

Microsoft is now offering Windows XP Starter Edition to some Asian countries. The price of the operating system is lowered, but it comes with some serious limitations: you can only run three applications concurrently, there is no home networking, and there is no multiple user accounts.

On the surface, this might seem like a good idea. After all, customers were asking for a lower-priced operating system, and Microsoft is giving it to them by giving customers the features they need, and not the whole kitchen sink.

But dig a little deeper, and you'll find that this product is so wrong.

Firstly, rather than adding value at the high-end, Microsoft is subtracting value at the low-end. It's not like Microsoft is saving money by removing features — the features are already there. In fact, I'd bet that by offering this Starter Edition, Microsoft is increasing it's own workload with a development and testing process that has been made more complicated.

So, it becomes a game of numbers. To its targeted customers, Microsoft seems to saying this: well, since you are not giving me enough money, I'd limit you to only the magic number of three applications. It's not like I'm saving a bundle on my development cost because of this limitation, and I'm passing the savings to you, my dear customers. It's just simply you are not giving me enough money, and so I'll limit you. Not a great way to start a relationship with a new customer, isn't it?

To offer a lower-priced Windows by removing already-completed features just seems so wrong. At the bare minimum, Microsoft should offer the full features of Windows XP Home Edition at a lowered price. Add more value from the high-end (such as its Professional Edition), and make the new value enticing to customers, and attract them to pay more. Apple may not be the perfect counter-example here, but Microsoft should perhaps learn from Apple on how the Mac operating system has been enhanced almost annually, with features that users will queue up to buy.

Secondly, Microsoft should pay more attention to its customers. They are not asking for a cheaper operating system with less features, because they can't afford the price. They have seen Linux — a full-fledged operating system at a cheaper up-front price. They are asking for a cheaper operating system with the same features because they've seen Linux, and they don't see the difference between Windows XP and Linux.

By offering XP Lite, Microsoft isn't really changing the equation. The cost per feature is probably still worse off than Linux.

But maybe XP Lite is not really targetting at the end-users. Maybe it's the resellers who are asking for this? Maybe it's the bean-counters who are asking for this? I don't know whether this is true, but if it is, Microsoft has a greater problem than just XP Lite. Any companies that stopped listening to its real customers will have a major problem, sooner or later.

Overall, XP Lite, I feel, is a mistake on Microsoft's part. For all its talk about innovation, I don't see a bit of creativity from Microsoft in solving the Linux problem.


Cheap Windows Comes Under Fire

In its research note, Gartner said Micreosoft's tactics were not well thought out and "fail to meet the most basic needs."

Ambitious Package To Raise Productivity (And Microsoft's Profit)

Microsoft is now pursuing a strategy to transform Office from a bundle of programs on personal computers into a family of software that can put Microsoft's technology deeper into the operations of corporate data centers.

Entertainment World Wary Of Microsoft

But these days, studios fear digital piracy more than they fear Microsoft and have slowly begun to make deals to use its software tools, albeit on a non-exclusive basis.

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