Microsoft does this thing. Some call it “assimilation,” others call it “smart business maneuvering,” but the effect is clear even if the morality isn’t: Microsoft identifies a market, acquires or eliminates the weak competitors, then enters the arena with a solid product.
The company’s product lineup at this point is incredible: Software add-ons, operating systems, applications, games, game consoles, game hardware, computer peripherals and now, portable music players. Yet with each new entry the user response is the same. I like to call it The Five Stages of Microsoft Product Acceptance.
Stage 1) Denial
Dude, there’s no way Microsoft will make a portable device. It would be a suicide business move. Apple has the market locked down.
Stage 2) Rejection
Dude, I can’t believe it, but it’s true. There’s no way this will work. Apple has the market locked down.
Stage 3) Curiosity
Dude, have you seen pics of this thing? Supposedly it has a brushed metal back, like the iPod. I wonder how big the hard drive will be?
Stage 4) Interest
Dude, it’s going to sell for how much? And it’s free with a new Dell PC? Well, it’s no iPod, but if it’s less than $100, sign me up.
Stage 5) Acceptance
Dude, forget the iPod. Apple is all style and no substance at this point. Zune has the market hooked up. There’s no way apple can compete with their flimsy, over-priced chick toys.