“The two major initiatives in the consumer market this year have to do with digital media, and they are from Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft’s is the broad Media Center Edition that encompasses the home and provides your music on a variety of products, while Apple’s is more targeted at just PCs (both Apple and Windows) and the iPod. The two companies overlap in only one area — the Windows PC — and even here they differ in approach. Apple is mostly music (although it just added still images t the iPod) and Microsoft has consistently pushed the envelope with music, pictures and video,” Rob Enderle writes for TechNewsWorld.
“HP, the other major player involved, is the only company playing with both initiatives. It has the largest sales of Media Center Computers, owning 50 percent of that market, and it is number two with hard drive players, though it got there simply by reselling Apple’s iPod,” Enderle writes. “I know a lot of my peers have been less than overwhelmed by HP’s use of the iPod — given that it is basically an Apple iPod with both HP and Apple logos on it — but that is short term thinking. Let’s take a look at what HP is trying to accomplish and why, if successful, it has the best chance of taking leadership in this emerging segment.”
“HP has tied the iPod, through a unique to HP Windows-centric iTunes implementation, directly to the Media Center, and it tied its own printer technology into the product with printable skins. While it currently sells only the ‘traditional’ iPod, that model is the one that publications like the Mercury News recommend because it is be the best value and works with the most accessories. HP is even able to emulate the Apple iPod advertisements to push its own product, giving HP better visibility for all of its consumer electronics offerings while slowly transferring the knowledge needed to do this kind of marketing itself,” Enderle writes.
“There certainly are risks. Microsoft or Apple could screw up their sides (and both have done this in the past); someone else could come up with the next killer product (the Gateway media player has great potential); and HP, if it isn’t careful, could lose its own brand identity to Apple. But nothing with high potential is without risk,” ,” Enderle writes. “In short, by partnering with both Microsoft and Apple, HP is able to blend the best of both. It is positioned to do what no other vendor has been able to do: Tie the leading technology platform to the leading marketing capability. If this can be done successfully, HP will be incredibly difficult to match. The reward would seem to significantly exceed the risk. Just imagine: Microsoft’s resources and skills coupled with Apple’s design excellence and marketing competence. Who could stop such a company? Who would even want to? And that, my friends is the potential of the HP gambit.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The Gateway media player has great potential?
Related MacDailyNews article:
HP Tunes allows playing of iTunes songs and playlists in Windows Media Center interface – October 25, 2004
Beleaguered Gateway announces ‘iPod Photo killer’ (with image) – October 28, 2004