BusinessWeek: Microsoft fumbles while Apple turns the needlessly complex into the beautifully simple

“The video iPod and powerhouse iMac G5 are mighty weapons in the battle to dominate entertainment in the home and on the road,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “As with the first iterations of iTunes, which sported a library of only a few hundred thousand songs to download, the video offerings are off to a modest start. It won’t stay modest for long. With a device that can store 150 hours of video, the program choices will have to grow — and fast.”

Hesseldahl writes, “Portable video players aren’t a new idea. Microsoft has pushed its portable media centers since last year, through hardware partners such as Creative Labs, Samsung, and others. It also tried to create its own digital hub with the Media Center PC line, developed with hardware partners including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Toshiba. But neither the mobile devices nor the Media Center PCs have sold well.”

“Until recently, Jobs had been dismissive of the idea of turning the iPod into a portable video platform. Why watch videos on a tiny little screen when you can see them on a much bigger and better screen in the living room? This argument had — indeed still has — a lot of merit. But the iPod or a device like it has a lot of potential as a portable storage medium that connects directly to a larger screen, like a TV or a PC display. This iPod — note there’s no change to the name — does both, allowing you to watch video on its small screen or connect to a home monitor,” Hesseldahl writes.

“Microsoft had the vision, but lacked the ability to push it through in a way that consumers find compelling. It built an ugly portable product that’s confusing to use. Apple has a proven record of turning the needlessly complex into beautifully simple designs. Music videos and a few TV shows may be the first of its iTunes video offerings, but Hollywood can’t be far behind. The iPod, the new iMac and a faster wireless network will tie this digital media environment together. If Apple can’t do it right — and make billions of dollars in the process — I don’t see who can.”

Full article here.

The New iPod with Video.  The ultimate music + video experience on the go.  Buy it now at the Apple Store. From $299. Free shipping.
The New iMac G5 – Built-in camera and remote control with Front Row media experience. From $1299. Free shipping.

Related articles:
Video report: Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses new iPod, iMac and earnings report – October 13, 2005
NBC TV shows up next for Apple’s iTunes? – October 13, 2005
Apple’s video play likely to unsettle movie, TV, advertising and retail markets for years to come – October 12, 2005
Analyst: ‘media companies will call Apple to strike deals, Front Row is Media Center done right’ – October 12, 2005
Analyst: Apple rewriting media distribution rules, more people will consider switching to Mac now – October 12, 2005
Apple and Disney usher in new media era – October 12, 2005
Apple posts QuickTime of ‘One More Thing’ special media event – October 12, 2005
Apple’s Front Row with Apple Remote and iMac G5: media center done right – October 12, 2005
Apple introduces new thinner iMac G5 with built-in iSight video camera, ‘Front Row’ media experience – October 12, 2005
Apple releases iTunes 6 with 2,000 music videos, Pixar short films & hit TV shows for $1.99 – October 12, 2005
Apple unveils new 5th generation iPod, now plays music, photos, and video – October 12, 2005


  1. absolutely brilliant to not change the name. I hadn’t noticed that until this writer pointed it out. iPod Video immediately turns off anyone who doesn’t care much for video playback, they might not take the time to realize that he has all the same specs as the regular music ipod in a smaller enclosure for the same price.

  2. They say Microsoft had the vision but not the ability, this is true – they have no ability, however it’s a stretch to say they even had the vision. I’m quite sure Jobs and Apple had the vision but then dismissed it as impractical at the time – it still is to an extent but these announcements push the market along nicely towards convergence between media.

  3. I think the video is great…


    I have a nice HD screen. I don’t need an iMac, just a mini.

    Please upgrade the mini to have a)better graphics card and b)Front Row.

    BTW, no one is mentioning the fact that the iMac got a slight speed bump.

  4. What makes this a great product is that everything announced yesterday are free add-ons to existing equipment with no extra cost.
    If you are looking for an iPod the video is a free extra feature.
    If you are looking for a computer the media center is a free extra feature.

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