Gates and Ballmer on Apple, iPod+iTunes, Windows Vista, more

“Microsoft has some catching up to do. It’s not a phrase you hear every day. But whether it’s Apple Computer’s iTunes-iPod combo or Google’s advertising engine, the software maker’s top executives readily admit that they are coming from behind,” Ina Fried and Michael Kanellos report for CNET. “On the Windows side, Microsoft’s dynamic duo ticked off several reasons why they think consumers won’t want to skip Vista, the next version of Windows.”

MacDailyNews Take: Dynamic Duo? Coming from behind? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. wink

CNET’s Fried and Kanellos talked with the “Dynamic Duo.” Some snippets:

CNET: Obviously, with any release of Windows, one of the big challenges is, how do you convince the average consumer that this is something they’re going to want? What are the things in Vista that you think will kind of hit home for that initial sale?
Gates: Well, Vista will be pretty strong in that respect. (It’s) just the way we’ve integrated the search pervasively in the user interface; the way you can tag things easily and find them–tag photos, tag music, rate music and photos; the zippiness of the user interface, taking advantage of the DirectX advanced graphics capability.

CNET: With previous releases, the upgrades were mostly new computers sold with the latest version, correct?
Ballmer: Numerically, that will be the dominant factor this time, too.
Gates: You know, you could get 40 percent of the features of Vista, if you went out and got our Windows desktop add-on and latest IE add-on, the latest Media Player add-on and Defender add-on, and all that. You could cobble it together. There are a few people who have, but it’s a very small percentage.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, cobbling things together is the “Dynamic Duo’s” specialty, so we believe them here. But, if Vista’s so great — and what’s not to like with such wonders as tagging photo and music files all day, the unbelievable innovation of rating music and photos, the stupendous achievement of integrated search, it all boggles the mind with excitement — then why can so many of its “features” be added to old Windows XP?

CNET: One of the things you are talking about at CES is music, and obviously you guys for a long time have said choice, big ecosystem will win out eventually. For the time being, Apple has got one family of players and one music store, but they seem to be cranking out stuff pretty fast, and consumers still seem to be going there. What do you think you guys and your partners have to do to change that?
Gates: Oh, we’ve got to get music in cars, music on phones, music throughout the house.
Ballmer: We do need a more consistent experience. That doesn’t mean it’s bad to have a variety of devices. I think that’s great. But there are some things we need to make sure are more consistently delivered across the portable devices. Let’s face it, when it comes to actually using it on the PC, our stuff is still the most popular stuff out there. It’s not true in the portable device space, and I think we have to do some stuff to simplify the experience across the portable device and the PC, and that’s an important part of what we need to do. And we give credit–Apple has done some things right, and it’s worked for them.

CNET: You started that with PlaysForSure?
Ballmer: We started it. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

MacDailyNews Take: That’sForSure.

There’s a bunch more in the full article, but the one thing that leaps out throughout is the Dynamic Duo’s utter lack of vision. They really ought to start enjoying retirement if you ask us. Full article here.

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  1. “when it comes to actually using it on the PC, our stuff is still the most popular stuff out there”

    Only because it comes with the computer, not because most people made a conscious decision to use Windows Media Player over iTunes. When people are faced with making a real decision over what to use for their personal music experience, they obviously are choosing Apple’s solutions over anything else.

  2. “Dynamic Duo? Coming from behind? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

    Nothing’s wrong with that….if you are the Ambiguously Gay Duo…

  3. Ok, so now the image is stuck in my head like a terrible song you can’t stop hearing in your brain!


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