Microsoft’s Steve Jobs-wannabe J Allard has 9 iPods and uses an Apple Mac

“At 3:32 p.m. on Oct. 19 an e-mail flashed across the screens of the 230 Microsoft employees working slavishly to bring the Zune music player to market. The sender was their brash team leader, J Allard, 37. The message included a link to an old video of Steve Jobs on YouTube, mocking Microsoft’s creativity. ‘The only problem with Microsoft is that they have no taste,’ the Apple Computer boss says. ‘They have absolutely no taste,'” Jay Greene and Peter Burrows report for BusinessWeek.

Steve Jobs: “Microsoft has absolutely no taste” video:

Greene and Burrows continue, “Allard was using one of the oldest motivational tricks in the book–his version of a football coach posting an opponent’s quote on the locker room wall. ‘I for one…want to see this guy eat his words,’ Allard wrote. ‘Those are fighting words. He is speaking to every one of us and saying that we don’t get it.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Looking at the Zune, they obviously don’t get it.

“No one’s suggesting that Zune will have anywhere near the impact of Vista. In its early form, it is clearly no iPod killer. It’s bulkier and more of a battery hog, and the Zune Marketplace doesn’t offer as many songs or videos as Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes does,” Greene and Burrows report.

MacDailyNews Note: The Zune Marketplace doesn’t offer any video.

“No one leader will replace William H. Gates III, the iconic software geek who came to define an era and plans to leave the company in June, 2008… The soul of the new Microsoft, though–its Geek 2.0–may just be Allard, the vice-president for design and development at its Entertainment & Devices unit. Allard looks and acts nothing like the prototypical Microsofty. Over the years he’s swapped his plaid shirt and khakis–something of a Microsoft uniform–for edgy jackets made by Mark Ecko and other designer wear. He loads up his nine iPods, and now his Zune, with songs from hardcore bands like A.R.E. Weapons,” Greene and Burrows report.

“When Allard’s team hatched Zune, they unabashedly cribbed from Apple’s playbook. Microsoft all but abandoned its music partners, built its own device, and offered its own music-selling service,” Greene and Burrows report. “Always the iconoclast, Allard works on an Apple G5 computer, next to an obviously less frequently used pc. Allard says it’s important to learn about the competition.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tommy Boy” for the heads up.]
It sounds to us like J Allard wishes he worked for Apple, not Microsoft.

Of J Allard, Paul Thurrott on his SuperSite for Windows wrote just this morning, “It starts from the top, from executive J Allard who–get this–is so freaking cool he changed his name from James to ‘J’ in order to match his name to his Microsoft email alias, I don’t mean this as a personal attack–heck, he’s probably a great guy–but Allard is the human embodiment of the Zune in the same way that Steve Jobs is for the iPod, so this is relevant. In recent years, Allard has not coincidentally remade himself into a slimmer, seemingly-less geeky, hip-looking … hip guy, I guess. This, no doubt, makes him seem cooler to the Xbox and Zune crowds he needs to impress. (J Allard is also in charge of the Xbox 360.) The same faux coolness exuded by J Allard is all over the Zune, its marketing, and its packaging. The Zune is everything, in other words, that the iPod is not (or nothing that the iPod is, if you look at it differently). But I’ve got a newsflash for Microsoft: You can’t just announce that you’re cool. You have to actually be cool. Apple, the iPod, and yes, Apple CEO Steve Jobs–the human face of the iPod–are all cool.”

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  1. what a great idea…. i’m going to call Phil Schiller right now…

    Demo-boy!!!! oh Demo-boy!!! Please have all of my cards changed to S Jobs. Thanks Phil… see you in January doing a demo with me over iChat.

    I love Schiller… mostly because his name is what he does. Isn’t that funny?

  2. As a device the Zune isn’t bad. It’s a bit larger, but it also feels more sturdy than an iPod. As a media player is just fine, in and of itself. It’s the quagmire of a company that’s backing it that makes it undesirable.

    You can’t even load music you previously purchased from MSN on the silly thing.

    The nuty points system for purchasing music, and yet another proprietary DRM scheme for the love of god, is just plain stupid.

    And I damn sure wouldn’t buy one JUST BECAUSE MICROSOFT IS PAYING UNIVERSAL.

    I don’t think this stuff is the fault of Allard.

    Once you leave the Zune itself, and get into the Microsoft world, all the “cool” vanishes and you become quickly aware that you’re dealing with Microsoft again.

    All you have to do is count the number of times you say, “huh?” as you’re trying to work with the thing and it’s software, and purchasing music, and you go running back to your happy, simple, one click – music purchased and loaded iPod.

    Microsoft really needs to study iTunes more closely as well as the iPod.

  3. This Allard guy is far too overrated in my book. Overlooking the Zune fiasco, it seems incredible that he actually gets credit for developing a gaming device which only now – 5 years after its creation – is actually starting to turning a profit. If it was any other company, one without the deep pockets that Microsoft has and are necessary to bear the cost of such a strategy, he would have been sh*tcanned a long time ago.

  4. this guy tries to achieve something big over Apple. but there is limitation on creative mind. Jonathan Ive is originally interior designer before doing industrial designer. all his works are so much unique, inspired by art. J. Allard studied computer engineering. usually people, who study computer at school, have limited idea on creation. how dare you compare with Jonathan ive with this guy who never seems to be creative. I know he was making Xbox. see! what computer guy designed game console. I don’t see any attraction on it. I don’t buy it neither. Xbox hasn’t really successful with billions of deficit. zune will be the same target next few years. game business Apple didn’t jump to do. that’s why MS can do something. Apple is different company. if you compete with this company with pure ability, nobody can beat. especially, media market like digital content. Apple has already accumulated tons of idea, know-how long time ago. MS tries something now. it’s too late.

  5. “Always the iconoclast, Allard works on an Apple G5 computer, next to an obviously less frequently used pc. Allard says it’s important to learn about the competition.””

    Yeah Im going to eat this entire box of donuts so I can get an idea of the wrong kinds of foods to eat before I go on my diet. Yeah. Thats it. Thats the ticket.

    Bring me another box, im not sure yet.

  6. If Microsoft actually copied, they’d have better products than they do now.

    Unfortunately, what MS does is look at something that’s successful and ask themselves what they can add to a product to make it more appealing. What they don’t understand is that to make something people like, you should look at something you want to copy and ask yourself “what can we remove from this equation without destroying the user experience?”

    Simpler is better. MS doesn’t get that.

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