Cringely: Why Apple will one day stop making iPods, Microsoft’s Zune decoy, and more

Mac Greer interviews tech guru Bob Cringely, employee No. 12 at Apple, for The Motley Fool. A few choice snippets from Cringely:

Apple will stop making iPods the day that they can make more profit from an iPod license than they can make from selling an iPod. And that day will come. A switch will flip, and suddenly you will be able to buy an iPod from anyone, and Apple will just be in the iTunes business, but they will be making money from Apple IPE [intellectual property enforcement] and iPod licenses.

I think Microsoft is not stupid. Microsoft is big and lumbering and brutal, but they are not stupid, and what they know is that they have more resources than anyone, and they are fully capable of doing some little Zuney thing that is relatively meaningless except that every potential competitor has to take it into account. So Microsoft spends $500 million developing the Zune. Five hundred million is nothing to them, and they spend that much marketing it, which again, is nothing to them. And Apple and Samsung and all the other guys have to respond to it. In the meantime, what is Microsoft’s real strategy? Microsoft’s real strategy in the home has to be built around Xbox, and Xbox is actually doing some smart things, so I view Zune as a deliberate distraction; it is a decoy.

Full interview here.
Never confuse stupidity or the lack thereof with ineptitude, hubris, and mismanagement. With Zune, Microsoft is simply reinforcing their reputation for making mediocre products. Regardless of the amount, that’s not money well spent.

60 Comments

  1. Nice use of the English language there! “I think Microsoft is not stupid.”
    Anyway, who thinks MS will bite the sour apple and license iPod from Apple? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />
    That would be the ultimate proof of MS innovation!

  2. Apple could make plenty licensing OS X – but they have been down that road with Mac OS before. I don’t see that happening with iPod.

    As for the Zune being an intentional distraction, I think this is way off. MS has MUCH more to gain by having Zune be a success that integrates with Xbox in the home than for it to be a failure…why? Because the iPod is ALREADY the “distraction” that the writer claims the Zune to be! MS didn’t have to blow a billion dollars to create their own distraction.

  3. Amazing, Cringely understands the Zune is a total moronic failure from inept marketeers in Microsoft and he is still in denial: Micro and soft are not stupid. If they did something so blatantly stupid, so clearly a total utter failure, it must be because they have a plan, YES, MS is clever, they have a plan: the Zune is a decoy!

    Cringely: either you are a in a total brain morass, or you are truly more foolish and bozo bootlicker than anyone could possibly thing. Are you reading yourself after spouting this nonsense and still able not to feel ashamed of yourself?

    Zune a decoy: Cringely, you are the real McCoy in dumbass world.

  4. Apple never licenses out there products to anyone for any price. There in the hardware business and as long as it is profitable they will keep building them and selling them, no one else will.
    Microsoft is stupid contrary to what he thinks and they no nothing about R&D of hardware hense the Zune is a big failure.

  5. What Cringely refers to is a strategy that Microsoft has employed several times before. To hell with making money, just distract the competition from their course, and wait for them to make a mistake. MSFT has the resources to indulge in this kind of waiting game.

    The thing is that Apple has been setting the stage for this battle for about 8 years. Their focus is lazer sharp, and MSFT’s strategy dujour isn’t going to distract them. That means that MSFT is going to have to do something it has never successfully done before, and that is to innovate.

    This war isn’t over, but the clear leader at this pooint is Apple, and they are getting stronger with each passing day. By the end of 2007, I don’t think MSFT will be capable of derailing the Apple train.

  6. Quote “Five hundred million is nothing to them, and they spend that much marketing it, which again, is nothing to them”

    I don’t care how big a company is. For this guy to dismissively say one billon dollars is nothing to them shows just why he should not be taken seriously.

    If Microsoft is spending a billion dollars of shareholders money as he says, a decoy, I hope the shareholders sue MS for fiduciary irresponsibility. And the MS board fire the CFO and CEO.

    This guy is just an idiot.

    Again I say, why does MDN constantly link to such stupid articles and writers.

  7. Well -if the Zune is a decoy it’s working well. Just got back from CompUSA, picking up supplies for my business and asked the clerk if he had sold many Zunes. He said he had not sold one. “How about iPods?”, I asked. Basically flying off the shelves, and this is not exactly a bastion of Apple fanatics. So, Bill and Monkey Boy, the plan is working perfectly.

  8. “What Cringely refers to is a strategy that Microsoft has employed several times before. To hell with making money, just distract the competition from their course, and wait for them to make a mistake. MSFT has the resources to indulge in this kind of waiting game.”

    Unfortunately for Microsoft sharholders and employees, this “strategy” to take over the world and every market in it seems to have distracted Microsoft itself from their core businesses, and they no longer scare competitors the way they used to.

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