Bill Gates Damns Zune With Faint Praise

from the the-anti-Jobs dept

By now, most people are aware of the "reality distortion field" that surrounds Steve Jobs. Folks attending his keynotes or product launches talk about how it's almost a religious experience, where he really does make you feel like the latest iPod nano is the greatest device ever invented. It's no secret that Bill Gates has a rather different personality -- but it's still quite bizarre to see the level of faint praise Gates gives the Zune as its second generation launches:
"For something we pulled together in six months, we are very pleased with the satisfaction we got.... It was just so-so on the software side. I'm sure a year from now we'll do even better."
He does insist that the satisfaction was "superhigh," but satisfaction and passion are two very different beasts. Of course, this fits right in with how Microsoft has attacked this problem from the beginning: designing the product by committee, rather than coming up with something that they can be passionate about. When even your CEO can't show much passion about your products (especially when those products are up against Steve Jobs' latest products), you've got a problem.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Galt, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    You do realize...

    You do realize he isn't the CEO... But I know what you are saying... The other way to interpret it would be that he is being realistic and the fact that he is not satisfied means he know it lacks that ipod-y goodness and MSFT is working on bringing it in... I'm a nano guy myself but as an engineer, it irks me that we fail to be balanced in our evangelism for one company as against another.

     

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  2.  
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    Jason, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:17am

    To be honest I'm tempted to buy a new zune simply because Bill Gates was honest. I mean Steve Jobs is pretty much a propaganda machine for his iPods. I'm glad that Mr. Gates hasn't sunk so low. He's saying thats it's a good product but they could have done better, and when they release a new one, it will be. Also the prices on the new Nano's is horrible. $200 for 8gb? In Apples dreams!

     

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  3.  
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    Brian, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:20am

    You do also realize....

    That he's referring to the gen 1 Zune when he says "..something we pulled together in six months" and not the new gen 2 devices that were just announced.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Galt's statement of "..it irks me that we fail to be balanced in our evangelism for one company as against another."

    I respect Gates for being a realist and not proclaiming the arrival of heaven-on-earth each time a new edition of the iPod is released like Steve Jobs.

     

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  4.  
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    Alan, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:27am

    Re: You do realize...

    Isn't that what "evangelism" means? The pushing forward of an article of faith regardless of logic and empiricism?

    Personally, I don't like Zunes or i-Pods. On the other hand I could (almost) worship the creator of i-Phone, and am forced to admire the omnipresence of MS Office, even as I seek an alternative.

    Realism such as Mr Gates displays is refreshing - but, let's face it, it's boring as hell. At least Mr Jobs gives the old blood pressure a workout regardless of which way you look at him!

     

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  5.  
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    Buzz, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:29am

    music is overrated

    I am glad that I do maintain a big music collection. I avoided it in the tape era, the CD era, and now the digital format era. I can only imagine how much money I have saved by not investing in the latest and greatest bands and not buying the best music device.

    I do not mean that as an insult to anyone who loves music. I love the technical side of music (I play tuba and baritone in various ensembles). I am just amazed at how many students have an iPod on campus. Music is definitely an industry worth dominating. It's where the money is.

     

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  6.  
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    Gnome, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:31am

    Bill gates is CEO again?

    When did this happen?

     

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  7.  
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    dorpass, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:31am

    Re: You do also realize....

    "I respect Gates for being a realist and not proclaiming the arrival of heaven-on-earth each time a new edition of the iPod is released like Steve Jobs."

    Fascinating. If it was about realism, there would be no advertisement and marketing. And no matter how much people whine and complain about "overstatements" and "exaggerations" in advertisement, if it wasn't for them, most people would not check out anything new. If a "realist" starts promoting a product for his company, you are in trouble.

     

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  8.  
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    RandomThoughts, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:33am

    Considering the things he is doing with his foundation, the things he has seen and the world that he is trying to change, I am not surprised that he has a hard time getting excited about a "Walkman" type devise.

    Maybe he isn't the best spokesperson for the product?

    Bill, keep trying to save lives and skip talking about gadgets.

     

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  9.  
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    Buzz, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    Re: music is overrated

    I am glad that I do *not maintain...

    I wish we could edit these comments... :(

     

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  10.  
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    Richard, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:39am

    Re: $200 for 8gb?

    Yeah, I guess you'll enjoy the $199 for the new Zune 8gb version then. Just a quick look around shows that 8gb flash drives run anywhere from $80 to $150, never mind the other hardware components like the screen on these devices, or the software for the media playback. I think there are quite a few people who will pay the money for these things and see it as fair.

     

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  11.  
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    ricardo moldano, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    Jason:

    You are an absolute idiot.
    You are stating that you would spend your hard earned money on an inferior product when the guys making it are admitting it is an inferior product simply because of some bizzare hatered of the way steve jobs says what he has to say. You are beyond a fanboy. You are an ABSOLUTE IDIOT. Good luck with your zune.

     

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  12.  
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    Uncle Deercamp, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    He can afford to not give a rip.

     

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  13.  
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    scketcher, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 12:23pm

    "I'm glad that Mr. Gates hasn't sunk so low. He's saying thats it's a good product but they could have done better, and when they release a new one, it will be. "

    You did read all the stuff Gates said when the zune first came out, right?!? The "ipod killer" articles are the best. Try Google, it free.



    "Also the prices on the new Nano's is horrible. $200 for 8gb? In Apples dreams!"

    The Nano is currently the best selling new ipod model, and it outsells the zune 8:1 mainly because of its form factor.

    Dude, You gotta try a bit of reading. You do know how, right?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    GS, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Sketcher

    "The Nano is currently the best selling new ipod model, and it outsells the zune 8:1 mainly because of its form factor."

    The Nano and the Zune are non-competitive (until yesterday) The iCrash outsells the Zune 8-1 - granted, but if it not for MSFT, the ipod would own 95% of the market, keeping 10% away from the competition is not a bad thing - makes all parties work harder to be better, faster and cheaper.....Look at Windows OS - No viable competition, no need to fret about holes in security(don't go telling me that Linux is viable - I sell the damn thing, it isn't)....if you build it they will spend stupid amounts of money on it!!!!

     

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  15.  
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    PorradaVFR, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 1:51pm

    Ummm...not so much

    "but if it not for MSFT, the ipod would own 95% of the market"

    Really?

    Tell that to SanDisk and Creative...they outsell the Zune too. M$ is #4 in sales. The only victims of Microsoft being in the player market are their own customers in the "Plays for Sure" space. You know, their OLD iPod killer strategy. ;)

     

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  16.  
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    Mr. H, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 2:11pm

    Gates outdoes Jobs in Long run

    Ok so Gates can't get everthing right. But he sure has gotten alot of things right, I mean just look at his net worth now at 59 billion.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 2:19pm

    Mikes an idiot...get rid of him

     

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  18.  
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    DML, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 3:35pm

    Cognative Dissonance at its best...

    Considering the relative net worths of Gates and Jobs, perhaps Job's "reality distortion field" is vastly overrated from a purely economic perspective.

     

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  19.  
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    Ushruf, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 3:41pm

    easy

    take it easy... TAKE IT EASY!!!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Jaweed, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 3:55pm

    bottom line

    "....talk about how it's almost a religious experience"

    Aherrr...it's not almost a religious experience, it IS a religious experience.

    (harp music)
    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

     

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  21.  
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    Paul, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 6:59pm

    Personalities.

    Bill Gates is the kind of guy who will never be happy with his work, and thinks that a product can always do better, and that anything he ever releases will never be perfect, because he is right.

    Steve Jobs is the kind of guy that thinks people should worship his 3am diarrhea and believes it so passionately that he will preach it out with the charisma of one of those wacko miracle healer evangelists, and sell it to people who gobble it up.

     

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  22.  
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    MP3O, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 10:15pm

    I must admit. . .

    ... that any time I watch steve jobs I do want to send him money or go walk up on stage with him and be healed just like the believers on Benny Hinn.

    THE POWER OF JOBS COMPELS YOU!

     

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  23.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 4th, 2007 @ 11:17pm

    Superwhat?

    Gates seems to have this fondness for saying "super". To him, things are "supergood" or "supercool" or "superhigh". Makes him sound like a preprogrammed marketing droid.

     

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  24.  
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    Kontra, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 2:15am

    Zune 2 vs iPhone introductions

    I compared Apple’s design, packaging and introduction of the iPhone and Microsoft’s for Zune 2, also highlighting Ballmer’s disastrous record in consumer markets here at counternotions.com:

    “Zune 2: Mediocrity grows on trees”
    http://counternotions.com/2007/10/03/zune-2-mediocrity-grows-on-trees/

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 6:19am

    How many?

    He knows Zunes guarantee his company a (very good) presence in the crowded PMP world, but he knows the bulk of his money doesn't come from them. How many Zunes they have to sell to match what they make in a single SQL Server 2005 license?, the answer = 66.

     

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  26.  
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    4-80-sicks, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 9:11am

    "even better" than "just so-so"? Whoa, I can't wait to get my hands on that!

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Bazil, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 12:38pm

    What does he think of Vista?

    I would love to hear his assessment of Windows Vista.

    I got it for free, thank god!, and installing it made all my peripheris that I was using (unkown devices) whose manufacturers still have "Vista Drivers coming soon" on their websites.

    A bit of honesty about Vista would be nice. Not the irrelevent Zune devices.

    Microsoft has been "ME TOO" of the software industry far too long.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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