Jackass of the Week: Pete Mortensen

Pete Mortensen, after noting that even iPod chargers are outselling Zunes at Amazon:

And what’s funny is that I can’t really understand why the Mac never had the same kind of runaway success. The limitations of the iPod are similar to those of the Mac, its closed architecture, cheap clone knock-offs, everything. But for some reason, Windows bowled over Apple, while the iPod continues to get more popular by the day.

The iPod is “closed” compared to what? I know, you can’t (officially) run your own software on an iPod. And Apple has been stingy with licenses for FairPlay DRM (a few crippled Motorola cell phones and a couple of HP-branded iPods a few years ago). But you can’t run your own software on SanDisk or Creative or Microsoft players, either. Zune’s marketplace is every bit as “closed” as the iTunes Store, and while PlaysForSure is licensed to several manufacturers, it’s not open — you have to pay Microsoft for a license. It’s just a closed system with a handful of licensees.

The iPod is not succeeding despite “limitations”; if anything the iPod has fewer limitations than its competitors. (How many others fully support both Mac OS X and Windows?) It’s certainly possible for someone to create a rival player that is more open — a lot more open — than the iPod, but it doesn’t exist today.

As for why the Mac never took off similarly: “Why 2004 Won’t Be Like 1984”.

Friday, 1 December 2006