Originally Posted by AppleInsider
"...apps designed to run on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 for tablets will copy Apple's App Store business model of charging a 30 percent fee..."
30%. Sound familiar?
Apple's "teasing" banners at WWDC 2006 plus when (recently departed) Mac OS X lead, Bertrand Serlet, repeated one of the banners when he took to the stage: "Redmond, start you photocopiers"
as just a humorous, innocuous, abstract analogy. (I'm saddened he's gone an Apple gem.)
Well, with each passing day, this is changing to become less and less of a risible analogy and more and more a direct statement of fact (and it's not so humorous anymore).
Microsoft builds its Company Stores in very
close proximity to Apple Stores on the assumption (by almost everyone) that it's for symbolic
reasons (like intimidation), to appear to be still relevant and to appear to be "breathing down Apple's neck."
I'm not so inclined to give Microsoft that much "credit" (if you consider it credit). I'm more inclined to surmise that it is actually a cheap way of benefitting from the very extensive research Apple's retail team does in carefully
choosing locations for Apple Stores so that not one has to be shuttered (like every single Gateway store including those at dank strip malls situated right next to a "Dollar Store").
in a Microsoft Store? All I can say is "Yawn"; whereas an Apple Store is more fun than a petting zoo.)
Apple buys expensive studies about proposed locations, plus does its own extensive (and expensive
) marketing and demographic research and analysis before they carefully
decide upon each retail store location. Microsoft can easily benefit from this lengthy, expensive research by simply building Microsoft Stores as close as possible to Apple Stores. And
, they have "plausible deniability" by pretending it's only a symbolic
move, designed as a conspicuous "show of force" to consumers prepared to switch platforms Oh!
And to the media. (Microsoft's insanely
jealous of all the mainstream media attention Apple and Steve Jobs is getting, whereas Apple is "Insanely Great
If true, this borderlines on "infringement" or stealing proprietary corporate I
roperty, in this writer's own personal opinion
It's been widely reported that Microsoft is actively "poaching
" highly experienced and highly trained
dime) Apple Store employees. While I don't like it, it's a common practice and is legal. BUT!
It doesn't end there! It's been reported and is a matter of public record that, after successfully poaching skilled Apple Store employees to a Microsoft Store ('round the corner, probably) the defectors, allured and mesmerized
by grossly inflated new salaries (does this mean they're "bought"?) are then
pressed to recruit their friends and coworkers from the Apple Stores they defected from! If this isn't illegal under some law, say, antitrust law, it sure is downright sleazy, in my own personal opinion
And Microsoft's desire to not just be inspired by Apple or influenced by Apple but to "photocopy" Apple is evident in this next piece of probative info:Microsoft has hired George Blankenship, a retail veteran with history at Gap and Apple, to help it identify the best spots for its upcoming retail stores. Blakenship most recently served as vice president of real estate at Apple, charged with identifying locations for its highly visibleand successfulApple Stores.
Microsoft has confirmed that it has hired Blankenship as an independent consultant, perhaps in an effort to avoid any non-compete agreement he may have with Apple. Though the company has insisted that it isn't trying to copy Apple's successful strategy, hiring a former Apple exec to find suitable locationssome right next to Apple Stores, according to Microsoft COO Kevin Turnersuggests otherwise.
Still more, Microsoft hired the treacherous, self-promoting, in my own personal opinion
, Don Norman, the driving force behind Aqua, Mac OS X's Graphical User Interface, when Microsoft was developing Vista.
Unfortunately for him (as things would turn out) he was tasked with "Aqua-fying" Windows Vista
a product in the good company of New Coke and the Edsel as the greatest, most conspicuous of colossal failures
in the annals of product marketing. I haven't checked recently, but enough time has passed that the Vista epic saga may be included, along with the other two, in recent college Marketing textbooks (as a cautionary tale).
(Fortunately, since he "sold his principle-less soul," in my own personal opinion
, and left Apple, Mac OS X's Graphical User Interface looks 1,000 x better
So, when you Google "Don Norman" you'll notice what can only be described as an effort to disassociate himself with Microsoft and the unmitigated flop, Windows Vista, in my own personal opinion.
If he's cornered with the facts interviews, he seemingly goes to great lengths to downplay his involvement with Microsoft, often saying, in so many words, he was merely a consultant of little consequence.
But how would he explain the close
resemblance of the Trash icon in Vista
to the Trash icon in Aqua/Mac OS X? Only the merest of coincidences, I'm sure.
Microsoft's intent to no less than "photocopy" Apple becomes clearer when you consider the fact that there is an infinite universe
of designs possible for a trash icon or wastebasket or "recycle bin" icon. The only limit is the imagination
. Oh! There's our answer
! Microsoft has
no imagination, no taste
and is forced to transplant it
(Oh! My bad
. Microsoft's icon is completely
different, as Vista's is a "recycle bin
But! Consider the company we're talking about here; they seem to be immune to shame. (With a company founded by someone who still boasts about "dumpster diving" in his youth to steal printouts of code laboriously toiled over
by someone else
, this should not come as unexpected. And the dumpster diving "point of personal pride" apparently was no mere "isolated incident," but the first known example of pathological thievery, in my own personal opinion
, and a corporate culture Microsoft's co-founder inculcated throughout the company. See: What's nicknamed "The San Francisco Canyon
" lawsuit. Pay particular attention to the statement "thousands of lines of 'significant programming code' for video acceleration
As to Microsoft's "photocopied" online "app store," I hope no one from Microsoft reads this, but to "prime the pump" they might want to consider a schedule for reaching 30% over a period. As just one example, for every new app, Microsoft takes 15% for one week (7 day period); 20% after two weeks; 25% after one month; 30% after six weeks and thereafter.
After 30% is reached, nothing would be charged for any of the (sometimes very frequent) free updates and bug fixes to apps, of course, but would
apply to sales of new milestone versions that are not free (e.g. "First Person Zombie Shooter II.")
Apple might consider something similar.
That timeworn Marketing phenomenon where shoppers will buy significantly more SKUs of a product priced at 99¢ than the same product priced at $1, has changed little (if at all) over time. Contemporary studies still
show that this buyer behavior is just as alive-and-well in 2011 as ever.
I guess "metal" currency is not considered "real money" by consumers, but paper currency is
dollar. This might explain why song purchases on iTunes have dropped since Apple moved to $1.29 per song instead of that magical 99¢.
The "value-added" benefits of the $1.29 versions are triple (at least) than the 99¢ versions, but this seems to be lost on average consumers. (And, being more than 99¢, the 30¢ higher $1.29 is "real money." One would think that it wouldn't make very much of a difference, but many aspects of costumer behavior are inscrutable. We have to live with them and adapt to them.)
The value-added benefits of $1.29 tracks are worth at least triple the value of 99¢ tracks, but the people I know care nothing about (or can't appreciate any palpable difference) between a 128kbps audio file verses even a 320kbps "lossless" audio file. Speaking of "audio files," "audiophiles" can appreciate the difference. : )
Steve Jobs was right (of course) about 99¢ being the "sweet spot," and consumers would much rather own
their purchased music than "rent" it from an online music subscription service (no matter how many songs they could "rent"), and of course he was proven right yet again <Yawn
(I can fully appreciate
the $1.29 versions and have always bought those when available. Now, I think the vast majority of "tracks" on iTunes are $1.29 with no other choice.)
If I remember correctly, Apple had to move to $1.29 to keep the record labels happy and prevent them from possibly "pulling out." (If anybody knows the accurate account, please teach me.)
I don't know much about the business relationships between the record labels and Apple/iTunes, but if they would agree, Apple could have two "buy" buttons in iTunes List View: one for the popular (yet crappy, IMHO) 99¢ quality, and, next to it, a second button for the "audiophile" $1.29 version of the same song."But, if now given this choice, and most everyone gravitates to the 99¢ versions (PAH! Pocket change! Now a dollar bill, that's something), wouldn't Apple and the record labels make less money?"
Probably just the opposite.
Volume sales might more than make up for
the 30¢ difference. Just ask the world's largest retailer (at last check, anyway, Wal*Mart is the fifth most valuable company in the world...after AAPL rained on their parade. Wal*Mart has been #1 and #2 in the past) who achieved their lofty "perch" not
by maximizing profit margins, but by making them impossibly slight and selling cheap products in volumes that boggle the mind.
Wal*Mart is so
powerful in fact, that they can "blackmail," in my own personal opinion
, food companies into changing their ingredients!, like lowering trans fats or sugar content or else it's "bye, bye shelf space." (Sending chills up product makers' spines.)
Michelle Obama got on Wal*Mart's case, prompting them to start doing this. Speaking personally, it's been reported that Wal*Mart plans to pressure Kraft/Nabisco to cut the amount of sugar or HFCS in many of its products including my favorite cookie
, Oreos!You can do almost anything you want to me, but DON'T %#&$ with my Oreos!
(BTW, the four-letter-word was "mess.")
I don't care if it's "low-brow"; I make it no secret that Oreos are my favorite cookie!
But, back on track
, 99¢ x Volume might exceed revenues and profits of $1.29 x Volume.
Apple could very easily market test this.
< Click (or touch) him and I know you'll never
believe me but this is NOT
an Apple Store.
The "photocopying" has grown so audacious that the lit signs over the entrance of every Microsoft retail store contain no words, no letters (I hope they didn't spend too much on that rope line)
, just a symbol or "logo," (if it even qualifies). But it is only the merest of coincidences
("But we didn't have room!") that Apple Store signs also
contain no words, no letters, just a monochromatic logo except it's a shape of an object that dates back at least to The Garden of Eden (B.C.) and is instantly recognized in any language and in any country on Earth.
I have a sneaking suspicion this variation of the Windows logo will become the logo for the whole company, to "communicate" "Microsoft" without using letters or words. They may even use it alone, without the word "Microsoft"....almost...like the way Apple's brand "name" is actually a silhouetted shape with no letters or words! But, OH!
, how it communicates!
You'd sooner recognize something meaningful in a Jackson Pollock painting or a Rorschach ink blot than Microsoft's new...thing
Oh, I'm not suggesting Microsoft is SO
stupid as to ditch the "Microsoft" brand name, recognized by billions the world over, costing billions to promote, and is an intangible asset worth billions.
I'm suggesting that the letters M-i-c-r-o-s-o-f-t and the word they comprise might now be communicated via a logo or symbol (Mmmmmm?...kind of like Apple?). The problem for them is that the symbol is abstract and doesn't communicate the word "Microsoft" at all! And necessarily colored, the logo cannot be rendered as a silhouette (unless a perfect square is expected to stand for "Microsoft")
"Artist" Prince already tried this
, but gave up when his efforts didn't work ("were an abject failure" is more precise) and even became a widespread topic of ridicule and mockery. Hey Monkey Boy
, you really
need to consult Prince ASAP!
IBM's venerable logo was designed by the amazing, legendary Paul Rand, graphic designer of hundreds
of works including the logos of NeXT
, American Express, Westinghouse, ABC (TV), UPS, Walt Disney Pictures and countless others, and was even the photographic subject of an Apple "Think Different" ad and poster
(a high honor in my book), AND was lauded by Steve Jobs
(so any of you who think Steve Jobs is all arrogance and no humility, Think Different).
Uh-oh, could this one by Paul Rand
have inspired the original iPod's iconic design? IDK, but I doubt it. (Just funnin'.)
The late Paul Rand's IBM logo with its unique vertical black (or empty) stripes across each letter is so widely recognized that it has been shown that people don't see three letters and read them; they see one iconic logo that stands for "IBM," paying no attention to the individual letters.
This is not unlike when you see a stop sign. Do you read the letters S-T-O-P, or do you recognize it in a gestalt
fashion, taking in the octagonal shape, its reflective "Fire Engine Red" color, and white capital letters you no longer consciously read?
And, Uh-oh, Could THIS released in 1982, discontinued in 1984
have inspired the ID of the original Macintosh? IDK, but it was a great
Industrial Design, and I'm fine with Apple taking cues from it (if they did).
I don't think Apple did, but if they took any cues from the Vectrex, it only inspired
them, and there's nothing wrong with that. The original Mac is a very different looking machine.
Drawing inspiration from talented people and their works was absolutely essential in creating some of histories greatest artists, thinkers and inventors. Would there have been a Plato had there been no Socrates? What's not OK is brazen plagiarism
Nike's original logo was a stylized presentation of their spelled-out name. Nike's "swoosh" logo was designed by college student, Carolyn Davidson, for $2/hour or a total of $35.
But, unlike Microsoft (or Prince), Nike took a prudent approach. After the "swoosh" was designed, Nike continued to use their textual brand name/logo with the "swoosh" symbol below it. This associated the word and brand "Nike" with the new symbol. Then Nike weaned consumers off their logo "in letters" and on to the "swoosh" logo alone
Yet the abstract "swoosh," or whatever you want to call it, is problematic.
Even internally, Nike employees refer to it as either "The Swoosh" or "The Wing" (I guess we were all supposed to know it represents a wing of the winged Greek goddess for victory, "Nike"). It is abstract, but is
very successful at invoking the Nike brand without letters or words (after a lot
of money was spent to achieve this).
Target has taken a similar approach, using its "wordless" brand logo. But their logo resembles its own name, like Apple's.
Yet, if you were to take Apple's silhouette logo and Nike's to a place in the world where people aren't aware of Nike and showed people both logos, my money's on them identifying Apple's logo that stands for an object with a name, not Nike's logo. (I can picture people squinting at the Nike logo, turning it sideways and upside down before they finally give up.)
But you get an A for effort, Microsoft. Good luck