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Scoble's folly

<![CDATA[Robert Scoble is getting a lot of heat from folks about his statements about music players the nature of open source technology in a letter to Bill Gates. Scoble says he takes respite in being loved by his wife and son. There’s a thing that happens to people who write or speak about their ideas, […]

<![CDATA[Robert Scoble is getting a lot of heat from folks about his statements about music players the nature of open source technology in a letter to Bill Gates. Scoble says he takes respite in being loved by his wife and son. There’s a thing that happens to people who write or speak about their ideas, but basically, welcome to the world journalists live in…. Thick skin is the first thing you develop as a writer.
That said, I don’t agree with Scoble’s suggestion to Gates that the best way to build a music player is to have musicians design it. This was the premise of an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer’s long-lost brother hires him to design a car because he’s representative of the ideal customer, a real guy who buys cars. Homer designs a mess with bubble cockpit, huge fins and an inaccessible selling price. It ruins the company. Later, Uncle Herb designs a baby babble translator and recovers his fortune.
Musicians, for all they know about how to twang our heartstrings are not the folks I want building my consumer electronics. I also don’t want political advice from Leonardo Dicaprio or Mel Gibson. Now, if I wanted suggestions about music to listen to, then might look to musicians—but, wait, iTunes music store has celebrity playlists already.
The problem is, basically, that Microsoft is thoroughly encumbered by its technological legacies that tie any new design to old protocols and ideas, as well as by its role in the industry as a provider of designs that work to OEMs, who then build the products. They aren’t in a position to be the cool leader. iPod succeeded because it was not Mac-based, it was a separate technology and not an extension of the Mac to a new market. If Microsoft wants to build a great player, it has to start by not thinking for even a moment about Windows or Windows Media Player. Maybe Windows technology will be of use, but it can’t be the assumed foundation.]]>

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