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CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Daniel Eran Dilger
The 2008 Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up Las Vegas after a week of conspicuously non-noteworthy events. The highlight of the show was Bill Gates’ formal announcement of retirement from Microsoft, along with marginally larger TVs and boxes that look suspiciously like the Apple TV that everyone loves to hate on. Along with Gates, CES appears ready to itself comfortably retire into inconsequential clouds of vapor.


The event started back in 1967. Throughout the 70s, it served as the launching pad for such consumer electronics milestones as the VCR in 1970, Laserdisc in 1974, and Atari’s Pong in 1975. From 1978 to 1995, the show was big enough to fill two events in two cities, one in the winter and a second in the summer. However, since in 1995 CES has scaled back to become an annual January event held in Las Vegas.

CES recently gobbled up the remains of the COMDEX show after the US decided it didn’t have the attention span for multiple trade show events where so little ever actually happened. The arrival of the web also helped reduce the need for such big, general purpose trade shows. In addition to COMDEX, the E3 video game trade show similarly whittled itself down from a big event into a small, invitation-only conference this year.

Showing Off the Emperor’s New Clothes.
Both CES and COMDEX frequently served as podiums for Bill Gates and Microsoft, making the fall of all four into increasing irrelevance an interesting turn of events. Why the consumer electronics world ever thought it made any sense to pause and listen to Gates is hard to understand. Microsoft has never ever delivered anything interesting in the consumer electronics space, and has lost billions of dollars in every attempt to do so outside of its rebranding of Logitech mice and keyboards.

Gates’ consistent inability to predict the future of consumer electronics or to even deliver his pet visions using the massive market power and wealth at his disposal made him the perfect showman for consumer electronics events in the pathetic throes of decline. In 2001, two years before COMDEX died, Gates stood up to announce:

“The Tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I’m already using a Tablet as my everyday computer. It’s a PC that is virtually without limits — and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.”

Tablets are still very dead today in 2008. At CES, Gates similarly trotted out silly ideas for the press to celebrate, the majority of which never even materialized as products. Of the few that were sold, none became noteworthy successes. Microsoft repeatedly announced applications of Windows CE that went nowhere, along with SPOT watches, Mira LCD terminals, and various other ideas that drew polite applause before fading off into obscurity.

Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES

Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES

The Failure We Don’t Speak Of.
While it’s not hard to deliver a product that fails to exceed expectations, Microsoft has done nothing but throw out monstrous failures year in and out, an effort that seems statistically improbable considering the engineering and marketing resources available to the company. For reasons that are not obvious, this reality has been nearly taboo to point out in print, particularly among tech critics whose job it is to castigate failure and celebrate innovation.

Microsoft’s fans like to think of the 2001 Xbox and 2005 Xbox 360 as successful products, but both have only lost the company billions of dollars. Over the last seven years, Microsoft has shipped 24 million Xbox units and 17 million 360 consoles to stores, but has yet to make any profits. By way of comparison, Apple in its “beleagured” decade of the 90s sold over 30 million Macintosh systems, generating far more revenue and making a significant operational profit throughout. In the last seven years, Apple has sold around 30 million more Macs, earning record profits rather than losing billions per year.

Why was Apple “beleaguered” for making money on Macs in a competitive market in the 90s, while the Xbox is considered a “success” for burning up around eight times as much cash in its best year of deploying a disposable platform than Apple lost in its worst year? The main difference is that Apple didn’t pay wags to spin stories that were not a realistic portrayal of reality. In terms of devices under $500, Apple has sold a 120 million iPods in the last seven years.

Myth 7: The Xbox Success Myth
Ten Myths of the Apple TV: Xbox and Hardware

Macworld Expo vs CES.
While Microsoft led CES into irrelevance with years of vaporware announcements, Apple has turned Macworld into a hotly anticipated event. Last year, both were held at the same time, which was particularly embarrassing for CES because the iPhone froze the remaining life out of the boring announcements of slightly larger TVs and Microsoft’s snoozy Windows Home Server.

Over the last year, Microsoft failed to find much interest at all for its 2007 CES products, including Windows Vista, Windows Home Server, the Zune, and the remains of the Windows UMPC while Apple stole the headlines month after month with its new mobile, revised iMac, and updated fleet of iPods.

Microsoft tried valiantly to take credit for the touch interface Apple delivered in the iPhone, both with the Surface bathtub vaporware it was unable to ship as planned, and in nebulous announcements that oddly insisted that Microsoft would invent the technologies of the iPhone for use in Windows Seven and Windows Mobile 7 several years from now. The problem with Microsoft’s “wait, we’ll copy it too!” attempts is that nobody believes the company can anymore.

Windows Vista was supposed to catch the Windows PC up to the level of Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger, but fell dramatically short in performance, usability, simplicity, and attractiveness. PlaysForSure and the Zune were supposed to catch up with Apple’s iPod, too; instead, Microsoft apologists at CNET and Wired were forced to favorably compare Microsoft’s 2007 music players against Apple’s classic iPod model, largely unchanged from 2005.

Outside of the Microsoft groveling tech press, reality more closely matches what the market has already decided. Next to Apple’s current models, the Zune just looks silly in terms of usability, battery life, software sophistication, and hardware design.

Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing

Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing
Winter 2007 Buyer’s Guide: Microsoft Zune 8 vs iPod Nano

It’s not just Apple that Microsoft is failing to copy; the Windows Enthusiasts also told us to hold our breath for Soapbox, Microsoft’s version of Google’s YouTube that never gained any traction. MSN Search similarly languished in irrelevance. Outside of its guaranteed revenues from the Windows and Office monopolies, Microsoft is a lumbering failure of epic proportions, particularly in consumer electronics, but also in embedded applications, online media sales, and mobile phone software.

In contrast to Microsoft’s seven years of embarrassing decline into me-too vaporware announcements and other impractical ideas nobody wants, Apple has been releasing regular new products that actually exist, earn revenues and profits, and expand the company’s business. Last year I published a year by year comparison of Microsoft’s announcements at CES versus Apple’s at Macworld: Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES.

How many years of yawning failure will it take before those flashing the applause sign decide to pull the plug and go do something productive with their careers?

Why Microsoft’s Copy-Killing Has Reached a Dead End

The Quiet before the Storm.
So what’s going to happen at this years’ Macworld? Apple has worked hard to keep things under wraps to build anticipation. Little seems to be said outside of a widely rumored ultra mobile laptop and an expansion into movie rentals that will likely pair iTunes 8 with mobile playback on the iPod and iPhone, and living room playback via Apple TV. In the next article, I’ll take a look at other possibilities.

Apple’s quiet pre-Macworld anticipation period is designed to build excitement around its latest offerings, and as a side effect, the delay between events offered an uncritical reprieve to the vapid dullness of CES. In the meantime, the usual suspects are working hard to spin together a climate of fear and loathing of all things Apple. That’s an article unto itself as well.

Ten Big Predictions for Apple in 2008

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What do you think? I really like to hear from readers. Comment in the Forum or email me with your ideas.

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67 comments

1 Brau { 01.11.08 at 4:59 am }

Looking through the photos of CES, it’s obvious who the industry leader is when so many manufacturers are busy creating knock-offs of Apple products in a desperate attempt to keep up. In a way it was an eye opening testament to Apple. The only thing that was really good was the Bill Gates retirement video. It was funny. The rest were things like 150″ TVs that nobody will ever own, and many useless or poorly conceived gadgets.

Considering the competition and their reliance on Windows, Apple simply has to deliver their already refined usable products and their future is almost guaranteed.

MS has never been a company with vision to create unique products. Their mode of operation has always been to copy and sell for cheap to a mass audience. Adding a few truly new features here and there is a long way from having the foresight to create a product from the ground up, but somewhere along the line they’ve managed to convince themselves they are master innovators. Last year’s stage romp by Monkey Boy was a very sad transparent attempt to rally hype over a second rate organization and brings to light the depth of intentional denial that exists within the company. There have been rumors he might leave but I hope Ballmer stays with MS because few CEOs could be worse, and therefore all the better for Apple.

2 Michael Vasovski { 01.11.08 at 5:38 am }

I agree with Brau and Daniel. Microsoft has done little to innovate. They would be well-advised to take whatever successful products they do have and refine them. They would be poorly-advised to continue their attempts at creating new products. As history shows, they don’t do so well at this. Their strength could lie in Apple’s; Take the successful products and focus on refining them. Out of refinement, new ideas can be born…

Now we do have to grant them this; They keep the economy moving. A failed Xbox isn’t a total failure. People have to be hired to repair them. The units have to be shipped to and fro. Call centers have to be opened up. Obviously, this isn’t the most efficient way of doing business. But it does keep the money moving.

If they could just keep things in the oven and not just ‘going with it’, they may find success. Unfortunately, they tend to rush things out. And that does nothing for them. XP, for all its faults, was a decent OS. It was stable enough, ran the software, and supported countless bits of hardware. Why they didn’t give us gamers DX10 and continue to refine the security of the software is beyond me. I’ve read all of Daniel’s articles on XP’s architectural flaws. It might’ve taken all those Vista development dollars to replace the bad and outdated chunks of XP. But they could’ve done it. And it’s not like XP wouldn’t have continued to sell -as it still does. If they needed a new name, what would’ve been wrong with XP2?

Possibly, the graphic limitations of XP wouldn’t have allowed the eye candy of Tiger. But that’s just form. In terms of function, XP performed well enough.

In the meantime, they could’ve continued to work on delivering a real Longhorn with all that was promised. Instead, they slapped a few things together and ‘went with it’.

That company needs to make a major change.

Till’ then, I’m stoked to see what refinements Apple will soon be offering us. A flash-based Macbook Mini will not be a ‘new’ product; Only a refinement of existing technology. And that’s what people want. At least, that’s what I want.

I vote for Bill getting the Poon Award for his retirement video performance. It’s one of the neater things he’s done for us.

3 harrywolf { 01.11.08 at 6:25 am }

Gates. Could he at last leave the stage?
It was sickening to read the BBC in London asking people what questions they would like to put to Gates in some faux interview.
As if he was the guy who knew exactly what we would all be doing on the ‘net and with our computers for the next ten years.

He is like a quivering pre-senior rehearsing his role in an ad for viagra.
Amazing that we have a world that values this pathetic greedy fool.

Yet still they fawn over him.

Anyway, another good article, Dan, telling the truth. Thank-you.

Sorry about the vitriol – I really dont like the hypocrisy and lies of Bill Gates.

4 Jon T { 01.11.08 at 6:38 am }

Microsoft doesn’t do innovation. As you say Dan, it pays the world to spin it as if it did. Even Microsoft believes it itself, as on its website where it says as much that it’s hardware division invented the mouse in 82 for Word!

http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/25thanniversary.mspx

I said it years ago and continue to ask it: when is the world going to wake up and see that the emperor has got no clothes? there are signs that the spinners are no longer getting away with it. Their efforts are more defensive these days, which is a good sign.

Meanwhile Cinderella(pple) has been delivering year in and year out.

Wake up world!

5 John Muir { 01.11.08 at 9:04 am }

Fear and Loathing is the perfect theme, whenever in Las Vegas. Just ask Johnny Poison! ;)

As for Bill’s reception there: just check out the comments in this interview he did with Engadget:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/07/bill-gates-the-exit-interview/

Looking over his repeated claims to having invented the personal computer before Steve Jobs even got into computers, let’s look at the comments.

I quote:

“DOS and Windows (Both legal and illegal copies) lifted millions of people in developing countries out of poverty. You have no idea..”

and…

“This interview made me shed some tears…
I have always looked up to Bill Gates ever since I read about him as a child.
His amazing work at Microsoft has enriched our computer experience.
Though Windows is not perfect, it does its job pretty well. It is productive.
I hope he will continue to work as a visionary at Microsoft, because PCs would not have been the same without Bill Gates.
Goodbye, Bill. We’ll always have you in our hearts.”

There are many more.

Phew! Imagine an interview with Steve Jobs getting such fawning, sappy and frankly brainwashed comments from the public! There’d be Apple bashers all over it in minutes, with sneering links from Slashdot and even mentions in the mainstream media as some (often prayed for) “proof” for the anti-Apple pundits who so desperately gobble everything that comes their way these days. Madness. Pure, unadulterated madness.

Reading that really woke me up again to the existence of (essentially nontechnical and/or willfully ignorant) Pollyanna people, who we used to hear so much more from back in “the glory days” of the 1990′s and up until the dotcom bust. They really honestly do believe that Microsoft alone can muster the magic required to make computers, offices, games and “teh internets” from the hideously incomprehensible components inside the beige boxes. It’s no small thing to them. And to be honest, I feel more sad for these poor schmucks than I do amused at their foolishness.

There are such things as Windows Enthusiasts and the wider pool of Bill Gates followers who needn’t know the difference between programs and data or certainly Windows and Macs. A fair few of them write for the tech press, while even more exist at its editorial peak, or else are being conspicuously catered for.

Of course, we could think this all the work of Microsoft’s dollars. It is, albeit in an indirect way, especially when just the same thing is seen over here in Britain where the mainstream media spares no opportunity to shun technology or at least hold its nose when it does deign to touch it.

Maybe it’s to do with the wider obsession with celebrity. To many (who have no interest in knowing better) Bill Gates is the geeky genius who “invented” computers and is personally responsible for every effect they’ve had on all our lives. I pause for a moment to comprehend the magnitude of that irony!

Anyway, none of this is to say that Microsoft aren’t still losing millions and conspicuously failing to address the crisis which is their sole reliance on Windows+Office in the internet age which brings it ever barer under threat. It’s just me waking up to the fact that there’s a constituency out there who sound like shills, but are worse than them because they don’t insist on MS’s money. No surprise then that the Queen knighted him recently (or the closest an American can be) and that John McCain wants to appoint Gates as his Chief of (destroying) innovation in the third world. It’s mind-numbing I know, and I just hope it all comes to naught.

To be fair, at the rate they’re going, I frankly expect it!

6 addicted44 { 01.11.08 at 10:52 am }

You should do an article on Bill Gates’ predictions over the years, and how they panned out. From all the scattered reading I have done, he seems to have terrible vision, and has never really predicted anything correctly.

I am sure Steve Jobs is often wrong in a lot of his predictions, but his companies have time after time set the trend and the technology landscape. If there is one thing you can easily anoint Steve Jobs as the master at, it is bringing high tech to regular customers. This includes both the original Mac, and the iPod and the iPhone. And dont forget Pixar either… or the iTunes store and digital music.

7 johnnyapple { 01.11.08 at 11:40 am }

Give him a little credit, he did say “To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination – and the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard.”

8 David Dennis { 01.11.08 at 11:56 am }

You know, I don’t remember Steve Jobs ever making any public predictions. He just creates the products he thinks are the future and lets the market decide if he’s right.

When Bill Gates tries that, we get Tablet PC.

It sure is strange to look around CES (even virtually via engadget) and realize that last year Apple single-handedly out-innovated thousands of companies large and small with a collective payroll of millions.

D

9 slayerjr { 01.11.08 at 12:27 pm }

Sadly, Gates was the only person in MS Management who had any programming chops, lame as they may have been. Remember BASIC? No? Be thankful. Since Ballmer took over, the stock price has been as flaccid as a used condom and the quality of MS Software and I use the term loosely has deteriorated to the point of lunacy. Bye Bye Dickhead.

10 daniel.lucas { 01.11.08 at 12:31 pm }

@ addicted44

Agreed. An article comparing Jobs’ predictions vs. Gates’ over the past 25 years or so would make for an interesting read.

11 gus2000 { 01.11.08 at 1:10 pm }

The question now is: what becomes of Microsoft without Bill Gates? Apple floundered for a decade until Jobs returned, and Michael Dell recently re-took the reins when his company was in a backslide.

Is MS better off without Gates? Or will their self-destruct accelerate when the top brass starts the inevitable powergrab in the new vacuum?

And then…will Gates be back?

12 mrunderhill { 01.11.08 at 1:35 pm }

Great article Daniel as usual and also some real amusing and funny comments from your fans.

Everything erodes over time including Microsoft and you know the saying “quit while your ahead or when your on top” so it’s a smart move by Mr Gates to recognise his empire is crumbling and so exit stage left.

Once Mr Gate’s is out of the way Microsoft will slowly fade and die, as the average Joe associate’s Microsoft with the man anyway.

I got a great quote from a lady who i sold a Macbook Pro to yesterday on Ebay (in preperation for Macworld of course…i hope). After the Macbook Pro was shipped to her she sent me a delightful email thanking me and also delivered a line which i think is music to any Mac users ears.

She said and i quote:

“Thank you, thank you….It’s here …
On the table up and running, registered. I LOVE IT.
15 years of devotion to PCs wiped out in 15 minutes !”

That last line just summed it up for me.

Great site Daniel, i’m a fan!!

13 6wI89eDr { 01.11.08 at 1:35 pm }

I was just listening to Leo Laporte and Paul Thurrott.
The opinions on Microsoft, CES, and Apple are mostly the
same as you write above.

14 Lee R. { 01.11.08 at 2:09 pm }

With the exception of cash flow and a near monopoly to provide it, Microsoft may be the perfect competitor to have in business. One where market share can be taken from, one that can be out-innovated, out marketed, and one where unhappy customers can be taken from and easily made happy.

While I understand there are reasons Not to do this, I can’t help but wonder how much of the overall computer market Apple could have in a short time if it licensed it’s operating system to OEMs and let OS X take over the home and small business category.

Great writing Daniel, your work is much appreciated!

15 treestman { 01.11.08 at 2:09 pm }

To me, the most amazing thing about Microsoft at CES was not the boring keynote (Gates was never good at it) or the usual silly demos, etc. Rather, it was their elimination (as much as possible) of the “V” word.

Microsoft avoided talking about Vista or promoting it as much as possible. Instead of touting “Windows Vista” at every opportunity, they instead just touted “Windows” generically.

There are times, of course, that they had to mention Vista by name, but unless it was necessary they just talked Windows.

There is no better admission of Vista’s failure in the marketplace, and in the minds of users — both consumer and corporate — then for MS themselves to avoid the subject.

16 Lee R. { 01.11.08 at 2:19 pm }

In addition to the lack of innovation, security issues, some people may want to consider the ethical, legal, and moral issues inherent in MS business practices.

The following article from Daniel is a good recap of these issues. Just as some people would not invest in or buy a product from an abortion clinic, tobacco company, etc. some people will choose to distance themselves from MS and the nature of their business dealings.

Why Microsoft’s Copy-Killing Has Reached a Dead End.

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2007/12/16/why-microsofts-copy-killing-has-reached-a-dead-end/

“By the end of the 90s, reality reigned in on Microsoft and it began racking up a series of settlement obligations it was forced to pay to other victims of its copy-killing efforts and related anti-trust actions:

• Microsoft paid Caldera $275 million for its antitrust actions against DR-DOS.

• Microsoft recently settled with IBM in an antitrust suit involving OS/2 and IBM’s Lotus SmartSuite
applications to the tune of $775 million.

• Microsoft paid Novell $539 million to settle its antitrust suit over the NetWare operating system, and Microsoft is still being sued by Novell over claims related to WordPerfect.

• Microsoft paid Palm over $23 million to settle an antitrust suit over the unfinished BeOS.

• Microsoft settled with Sun in an agreement that included $700 million in antitrust and $900 million in patent infringements, both related to Java.

• Microsoft paid AOL $750 million to settle the antitrust suit over Netscape.”

There are options. Computer users don’t have to purchase from and support this type of business behavior.

17 John E { 01.11.08 at 4:01 pm }

IMHO Dan’s take on XBox is too one-sided. it’s good sport to put down MS, but always foolish to underestimate anyone.

yes, XBpx is not a business success and has lost a lot of money over the years (although MS claims it made money finally this last year thanks to Halo). and yes it is lousy engineering, with its terrible noise and “ring of death.”

but the fact still is it is the #1 ‘heavy’ game platform these days, with all those 10′s of millions of units in enthusiastic gamers hands. it did popularize multi-player on-line gaming. you have to give MS its due for this – that is a genuine “success.” Sony is #2. Nintendo and its very successful Wii is really in a different category, ‘light’ gaming for people of all ages.

not all “successes” are good business. TiVo is a classic example. it was a user technology breakthrough that changed the industry, but it still loses money today.

MS is now trying to morph the XBox from just a genuinely popular gaming platform into its all purpose media “extender” box, with the “Live” package of media subscription/rental/purchase services. in their business strategy, the XBox hardware is the loss leader, and the profits will come from the services. we will see over the next few years if that really works.

but right now it is the most versatile media “extender” with all the Windows Live services and Media Center network playback options. there are still many limitations, but it leads the field at the moment in capabilities.

media “extender” hardware with money-making services is obviously the Big Thing for this year. Sony plans the same for PlayStation. HP and others want to build it directly into HDTV’s. TiVo keeps trying with Amazon. then there’s Vudu and others trying to get into the field.

the 2008 AppleTV we will hear about next week is Apple’s entry into the race. we will see how it stacks up against the competition then.

18 gus2000 { 01.11.08 at 4:27 pm }

The XBox is a turd, business-wise. It’s basically just a single-purpose PC for games. Trying to profit from services by giving away hardware is mostly a failing proposition. Heck, even I could sell millions of 100-dollar bills if I priced them at $75.

The XBox popularized on-line gaming? Among game consoles, perhaps, but PC users have been playing online for years, going back to DOOM in 1994.

19 Robb { 01.11.08 at 5:50 pm }

@ John E.
I completely agree… the Xbox is a solid platform that too often gets lumped in with Microsoft’s less stellar business practices. For me, it’s the reality check that Dan has strayed into the pundits’ realm.

20 Rich { 01.11.08 at 6:04 pm }

“Microsoft’s fans like to think of the 2001 Xbox and 2005 Xbox 360 as successful products, but both have only lost the company billions of dollars. Over the last seven years, Microsoft has shipped 24 million Xbox units and 17 million 360 consoles to stores, but has yet to make any profits.”

I think you can measure success in two ways – financial success and critical success.

The Xbox 360, despite annual revenues of $3.5 billion, has not been a financial success. It hasn’t been a financial success for two reasons – (i) its woeful reliability record and (ii) Microsoft’s continued investment into studios. Microsoft has spent a lot of money buying development studios such as Nintendo favourite Rare and Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead. They’re obviously in this for the long term and reports indicate that the Xbox 360 will be profitable in 2008.

However, the Xbox 360 has been a critical success. Halo 3 outsold the Wii’s top selling game, Super Mario Galaxy, by two-to-one. Many gaming magazines’ Top 10 games of 2007 contain seven or eight Xbox 360 games. Add that to easily the best online experience and you’ve got the console of choice for passionate gamers.

Sure, the Wii has outsold it in terms of consoles sold. However, far more Xbox 360 *games* were sold in 2007 and I think that’s a far better indication of whether people are actually using their consoles.

The Xbox 360 is a fantastic product. It’s hard to believe that it’s come out of Microsoft. Especially when everything else to come out of Microsoft is so awful (Home Server, Windows Mobile, Zune, Vista…).

“Trying to profit from services by giving away hardware is mostly a failing proposition.”

I’m sure Sony’s bank manager would tell you otherwise. The “failing proposition” of loss making PS2 hardware propped up the rest of the company for many years.

21 nat { 01.11.08 at 6:17 pm }

Lee R. said:
“While I understand there are reasons Not to do this, I can’t help but wonder how much of the overall computer market Apple could have in a short time if it licensed it’s operating system to OEMs and let OS X take over the home and small business category.”

I think you’re missing the point of why Apple doesn’t license their OS. Macs are so dependable because the hardware and software are made by one company (Apple) as a cohesive product – the software is built for the hardware and vice versa. That’s why both Windows and Linux are not as stable, though the latter is considerably better thanks to it being free and open-source. Apple is already getting more of the home market and thanks to the iPhone and MacBooks, the business market is waking up too.

22 nat { 01.11.08 at 7:43 pm }

@ John E and Rich,

Both of you are ignoring what Daniel has said about the Xbox and 360. They are not FINANCIAL successes. He’s said that in every article that mentions the Xbox, with the only addition that 30-40% of systems have been defective.

As for the Xbox, is it that hard to believe the Xbox is the best thing MS has ever created?

Think about what an Xbox, or what any console is. A hardware system built by one company, running that companies software. What does that sound like? A MAC! :D The Xbox works so well, despite being developed by MS, because it’s a cohesive hardware/software product made by one company.

The Xbox is largely successful due to Halo, a killer app (pun intended). How ironic that it was originally to be released on the Mac. Who knows where either Halo or the Mac would be today if Microsoft hadn’t bought Bungie.

Xbox was not the first console to implement online play, but it was the best thanks to Xbox Live. However, one of the main reasons it was successful was that its competition really wasn’t trying to compete. PS2 was the most successful console of the last generation, yet it had no real online service.

With the Wii and PS3 now available, the 360′s shortfalls are becoming more apparent, which include:

- A lack of built-in WiFi, which both the low-cost Wii and PS3 include. The WiFi adapter pushes the Pro and Elite 360s up to $450 ($50 more than the $400 PS3) and $550 ($50 less than the high end PS3) respectively.

- A lack of Bluetooth. There’s no current adapter, which means the Elite 360 that costs nearly twice as much as the $250 Wii won’t be able to utilize Bluetooth, which limits it’s life and third-party options.

- 4 SKUs. These SKUs haven’t been designed to enable choice as much as they have been to sound competitive with both the Wii and PS3, while actually doing neither in terms of innovation and technology. They also confuse customers.

- 30-40% of systems fail. No other console in history has had that kind of failure rate, which causes customers to ship their systems back (sometimes multiple times) and causes potential customers to hold off a purchase.

- Hardly-varied game library. The 360 has some great shooters, but that’s about it. XBLA is nice for more innovative games, but it’s hardly advertised. Many 3rd party developers choose to keep making shooter and shooter-like games b/c they sell, but there’s nothing to appeal to the biggest market segment: the casual gamer. With Bungie going independent, it’s up to MS to make some creative games like Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii and LittleBigPlanet on the PS3.

- Live costs. As I mentioned earlier, Live is $50 a year compared to nothing for Wii’s online service and the PSN. Neither the Wii or PS3 have as good services, but both can improve pretty easily.

The Wii lacks voice-chat, which can be fixed if Nintendo allows the use of Bluetooth headsets, and a user-friendly friend-system, which could be fixed if Nintendo would stop treating its customers like children and allow Wii gamers to see each other with an option to disable it in parental settings.

The PS3 already has a better online system than Wii and with Home, it will have a service MS won’t even dream of trying to implement, yet it’s still free and (most importantly) appeals to the casual gamer market.

- Its not the Wii. That’s a problem for both MS and Sony. The Wii is the best selling console and will probably remain at the top due to it being ahead of the curve by playing into one of Daniel’s article – Low Def is the new HD. People are tired of new consoles that offer the same old thing, only prettier and more expensive. The Wii is undeniably different and its use of motion has grabbed people, young and old. Sony doesn’t have as big of a problem with the Wii as it’s now more affordable, has high-end technology that will give it a very long life, and some creative stuff (like LittleBigPlanet and Home). The 360, on the other hand, will probably be near the end of its life in possibly two years. By that time both the PS3 and Wii will have it their stride. A PS4 won’t be needed because PS3 is rather future proof, and the Wii2 won’t be necessary due to its “Low Def is the new HD” philosophy.

I’m not listing all this because I hate the 360. To be honest, I want one something awful, but why? Mainly due to it’s game library (a library that doesn’t appeal to the mainstream) and online service (that has no real competition at the moment). As a system, it is neither very advanced (compared to PS3) or innovative (compared to Wii). I really question the 360′s future.

23 Les { 01.11.08 at 8:16 pm }

“I really question the 360’s future.”

Me too. Like you said, the library is very one-sided. Like the Live service, it’s squarely aimed at the hardcore gamer. This group is too small to make the console profitable. A telling sign is that the 360 shipments in the last year showed a decline as opposed to its first.

The 360 has mainly been critically acclaimed because the gaming press (consisting solely of hardcore gamers) is out of touch with the general public.

24 Les { 01.11.08 at 8:22 pm }

“DOS and Windows (Both legal and illegal copies) lifted millions of people in developing countries out of poverty. You have no idea..”

It would be nice if someone ever started a scientific study to calculate/estimate the damage Microsoft has done to the world economy. It stalled innovation, made people (and therefore companies) less productive (windows downtime, buggy as hell Office, etc.) and charged way too much for its software, which in the end adds to the price of virtually every product on the planet. I guess it will be many, many times Bill Gates’ accumulated wealth.

25 John E { 01.11.08 at 8:28 pm }

well exactly. my point is dan’s XBox remarks are too one-sided. he consistently disparages its hardware flaws and financial and lack of success, which is true, but does not credit the fact that it is nonetheless a major success as a gaming platform (because MS was smart enough to buy up some to notch game developers).

now MS’s plan to make XBox the all-purpose Windows home media center box puts it into direct competition with AppleTV. and they have a big installed base already to start with. so you can’t just dismiss it contemptuously.

26 Rich { 01.11.08 at 10:02 pm }

“The Xbox works so well, despite being developed by MS, because it’s a cohesive hardware/software product made by one company.”

So what went so horribly wrong with the Zune? :)

“4 SKUs. These SKUs haven’t been designed to enable choice as much as they have been to sound competitive with both the Wii and PS3, while actually doing neither in terms of innovation and technology. They also confuse customers.”

No different from the PS3 then and at least Microsoft hasn’t cut backward compatibility.

“- Hardly-varied game library. The 360 has some great shooters, but that’s about it. … it’s up to MS to make some creative games like Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii and LittleBigPlanet on the PS3.”

The Xbox has always had a bias towards shooters, but it’s got more variation than the other two consoles. Look at how many party games there are on the Wii – it’s the only genre that sells for 3rd party developers.

Let’s remember how many of Nintendo’s top games of the N64 were made by the now Microsoft-owned Rare. They have already released Viva Piñata and there’s many more family-orientated games in the pipeline. If you want casual games then there’s plenty of choice with Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, Scene It and so forth available. I agree that Xbox Live Arcade needs to be better advertised but it’s a fantastic system full of well implemented games.

“A PS4 won’t be needed because PS3 is rather future proof, and the Wii2 won’t be necessary due to its “Low Def is the new HD” philosophy.”

New game consoles will always come out. It creates a buzz that generates sales. Even if a new console isn’t “needed”, it will be released. Nothing is future proof either. :)

27 John Muir { 01.11.08 at 11:13 pm }

One thing is future proof: the past.

28 nat { 01.11.08 at 11:39 pm }

John E.,

What can Daniel say about the 360? The only thing that really makes it stand out are Xbox Live and a shooter-dominated game library. It’s not innovative like the Wii, nor nearly as packed with technology as the PS3. It also has a 30-40% chance of failing on you and is the only console that doesn’t offer WiFi, Bluetooth, and free online gaming. Is there something I’m forgetting?

29 harrywolf { 01.12.08 at 12:24 am }

Yikes! How can xbox be a ‘success’ when it fails 40% of the time, and makes huge dollar losses?
Call me confused on that one.

Lets look at the MORAL issues which some have raised here:

Firstly, ‘Gaming’ on computers isnt really a good thing for anyone to be doing, especially children.
It has the elements of ultra-violence available to young and impressionable minds. That has been shown time and again to be a bad thing.
The US has a severe problem with violent crime – maybe there is a connection?
Gaming is also entirely non-productive, non-educational, and non-physical.
It encourages the brain to react to extreme situations without the physical release that is ‘normal’,
(ie, fight or flight, running, hiding etc.), which means its not even good as a way of relaxing.

Is it any coincidence that M$ will do almost ANYTHING to make money, and that we have ALL suffered as a result?
Microsoft represents the worst of the ‘free’ market.

The success of an immoral and criminal company is not good for our world – the damage is hard to measure, but it is big.

People in the main are gullible, and Gates and co. have preyed nastily on this.
Now, as someone remarked earlier, this criminal is going help the 3rd world to innovate.

I cant wait.

30 nat { 01.12.08 at 12:31 am }

Rich said:
“So what went so horribly wrong with the Zune?”

Read Daniel’s iPod nano vs Zune Buyer’s Guide article. :D I probably should have noted the software MS developed was fairly-well thought out on the Xbox. Also, the main thing consoles are used for is playing games, which is something MS knows a bit about as they’ve monopolized PC gaming with the use of proprietary DirectX.

Rich said:
“No different from the PS3 then and at least Microsoft hasn’t cut backward compatibility.”

How is the 360′s 4 SKUs “no different” from Sony’s 2 SKUs? The main differentiator between the two PS3 models is the hard drive space and the lack of backwards compatibility on the lower end model. However, the latter’s usefulness is debatable. Many more people bought PS2s than the original Xbox and the PS2 was out for 7 years (and is still selling) compared to the original Xbox’s 4 years. So, many more PS2 owners had time to play the thousands of titles available while many fewer Xbox owners had less time to play games on their system. So, the PS3 doesn’t really need backwards compatibility as much as either the 360 or the Wii.

Also, the Arcade 360 has no backwards compatibility due to it’s lousy 256MB memory card that can’t hold the BC data required to play original Xbox games; that’s less memory than the Wii has built-in.

Rich said:
“The Xbox has always had a bias towards shooters, but it’s got more variation than the other two consoles. Look at how many party games there are on the Wii – it’s the only genre that sells for 3rd party developers.”

Oh yeah, all consoles have a bit of a bias toward different game genres and I have no problem with shooters – they’re my personal favorite actually. However, MS needs to branch out as a 1st party developer to encourage innovation if they want to compete with either the PS3 or (especially) the Wii.

Not sure how 360 has more variation than either the Wii or PS3. Wii’s got Super Mario Galaxy (adventure/platformer), Metroid Prime 3 (FPS/adventure), and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (fighter). PS3 has Warhawk (flight shooter), Uncharted (adventure), Metal Gear 4 (stealth), GTA (sandbox adventure), and LittleBigPlanet (creation/platformer). 360 has Halo (shooter), Bioshock (shooter), Orange Box (shooter), COD4 (shooter), shooter, shooter, etc. Sure, they’ve got some other games like Viva Pinata, but that game was advertised as a kid/casual game, yet it was actually a moderately difficult game. Games marketed as kids games generally don’t sell as well as games that are inherently kid/family friendly like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, which you mentioned. 360 needs to release more creative and varied games if they hope to compete with Wii.

Rich said:
“New game consoles will always come out. It creates a buzz that generates sales. Even if a new console isn’t “needed”, it will be released. Nothing is future proof either.”

I’m not arguing that new consoles won’t come out over time. That’s not what I said at all. I was noting that in two years, the 360 will probably need to be replaced with a new Xbox (720 perhaps) because it was released in 2005, so in 2009, MS may need to show off their next console (as they released the 360 4 years after the original Xbox) in order to compete visually with the PS3 and PC games.

By that time, PS3 will have the major titles of ’08 in its library and developers will really know how to take advantage of its hardware.

The Wii will have the top notch 1st party games (many of which came out this year) and most likely some great third-party games from traditional 3rd-party developers as well as from their soon to be released Wii Ware channel that will offer original downloadable content. Wii owners are mainly Nintendo fans and mainstream/casual gamers that don’t care as much about graphics.

I realize “future proof” was the wrong term. I should have said the PS3 has more life in it thanks to it being released only a year ago (compared to 360 two years ago) and being built to last like the PS2 was.

31 Les { 01.12.08 at 6:54 am }

“at least Microsoft hasn’t cut backward compatibility.”

Mainly because there wasn’t much to cut… But it was definitely a stupid decision from my POV. As a long time gamer (though no hardcore one, I can’t stand online shooters or Madden) the fact that I could use a single system for playing my PS1, PS2 and PS3 games was very important in my decision to get a PS3. And for once it was nice to see early adopters got rewarded… ;)

The 360 was never an option for me though. MS had no problem in prematurely killing the previous console generation (many developers in the end admitted that the previous cycle had plenty of life left as recent PS2 games clearly show) and given the antiquated technology within the 360, I have every reason to suspect they will try to do the same this time if things don’t work out for them (which is very, very likely given that their console shipments are already stalling and the tremendous success of the Wii).

32 Rich { 01.12.08 at 10:14 am }

“Lets look at the MORAL issues which some have raised here:

Firstly, ‘Gaming’ on computers isnt really a good thing for anyone to be doing, especially children.
It has the elements of ultra-violence available to young and impressionable minds. That has been shown time and again to be a bad thing.
The US has a severe problem with violent crime – maybe there is a connection?
Gaming is also entirely non-productive, non-educational, and non-physical.
It encourages the brain to react to extreme situations without the physical release that is ‘normal’,
(ie, fight or flight, running, hiding etc.), which means its not even good as a way of relaxing. ”

Wow, that’s a pretty ignorant thing to say.

Games are rated using the rate system as films. Games containing sex or violence are rated M for Mature. According to ESA, the average gamer these days is 33 years old and 42% are female. A lot of games aren’t marketed or intended for the consumption of kids these days. If a game contains “ultra-violence” then it shouldn’t be getting into the hands of children.

Games are enjoyed the world over. The Japanese are probably the most passionate gamers in the world, yet enjoy some of the lowest violent crime levels in the world. Maybe gaming has a connection with that? ;)

Entirely non-productive? Entirely non-educational? Entirely non-physical? You may wish to check out Brain Training or Wii Sports before making comments like that.

I’d rather have my kids engaging their brain playing a video game than comatose in front of cartoons. Everything needs to be taken in moderation though.

“Not sure how 360 has more variation than either the Wii or PS3. Wii’s got Super Mario Galaxy (adventure/platformer), Metroid Prime 3 (FPS/adventure), and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (fighter). PS3 has Warhawk (flight shooter), Uncharted (adventure), Metal Gear 4 (stealth), GTA (sandbox adventure), and LittleBigPlanet (creation/platformer). 360 has Halo (shooter), Bioshock (shooter), Orange Box (shooter), COD4 (shooter), shooter, shooter, etc.”

COD4 is out on the PS3 and the Orange Box is coming soon. Other popular games on the Xbox 360 include Assassins Creed (stealth/sandbox), Oblivion (RPG), Mass Effect (RPG), Forza 2 (racing), Ace Combat 6 (flight shooter), Command & Conquer 3 (RTS) – not to mention all of the sports and XBLA games. GTA is also being released on the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 will be receiving exclusive content.

“How is the 360’s 4 SKUs “no different” from Sony’s 2 SKUs?”

There’s been 20GB, 40GB, 60GB and 80GB SKUs for the PS3. That’s 4. How long before there’s new SKUs containing the DUALSHOCK3 controller?

33 nat { 01.12.08 at 1:48 pm }

Rich said:
“There’s been 20GB, 40GB, 60GB and 80GB SKUs for the PS3. That’s 4. How long before there’s new SKUs containing the DUALSHOCK3 controller?”

Ok, I’m talking about official SKUs, not the discontinued models that may be unsold in stores.

At any given time the PS3 has only had two SKUs available. Sure, they’ve upgraded those two SKUs, bundled them with different games and Blu-ray movies, but there’s still just two. When Sony replaces the SIXAXIS with the DUALSHOCK3, they’ll stop manufacturing the SIXAXIS and will no longer place it in new boxes. That’s still two SKUs that only really differ in hard drive size.

Compare that to the 360, which currently has four official SKUs: Arcade, Pro, Halo 3 Edition, and Elite. In the beginning, there were two, the Core and Pro, but now there are four distinctly priced, distinctly marketed 360s. That’s ridiculous. Choice is nice, but all these SKUs confuse customers.

The Arcade isn’t backwards compatible (which, as I mentioned earlier, is more important considering the life of the original Xbox) and costs $100 to make it so; the PS3 is similar in that way, but again, BC is not nearly as important on PS3. For it’s name, you’d think the Arcade would work well with XBLA, yet it’s only storage is a tiny 256MB memory card (smaller than the $30 cheaper Wii) that can hold only a handful of games.

The Pro, which MS generally just calls “Xbox 360″ as if it weren’t confusing enough, is $50 less than the low-end PS3. It’s probably the best model, thanks to BC and enough space to hold a decent amount of XBLA games. Of course, you can’t simply swap out a 360 hard drive for any standard drive, it’ll cost you $200, which makes it $50 more than the top of the line PS3 that can use any hard drive that costs comparatively less.

The Halo 3 Edition is the oddest of the bunch by far. It’s basically a repainted Pro model that costs $50 more, yet it doesn’t actually come with Halo 3. That means you’ll be paying $460+tax to just to play the game it advertises, not to mention the $50 for Live.

Finally there’s the Elite. It’s their top of the line model, yet it still features no Bluetooth or WiFi out of the box. To make it comparable to PS3, add the external HD-DVD player and it’ll cost an extra $200 that makes it $650, $150 more than the high-end PS3 that features Blu-ray, Bluetooth, WiFi, and free online play. That makes it $400 more than the Wii, which also has Bluetooth, WiFi, and free online play.

Rich, I do agree with your perspective vs. harrywolf. Games are a form of escapism, like movies, music, and books. Out of those, it’s really the only medium that allows user input. I think I’ll address his comments next.

34 nat { 01.12.08 at 2:01 pm }

harrywolf said:
“Firstly, ‘Gaming’ on computers isnt really a good thing for anyone to be doing, especially children.”

Firstly, we aren’t talking about gaming on computers, but consoles. So, what should children be doing? Watching TV where they would see things they’d only experience in M rated games? Movies can be even worse and a ton of popular rap/hiphop music contain more profanity in one song than entire games. Don’t even get me started on what’s available on the internet. Or perhaps they should be forced to play some “educational” game, or watch some “educational” show that does nothing for the child’s imagination, and is only there so lazy parents can avoid the cost of a babysitter and neglect their child.

harrywolf said:
“It has the elements of ultra-violence available to young and impressionable minds. That has been shown time and again to be a bad thing.
The US has a severe problem with violent crime – maybe there is a connection?”

Why not include every other form of media if you wanna make that case? Maybe because that’s not the problem. The issue is with uneducated parents that don’t monitor their kids activities and then get upset about the outcome. When murderers blame videogames for their crimes (which is extremely rare), that should tell you they were already delusional enough to be unable to separate games and the real world.

harrywolf said:
“Gaming is also entirely non-productive, non-educational, and non-physical.”

Something being unproductive is up to the person generally. If you feel no sense of accomplishment after finishing a book or completing a difficult level, that’s your problem. As for non-physical, for the most part you’re correct. Most games aren’t about giving the user a physical workout, but neither is watching a movie or reading a book. If you don’t have all the money in the world to do things like travel and experience all there is, entertainment is the next best thing. With the Wii, though, and games like DanceDanceRevolution, you will produce some serious sweat.

harrywolf said:
“It encourages the brain to react to extreme situations without the physical release that is ‘normal’,
(ie, fight or flight, running, hiding etc.), which means its not even good as a way of relaxing.”

You do have a physical release, sweat, and games you do virtually “fight or fly.” Have you never played a game before? Some games are intense, others puzzling, a few funny, and many are relaxing. They make you the narrator, which, in say a horror game, can actually alleviate some fear that would normally be felt more watching a movie you have no control over.

35 nat { 01.12.08 at 2:04 pm }

Meant to add that 90% of games are rated E for everyone, even though the average age of a gamer is 34 years old.

36 John E { 01.12.08 at 3:14 pm }

@Nat – lotta folks seem to be missing the obvious with XBox – it’s really popular.

i was over at friends for Xmas dinner. everyone under 21 was in the media room playing basketball games on the XBox. two of the families got one for their kids as a present, because the kids asked for it (this is in Marin, money not an issue).

meanwhile, all us old folks – baby boomers all – were in the living room agreeing we liked the Wii – for playing golf, tennis, and fishing, etc.

i was the only nerdy type there. no one else, young or old, cared at all about all the stuff being kicked around in these comments.

37 nat { 01.12.08 at 4:35 pm }

John E,

I’m not saying it doesn’t have popularity, it certainly does. While it’s not nearly as popular as the Wii, it’s the most popular “traditional” console and is selling better than the PS3, though that’s mainly due to the PS3′s game library that’s both small and littered with a few poorly developed 360 ports.

I would doubt your folks would care about the 360′s issues – they’re most likely completely oblivious to them. :D

38 nat { 01.12.08 at 4:51 pm }

Ah, I just realized you said you went over to your friends, not family! :D In that case, I meant to say:
I doubt their folks would care about the 360′s issues – they’re probably completely oblivious to them.

I also wanted to add that just because they aren’t aware of those problems doesn’t mean they won’t be affected if/when the 360 red-rings, or the kids wanna use their console where there’s no nearby ethernet port, or they run out of room for XBLA games.

39 John E { 01.12.08 at 6:42 pm }

yeah, they want their stuff to “just work.” the kids hook up most of it. if it breaks they just take it back to the store, like a dead toaster.

40 nat { 01.12.08 at 7:20 pm }

What’s funny about the 360 is that when it does work, it really “just works” better than the Wii; I can’t speak on the PS3′s user-friendliness b/c I don’t have one.

There haven’t been major Live connection problems (until this past xmas), the 360 streamlines updates (WiiConnect24 was supposed to do the same thing, but I have never turned on my Wii to find it had downloaded an update as Nintendo had promised), has a more intuitive place to buy games/content (that doesn’t require nearly as long a wait like VC does on Wii) and its gamertag system is SOOOO much easier than the bloody 16 number Wii code model that requires gamers to call one another on the phone, exchange #s, then invite each other and wait for hours or days for the process to finish.

Hopefully in Febrary I’ll finally get my hands on a Pro or Elite. By that time many of the games I want will be less expensive and hopefully Live will be back up to speed, though when I owned the original Xbox I got tired of the trash talk and most of my friends didn’t have Live; unfortunately they still don’t.

41 NathanRudig { 01.12.08 at 7:56 pm }

I wait tables at a coffee shop in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. We had about 2000 CES attendees staying in the hotel and 1000 of their friends that would eat at our restaurant before they set off for the convention. For the three mornings I worked, I only saw 4 iPhones in the hands of CES attendees. Blackberrys, Samsungs, and Palms were littered all over the tables, some having more than one phone to take care of their communication needs, sometimes unaffectedly. One party was waiting for the other half of their group not realizing that the other half was in the same restaurant waiting for them. Other attendees were also waiting for friends that never arrived or showed up as they were paying their bill. Also many of the attendees were in a rush to get in and get out. One customer told me he had only five minutes to order, eat, and pay for his cereal and coffee. I thought technology was supposed to simplify our lives and leave us more time to relax and enjoy the finer things in life, like eating.

My question for Dan is, Why is this sector of the technology industry so unwilling to accept the iPhone. I can ‘understand’ the irrational logic of the true business sector, but it seems as though at least a larger fraction of the technology industry would see the advantages of using the iPhone. Why the disconnect. If they are so close minded to shrug of anything apple maybe this explains their inability to showcase anything new and innovative at the conference, which only begets more like minded individuals.

Looking forward to an innovative Macworld.

42 danviento { 01.13.08 at 2:53 am }

I noticed a few advocacy comments on licensing OS X above. While it would seem like a boon to sales, do you think Apple will ever do it while Steveo is at the helm? The man was burned multiple times by MS and their ilk, and isn’t stupid. As long as the man is there, they’re going to work under the mantra that “good hardware designers write their own software” and vice-versa.

That being said, people do try. I know my dad, the man who knows just about every program language known to man and utilizes the vast majority on a daily basis, is thinking about trying to get Leopard working on his machine. He’s Linux, Solaris, XP, and 2000 running on it to interface with all the hardware at with where he works, so why not give 10.5 a chance? (Removable hard-disks make this easy enough.) If drivers have to be rewritten or even made brand spanking new, he’d be the one to do it.

If he ever finds the time and gives it a go, I’ll let you know how things turn out

43 Urian { 01.13.08 at 10:26 am }

If you make a study about Xbox 360 policy you will see that all the first partie games that came from Microsoft with the exception of Halo 3 were a huge mess and his strong muscle comes from the third parties.

The first important release for the console was Call of Duty 2, made by Infinity Ward which are a PC developer, and the trend continued with GRAW, Oblivion, Prey… until the last christmas when we got Call of Duty 4.

Microsoft original plan was “taking time” before PS3 was released, their plan was never “lets be the leader” but originally was “we are going to make this rentable”. They designed the console around the 90nm technology and they believed that Sony would release PS3 with the 65nm one and with a more powerful hardware. In this case Microsoft had a lot of luck because PS3 was worse than Microsoft predictions.

This situation put 360 as the favourite player for a lot of third parties and if we add that in 2006 Sony made a pathetic year then all the efforts of the industry started with a collective mind that said “Xbox 360 will be the leader of the generation”

But one year later Wii has destroyed the base of Xbox 360 around the world with the exception of the states, 360 sales are 28% lower than last years, they had the problem of Red Ring of Death and the christmas holidays his Xbox Live service had problens in 2 weeks.

The most sad part of the situation is this, with PS2 Sony won $1 bilions thanks to the royaties of a huge base of 90 milions of users, now with BluRay they could win at minimum $20 bilions in 5 years, this is why Ken Kutaragi was demoted from the race for being Sony CEO. In other words, Nintendo isn´t playing the war of the HD console with multimedia services and Sony is uninterested since they will make more money promoting BluRay than Playstation 3 alone.

44 John Muir { 01.13.08 at 9:14 pm }

@ NathanRudig

I direct you to Fake Steve’s similar note:
http://fakesteve.blogspot.com/2008/01/jared-is-in-detox-facility.html

As for the answer: time will see things right. Sure, there’s a chunk of the tech world who never buy anything Apple ever makes. But they’re aging towards retirement by the day, just as they become less and less relevant. So long as Apple ensure they have a presence in the wider world – ie. among the public and in countries such as China and India – I think I can predict who will be the winning side.

Nature just isn’t aligned for inferior, sloppy and compromised design to succeed in the long term. It’ll either be Apple’s influence which sees the end to it, or even better just the turning of ages.

45 mmbossman { 01.13.08 at 9:30 pm }

Surprisingly, Paul Thurrott actually posted similar sentiments in one of his latest postings. I was amazed that he actually sounded almost unbiased, and even suggested that CES get Steve Jobs to oversee the keynote for next years event (yeah, right). He also pointed out that many of Microsofts “visions” for 2007 had never materialized, which I found strange given his track record at praising Redmond. It remains to be seen whether this change in view will continue, but one major theme seems to be that CES is becoming increasingly irrelevant today.

http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/ces08.asp

46 Robb { 01.14.08 at 2:42 pm }

I’m really impressed with the debate on the 360 comments… it seems that many of us don’t accept the old “it’s M$, so it’s bad!” argument and even many of the comments against the Xbox are articulate (if not entirely accurate :-D).

I’ve had two 360s die on me from the Red Ring of Death, but haven’t thought of jumping platform and investing in the PS3. True, getting a free replacement helps, but I just don’t see any compelling exclusive titles on the PS3 that interests me. Halo, Bioshock and Mass Effect are all Xbox titles (and if you see Bioshock and Mass Effect as just shooters… well, you’re really missing out) and Oblivion, Tomb Raider and Madden are all cross platform.

I think the bottom line is you go with the system that is most appealing to you, not just the market leader or who has the most features. If you’re a fan of the “Ratchet and Clank” series and have a collection of Blu-Ray movies, then you’re not going to be swayed by my admiration of the Xbox and how much fun (dare I say, epic) Mass Effect is to play.

In the long view, I think the exclusive titles will fade, most games will be cross-platform and it really will come down to console features and of course, price. Until then, we can always debate!

47 John Muir { 01.14.08 at 3:23 pm }

Penny Arcade’s (predictably obscene) impression of CES:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/01/14

Note the iPod bullet point. Now that’s realistic!

48 Kev Orng { 01.14.08 at 3:56 pm }

The retirment video that everyone is raving about is a take-off of a video with Bill Clinton kicking around the White House with nothing to do, counting down his final days in office. Funny stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN1OCrRrgVw

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[...] CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES An iPhone SDK? Predictions for WWDC 2007! Abandoning Pro Apps? Ending its participation at NAB was supposed to be critical evidence pointing to Apple’s lack of interest in continuing development related to Final Cut Studio. At every previous NAB since 1998, Apple’s turnaround strategy and its relation to the video editing and post production market has grabbed the attention of show goers. [...]

55 How Microsoft has become the Beleaguered Apple ‘96 — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 04.22.08 at 2:41 pm }

[...] CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The Spectacular Failure of WinCE and Windows Mobile Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Scratching the Surface of Microsoft’s New Table PC [...]

56 ARM, x86 Chip Makers Fight to Ride Mobile Growth — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 04.30.08 at 4:39 am }

[...] CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The Spectacular Failure of WinCE and Windows Mobile Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES [...]

57 Newton Again: iPhone vs the Mini-Laptop — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 05.19.08 at 5:54 am }

[...] vs. WinCE: How iPhone Differs from Windows Mobile Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The next article will look at how and why Apple’s iPhone launch was similar to that of the [...]

58 Mobile EEE PC, UMPC, and Internet Tablets vs the iPhone — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 05.20.08 at 2:35 am }

[...] ARM, x86 Chip Makers Fight to Ride Mobile Growth CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [...]

59 The Street: Steve Jobs Health Fears Key to Our Stock Manipulation Game — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 06.18.08 at 5:19 pm }

[...] CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES [...]

60 Will Nokia Rescue Microsoft’s Zune? Haha No. — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 08.09.08 at 2:25 am }

[...] Windows Home Server 2008: HD-DVD (scrubbed last minute), Surface, Zune, more Windows Home Server. CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Scratching the Surface of Microsoft’s New Table PC Lessons from the Death of HD-DVD Origins [...]

61 Macworld 09: Apple blows expectations — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 01.06.09 at 4:37 pm }

[...] Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas It’s All About the Software. Schiller spent seemingly forever touting the new features of [...]

62 Apple Plans To Attend CES In 2010 [Rumor] | MyTriniPhone.com { 01.10.09 at 1:54 am }

[...] the last few years, Apple’s announcements at Macworld Expo have overshadowed Microsoft’s at CES, as the Cupertino powerhouse released blockbuster products such as the iPhone and climbed to [...]

63 Murall » Por que a Microsoft quer o Yahoo? { 04.29.09 at 5:21 pm }

[...] uma versão expandida das mesmas estratégias on-line que atualmente não estão funcionando? CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
 Video Game Consoles 2007: Wii, PS3 and the Death of Microsoft’s Xbox 360
 The Unrealized [...]

64 Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 07.14.09 at 6:09 pm }

[...] CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Scratching the Surface of Microsoft’s New Table PC How Microsoft has become the Beleaguered Apple ‘96 [...]

65 Why Microsoft Will Slaughter Its Windows Mobile and PC Partners, and What it Means for Apple and Google — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 08.20.09 at 12:46 am }

[...] CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1990-1995: Microsoft’s Yellow Road to Cairo Microsoft Plans a Sneak Attack, Gets a Waterloo. Microsoft has learned that the Windows vaporware strategy isn’t working at all in music players and cell phones (and in fact isn’t even working that well on the PC desktop anymore, either, as the Vista disaster indicates). This calls for change. [...]

66 Anticipating the Apple Tablet — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 01.05.10 at 2:53 pm }

[...] CES 2008: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Newton Lessons for Apple’s New Platform [...]

67 Motorola’s history of tablets shows remarkable ignorance — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 12.20.10 at 7:42 pm }

[...] Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES: 2000-2007 CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: 2008 Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone: 2009 Microsoft Courier: the third weak link in a miserable [...]

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