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photo Analysts fail to predict Apple's success with iPod, QuickTime, iTunes
Analysts comfortable with predicting Microsoft's impending takeover in new markets are sweating bullets. For years, they've felt safe in discouraging any potential competition to Microsoft, and instead forecasting an inevitable domination of any and all markets to which the software giant shows any interest in entering.
photo This style of market analysis and commentary, offering nothing but glowing reviews of Microsoft's announced plans, and nothing but dire warnings for any possible competitive products, has become so entrenched that it has earned a name of its own: FUD, for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

FUD acts as a self fulfilling prophecy. Competing products on the market are blacklisted and branded as certain failures once Microsoft enters the market, leaving Microsoft with comfortable room in releasing non-competitive products at a leisurely pace. While Microsoft obviously benefits from FUD campaigns that warn of the dire risk of investing in anything non-Microsoft, the analysts generating the FUD do so for their own benefit. Predicting the inevitable makes them appear to be knowledgeable, incisive insiders.

There is nothing new about fear-based prognostication. All through history, there have been classes of scribes or clerics who made a profession of warning the masses to grovel in fear of the existing authorities. The fear they instilled ensured not only the continued reign of the existing power system, but also kept life comfortable for those generating the fear. A threat to the ruling class was a threat to their own position and prominence.

It's therefore not difficult to see why today's "analysts" are climbing all over themselves to decry the iPod as a passing fad and insist that Apple's iTunes Music Store is all but ready to wither away as soon as enough "iPod killers" reach the market and as soon as competing online music stores open for business.

In spite all their fierce opposition to Apple, or really anything non-Microsoft, the really interesting news analysis shows that first, none of these analysts predicted the rise of the iPod or the iTMS, even as a temporary blip prior to Microsoft's invasion, and second, none of them seem to be aware that music players based on Microsoft's reference designs predate the iPod's rise in popularity. They also are loathe to admit that nearly every online commercial competitor to the iTunes Music store is simply reselling Microsoft's WMA music store reference design as well. Instead, they list out all the various Microsoft stores as if they are individual enterprises that comprise some sort of selection or choice in the marketplace.

That's right: WalMart, Napster, Yahoo, and friends are all selling the same service designed by Microsoft, just as Dell, HP and Gateway are all selling the same software product designed by Microsoft.

photo How long can these scribblers keep this up? How many times can you print "iPod Killer!" in a headline without sounding like you are reporting "Dewey Defeats Truman," well past 1948? Analysts please!

Part II > For the record, some facts


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