Late, Sure, But Moving Fast (10/14/03)

Ooooh, just two days to go! Can't you just smell the drama? (Try again. It smells a little like Lemon Pledge.) We speak, of course, of Apple's imminent music event thingy, and while we were oh-so-conspicuously not invited to the shindig itself, at least we have the option of cramming into a participating Apple retail store and catching it live via satellite like the rest of the untouchable non-media. Of course, dragging our sleep-deprived and cranky carcasses all the way out to Peabody and back just for the privilege of watching live what we'll probably be able to see later via QuickTime (if history is any indication) sounds like a total grind to us, and we'll probably skip the live feed. Must be TiVo's influence.

Anyway, as we all know, come Thursday, Apple will unleash Windows compatibility for the iTunes Music Store, in much the same way that Steve won't show up to the gig in a lime green polyester leisure suit and a rainbow fright wig. (We say that in the sincerest hope that he decides to prove us wrong. Don't forget your cameras, kiddies!) But will iTMS for Windows be too little, too late? Or even just enough too late? Reuters quotes market research analyst Rob Enderle as saying that Apple is "going to have a serious problem with the Windows community" because of the got-there-firstness of Windows-compatible copycat pay-per-download services like, MusicMatch Downloads, and I Can't Believe It's Not iTunes!™.

Now, granted, Apple may have missed a certain home field advantage by not establishing itself as a Windows-compatible service earlier, but surely it's a little early to say that there's a "serious problem." By just about all accounts, is the online music purchasing equivalent of spraying Tabasco in both eyes while beating oneself about the head and crotch with a brick wrapped in burlap and set on fire. MusicMatch has the Windows market penetration and Napster has the brand name recognition, but so far neither service offers music that'll play on the iPod, which is still "the" player to own. Maybe it's our own special brand of cynicism kicking in, but we tend to think that the Windows users who will be willing to pay for downloaded music (as opposed to going the "use Kazaa, get sued by the RIAA" route) are the ones with the cash and the class to own an iPod as opposed to one of those "other" players. So yeah, we think the iPod will likely give the iTMS for Windows a solid market base upon which to build. Frankly, we're just not all that worried. Yet.

But if Enderle's doomsayer attitude rings a bleak and gloomy bell, you've got a good memory: about a year ago, Enderle insisted that Apple would have to switch to Intel chips by the end of 2003. With barely ten weeks left in the year and the G5 kicking mucho kiester, we're going to go out on a limb and say that 1) we were right; 2) he was wrong; and 3) neener neener neener. Furthermore, we'd like to declare that anyone who predicted an all-Intel-based Apple by the end of 2003 at the end of 2002 is not equipped to make reasonable and credible predictions about any of Apple's future endeavors, because he's obviously smoking some seriously low-grade crack.

It's also interesting to note that when he made his Intel-Apple forecast, Enderle was with Giga Information Group Inc.-- but now he's apparently with "the Enderle Group," whose slogan might be "making allegedly insightful comments for over three weeks now." Suppose Giga cut him loose? Whatever. The fact that Enderle was voted "most influential analyst in the technology market in 2003" by AdWeek only underscores just how sad the technology market really is. 95% Windows market share, anyone?

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The above scene was taken from the 10/14/03 episode:

October 14, 2003: Some analysts think the iTunes Music Store for Windows will be too little, too late. Meanwhile, rumors swirl about an iPod dictation add-on targeted at students, and the Dell-based "Lonestar" supercomputer at the University of Texas is actually only about a third as fast per dollar as the G5-based cluster at Virginia Tech and not, as previously reported, a millionth...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4268: Another 'Pod In The Hall (10/14/03)   Meanwhile, bring on the "unconfirmed reports," baby! We're still all a-flutter with the whispers that Thursday's media brouhaha will feature far more music-related magic than a mere launch of the iTunes Music Store for Windows...

  • 4269: .21 The Bang, .58 The Buck (10/14/03)   Okay, fine, we're game; if people are going to insist on pretending that AtAT is some sort of "news source" (oooh, we feel so dirty) and then get sooooooo picky about a piddly little thing like overreporting the cost of a supercomputer by a factor of twelve, we suppose we can do a followup scene...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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