Posts filed under “Film”

Zune: mPod or iClod?

Microsoft_argo_playerThe incredible pace of innovations at Microsoft continues.

As the graphic at right imply, the new MP3 player from Microsoft essentially looks like an iPod, but with a bigger screen.

They called this latest in their series of original ideas the "Zune," but I prefer the name given it by Wired:

"Prior to Friday’s announcement, some were calling the new device the "mPod"
(Microsoft + iPod) killer. But given Microsoft’s typically tone deaf approach to
usability and Apple’s market lead it will be a miracle if its next nickname
isn’t the "iClod" (iPod + clone + awful)."

I don’t think that many people would agree that hardware or software or user experience or customer service is their strong suit; Business methods are Microsoft’s forte.

Here’s a run down on the Zune’s rumored features:

  • It would have wireless Internet capabilities, for downloading tracks
    directly to the device, according to Bloomberg
    News.

  • The device could be launched by Christmas, although the company reportedly
    hadn’t yet briefed key retailers as of last week, casting some doubt on that
    schedule, according to The
    New York Times
    .

  • Led by Xbox executive J Allard, the project, code-named "Argo," reflects a
    broader strategy that would extend the Xbox brand into a variety of
    digital-media products, according to The
    Seattle Times
    .

  • Microsoft may be considering giving people free alternative copies of tracks
    they’ve purchased from the iTunes Music Store, for use with the Microsoft
    device, to help convert iPod users, according to some reports.

  • The final product name may be the "Zune," according to Gizmodo.

How do those guys at MSFT keep thinking these things up? Its astounding!

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UPDATE July 25,2006 3:30pm

By popular demand: The parody — done by Microsoft’s own marketing team — of how MSFT would have marketed the iPod:

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Sources:
Microsoft IPod ‘Killer’ Is Doomed
Eliot Van Buskirk
Wired, 02:00 AM Jul, 24, 2006
http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,71435-0.html

Microsoft’s "Argo" / Xbox wireless portable media player
Ryan Block
Engadget, July 10th 2006 4:52PM
http://www.engadget.com/2006/07/10/microsofts-argo-xbox-wireless-portable-media-player/

Microsoft Dubs Upcoming MP3 Player ‘Argo’ and Mimics iPod’s Design
David Silverberg
DigitalJournal.com, July 10th 2006 4:52PM
http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/?articleID=4822

Tracking Microsoft’s portable media device
Todd Bishop
Seattle Post Intelligencer, July 11, 2006 9:20 a.m.
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/104876.asp

Category: Corporate Management, Film, Intellectual Property, Music

Are Studios Front Loading Movie Releases?

Category: Film, Finance

The Long Tail

Category: Data Analysis, Film, Markets, Media, Television, Weblogs

Young FrankenSteve (or, Ballmer goes Beserk)

Category: Corporate Management, Film

Warner Bros Goes P2P via Bit Torrent

Category: Film, Intellectual Property, Music, Technology

Downloadable Movies

Category: Film

Wired: How to Put Your DVDs on Your Video iPod

Category: Film, Music, Web/Tech

Will Pixar Bring Magic Back to the Magic Kingdom?

Category: Film

Will Disney Buy Pixar? Will Jobs Become Heir Apparent?

Incredibles

Today’s WSJ has a major, front page scoop: Disney is in advanced talks to buy Pixar:

"Walt Disney Co. is in serious discussions to buy Pixar Animation
Studios
after months in which the two animation giants have been
exploring ways to continue their lucrative partnership, according to
people familiar with the matter.

In the deal under discussion, Disney would pay a nominal premium to
Pixar’s current market value of $6.7 billion in a stock transaction
that would make Pixar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs
the largest individual shareholder in Disney, according to people
familiar with the situation. That would vault Mr. Jobs into an even
more influential place in the media world, where he already holds
tremendous sway as head of Apple Computer Inc. Yesterday, Apple
reported that net income nearly doubled in the latest quarter on huge
demand for its iPod music players. (See related article.)

People familiar with the situation caution that the talks are at a
sensitive stage and that the outcome isn’t certain, noting that other
options are possible."

Disney needs some sort of deal to guarantee its future stream of animated films. Whether the best structure is a takeover or some other relationship is subject to debate.      

What is especially curious about a Disney takeover of Pixar will be the potential role of Jobs in Disney. Disney CEO Robert Iger is 55, Jobs is 4 years his junior — might there be succession issues?

Recall that when Apple bought NeXT, they got Steve Jobs as a consultant. From that role, he eventually engineered his return as CEO. Will a Disney/Pixar deal give Jobs a springboard to eventually takeover running Disney?

I wonder if we will see history repeat itself . . .

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click for larger graphic

Pixdis0601_wsj_2

Chart courtesy of WSJ 

UPDATE:  January 20, 2006 5:56am

The NYT weighs in:

"And the merger could give Mr. Jobs a pivotal role, if he wants one, in helping shape the convergence of new media and old at Disney. "He’s one of the handful of people who has shown the ability to guide both technology and entertainment companies and that might be quite useful to Disney," said Bran Ferren, a former Disney Studios Designer and technologist, who is now co-chairman of Applied Minds, a technology consulting firm based in Glendale, Calif. "What he has that is rare is taste, and that’s a very valuable commodity if you can focus it and harness it."

Deal Could Offer New Disney Role for Apple Chief
By LAURA M. HOLSON and JOHN MARKOFF
Published: January 20, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/20/business/media/20pixar.html

 

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UPDATE: January 26, 2006 3:31pm

Slate joins team "Jobs as heir apparent at Disney"

Robert Iger vs. Steve Jobs
Only one man can control Disney. I know who I’m betting on.
Daniel Gross
Slate, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006, at 6:13 PM ET
http://www.slate.com/id/2134852

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Sources:
Walt Disney Is In Serious Talks To Acquire Pixar
Stock Deal for Animator Would Make Jobs Top Holder Of Entertainment Giant
MERISSA MARR and NICK WINGFIELD
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, January 19, 2006; Page A1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113764205313450605.html

Is Disney/Pixar the sequel to Apple/NeXT ?                         
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/01/pixar_to_disney.html

Jobs to become Heir Apparent at Disney?                        
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2003/12/jobs_to_become_.html

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Category: Film, Finance, Financial Press

Read it here first: The Multiplex Under Siege

Category: Film, Financial Press