What if Microsoft Created The iPod? Ross | March 22nd, 2010

Most people agree that great design more easily captures attention than poor design.

For example, when Apple originally released the iPod – the iPod didn’t have the features of the Creative Labs MP3 players, or even the Microsoft Zune. In fact, many MP3 players today have more features than the iPod – but only a tiny fraction of the iPod’s market share. Yet Apple quickly swallowed up most of the market share for MP3 player sales.

There are many reasons for Apple’s success with the iPod. Among those reasons – it’s a great product that works really well. It’s also simple and elegant to use.

Apple’s iPod design carries through to its packaging design – very simple, coordinated, and focused. At a time when it’s competitors were touting FM tuners and lots of bells and whistles, Apple made its case by minimizing the marketing noise and focusing attention on the product itself – including in its packaging.

Most other companies would have marketed the iPod very differently. For example, here’s an interesting look at possible packaging for a Microsoft iPod:

As you think about your company’s products and services, consider whether your message is pure and simple or complicated and confusing. As the video shows – the difference is enormous.

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  • Allison

    Do you think Microsoft has realized that its marketing is too obtuse sometimes? Current ads for Windows 7 seem to have a focused message, unlike some of the earlier ads – and I noticed that Apple hasn’t run a MAC/PC commercial in a while.

  • Allison

    Do you think Microsoft has realized that its marketing is too obtuse sometimes? Current ads for Windows 7 seem to have a focused message, unlike some of the earlier ads – and I noticed that Apple hasn’t run a MAC/PC commercial in a while.

  • Failure, Inc.

    That video has made the rounds a few times, but the real reason it’s so fascinating is who made it –

    Microsoft.

    It was an internal video. They understood what was going wrong with their own process, but if you take a look at what they produce today, it doesn’t seem like they’ve had the fortitude to implement much change.

  • Failure, Inc.

    That video has made the rounds a few times, but the real reason it’s so fascinating is who made it –

    Microsoft.

    It was an internal video. They understood what was going wrong with their own process, but if you take a look at what they produce today, it doesn’t seem like they’ve had the fortitude to implement much change.

  • Ross

    @Allison – I think Microsoft has known this for some time, as Failure, Inc. points out in the comment right after yours. But knowing something – and changing HOW your market – are two different things.

    I agree the Windows 7 ads seem to be more on point and more relevant. But the packaging – and the different versions of products – seem to be as complicated as ever

    @Failure, Inc. – It is fascinating – and a great backstory. Thanks! It does seem that we’ve seen some changes – perhaps not in packaging though. Understanding is the first step – so maybe there’s still an opportunity for Microsoft to take the next step. Ever wonder what Microsoft products would be like if Apple designed and marketed them? :)

  • Ross

    @Allison – I think Microsoft has known this for some time, as Failure, Inc. points out in the comment right after yours. But knowing something – and changing HOW your market – are two different things.

    I agree the Windows 7 ads seem to be more on point and more relevant. But the packaging – and the different versions of products – seem to be as complicated as ever

    @Failure, Inc. – It is fascinating – and a great backstory. Thanks! It does seem that we’ve seen some changes – perhaps not in packaging though. Understanding is the first step – so maybe there’s still an opportunity for Microsoft to take the next step. Ever wonder what Microsoft products would be like if Apple designed and marketed them? :)

  • David Siegfried

    When it comes to the difference between the companies it boils down to control vs. ease of use.

    Mac has taken the time to understand how their general user group works on their products while Microsoft throws loads of options, and preferences at you. The choice for the end user is this: How much control do you want?

    With controls comes effort to control it. Less control, less fuss. More control, more fuss.

    The end result is the same as the package. Where Microsoft gives you tons of info and the task of sifting through it. Apple gives you none and expects you to just not care and buy it anyway.

  • David Siegfried

    When it comes to the difference between the companies it boils down to control vs. ease of use.

    Mac has taken the time to understand how their general user group works on their products while Microsoft throws loads of options, and preferences at you. The choice for the end user is this: How much control do you want?

    With controls comes effort to control it. Less control, less fuss. More control, more fuss.

    The end result is the same as the package. Where Microsoft gives you tons of info and the task of sifting through it. Apple gives you none and expects you to just not care and buy it anyway.

  • Dan Frydman

    Yep, my 4 year old has worked out how to use my iPod and giving Goigle Earth a go on my iPhone, but I still can’t get my head around why Vista is so awful to try to use or why Word hides formatting menus on my Mac…

  • Dan Frydman

    Yep, my 4 year old has worked out how to use my iPod and giving Goigle Earth a go on my iPhone, but I still can’t get my head around why Vista is so awful to try to use or why Word hides formatting menus on my Mac…

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    They never will invent the ipod, thats a given!

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  • allen christopher

    Most group agree that eager pattern author easily captures attending than necessitous programme.

    For warning, when Apple originally released the iPod – the iPod didn’t bed the features of the Notional Labs MP3 players, or change the Microsoft Zune. In fact, more MP3 players today human much features than the iPod – but only a tiny compute of the iPod’s mart apportion. Yet Apple apace swallowed up most of the mart deal for MP3 participant sales.
     

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