Creative have launched a competitor to the video-capable iPod. It looks rather like the iPod except clumsier and uglier. But this is the bit I thought was extraordinary:
Creative are touting the Zen as a far more powerful player than Apple’s offering, with additional functions such as FM radio and a built-in mic.
“We are focused on the technology,” he said. “This is still a technology marketplace.”
“This is the key difference between a technology company and a branding company,” he said, taking a side-swipe at Apple’s successful marketing campaign for its iPod.
Firstly – the iPod does what it does very well. What makes Mr Sim think people want additional functions? But more to the point – how many millions of units do Apple have to ship, and what proportion of the market do they have to win, before their competitors come to terms with the fact that all consumer products are brand items, and bought as much because people like them as for what they can do? We’re not talking about coal-fired power stations or aircraft carriers here, we’re talking about something that people are buying for entertainment, that they carry around every day in their pocket. Car companies get it – that people want cars that look nice, have the right associations (yes, Mr Sim, that’s branding) and that they enjoy owning. If that’s true for a £20,000 car, it’s certainly true for a £200 mp3 player. That’s not much more than a pair of trainers. If the chairman of Nike suggested that branding was unimportant, we’d all assume he’d lost his marbles.