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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

In a word, pathetic

From "Life! Mailbag," The Straits Times, February 3, 2007:

Support Creative's players, not the iPod

I WAS rather disappointed to read that when Sumiko Tan gave in to popular pressure, she bought an iPod (Bring On The Music, LifeStyle, Jan 28).
       She should have set a good example by buying — and supporting — a Creative Technology product. (I do not own Creative shares, and neither am I related to its founder, Mr Sim Wong Hoo.)
       People buy iPods because of peer pressure. It is an undisputed fact that Creative MP3 players have more functions and cost less. They're just a bit less sexy.
       Logic dictates that Creative is the better deal. Alas, most consumers are not guided by logic.
       I am a strong supporter of the underdog, and in this case, I believe that Creative deserves to beat Apple.
       So, to Ms Tan, please support Singapore's very own Creative.

Ivan Chan Heng Liang


I am blogging about this at the request of one of my buddies in California, Nick.

Ivan, like Creative Technology, totally misses the point. It is not about the number of functions. While sales of iPods soared beyond stratospheric, Creative protested, "But we have FM radio!" Who cared? Seriously, consumers could care less if the Creative Zen came with an ass vibrator function, together with its FM radio. It is the user interface which sets the iPod apart from its competitors. Unlike the Zen's vertical track strip, the iPod's scroll pad design is infinite. I.e. it goes in a circle — the finger never has to leave the tracking surface. The learning curve for navigating through the iPod is shorter and gentler than the Zen's. iTunes also melds seamlessly with the iPod.

This is similar to the perennial argument between Mac and Windows. Sure, Windows may have more functions, but consider its userbility. It is infinitely more difficult to use, to support, and to run, than the Mac OS. It is also more unstable. And much, much more susceptible to viruses, adware, spyware, etc. So, at the end of the day, the Mac OS gets work done, again and again, day after day, while Windows users have to tinker, reformat, hunt down viruses, clean out adware and spyware from their machines regularly — just to get work done. By the way, ever since I switched to Macs in 1996, I NEVER had a virus infection, or spyware, adware, malware episode, let alone be forced to reformat my hard drives and re-install the operating system. I wonder how many Windows users can say that.

Thus, I'm afraid I do not see Ivan's brand of "logic." It is ease of use, not the number of functions that sway consumer choice in this product.

Resorting to nationalism to tout a product is pathetic. If the Creative Zen is truly superior, why the descent to jingoism in the attempt to ramp up sales?

Cheaper? Who cares about cheaper? Who wants to bet that Ivan runs Windows?


Blogger Ivan Chan Heng Liang said...

Yes, I run Windows. If I were an Apple fan, I wouldn't be speaking up against herd mentality.

Besides, most gamers have to run Windows.

FYI, I did own the Apple II way back in the late 70s.

July 31, 2008 11:22 AM  
Blogger crufty said...

Unless the original submission to the press was heavily edited, the view that a product should be judged purely on the basis of popularity/functions *alone* is simply too myopic.

I'm surprised that a medical professional, someone with years of training in logic, holds such a position.

Perhaps some basic lessons in economics, such as topics on utility value, complementary goods, elasticity of demand etc would be of some use.

July 31, 2008 12:28 PM  

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