Monday, May 28, 2007

Live at All Things Digital

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Tonight, a no-holds-barred cage match between two titans of the computer industry. In the graphite corner, wearing a black turtleneck, jeans with no belt, and New Balance sneakers is Steve "Dude, I invented the frigging iPod. Heard of it?" Jobs.

In the white (really, really white) corner, wearing a 100% cotton polo, poplin trousers, white socks and brown loafers, is Bill "Microsoft Rules" Gates.

Questions for each contestant from Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg:

WM: Bill, what does Microsoft intend to do about the fact that it's bleeding money as a result of its third rate products getting their asses kicked in the marketplace.

BG: The Zune is clearly the best mp3 player on the market and Vista is selling way better than we expected.

SJ: (smirking) Oh yeah. No question. You can tell that the Zune is far superior to the iPod. The reason they've only sold like 65 of them is that people just don't understand how really excellent they are. No. Wait. Reality check. Zune is great because people see them and are reminded that they meant to buy an iPod while they're at the store.

KS: Steve, since everyone knows Apple is built almost exclusively on your "reality distortion field," would you be willing to tell us your secret for building a one-hundred-billion dollar market cap based solely on hype and fluff.

SJ: Certainly. It's easy. First you need cool-looking, reliable, innovative products that work correctly right out of the box even if the buyer is a sixteen-year-old crack head with a mouthful of Cheetos. Then you upgrade your software regularly, and trust the customer. Apple customers who bought Tiger, for instance, could have bought one copy and upgraded a hundred computers. In spite of that we sold lots of copies of the family pack license that "allows" multiple computers. After that, it's all reality distortion.

BG: Have you heard about Microsoft Math? Great little application. Windows still owns the planet. Check our market share, granola boy.

SJ: (laughs)

WM: Bill, Dell is now going to be selling computers at WalMart with Linux installed. Are you surprised at how bad Vista sucks?

BG: Vista is a leap forward in technology. Dell has made a business decision, and as one of our important partners we'll honor that decision.

SJ: Grab your socks, Mike. This'll only hurt for a minute.

KS: Steve, what is your nightmare scenario in the computer marketplace.

SJ: If Dell and HP each started developing an OS from Linux or Unix, and really started taking control of the whole widget the way Apple does they could really give me some competition ten years down the road. In between now and then, I'll be taking market share away from them so fast it'll be hard for me to keep up with the manufacturing and distribution (pulls the back of Bill's tighty-whiteys up and over Bill's head), because Windows is an utterly antiquated OS and a marketing flop.

BG: Asshole.