A sharp-eyed reader blew the whistle on a media and web tactic that’s gaining prominence these days. Competition bashing. Apple does it to Microsoft. Redmond copies Apple. Literally.
The headline below the iPod graphic says “Piracy Crackdown” followed by “Taking the offenders to court.”
What’s that look like to you? iPod users are thieves? People are using iPods to steal?
That graphic and headline brings to mind images of iPod users stealing company secrets on their iPods, or stealing music while online and storing it all on their iPods.
The problem is, it’s a Microsoft web site about Windows Media. The link from the iPod graphic and “Piracy” headline points to CBSNews.com, where, you guessed it, there’s no mention of an iPod anywhere in sight.
The whole iPod graphic and “Piracy” headline just looks too misleading to me and smacks of a previous attempt by Microsoft to bash Apple’s diminutive iPod. Click Here for that attempt.
As you’ve figured out already, such misleading techniques are the vogue these days. For example, our headline is, “Revealed: iPods Of The Rich And Famous.” Then there’s an obviously doctored photograph of Bill Gates holding an iPod mini.
I doubt if any such photograph exists anywhere in the world, and certainly not on the planet inhabited by Bill Gates.
Imagine the message that would send. “Bill Gates loves his Apple iPod mini—says other music players are second rate.”
Woo hoo! That would make for an interesting day, eh?
The problem, of course, is that headline baiting is nothing new, poking at a competitor is nothing new.
It’s just getting worse these days. It’s worse because there are so many more media outlets; and many more opportunities, if you will, to misinform the public.
For example, the same technique of doctoring photographs could yield a headline like this:
“Bill Gates Says iPod mini Is Defective.”
One look at that headline and an accompanying photograph is about all most folks need to form an opinion. A negative opinion. Bill Gates is now slamming the iPod mini.
It doesn’t take much to inform the public. It takes even less effort to misinform the public and that’s happening more and more these days.
For example, a recent article by Ina Fried appeared on ZDNet comparing Mac OS X Tiger’s search capabilities with Microsoft’s upcoming “Longhorn” Windows operating system. Click Here for the comparison.
Comparisons are fine. Tiger is shipping on April 29th. Longhorn is shipping in the second half of 2006.
Let’s compare my new 2005 Infinit with a 2007 (fall of 2006) Lexus. That’s absurd, right? Not according to Ina Fried.
Another example: Ina writes, “Microsoft also plans to reshape icons within Longhorn. Instead of being a static graphic indicating the type of document a file is, an icon in Longhorn will be a smaller representation of the first page of a document. In its preview pane, today’s Mac OS offers that for some document types, such as PDF files. However, its implementation is not as universal as what Microsoft is proposing.”
So, as Ina seems to say, what Tiger has already is not as cool or “universal” as what Microsoft is proposing for about 18 months from now, right?
The whole article, just like the headline and graphic on this article, is misleading and misinforming. In other words, not very accurate.
Accuracy is what you’d expect from a journalist in the tech field. Maybe Ina’s fresh out of college. Maybe not.
Microsoft’s chief Windows architect, Jim Allchin is also quoted by ZDNet’s writer:
Allchin said Microsoft plans to go further than Apple has with Tiger. “Tiger is nice in that they’ve put search capability in a lot of places, but there’s a lot more (in Longhorn),” Allchin said. “This is trying to slice and dice the data and let you visualize the data in a much richer way than what’s in Tiger.”
Hello? Are we comparing shipping Apples to still-growing Oranges here?
Since there’s been barely 12 months, on average, between Jaguar, Panther, and Tiger, could we expect Apple to introduce, oh, I don’t know, how about “SabreTooth” about the time Microsoft finally slaps Longhorn together and shoves it out the door?
OK, I’ll clarify the “iPods Of The Rich And Famous” so you don’t go away empty handed, President Bush has an iPod. Actor Will Smith has a bunch of iPods. Other iPod owners include Madonna and Tony Hawk.
I’m sure there are many others since Apple gave away a few thousand each year for the past few years at the Grammy Awards and Oscars. I didn’t get one.
Oh, one more thing. “I’m baaaaaack!”