Leave it to Apple to figure out a way to be controversial, if not original. The iPod sounds original to me. The last ‘pod’ I remember was ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’
How about ‘nano?’ Uh oh. Looks like trouble brewing in Appledom.
Why? What’s wrong with ‘nano?’ Doesn’t it mean, like, really, really small, or something? How small does a portable music player have to be before it becomes ‘nano small?’
Just a few weeks before Apple launched the replacement to the iPod mini, the diminutive iPod nano, competitor Creative launched their newest music player; the not-so-diminutive Creative Zen Nano Plus.
‘Creative’ is the company, now struggling financially to find new ways to lose money against the iPod train. ‘Zen’ is a brand name used on previous Creative music players.
‘Nano’ means small, so might be difficult to trademark, since it means small and all. Then Creative added ‘Plus’ to the already forgettable name than everyone now associates with iPod.
The ‘Plus’ probably means it has more features than iPod nano, but it could also be the ‘Plus’ in ‘Plus Size for Women.’ You know, the chunky, clunk plus size female variety.
Do you see a Creative lawsuit in Apple’s future? Yep. In 90 days, portable music fans everywhere will only think of ‘nano’ in terms of iPod nano. There’s nothing creative about that.
I found nine different music players on the Creative web site. Nine. All with different names. If you put out enough products with different names, you’re bound to win a lawsuit or two.
Trademark names are not the only source of potential problems for our favorite computer and music player maker. Creative patents could pose a problem, too.
How? Creative was just awarded a patent on the navigation screens of portable music players. U.S. Patent number 6,928,433 was awarded in August and filed in 2001, before Apple launched the iPod (with an eerily similar navigation interface).
Creative is so creative (and desperate) that they held a news conference to tout their new patent. The Creative web site divulges all the gory details when you Click Here.
What’s interesting about this patent and Creative’s efforts, is the slide show of images which show a Zen Micro (bigger and fatter than ‘nano’) screen; playlists, artists, genre, tracks, selection process.
That looks like an iPod screen to me. What do you think?
Apple does not seem to mind a good fist fight. That’s the way they’ve always been (except for the John Sculley years; ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’) and, as long as Jobs is around, it’ll probably stay that way.
For example, look at the company name—Apple. Founders Jobs and Wozniak named their company after the Beatles’ record company, Apple Corp. That brought about a series of lawsuits, all of which caused Apple the computer company to pay money to Apple the record company.
There’s a lawsuit going on now with Apple and Apple the record company.
Times have changed. While Microsoft is handing out hundreds of millions and billions and gazillions of dollars to settle lawsuits all over the globe (probably Saturn and Jupiter, too), Apple is ‘thinking different.’
How? They’re selling music using a name that’s already selling music. Apple. They’re naming their music products after products that are already playing music. Creative’s Nano Plus.
So far, Apple is not settling for second best, not settling for money, not settling for peace. Why? It’s a war out there. Survival of the fittest.
Apple has an $8-billion war chest of cash, 35-percent sales growth in Macs, 80-percent market share in online music sales, 80-percent market share in portable music players (now owning both the flash-based players, and hard-drive players).
What else does Apple have? An attitude. A quiet, mature, ‘don’t get too close or you’ll get poked’ attitude.
It’s refreshing, fun to watch, and makes for great news.
Go get ‘em, Apple.
Oh, one more thing. Who owns ‘nano?’ I will. Just as soon as I can get my hands on a black one.