Remember when you were in school and there was that über smart kid who finished their test first — and early. That kid would scoot their chair from their desk for all to hear, slowly stand up, walk forward, drop their test into the teacher’s inbox and turn to smirk at the classroom as if to say, “Good luck dumb dumbs.” For everyone else still taking the test, the emotions that would immediate ensue were lead by fear and panic. “How’d he/she finish so fast!?!? I’m behind. Hurry up! Gotta finish!!” would flood the mind.
And that’s when mistakes would be made. When against the clock, people make mistakes they normally wouldn’t. They do things they know they shouldn’t. In business it’s no different. Mistakes are made all the time by really smart people at industry leading companies because of the rush to market by competition and the fear of being left behind. The Set Top Box market is a great example. AppleTV is in the lead and we see the competition trying to catch up — in a panic.
Last week Amazon launched its new offering: fireTV. You can read about why fireTV’s specifications (really its manipulation of specs) fall short of AppleTV. Also last week it was reported that Google will soon be launching Android TV. This will be Google’s third attempt (and change of direction) in the set top box market. First their was Google TV with the infamous Kevin Bacon ad. Google TV used a keyboard to navigate and search for content. Then there was the Google’s Chromecast HDMI dongle. Apparently that was also a flop because now there will soon be Android TV.
For those who are Google fan-boys, this should be nirvana. After spending money on two set top items that don’t work as well as AppleTV, this will finally be it! Or will it? At MacWorld 2007 Steve Jobs said,
There's an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. 'I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.' And we've always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning. And we always will.
All the new offerings from Amazon, Google and even Microsoft fail to do this. They are all skating where the puck is — where AppleTV is today. None of these AppleTV competitors offers anything new or revolutionary, but all try to show they are relevant by comparing their specs to what AppleTV has been for about 4 years now. But what about tomorrow? It’s been rumored for years and then echoed by Jobs himself that Apple would launch a killer TV experience some day. And that some day could be any day now.
That declaration is like that über smart kid finishing their test first and walking to the front of the class. Google, Microsoft, Amazon are all in the chairs panicking, trying to get their products to market as quickly as possible — before its too late. And that is when the mistakes are made.
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