[First read about this over on Brier Dudley's blog: "iPod Amnesty" photographer says lighten up.]
I was wondering if someone was going to snap a picture of the iPod Amnesty Bin which was displayed in the very public lobby of the building where the Zune team works. I'm in there about once a week and had a good, healthy chuckle when I saw this clear plexiglas box. I followed some of the blogtrail, read about 50 comments and once again find it pretty amazing just how polarizing the conversation becomes when the topic is iPod vs. Zune. Invariably the comments further devolve into MacOS vs. Windows and then Apple vs. Microsoft.
I have no idea why this bin was setup, nor do I work on the Zune team. So, I thought I ruminate on the possible ideas or reasons why this thing appeared.
Reminder of the task before the Zune team. Actually, I don't really believe this is the reason. I'm pretty sure most of the Zune team understands they are the proverbial David vs. Goliath here (without the supreme being backing David had in his encounter). This could be de-motivating -- having the exact opposite effect intended.
Marketing buzz. The Zune marketing team seems to grok that a 'People_Ready' campaign won't cut it to motivate people to become interested and buy a Zune. Nothing stirs the pot like putting up a poster that says 'Bite Me' to your biggest competitor in the hopes someone (anyone) snaps a picture and posts it publicly. Almost every blog post and / or link includes the words 'iPod' and 'Zune' -- and that isn't a bad thing. It's the slightly edgier version of the Mac and PC commercials from Apple where Apple is putting the two products on equal footing. It would be perhaps the cheapest marketing ever. It's certainly better than the 'People Ready' or 'Wow' in my opinion, if this was the true intent.
Comedic relief. Honestly, I think this is the real reason. I watched about 4 people pass by the bin and in every case the reaction was a smile and a chuckle. Plus, I can't imagine anyone really taking it seriously. Microsoft is still very, very competitive -- but in a different way from the past I think. It's a more mature, marathon type competitive spirit these days rather than the 100 yard sprints of the 90s where Ballmer was screaming "Developer! Developer! Developer!". It can be draining to get so heads down on work you forget to pause and actually enjoy work. I'm willing to bet a couple of folks were joking around and someone said 'wouldn't it be funny if...' and then one of the folks around the table went ahead and followed through and the result showed up in the lobby.
Well, anyway, it gave me a good laugh, and reminded me to not take work (or competition) so seriously.
Any other theories out there on the iPod Amnesty Bin...?
[P.S. Lest fanboys from either side appear and comment here: I own an iPod and a Zune. I own Windows machines and Macs. I'm a geek, not a zealot.]
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