Apple, Microsoft

Apple has been making some noise lately with the new iPhone 3G. While I’m a die hard keyboard fan, I rarely talk on my cell phone but carry around my iPod Touch everywhere and its easily my favorite gadget. Why? It works with my business stuff and it lets me enjoy the nice part of this business – the friends.

So last night I checked the Apple iPhone inventory and they had iPhone in stock. I showed up at about 8:20 am this morning and got into a line. Don’t get me wrong, I live in Disney World and standing in a line for 90 minutes for 45 seconds of fun is just a part of the magic.

I stood there and typed a long email to Howard and by the time I looked up nearly 30 minutes had passed and nobody had walked out the store. Finally, one person out with his iPhone 3G. I was not about to wait and figure out how long the 100 people would take to get through the line.

Just how hard did Apple and AT&T work to screw their customers? It’s pretty amazing, and intentional, to force people through the in store process and not rely on the online system that was used in the original iPhone launch. Is the iPhone that special that over a week after the launch they cannot properly stock and distribute the iPhone? Not really, they just don’t want to. They know that people standing in the lines are there just chomping at the bits to get the iPhone, so why not take the opportunity to make you stare and play with the entire Apple assortment of solutions while their 16 year old “geniuses” learn how to type.

Needless to say I left, but you know who I feel bad for? Microsoft. How demoralizing must it be to work there and see their competitor bash them in the press and television, come out with crippled services, uber-closed devices matched with extensive inability to meet the demand for both the hardware and software (Google for Mobile Me woes). You break your back working on Windows Mobile, team up with companies to build hundreds of solutions and offer variety and choice – just for the clients to vote with their feet away from you, away from your solution and away from your partners.

As tough as this may be for Microsoft, it’s an inspirational event for the rest of us. If you design a killer product that people want, they will take the abuse and tolerate problems because only you have what fits their needs.

As an entrepreneur, it is a pleasure to see that a giant multi-billion behemoth is unable to compete when customer is king.

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