If Microsoft made iPods

Microsoft iPod parody videoCan you imagine Microsoft making something as sexy as Apple’s iPod?

I didn’t think so.

And neither does the creator of this parody video showing what Apple’s sleek, minimalist iPod packaging might look like if it were redesigned by Microsoft. And the version I’ve shown in the thumbnail image (right) is just the start — watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Humour aside, this is a beautiful illustration of how two very different companies approach the task of packaging — one with class, the other with all the grace and style of a drunken hippopotamus.

As this SeattlePI blog posting puts it, if your packaging has to explain what’s inside, you’ve probably already lost the battle for the heart the buyer.

Apple’s packaging is confident, cool and sexy. They know you know what an iPod is, and they know they’re cool. They just have to say “this is an iPod” — and add a few words to tell you exactly which model is inside the box.

Even the experience of opening the box continues the theme: The first thing you see is a reminder that Apple’s products are “designed in California” — yes, reinforce those memes of freedom, innovation and possibility.

Microsoft’s packaging — as parodied in the video — reflects a complete lack of confidence in the product and a fear of prosecution.

Worried that you might think they’re not up to the job, they list every feature they can squeeze in. Worried that you might sue them, they add legal disclaimers and explanations. Worried that you might not take their word for it, they garnish the box with so many third-party brands and symbols it looks like a medal-encrusted Soviet general.

The difference seems clear.

Apple makes products people want to buy, and they just say “Here’s the product”. Microsoft makes products that people need to be convinced to buy.

Isn’t that doing things backwards?

Go on, tell me I’m wrong. Name one sexy product that’s come from Microsoft.

2 Replies to “If Microsoft made iPods”

  1. Haha yip, I’m sure Microsoft’s iPod packaging would look exactly like that!

    This just further illustrates the main differences between the two companies. Apple cares passionately about simplicity, style and sex appeal. Their stuff is seriously cool and fashionable. Design is not ‘tacked-on’ so to speak; it’s a philosophy that goes to the core of everything they do.

    Microsoft on the other hand (obviously) doesn’t put the same effort into the design of their stuff (from their brand to their software). Microsoft doesn’t have a design philosophy at all. They aren’t driven by emotion, entrepreneurialism, egos or the desire to create.

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