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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Goodbye Geekiness, Hello Hip


"Apple has an absolute monopoly on the asset that is the most difficult for competitors to copy: cool," points out the New York Times, via Taipei Times.
Apple has US$6.4 billion in cash, a seemingly small sum next to Microsoft's $64 billion. But it is Microsoft, the poor little rich kid, who must be envious of Apple. All of the billions in its corporate treasury, all of the personal billions of the co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, all of the money in the world, cannot buy the ability to fathom the metaphysical mystery of cool.
It's a neat trick, to make money hand over fist and still be hip. To run a successful company (two, actually) and still be, for many people, the avatar of cool. To force your customers to send in their iPod units for battery replacement - and gain 70%+ market share. To sue your fan sites and be forgiven it. To market products as social station signifiers and not be called an asshole.

Still, I have to hand it to him - Steve and the Mac are cool. No irony intended.

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