Face it – Microsoft ain't gonna do anything in Vista (or Windows Media 11) to make it easy for Mom to subscribe to Podcasts. They'll “allow” for it (read “won't block iTunes”) – but that's it. Smart move / dumb move – doesn't really matter. It is as simple as this: as I count my options for getting “Mom” to subscribe to Podcasts – Microsoft just isn't in them.
Here are my 7 options for getting my “Mom” to consume Podcasts:
(And if you haven't figure this out by now, “Mom” is my term for the non-connected (but with a computer in their house). If my Mom wants something, she calls and I hook it up.)
1. I can tell her to buy an iPod Nano and head to her local Apple store to have someone show her how to use it. iTunes is pretty easy to use – and it works on pretty much any computer running today.
2. I can tell her to buy a Tivo and listen in front of her television set. Makes for an expensive radio – but the content is worth it. It's hard to subscribe to shows that ain't in the Tivo recommended list – but it can be done.
3. I can tell her to run to Walmart and pick up a MobiBlu/PodcastReady player and sign up for an account. I can then push the shows I want to her. Not a bad deal there, but what about Mom's without such “caring sons?”
4. I can encourage her to pick up Juice – maybe even get a custom version done with the shows she'll enjoy. It ain't the perfect software – but it works well.
5. I could walk her through the Podcasts.Yahoo.com and encourage her to consume in front of her computer. The “My Subscriptions” feature is pretty nice for consuming in front of a computer. She did get some “fancy speakers” with her $300 eMachine.
6. I could recommend Odeo. It sure is pretty – and makes desktop consumption easy as well.
7. I could have her bookmark her favorite casts and just visit on a regular basis. Most of these sites have click to play options.
Now, the smarty pants types out there would say “and Microsoft still gets cash for making Windows, which supports all that stuff.”
And in many cases they would be right.
When Mom asks “what that new Vista thing is about” – I have to tell her that there's nothing in it for her.
When Mom asks if she should get one of them Apples, I have to tell her to seriously consider it.
When Mom asks if she needs a new computer, I have to tell her, not really any more.
When Mom buys a Tivo, Microsoft gets squat.
And the list goes on.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this:
Yes, it is really annoying that Microsoft has no Podcatching client for “Mom,” but it is beginning to matter less and less (and very quickly it won't matter at all). It isn't as much an issue of them retarding the growth of Podcasting as it Microsoft retarding their own growth for not doing anything about the growth of Podcasting.