Microsoft Needs Her Pixar – I Vote Zune

Warning: A bit of a ramble and maybe not fully thought out but I thought I’d share the beginning of these thoughts with you my readers and see what you think/say.

I was watching this fascinating documentary on Vongo last night (“The Pixar Story) and something hit me …

Now, mind you, it hit me as I was streaming this from my Windows Media Center computer to my Xbox to my television.

But, Paul, aren’t you the big fan of Apple TV?

You bet I am – but … I can get all you can eat rental movies on my Apple TV like I can on my xBox via Vongo.

Yes, neither of the players are totally there yet.

But I compare Microsoft to Apple.

I love Microsoft.

Passionate people.

Smart people.

Life changing technology.

And talk to any of these passionate smart people making the life changing technology and … something is keeping them from doing what it is they love to do.

Red tape?

Being the largest target on the planet?

Oh the stories.

Remember Disney?

Remember what they used to be?

If you watch the Pixar story you’ll learn that everyone there LOVED Disney – many even worked at Disney.

But Disney was just too large, too fat, too stuck in their ways.

And they started producing crap.

Bloated cartoons.

See the parallel?

But then, there was Pixar, changing animation.

Great movies, yes.

But full of passion.

Full of love.

The heart of animation.

Done by passionate people who loved every aspect of what they were doing.

And, most importantly, SMALL ENOUGH TO PULL IT OFF.

Disney teamed with ’em and when they compared “Toy Story” to “Tarzan” and “Invincibles” to “Brother Bear” and … they realized what they were missing.

They ended up acquiring Pixar.

But it breathed new life into them.

Disney is bigger than ever, but you bet they’re giving Pixar the room to do things right.

“Wall-E” is going to be huge this summer – bigger than “Iron Man” (or, blech, Indy IV).

Small team – doing what they love – without the system in their way.

Even though the system paid their way.

Xbox has pretty much been let go to do their own thing. See how well they’re doing?

Vista was designed, marketed, service patched, and damage controlled by committee. See how well they’re doing?

Zune has some elements of brilliance. I’ve written about it before. We luv the Zune.

Heck, my wife can have any media player she wants (this digital family can’t be accused of having no clothes) yet her choice is her Brown Zune. The wireless sync on the charging/player doc is the killer app for her.

But, an episode of Office purchased for the Xbox can’t be played on the Zune – and vice versa.

HUH?

But, although launched in November, they still don’t have their Podcast database caught up.

WHY?

And it still insists on placing a John Cougar Mellencamp album cover on more than a dozen cds in my collection no John Cougar in any form.

COUGAR?

Too many people.

Too worried about legal.

Too entrenched in their ways.

Not enough autonomy.

I’ve met the Zune team.

Passionate.

Brilliant.

They LOVE music.

The love what they can do with music and this little infrastructure.

I love that I can get a few choice tunes from Cesar automatically sent to my Zune so that as I run around town I can get some new music – chosen by someone I dig. So very cool.

But let’s admit it, Microsoft is on the brink.

Her only hope is that someone inside will produce something so brilliant (because they have the freedom to do so) that Microsoft realizes the power of embracing the small and doing big things with it.

Microsoft needs her Pixar.

I vote Zune.

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