Once the iPad was announced and technology critics weighed in with a fairly collective ‘meh’, it was only a matter of time until Apple’s competitors shared a few ideas of their own. Bill Gates was seemingly unimpressed, saying “it’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh I wish Microsoft had done it’.” Brandon Watson, director of product management in the developer platform at Microsoft found it “humorous” that Microsoft is much more open than Apple.
While it’s nowhere near shocking to hear competition brush off a competing product, some should remain mum or, at the very least, choose their words a bit more carefully. I’m speaking, of course, about Nintendo president Satoru Iwata who the Associated Press reported as being “totally unimpressed”, calling it “a bigger iPod Touch.” It’s funny he chose the words most people first think, because Nintendo’s still preparing to roll out it’s DSi XL that’s 93% larger than the DS Lite. Couldn’t the same remark be applied to his own company’s product? Hey, it’s just a bigger DSi.
For reasons like the above, taking comments from the competition really have little weight on a product’s potential success. Apple can take stabs at the netbook market all day, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re a pretty successful category of device. Surely Nintendo can sneak in a few jabs about its portable success over the PSP and the overwhelming success the Wii has seen over both the Xbox and PS3. In the end, statements from these major executives only set themselves up to be mocked should a product succeed. Nobody really digs up the past when these predictions are right, but we search and search when a high level executive weighs in a little too soon, before the whole thing plays out.