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Jealousy Is So Unbecoming

From a New York Times story, "And Now for Something Slightly Different", on competitors to the iPod:

[Rio vice president for product marketing Dan] Torres said he was acutely aware of iPod's rounded rectangular styling and its display screen above a circular control dial, because that is how Rio's original player looked three years before the first iPod arrived.

"It's in Rio's genes to continue to push design," Mr. Torres said. "All of these things don't have to be boxes or look like bars of soap." Consumers will be drawn to designs and features that have their own appeal, he added, looks and functions that do not simply mimic the iPod's.

A hundred years from now, the iPod will be on display as an iconic example of early 21st century design, but to Rio, it's a bar of soap. And how is Rio's design strategy working for it?

It is hardly a secret that Apple's smart, sleek music players rule the market. Industry analysts estimate that more than 9 of every 10 high-capacity players sold in the United States are iPods.
Now, to be fair to Rio, if I were in Torres' shoes, I'd probably be saying something similar. But still... in press interviews, one wants to avoid appearing... how shall I say it? Ungracious?

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