AfterDawn: Tech news

Dell's Bucher fighting personal battle with Apple?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 18 Aug 2008 22:28 User comments (11)

Dell's Bucher fighting personal battle with Apple? Tim Bucher, a former engineering executive at Apple, now employed by Dell, is spearheading a project at Dell that could mean trouble for his former employer. In November 2004, Bucher had a tense conversation with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in which Jobs remarked that people thought Bucher was sometimes manic depressive, and that he may be asked to leave Apple after being promoted only a number of months before the incident.
Bucher left Apple and soon after filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination, denying the charges of mental illness. The case was settled in 2005 and Apple never commented publicly on it. Bucher is now spearheading a project at Dell that, at least on the surface, seems to be motivated by revenge. Bucher denies seeking revenge, and claims the project is strictly business and that he still has admiration for the Apple CEO.

Nevertheless, what Dell is currently doing (led by Bucher) is an attempt to rally together an alliance packed full of Apple's rivals. The project has a team of over 120, and will involve everything from mobile phone manufacturers to record companies. The goal is to create a broad standard to provide consumers with a bigger choice of where and how to buy and use digital content than currently offered by Apple.

"Customers want access to content from a broad variety of sources—how, when, and where they choose," says CEO Michael Dell. Apple is definitely the giant in the market currently, but its position has drawn resentment, even from record companies that offer music through iTunes, due to the tight grip Apple is determined to maintain on the services. "Apple wants to lock you in," says Robert Enderle, a consultant who has been briefed by Dell. "Dell wants to lock you in to choice."

After leaving Apple, Bucher founded Zing which was later bought by Dell. Zing's software, which is central to the proposed standard, sits in the background and ensures that content can be streamed, or Zinged, between computers and other devices. Zing is expected to be a feature on Dell laptops expected in September, and will be installed on all of its consumer PCs by year's end.

Whatever the motivation for the move, it is obviously aimed at Apple's weaknesses as market leader, and it's being led by a company that has not experienced much success in this area yet. It is not for lack of trying either; Dell released MP3 players after Apple's iPod was released but had to dump them due to poor sales, and it's venture into Dell TVs wasn't very successful either.

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11 user comments

118.8.2008 23:29

well he is definitely in his manic phase right now.

219.8.2008 6:16
susieqbbb
Inactive

Is this guy crazy or just stupid...

Come on you think apple fan's who own a ipod or a iphone are going to tell people about another service plan no they will tell people about apple...

Why you ask..

Simple itunes provides more music then any other service provider out there artist's are making millions in revenue from itunes on a daily bases something that microsoft's zune player and even Real networks cannot touch.


Then you have to look at cell phones do you see a cell phone that does everything that the iphone does??

No!!

Why...

Simple the iphone is the only current cell phone that doesn't charge you for playing games on your iphone a good example of this guitar hero for cell phones you pay 9.99 for the game from verizon and then everytime the game downloads the song into memory to play the game you get charged a 13.00 connection fee where with the iphone you don't get charged for any of there games on your phone once you purchase the game it is yours on your phone.

And worse of all these cell phone providers.. dont tell you that games like guitar hero charge you a connection fee.

So you might want to look at your service providers bill.


And in all aspects this guy really is a manic depressive think about it he goes from working at a million doller computer maker apple to a billion doller computer maker dell what a freaking sell out.

319.8.2008 7:59

Nah, my m600i, already can do many things iphone can do.

Most symbian os devices can do many things that iphone can do.

Its just i phone is a piece of art. I love the design.

But im sticking with my my m600i.
It already enough for me.

Btw who want to play games on cellphones?
The only games i like in cellphone/pda is RTS and adventure games.

It really fun and easy controlling using touch screen.

419.8.2008 10:07

Originally posted by susieqbbb:

Simple itunes provides more music then any other service provider out there artist's are making millions in revenue from itunes on a daily bases something that microsoft's zune player and even Real networks cannot touch.
Wrong, the biggest selection of music is from torrents (yes its illegal yet it has the biggest selection of music) Artists make jack off itune, after Apple take their giant slice of royalties and then the music company takes their gaint slice of royalties there is hardly anythign left for the artist!

Originally posted by susieqbbb:

Then you have to look at cell phones do you see a cell phone that does everything that the iphone does??

No!!

Why...

Simple the iphone is the only current cell phone that doesn't charge you for playing games on your iphone a good example of this guitar hero for cell phones you pay 9.99 for the game from verizon and then everytime the game downloads the song into memory to play the game you get charged a 13.00 connection fee where with the iphone you don't get charged for any of there games on your phone once you purchase the game it is yours on your phone.
The purpose of a cell phone is to call text and view sent pictures and videos, if you wanted soemthign that could browse the web and you could check your emails aswell you'd get a blackberry. If you wanted to play games on the go, you'd buy a DS or a PSP. If you want all of this in one, you'd get an iphone, but personally carrying a £400 brick around with me, doesn't seem the best of ideas, especially if i get mugged or it breaks.

Originally posted by susieqbbb:

And in all aspects this guy really is a manic depressive think about it he goes from working at a million doller computer maker apple to a billion doller computer maker dell what a freaking sell out.
How is he a sell out moving from a million dollar company to a billion doller company?
That just makes no sense!

519.8.2008 12:31

Quote:
Wrong, the biggest selection of music is from torrents (yes its illegal yet it has the biggest selection of music) Artists make jack off itune, after Apple take their giant slice of royalties and then the music company takes their gaint slice of royalties there is hardly anythign left for the artist!
This is where you are wrong. Apple only takes $0.30 per $0.99 download (which is common and fair). The rest is forwarded to the label. The label then takes it administration / marketing fees out of that and then the rest is provided to the artist (approximately $0.60 per download). So all in all, its NOT apple that's taking money from the artist, its the label. Always has, always will be.

It's a catch 22. If the artist wants to be 'huge' / well known, then he/she will have to make deals with big record companies who charge a shit load for their services. If an artist wants to keep more of their mechanical royalties, they need to work with a smaller label/publisher or self publish.

619.8.2008 12:48

F*ck Dell! They ran the whitebox builder out of business. But then again put the "Service guy" in business. I think Dell uses the cheapest parts made by the cheapest bidder or their cheapest outsourcing option. Their parts and products are crap. Actually I take that back, when they brought out their LCD monitor it was OK. Other than that, it's total crapola.

719.8.2008 13:07

Whatever, you guys are messed. I am all for other companies competing with a monopoly. This is all besides the fact that iTunes is a very poorly designed program for the user.

819.8.2008 15:04

I doubt iTunes or the iPod are poorly designed; it's their ease of use and functionality that launched them into the success they currently have. If you've ever tried to use WMP or Zune software, or for those of us old enough to remember the Rio Taxi software, then you'll understand what I mean. BTW, iTunes gives you one-stop shopping for syncing your iPod, finding podcasts, purchasing music/videos, tagging music, and ripping and burning CD's. And here's the kicker: 6 year olds can do it.

As for Dell, they've always reverse engineered their hardware to cut costs. They've unsuccessfully tried to enter the consumer electronics market with their MP3 players, PDA's and HDTV's. Their customer service and support is among the worst out there. Combine that with their loss of market share in the PC world, where HP is beating them left and right. Dell has even gone against their tried and true phone and online sales approach, entering the retail sector with Best Buy and Wal-Mart as partners, which leads me to believe this loon is blowing a bunch of hot air, and I'm sure Steve Jobs is getting a good chuckle from all of this.

The only way Dell stands any chance of making a dent in Apple's armor is to pool the resources of Alienware (which Dell purchased) and let them sit in a room, undisturbed by any of their "hundreds of partners" and see if those guys can come up with any creative direction for this so-called takeover.

919.8.2008 15:25

It is poorly designed. I did not say it was hard to use.

If you have ever used any third party Ipod software, you would not be so naive.

iTunes uses so many resources, you can't transfer music from one ipod to another without taking up hard drive space (and not RAM), and it doesn't update newly "downloaded" music to the library easily. The programming really isn't that great. WMP is much better, and so is media monkey, winamp, and a lot more. Trust me, I have used lots and lots of Ipod software, and iTunes is not designed well. It is designed well for the companies purposes, but not the user.

1019.8.2008 22:18

Well, since you mentioned...

1. iTunes almost always gets the correct tags and album art. I have used WMP (which can fuss up USA/Euro releases) and Media Monkey uses FreeDB or Amazon, which isn't all that great either. The only problem I have with iTunes is that it doesn't embed the art, and for that you do need 3rd party apps.

2. 3rd party software like SharePod is a joke. There are limitations with iTunes. I do hate DRM. If you format your PC and lose your music, you cannot copy your iPod's content using iTunes.

3. Networking with iTunes is fairly simple. If you Shift-click on the iTunes icon, you can choose a library on a shared network resource. This is better than the typical share through preferences as you can update playlists and song info.

4. WMP uses a hodgepodge of different things that don't come together very well, including streaming to an Xbox 360. iTunes flat out works with AppleTV.

5. Both apps are VERY guilty of processes running in the background on Windows. Bonjour, Apple Mobile Device, QTTask, iTunesHelper, and Ipod service all run in the background. WMP also has wmsetup (updater) and wmpnetcfg constantly running. The difference between the 2 is that you can shut off most of the iPod services and still have full functionality of the program.

6. Muse and Zune Marketplace cannot compare to iTunes. Just can't. I don't do much shopping on either, but the facts are there.

7. iTunes doesn't look for new music. Okay, got me there. But then again, I'm not using P2P or BitTorrent anyhow, so when I add a song, it's either because I buy it through iTunes or rip the CD, so it's added anyway. No biggie. It has the ability to organize my folders and that's good enough for me.

8. Forgot to mention the biggest fault of WMP: It's a headache to uninstall, repair or reinstall, and going back to older versions is near impossible.

So... what would I change since I happen to like iTunes?

- Incorporate a way to export playlists into other playlist formats that can be used in other applications.
- Allow backing up of an iPod should the library be wiped (HDD Format)
- Embed album art into tags (so other applications can use the info)
- Scan folders for new music/changes and update library accordingly.

Okay, that's all off topic. Hopefully Dell is listening to what they can do to top iTunes/iPod!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Aug 2008 @ 22:20

1125.8.2008 9:54

I know Apple likes to screw its customers but now it is screwing their executives. No one ever mentions race, creed, sex, obesity, mental illness, ect. in a termination notice because that termination will be tainted. This has been the rule for decades. If his mania actually adversely affected his ability Apple could have fired him on incompetence. Only a moronic, classless company would pull such a stunt. It is obvious that no-one at Apple reads human resource management literature. Doing what they did was to give Bucher a ticket to rape Apple. It is customary for him to get a settlement for his projected salary till he would have retired. Once that is settled, he can sue for defamation of character and be certain to win a punitive amount.

Apple is more vulnerable than ever. Apple has reduced the quality and warrantee service of its ipods when they reduce the price. Persons who have had 3 ipods and their last one died in less than a year are now shopping around. They claim they will never buy an ipod again.

You will always have the "Apple Zombies" who will love Apple no matter what. This project targets the other sector of the population. A person buys a mp3 player not an ipod. In the past these users are dissatisfied with the music download service they get with the mp3 player. That could change if Bucher is as smart as Dell hopes he is.

Many persons hate itunes. I feel the software is slow and poorly designed and will only the minimum. The touch and probably iphone do not allow third party syncing software. My brother in-law opted not to buy an iphone for that reason.

Apple is still the leader and probably will for some time but I would be very surprised if their lead does not erode in the next year and in years to follow.

If done well the project will put one more nail into Apple's coffin.

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