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Fortune: Dell DJ Doomed To Be Second Best

Fortune: Dell DJ Doomed To Be Second Best

by , 10:00 AM EST, November 26th, 2003

Many times, the challenge in doing what we call a reference article (pointing our readers to an article published elsewhere) is to quote enough of the story to get the point across without quoting so much as to be ripping off that article. We're a tad persnickety about that, unlike some Web sites out there, but it's often a fine line to walk. Today, however, we have a piece that is so good, so funny, that we could have picked just about any section of the piece we are bringing you.

Fortune has published a review of Dell's new entry into the portable music player market, which is called the Dell Digital Jukebox, or Dell DJ. The device is a rebranded product from Creative, and it is tied into a Dell-rebranded music store, provided by MusicMatch. Fortune's reviewer, Peter Lewis, rips into the player and the music store alike with clever wordplay and interesting imagery. While he says that the player works well in the Windows world, and is generally the second best player out there, it can't touch the iPod, iTunes, or the iTunes Music Store (iTMS). From the article:

The evil scientist Lex Luthor used his duplicator ray to try to clone Superman, but something went terribly wrong. The result was Bizarro, a good-natured but ugly and backward version of the Man of Steel. Bizarro was the antithesis of cool; his home planet, Htrae, was square.

When Bizarro had good news to announce, he would say, "This am terrible!"

Which leads us into a discussion of Dell's new Bizarro version of Apple's iPod, called the Dell Digital Jukebox Music Player, or Dell DJ for short. Coming from the square world of Dell instead of the hip world of Apple, it's bigger, heavier, and clunkier than Apple's sleek, suave, elegant iPod, which arrived on the scene two years ago and quickly became the most popular portable digital music player on our home planet, Earth. Even worse, the Musicmatch-backed Dell Music Store is the clumsy, Bizarro counterpart to Apple's brilliant iTunes Music Store.


Bizarro, the pathetic wretch, was driven mad by constant comparisons with the handsome, smart, and sexy Superman he was meant to emulate. So too must the DJ suffer from inevitable comparisons with the iPod, with its two-year headstart. If the iPod did not exist, the DJ might even lay claim to the title of Best Portable Music Player Since the Sony Walkman.

But the iPod does exist, and so do Apple iTunes and the Apple iTunes Music Store, and thus the Dell DJ is doomed to be merely the second-best player on the market.

There's a lot more like that in the full article, which we recommend as a very good, and a very entertaining read. We should also note that the article implies that Apple's iPod supports WMA file format, when that is not the case.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Wow. At one point, Mr. Lewis says that, "In other words, we must praise the DJ with faint damns." In reality, he just damns. From pointing out that the Dell DJ can't beat the two-year old iPod, to the use of the Bizarro imagery, to likening using MusicMatch to prostate surgery, this piece just rips into Dell's me-too offerings. He does have a few good things to say about the unit, but even then it is mixed with ridicule and condemnation.

We love it.

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