Xbox One Launch; Yelp Troubles; Apple Talks Innovation

Xbox, Yelp and Apple Make News - Good or Bad

Xbox, Yelp and Apple Make News – Good or Bad

Most anyone that regularly reads tech news has heard Microsoft recently unveiled its next generation Xbox – the Xbox One – which seemingly is an attempt to take over every aspect of your living room. The launch event lasted around an hour and obviously garnered tons of press coverage.

The console is expected to be available around the holiday shopping season. Microsoft has lately been secretive about key product details before the actual product availability. It’s not always been very helpful to them either. Arguably, they also left out some key details about the Xbox One as they have with Windows Blue recently. But, most key features were indeed covered in good detail. Overall, the launch grade is probably an A- because, while it covered what most people want to know about it didn’t please tech heads. Processor details were scant and little details continue to emerge. They promise more details at E3, which starts June 11. So, we’ll see if a full reveal occurs then. Building up interest to a feverish pitch is good but, it’s a fine balance. On the one hand, you shouldn’t dangle things to the point where consumers get frustrated (as with Windows 8 changes). On the other hand, you do want to dangle some things long enough to get consistent media attention up until launch time. So far, so good for the Xbox One. Not so much for Windows 8.

Yelp! My Review Sucks!
Yelp continues to be under attack by consumers for many reasons. They now allegedly make their own fake reviews about business not willing to pay for advertising. This seems to be the latest. Yelp review problems are seemingly not going to go away easy.

First of all, business owners are almost always passionate about their business. When they see a negative review – even if it’s true – it’s difficult for them to believe it and certainly to acknowledge it. It’s natural when attacked to get defensive. This is an almost impossible mountain to climb for Yelp, even if it ever does get its review system to 100 percent accuracy. To business owners most negative reviews are not accurate. This is the case whether true or not.

Regarding the claims that Yelp is faking reviews now too, here’s a response:

“Let me be clear: This claim is not — and has never been — true,” wrote Vince Sollitto, vice president of corporate communications at Yelp.

In an ironic way, even Yelp itself is getting defensive about attacks against them and putting up a wall of defense. Just as business owners being reviewed on Yelp should do, Yelp itself should extend an olive branch to those blasting them. From a PR perspective, playing defense while on the hot seat will almost always lead to more attacks. Instead, look for a way to say, “Hey, neither of us benefit from this. Let’s instead talk about how we can change this so we both win.” This goes for small business owners getting bad reviews too.

Apple Innovation, Please?
More than ever, the argument that Apple has stopped innovating holds water. Recently CEO Tim Cook spoke about the matter.

“Many people define innovation as a new product,” he said. “We have some incredible plans we’ve been working on for a while. We have some incredible ideas. The same culture and largely the same people that brought you the iPhone, the iPad mini, the iPod, and some who brought you the Mac, the same culture is there.”

Reading into this, it seems those that have been wanting a new Apple HDTV will not be getting it anytime soon. Add to this that line about “ideas they’ve been working on for a while,” well, when do we get to see them? There is a growing concern from Main Street to Wall Street that they’re taking too long, that their current devices are too often merely minor upgrades to old models.

It’s a good and bad problem to have. When you change the digital music player market forever, it’s great. When you quickly follow that up with a product that changed the smartphone market forever, it gets to be really great. When you then quickly follow that up again with a computing device in a tablet that redefines computing, well, then innovation at that level starts to become expected. Cook is probably trying to change the benchmark from innovating whole market categories to innovating features of existing products. It’s a tough thing to sell but, probably necessary unless Apple is willing to change our perceptions of TVs, cars, game consoles, etc. too. Such a thing could lead to a lack of focus for what helped them achieve success.

So, the question will be whether feature innovations are enough to keep Apple the darling it has been to many consumers. Or, perhaps Apple is simply being secretive and we’ll be seeing a TV from them to compete with Samsung there too. Let the court battles begin, if so.