The Google Glass Backlash Begins: The Osborne Effect

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 4, 2013 in Tech |

megyn kelly looks like a glasshole

This article at Business Insider is typical of a new breed of backlash articles that bash the unreleased device: “I haven’t worn Glass. While I think it looks neat, I dont see a killer application that makes them worth it.”

Now the funny thing is that not being an insider I have to honestly say I have no idea how good or bad Google Glass may be: It could be the next iPhone or it could be the next Newton. But the funny thing is that to me this is really a commentary on something that Apple did very well in the modern Steve Jobs era:

Steve Jobs at All Things D not talking

Don’t say ANYTHING about a product that hasn’t been released.

And the Google Glass backlash is and example of why this is a good idea. The problem is that the press has a high boredom threshold, and to the media there are only two kinds of stories: Either you’re a hero or public enemy number one. In the early days when Google Glass was shown off it was the hero, and featured in many stories that were also asking “why isn’t Apple doing this?” with the unsaid answer that Steve Jobs was dead and that’s why.

But clearly Google didn’t learn one lesson from Steve Jobs: You only have one chance to introduce a product to the world and you need to make the most of it. Once that moment is over you lose control over your message and the press can bite you.

the palm pilot 1000

For years before the iPhone came out Apple fanboys were begging for an iPod phone, in fact even before the iPod the fanboys begged for an Apple PDA phone just like Palm. In every interview Steve Jobs was asked about this, and what did he do? He may have smirked, but he just shut the hell up.

He knew that if a product was announced that the media could destroy it before the fans could rush to the store and get their hands on said device themselves. And with Google Glass being far away from a commercial release (and anything more than a month is far away) the press is already tired of the story and is now turning on it.

So what’s sad is that even if Google Glass is really good, it may already be a ruined product. For a classic example of this we can go back to 80s and the death of the Osborne Computer Corporation: This amazing company built the first portable computer in 1981, but sadly in 1983 the company pre-announced the next lineup without actually bring out the lineup. The result was a disaster since people stopped buying the current Osborne 1 inventory which killed the cash flow of the company, and thus killed the company.

The Osborne 1

Of course this may have not been the only thing that killed Osborne, but having that gap between announcement and the ability for people to play with a product can really kill you before you get started.

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