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But isn't Yellow Tail still competing for the customer? Whether they justify their product in terms of lifestyle, or any other measure - it boils down to: their products are next to other wines in the liquor store. And the customer makes the decision to purchase based on factors that Yellow Tail can't really control.

There's a brewery in Delaware, Dogfish Head, that brews some excellent beer. They make a decision to not compete with Coors, Bud, etc. Heck, they don't even compete against Sam Adams - but what they might not realize is that I purchase their beer on a whim. It's either their Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Lager or Sam Adams. I reduce all their competitive analysis to "what do I fancy?" (Right now, it's a Brooklyn Lager :-) ) It doesn't matter to me if they compete against Coors or not - when offered the choice of Coors or water, I'll take water: I don't like Coors' politics (or his manipulation of the political process), and I won't provide any of my money for Pete Coors to use. And I can't stand the beer.

So whether the company thinks it has chosen a different market to compete it - it's still got the problem of getting me to part with my dollars. And that ensures everyone is playing to the same tune; it might be a different band, but the tune is the same.

I'm sorry, I cannot agree that the MacBook Air advances the idea of the wireless client/server paradigm. (Work in computing long enough, and you grow to hate that word.) If it forces that idea, I'd be surprised if it has a long shelf life. The Air is the same idea Apple has touted all along - develop a product that is better than anything the competitors offer, make it sleek and futuristic and desirable - and charge for the privilege of owning one.

My apologies, Joe. I didn't mean to imply that as the only way of competing! I was tired, and I didn't take as much care as I probably should have.

Carolyn Ann

@Joe -- market-driven innovation takes into consideration the needs that are going unanswered in the marketplace. I really liked the Yellow Tail case study in "Blue Ocean Strategy".

@Roger -- with the introduction and take off of Software as a Service (the famous SaaS), wireless client/server starts being very appealing... to some. Admittedly, I now have a bunch of floppies that are totally useless, but the information on them still valuable.

The innovative element of the Air is not its slim size.

I think what people will be talking about a year from now is that the Air was the first to introduce "wireless client/server" to the home or home-business user.

What they've done here is on a par with moving from 5.25" floppies to 3.5" in the mid-80s, and eliminating floppy media altogether in the 90s.

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