Posted by: kurtsh | January 28, 2005

The Halo Effect

I just can’t resist.

For months, people have been discussing whether Apple would get a "halo" effect from iPod that would bolster Mac sales. Apple’s release of the Mac mini, which seems most focused on potential Windows switchers, particularly iPod buyers, seems to justify the discussion. While there appears to be some Mac sales pull from iPod, I’d like to see how Macintosh sales look in another quarter before concluding there is a sustainable trend.

Funny that the real halo effect, the one clearly identifiable, comes not from Apple but from Microsoft. In fiscal 2005 second quarter earnings details released yesterday, Microsoft revealed that sales of game "Halo 2" brought in $300 million, enough to buoy the long money-losing Home and Entertainment division to profitability. The unexpected sales surge shows the difference one hot game can make for any console.

OK, so it’s the "Halo 2" effect.

Xbox is on a roll, with sales projections about six months ahead of Microsoft predictions and Xbox Live subscribers soaring, too. I would encourage Sony and Nintendo not to underestimate the momentum Microsoft is generating. And what happens when more developers starting buying into Windows XNA, which would let them develop for Xbox and Windows–presumably Longhorn–PCs. That’s a whole other kind of halo effect, and one Microsoft has long-time experience exploiting: Cross-platform integration and development.



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