Microsoft announced that yesterday was the "biggest day in entertainment history" with over $170 million worth of Halo 3 sold for XBox in the first 24 hours, beyond even movie blockbusters like Spiderman or books like Harry Potter. Granted, a copy of Halo costs nearly $60 but the announcement points to a successful marketing strategy. That strategy is known as "platform exclusives" and it can make or break a new product. Many Mac diehards cringe when Halo is mentioned...it is the one clear example of Microsoft out-marketing Apple. Here is the short story:
One of the best games ever for the Mac was a little product known as Marathon from a little company known as Bungie. Keep in mind that Steve Jobs did NOT want the Mac to be a gaming system for he feared it would not be taken seriously by business users who were the target audience way back in 1984. As a result the Mac suffered (and continues to suffer) from not having great games, and very few exclusive games. But, at the MacWorld 1999 tradeshow during his keynote, Steve Jobs introduced the follow up to that Bungie hit, another Mac-only game simply called Halo.
It was a ground breaking demo - the effect being that the Mac had the power to redefine the PC gaming experience. However, Microsoft was watching the keynote and they were searching for a breakthrough platform exclusive for their yet-to-be-released system, Xbox. So on June 19, 2000 Microsoft acquired Bungie and in one fell swoop killed the Mac version, got the killer app they were looking for, transferred the buzz into interest in their system, blocked the Mac from encroaching on the PC's territory as a gaming system, and stuck it to the Mac faithful who were waiting for Halo for more than a year.
Now Halo eventually got ported to the Mac, but that's not the point. This is an example of drafting the momentum of a rival, and it is fair game in the sales and marketing world. I'd like to hear from readers about other examples they know about - either done to them or by them. If I get some good responses - say 5 or 6 - I'll use my next few posts to tell you another true story about Apple getting outfoxed that has never been told before...