The Apple Wannabes: Dell, Microsoft, Pepsi, and Google

Inside the secret brainstorms that begin with the dreaded phrase, "If only we could be more like Apple."

Pepsi

Pepsi

Exec #1: "Only once every four years will we be able to take the logo of a Diet Coke -- drinking presidential candidate, rotate it 45 degrees, and act like we created the Mona Lisa of logos."
Exec #2: "We need to move quickly to keep this momentum. It's not about soft drinks anymore."
Exec #1: "Kids today are turning to the iSoda app on their iPhones."
Exec #2: "We need to galvanize a movement."
Exec #1: "I've got the solution. I call it 'iHope.' It's sleek, minimal, refined, and frugal -- a sign of the times. The titanium can signals that you're in the club. And the contents? This is the best part: There are none. It's just air."[Long silence]
Exec #2: "I love it."
Exec #3: "How do we bottle it?"

Microsoft

Microsoft

PowerPoint slide 1: Vista 2.0 Rollout Plan
PowerPoint slide 2: Customers loved Vista almost as much as Zune, but they didn't have a way to express it.
PowerPoint slide 3: With Windows 7 ready, now is the time to tap all that hidden Vista passion.
PowerPoint slide 4: What captures the Vista experience better than the blue screen?
PowerPoint slide 5: It's a blank slate for creativity, a canvas for customers to express their emotions. But we haven't had a name for it.
PowerPoint slide 6: Until now.
PowerPoint slide 7: Meet Bluei (pronounced blooey).
PowerPoint slide 8: Ka-ching? Ka-Bluei! Our customers are going to explode.

Google

Google

Eric Schmidt: "Got a minute, Googletron 9000?"
Computer: "Yes, Eric?"
Schmidt: "How do we compete with the iPhone? Our engineers are the best in the world. We're artists. But no one gets it. You've seen Google Calendar, right?"
Computer: "Of course, Eric."
Schmidt: "Exactly! So what can we do?"
Computer: "Well, statistically speaking, humans gravitate toward objects of simple design and uncomplicated meaning. They also like shiny objects. So I'd do that. Name it 'Android.' That's my son's name."
Schmidt: "Great. Thanks. Hey, while I'm here, can you help me pick between these 41 shades of blue?"

Dell

Google

Exec #1: "I don't get it: Apple does thin laptops, we do thin laptops. They do fashion colors, we do fashion colors."
Exec #2: "Why can't we find that 'it' factor?"
Exec #1: "Hey, that's it: IT!"
Exec #2: "Sneakernet is where Apple fears to tread?"
Exec #1: "Design Eye for the Server Guy."
Exec #2: "Can we make them 'belong' to our brand by incorporating design into their world?"
Exec #1: "I won't rest until an HP-loyal IT guy sees his friend at the server farm with the new Dellicious line of colorful boxes, and snorts, 'Nice rack.' "

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