In the '80s, the stereotypical Soccer-Mom accessory for the family mini-van was the "Baby on Board" sign, which even made an appearance as a the hit song of Homer Simpson's Barbershop Quartet group, the Be-Sharps:
In the 2000s, it's this thing: a series of cartoons representing the members of a family plastered across the lower-left corner of the family gas-guzzling SUV:
What's up with that? Are people so proud of their reproductive capacity that they have to advertise it on the back of their cars?
Believe it or not, this one is actually from the web site of a company that sells these things: and it's become so popular that people actually put this, just as is appears here, on their cars:
I'm listening to a KQED-FM Forum program spurred by recent telecommunications announcements, including Google's "gPhone", Apple's iPhone and Verizon's pledge to "open its network" in 2008. Much of the discussion revolves around the different ways American and European carriers package their offerings, especially, the carriers' practice of subsidizing handset purchases in exchange for "locking" the handset to the carrier (and having features of the handsets disabled by the carrier).
Rewind about 10 years. I'm working @ Apple IS&T as manager of Web Services, and I need to buy a couple of big Sun servers for www.apple.com. I head on over to www.sun.com and try to find some servers. I'm thinking that I'll be able to shop for some basic server boxes, and expect to find a range of offerings that I can configure with the appropriate amount of CPUs and memory and discs.
Instead, I find branded bundles: "Netra" packages and workstation packages: but no bare-bones boxes that I can configure as I want. And certainly no info about how to "size" the configuration to Apple's needs based on millions of web requests per month or megabytes per hour or whatever. I can buy a bundle or I can go to hell, apparently.
I end up hiring a consultant to size it and configure it and buy it for me. Maybe this was Sun's plan all along...
Both the locked-in state of mobile phone selling in the States & my experience with Sun are examples of the curse of "Solutions Selling".
Apple has taken this practice to new heights with the iPhone. You get the applications that Apple decides you get, unless you want to unlock your phone and give up on all future software upgrades at the risk of having your phone "bricked" by an Apple upgrade aimed at stopping you from doing what you want with your property.