NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For as much as I have defended Apple (AAPL - Get Report) against rampant inanity in recent weeks, I also acknowledge that, from a long-term standpoint, it's a somewhat vulnerable company with a relatively uncertain future.
In the near-term, Tim Cook benefits from
a fantastic lack of competition
Even if you're a Mac person, on some level, you've got to want to see
(MSFT - Get Report)
succeed. It's easy to
make fun of Steve Ballmer
, but he seems like a lovable guy. And, as bad as Microsoft looks, it's actually on the cusp of greatness. It just needs better marketing.
Over the weekend, I was at a neighbor's house. Our kids were playing with the Xbox. This family just got one a few weeks ago. It's an incredible device. Best gaming system I've ever seen. In fact, I used to own one. It was even pretty solid a few years ago. It's about as cutting edge as it gets in the living room.
If Microsoft can manage to bring pieces of its innovative pipeline to market
, it will keep getting better.
Microsoft should not stumble here. In fact, it has a clear edge over Apple -- based on what we know and can see -- in the living room. It's about more than first-mover advantage; Microsoft has already, in many households, closed the gap between the gaming experience and everything else a streaming player can do for you. It's nowhere near this level with its mobile ecosystem, which is a 100-to-one long shot at best.
Xbox is not merely a pimply-faced gamer's toy; it's a whole house, whole family entertainment system that outsells, by a wide margin, everything else like it. People know this. However, I'm not sure they know that Microsoft is the company that produces such a cool device.
My kid and my friend's kids have no idea, yet they can speak intelligently -- with palpable excitement -- about several generations of Apple products.
made one of our television sets;
(SNE - Get Report)
the other. A few years ago we bought a
(GE - Get Report)
refrigerator. My kid loves the TVs and is always in the fridge, but she really has no clue who makes them. Nor does she care.