By Harry McCracken | Monday, December 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm
In this blog post (which I learned of via John Gruber), Darby Lines says that the tech media is unnaturally obsessed with killers–products which are supposed to come along and topple an iPhone, a Google, or another massively popular product through sheer force of quality, marketing, strongarm tactics, or some combination thereof.
He’s right that the whole idea is sort of pointless. As I wrote back in this piece, killers are exceedingly rare–and it seems like even the smartest tech watchers aren’t very good at identifying them until the killing is largely done.
But Lines’ piece got me wondering: Just which products have we fixated on the notion of some other new product killing most often? I decided to try to rank them based on Googleosity: The frequency with which terms such as “iPhone Killer,” “Twitter Killer,” and “Facebook Killer” show up in the Google index.
This is an exceptionally crude experiment–all of the results include some pages (lots of them, actually) that have nothing to do with product-killing. And some terms, such as Xbox Killer and Craiglist Killer pull up so many items about violent death that it’s pointless to include them at all.
But hey, let’s try this again, for the first 35 gadgets, services, and software products that came to my mind.
Like I say, this is a very imprecise exercise, but it does seem that the world has spent more time fixated on would-be iPhone killers than those with murderous intentions against any other tech product. I also get the sense that the whole concept of product killers is largely one of recent times. Maybe it’s a fad–I kind of hope so…