Jack Campbell from DVForge just emailed us with some very interesting details about that Super Shuffle MP3 player Apple was up in arms about a few days ago—it turns out it was a publicity stunt. Read on for the full story:
A few moments after the first news story broke about the Super Shuffle at CeBit, I emailed LuxPro, asking for resale information. A day later, with no answer in hand, I called them. I spoke with Ms. Daisy Lee, Sales with LuxPro.
I introduced myself, referred Ms. Lee to two of our company's existing ODM partners in China, stated my interest, then let her go. She emailed me less than an hour later. Both of our manufacturing partners I gave to her emailed me to tell me that 'somebody from LuxPro' had contacted them. So, it seems Ms. Lee checked our legitimacy. From that point forward, I have had direct communications with Ms. Lee and with two senior execs at LuxPro, including two cell telephone talks from the floor at CeBit, before that show closed last weekend. Here is what I have learned:
LuxPro had a USB 2.0 based music player architecture already in development, when Apple launched the shuffle, in January. The guys at LuxPro hatched a plan to leverage the media attention created by Apple to their advantage. They are a contract manufacturer, making their living by selling their circuitry, put into enclosures designed by U.S. or European branded resellers. So, they saw this advanture as a wonderful way to swing the worlds spotlight in their direction for a few days.
1. The Super Shuffle is not in production by LuxPro.
2. There is no intent by LuxPro to ever put the Super Shuffle into production.
3. LuxPro is looking for companies (like mine) to hire LuxPro to build uniquely designed players, based around the same electronics inside the Super Shuffle.
4. The entire CeBit sideshow was planned from the start as a gambit to gain a hugely disproportionate share of the industrys attention, so as to find a few customers for the Super Shuffles electronics.
We have decided to go a different route, and will not be a LuxPro customer. However, as of yesterday, there are at least two well-known U.S. sold brands that have expressed firm interest in bringing original design players to market, based around the same electronics inside the Super Shuffle. So, it seems, the LuxPro CeBit gamble has paid off for them already.
So, there will be no Apple lawsuits, no Super Shuffles fighting their way onto racks at Circuit City, no angry mobs of Apple lawyers storming the LuxPro factory.
This was not a prank, nor was it an act of blind stupidity. In my view, it was one of the most clever PR maneuvers I have ever seen executed by a small company.
And, thats the reality of the Super Shuffle. Enjoy!
Of course, this completely ruins our scheme to bring a Super Shuffle to the Apple Store in SoHo and have a little fun with the people working at the Genius Bar, but what can you do?