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VHS vs. Betamax – Who won?

The WSJ writer Lee Gomes had a well thought out piece today on page B1 on the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray battle. I sent him a quick note to check out my perspective on the debate – that both formats will win their own niche.

An ex-Forrester research employee wrote an excellent counterpoint, and highlights the fact that Betamax also secured it’s own niche- Betacam. I like this quote:

The Wall Street Journal is citing the victory of VHS over Beta to guide our understanding of next-generation DVDs. Others have used it to predict that Apple’s domination of digital music with the iPod can’t last under an onslaught from Windows Media Player-based devices. But the loser in the VHS-Beta war made more money than the victors because of a better marketing strategy. And maybe that’s the real lesson we should be learning.

I think the current DVD debate will be settled when each technology finds it’s own application, and I think I know how that will happen.


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