The classic juxtaposition I use in my talks is Apple vs. Microsoft or
Both of the latter use tremendous amounts of user research in varying
degrees and of varying types. They spend a lot of money on it. Both
do classic personas, profiles, scenarios, etc. The former (Apple)
does exactly none--at least on their consumer products. This doesn't
mean they don't do any testing, just that they little or none user
research up front. Also, they only cater to one user: Steve. He tests
EVERYTHING! I've been assured of this several times by several
different people in the company.
It begs the question (when you look at the products that come out of
all three): Is user-centered design the problem?
Personally, I don't think so but I do suspect a lot of bad user-
centered this and that being done out there. Apple's got something
that works for them but it's unique and not terribly duplicable. With
every company in the Fortune 500 trying to follow their model to
innovate in their industry, most haven't figured-out that Apple's
approach won't work for most every other company.