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The Forgotten Failure of Apple's PowerTalk

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the technology-oxbow dept.

138

DECS writes "The series of articles Why Apple Will Change TV compared how Apple is poised for success in areas where Microsoft is currently failing. But circumstances are subject to change! Just over a decade ago, Apple began facing serious legacy problems with its platform, with many parallels to today's Microsoft. Examining Apple's dramatic fall provides a series of notable platform lessons that no company should ignore. A look back at the forgotten failure of Apple's PowerTalk: Apple vs. Microsoft in the Enterprise"

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138 comments

1st? (-1, Troll)

shagymoe (261297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407369)

BLAH

3 valuable lessons? (5, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407387)

The article mentions 3 valuable lessons:

1. Don't try to sell a futuristic product that doesn't quite work yet; instead, talk about it while selling as existing product that can compete in the current market.

2. Don't attempt to fire conceptual ideas at an imagined market; instead, craft finished products that solve real problems and can support a sustainable market.

3. Ship a functional product and then constantly refine it; Real world use and years of ongoing refinement create enormous value for a product.

Now, according to their lessons, google with all their betas must be a rightout disaster, shouldn't it?

Re:3 valuable lessons? (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407647)

Actually, I'd say Google models this pretty well. Products with a real current functionality, like GMail and Google Maps, succeed despite pushing the technological envelope. Products which push the envelope too hard, like their office suite, fail to catch fire. They keep looking for the boundary between "functional" and "futuristic", but there's almost always a market for the things (especially at the $0 price they charge for it) they make when they work.

Either way, Google is all about pushing the "constantly refine it" part. Web apps make for instantaneous, compatible upgrades.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (3, Insightful)

shaneh0 (624603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408143)

Seriously, their office suite launched, what, a week ago? Even if you look at the seperate components, the spreadsheets have been live for only a few months.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409267)

like their office suite, fail to catch fire.

Unless its a Weber Grill, products that "fail to catch fire" are generally considered to be a good thing.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410555)

My Weber grill has yet to catch fire.

The charcoal I put inside it does catch fire, though. Quite easily (and, unfortunately, the occasional steak, too).

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

gamlidek (459505) | more than 6 years ago | (#16412869)

You should get ribeyes. Their the hardest steak to screw up and I think the most flavorful; although, if it catches fire, it'll still turn into charcoal. *sigh*

-gam

Google is pushing the envelope? Please. (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#16413101)

Products with a real current functionality, like GMail and Google Maps, succeed despite pushing the technological envelope.

"Pushing the technological envelope"? Wake up and stop drinking the kool-aide.

Google search? Search results 90% of the time are astroturf sites and spam blogs. I've completely given up trying to find product reviews via google, for example.

Froogle? Search for some computer component part number. Let's say the same # is used by sewing machines. Click on "Computers" without clicking the subcategory "motherboards"- the parts you wanted are GONE. What the hell? Go back, click motherboards- the parts are there. Froogle is also completely incompetent when it comes to matching/grouping/consolidating products, or even matches like "1GB PC133"...half the time, that'll yield 512MB dimms which happen to have a link to 1GB dimms on the same page!

Gmail can't let you do more than ONE thing at a time. Want to have a draft of an email open while reading a second for reference? Tough. GMail can't filter by custom headers- which makes it absolutely useless for subscribing to mailing lists. Gmail blatantly and heavily encourages top-posting and full quoting, much to the annoyance of mailing list managers everywhere. GMail was a GIANT step backwards in email client functionality. I never understood what the hell all the fuss was about, and I still don't after using it for a few months.

Google Maps is "the best map client around", except MS's local.live.com blows it out of the water; pushpins, saved addresses, side birds-eye views, etc...and doesn't have the serious problems Google Maps does with serving up image tiles; half the time, tile images aren't loaded at all, or are loaded in the wrong order. Why in 2006 do I have to keep entering my home/work address as starting points/destinations, when I could have Mapquest save addresses back in 1998!?

Google Analytics? What if I'd like to do something as simple as track my visitor retention rate over time, to see if it's going up/down? Pretty simple, right? Can't do it; you can't track anything over time except for a few basic parameters. Other bug-based web-trend software is far better, and Google appears to have done squat with Analytics, which they bought off another company!

Re:3 valuable lessons? (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407661)

Now, according to their lessons, google with all their betas must be a rightout disaster, shouldn't it?

Significantly different market. Google has the cash, time, patience, and talent to instead throw 100 products at the wall and see what sticks. Because we're talking web services and not hardware, they can accept a 20% success rate, or lower, and that would be fantastic.

That said, Google would do well to invest more energy in promoting the products that look on the verge of success, like mail. Already Yahoo has come out with a product that many think is now better than gmail (though I don't), in part because google's been dragging its feet with gmail, *and* it has stagnated for over a year.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407699)

All products ever made by all companies fall into one of those three catagories. Meaning, all products ever produced and sold are either catagory 1, 2, or 3.
Those are not 3 lessons. It is the same lesson and I do not agree with the conclusion. If companies never tried something on the edge or what I consider catagory 1 or 2, we would have far less technology in the world right now. Catagory 1 and 2 can and do lead to number 3. Companies that only want to release number 3 are waiting for the trend to be set and then jumping on the bandwagon making their own version of the product, in many markets, being conservative and waiting for that is too late.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408087)

Google's not exactly staking the company's future on all its JavaScript toys. They still make something like 98% of their revenue on text, banner, Flash, and video ads. Their beta JavaScript apps just get Google lots of fluffy praise and attention from sites like Slashdot and Kuro5hin. [digg.com] It's fantastic marketing, but it's not like Google expects people to actually confide in Gmail and Docs for any productive purpose.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409309)

Name the Google products which:

  1. don't work yet
  2. don't have a market
  3. aren't being refined

I'm having trouble finding examples. I'll admit, sometimes I have trouble figuring out where Google is making their money. Google Talk, for example-- there aren't ads in their chat client. Are they just making money from collecting info from my chats somehow? I'm not sure. But it works. I'm in the market for that service. It continues to be refined.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410605)

Froogle. Okay it's "being refined" as in being taken out behind the barn, shot, and replaced with Google Base.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411231)

Google Web Accelerator, Google Video (what, you think they'll keep it running after they own YouTube?), Checkout (Yahoo! storefront competitor, not a PayPal killer), and Froogle.

Google makes money on ads and ads alone. Everything else is meant to improve the public's perception of Google so that Google can sell more ads without pissing people off as much as DoubleClick did.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411591)

SMS and VOIP is where they are looking to make money, plus text adds in Gmail which lets one use as a chat client.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409389)

1. Don't try to sell a futuristic product that doesn't quite work yet; instead, talk about it while selling as existing product that can compete in the current market.

This one didn't work out so well when Osborne Computer Corp tried it.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409595)

according to their lessons, google with all their betas must be a rightout disaster,

uh, The betas are "Ship a functional product and then constantly refine it" almost exactly.

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

hhr (909621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410873)

No!

> 1. Don't try to sell a futuristic product that doesn't quite work yet; instead, talk about it while selling as existing product that can compete in the current market

What google product is futuristic and doesn't quiet work yet? Every google product works, right here, right now. Even if they are in beta, the Google product works.

> 2. Don't attempt to fire conceptual ideas at an imagined market; instead, craft finished products that solve real problems and can support a sustainable market

Providing free content and selling ads is not a conceptual market. The TV industry has been doing this for years. Providing quality search is not a conceptual market. Search sites have always been among the most popular wet sites in the internet. The market was well known. How to capitalize the market, that was the hard part.

> 3. Ship a functional product and then constantly refine it; Real world use and years of ongoing refinement create enormous value for a product.

Doesn't this describe Google Search? Gmail? AdSense?

Re:3 valuable lessons? (1)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411165)

And Microsoft domintated the software industry by violating the "that doesn't quite work yet" part of rule 1. Windows 1 and 2 clearly were products that didn't quite work yet. Windows NT 3.0 and 3.1 didn't quite work yet.

Rule #2 could also be stated "follow the trail that someone else blazes". Microsoft is very good at that. Microsoft had plenty of mail servers to copy when it was creating Exchange. They started by implementing other people's computer languages. They purchased a clone of CP/M to sell as DOS. They copied the Macintosh when creating Windows. They copied VisiCalc when making MultiPlan, and MacWrite when making Microsoft Word.

Rule #3 is good, but it's not at all surprising. What kind of business success would one have shipping a non-functional product, or shipping a functional product and then not refining it?

Similarities are small (1)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407447)

I'm all for learning from past mistakes, and granted, there are similarities between the ongoing PC-in-the-living-room war and past wars; enterprise market notably - but the factors of the two markets are vastly different. Both Microsoft and Apple has come a long way in the past ten years, both regarding compability, marketing and usability - so declaring a (potential) winner based on decade-old experience is as useful as putting the proverbial finger in the air.

AppleTalk back in the day (1)

klang (27062) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407451)

..when every Mac had AppleTalk and most PC's didn't come with a network card as standard.

Re:AppleTalk back in the day (1)

Mr. Maestro (876173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407615)

And now apple wants to take over the living room by shipping macs without a TV tuner standard.

Yeah but which tuner? (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407733)

What kind of TV tuner would you have them install?

Analog NTSC? Great, except that it'll stop working in a few years, and the quality is abysmal by modern standards.

ATSC? You get high-def, but you need an antenna, and even then you only get the big networks, which is a big step down to people used to 100+ channels of cable.

Clear QAM? It lets you use cable, so no antenna, but chances are you'll still only get the major networks, and it's arguably a greater pain in the ass than ATSC: many cable companies (Comcast, I'm looking at you) strip the metadata from their clear-QAM channels, making things like program guides really painful to use. And at the end of the day, you'll still be stuck with only the major broadcast networks, because those are the only ones that the cablecos are required to broadcast unencrypted. Everything else requires a proprietary converter box.

The solution would be CableCard, but there are still a lot of areas where you either can't get one, or are treated like shit and get a degraded level of service if you do. (And you pay several extra bucks for the privilege of renting the card.)

Given the state of the market right now, I wouldn't ship a computer with a TV tuner in it, either. If the FCC were to get its act together and really make CableCard the standard, and eliminate proprietary converter boxes, then I think you'd see an explosion in the types of set-top boxes and DVRs. I have no doubt Apple would be at the top of the list.

Re:Yeah but which tuner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407951)

I agree with the multiple possibilities and capabilities but a $50 NTSC tuner installed in a computer sold in the US right now would not be a big risk by any means.

Re:Yeah but which tuner? (3, Insightful)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408179)

The answer is CableCARD. I want a media box that can replace the piece-of-shit Comcast DVR that reboots several times a week, littering my screen with dozens of "recorded for 0 hours 0 minutes" listings. HDTV compatibility is a must and I don't have the wherwithal to put up a giant antenna. So far the only box that comes close is the TiVo Series3, but that makes even the PlayStation 3 look cheap. ($800, plus rentals for two CableCARDs, plus $17 a month for TiVo service, adds up to over $1,000 in the first year alone.)

One alternative is just downloading all my TV shows from the iTunes Store (or BitTorrent, if I only want to watch popular stuff the day it comes out). To do that quickly you'll need a cable modem, and to get a cable modem for a decent price you might as well subscribe to some sort of cable, and that brings us around to square one again.

Re:Yeah but which tuner? (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408235)

What kind of TV tuner would you have them install?
Analog NTSC? [...] ATSC? [...] Clear QAM?

Um, all of them?

And why the heck aren't ATSC-available channels not part of BASIC cable?

Re:Yeah but which tuner? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411451)

Well, the local broadcast digital channels are supposed to be transmitted as part of the lowest-cost cable package, but sometimes you don't get them unless you pay for "digital cable" service (because they'll randomly put a broadcast channel up on the higher portion of the band, which is blocked unless you pay for digital service or HSI). This is in violation of the FCC rules, but really, when has that stopped the cable companies?

And unlike good 'ol analog NTSC, where the transmissions down the cable line were basically the same as the transmissions going over the air, now that we're in the Brave New Digital World, they decided to use one method of transmission for OTA stuff and another for wireline. Over-the-air is ATSC, and cable is QAM. Wonderful, no?

So even if you do get the standard broadcast lineup in digital on your basic cable, as you're supposed to, it requires a QAM tuner rather than an ATSC one. There are some hybrid tuners (I know of at least two which are designed to decode all three: NTSC, ATSC, and QAM) but they're not very mature.

All of them! (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#16412901)

Indeed. Remember, we're talking about Apple here. Apple customers expect things to "just work", and they aren't afraid to pay for it. That means whatever kind of TV they have, they should be able to plug it in and have it work, just like the Series3 TiVo - except Apple customers won't balk at paying an extra $600 for the feature the way many TiVo users do.

Re:Yeah but which tuner? cablecard not going to fl (1)

dean.collins (862044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410867)

It's a long story that I've posted here a few times so I wont bore everyone with the details but about 2 years ago I led a consortium of people looking to build a Myth-TV version of the tivo 3 cablecard box.

The difference with our platform was we were going to take live content from both the cable company's feed and the cat 5 internet connection and overlay them onto a consolidated platform.

The problem with cablecard the technology is the cable companies, it is quiet clear that the FCC is a toothless tiger who are never going to get anywhere and that the cable companies are stalling until forced then they will move to a new 'technology' with the next appropriate level of stall tactics. (they were just publicly talking about the software version of cablecard that the tv set manafacturers would need to build into their hardware (eg at least a 3 year lead time from signoff).

Cablelabs the consortium and cable companies the channels can all go to hell.

We'll be back when you are a forgotten memory and everything is iptv delivered.

I've since 'gifted' it to the MythTV community but Issac et al haven't picked up on anything but the supporting documentation and the businessplan is still available for download at www.Cognation.net/Cablecard3

Cheers,
Dean

Re:Yeah but which tuner? (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411813)

Given the state of the market right now, I wouldn't ship a computer with a TV tuner in it, either. If the FCC were to get its act together and really make CableCard the standard, and eliminate proprietary converter boxes, then I think you'd see an explosion in the types of set-top boxes and DVRs. I have no doubt Apple would be at the top of the list.
I think you're missing the point here. Apple doesn't want to play in the existing cable/satellite/OTA arenas. They are already heavily dominated by entrenched monopolies. Apple has created an entirely new distribution channel using the Internet and the iTunes store. The future is on-demand video delivered over broadband Internet, where Apple doesn't have to force their customers to give the cable company a cut.

I know that if I could by an iTV today and download the few TV shows I watch every week for $1.99, I'd cancel my cable bill in a heartbeat, and I'm sure a lot of iPod users that have seen how well iTunes works would as well. Apple is creating an entirely new distribution model; they aren't wrapping hardware around existing outdated distribution models.

Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable box (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407789)

And now apple wants to take over the living room by shipping macs without a TV tuner standard.

Digital cable tuners are supposed to include a FireWire output. All Macintosh computers have FireWire inputs. So if you're a subscriber, you should already have an appropriate tuner. Or are you talking about over-the-air?

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407865)

My satellite box has a firewire out but it's conveniently disabled.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408145)

My satellite box has a firewire out but it's conveniently disabled.

Have you asked your satellite provider what you can do to get it enabled and working with your computer? Or has the satellite provider already refused and are you locked into long-term commitment so that you can't use the stick [wikipedia.org] of switching to the competitor?

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408481)

Maybe there *are* no competitors. In the UK for example Sky have an absolute monopoly - you have to use their proprietary hardware (and closed encryption) to access their service and there are no other satellite services (unless you're into big dishes and foreign languages).

It'd be interesting to see if the Apple TV thing works over here.. they'd have to provide content (something they failed to do with the ipod video - you still can't get videos on itunes outside the US), and hardware to interface with the common sources of video - that means at the least a SCART input and digitiser. HD is right out - Sky have that locked down so hard there's no way to build hardware to interface to it unless you reckon Apple can work out a way of cheaply digitising raw HDMI output.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409201)

they'd have to provide content

I think that's going to be a bit of a challenge for Apple outside of the US, at least for English language programming being sold to English speaking countries. For US programmes they'd either have to make a deal with the studios to get the international rights (which might get expensive, as selling the rights to Apple will dilute the value of the programmes in foreign markets) or they'll have to deal with each rights holder in each individual market they want to enter (which will take longer, but may be cheaper). So I really wouldn't want to hold my breath waiting for apple to launch video services outside the US.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409079)

What makes you think the competitors are going to enable the Firewire port?

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409109)

There's only one competitor which is StarChoice and I don't believe their hardware is any better. I have ExpressVu in Ontario and the Canadian govt. doesn't allow American satellite companies to sell service here.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408689)

Mine, a Dish Network 625, doesn't even have a firewire out.

I don't think Firewire is actually that common, and I'm not sure where Tepples gets the "supposed to have" requirement from.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (2, Informative)

djrogers (153854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409603)

I don't think Firewire is actually that common, and I'm not sure where Tepples gets the "supposed to have" requirement from.
He waas talking about CABLE boxes, not sat boxes. Cable cos are actually regulated into providing a working FW port in the US at the moment, but sat companies have no such requirements.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409881)

You expect that turd to actually read something before posting?!?! HE'S A FUCKNUT RETARD!!!

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410751)

Well, yeah, I'm aware of that. I was responding to the parent who was talking about Sat boxes.

But I'd still like to know where the Firewire requirement for any type of box has been mandated. You say cable companies are regulated, but (and maybe I'm wrong in thinking this) I was under the impression that there's very little regulation in terms of cable equipment and requirements, to the point that even CableCARD is more or less optional.

I have had digital cable in the past, from Adelphia, and there was no firewire port. Was this illegal, or was the regulation relatively recent, or is it not really a regulation?

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (0)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408895)

Do all Macs have Firewire? I thought the newer ones had gone USB 2

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

rahrens (939941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409251)

They did, but kept the Firewire. Firewire is essential if you want to connect a video camera to your Mac to download the home movie you just made, so Apple isn't going to dump it for a while - not until something better comes along.

USB uses an error correcting protocol, and Firewire doesn't - firewire guarantees a steady transfer rate; USB, because of the error correction, does not. Thus, Firewire, or IEEE-1394, as it is otherwise known, is better for video transfer.

Plus, Firewire is standard output on all home video cameras.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409741)

Do all Macs have Firewire? I thought the newer ones had gone USB 2
Nope, Firewire is still there.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408939)

Verizon FiOS cable comes with Firewire AND USB (and serial, but I doubt you could get video over that). Of course they're all disabled. I've never heard of any cable company ever leaving the firewire port enabled. You can call and ask to have it enabled, but the first level techs will just tell you to reboot your box and mess with your TV settings, the second level techs will sound confused and not find it in their manual, and the third level tech will finally tell you "we don't do that, what were you thinking?!?".

Seriously, cable companies fear those features, and beyond a few geeks here and there nobody will notice if they disable them anyway. Thus nobody ever turns it on. I'm not sure why they even put them on the box in the first place.

Re:Your TV tuner is built into your digital cable (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16412179)

"Digital cable tuners are supposed to include a FireWire output."

Who says?

"All Macintosh computers have FireWire inputs."

Yeah. Do they support the video formats over firewire that these tuners are supposed to provide? Where is iPVR? I guess the mac doesn't have support for this after all.

Re:AppleTalk back in the day (1)

vmardian (321592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410111)

Most broadcasts are encrypted and require proprietary cable/satellite boxes. OTA is only available in major city centers. And what the non-North American market? The future is digital distribution and Apple is right to focus on that.

No TV Tuner, etc (1)

waif69 (322360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407453)

I don't see how this will fit in to my system. I am happily running a DishNet DVR and am not going to buy a HD TV until the tech levels out, that and I bought a very nice JVC CRT set a few years back that will serve me for many years to come. So what will this do for me? Also, what about infringement on the UK's commercial station ITV?

Re:No TV Tuner, etc (1)

waif69 (322360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407549)

I found a link on wikipedia that explains the system better than the article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_iTV [wikipedia.org]

How much do you watch (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409087)

I don't see how this will fit in to my system. I am happily running a DishNet DVR and am not going to buy a HD TV until the tech levels out, that and I bought a very nice JVC CRT set a few years back that will serve me for many years to come. So what will this do for me? Also, what about infringement on the UK's commercial station ITV?

First of all, Apple has said ITV is just a workingname and the final name needs to change.

Secondly, what appeals to me about this device is that it's pay-as-you consume, instead of the layered monthy fees you pay with a DVR and cable. I only watch a few shows, so I don't need a full cable subscription - I save money just buying the shows I do watch on ITMS. That's why those calling for a tuner in this box are missing the point about what it's for.

Lastly, it's a way to push all the online video people watch out to TV. It's a lot more fun to browse YouTube from a couch than on a desktop.

I use a Mac mini in the role this iTV box would serve, I'm curious though when it arrives what else it might do when it arrives.

YANKEES DID 9/11 JUNIOR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407467)

YANKEES DID 9/11 JUNIOR

A bit excited are we? (2, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407513)

"The series of articles Why Apple Will Change TV compared how Apple is poised for success in areas where Microsoft is currently failing. But circumstances are subject to change!"

What's with the excited exclamation mark? In something purporting to be a news story/blurb i usually expect a recitation of facts combined with a calm statement of opinion. Shouting makes it sound like either a rant or something intended as a dire warning. Are you a fan of microsoft who is vehemently denying that apple will actually experience the success that some people believe they are posed for? Or are you an apple fan sending out a call to arms to other apple fans to make sure that this opportunity doesn't waste away? I can't tell which way you're leaning but the exclamation mark sure makes it seem like you think it's _really_ important for one reason or another.

[/punctuation nazi]

Re:A bit excited are we? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407735)


"The series of articles Why Apple Will Change TV compared how Apple is poised for success in areas where Microsoft is currently failing. But circumstances are subject to change!"
What's with the excited exclamation mark? In something purporting to be a news story/blurb i usually expect a recitation of facts combined with a calm statement of opinion. Shouting makes it sound like either a rant or something intended as a dire warning. Are you a fan of microsoft who is vehemently denying that apple will actually experience the success that some people believe they are posed for? Or are you an apple fan sending out a call to arms to other apple fans to make sure that this opportunity doesn't waste away? I can't tell which way you're leaning but the exclamation mark sure makes it seem like you think it's _really_ important for one reason or another.

[/punctuation nazi]


You'd think a punctuation nazi would remember the open [punctuation nazi] tag.

Re:A bit excited are we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16408927)

The GP also failed to capitalize "I".

Apple vs. Microsoft (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407695)

Hate to break it to you, but Apples marketshare has DROPPED since the Appletalk days. There seems to be some misconception that MSFT is going downhill and AAPL is going uphill but the numbers tell a different story. MSFT enjoyed a 7% increase in revenue last quarter alone, while AAPL's growth has been in the iPod area. There are no similarities between AAPL and MSFT in that front.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (4, Interesting)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407905)

MSFT enjoyed a 7% increase in revenue last quarter alone, while AAPL's growth has been in the iPod area. There are no similarities between AAPL and MSFT in that front.

You probably didn't mean to phrase it that way, but you're totally right. Note the lack of Zune rumour sites, and general lack of enthusiasm over the Zune when compared to the iPod.

Now, as for the marketshare aregument: you're also right. Apple's marketshare has fallen since 1994/5. It has also improved since 1997/8. Moving past statistics, one can look at the Wall Street perception of Apple. In 1996-7 Wall Street saw Apple in a death spiral. Their market share was swirling down the toilet, they were losing ground in the education and enterprise sectors, and Windows 95/98 was generating a much bigger buzz than anything Apple was producing. Then Apple turned around: they got Jobs back at the helm, released a product that created a media sensation (iMac -- for examples, look at Newsweek's and Time's coverage of it) and started inching away from the edge of a financial cliff. Following that with Mac OS X, and the iPod, Wall Streets prediction of Apple's future is pretty damn bright.

You mention Microsoft. I say don't bother. They don't really compete. Apple makes personal computers and iPods. Microsoft makes an operating system and a game console (and soon another iPod "killer"). With the exception of the forthcoming Zune, there's not really much competition between the two. People cite Mac OS X as competing against Windows -- often referencing Vista -- but it's not really. Mac OS X only runs on Macs (officially.) Windows runs on commodity hardware. Apple makes Mac OS X to bundle with their hardware. Microsoft makes Windows because it's the cornerstone of their business. There's far less competition than people think.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (2, Insightful)

CherryChuckles (998086) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408581)

.... but they ARE competing for mindshare... and right now Apple is winning hands down. They seem to have the midas touch where everything they come out with turns to gold. Currently, Microsoft is the exact opposite. An important point to note in the article is how the author discusses how much of Microsoft's monopoly is attributed to customers choosing an MS product over a competitors. They may have 95% market share but its also true that 95% of the time Windows is sold, there's no choice involved. You get it pre-installed on your new computer. Whereas Apple's minute market share is completely derived from people exercising choice. You have to actually choose to buy a mac. This might not be such a big deal right now but Microsoft is definitely worried about it. Mac OS X may not directly compete with Windows per say... but its rising popularity should and does worry the big giant.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409917)

That competition over mindshare is very important for how companies will develop software for platforms other than Windows. That 95% market share is pointed at every time someone asks, "Why isn't there a Macintosh or Linux version of your software?" Yahoo Mail has a new beta version out. It does not work with Safari yet. I surmise it eventually will, but that such support has been back-burnered is indicative of a company's will towards allocation of resources for a project. Mac users will always be second class citizens as long as such market-share views drive production.

  Of course a company's focus is not, "How can we reach that last Amiga user?! Our sales can't be complete without catering to all userbases"; however I wish it were not, "Why bother even trying for cross platform compatibility for that extra small profit when we can just chase the larger profit and population." Blizzard has done nicely, I assume, catering to two platforms; but not every company has the will or resources to hire extra programers, support staff, etc to attempt extra profit (it's not guaranteed the Mac user base will buy your product even after making a hybrid product)

To sum up - business is a risk, you go where the money is, and where you can (or to find a niche with little competition) you spread out you product and tap into additional customers. Marketshare drives that chicken and egg availability of 'we don't make it for the Mac since there isn't the user base and there isn't the user base since that critical X app (that game, that industrial app, that office product) didn't get made for it.'

As for my Microsoft take, I think they're less worried about the direct competition than missing out on a niche they don't control yet. I see it as a major political party and a fringe party. The fringe party brings up an issue -- gets a lot of eyeballs -- and the major party takes a quick stand, or incorporates the view. The major party thus steals the show - stays in power - and lets the fringe parties come up with the next new issue. MS follows on the heels of popular products to keep their name always in the public eye. Quicken -> MS Money, Mozilla -> IE, iPod-> Zune, AIM -> Messenger, Eudora -> Outlook, etc. There's nothing wrong with improving upon an idea, but too much 'embrace extend extinguish' turns me off as a consumer.

Vista will succeed since MS has a lock on PC OS distribution still and new computers will all have Vista (MS will just stop providing XP/ give distributors a 'deal they can't resist'). Hardware upgrades happen sooner or later, and software site licenses will drive companies towards adoption.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16412047)

Don't dismiss the Mac market so easily. You are correct in saying that as a percentage it's a small one, but there are literally tens of millions of Mac users out there and you can make a comfortable profit from that market. Furthermore, the glut of software is not as bad as on Windows, so if you produce a good quality software, chances are high that you will be successful and Mac users are known for their loyalty. When you turn bad, Mac users have a pretty long memory as well. History will tell you that when you abandon your successful Mac software in order to compete on Windows side, disaster happens, most of the time anyway. When the company gets beat on the Windows side, they have nothing left as a foothold to fight another day. See Netscape. It makes good sense to keep a Mac market if you can make a decent profit. I suspect the problem is deeper, though. The managements are short-sighted or hype-driven and can't manage resources. Abandoning a profitable Mac market is a symptom of it, so not surprisingly, they'll fail to compete on the Windows side too.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410099)

One thing I find noteworthy here is that, if Microsoft were really were making a business out of selling a superior OS, Apple wouldn't really be a threat to them-- at least not any more than Dell is a threat to Microsoft for offering Wordperfect with their computers. In a lot of ways, Apple's switch to Intel should have been a happy day for Microsoft, since it essentially turned Apple into another vendor of hardware for which Windows could be sold.

The real problem is, "producing superior operating systems" hasn't been Microsoft's core business for years now. Instead they've been riding off of vendor lock-in. And so, just like W.I.N.E., Apple is a threat to Microsoft simply by giving users an option of running Photoshop (and other software not present on open-source operating systems) without buying Windows. The mere existence of an alternative is a serious threat to Microsoft's business model, a model which consists mainly of vendor lock-in. Microsoft can't afford to let users have any choice, or they'll lose market share.

You have found the solution (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409313)

Microsoft needs to hire Steve Jobs in order to recover.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410989)

You mention Microsoft. I say don't bother. They don't really compete. Apple makes personal computers and iPods. Microsoft makes an operating system and a game console (and soon another iPod "killer"). With the exception of the forthcoming Zune, there's not really much competition between the two. People cite Mac OS X as competing against Windows -- often referencing Vista -- but it's not really. Mac OS X only runs on Macs (officially.) Windows runs on commodity hardware. Apple makes Mac OS X to bundle with their hardware. Microsoft makes Windows because it's the cornerstone of their business. There's far less competition than people think.
If I switch to OSX, I probably won't use XP/Vista anymore.
If I buy a Zune, I probably won't also buy an iPod.

These products, therefore, are competing.

Also, If I switch to OSX, I probably won't be using Internet Explorer. But then, I'm already not using that on Windows due to Firefox. Oddly, I might still be using Microsoft Office on OSX. But for my purposes, I'll probably actually just use Google Spreadsheets & Docs on either OSX or Windows. And I'm also more likely to buy a Creative or SanDisk mp3 player rather than an iPod or a Zune. I love competition. :D

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409035)

Yep, I know. A company that has consistently made a profit on across all product line is a terrible company, while a company that consistently has product line that may never make a profit, to they point that they hide the p/l statements of specific product lines, is a wonderful success.

The point of this article, and the lesson from countless years of business case studies, is that mature products are easily reproduced by cut rate competitors, and the only way to stay ahead of those competitors is to continuously refine products into compelling new versions. This is as true for a box of tissue as it is for a computer.

IBM failed to innovate in the 80's, so the cut rate competitor MS won market share. Apple failed to innovate in the 90's, so the cut rate competitor MS won some more market share. In fact, the only thing the article seems to have missing is that MS is always in the position of cut rate competitor, so does not have to innovate so much as wait for others to falter, then come in cheaper commodity products.

This is changing, as is the norm. At some point the cut rate competitor wants to play with big boys, which is where MS has been moving to. This is dangerous as one can make money selling cheap commodity products, but selling higher end products puts you into the rat race. MS has faltered in many of these ventures, and the only success is the game market. Even in the server market they seem to competing with cut rate and legacy *nix installs rather that modern IBM type systems. But MS has enough money and time to make it through. Only time will tell what will emerge.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (1)

rahrens (939941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409739)

I hate to break it to YOU, but Apple's computer products are NOT going downhill. Apple's computer sales have been steadily higher in sheer numbers, year over year, for the last four years, I think, running.

There is no doubt that the iPod is the higher profile product, but while that may eclipse the computer side for many, it doesn't mean the computer sales are tanking. Quite the contrary, Apple's share of the portable market is up to almost 12%, and the last market share figures show their share has increased. It may not be what it was ten years ago, but the markets and the products sold therein, are totally different animals now, and just cannot be compared directly anymore.

And, by the way, in 2001, Apple lost $25M, as of 2005, their net income was $1.335 Billion. In 2004, the net income was $276 million. That's a bit over a 7% increase in revenue, isn't it?

Go to: http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/10/ 107357/reports/AAPL_5yr_FinHist_FY05.pdf [corporate-ir.net] for that financial information. It's their five year historical data.

Re:Apple vs. Microsoft (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16412541)

You are confusing revenue with income. Revenue is dollars bring in before expenses. They can have no growth in revenue but have higher income using accounting tricks.

iTV and the iPod and iTunes (0)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407935)

It seems to me that iTV is an extension of the iPod and iTunes. It solves one problem. How do you play any media that you on your computer in the study on your TV in your living room? Well if you have a laptop, you can just hook it up to the tv. But if you have a desktop, that's more of a problem. I think the vision of iTV is that either through wired or wireless LAN, it will receive the media from iTunes on your desktop or laptop. The success of this will really depend on pricing.

iTV (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408393)

You're correct; or at least, that's how the Wikipedia article describes it -- you'll be able to put the iTV in your living room, and then stream content to it from iTunes on your Mac or PC.

Sounds a little to me like the Airport Express was with audio (it was a box that you could attach to your stereo and then stream music to it, wirelessly) except that where the APE was purely "push" because it didn't have any interface on the recieving end, iTV will be able to "pull," browsing the libraries of the computers connected to it for content.

I'm cautiously excited about it, although I'm in no way going to go out and buy one on Day 1. I think there's serious possibility for it to suck if they implement a lot of DRM, or limit the number of computers you can have stream media to it. If that's the case, I hope its streaming protocol is quickly reverse-engineered, so that more flexible library backends can be built.

Re:iTV (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411175)

"...limit the number of computers you can have stream media to it."

I have three Airport Expresses with the audio ports enabled, and I can chose to stream music to any of them.

I can't see why they'd place a limit on the number of iTV devices you can have, although it may be that you'd need to pair a computer with a device, as there might not be enough bandwidth for a single computer to stream multiple movies to multiple devices simultaneously.

It can be done cheap now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410621)

Original XBOX running XBMC can stream any type of video, and I mean nearly everything, from a pc or laptop, wired or wireless to your tv. On top of streaming music and pictures etc.

Key chain (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407969)

About the only useful thing to come from PowerTalk was the system-wide keychain. For some reason, it took until Mac OS 9 for Apple to introduce this feature to the Mac community at large.

WHY SLASHDOT SHOULDN'T POST FANBOI ARTICLES (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16408047)

This article is nothing more than a rant by a flamming Apple fanboi. Daniel Eran is too busy jerking off to his giant poster of Stevey Jobs to know whats actually going on. I'd expect Slashdot editors to know better, but they seem to be Apple shills at this point.

We forgot also OpenDoc (3, Informative)

VDM (231643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408127)

Another Apple project quickly forgotten was OpenDoc, which was something like OLE for Microsoft. With OpenDoc, at least the Cyberdog browser was developed (1996-97), together with object embedding capabilities on other software. It lasted just a bit.

Re:We forgot also OpenDoc (3, Interesting)

Kancept (737976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408275)

OpenDoc was actually a group venture with IBM and a few others IIRC. In OS/2 and eComstation we still use it. Also, if you go to IBM's website (and Lenovo as well since they just imaged support section), look in the URL and you will see it's grabbing OpenDoc documents to display. It was a cool tech, just too bad it never took off. There were other parts of the "Open"XXXX standard they put together. OpenDoc just being the most widely used.

Same data, different conclusion (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16408147)

As an email gateway developer, I worked with Exchange since it's inception and I attempted to use AOCE. When I compare that experience with what's going on now, I reach a very different conclusion.

Exchange started out life in the X.400 world. (If memory serves, Microsoft bought an X.400 product from someone else and GUIfied it.) This meant that even before the advent of the Internet Connector you could connect to Exchange using "standard" X.400 protocols. (I say "standard" because X.400 is so large and messy that pretty much everyone who implemented it was forced to deviate from the specifications in one way or another.) Not easy, but doable, and more to the point, doable from any platform able to deploy an OSI network stack. As Exchange shifted towards SMTP things improved to the point where Exchange was able to connect to existing facilities with little effort. (The article is wrong, BTW, in claiming that modem SMTP was around when Exchange first shipped. It was around but Microsoft chose to ignore it.)

AOCE, OTOH, only provided vast, arcane, incomplete and poorly documented Mac-specific API. The underlying protocols weren't documented at all. We tried hard to figure how to interface with this mess, even sitting down to discuss our issues with Apple folks at one point, but eventually gave up. And I'm talking a group of people who developed successful gateways to X.400-1984, X.400-1988, cc:Mail, Microsoft Mail, Novell MHS, and GroupWise among others. Either we are fools who got incredibly lucky several times over, or AOCE was an unmitigated disaster. And I don't think we were lucky fools.

But Apple learned their lesson. As the article points out, they now leverage open standards whenever possible. You can talk to a lot of Apple's new stuff over protocol. Sure, the APis are still there, and some of them are pretty nasty, but in a lot of cases you don't have to use them. Apple is also very active in various standards organizations (I wish they had had more success with Bonjour in the IETF, but that's a different matter).

Microsoft, OTOH, has utterly failed to learn anything from their experience with Exchange. They still roll their own whenever possible. They don't document the protocols they use, only the APIs, and of course those are only available on Windoze. I used to see lots of Microsoft people at standards meetings but not so many any more.

Of course things can change, but once things are headed in a particular direction they tend to stay on that course, even if it is a bad one. Everything I see about Microsoft says to me that they are on the wrong course and aren't doing anywhere near enough reinvention to correct it. The exact opposite appears to be the case with Apple.

Re:Same data, different conclusion (4, Interesting)

lahi (316099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411287)

Interesting. If I recall correctly, AOCE/PowerTalk was presented at the 94 WWDC. A friend of mine attended, and shared what he had brought home with me. I saw the Demo video, and the docs. The API docs were huge - about two Inside Mac VI, I think. Incredible. The idea to empower _every_ application with e-mail capability was great in a way. As was many other ideas in AOCE/PowerTalk. But it was too complex and too inefficient.

However, what really killed it, IMO, was that one of the premises it was built upon, was soon to be shown as false. Few people seem to remember it, but at that time, it was not at all clear that the Internet would take over the world completely. Networking yes, but it was widely believed that the Internet would be an interim solution, soon to be replaced by ISO OSI protocols like TP4. And of course X.400/X.500 etc etc. In addition, Apple still had a dedication to AppleTalk. And there were existing proprietary mailsystems like QuickMail.

The idea was that PowerTalk users would have adapters that would enable a workstation to use legacy mail systems. In hindsight, this of course is a totally stupid idea, today we would put such gateway functionality at the mailserver. But with the following prevalence of plain SMTP/POP/IMAP mail, this capability would just constitute deadweight in the PowerTalk software.

The idea of an in-basket on the desktop, and send-mail capabilities in all applications is in a way something that we still miss today. And if you think about it, it is in a way just a GUI rendition of old Unix ideas, with the ~7mbox (= in-basket), and :w !mail user from vi.

In my opinion the user interface principles as they were strictly defined even up to AOCE are still unsurpassed, no interface has ever had the same completely natural feel. Windows, OS X, KDE, GNOME - nothing comes close to the interface as it was back in good old System 7.

I sure wish there was an open source project to take the lessons learned back then, and make a new X11 based GUI that puts them to effective use, while trying to retain some fundamental simplicity.

-Lasse

Re:Same data, different conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411525)

---Completely agree.

PowerTalk was the result of someone (anyone) not saying "NO". Does anyone remember how many books PowerTalk had to document it? (Lots) Does anyone remember the crazy Finder plugins it had? (useless)

PowerTalk reminds me of a kind of "engineering" (it resembles engineering closely, but Im not sure it is actually engineering) where a few people go off and have lots of meetings amongst themselves, and write alot of stuff, and tell everyone if they don't understand it, thats ok, its great, they are really smart! And make lots of manuals, and then get onstage and tell everyone how cool it is. Of course they never asked what a user of the computer would notice thats different. (In the end, they should notice something, and it should be positive)

And 2 years later, everyone asks, what was that all about? I think the other thing about that time, was that there was obviously not an "engineer in charge" at Apple. (That might be because the CEO of that time thought he was an engineer.) So the 5-10 loudest people generated things like PowerTalk, GX, and of course, OpenDoc. Lots of manuals, lots of presentations, lots of demos, lots and lots of T-shirts. (To be fair to QuickDraw GX, it was very disciplined compared to OpenDoc, and PowerTalk.) Its amazing how much productivity is lost because engineering teams lose sight of the fact that they are supposed to be making things easier for the users. Its amazing how despite all of this craziness we are still the worlds leaders in most things software.

Makes you wonder what they are doing in other places.

Also makes you thank Saint Wozniak for Steve Jobs coming back and cleaning house, and using the word NO! a couple thousand times, and getting Apple back on track.

Thats the thing about Steve, I think- he actually does see ahead a few years, and understands that the only way to get there is to LEAD the company there. That really isn't what most tech companies do. I've seen so many engineering projects started by line engineers and trickle up the hierarchy after they are basically done. Sounds great, if you are an engineer, but when you multiply that times the number of engineers, where is the company going? A thousand voices leading is fun for a while, but ....

Re:Same data, different conclusion (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411725)

(The article is wrong, BTW, in claiming that modem SMTP was around when Exchange first shipped. It was around but Microsoft chose to ignore it.)
Wow, what a logical fallacy. Just because Microsoft chose to ignore SMTP doesn't mean it didn't exist.

Re:Same data, different conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16412051)

Typo on my part - meant to say "(The article is wrong, BTW, in claiming that modem SMTP wasn't around when Exchange first shipped. It was around but Microsoft chose to ignore it.)"

tip-toeing (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408165)

I have to say I have been very impressed by Apple's strategic manovering over the last five years or so. Whilst Sony and Microsoft has been clashing heads trying to use gaming machines as a trojan horse to become the digital hub of people's living rooms, Apple has quietly been putting together all the pieces it needs to do so in a much more sophisticated manner.

Personally, I don't think Steve Jobs is very interested in conquering the enterprise desktop these days, he's got his eyes fixed on potentially a much bigger pie - becoming the digital media hub of people's homes.
 

Re:tip-toeing (1)

Black Perl (12686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410849)

Yeah, and here's the real genius: it's completely stealth! There are no outward signs whatsoever that Apple is doing anything in the digital media space other than iPods. That's brilliant!

Re:tip-toeing (1)

mei_mei_mei (890405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411177)

Nope, it was just luck :-)

Too Ahead Of Its Time (1)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408217)

I think the real problem is that PowerTalk was a bit ahead of its time and wasn't really implimented that well either.

Something like this today might actually work if done properly and without having to buy special hardware.

Really, this is a cyclical corporate problem. (4, Insightful)

RunzWithScissors (567704) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408479)

Seriously, companies don't really learn from another company's trials and tribulations. At some point they all suffer from the same thing, which will cause them to experience "a downfall". This malady is:

"But we're [insert company name here]!"

I know it looks innocuous, but let's see that in action!

1988, IBM was having big problems with management bloat, a stagnant product line, and a poor customer experience. But if you asked someone there 'Why would I buy from you when I could buy from Compaq or some other less expensive, more innovative competitor?' the response was invariably, "But we're IBM!"

In 1998, SGI started shipping their coolest, most important product ever. The $15,000 Windows NT workstation. If you asked an executive at SGI 'Why would I pay $15000 for a Windows NT machine with a nice graphics card when I can build a whitebox with an Nvidia Riva TNT card for far less money?', the response was "But we're SGI!"

Today, ask a SUN exec 'Why should I pay $X for a solaris workstation when I can buy assemble a box for $500 running Linux that will do the same thing?' What do they say? "But we're SUN!"

It's been my experience that this becomes a problem at most sucessful companies, and if you pay attention, you'll see it's cyclical. The company adopts this mentality, loses customers, re-vamp's their product line, customer service, etc. Gains customers, becomes successful again, and ultimately repeats their mistakes and do the whole thing over again.

Sad.

-Runz

Re:Really, this is a cyclical corporate problem. (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409081)

IBM doesn't have these problems now? SUN didn't have these problems in the nineties? As I see it, they had the same approach for all these times, some have the right marketing strategy to pull it through, and some apparently don't (SGI).

Re:Really, this is a cyclical corporate problem. (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16412655)

SUN didn't have these problems in the nineties?
Kinda, but not as bad as IBM's PC division. In the mid-90s I was using a SPARCstation ELC -- one of the early SPARC machines, and it could run rings around a '286. Problem was, the '486s were just coming out, and could wipe the floor with an ELC (especially the dic^Hskless ones we had). Sun still had the edge in graphics, as long as you could get by with four-bit greyscale. The ELC had a 17" monitor with 1152x900 resolution, back when cutting-edge PCs were lucky to have EGA (640x350, albeit with 16 colors).

More importantly, Sun had been around for awhile, and there was a lot of special software available for it. Linux was still really new, and Windows 95 hadn't come out yet (yet alone NT), so if you needed to do high-end circuit simulation or run the top-end software engineering toolkits, you bought a Sun. We used ours largely because they ran FrameMaker, a seriously wicked document creation tool. This software availability kept people buying Suns (and Auspex servers...) long after their performance was eclipsed by mainstream PCs.

Re:Really, this is a cyclical corporate problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409945)

Today, ask a SUN exec 'Why should I pay $X for a solaris workstation when I can buy assemble a box for $500 running Linux that will do the same thing?' What do they say? "But we're SUN!"

To be fair, for a couple of years now you've been able to buy an $895 Opteron (64-bit) workstation from Sun, running Windows, Linux or Solaris 10. You get support for that and it comes built, installed and configured.

You don't get that with your $500 white box.

They laid me off when Solaris 10 came out, so by rights I should hate them, but I don't. I'd rather buy from them that Dell or HP.

Coral cache link (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408531)

Site is Slashdotted, use the Coral cache [nyud.net] of it.

Even that is rather slow .. perhaps story submitters could be asked to select which of their links are dynamically-driven, and the rest should be automatically Coralized?

Enjoy the articles but take them for what they are (2, Informative)

rubeus (837500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16408543)

Daniel Eran writes a lot of pro-mac articles which leads one to believe that you can't really take any of his opinions on Apple with much weight. The articles are really great to read if you are an Apple fan but, otherwise I can see how they might come off a little bit overly infatuated with Apple. If he could use more facts and cite support then I'd find them a little more insightful, as it is, they remind me of those persuasive writing assignments from English class, except all with an pro-Apple slant. Seriously though, read one or two the articles and see if you don't get the same feeling.

All Apple's current products are former failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16408987)

  1. NeXTstep. Had a following in academia but ultimately a flop. Now known as Mac OS X.
  2. Newton. If Apple had held off on the iPod after looking at the Newton, they could have easily said, "let's stick to desktop computing. Portable devices like this are too risky."


Those are really the big ones... Of course, part 1 is quite extensive.

Re:All Apple's current products are former failure (0, Flamebait)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409891)

The only reason OS X is based on NeXTstep is because part of Jobs' price for returning to Apple was to "erase" the Next failure. The core Apple faithful will buy just about anything Jobs comes up with and couldn't care less about "Unixy" features in their OS.

Flamebait gets a +2? (1)

BancBoy (578080) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410557)

Time to back away from the thread...

Engineering vs Marketing (4, Funny)

hhawk (26580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409653)

The article states that Apple Enginners and Microsoft Markets.

The authors understanding of what marketing is, is wrong. I think it would have been more correct to say that Microsoft Sells.

The classical defination of marketing is to find out what a customer needs and then produce that for them.

Re:Engineering vs Marketing (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#16412945)

Actually the classical definition of marketing is "the action or business of promoting and selling products or services"

Microsoft is a great promoter and seller, but rarely do they offer the best product in a class. When they do, it's usually because they've repressed any competition and there are no alternatives left. In other cases, they spend a lot of money building a solution for a market that doesn't matter: WinCE and WMA are two good examples. Lots of development and refinements in order to deliver PDAs and DRM - the two products that nobody really wants to pay for.

I use a combination of KDE and Gnome (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409809)

In Gnome I have KDE Kicker, KDesktop and Konqueror enabled (If I feel like now and then I disable Kdesktop). Isnt Linux great? you can use whatever combination you dream of. KDE and Gnome at the same time, I get the best of borh worlds (Some people say that the combination I use is ugly but who cares?)

I only have one question... (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410267)

Apple vs. Microsoft in the Enterprise

So, who gets to be Spock?

Re:I only have one question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410559)

I think it doesn't come down to the whole Kirk / Spock dichotomy in this case. McCoy and Scotty work much better.

Scotty was always trying to patch the Enterprise to make certain it worked for whatever the CEO wanted it to do today and it really wasn't meant to do so. Sometimes it worked, sometimes they had to dump a warp core. McCoy on the other hand fixed anything that came his way and if anyone asked him to do anything more than what he knew he'd scream I'm A Doctor Not A Bricklayer!!! But he'd find an excellent way to get the job done without having to mix paradigms or throw out a load of garbage that even he didn't understand.

Unnecessary criticism (2, Interesting)

BAM0027 (82813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411549)

I don't think this article or /. entry adds value in any significant sense. Sure, it's great to consider in hindsight theis experience, but the criticism is unnecessary if not unfounded.

Apple addressed PowerTalk and OpenDoc (and various other initiatives) by moving to a completely different operating system. They saw the fundamental shortcomings of their ideas and their approaches and addressed them. Now, they are leveraging all the potential of OS X's *nix core in a myriad of ways.

They didn't forget the failure. They addressed it.

The iTV is back-asswards (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411981)

iTV - $299, Mac Mini $599. A total of $900 minimum to stream upscaled movies to my TV from a device sitting in the next room. The next question is why on Earth would I want to do that? And how is it even the slightest bit different from what you can do today with an Xbox 360 + Windows Media Center.

Besides, it seems pretty dumb to have to have two machines turned on just to play movies. Something like a Viiv designed to sit under the TV makes more sense. Or a PS3. The movie should be stored on the device connected to the TV, not beamed in from somewhere else. That doesn't make much sense at all.

There may be some reasons for 2 machines. (1)

C. Alan (623148) | more than 6 years ago | (#16412687)

It makes sense for us whom already have half the hardware. I already have an Imac, and Itv looks interesting to me, especialy since Itunes already sells tv shows and is starting to sell movies.

I think the reason apple is going the route of having the Itv be a seperate machine is two fold: 1. It keeps the cost of Itv down, and 2. It may help sell a few more macs.
--C. Alan
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