the Death Watch for Apple Computer
It was Estimated Seconds to
Go, but if it's counting up as you watch it, I suppose now it
must be Seconds into the Afterlife.
When I established this counter on Jan 1, 2000, Apple was
exhibiting many of the signs of a company in the process
of "spiraling in".
- They had run out of innovative new ideas, and their competitors
have caught on to all their older innovations.
- They had lost a lot of money
- They had sacrifed assets to make the bottom line look
- First they killed the new OS, which left Macintoshes
running a relic
designed for 128K Macs in 1984.
- Then they killed the Clones, basicly admitting that they
even compete with themselves in the hardware market.
- Then they killed Claris, basicly admitting that they can't
develop software anymore, either.
- Then they killed the Newton, admitting that their most recent
great new idea wasn't so great after all.
Sorry, but that's the way I saw it. I wished it weren't true.
In the five following years, Apple has unquestionably pulled off a Still Here in their core business,
and has managed to maintain and even enhance their reputation for
innovation. So here's what they did right, which kept them in the
So my prognosis - another 5 year plan ? My crystal ball is
cloudy. I still perceive Apple as hanging on by their fingernails
in their core (up to now) computer business, and they are not showing
any signs of gaining market share. It's certainly possible they
can hang on at this level for a while more. It's also
possible the Ipod will mutate into the "new" apple core: appliances
which happen to contain computers. The possibilities are
limitless - I-Tivo anyone?
- They built another new
operating system which is arguably better than the one
they scrapped. The surface layer of the operating system may
still look like the old 128K Macintosh legacy, but it now has solid
foundations, and a clear path to leave that old junk behind.
- They continued to build innovative computers. I was
skeptical about the original IMacs, where the main innovations seemed
to be different colors of plastic case, but newer G3, G5 Gx hardware
has been solid, if not revolutionary.
- And finally, Apple has been genuinely innovative as well as
successful with the IPOD and ITUNES.
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