[MacHACers] MacHACers: Evangelism: Apple turnaround is a Jobs well done
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This is nice. Thanks to Pete Johnson for forwarding this to me. - Ron
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From Computerworld magazine (
Apple turnaround is a Jobs well done
I can count on one hand -- without affecting my typing speed -- the number
of times I've praised a computer industry executive in an open forum. That
said, the IT community owes a debt of gratitude to Apple's mercurial and
dogged interim CEO, Steve Jobs.
No, I don't expect any of you will put a hold on the 400-MHz Pentium IIs
you've ordered for your corporate users in favor of Apple's snazzy new
IMac. Nor do Apple and Jobs' rise from the ashes necessarily mean that
Apple will regain what used to be a strong niche presence in the
(though I wouldn't bet against it, either).
If nothing else, the birth of the IMac means there's still a force out
there that can compete against the staid Intel-based PC world -- albeit in
the consumer space for the time being. Real innovation in the PC space is
alive and well. And where competition and innovation thrive, consumers (at
home or in the enterprise) benefit.
People such as Bill Gates and Intel's Andy Grove surely don't
Steve Jobs. While he didn't invent the graphical user interface, he made
usable for millions of consumers years before the Wintel duopoly could.
It wasn't Jobs who set Apple on its recently reversed skid as much as his
successor John Sculley, who refused to broadly license Macintosh
technology. Sculley was succeeded by the hapless, bumbling Gil Amelio, who
appeared to personally drive the final nail into Apple's coffin -- never
mind his apologia of a memoir or his claim [CW, July 27] that the
present resurgence is a result of an Amelio grand plan.
This is still an industry in which ego and individual drive -- as well as
innovation -- count. Jobs' unflinching confidence, even his showmanship,
have keyed a resurgence of optimism at Apple and among its formerly
distraught dealers. The IMac itself sports the first truly distinctive
basic design changes to the PC in years, while staying loyal to its
ease-of-use pedigree. I guarantee you will end up supporting them in your
users' home offices.
By contrast, what innovations can you cite in the Intel PC business, other
than those owing to Moore's Law? Dell, the fastest-growing PC maker in the
past five years, doesn't so much make PCs as assemble and market them.
innovation in the PC market is directed at imitating Dell's brilliant
distribution strategy. Now the Wintel crowd has to at least wonder what
Jobs might have in mind beyond the IMac. In a world of bloated inventories
and thin profit margins, Apple sits atop a pile of IMac advance orders --
for a floppy disk-less, odd-looking machine that sells for $1,299, no
True, some order-makers are Apple diehards fired by pent-up demand. But
most "Mac nuts" aren't nuts at all: They're just people who believe the
Macintosh was the best, most complete, friendliest PC available. What does
Jobs know that the Wintel world doesn't?
I'm not suggesting that Jobs' vision includes trying to replace the PC as
the corporate standard, or even mounting any kind of enterprise attack. I
do believe that Apple's re-entry into the computer market with a viable
attractive offering will be a wake-up call to a PC industry that has grown
sleepy in that company's absence.
And for that, you should drop Jobs an E-mail and say thanks.
Editor in chief at Computerworld from 1986 to 1996, Laberis is now
president of Bill Laberis Associates, a consulting and publishing company
in Holliston, Mass. His Internet address is bill@....
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