Substitute ‘Byte of the Apple’ writer says Apple pulling a ‘Microsoft’

“Time was, you bought an Apple, and you knew what you were getting. The hardware rarely failed. Sure, you might need to buy Microsoft Office or AppleWorks to do some basic computing stuff, but you could get by with Microsoft Express and a cheaper text editor. Every two years, you paid $100 to buy a system upgrade. It was easy. The overall cost of owning an Apple was very low. More important, the hassle factor was minimal. Now, though, in its mad dash to diversify revenue streams, Apple is steadily upping the hassle factor. Let me count the ways,” writes Charles Haddad’s temp, Alex Salkever for BusinessWeek. He continues, “Recently, I logged onto to catch a streaming video of Steve Jobs’s keynote address at Macworld. But because I had Apple’s QuickTime installed as my default media player, I recevied a snarky notification telling me I would have to upgrade to QuickTime Pro for $29 to view the higher-resolution version of the stream… Then there’s the infamous .Mac ploy. It started out as a free e-mail service, but Apple started adding extra features like online storage — and then announced it would charge. I can understand that Apple wants to build a nice community of folks around its services. And I would gladly pay, say, $20 a year for a permanent .Mac e-mail address and the features it offers. That’s about what Yahoo! is charging for a similar product. But do I want to pay $100? Hardly.” Salkever continues to spew here.


  1. Apple has been primarily a hardware company. They gave away the software to get you to buy the hardware. Unfortunately, Motorola is failing Apple by no longer being competitive with Intel. Apple knows they will probably have to move to Intel, so they need to change from being a hardware company to being a software company and that is just what they are doing. I predict a move by Apple to Intel hardware sometime in 2004.

  2. I thought the article sounded a bit hysterical. I signed up for .mac, and thought the convenience and integration worth the outlay.

    Guess the angle was ok, it subtly pointed out the differences in expectation and discernment between a Windoze and Mac customer.

  3. I sent this to Alex:


    What Apple has done with pricing is a good thing. Rather than charge higher prices for the hardware and give software and services away the hardware prices have been reduced and they are charging for the other services.

    There were 2,500,000 iTools accounts, many of those 2,500,000 were multiple accounts, Apple sells that many computers in approximately eight months. So the vast majority of Apple’s customers weren’t using the services and unfairly subsidising those who were.

    The iApps are still free with new computers and free upgrades are downloadable for the time being at least. You can buy it boxed retail but there you are buying more than the software, you are paying for the CDs, packaging and resellers profit.

    Apple’s software is great, witness this is sent using six year old Apple software and most of my work is done in other Apple (Claris) software that is half a decade old and still works great.

    Apple has listened to customers and given us the opportunity to spend less money on the hardware, that is a good thing. I never thought the hardware was particularly expensive anyhow, a really good car, bottle of whiskey or just about any other product you care to name costs much more than 20% more than an ordinary ‘equivalent’ product.



  4. I am not aware that you need to upgrade to a pro Quicktime to watch the streaming video of Stevie’s keynote address? But I do know that that was being streamed in MPEG 4 which is incorporatedd in Quicktime 6. Now most Windows machines do have Quicktime buried deep inside their folders but they are likely to be the older version. Hence an “update” is necessary rather than a fee-based “Upgrade”. Isn’t reminding the user that a better resolution view based on MPEG 4 a good thing?

  5. I somewhat agree with the article. First of all, I think Apple is getting into too many areas where they don’t need to be (and are putting third-party developers out of business). In the end, that hurts the platform. In addition, I personally am irritated because I bought a mac with 10.1 installed not too long ago and now virtually everything (for example- the new monitors even!) require Jaguar. I don’t think it would be difficult for them to be compatible with 10.1 but I think they are just doing it to force people to upgrade. I guess it’s not absolutely wrong for them to entice people to buy new but I don’t think it is wise to make people’s purchases obsolete so soon.

  6. Aside from the legitimate criticism of the .Mac fiasco (and I will admit that I don’t think .Mac is that unreasonable), the article struck me as so much whining. Is there a law that *requires* Apple to make the high-quality Quicktime video stream available for free? Is the notion that Apple wants to charge for a bundled iLife suite that difficult to cope with? Should Steve Jobs place a fresh chocolate mint on my pillow every morning?


  7. Salkever is right. Apple Computer has always been an arrogant company. Not being a monopoly, it gets away with business practices that MS cannot. That doesn’t make those practices right or fair.

    My own recent experiences might well have sent me running into the arms of another vendor–except that the only viable alternative is Microsoft. As an IT professional, I get my fill of fighting Windows at the office; I’m not going to come home to more of the same. So I grumble about the unfairness of it all, then I move on. So should Alex.

  8. Well for the first keynote stream in MP4 it did well to run reliably. I read complaints that it was not an improvement to Sorenson streams of the past but to me it looked and sounded all-right.

    Software sales are becomming more important for Apple but maybe now it should split into independent software and hardware companies. That R & D part of Apple would get more ideas out than the Apple of today. The software would mature on OS X and ported to Windows without there being a conflict of interest. Just like the iPod, the software would establish Apple into the world of the 90% majority. PPC CPUs should be the niche of the Apple hardware but x86 and Transmetta should also be supported by OS X.

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