Columnist: Apple should spin off music biz, move beyond Mac to serve Windows market

“If Apple were to spin out a minority stake of its iPod business, it could rake in big bucks in an initial public offering. With the iPod on track to become a $1 billion business in the next year or so, Apple could expect to pull in at least that amount by selling a 40% stake. Then, Jobs could let someone else run the daily operations and the music side of things, including iTMS,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek.

“This would be great because Apple more than ever needs to focus not just on the Mac platform but on Microsoft’s Windows, too. It has done well so far in building iTunes software and iPod devices for Windows. But if it really wants to become a major consumer-device company, it will need to ditch its Mac bias entirely. If Apple had rolled out the iPod and iTunes for Windows and Mac users at the same time, its dominance of the digital-music player market might have been far more complete and achieved far more quickly,” Salkever writes.

“Of course, I’m not holding my breath. Apple and Jobs have always served their core market of Mac diehards first. That’s great for the Mac, but it limits their ability to attack the broader market,” Salkever writes. “Competing in the broader market is what Apple clearly intends to do with the iPod and digital music in general. But reaping a couple billion dollars in the process would certainly help Apple return to what should be its focus: figuring out how to move beyond Macs to make killer consumer products that are relevant in a Windows-based world.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, Apple, forget about the Mac and, instead, create innovative devices and software for Windows. It’s a Windows-based world, after all, right? Rubbish. If you haven’t noticed, Alex, using Windows sucks. Viruses, worms, adware, spyware, patches upon patches, and the user interface compared to Mac OS X is primative and inconsistent at best.

So, your mainstream, average, “good enough for me,” Windows-using press sees that Apple’s iTunes for Windows is of such high quality, that now they want more Apple applications for Windows? Why can’t they make the logical leap that NEARLY EVERYTHING on the Mac is like the experience they’re having with iTunes for Windows (actually it’s better) and seriously reconsider the Mac? Why should Apple throw the Mac baby out with the bathwater? Why don’t these media types review the Mac OS X experience without bias and show the average person that a Mac would work better for them, and provide much more enjoyment, than a Windows PC? Oh, wait a sec, isn’t that really Apple’s job?

What Apple should do is take some of their huge pile of money (some $5 billion at last count) and show the world Mac OS X. Now there’s an interesting concept, huh? What’s the big secret, Steve? The average Joe and Jane on Main Street has absolutely no idea what Mac OS X is, what it can do for them, and why it would be better for them than Windows. Don’t believe us? Just ask around a bit. What you’ll get is, “Mac OS X, what’s that, who cares? I though Apple made iPods?” It’s sad. But, hey, if you buy a PowerMac G5, it’ll blow a hole in your house and slam you against a tree! Cool, huh? Makes Joe Public want to run right out and plunk down their credit cards, right? Wrong. Amateurish, idiotic marketing failures designed to waste money and not sell Macs – is that Apple’s goal? Apple’s current Mac OS X marketing sucks worse than Windows.


  1. On one hand I could see spinning off iTunes as a jukebox & store that works with Apple’s iPod. I can’t see spinning off the iPod hardware though. If they ever decided to permit other players to work with the iTMS then as a spin-off that would make sense. Filemaker, Inc. does well as an Apple subsidiary partly because the windows folks no longer associate it with Apple.

    On the other hand, Apple is getting tons of free publicity and that, in time, will drive more people to consider other Apple products.

  2. “If Apple had rolled out the iPod and iTunes for Windows and Mac users at the same time, its dominance of the digital-music player market might have been far more complete and achieved far more quickly”

    50% of all MP3 players sold. Sounds pretty complete to me. Apple has big supply problems with the iPod mini because the cutting edge drives used can’t be made fast enough. I guess it would have been better for Apple to have had worse supply problems with the iPod when it was first released.

  3. I don’t think it’s appropriate for MacDailyNews to be criticizing Apple marketing. I am worried that Apple is slowly abandoning the Mac for iPod and devices to come. MacDailyNews should be supportive of Apple, not trying to tear Apple down.

  4. “What’s the big secret, Steve?”

    Now that’s the billion dollar question, isn’t it? You don’t get to be a multibillionaire by being stupid, so what the hell is Jobs doing? He has Mac OS X, which when I show it to a longtime Windows user, causes drool immediately, and Jobs seemingly refuses to tell the world about it. WHY???

    I think there is some sort of backroom deal with Gates or something. Steve Jobs couldn’t be as stupid as he seems when you look at Apple’s marketing of Mac OS X.

  5. Who’s to say that Apple isn’t working on a whole slew of successful items equally as cool and innovative as the iPod? If so, then why would they even dream of spinning any one of them off? I believe the iPod/ITMS is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when referring to Apple’s coming innovations. And, MacOSX will certainly serve it’s role of helping integrate these technologies. Remember, since it’s a “modern OS” it could easily be embedded into devices much like many items are doing now with Linux.

    Keep your hats on ladies and gentlemen, we’re in for quite a ride in the next few years!

  6. The Mac is dead, Apple just hasn’t told you, yet. The Mac could induce continuous orgasms 24/7 and not sell. The world has moved on. And, while I agree that the Mac OS X currently is the best computing experience I have ever had, the world will ignore it. Too much money invested in Microsoft. Face it, the Mac is already dead, even while it it by far the best solution available today.

  7. Actually, selling a part of iTunes Music Store might make sense, but in a different way and for a different reason. Selling a 5% stake in iTMS to each of the majors would give them a very good reason to support the AAC/iPod platform. Investment by the major music companies would also send a signal to the investor community that iTMS is iin it for the long haul. As long as Apple has the majority interest it will still be their candy store. I’m not sold on the idea, but it could have some merit.

  8. Congrats to MDN for tearing Apple and Jobs new ones over their mishandling of Mac OS X marketing. It is totally abysmal, really bad. Thanks for calling them on it. Hope it helps somehow.

  9. Ever tried to switch your buddies to a mac… and failed?
    This is how it works: Assure them, they will receive a free sixpack of beer from you everytime their Mac is infected by a virus in the next two years.

    And don’t worry about abstinence: There still plenty of reasons for drinking left… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  10. So all you marketing geniuses here…can a single one of you come up with an effective “15” second ad for something as complex as an operating system? How about in “30” seconds.
    A good ad focuses on just “one” thing (or feature). What would that be?
    MDM, quit harping and beating a dead horse. Run a contest for these whiners.

  11. Frank,

    I have sold people on Mac by explaining no viruses, no worms, and showing them Expose, the Dock and iPhoto. Apple needs a series of TV ads – one that shows iChat AV, one the shows iPhoto, etc. – pepl eusing the Mac for everyday things, doing things in a coll way. And then, God forbid, Apple actually needs to spend enough money to hit people enough times (frequency) which they never do because Steve Jobs doesn’t understand marketing on TV. I know this from personal experience. Until or unless Jobs gets it, forget about Mac market share gains and enjoy the Dell ads instead.

  12. Pimping website, apologies if this annoys.
    If you’re looking for unbiased “review” of a Powerbook 17″, have a look at

    I just bought a PB17 in addition to some Thinkpads, and the experience so far has been very good. So good that I will sell a Thinkpad (T40p) and buy another PB, this time a 15″. Then later some eMacs or iMacs for some family members. That will make a total of 4 minimum.

    Anyway, I’m all about “spreading the good word” since my partial switch, my friends and colleagues must be getting tired of me and hopefully some will switch to, or at least add, a Mac. Oh, and hopefully my friends and colleagues will stop ‘poo-pooing’ the Macs.

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