Cringely: is this the beginning of the end for Macintosh hardware?

“The news was… that Apple [created] a separate iPod division because the little music players are such a huge success. Conventional business school wisdom also says that starting a separate division is a way of isolating startup costs, making them more obvious to Wall Street and thus minimizing negative impacts because of course, even Apple has to spend money to make money. Or, like 3Com did with Palm Computing (and even Apple once did with Claris before changing its mind), you can structure a division to spin-off or have a separate IPO. This all makes sense on the surface, but then I recalled something I was told more than 20 years ago by a much younger Steve Jobs. Back then Apple had three divisions


  1. 2nd post?

    Long as it’s Mac OS X, fine.

    Hardware is less and less important. I mean if an AlienWare computer were running OS X, I could live with that…

  2. This guy has a good insight, but I think this is just speculating one particular possible scenario from his perspective.
    He is not speculating on all the incredible time consuming
    hassles and troubles that come with moving towards Win$in’s mass conglomeration of third party hardware…most of it cheap, cheesy hardware. Reliability will go out the window.
    With the Mac and the iPod is how the real money is made
    and the honey and icing is the software.
    It would be ridiculous to drop the Mac. I love OSX, but I mostly love OSX running on my Mac, not Intel hardware.
    Most of us loved our Macs from the days of OS 7,8, and 9, and this did not start just when OSX came out.
    Why, when something like the iPod takes off, does it make people think the Mac should go away. Why not have both worlds.

  3. because the business is going where the money is…. and right now the iPod is where the money is…they haven’t even tapped the iPod mini sales yet

  4. “I love OSX, but I mostly love OSX running on my Mac, not Intel hardware.”

    Realize that the Mac is already running on a ton of Intel hardware. You’ve got AGP, PCI, PCI-X, USB, which are all Intel created hardware.

    My point is, I don’t think it would be such a bad thing to have OSX on Intel/AMD. I bet that Appl could make a killing off of selling OSX for Intel/AMD. I for one don’t think it would be a bad idea. Apple can not meet the price/performace that the PC world has enjoyed for quite some time now. Add in OSX with that equation and things are sweet all around.

  5. All this talk about Mac’s being shoved off to the side is ridiculous. Apple has developed an amazing product that is just at the beginning of bearing fruits from so much labor.

    The mistake in MDN’s comment is that Apple does nothing to show the operating system. I think that is totally wrong. They are spending a lot more money with the Apple stores to give new people a hands on experience with OSX that you can’t get from a commercial…and turning a profit while at it.
    Not to mention the fact that there are other ways to become successful without massive Advertising Campaigns. Do you all remember the Billion’s spent on advertising Linux? Neither do I.

    The Mac is just at the edge of breaking out (again?). You see if I’m not right in a year to 2 years from now. There is a huge ground swell of accolades and word of mouth for things going on at Apple, and I can’t remember a time when the press was singing Apples praises as much as now, despite the yokels MDN puts on for site hits.

  6. It’s a shame that capitalism has hit the wall, where everything is about money, “shareholder value” and other brain dead materialistic considerations. I’m not optomistic about the future at all.

    I think Cringely’s speculating too much here. Who knows what Steve has up his sleeve?

  7. Wow!! MDN’s take on this has now joined the choir of gloom and doom to Apple. For what seems to be repeated the hundredth time to a gang with nanosecond memories, Apple is a HARDWARE company not a software company. They are devoted to giving the user a COMPLETE computer experience. As such, they produce a WHOLE product, a unified hardware/software device. Apple does NOT make money from OS X as an independent piece of software, unlike Microsoft. The Mac is not just in the OS, but is greater than the sum of its parts; from a single-button mouse (and the reasons behind it) to the excellent customer support.

    Apple has CONSISTENTLY proven their ability for innovation in all areas of business, and the last thing they need is some hack armchair CEOs with archaic, community college, Business-101, advertising ideas telling them how to run their leading-edge organization.

    Apple hunts in the corporate jungle with pin-point laser accuracy and precision. Just because you may be too uninformed, stupid or lack meta-creativity (the ability to “Think Different”) to see their focus and purpose, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

    Actions speak much louder than words. I like what Apple has produced; they don’t need to say anything to anyone. The quality and style of the iMac sitting in front of my face gives me all of the confidence I need. If that’s not enough for you, then you just don’t “get it” and you probably never will.

    Those that understand Apple’s extraordinary business philosophies need no explanation. For those that don’t understand it, no explanation will suffice.

  8. Maybe the creation of separate division for iPod and Macintosh was/is motivated by the Apple vs Apple Records problem. Steve’s company is a chained dog when it comes to all things music due to recurring lawsuits from the Beatles. What if this is the first step to spin-off the music realated portion under a new brand such as iTunes Music. This would free Apple to pursue the music business unhindered…and maybe even start a mighty, new recording label: iTunes Music Studios. Why would an artist sign a Drakonian deal with and abusive record label that embraces an outdated, dying distribution model when they could sign directly with iTunes Music, the distribution model of the future. This would make the big 5 crap thier pants.

  9. i think MDN has it right in this case. The key statement is “We are in a constant state of amazement that a company can have such a superior product, yet seems to be unable to sell it to the world”.

    Apple already have a superior product, but less and less people are buying it. While it turns a profit, that’s not a problem, but if it starts to make a loss, and if trends continue, that’ll happen, then the macintosh no longer remains viable.

    MDN expresses perfectly how perplexing this situation is. The good news is that we have two or three years before Longhorn in which to start clawing back some customers. I don’t give a monkey’s chuff about market share, but a reasonable level of profitability is essential (to keep the company going) and a reasonably big user base is essential (to attract 3rd party developers to the platform).

    We’ve all got to work hard just keeping awareness of the platform out there and persuading friends and family to switch where possible. It really should start to snowball, but I’ve been thinking that since Jaguar, and it hasn’t happened yet.

  10. Correction on my posting above:
    …This would free.the new independent company, iTunes Music, headed by CEO Steve Jobs, to pursue the music business unhindered…

  11. I believe two things need to happen quite fast: 1) Put the G5 into the iMac and 2) bringing the G5 to 3gHz. I believe that Apple is creating as much as possible revenue from the iPod to fund the necessary upgrades of the Mac and to overcome a slump in the sales of the Mac until the upgrades are ready. Once the upgrades are ready sales will take off. So please don’t panic.

  12. also, there is to much doom publicity concerning Apple, this needs to stop. Let us please start with ourselves, M$ developement will eventually crash, so hold on.

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