Steve Jobs on iPod nano, Mac’s ‘5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling,’ and more

“Apple’s stock price has almost quintupled over the past two years, revenues have doubled during that time, and Jobs is sitting on a war chest of $8 billion,” Lev Grossman reports for Time. “He has a company with an almost freakishly diverse skill set–computer hardware, operating systems, applications, consumer electronics, Internet services. Will Jobs try to leverage Apple’s dominance in the digital-music space to get its PC line back in the running? Or is the iPod the first in a full suite of Apple-flavored, network-enabled media appliances–TV, digital camera, camcorder, digital video recorder, video-game player?”

Grossman reports, “After all, when Jobs unveiled the Nano in San Francisco, it shared the stage with the ROKR, a phone that runs Apple’s iTunes software and can hold around 100 songs. ‘We’re working on some stuff,’ Jobs says, with his best, most irritating Cheshire-cat smile. ‘We’re working on some stuff. We’ll see.’ He looks at his watch–his lunch date, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, is waiting outside.”

Grossman reports, “For the moment, it’s clear Jobs is just happy to be here. To paraphrase Lou Reed, his company was saved by rock ‘n’ roll. ‘What’s really been great for us is the iPod has been a chance to apply Apple’s incredibly innovative engineering in an area where we don’t have a 5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling,’ Jobs says. ‘And look at what’s happened. That same innovation, that same engineering, that same talent applied where we don’t run up against the fact that Microsoft got this monopoly, and boom! We have 75% market share.’ That music you hear? Redemption song.”

Full article here.
Has Jobs forsaken the Mac? We don’t think so. Read between the lines or read the related article.

Related article:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005


  1. 2006 will be the year that Apple takes back marketshare from the Windows world. By having Intel inside their Macs, Apple will benefit in three ways:

    1) Intel is a name more familiar to potential Windows switchers.

    2) Windows users who want a Mac could use both operating systems on one piece of hardware if they so choose.

    3) Apple will be more willing to spend significant $$$ in advertising knowing Intel can keep up with demand.

    Apple will make 2006 a significant Mac year with MacIntel introductions a preview of OS X Leopard.

    2 cents

  2. Steve isn’t the type to be content playing second fiddle to Bill. If the Mac doesn’t maintain its sales growth over the next few years (or stops turning a profit), expect to see Mac OS X licensed to other PC makers once the Intel transition is complete

  3. The Intel move was the signal that Apple was rasing the white flag
    on the computer business-in one bold move Jobs screwed loyal Apple
    owners and basically eviscerated the future Mac. By the way do you
    like the way the phone looks?

  4. ‘What’s really been great for us is the iPod has been a chance to apply Apple’s incredibly innovative engineering in an area where we don’t have a 5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling.’

    This comment is not really about a glass ceiling for the Mac. This comment is entirely about the iPod and its appearance and dominance in a segment of the industry that was essentially wide open.

    Jobs and Co. wouldn’t be working so hard on OS X development and a switch to Intel if he/they truly saw a glass ceiling for the Mac.

  5. Lisa– you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s that notion of being married to anything other than change itself that caused Apple to lose its enormous lead to M$ in the first place. Innovation requires flexibility and change.

    Geez– how’s your horse and buggy? Do you brush your teeth with twigs? Fashion your clothes from animal skins and bits of bone?

    Eviscerated the future Mac. Whaetever. I’ve been using Macs since pre- OSX days and it’s easy for me to see that if anything, too many Mac users are really neo-Luddites who would stifle innovation if they had their way. For gooness’ sake– it’s not personal, it’s technological.

  6. “article summary: steve gloating”

    When you pull a company out of near complete destruction like he did, and do it in a way that is truly built around great products and great customer experiences, I think that gives him plenty of reason to gloat.

  7. Wow, Lisa, nice to see you back! We’ve missed your incessant whining. Wait, no we haven’t.

    Lisa reminds of the whiners and moaners who used to hang out in MacFixIt “Mac OS X Talk” forum back in 2002, constantly beating their chests and decrying “the death of the Mac” until the site got sick of them and closed the forum. Three years later, Apple and the Mac are going gangbusters and all the malcontents have faded into oblivion. Look for history to repeat itself.

  8. 1) Microsoft might be in “trouble” now. However, Microsoft has enough cash to do basically anything it wants, including buy Apple. S.J. is wise in not trying to awake the sleeping beast.

    2) Apple still needs Microsoft. Word and Excel are prerequisite software packages. If Microsoft stopped making Office for Mac, watch the Apple marketshare decrease. People that are switching still need those programs. S.J. is wise in not trying to anger the sleeping beast.

    3) Despite the marketshare numbers, Apple is not going away, nor were they going to. They still sell lots of computers and have a very loyal following and make lots of money.

  9. The switch to Intel processors is a step in the right direction for Apple. For Apple to really succeed in taking market share away from Microsoft, they need to separate the software from the Apple hardware. The reason is pure economics: businesses and most everyday home users will buy the best computer at the cheapest price possible. Like it or not, that’s a fact. Although the Mac zealots will absolutely go bezerk at this: Apple also needs to have Dell (or enter any other national PC maker’s name here) branded machines running OSX. Or Apple needs to compete with the major PC makers on performance AND price, but the Mac Mini is not it. The Mac Mini is a nice, interesting little package, but it doesn’t compete – sorry.

    Technophiles build their own hardware platforms because they can usually build in more performance and capacity at a much better cost – not because they are cheap. The concept of having a multiple-boot (Windows, OSX and Linux) machine would be mind boggling!

    There will always be enough Mac enthusiasts to keep Apple’s hardware in demand, but to take advantage of the situation (and I sincerely hope they do) Apple will need to separate the OS from the hardware or be prepared to compete price-wise, performance-wise AND quantity with the other major PC makers. I don’t think that Apple has (or ever would have) the production facilities to ship millions of machines per month – they would have to match the current output of every PC maker in the world to supply the demand.

    So – the simple solution for Apple is to License and sell OSX separately and allow it to be installed on any Intel machine. Failing this, Apple will continue to have a very small market share – and will pass up on the greatest opportunity to bring down Goliath.

    I get the distinct impression from the zealots that hang out on MDN that they REALLY DON’T want what they are screaming about: that everyone migrate to OSX. If that actually did happen, then all the Mac heads would just be another lemming, losing the uniqueness they currently enjoy.

    By the way, I am a Mac user – I develop cross-platform (Mac, Windows and Linux) database applications.

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