FUD Alert: Fast Company publishes Apple hit piece

“This promises to be a joyous holiday season for Steve Jobs and the incandescent Apple. Over the past year, the company’s numbers have been stunning: Sales are up 24%, earnings up 75%, margins topping 30%, stock price up 146%. The popularity of the iPod and its snazzy young cousin, the iPhone, has lifted other Apple products, helping boost market share in personal computers in the United States from 2% a few years ago to 8% this past quarter, with Apple leapfrogging Gateway to take third place behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard,” Adam L. Penenberg writes for Fast Company.

MacDailyNews Take: The superior quality of the Mac experience being showcased at Apple’s growing network of retail stores and in TV commercials, combined with people who have finally tired of Microsoft’s unending litany of empty promises and mediocre-at-best products, certainly deserve some credit. iPod halo effect is nice, but worthless without the Mac’s overall quality.

Penenberg continues, “The latest upgrade to Apple’s operating system–Leopard–is getting strong reviews, in contrast to the indifference that greeted Microsoft’s new Vista OS.”

MacDailyNews Take: Indifference?! Would you qualify “Vista’s a lemon” or “Vista: Five years for a chrome-plated turd as “indifferent?” Penenberg is far too charitable.

Penenberg continues, “Yet this is also a dangerous moment for Apple. In a way the company has never seen, the barbarians are massing at the gates. From hardware to software to services, major competitors with serious R&D and marketing budgets are laying siege to the House of Jobs.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oooh, scary!

Penenberg continues, “MP3 players from the likes of iRiver, Microsoft, SanDisk, and Toshiba are getting slicker all the time, targeting the iPod at a fraction of the cost. Vivendi Universal scuttled a long-term licensing deal to offer its music on iTunes and is talking with other music companies about building a download store of their own… Even the tree huggers are coming after Apple, threatening to sue under a California consumer-protection statute if certain allegedly toxic chemicals aren’t removed from the iPhone.”

MacDailyNews Take: Will… type… something… if… we… ever… stop… laughing… uncontrollably…

Penenberg continues, quoting “analysts” who try valiantly, but unconvincingly, to talk down Apple’s stock and then writes, “It’s weeks before Christmas, and all through the house, there’s an iPhone, a touch screen, and no need for a mouse. But Jobs, the ‘brilliant,’ ‘visionary’ ‘genius’ with a knack for creating ‘insanely great’ consumer products, may well be wondering whether next year will be different. Merry Christmas, Steve. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

MacDailyNews Take: Okay, we stopped: Petty. Jealous. Loser.

Penenberg continues, “The question isn’t whether Apple will survive but how it will evolve… In an age increasingly defined by interoperability and technical collaboration, Jobs still refuses to license Apple’s operating system. He won’t allow music and videos downloaded from iTunes to be played on other MP3 players. He won’t permit music downloaded from competing stores to play on the iPod.”

MacDailyNews Take: This age is described here – and by others who have actually used both Apple’s products and badly-executed knockoffs from Microsoft and the box assemblers – as The Dark Ages of Personal Computing precisely because horizontal integration has proven to be a race to the bottom, devoid of concern for the end user experience, and fraught with frustration and incompatibilities. Apple’s vertical integration model – control of the whole widget, if you will – is superior for the only person that really matters: the user. By the way, Adam, Apple’s iTunes Store sells DRM-free music – prompted by Steve Jobs, no less, who would like all iTunes Store music to be sold DRM-free – that plays on many “other MP3 players.” And, just yesterday, we downloaded MP3’s from Amazon that play just fine on our iPod. Apple’s iPod does not require use of iTunes Store. iTunes Store does not require use of iPod. Next time, do some research before propagandizing, Adam.

Penenberg continues, “Gorgeous as Apple’s products are, people aren’t buying them for their inherent technological superiority. For half the price of a Mac, you can pick up a PC that does pretty much the same thing. There are MP3 players that produce superior audio to the iPod. The iPhone has Wi-Fi and a beautiful touch screen, but the phone itself is middling, as is its cellular network. Even the security of Apple’s operating system, a theme the company returns to frequently, is overstated: As most hackers will tell you, it’s security-by-obscurity, a function of tiny market share, not inherent uncrackability.”

Penenberg’s B.S. – mixed with a veritable list of all of the anti-Apple FUD that’s been concocted in recent years – flows even thicker and heavier in the full article, Think Before You Click™, here.

MacDailyNews Take: In our experience, people who think “Apple isn’t anything special, it’s all marketing” are people who’ve never actually used an Apple product. And people who think an operating system that’s been in use for over 6 years — an OS used by over 25 million of the richest and best-educated people — which has never had even a single self-propagating virus in the wild is protected by “obscurity,” not inherent security, are complete idiots. And people who try to talk down a stock almost always do so for financial gain.



  1. Let’s see, Apple has 8% of the personal computer market in the USA and Gateway has less.

    Macs never get hacked and Gateway home computers form the backbone of the hacked, spam producing botnets.

    So much for security through obscurity.

  2. They did a good job of an overview of the risks Apple faces. Every employee would do well to read it and know where the landmines are. But to take the negative slant on all of these points and add it all up to rough roads ahead is simply statistically unlikely. Sure, some of these landmines might explode. But don’t you think Apple has a response ready? Don’t you suppose that they’ve been through many of these scenarios multiple times. I know they have and if they’ve proved one thing, they have a sustainable competitive advantage and that’s innovation.

  3. “”MP3 players from the likes of iRiver, Microsoft, SanDisk, and Toshiba are getting slicker all the time, targeting the iPod at a fraction of the cost.”

    Define slicker and fraction of the cost? Prove it? Let’s see some numbers.

  4. Penenberg,

    How much is Ballmer paying you…?

    So many naysayers out there that just don’t get it. Like Apple is going to fscking collapse tomorrow. Give me a break. Lemmings! You think Vista SP1 is going to make it any better? Vista is shit. iPod competitors are shit. Zune sucks ass.

    This guy is a fscking moron. It amost sounds like Zunetang satire.


  5. The big trend at Bloggerworld in Vegas this year was bloggers for hire
    (hired guns). we will see more & more FUD like this article in the
    future. I am sad that the potential of the web as a beacon for truth
    and expression of one’s opinions and ideas is in grave danger of losing
    it’s credibility, if this trend continues. I hope this author and all
    the other bloggers reconsider how valuable journalistic integrity is.

  6. Is it time to pick up Apple shares then? Sometimes, a hit piece like this is used to drop the share price. The gullibles sell and the vultures buy. In a couple days, the market corrects itself and they will have made tons of cash.

  7. Macromancer, slicker and at a fraction of the cost … doesn’t mean “slicker than the iPod” so much as “slicker than the stuff they used to claim were iPod killers“.
    Ferf, you <u>do</u> realize that Zune Tang is doing satire, right? And that this guy is serious?
    He’s right about me being able to buy a PC for half the cost of a Mac and that the PC will do most of what the Mac will do. Will it do it “as well”? Likely not. Will it do it as long? Likely not. Will it be a bargain? Likely not. Will it make me happy? Maybe. Briefly. Until it catches a ‘cold’.

  8. “For half the price of a Mac, you can pick up a PC that does pretty much the same thing.”

    Should read “The experience of using a Macintosh where everything “just works” and one doesn’t have to live in fear of being invaded by viruses, trojans and other malware can’t be replicated by any other vendor at any price.”

    How long this continues to be true is uncertain. It’s been true for the last 6 years since I relegated my NT driven PC to the trash heap. If you’re interested in serving yourself and your readers you might consider switching yourself. While technically I understand what your trying to say about closed systems your central premises are quite incorrect. On Apple hardware you can run Windows, linux, most iterations of Unix, and the Mac OS. On iPods you can play mp3’s, mp4’s (aac), apple lossless and a few others. All of these codecs are considered open.

    If it’s your intention to deliver factual information that serves your readers and hopes to educate to some degree, I would hope that you do a follow up piece. If your just looking to spread lies and half truths for the sake of gaining additional hits on some website, consider how you might reflect on that as a career path a few years down the road.

  9. Apple “Hit” piece. Lol! It’s a conspiracy. Really, everyone is out to get Apple! You guys take yourselves way too seriously.

    As always, the writer makes some good points which MDN glosses over. The MP3 players from the competition are getting much better. There’s only a marginal difference between iPod and many other players in terms of quality and usability. The new flash based players from Creative and Samsung are very compelling and less expensive.

    Then there’s this article which MDN declined to air.


    Another “hit” piece no doubt.

  10. The following quote is from Tom’s Guide… but, there are more like this showing up in places never before critical of Apple.

    The reasons for this: 1. Lower standards for quality and customer care. 2. iPhone sucked the energy from code writers at Cupertino and Apple left it up to consumers to finish the testing of Leopard for them.

    A slippery slope we now find ourselves on.

    “There are a variety of other reports, including a Mac Pro becoming completely inoperative after a Leopard upgrade. One user asked, Is it me, or is Leopard just a mess?. Apple locked the topic, preventing replies. Another user echoed my sentiments at the start of this article by asking Is ANY part of Leopard ready for release? Worst product from Apple so far. Here’s a shock, the entire thread was censored. And amazingly, despite all of the above, and everything else we’ve seen go wrong since Leopard debuted 3 weeks ago, at apple.com/mac/, an Apple ad on the left side of the page says “Leopard just works”.

    I have no doubt that it will someday. But today, it does not.”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.