“Apple has enjoyed one of the most spectacular and innovative runs in U.S. business history,” Michael S. Malone writes in an opinion piece for ABC News.
“The question now is whether the company can keep going, pulling still more rabbits out of Steve Jobs’ hat. The answer, I think, is probably not,” Malone writes.
“That’s not to say that aren’t a few terrific products waiting out there that seem logical extensions of Apple’s current trajectory. For example, everybody expects the company to come out with a 3G iPhone sometime soon, which would be a welcome improvement. Even better would be an Internet phone — which is what I think the iPhone should have been in the first place. And coming up with a real keyboard for the iPhone, a la the new LG Voyager, or at least a pulsing touch screen keyboard, would overcome the iPhone’s one big flaw,” Malone writes.
MacDailyNews Take: There already is an Internet iPhone from Cisco. Word is, it’s selling like snotcakes. As for LG’s Voyager and iPhone’s keyboard, please see these related articles:
Chicago Tribune: Verizon’s fake Apple iPhone, the LG Voyager, is clunky and second-rate – December 18, 2007
Verizon’s ‘fake iPhone’ LG Voyager is no Apple iPhone killer – November 21, 2007
Dopey ‘study’ conjures up Apple iPhone typing ‘errors’ – November 14, 2007
Malone continues, “But then what? The iMac, the iPod (and iTunes) and the iPhone challenged major consumer electronics industries that had either grown complacent (PCs, the music industry) or missed a key innovation (the cell phone industry and feature integration). But now what?”
MacDailyNews Take: “But now what?” There’s a reason why Jobs is a multi-billionaire running one of the world’s most valuable companies and Michael S. Malone is scribbling junk articles about him for such high-technology mavens as ABC News.
Malone continues, “The quick price discounting of the iPhone underscored that the mobile phone world was a far more aggressive and competitive one than the aging personal computer world. And already, Nokia, LG, Samsung and every other cell phone maker is rushing to introduce iPhone killers, and the first wave looks pretty damn good. Can Apple really stay ahead of these guys?”
MacDailyNews Take: Yes, Apple can stay ahead. The first wave of fake iPhones looks pretty good to whom? Not to anyone who’s used an iPhone, that’s for sure. Anyone can make an iPhone lookalike, weld on a touch screen and pretend it’s an iPhone (see recent Verizon ads), but they don’t have multi-touch and they don’t work at all like an iPhone. Just like with fake iMacs and MacBooks, the external looks can be approximated, but the user experience inside obviously can’t.
Malone continues, “And that isn’t the only market in which Apple is coming under assault. The company picked up some market share in computers, thanks to the stupidity of the competition, but that isn’t going to last… Will the results be superior to Apple’s computers? Likely not. But these giant competitors need only be nearly as good at half the price.”
MacDailyNews Take: Half the price? Come on. Spec out comparable machines and Apple fares very well indeed, often beating the likes of Dell. Apple refuses to compete in the bargain basement junk PC market. Apple wants to satisfy customers; they won’t make junk for the sake of low sticker prices. Apple has a reputation for quality that they will not, should not, sacrifice to pad their market share numbers like HP, Dell, Gateway, etc. Basically, you get what you pay for with Macintosh. Especially since Macs are OS-unlimited while the PC box assemblers are OS-limited, stuck riding Microsoft’s bloated Vista (or installing Microsoft’s over 6-year-old XP), forever unable to run Mac OS X, iLife, etc. Consumers grow more tech savvy every day, hence the recent dramatic uptick in Mac market share. HP, Dell, Lenovo, and the rest can try to make the best looking machines they can muster, but they can’t match Jonathan Ives’ design chops, and even if they somehow get anywhere in the ballpark, they’re still stuck booting up into Windows.
Malone continues, “That leaves music and video, where the iPod owns the market (by the way, when Microsoft, IBM and Intel had this kind of market monopoly, the SEC came knocking; where was it with MP3?). No one’s going to take this business away from Apple anytime soon. But once again, short of a quantum leap in innovation, this is now an incremental market — something that Apple has never been that good at. And the competitors are swarming: seen the new Zune? While the world laughed it off and dismissed it, Microsoft, relentless as ever, went back to the drawing board and came up with a nice little machine. It ain’t the iPod, but it, and all of its other friends, just may keep Apple from making Apple-like profits. And when that happens, Apple’s stock falls … and then how will the company continue to afford fighting this three front war it’s now put itself in — all against bigger and richer competitors?”
Full article, Think Before You Click™, here.
Malone uses the old trick of peppering his articles with faint praise, so that he can get in his weak shots at Steve Jobs, who most likely repeatedly pants’ed him in front of the entire playground back in grade school (see Malone quote below).
With their latest Zunes, Microsoft has partially succeeded in ripping off old Apple iPods, but without the rich accessory market, without iTunes, without the iTunes Store. They, like everyone else, have no answer for iPod touch and iPhone. iPod nano, all by itself, blows the competition away. SanDisk, the actual distant #2 to iPod, Microsoft, with their Zune fiasco, and the ever-dwindling cadre of other also-rans have nothing to offer that will “keep Apple from making Apple-like profits.” They just don’t, and to say that what they have on the market today might “keep Apple from making Apple-like profits” is simply folly. They’ve been trying for over half a decade and the best they’ve come up with are incomplete, derivative fakes of discontinued iPods with extraneous “features” thrown on for the sake of compiling bullet points for their dusty retail placards.
And now for some Michael S. Malone quotes, so you can see the baggage he brings to his articles that mention Apple:
“The biggest reason I try to avoid covering the company is the community of rabid Apple fanatics. When you are in the mood for it, they can be fun — in a nasty sort of way. It’s sort of like bear-baiting: A dirty, little secret in the computer media is that if you want to goose your readership or spike the traffic to your Web site, just say something negative about Apple Computer.” – Michael S. Malone, January 18, 2007
“Mr. Jobs is the most paradoxical of creatures. On the one hand, though time and mortality have mellowed him, he remains something of a monster. If, like me, you grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, interviewed him in the early days of Apple, and even wrote a book about him and his company, there will always be things about him that are unforgivable — cruelties and manipulations (especially to Steve Wozniak), early crimes (illegal telephones, ironically), megalomania, and an unquenchable need to take credit from others (Do you know who led the original Mac team? Invented the iPod? Devised the new iPhone? I didn’t think so) — and that no achievement will ever erase.” – Michael S. Malone, January 11, 2007
Michael S. Malone from “Apple R.I.P,” Forbes, October 5, 2000:
• “Steve Jobs can’t run companies… Why is he a poor CEO? Because he’s mercurial, insufficiently engaged by the more boring (but crucial) operations like distribution and, ultimately, because he’s a pretty nasty piece of work.”
• “Steve Jobs has put Apple again in a precarious position. When the end does come, the big companies will have the necessary capital to transition into the multitude of new industries that will evolve out of the PC.”
• “Apple is a small fish, and the pond is going dry… Now that Apple has upgraded its customer base it has no place to go.”
You get the idea.