The article shows how a writer can try to use imagery to hide the fact that he doesn't know what he is talking about, and spewing trash and spin, mixed with ignorance and fluff -- and those are the good parts of the article.
To show you where this articles goes awry from the facts, lets look at it in detail --
What does the "lone" product manager have to do with anything? Is he implying that there was only one product manager in the building? Or was the author trying to distort the truth and set a mood to fit his desires? I believe it was stated that 10's of thousands of visitors made it to the Apple (PowerPC) Pavilion during that show called "PC-Expo".
Many companies involved mentioned that they got exposure from a different market place, and stated that were glad they went. So it seems that those involved disagree with Mr. Coopers spin.
I am sure that it was likely slow compared to the main floor -- but so what? The point is to attract a different market, and to try to get them to open their minds. Something that the author proves is hard to do. So what if you only get attention from 10-20% of the entire show? This is a PC-Centric show, and about breaking into new markets -- not about the loss of the Mac market (which is what the author tries to imply). In the past there was even LESS of a presence by Apple or Mac developers/companies -- so this is an improvement! But I guess that wouldn't fit the spin the author is trying to create.
I would also wonder at what relationship a city burning has to do with Apple going to a trade-show? I realize that the author is trying to spin Apple's doom because they had a larger presence at a show than ever before -- but it is up to us to see the idiocy in that mixed metaphor. I do -- how about you?
OK. More garbage and spin, that seems unrelated to fact.
Apple has certainly been reacting to market pressure and what is going on in the industry. They have changed their OS direction, acquired a company (NeXT), cut 20% of their staff (in the last couple of years), they have opened to cloning, they are changing advertising agencies, they have changed their management (almost completely), etc., etc., ad infinitum. So to say they are standing around requires either chutzpah of indescribable levels, or a complete lack of touch with reality.
To compound the ignorance of that paragraph the writer goes on to say that everyone in abandoning Apple (and Macs) except for the Guy Kawasaki crowd. Interesting comment considering the Mac has been gaining market share (especially in the last couple quarters) -- and this is despite the continual bashing by the press (like the author). Apple still maintains the highest repurchase rate, highest customer satisfaction, and highest customer loyalty. So where is the slightest support for this ridiculous claim?!?!
Again -- that point was never supported or proven, and seems to be in direct contradiction with the facts.
While I am sure there are a couple of talented junior and middle managers (at Apple as well as elsewhere) I doubt they are the ones that are leaving. In fact, much of Apples problems have stemmed FROM their management -- as anyone who has been involved with the company will tell you. Many are exactly the people that got Apple into many of their problems -- and they are exactly the people that should get eliminated.
Of course they don't need to be in press releases -- welcome to America. Name the last time you saw a middle managers' name in a press release (especially if it was because he was laid off, or encouraged to leave)?
As for brain drain, this is the first time I have seen a writer so completely clueless as to imply that middle managers are the brains of the outfit -- or that they make products. They are only supposed to help communicate directions (and status) and get the resources for engineers so that the engineers can create the widgets. Not exactly the brains of the outfit. I get the feeling that the author was once a middle-manager, but was too incompetent at that and so became a second rate writer instead.
I do agree that many middle managers often work hard -- but that is not the same as working smart. I would much rather a manager put in 8 hour days, but kept his people motivated and got his work done, than have one that worked 15 hour days "in pursuit of some widget" -- and didn't get his job done. So the hours worked reference seems to be just more proof in the authors lack of understanding of Apple Computers and Engineering in general. Perhaps he should read Dilbert, as he seems to be pictured therein as the pointy headed middle manager that he is defending.
Resigned? That is an interesting word for it. Apple has been unhappy with BBDO's results for some time and quite vocal about it. Many writers (likely this one included) have bashed Apple for lousy advertising and marketing, and so Apple finally does something about it -- by "reviewing the account" (a euphemism for firing their Ad Agency) and this writer spins it that BBDO left Apple. Why? Because they wanted to give up $100 million dollars and 20% of their total business. Sure they did, and this author has a clue.
Huh? Education Access just made a deal with Power Computing -- which also makes Macs. While I am sure that this is not as a great a thing for Apple as if they had kept the business, it does little to harm the Mac, and may help the platform (even if it doesn't help Apple).
I have also never heard the numbers nearly as high as 40%, but I'll pretend that the author got the numbers right for once in the article. The question is how much of that business will be lost to Apple? Apple will get a new distributor (which is all that EA is) -- and likely keep much of its business -- and the rest of the business, or possibly more, will continue to be Macs in the form of Power Computing machines. Apple also makes some money of those clones, so business lost to Power Computing is not completely lost. This doesn't seem to be nearly the big deal that it was spun to be.
PC's are making some inroads in K-12, but Bill Gates himself has said that Apple is THE market force in education and will be for quite some time. Which seems in direct contradiction to the implied spin of this author. Who knows more about MS's business? MS (Bill Gates) or this Author?
It is also interesting to note that while Windows is making some penetration in K-12, it is mostly in servers and business application (administration) and is losing market share in the curriculum side -- at least according to QED and others. But that would have taken the author a whole sentence to explain, and not fit the spin.
Power Computing has stated in their IPO filing that they are only creating a few Windows Servers so that they can sell NT servers pre-bundled with Mac Clients. The idea is to offer IT organizations a single source for systems. The IPO filing states quite clearly that in 5 years they predict the ratio will be at best 20% Windows servers, and 80% Macintosh clones. Somce when is adding value to their Mac systems the same as leaving the platform (as is implied).
When a company files an IPO they have a mandatory quiet period where they can not respond to the presses stupidity -- which is coincidentally when all these really bad articles start coming out. Apple has their own 2 week gag period (right before a quarterly report) where they don't comment -- and is also when the press seems to time their really dumb articles. Complete coincidence I'm sure.
So I am still wondering how this is an insult to Apple to try to increase the penetration of Macs into business? Either Charles Cooper knows these facts and is intentionally spinning them (see lying/distorting), or he is ignorant of them and doesn't know what his own job is supposed to be -- meaning he is more incompetent than even I have given him credit for.
We already know that Charles hates Apple and is spinning everything as bad as possible. There is some "tough dealings" going on with licensing -- but these are complex issues that a single sentence can not do justice to. Apple is playing hard ball -- but that is what business is about. Power Computing is also playing hard and cherry-picking Apples markets. Thems' is the breaks -- though it is no surprise to me that Mr. Cooper is spinning things with innuendo and slams and won't discuss the facts.
I think that last sentence is the point. Apple has given Motorola and IBM the power to Sub-License -- to increase the licenses and markets. This is a good thing -- but is somehow attempted to be distorted into a bad thing. Of course one of the reasons that IBM CAN add value to licensing from them is by getting their profits off of the chip or motherboard sales. So the author is helping to prove that his prior sentence is no big deal at all, and irrelevant. So Apple allows sub-cloning -- where is the shock or insult that some cloners will actually use those channels that Apple has put in place?
How so? In fact it makes no difference if Power Computing gets their license from Apple or IBM -- because either way they will likely have to get the ROM from Apple. That is not necessarily proprietary, but that is a separate issue. Apple has also said that ROM issues will only exist for the first generation of PPCP (not CHRP).
I also think the issue is not Apple trying to squeeze licensees (as Charles implies) -- in fact Charles has said that Apple is doomed anyway. So Apple is just trying to prevent clone makers from squeezing the life out of Apple. Apple has to do lots of R&D, and should NOT allow cloners to use that R&D without paying for it. Like I said, the issue is complex. Apple needs to make money at this, or else they should not clone.
Is quality control a bad thing? I always thought it was a good thing.
In fact if Apple is trying to prevent the anarchy that is the PC market space. Its a tight rope walk -- Apple wants to retain some control -- but still give away lots of freedom. Sure some people are going to be unhappy with the balance at any given time, but it will fluctuate and balance out in the end. I hardly think this is a serious problem -- more a minor licensing issue. Even if Apple was completely draconian, there would still be clones, because there is LOTS OF MONEY in it!
Notice how the author avoided the issue about how Power Computing had the largest first year sales of any computer maker in history. Far blowing away the previous record held by Compaq?! All done on Macs I might add. Guess that wouldn't fit the spin. He also dodges the fact that there is a long line of other companies to make Mac clones -- and the list gets longer by the day. Instead they (those Apple Bashers) want to focus on the one that leaves, rather than the ten new companies. At least if the company was really leaving then they might have a point.
Yes. Good. If the author left this statement alone -- things would be fine. But noooo... he has to go on.
These issues are complex. I am sure there is more than one side to the story -- and hearing a second or third hand account of "one instance" does little to impress me.
The point is that Apple is licensing and changing its business model. But then companies like Power Computing are not doing what they had agreed to do -- which is go for EXPANDING the Mac market. Instead they are often trying to cherry pick Apples customers and pirate Apples market. Look at Power Computings' Ads -- I see many in Mac Magazines, and have seen few in PC mags. That is not trying to expand the market -- however, making NT-Servers preconfigured to serve Mac Networks IS! So Power Computing is doing the best for Apple by doing something that the Author writes is an insult. Then Mr. Cooper ignores the bad that the same company does and blames Apple for everything.
So Power Computing and other clones were playing hard -- and Apple is playing hard right BACK. Welcome to business. The last thing we need is some clueless Apple-Hating writer telling Apple how to run their business -- or whining about issues that he seems to only half understand.
The claim that Apple does is silly. Apple is trying to license -- but balance the licensing with reasonable fees so it can be a win-win situation. When the licensees are cherry picking Apples' markets it is a lose-win situation (with Apple on the wrong side of the stick) -- so Apple fights back. That the great Pooper-Cooper doesn't get this is not a surprise to me.
I didn't see a single example of these claims in the entire article. So where is the support for these claims? This article and its content are unrelated -- it is like me creating an article titled "How to be a master chef and create a souffle" -- then the body of my article explaining how to use Pillsbury pre-made dough to make cookies.
I am always amazed that magazines actually publish this trash.I realize that Charles Cooper gets paid to write for PC-Week and so is biased by his own greed (and ignorance of the Mac market) -- but it still reflects amazingly poorly on ZD-Net. It also shows that the editors at ZD-NET either do not understand their jobs, or do not care. I understand deadlines and other excuses for mediocrity (or worse) -- but there can be no excuses for this type of trash journalism.