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Dvoraks World -

By: Brian Miller

In response to a series of bad (biased) articles from PCWEEK, including:

JC Dvorak has a habit of baiting Mac users, writing inane columns designed to anger and shock. His recent MacWorld diatribes, designed to fill contractual editorial obligations (and boost short-term ratings of ZDNET), are no exception. To understand such a psyche, one shouldn't address its puerile points head-on, but should engage in a study of the environment that produced such a boxed-in mind set.

Welcome to the World of Wintel.

Wintel has a dirty little secret. A secret that, when discovered, it's usually too late to address.

The secret? The entire Wintel industry is built on lies.

Not just minor misdeeds, mind you -- but massive omissions, misstatements, and just plain bare-faced lies. And that's why they've become so shrilly anti-Macintosh.

Take, for example, the recent "NT assault" at the recent MacWorld San Francisco. Lies were told about the companies, their products, and the competition.

At the Intergraph booth, a PowerMac 9600/300 was dubbed "the fastest Mac Apple sells." The company than showed how a dual-Pentium 300 box beat it by 30 to 40% in selected tests. Last time I checked, the G3 Minitower/266 was the fastest Mac on the planet (at least 15% faster than the 9600). And wasn't it convenient that Intergraph didn't showcase their multiprocessor box against the 9600 Multiprocessor series, running Adobe's MP apps? (The 9600MP likely would have smashed the Intergraph box -- and costs about $2000 less).

This is typical of the Wintel sales pitch. It's high pressure, high stakes, and high deception.

Based upon the press' coverage of the "invasion," you'd figure that "major vendors" Digital Equipment Corp. and Intergraph, the "armies" invading MacWorld, would be flush with cash, and super-successful corporations, unlike "cash-strapped, beleaguered, dying" Apple.

And you'd be wrong.

Intergraph, based in Alabama, sells nothing but high-end Wintel workstations, boxes that easily sell for over $8,000 each. The margins involved in such sales are tremendous, far higher than the average 22% gross that Apple gets, even on the highest priced Macintosh. So they should be enormously successful, right? Nope.

Intergraph's cash flow plunged from $59.8 million in 1995 to a dismal $26 million in 1996 (the "year of NT"), due to high investment losses and a net loss of $69 million on revenues of $1.1 billion, or a loss of $1.46 per share. And these losses were reduced through shenanigans including $0.34/share gains over the four 1996 quarters in sales of subsidiaries and restructuring charge reversals. And this losing streak didn't start in 1996. . . Intergraph lost $45 million and $70 million in 1995 and 1994, respectively.

And in 1997, it hasn't gotten any better for Intergraph -- losses have accelerated. In the first quarter, the firm lost $0.55 per share on $253 million in sales, as opposed to $0.14 on $257 million in the year-ago quarter. In the second quarter, yet another loss. . . $0.33 per share on sales of $289 million, beating its losses from the year-ago quarter AGAIN. And in the third quarter? Yet another loss. That's $1.02/share in losses already -- I wonder if Intergraph can set a new record in the fourth quarter.

And that's not all -- the company is suing Intel, which may jeopardize its supply of chips.

If this company was Apple, it would be dubbed "beleaguered" by the press. But instead, it's dubbed "a leader in NT workstations." Would you buy from a supplier with dwindling cash and an at-least four-year-long losing streak, that cannot eke out a profit on high-margin workstations? One that may have its supply of chips cut off?

This is a LEADING vendor in the "thriving" Windows NT world, folks.

And let's not forget Digital, who is shrinking daily and providing for cash flow through steady sell-offs of subsidiaries.

NOTE: The day this article ran, the big story was that DEC (Digital Equipement) was just bought out by Compaq Computers. I think this supports the point quite well.

Windows NT isn't doing "well" in the creative category, judging by these numbers -- it's doing horribly. And its two leading vendors are deep in the red. But from the industry, and the press, you'd think these firms are doing "incredibly well," vanquishing "beleaguered" (but profitable) Apple. In fact, the only firms making any profit in NT creative fields are Microsoft and HP's minor NT workstation division (with a market share that's a tiny fraction of the MacOS).

But the deception doesn't stop here. I am still recovering from a stint at a small Windows-based "accounting integration" firm that was richly profitable -- like a parasite.

The way to big money in the Wintel consulting field is simple -- sell someone a Windows-based solution, promise that it will meet their expectations, and then charge them for dozens of hours of consulting work per week in perpetuity. When I was at this firm, I was a virtual employee of one client -- with only four workstations and one server. I paid my own salary on Monday, and for the rest of the week, was a money machine for the company.

The client, which had a simple network for accounting, ended buying a second server ($28,000), and paid the firm for 40 to 50 hours of my labor per week (at $150 per hour). Constant crashes, disk failure, NT network problems, and difficulties in use plagued the firm. An Apple Workgroup server would have been a far better choice for them, running, say, Great Plains Dynamics -- but it wouldn't have been profitable for the consultants, who make all their money on billable time the hapless client has been convinced will never be needed.

I finally couldn't deal with the firm's ethics and what they stood for.

So next time you encounter a John C. Dvorak or similar person, pity him -- his reality has been distorted. If he's making money in the Wintel world, he's likely been lying to himself and his customers for years, and cannot grasp reality, since when one tells big lies, and tells them often enough, they become "truth." Help him out by politely listening to his rhetoric about Mac to Windows migration, laughing only occasionally (and softly).

And encourage him to sell his Intergraph stock.

Don Crabb's response to Dvorak's Article:

Quick eMail note from a Friend

I thought this was just too relevant, so I put it up (with permission) -- however, names were removed.

Date: 01/26 4:53 PM
Received: 01/26 8:41 PM
From: Mark F. Murphy, [email protected]
To:   [email protected]

I gave [a certain writer -- not Dvorak] a hard time for making Rhapsody seem like the bastard son in his report on [another well known web site]. I mentioned to him that Rhapsody was demoed on Apple's main stage at least twice a day.

There were two shows that had standing room only, overflowing into the aisle kind of attendance.... QuickTime 3.0 and Rhapsody!

When I pointed this was missing from his report, he wasn't even aware that Rhapsody was being demoed in the main booth (indeed he wrote that Rhapsody was missing from Apple's booth which was wrong as well). When I pressed him about it, he then stated since he didn't personally see it, he couldn't comment on it... even though later on he admitted he gather his info from Apple's press reports, product releases, and *friends* in the industry (so much for his eye witness excuse).

He later went on to tell me that Apple was happy with downplaying Rhapsody... so I ought to take it up with them... that he was just reporting the way it *was*.

What a load of B.S.

This guy constantly likes to paint a picture of Apple and it's market. Sure... Apple is downplaying Rhapsody, as they should since QT 3.0 was being released! Rhapsody is not shipping and MacOS is the bread and butter. However... the evidence is clear! The *users* were clamoring to find out about it! It's the users damn it... the USERS! But the press can't report about Rhapsody being a *big* curiosity at the show.

However, ZD, and others, were hyping NT... it's their new direction for their Mac pubs. Each time I went by Intergraph's booth, it was basically empty.

How can a reporting agency hype up NT with very few people interested while downplaying the fact that crowds surrounded the twice daily Rhapsody demos in Apple's booth?

To me... the press has lost *all* credibility. They are absolutely worthless!


Mark F. Murphy, Director Software Development <mailto:[email protected]>
Tyrell Software Corp <>
PowerPerl(tm), Add Power To Your Webpage! <>

Created: 01/25/98
Updated: 11/09/02

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