March 04, 2003

Why We Like Macintoshes

Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle reminds us of why we are glad we don't do Windows:


HoustonChronicle.com - Computing: NOW I know how a doctor feels when he loses a patient whose problems have cascaded from minor to fatal -- and it's partly the physician's fault.... In my case, the death in the family is my own PC. I tried treating it for the digital equivalent of a hangnail, and in the end wound up killing the poor guy.... My problems began when I installed some new software that I plan to review -- Easy CD & DVD Creator 6, the latest version of Roxio's best-selling program for burning CDs and now DVDs....

After installing the program, I noticed that some of the icons for background programs that normally show up in the system tray were no longer there. The Task Manager showed the programs themselves were running, but I couldn't get to them via the customary icons.

It was time to launch into troubleshooting mode, a state of being I know all too well. Fire off an e-mail to Roxio tech support. Do a search on Roxio's support forums, on the Web and in Usenet news groups to see if anyone else has this problem. Scan the included help files and README.TXT documents.

I came up empty.

Next, I reinstalled a couple of the smaller programs whose icons had vanished. That worked, and they reappeared. With those minor successes under my belt, I decided to reinstall a larger program that had been affected -- Norton Antivirus 2003.

That didn't work. In fact, a major part of Norton Antivirus had quit working.... The problem seemed to be a corrupt installation, so I uninstalled it and reinstalled it. That didn't work. I did it again, with a slightly different approach. No joy. I found a knowledge base article that had detailed instructions on manually removing it, then reinstalled. Nope. In all, I probably uninstalled and reinstalled Norton Antivirus six or seven times....

At this point, most of my PC was still functioning. I had Internet access and I could get to all my drives. I just felt naked without antivirus protection. And that's when I made my biggest mistake.... Windows XP has a nifty feature called System Restore.... [T]o make sure Easy CD & DVD Creator worked properly, I uninstalled a competing product I'd been trying, Nero Burning ROM 5.5. I made the mistake of telling System Restore to go back to when Nero was still present on my system. When Windows came up, its registry settings expected to find Nero -- only it was no longer there.

Suddenly, I no longer had access to my CD drives. I couldn't get Windows to reinstall the drivers for them. And, for some reason, I no longer had access to my home network, nor to the Internet. No drives. No Internet access. No network. No antivirus protection....

I dug out my Windows XP disk and jumped at what I hoped would be the final solution. I could boot from the CD because newer computers can access those kinds of drives early in the bootup process, before the operating system grabs control. I would reinstall Windows by booting from the CD. But upon the first reboot in the Windows XP setup, I got a blue screen of death.... I have a feeling I know what I'm going to end up doing -- formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows and all my applications. My weekend is now spoken for.

Where did I go wrong? I'd love to hear from you if you are aware of something I could have done differently along this treacherous path. If you'd been in my situation, how would you have handled it?

And please, no "you should have been using a Mac" e-mails. Consider that a given.

Posted by DeLong at March 4, 2003 03:43 PM | TrackBack

Comments

A friend just came over and connected my two Macs (laptop and desktop) and my wife's PC to an Epson printer via a little DLink box. (The slickest part is that the laptop can print wirelessly via the Airport.) Here's the schedule for hooking everything up:

11:00: Arrival
11:03: Desktop Mac connected
11:05: iBook connected wirelessly
11:06 to 12:35: trying to connect the Windows PC with the help of the DLink manual and various newsgroups, etc. It did finally work, which I consider a tribute to DLink, not Windows.

I hear there's something about Intel-based machines that's faster than Macintoshes. I sure never see it, though.

Posted by: Mike G on March 4, 2003 04:01 PM

We own a Mac--and have absolutely no interest in purchasing a Windows operating system. Our needs are very modest and Apple is the safe choice for we of the hoi polloi. Still, Jane Galt is probably correct--Apple may not be able to survive. The power users are almost forced to opt for the PC. This situation will likely only get worse for Apple within the next few years. I seriously doubt if the Apple corporation will still exist by the end of this decade.

Steve Jobs should have listened to Bill Gates. The latter warned him that it was a foolish business decision to sell the hardware. Apple should have instead marketed its software to as many reputable computer makers as possible. Its stupid top management instead desired to earn about a 40% profit and Microsoft was willing to settle for 15%. Do I really need to add anything else?

Posted by: David Thomson on March 4, 2003 04:22 PM

Jane Galt's NOT right! And we went through this all before. If Apple had 4% or whatever evenly distributed throughout the market, it would be in trouble. But it doesn't. It dominates a couple of markets-- advertising/graphic design, print production. It has strong footholds in areas like TV-- non-linear editing, special effects, etc. In all of those areas you have entire organizations where the staff would revolt if you tried to go to Windows (as I've seen happen twice when agencies had business relationships with PC makers and they tried to make the switch internally). That is a niche, to be sure, but it's a happy one.

As for the 15% to 40% profit margin BS, an iBook costs about $1200. So do three copies of Windows XP. Tell me who's got a bigger profit margin, the computer maker or the maker of the box with a CD-Rom and a paper manual inside it. That's the same kind of accounting that Hollywood uses to prove that movies that gross half a billion aren't "profitable."

Posted by: Mike G on March 4, 2003 04:35 PM

http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist/jan03_pie.gif

Mac's 4% market share, as measured by hits to google, makes the OS a novelty.

We can start a longbet.com entry on when Linux will overtake them. I'd guess about 2007.

Posted by: Bucky Dent on March 4, 2003 05:52 PM

Really the "Should have been using a Mac" is the best advice. Maybe Gates has reverse engineered Roxio and is planning to offer his own version? It is easy enough to make a competitor product incompatible with closed code and your own product compatible. Isn't this the story of Microsoft? Let others shoulder the expense of product development and then have the 800 pound me too gorilla jump on them? Isn't this why MS has anti-trust litigation problems?

Posted by: bakho on March 4, 2003 06:04 PM

"As for the 15% to 40% profit margin BS, an iBook costs about $1200. So do three copies of Windows XP. Tell me who's got a bigger profit margin, the computer maker or the maker of the box with a CD-Rom and a paper manual inside it. That's the same kind of accounting that Hollywood uses to prove that movies that gross half a billion aren't "profitable.""

The nerds take no prisoners:

"With improvements to the hardware and the boom in desktop publishing, Mac production went into overdrive. By 1987, Apple was selling a million a year. IBM numbers! The Mac minted money - half its 2000 dollar price was pure profit! Apple arrogantly assumed their stuff was so good, consumers would always pay a premium for it. Big mistake. The Mac really ought to have won the battle for the desktop - OK it was more expensive than an IBM PC but if you what you wanted was a friendly easy to use system and surely everyone wanted that, then this was the only game in town - at least that's what the boys at Apple thought but they weren't reckoning on one man, Bill Gates. Gates saw that the Mac's GUI represented a long term threat to Microsoft's money machine, to DOS, the clunky operating system that sat inside every IBM PC. So Bill had his boys create a GUI that sat in top of DOS rather like building a fancy facade on an old building. They called it Windows and it wasn't much at first but it was good enough to defend the DOS franchise."

http://www.pbs.org/nerds/part3.html

Posted by: David Thomson on March 4, 2003 06:14 PM

This really doesn't have much to do with the original post, which doesn't really need a comment, but...

Apple's gross margins (on hardware) have to be relatively high compared to Dell or even HP because they have a comparatively small base to amortize their development costs over. Even with their existing margins, I don't believe Apple makes any money at all if you remove the investment income it gets from its $4B in cash. I suppose that is sustainable in some sense, but one has to wonder how long the shareholders will want to put up with it. If they do get tired of it, I propose that the (relatively valueless) actual Mac business be turned into a cooperative of Mac owners--only shareholders can buy Macs, or when you buy a Mac, shares of the (cash-stripped) stub are built into the price.

Reason: owners are the ones who have an incentive to keep subsidizing Apple, and it seems to me like the tax system would favor their giving money to Apple as investors rather than as consumers.

But maybe the business will actually become profitable and this will be moot.

Posted by: matt wilbert on March 4, 2003 06:57 PM

Okay, so you've got a citation for 10 years ago as to why Apple's margins were 40% then. Why should we believe that Microsoft's were ever 15%? You don't build up a $100 billion warchest, and have the wherewithal to piddle away billions on everything from the X-Box to Slate to Dreamworks, on 15% margins.

Posted by: Mike G on March 4, 2003 07:47 PM

My job as a reviewer requires Windows -- although come to think of it, I could get away with a Mac and Virtual PC, if my employers paid me enough -- so I survive on XP, following the standard tech journalists' creed of reinstalling my OS from scratch every six months or so to clean up the registry crud. Now I wish I could claim compensation for that wasted day from Bill Gates.

(Mike G's numbers on OS costs are a little misleading: I suspect that the actual cost of Windows per installation is *well* below that of the boxed version because of corporate bulk licensing and the huge discounts received by OEMs. In fact, it's that pricing structure that keeps Dell and co. loyal.)

That said, my next computer's a Mac. As I've said to my friends, the launch of OS X meant that Apple had essentially removed all of my objections to buying one. Which is an odd psychological approach, I admit: it's as if one is resigned to the flaws of Windows, but demands higher aspirations from Macs.

Posted by: nick sweeney on March 4, 2003 07:50 PM

Forget the mac stuff. I use all kinds of computers, and if anything the latest products from the evil empire are, well, not as hostile as they used to be. I dislike MS and their approach, but I write papers and do plots with a Windows box and do scientific calculations with a Unix machine. When I was in a place that had Macs I used them instead.
I'll add that the only time I truly lost a hard disk was on a Mac (at least you get a dead Mac icon instead of a blue screen...)

The particular problem you describe sounds like a quirk of the windows uninstall "feature", which usually leaves random bits of the program still around. This is especially true of Norton. The only way to really get rid of the old version is to go into the system registry and nuke all of the pieces until there is nothing tagged by norton in it. System restore, as far as I can tell, is a recipe for trouble: every time I've ever used it the result has been to make things worse and I've undone my restore to go back to square one.

If your data matters, it can be a reasonable choice to get a second hard drive and install the OS on it. Once it's up, you can get to the files on the second drive (but would have to reinstall programs, etc.)

cheers,

Marc

Posted by: Marc on March 4, 2003 08:08 PM

Using the Google "zeitgeist" figures is definitely fun and easy, but it has some pitfalls. I believe, for example, that they detect the OS from the browser's user-agent string, which is something you can tweak; I believe some versions of popular Linux browsers do actually "lie" so that they are presented with usable pages from sites that expect or demand Windows.

Another point here is that if you are really an economist wanna-be, you'd like to see time series data. Apparently, this chart in the zeitgeist only goes back to May, 2002, but it's still interesting. The Mac share has been pegged at 4% the whole time, except for September when it hit 5%. The total non-Microsoft share (including Apple) has ranged between 7% and 10%. There was no OS zeitgeist in October, which is weird; did they perhaps tweak the system then? In any case, since November the average non-MS share has been between 8% and 9%. Given that the MS numbers almost certainly include information from browsers that are lying and saying they are Windows, I'm not very happy with them if I were an MS booster. The Mac share is stubbornly 4%, the real non-MS share is at least 9% (and possibly over 10%), and over 1/3 of the usage is from Windows 98 systems. Now, on the one hand, you can argue that those Win98 boxes will be replaced soon, and it is certain that the vast majority will be replaced with Windows XP boxes. But if even 10% of those Win98 machines are replaced with Macs or Linux/other PCs over the next 2 years, the conservative non-MS share is down to around 85%. So I think the 2003 zeitgeist numbers to come are going to get very interesting indeed. If MS really does lose market share in a market that is not growing very fast, this can't do very good things to their earnings growth or their share price.

Posted by: Jonathan King on March 4, 2003 08:10 PM

Apple has $4B in CASH. It's not going anywhere. Oh, and OSX kicks butt.

Posted by: David Yaseen on March 4, 2003 08:41 PM

Oh I thought you meant the footwear.

Posted by: Bruce Ferguson on March 4, 2003 09:06 PM

"(Mike G's numbers on OS costs are a little misleading: I suspect that the actual cost of Windows per installation is *well* below that of the boxed version because of corporate bulk licensing and the huge discounts received by OEMs. In fact, it's that pricing structure that keeps Dell and co. loyal.)"

But the actual cost is, I understand, quite healthy nonetheless-- I mean, $100 per Dell is still damn near pure profit (in the sense of no incremental cost). The fact is, whatever they charge bears little relationship to material cost. And development costs are spread out over an enormous base-- which is why MS protects that base so ruthlessly (charging companies per PC made regardless of whether Windows was installed or not, effectively making it impossible for any other OS to survive-- which is the answer to that question about why Apple isn't better off licensing it to everybody).

The point is, there's nobody that can teach MS anything about high margins, How do you think a software company got valued higher than a company like GE or GM that, by any other measure, ought to be ten times as big?

Posted by: Mike G on March 4, 2003 09:43 PM

Does anyone know what share of the market the Mac has in, say, homes with incomes over $100 k/year? My impression is that this is far superior to the 4-5% of the total market.

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on March 5, 2003 12:05 AM

"Apple has $4B in CASH"

Hey, that might be enough to buy Bill Gate lunch for one day. I'm sorry but $4 billion dollars is pocket change in this competitive business sector.

"Oh, and OSX kicks butt."

I like it. Still, Apple must convert the serious power users. Folks like me are not spending the big bucks. As matter of fact, we purchased a brand new phased out Apple to save money.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 5, 2003 02:10 AM

The Mac's time is still to come.
It is clear that Bill G. has seen the writing on the wall as far as OS's are concerned and is trying his level best to go and dominate someone elses backyard (Nokia, Sony, so far without success). The market has changed to one in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and Apple are the only Hard+Soft ware manufacturer left in their market, thus they are the only company really in control of the whole product. Apple also solved the last big problem by switching to a UNIX OS which gives them direct access to all the scientific software which the "power users" like me so crave. (This trend is also to be seen in the mobile phone and automobile market where Motorola has more than a little trouble with those crazy Finns and the Big-3 are learning that cheap junk is still just junk and is no longer acceptable, even to the unusually non-critical US car-consumer; thus the Germans Finns and Japanese are eating their coporate lunches.
I suspect that the MAC will do just fine.

Steve

Posted by: steve jennings on March 5, 2003 03:24 AM

> If MS really does lose market share in a market that is not growing very fast, this can't do very good things to their earnings growth or their share price.

MSFT can't grow at anything like its old pace. A "monopolist"'s market share can only go one way, and the punk enconomy/MSFT quality issues add to their woes. Toss in Europe's official moves to go with open source systems, and you got a world of hurt for those still long their MSFT shares at monopoly valuations.

Posted by: Bucky Dent on March 5, 2003 05:24 AM

"Power users" won't save Apple. Can Apple compete with E-Machines and your local garage-built PC? Can it compete with a $750 Dell, or a $600 HP?

The average home user, who would be the primary beneficiary of Apple's superior operating system and peripheral/networking abilities, wants a computer that works with the one at work, and will play the newest games. The average home user needs XP like a hole in the head - win98 was more than good enough, except for the bugs.

Until apple can deliver a cheap PC to the home market, it will be stuck on the verge of death. The benefit of the Mac is the software - so why not just sell inexpensive hardware with the awesome OS software and a Win98 emulator (no bugs) and really go after the home market.

Posted by: Ethan on March 5, 2003 06:12 AM

Brad, slap me if I'm wrong, but...

Given a continually shrinking market share, Apple will eventually be in trouble, but it can continue to operate and innovate at 3% of the market. Apple's viability (or profitability) has nothing to do with how much money Microsoft has, only with its ability to sell enough product to meet its obligations.

Although investors would obviously prefer it, a company need not grow market share to survive.

Posted by: David Yaseen on March 5, 2003 07:07 AM

I have to say I have mac envy. Our work here at the office is "too quantitative" to use a mac, but I just bought one for my wife, my first since college. Total setup time was about an hour, including connecting to the linksys wireless network and copying all her files from our old PC.

It all just worked. Its like someone spent a whole bunch of time thinking about how to make the best product possible.

One question: OS X is all built on unix, right? So why not build it on LINUX and take over the world with your slick user interface over a real operating system.

Posted by: John Eckstein on March 5, 2003 07:48 AM

I have to say I have mac envy. Our work here at the office is "too quantitative" to use a mac, but I just bought one for my wife, my first since college. Total setup time was about an hour, including connecting to the linksys wireless network and copying all her files from our old PC.

It all just worked. Its like someone spent a whole bunch of time thinking about how to make the best product possible.

One question: OS X is all built on unix, right? So why not build it on LINUX and take over the world with your slick user interface over a real operating system.

Posted by: John Eckstein on March 5, 2003 07:48 AM

I've been working in professional environments for 20 years. I'll let you know when I meet one of those "power users" as opposed to all the people I know publishing magazines and editing feature films on Macs.

Honestly, even (or maybe especially) in these environments processor speed is only one of many contributing factors. If you need to do something super-intensive, like rendering a bunch of video effects, you probably either time it for when you're away from your computer or send it to a different machine to happen anyway, because the practical effect of having to sit watching your computer work without you is the same whether it's 40 minutes or 70 minutes (or 4 hours or 7 hours). Below that level, I'm just not convinced speed issues are an issue-- so your Photoshop effect takes a few more seconds to render. You check your voicemail or take a wiz in the meantime, or just zone out from your crazy busy day. In the real world, it's the other hassles that add real time and frustration to Windows, which is why Apple remains secure in the niches it has.

Posted by: Mike G on March 5, 2003 09:31 AM

No one should automatically assume this is evidence that Microsoft is inferior to Apple. It's quite possible that this is a hardware problem. Computers do die, remember, a fate that ultimately awaits both Macs and PCs. Friction, in the end, takes its toll. My guess is that this is the problem since millions and millions of PC users go about their daily routines with no trouble at all.

Posted by: James Picerno on March 5, 2003 09:51 AM

If Apple could show developers software for Unix development, it would take off (again). I'm looking at Linux tools that are behind Lightspeed Pascal (Mac, 1987) in terms of usability. As long as Linux weenies think that's a plus (hey, I can open seven emacs shells instead), it will never overtake Bill G either.

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus on March 5, 2003 10:12 AM

"an iBook costs about $1200. So do three copies of Windows XP"

These figures are not only misleading they are incorrect. The first place I looked at prices, buy.com, has Windows XP for $299 right now. So that would make four copies. Also this is only true if you A) building your computer from scratch and B) do not currently own Windows. The XP upgrade price is $164 which makes it only say $30 more than a copy of OS X. If you were buying a prebuilt PC with Windows the cost of the software would be much lower.
Of course the true comparison is not laptop to software, but laptop to laptop. For the equivalent priced laptop, you usually end up getting more features with a PC based laptop (bigger screen, more memory, CDburner). If you feel Mac has advantages that are worth the premium, that's great, but cost is usually not one of those advantages.
Also I suspect the culprit in the Houston Chronicle story is not Microsoft, but Roxio. They are notorious for their software, particulary for faulty uninstalls that screw up Windows.

Posted by: KevinNYC on March 5, 2003 10:23 AM

The idea of 'building OSX over Linux' is less pertinent than developing OSX for Intel boxes. (Both Linux and OSX are build on FreeBSD to one extent or another.) Porting OSX to non-Apple boxes is scary for Apple. Their profit mostly comes from hardware sales, and they see the OS as a critical value added for expensive hardware.

If they port OSX they risk losing their hardware market.

A few years ago under Gil Amelio Apple began a licensing arrangement with alternate vendors to create Macintoshes. Those guys immediately ran out and undercut Apple sales. In 5 quarters in 1996 and 1997 Apple lost $1.1B dollars. As far as Apple is concerned, this is the exact OPPOSITE direction to go. The AppleStore web site has been very profitable and Apple stores are now popping up all over the US...

**

Apple lost 8 million two quarters ago, and a few million last quarter. In terms of operating expenses and cash on hand (4000 million), they're plenty comfortable for the time being.

**

Usually when I set up a Windows machine I setup two partitions (better:two drives). On the second drive I keep backups of all of my installers and files. On the primary drive I keep Windows. Every 6 months or so I wipe the primary drive and reinstall everything. That's really the ONLY way to successfully use Windows on a long-term basis.

Cheers!
Saam Barrager

Posted by: Saam Barrager on March 5, 2003 10:51 AM

WindowsXP is an improvement over Windows98, but is too bloated with features that most users never touch. And WindowsXP still uses a registry, a concept that is really outdated. I am glad that I use Linux (Debian/GNU): it is a powerful and stable OS (UNIX) which is versatile and over which you have full control. I have all the features I want on my desktop (openoffice, mozilla, texmacs, octave, xmms, realplayer etc.) and I am very satisfied with the package manager: you can install almost all applications directly from a ftp-server with a simple command. The only alternative I would consider is Apple Mac OS X, because you can use a shell (it has UNIX under the hood: FreeBSD).

Posted by: Nescio on March 5, 2003 12:30 PM

The margins on software are always higher; margins refer to current expenses, not the R&D sunk cost. Since hardware manufacturing has higher marginal costs than software production, MS products should have higher margins than Macs. That's one of the major problems Apple faces: a small install base to amortize their R&D, and a high marginal cost because they can't drive volume savings through economies of scale the way PCs do. Their margins were never sustainable in a competitive market with low levels of appropriability, which Apple itself proved by stealing the idea for the GUI.

I think the answer to why Macs didn't license hardware is that an enormous part of the "Macs just work" mystique is not because Mac has a magical operating system powered by Steve Jobs' mojo that makes it incapable of having problems; it's that there's a relatively tiny amount of hardware and software available for it, which allows Apple to control the interactions, and also to maintain quality control on the production. Microsoft licenses to anyone who can breathe and type, which means nothing's guaranteed to work -- although I should say that I've recently installed networking equipment on both Mac OS X and the latest flavors of windows, and they take roughly the same amount of time; many of the Mac users who slam the difficulty of using Windows seem to have last used 3.1. Anyway, I think emulating MS's practices would have destroyed its competitive advantage.

Anyway, my argument that Mac is doomed is based on the buzz I'm hearing about people in high-end graphics work who are considering switching to (gasp!) PC's. The new hyper-threaded Intels have such a price and speed advantage over the current Mac chipset now that Motorola has basically canned research on their chip that it's becoming impossible to ignore. Given that Mac is facing at least an eighteen month gap until they get a faster chip, during which Intel chips will only get faster; that the redesign is going to eat a nice hole into that $4b and will undoubtedly have problems just as the Power PC switch did; that the 970 chips will probably still be significantly slower than what Intel will be offering; and given that it is the high end users, who need speed to maintain their competitive advantage, who subsidize the software development that makes Mac such an attractive product for the low-end user; I think it may be difficult for Apple to survive. Not impossible. But very, very, very difficult.

Posted by: Jane Galt on March 5, 2003 04:10 PM

I wish I didn't agree with Jane Galt. I like my macs.

And they do just work! (Except when they don't.)

But the speed gap (on everything except a few Photoshop filters) does appear to be large. And the market share gap has to have an impact: what are outside developers going to work on after all? Medieval Total War does not run on macs!

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 5, 2003 04:14 PM

If the fabled IBM 970 surfaces this year, Apple's fine. I'm not that confident that it will, but...

As has been advertised, switching to Apple is easy. Given remotely comparable power, people will switch (or switch back.) Given Apple's enormous slush fund, and committment to keep costs low, it's a cinch it will have compelling products to put in the marketplace long before the existence of the company is an issue.

Posted by: David Yaseen on March 5, 2003 08:49 PM

I disagree with Jane. Macs are getting faster. The new PowerBooks and desktop G4s kick arse. She is also making the mistake of acting as if speed on a Mac and speed on a Wintel machine are the same thing. They aren't. What one really needs to look at is how well each machine performs the task at hand and down time. Even if the Mac is slower, it is likely to make up for that with less down time.

As for the myth that most Mac users are conversant with Windows 3.1 at the latest, bullshit. Many of us are bi-platform. We know what is going on with Wintel, but choose to spend our personal funds on Macs.

And, let's not forget to credit Apple with much of current innovation, from Quicktime to FireWire to wireless two years before Wintel makers signed on.

Short of someone battering my titanium PowerBook with a 2X4 (which I will not invite Jane to do) mine is here to stay.

Posted by: Mac Diva on March 5, 2003 10:30 PM

What about design ? Does anybody believe Porsche or BMW will disappear ?

Posted by: Hans Suter on March 6, 2003 07:11 AM

Um, I'm not sure KevinNYC has done the hardware research to match his software research. In desktops, there's no question that PCs run cheaper than Macs. But first, I'd like to point out that we're often talking about a difference of $100 or so on a $1000+ machine, and, OS aside, the hardware is rarely (ahem) apples-to-apples. Fr'instance, there is still (15 months after they debuted) no PC that has as _functional_ a screen as the LCD iMacs. That adjustable arm isn't just a gee-whiz gimmick - it's a feature that improves ergonomics and productivity. Similarly (although it's a smaller day-to-day issue), the Power Mac towers came out with the infinitely-accessible side door some 4 years ago. The Dell my office just bought has a similar-in-concept door - except it doesn't work nearly as well. Most of that additional money doesn't just go to eye candy - it goes to better products.

Anyway, all that was prelude to pointing out that Apple laptops are very competitive. They're thinner/lighter than any fully featured PC laptops, and more fully featured than anything thinner or lighter. The idea that PCs have bigger screens than the Titanium or the new 17" is kind of funny, really.

The only place where Macs are entirely uncompetitive is the under-$800 market. iMacs were down there for awhile, but I'm not sure how much $$ Apple was making on them anyway.

Posted by: JRoth on March 6, 2003 11:48 AM

If Apple was smart, they'd become a UI company.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on March 6, 2003 01:31 PM

All this talk of 4% market share is out of whack. That other 96% is not one monolithic competitor, but a lot of other companies, few of which have a larger share than 4%. And since the Windows/Linux box market is a commodity market, the players come and go. Gateway's on its last legs, and anyone remember Packard Bell?

And my standard end to any sentence that begins, "Steve Jobs/Apple should..." is, "not listen to your sorry ass!" Believe me, we Apple users have heard it all before, and if you think you're smarter than Steve Jobs, well, maybe after you've engineered the turnaround of one large corporation while running another successful one, we'll let your people call our people.

Anyone who thinks Linux is going to overtake Mac OS, much less Windows, as a desktop for the masses needs to stay away from the brown acid.

My pals at Mac Observer have a running Apple Death Knell Counter, so all you naysayers can go there and wallow in your own feebleness.
http://www.macobserver.com/appledeathknell/

Posted by: hamletta on March 7, 2003 06:56 PM
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