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Apple Businesses

A Six-Step Plan for Apple 773

Posted by michael
from the a-man-a-plan-a-canal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Open letter from Alex Salkever to Jobs. One thing in particular strikes me: 'The latest round of attacks on Microsoft software is terrifying. If using a Mac means servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder, I think that's an offer I'd like to hear more about.' I think he's got something there."
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A Six-Step Plan for Apple

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  • by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdot&yahoo,com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:40PM (#9654653) Homepage Journal
    There it is! The elusive Step #2:

    servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder

    Step 1: Create Server (in Soviet Russia no less!) that harvests passwords
    Step 2: Offer harvested information to highest bidder
    Step 3: Profit!

    Now, to create these password harvesting servers... off I go! Oh wait, he said something about a six step plan! Damn't!
  • by terraformer (617565) <tpb@pervici.com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:42PM (#9654668) Journal
    Macs are not immune either...
    As I type from within one I must say!
    • They have the same advantage over pc's that firefox has over IE, mostly that they dont have much of a market share, so hackers dont spend that much time making viruses for them. As long as they stay relatively unused by the mass public, it will stay that way. If everyone gets the same idea to move to a mac, virus wirters will shift their attention to macs.
      • by afish40 (774995) <mario&dotmatrixwithstereosound,com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:52PM (#9654769) Homepage
        It's not just security through obscurity. To install any new application in Mac OS X (as I imagine it is in Unix), the admin password must be input. Windows does not have this extra safeguard.
        • by arieswind (789699) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:00PM (#9654866) Homepage
          It might be a bit more secure, but remember that there is no 100% secure program. If 95% of the world was using macs, I guarantee they will find bugs, and they will exploit them. Its only a matter of time.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:07PM (#9654952)
            They'll find bugs, but let's face it, Microsoft cut corners when designing the security in Windows. Replacing it with any system that was designed by people who care about security is going to be better, bugs or no bugs.

            That whole IE Zones thing has got to go, every other exploit seems to work by confusing IE into think it's the local machine zone. This is a badly designed security mechanism, and it's just the tip of the iceberg of very poor decisions made by Microsoft.
        • by rusty0101 (565565)
          Actually OSX does not require the admin's password. It requires the user's password, and that the user be approved to install software.

          This is consistent with how SUID is designed to work.

          -Rusty
        • by HFXPro (581079) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:04PM (#9654924)
          You can most certainly install an application in Unix without needing an admin password. You just install it locally. Windows will ask you for a username and password if you attempt to run an install without having administrative rights. Of course many people just use accounts because it is easier. I have no confidence they wouldn't run as root if they had OS X or one of the Unices.
          • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:22PM (#9655127)
            *nix systems tend to handle mutli-user environments much more gracefully. I run as a non-privilidged user on all *nix machines I touch. I tried to do the same thing in Win2K but ran in to so many hassles with it that I eventually gave up and followed the advice of more experienced Windows users - added my account to Administrators.
          • by mrchaotica (681592) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:41PM (#9655388)
            Macs ship with the root account disabled, and even if you're an admin user it still asks for your password to install programs globally.
        • by scoser (780371) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:05PM (#9654926) Journal
          But still, social engineering will allow viruses to get installed even with the password safety, because Joe User loves "free celebrity screensavers!!!" and will happily enter the password to install them.
        • by vondo (303621) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:05PM (#9654933)
          As a user, I can install any application I want in my own directory. There are lots of malicious things a user-priviledged program could do, like send e-mails to everyone in my mozilla address book. There are also lots of things it can't do.

          I'm speaking from a linux point of view; I would guess the Mac is similar.

          • by mst76 (629405)
            > As a user, I can install any application I want in my own directory

            If you want more security, you can use a separate partition for /home (and maybe /tmp) and mount it with noexec. Most home users won't bother though.
            • Hey, I like my shell scripts in ~/bin!

              Hmm... I was about to talk about ~/Library/Scripts too, but it appears that Applescripts just get opened by other programs, and aren't executable by themselves.
        • by hesiod (111176)
          > To install any new application in Mac OS X , the admin password must be input. Windows does not have this extra safeguard.

          Umm... If you use Win2K+, it DOES have this safeguard. Unless you are already logged in as administrator, running a setup program brings up a prompt for the admin password.
        • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:34PM (#9655284)
          Most of the time you don't need to put in a password if you are an admin. You just drag the app to the Applications folder.

          Also, it is not just security througth obscurity. Try portscanning a Windows box and a Mac with a default install.
      • by (54)T-Dub (642521) <tpaine@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:58PM (#9654844) Journal
        According to these statistics [w3schools.com] Firefox's "obscurity" is disappearing quickly. We (Firefox users) currently hold 12.2% of the market, which is a 4% increase this year. Great news for us developers who are sick of IE work arounds.
        • Combining Netscape 7 in there - that's 13.7% for mozilla derivatives. That is impressive if it's true.

          I'm wondering where they got these statistics. I couldn't find any discussion of this on the site. They don't seem to jive with the Google Zeitgeist. In the Google Zeitgeist, all Mozilla variants seem to fall into the "other" category. At the May 2004 point, the other category seems to have a lower percentage than both IE 5 and IE 5.5 on Google. In contrast, the w3schools statistics say that Mozilla
      • by rusty0101 (565565) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:59PM (#9654864) Homepage Journal
        And this is well bourn out by the evidence with regards to attacks on web servers. As has been well documented, IIS servers have been vulnerable at various times to several well known viruses, which have been able to spread themselves to other IIS web servers.

        It is a well known factoid that IIS web servers provide the vast majority of the content available on the Internet. As a result they have been targeted by virus writers and script kiddies the world over for attacks.

        On the other hand there is an open source web server that has a very low volume of sales, known as Apache, that because it provides such a low volume of the content of the Internet, has remained of little interest to virus writers and script kiddies.

        Should Apache ever take off and become popular, it is likely that it will become a significant target of attack.

        What's that you say? Apache actually serves more than half the content of the Internet? Damn! There goes this bit of evidence.

        -Rusty
      • by Zoop (59907) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:02PM (#9654880)
        Even if that weren't a crap argument, which it is, that's no reason not to switch.

        John Gruber effectively demolished that claim in this post [daringfireball.net].
      • by agent oranje (169160) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:06PM (#9654938) Journal
        Or, it could be the fact that the operating system is built with security as a primary concern, instead of as an afterthought. Unix was designed, oh so many years ago, to provide shared resources among many users, keeping their respective workspaces separated from the underlying guts - in other words, it was built on the philosophy that one user of a system shouldn't be able to take down the entire system(unless that user is an admin, in which case they've shot their own foot).

        Conveniently, this philosophy has spread into many operating systems, such as all of the BSDs, Solaris, Linux, etc... and given that MacOS is based off of BSD, that means it falls into this category.

        Windows, on the other hand, does not. Windows was designed to be idiot-friendly, such that an admin can read a 1-page sheet of instructions to get their server up and running. Features were piled on such that when you download files off of the web, they should be automatically opened... why else would you have downloaded it?! I can keep going on, but there's really no reason to - anyone who claims that Windows is more secure, by default, than MacOS/Linux/etc is on crack.

        Try and make a worm that propagates through MacOS X, or Linux, or anything other than Windows and we can talk. Until then, accept what most of the world already has - Windows is not a secure operating system, regardless of how many people are using it.
      • by bizard (691544) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:06PM (#9654943)

        That is such a tired, over-simplified, and patently false rant I'm surprised it rates an insightful...Yes, lower market share will result in fewer exploits. But giving half a thought to basic security precautions will too. Between the two of them you end up with an operating system which currently has 0 viruses in the wild and very few exploits which affect the default installation.

        It is also inane to suggest that all of a sudden, everyone will switch to a mac and suddenly get viruses. The point is that with a diversified eco-system (linux, freeBSD, Solaris, MacOS, Windows, etc.) all using different client and server software, the threat potential goes down for everyone because it makes it that much harder for a worm or virus to spread.

        Explain how Apache is the most popular web server, and yet the server which gets holed by worms on a regular basis is IIS

      • by mactari (220786) <rufwork AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:39PM (#9655358) Homepage
        they dont have much of a market share, so hackers dont spend that much time making viruses for them.

        The lack of viruses was almost bad enough that I thought I should write a virus that'd execute on the Mac just to say we'd had a good one (other than that silly "bootable CD" scare under OS 8-9). It's not like it'd really take any time. Most viruses seem to be ones that people are silly enough to click on in their email to start the infection. You'd have a harder time writing one that exploited a flaw [without taking that extra time finding one, which is where the real genius comes in, of course], but just so that Mac OS X could say there was one, I thought I'd hack a quick REALbasic or Java or Applescript dohicky and "socially engineer" it to look all clickable in an email sent from the infected box. Heck, I get enough free spamable addresses in the spam I get myself these days even finding the first few hundred hosts wouldn't be a problem.

        But your position then is something akin to malaria in someone with sickle cell -- you have to find enough hosts, not only initially but continually, to keep you alive to keep finding more hosts. Without them, you die out.

        How many Mac users themselves have a large percentage of Mac users in their address book? Most of my friends use Windows. Even if I got a few Mac users to click and execute an application-virus, giving me pretty free reign on their system, what are the chances that sending the bugger to every email I could cull off their system would keep the outbreak alive? I've got to think pretty small.

        So there's more to a virus than just lack of hackers -- what's the payout, even for a good virus? Pretty small as long as, as the original post points out, the market share is too.

        Which brings us to...

        If everyone gets the same idea to move to a mac, virus wirters will shift their attention to macs. ... and a good flaw in the OS. You've got two choices to write a good virus, as I've pointed out. Either socially engineer something that looks clickable and start sending out spam, finding enough suckers that click to keep things going, or find a flaw in the OS to exploit to save on social engineering. So either the numbers have to be massively high, as you point out, or you have to have a virus that infects passively, as all the great viruses do.

        I'm not saying the Mac doesn't have these flaws -- nor that it doesn't. But OS X'd have to have the flaw in addition to the market share to really cause the havoc Windows has.
    • by MoneyT (548795) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:50PM (#9654754) Journal
      Ok, I realize the G5 cases are big, but how small are you that you can fit inside a mac?
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:46PM (#9654707) Homepage Journal
    "You say the iPod, priced from $250 to nearly $500, proves that Apple can charge a premium for superior design. I disagree. What makes the iPod so hot in the consumer market is superior technology -- the first workable user interface on a digital music player. That's the reason why the premium has stuck, not the nifty form factor or funky colors.

    Do you think that when Apple talks about 'superior design', they aren't talking about color, but the OS and user interface? When Alex says 'technology', and Apple says 'design', I think they are talking about the same thing.

    People don't pay premium prices because of a Mac's color, or shape, but for the OS and interface. They expect the nice 'design' (in the "looks-nice" sense) because of the premium price, but are not paying premium solely for its looks.

    • People don't pay premium prices because of a Mac's color, or shape, but for the OS and interface. They expect the nice 'design' (in the "looks-nice" sense) because of the premium price, but are not paying premium solely for its looks.
      Tell that to my teenage sister and the purple (original) iMac she asked--no, begged--my parents for as a Christmas present a few years back. Why? It was a popular/cool thing to get due to the "cuteness" factor.

      Her #1 use for the thing was .. AIM.

      Apple knows what they're doing. To most people, a computer is a computer--and without their smooth design Apple is just as much a part of that commodity market as anyone else.
      • Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

        The key to Apple's success has been integrating both of these things -- user interface and "cuteness" factor. They are both aspects of "design" in the overall sense, and both are reasons for their success. Your teen sister may dig the purple and may just use AIM, but there is no question that her experience of using AIM is more inviting, comfortable, and "fun" for her because of the user interface features that set Macs apart, and not just because of the purple (which actually should be called blueberry I
    • by kabrakan (13409) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:16PM (#9655055) Homepage
      True dat with a wiffle ball bat. I spend lots of time on all kinds of OS's and I like the macintosh the msot because i don't have to worry about getting the computer to work, i only have to worry about my own problems. Unless you're so inclined, a computer is a tool, not a hobby.
    • Not necessarly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CarrionBird (589738)
      Apple gets a good bit of business based solely on image. To people who think that the products they use reflect who they are, Apple has a huge advantage.

      That may be a minority of thier sales, but don't put too much faith in the consumer.

  • Yeah right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mgs1000 (583340) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:46PM (#9654715) Journal
    As if the people who buy the servers really care about whether or not their customer's information is stolen.
  • by ScottGant (642590) <scott_gant AT sbcglobal DOT netNOT> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:48PM (#9654731) Homepage
    It's been a few months since we've had a self-styled "expert" come along and tell Apple what their doing wrong and how they can fix it, else they will shrivel up and die.

    Story contains the same thing over and over and over and over we've heard now for what...20 years now? Lower their prices, focus on what they do best, lower their prices and lower their prices.

    The only thing new here is focus on security, which seems like a good thing to focus on, but only if Apple can TRUELY deliver a resonably secure system. Hopefully they can.

    But it's good to see some things never die, like these articles that try to show Apple the error of their ways.
    • by wizbit (122290) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:54PM (#9654802)
      Mod parent up. Why is it everyone thinks they know better when it comes to Apple? I'm sure the guy didn't intend for this to be a Dvorak article, but aren't we talking about a multi-billion dollar company that just completely sold out its initial stock of iPod Minis? Think there aren't a hundred Fortune 500 companies that would love to trade places with Apple? You'd be wrong.
      • Mod parent up. Why is it everyone thinks they know better when it comes to Apple?

        Exactly. I mean, you wouldn't write an open letter to Harley Davidson telling them a six step plan to getting a Harley in every driveway in America, would you?

        I think it is great that there is a premimun software and hardware vendor out there like Apple. I see "premium" PC vendors, like Alienware, but they're offering a more expensive version of the same old shit. At least you get premium quality when you pay premium
    • by Chief Typist (110285) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:35PM (#9655300) Homepage
      Normally, I'd agree with this sentiment. But, on page 2 of the article, there were a couple of good ideas.

      One of the barriers for switchers is financial: they have peripherals, software and other things that they won't be able to bring from Wintel to the Mac.

      Adding a financial incentive to switch is, IMHO, much better than the current "it makes your life easier" approach (look at the switcher ads and they all have this common theme.)

      Also, the "test drive" suggestion is really good -- spending some quality time with a Mac is the best way to fall in love with it. The Apple Stores are a great environment to try the product out, but it pales in comparison to the comfort of your living room.

      Such a promotion would also drive foot traffic into the Apple Stores -- always a good thing from a retail point-of-view.

      -ch
  • That's It? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by susano_otter (123650) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:52PM (#9654775) Homepage
    Price trumps style?

    There's nothing new or interesting in the article.

    It's just the same old mantra of cheaper, more modular, etc.

    Jobs would read this, rightly conclude that it's just another tired summary of the market forces and contray opinions he's been aware of and dealing with for his entire career.

    I understand why it's news on Slashdot; I just can't figure out why it would be news anywhere else.
  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:53PM (#9654793)
    5) Sell that soap II
    Why not offer all Mac buyers a try-and-buy program much like what some Apple resellers are offering to purchasers of high-end Xserve units. The geeks who fork over $3,000 or so for the Xserve can have a couple of weeks to test-drive these babies, depending on the vendor. If they aren't satisfied, they can return them and get a full refund. That's unheard of in the computer business.

    I believe such a tactic with iMacs and iBooks would play well, too. Show Joe Schmo's ma, who wants to use the PC only to see pictures of her grandson, how much you care about her. Show her how much confidence you have in your products. And aren't they way better looking than a Dell? Everyone already knows what a Mac is, as evidenced by Apple's consistently sky-high brand-recognition ratings. Take it to the next level.

    Way back in the mid-80's Apple sponsored "Test Drive a Macintosh" -- a way to get people to play around with the revolutionary computer. Potential customers took home the computer in a tote bag and got to see everything they would get if they bought it (manuals, OS on floppies, MacPaint, MacWrite). They got to keep the computer for 24 or 48 hours (I forget which). In the little Apple dealership I worked in at the time, it was a huge success. We saw something like an 80% sell-through rate, just from that program.

    So, my gut reflex was that this program would be a good idea. But then again, 2004 isn't the mid-80's. Back then, the program was a great idea because virtually no one knew about Macintosh. Now, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn't know a Macintosh owner. These potential converts already have a "test drive" program: They just go over to their friend's house. And Macintosh owners have no shortage of enthusiasm for showing off their computer....

    • by CommanderData (782739) * <kevinhi@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:15PM (#9655045)
      Now, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn't know a Macintosh owner.

      I have to disagree here. I don't know any Mac owners, and nobody I know has a friend with a Mac either.

      You are correct that Apple does have a "test drive" program though, the shiny Apple Stores in malls around the country. People play around with the display models, and that increases public awareness. Now it's not as good as bringing it home to try out, but it's a start. They just need to get better at convincing Average Joes WHY they should pay a premium for a Mac.
    • by CdBee (742846)
      Macintosh owners have no shortage of enthusiasm for showing off their computer....

      Very true.. and I have to admit that within a few weeks of getting my old iBook, I started taking it with me places when fixing Windows machines as I could use it as a large file and document storage device as well as a machine that wouldnt be taken down when attached to an infected Windows box... and I started passing it to Windows users to give them something to play with while I debug their personal machines. (Always ha
  • password harvesters from Russia, I'd like to dispute the negative impressions of our actions promulgated on sites like this.

    Are we phishing for passwords? Yes. Are we preying on the gullibility of millions of computer users? Yes. Are we using the information that we're receiving to access as much cash/credit from the end-users as is possible, probably ruinging their credit and their lives? Yes.

    But we're doing it all to fight terrorism. Didn't anybody watch our recruitment movie, Swordfish [imdb.com]? We're the good guys. Now give us your passwords and leave us to fight the good fight.

    • by Soko (17987) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:09PM (#9654979) Homepage
      Ahem. Think he's kidding, don't you?

      Are we phishing for passwords? Yes. Are we preying on the gullibility of millions of computer users? Yes. Are we using the information that we're receiving to access as much cash/credit from the end-users as is possible, probably ruinging their credit and their lives? Yes.

      There it is.

      No money means you don't go out.
      Not going out means you don't meet any people.
      Not meeting any people means you don't meet people of the opposite sex.
      Not meeting people of the opposite sex means you don't breed.

      Ergo, these people are thinning the herd, darwinistically removing the gullible people who stupidly let terrorists into our fair lands.

      Let them be, says I.

      Soko
  • Err... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by avalys (221114) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:54PM (#9654805)
    Offer a $200 bounty on a PC exchanged for a new iMac or iBook. Buyers get the $200 discount only if they bring a PC that's two years old or less. And they must have a valid receipt.

    What an stupid idea. All but the crappiest two-year-old computers are still worth more than $200, especially laptops. Only a complete idiot would take advantage of that offer.
    • Re:Err... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:20PM (#9655105) Homepage
      You are ignoring the effort numbers. It takes effort to find a buyer for your two year old computer.

      That is why most companies give them to charity - it is easier to do that then to sell them.

      If you go to a computer reseller instead of an end-user, chances are he won't offer you more than $200 for a two year old computer.

  • by Sean80 (567340) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:56PM (#9654826)
    I'm not entirely sure if the author of this article has ever actually sat down and tried to argue to a Mac-o-phile that they should switch over to something else. Take my wife for example. I could tell her that her Mac is the source of every evil in her life, where Osama bin Laden is actually hiding out, and a terrific source of radioactivity which will summarily fry her ovaries, and she still wouldn't listen to anything I say.

    Hence, my critique of these points:

    • 1. See above.
    • 2. Anything which is both cool and cheap at Target is bound to fall apart in less than 2 weeks. It's a basic law of the universe. Plus cool and cheap and Target in the same sentence??
    • 3. I actually have to agree with this one.
    • 4. Umm, see 1. Money just doesn't seem to be a factor for people here.
    • 5. Agnostic.
    • 6. I kind of agree with this, but still can't see even myself switching from a PC to a Mac just for this one thing. Besides, in the total market, how many people are savvy enough to be able to value the risk from Russian hackers at $2000? Certainly not my family.

    My 2c.

  • by danaris (525051) <`moc.cam' `ta' `siranad'> on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:05PM (#9654932) Homepage

    His first 4 recommendations are basically to be like everyone else:

    1. Make Macs low-margin
    2. Make them "cheap chic" (see #1)
    3. No more all-in-one
    4. Sell high-volume, low-price (see #1)

    So basically, he's another of those people who thinks that, of course, Steve must be trying to maximize his market share at the expense of everything else! And, of course, the best way to do that is to make Macs cheap, like Dells. Because Dell sells a lot of units! ....Which is true. But it's not the point.

    Apple's purpose is not to maximize marketshare but to maximize money. They do that by selling with high margins. Removing the high margins would make Apple unable to function, basically. They are not another assemble and resell outfit. They are not another Dell.

    Why do so few people realize that?

    As for making a headless "iMac," first, that wouldn't be an iMac, and second, that's not what Apple needs. They have a whole bunch of headless machines--what the heck do you think a PowerMac is??? And if I'm not mistaken, the PowerMacs come with iLife installed. So....he wants them to make a PowerMac. Yay! They're already doing that!

    Why do people keep insisting that the way for Apple to dominate the market is to become another low-margin box-assembler? They're doing just fine the way they are. They're not in any trouble. Their stock price is higher than it's been in years--granted, it was higher a couple of weeks ago, but it always rises before and tanks after a major show.

    My six steps for Apple?

    1. Come out with something really cool for the new iMac
    2. Sell it for the same price as the current iMac
    3. Keep doing what you've been doing
    4. Profit
    5. Profit???
    6. Profit!!!

    Dan Aris

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:40PM (#9655380) Journal
      Actually, I can think of an excellent reason to built a headless iMac. Such a machine would need to follow a design similar to the cube, and be fanless (and near silent). It must also pack enough processing power to encode MPEG-2 or 4 in realtime (probably by a dedicated DSP, rather than on the main CPU). It also needs 5.1 channel sound and TV output, and to be positioned below the eMac in terms of price.

      The target for this machine would be the digital hub that Steve Jobs keeps going on about. It would sit in the living room, play DVDs, play music (either ripped from CD or bought from iTMS), show photo albums on the TV and (perhaps most importantly) be used as a PVR (capturing either an analogue or FireWire input) with the option to burn recorded movies to DVD (using iDVD). It could also be used for email and web browsing, especially when combined with a HDTV.

      This machine would not be sold as a computer, it would be sold as an appliance (which also happens to be a computer) much like the iPod.

    • Yeah, that just seems to be the way that people think business should be run. Make the prices as low as possible, and do whatever it takes to get those prices down, down, down. Everyone wants stuff as cheap as possible, quality be damned! And then they wonder why companies, Walmart for example, are always trying their best to screw over their employees, and why so much of what they buy ends up being total crap.

      Buisness is about offering a product or a service at a fair price. For a higher quality product o
    • come back with the Cube! I loved that thing.

      Peace

  • Step Seven (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:08PM (#9654967) Homepage
    Ditch the 1-button mouse already! Seriously. It's a cliched criticism, I know, but that makes it all the more inexcusable. Give us a damn scroll wheel, 2 or 3 button mouse.

    Yeah, I can buy one, but I shouldn't have to for what I'm paying. And what about for my Powerbook? $3000 and no means to add a button to the touchpad = annoyed me.
    • Re:Step Seven (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:55PM (#9655552) Journal
      I have to disagree. I really liked the scroll wheel concept, until I stopped using one for a while and about a week later noticed that the permanent pain around the middle knuckle of my mouse-hand had gone away. Holding down an arrow key or using a scroll-bar is a much less RSI-inducing.

      I also have yet to find a multi-button trackpad I consider even remotely usable (and, believe me, I looked). The single button trackpad, combined with an OS and apps that only need one button, was one of the features I rather liked about the PowerBook. Maybe a design with a button at the top and one at the bottom would work (index finger for one, thumb for the other), but every PC laptop I've seen puts two buttons at the bottom (or occasionally, in a fit of insanity, at the top), where they are all operated by the thumb, making it far more awkward to press the right button than it is to press the left button and hold down a keyboard modifier (assuming that the other hand is on the keyboard, which it usually is).

  • by Macka (9388) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:12PM (#9655012)

    I have a couple of friends (Ely and Annette) who've been brought to their knees with security intrusions into their MS PC. They're both very ordinary people with ordinary jobs and neither of them are particularly computer literate, and treat their PC very much like any other home appliance. They don't read computer publications or news bulletins, so they mostly remain unaware of the latest security holes, only discovering they should have updated something when their PC starts misbehaving.

    They're totally sick of the computing experience they've had so far. So when I popped in to see them one day I took my PowerBook with me and spent a few hours showing them what it could do. They were really impressed, but what totally got their attention was when I told them I didn't need to run any anti-virus software because a) there are no known viruses out the for Mac OS X, and b) the system is inherently more secure than MS Windows by design. Right away they wanted to know where they could get one and how much it would cost.

    (NB: My domain/mail hosting company anti-virus scans all email for me, so I'm still being a good neighbor to my MS using friends)

    I showed them the range, asked them some questions about their budget, and then advised them to get an eMac because that best suited what they could afford. But they didn't want a large CRT based system and were really taken with the iMac design.

    That was 4 months ago. They've still not updated their PC and still haven't' brought a Mac. The reason why? They just can't afford it at the moment. Various other things keep cropping up in their lives and home that stop them from accumulating enough cash to buy the system they want.

    Apple really needs to cut the prices. If they can't do it on existing systems, then they need to produce a bare bones design that can initially be pitched at those people with smaller budgets, and then later expanded and upgraded if people need the extra functionality.

    I'm a Mac switcher of 2 years who has no intention of going back. And I've met SO many people in that time who've never seen a Mac up close before and have left, lusting after mine when they see up close and personal just how good it is. But they're always put off by the perceived high price. I know that you get so much more for your money with a Mac, but it seems difficult for people to relate to that (don't ask me why).

    This is a bullet that Apple are just going to have to bite on if they want to grow their market share some more. Do they have the corporate courage and desire to make this happen? Time will tell, but I sure hope so.
  • by Mean_Nishka (543399) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:16PM (#9655052) Homepage Journal
    Tonight I'm running up to the mall with my girlfriend and her college bound sister to purchase a 12" iBook G4. She was initially opposed to the mac until she looked at the following benefits:

    Surprisingly a lower price than other light weight notebook competitors. With her student discount she will get a 1ghz G4 ibook with 12" screen, 512 megs of ram, 60 gig drive, combo DVD-ROM/cd burner, 802.11g, firewire, usb, etc. for just over $1200. It's unfortunate that Apple doesn't have competitive pricing for desktop models and other notebooks like they do for the 12" iBook. It's really the best bang for the buck in the light weight market now.

    Less aggravation and thus lower TCO- On her current aging PC I had to clean viruses and spyware off at least a half dozen times. She just can't get it on the iBook(at least not yet at any rate). My experience with modern macs has been that once they're configured they work and stay that way. Her sister's iBook from three years ago is heavily used but still works just as good as it did on day 1.

    Awesome MS Office ImplementationThe latest Office edition rocks and it's cheap for students too ($149). Completely compatible, and a lot more slick too.

    It runs Unix :)

    Apple would be best advised to begin touting the fact that these machines are really immune to the tons of crap that are being heaped on Windows units. If they can get their prices in line with the market, they'd have a slam dunk on their hands.

    • Before you buy (Score:5, Informative)

      by MisterSquid (231834) on Friday July 09, 2004 @04:31PM (#9655981)

      She was initially opposed to the mac until she looked at the following benefits

      Before you buy, consider this. My girlfriend recently switched from PC to Mac, too. She had about $1300 and got an old-model refurbished (they call them "refreshed" at the Apple Stores) 12" Powerbook. Faster bus, better screen, and same 60G/512MB as the iBook your girlfriend is contemplating.

      When you get to the store, make sure to ask about the refreshed units in stock. They, too, qualify for the educational discount and have the same standard 1-year warranty. With the money she saves, she can get 2 years of AppleCare if she's nervous, or a copy of Office or something.

      As a side note, one of my friends got a 15" PowerBook from the same Apple Store. It was the model before the 1.5 GHz speed bump, so it was like $200 less. The Apple Store also knocked an additional $100 off because, get this, the packaging was damaged.

  • Security... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nordicfrost (118437) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:16PM (#9655061)
    If using a Mac means servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder, I think that's an offer I'd like to hear more about.


    I talked to the marketing head of Apple in Norway about why they did not use the awful track record of Microsoft as an advertisment opportunity. He stated that it is not that easy, and if a similar problem was to surface in MacOS X, they'd lose any credibility they had harvested from the PC community.

  • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:19PM (#9655093)
    To: Maurizio Parlato, Ferrari North America CEO
    From: Joe (You know who I am)
    Re: Expanding the Ferrari market

    Dude. You don't sell that many cars. .......

    Here is my "Six Steps to a Bigger Ferrari Market."

    1) Price trumps style in the car market

    I know this may be hard to admit for a guy as innovative and design-conscious as you. But Ferrari charges too much for its cars. The car market's benchmark price level is sinking quickly below the $21,000 mark -- turf where Ferrari has been loath to tread. ....

    2) Make 'em cool and cheap

    You've been to Target (TGT ), right? You probably seen the terrific product designs such as well-known architect Michael Graves' line of stylish housewares -- offered a budget prices. Heck, Blue Light Specials at Kmart (KMRT ) haven't been the same since Martha Stewart's line of kitchen gear, sheets, and towels hit the aisles several years ago. Dumpster-diving debutantes can't get enough of them. Even sportswear designer Mossimo makes great threads for fiscal lightweights.

    We're in the era of cheap chic, Maurizio. And I have no doubt that Ferrari can play that game with the best of them. Give us a really cheap, really cool car, and watch them fly off the lots.

    Comment:Yeah, you should be more like Martha Stewart [cnn.com]. I'm sure that Michael Graves is also much more successful than you by selling trinkets at Target.


    3) Ditch the all-in-one mantra

    Your expensive convertable sports cars have never taken off compared to sedans. You should make sedans.

    OK, thats enough you get the point.

    This guy is a fucking idiot.
  • This man is a fool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:36PM (#9655308)
    Has anyone RTFA? This guy is a complete loon. "If Apple only charged me less, gave me a trade-in on my uselessly outdated PC hardware, didn't charge me until I had had the computer for a while, and didn't try to bundle everything together, they'd be doing much better!"

    No, they wouldn't, you idiot. They'd be dell. Apple's bundling allows them to hide how much they charge for commodities like RAM and hard drives. Their high prices let them survive with a small marketshare (R&D is NOT CHEAP!). This is what makes the company what it is.

    I own an iBook. It cost me $1200 or so. PC laptops are probably cheaper. I would never, in a million years, bother with one. The iBook was worth every dollar because of its fantastic software, ease of programming (yes, that's key for me), reliability, good tech support (remember, you don't just buy an iBook, you buy an Apple), small size, durabilitiy, battery life, and a million other things I won't even mention.

    Apple knows what is best for Apple. They have known what is best for Apple for a long time, which is why they continue to have large amounts of money. This guy does not know what is best for Apple. Of course, looking back, that should elicit nothing but "Duh?"
  • 1. Reintroduce the Newton with modernized hardware. Really. The newton form-factor is PERFECT for handwriting recognition. Large enough that you can write more than one word at a time, but small enough that it doesn't weigh too much. If they introduced a new Newton with a slimmer-down body, color screen, LiPol battery and other new features, but with Newton OS and Apple HWR, it'd reinvigorate the PDA market. Right now, smartphones and cellphones are destroying the PDA market because they are essentially PDAs with phones- about the same size, same functionality. A new Newton would add a new class of PDA and inject some hope into the market.

  • by realinvalidname (529939) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:41PM (#9655387) Homepage

    I bought AAPL [yahoo.com] at 21, it's at 30 today. Get this dumb-ass away from my portfolio.

    Seriously, every couple of months we get another MBA-bot posting his (never her) Grand Unified Plan for "saving" Apple, usually based on dumb ideas that have already failed (competing against Dell on price - look how well that went for eMachines and Gateway), are failing (tablet PC's do everything users want... really shittily), or are obviously going to fail (taunt virus/worm writers and script kiddies with boasts of Mac's invulerability).

    Enough of the madness. Seven years ago, Wired ran a piece called 100 Ways to Save Apple [wired.com], most of which were stupid (#76, "Make damn sure Rhapsody runs on an Intel chip"), fucking stupid (#81, "Merge with Sega"), or so fucking stupid it blocks out the sun (#61, "Ink a promotion/development deal with Shaquille O'Neal"). The item that looks best in retrospect is #101: "Don't worry. You'll survive. It's Netscape we should really worry about."

    Slashdot and other sites with a collective IQ greater than that of a turnip should pass on these articles in the future. They're utterly garbage, have been for 20 years, and probably will be in another 20.

    --realinvalidname

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Friday July 09, 2004 @04:23PM (#9655870)
    McNealy would go to convention after convention and other speaking engagements. He would go off on the Microsoft rant, talking about no viruses in Java and go on and on about the evils.

    It did nothing, changed nothing. He lost more and more mindshare until he got bought off to stick around on life support and keep his mouth shut.

    Jobs is smarter than McNealy. He won't push Apple marketshare by basing Microsft security, and he knows it. He will do it by expanding what Apple's are. By going heavily into the portable computing space, making ergonomically pleasing Apple appliances, under the iBook, iPod and other product iMonikers. Video playback, capturing, music players. He knows to become strong, his competition is not Microsoft, but Sony. There is nothing to be gained by jumping on the open source bandwagon, there is much money to be made in licensing content distribution methods.

    If I'm a distinguished engineer at Apple (and I'm not) I would be working on a movie projector that can download films in Quicktime format and display them with the quality of movie film projectors. I hook these projectors up to theater chains with broadband, and start competing with Sony, who invented this technology [asia1.com.sg] but only have penetrated a limited market with it.

    But, hey what do I know...
  • by sacrilicious (316896) on Friday July 09, 2004 @04:25PM (#9655901) Homepage
    Two back to back paragraphs in this article got substantially different reactions from me:
    You say the iPod, priced from $250 to nearly $500, proves that Apple can charge a premium for superior design. I disagree. What makes the iPod so hot in the consumer market is superior technology -- the first workable user interface on a digital music player. That's the reason why the premium has stuck, not the nifty form factor or funky colors.
    Agreed, basically. Wouldn't have called it the 'first workable interface', but I admit it was better than the others when I last surveyed them.
    Yes, Apple's operating system has some ease-of-use advantages compared to Windows XP. But Windows offers enough convenience for most people at a lower price. That's why it holds such a dominant market share.
    Disagreed; this argument sweeps too much under the rug. When it comes to computers, people are not shopping price and features with the same willingness to jump vendors as they are when shopping mp3 players. If considering a switch from XP to Mac or vise versa, there is a *tremendous* hurdle for mom-n-pop consumers to contemplate regarding whether their existing software will continue to work, whether they'll be able to grasp the similar-yet-different conventions for UI, whether they'll get tech support from passersby, etc.
  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Friday July 09, 2004 @07:38PM (#9657591)
    Wired Magazine's cover story of June 1997.

    100 ways to save Apple.

    Let's go through the top 20, shall we?

    1. Admit it. You're out of the hardware game. Okay, this didn't happen.

    2. License the Apple name/technology to appliance manufacturers and build GUIs for every possible device. Or build the killer app for listening to music, the iPod.

    3. Start pampering independent software vendors. The open-source roots of most of OSX and related items fills this need quite well.

    4. Gil Amelio should steal a page from Lee Iacocca's book - work for one year without a salary, just to inspire the troops. Jobs' salary is still only a dollar a year.

    5. Straighten out the naming convention. eMac, iMac, iBook, Powerbook, PowerMac. Done.

    6. Apologize. You've let down many devoted users and did not deliver on the promise of the Macintosh platform. Hmmmn, hard to call this one.

    7. Don't disappear from the retail chains. Two words: Apple Stores.

    8. Buy a song. Or build the first sucessful online music store. Whatever.

    9. Fire the people who forecast product demand. Still a problem, given the recent iMac troubles.

    10. Get a great image campaign. Switch. The colored iPod ads. The spinning iMacs. Done.

    11. Instead of trying to protect your multicolored ass all the time, try looking forward. Done.

    12. Build a fire under your ad agency. Given the Clios and other awards that recent Apple campaigns have one, I feel safe in calling this one done.

    13. Exploit every Wintel user's secret fear that some day they're going to be thrown into a black screen with a blinking C-prompt. Advertise the fact that Mac users never have to rewrite autoexec.bat or sys.ini files. See: Switch campaign.

    14. Do something creative with the design of the box and separate yourselves from the pack. Done. Oh boy, is this one done.

    15. Dump (or outsource) the Newton, eMate, digital cameras, and scanners. Done.

    16. Take better care of your customers. You need every one. Make customer service a point of pride. Many Mac users feel alienated and have jumped ship. Done.

    17. Build some decent applications that the business community will care about. Maybe not business-related, but the iLife series trumps anything out there in the Wintel world.

    8. Stop being buttoned-down corporate and appeal to the fanatic feeling that still exists for the Mac. Power Computing's "I'll give up my Mac when they pry it from my stiff, dying fingers" campaign hits the right note. In the tech world, it's still a crusade. Support the Mac community, and the Mac community will support you. Done.

    19. Get rid of the cables. Go wireless. Done. 802.11, Bluetooth, you name it.

    20. Tap the move toward push media by creating a network computer with state of-the-art technologies, e.g., videogame support for Nintendo 64, top notch graphics such as QuickDraw 3D, and the best possible bandwidth. Okay, is anybody supporting push media now? Let's just cross this one off the list, k?

    So, all in all, they've done 17 of the first 20, with 2 maybes and a no. Not bad.
  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @10:47PM (#9658409)
    I know this is probably too late to be posting this, but here goes:

    Step 1: State that Apple's small market share is a sure sign of impending doom.

    Step 2: Suggest that apples competitors have the right idea and that Apple should also make low cost, shitty computers that crap out in a couple months just like everyone else.

    Step 3: Complain that apple won't sell you a really cheap computer like you want them to, point out several other complains that make shitty products and again state that Apple should do the same.

    I've been hearing this crap like this for more than 10 years, and I'm only 22. I can't believe that pompous assholes like this continue to believe that they know how to run the company better than Apple. People are always complaining "why can't I buy an Apple for the price of a Packard Bell/ Compaq / Dell?". I'll tell you why, those companies make shitty computers and Apple makes quality computers, that's why. And you know what? Apples plan worked a lot better than did Packard Bells or Compaqs(both bought out when they hit hard times). That fact is that business plan only works until everyone has bought one and realized how crappie the computers are. I'm sure that Dell will eventually suffer the same fate, I know about a dozen people that have Dells, and none of them are happy with their purchase. On the other hand, Apple users love their computers, and will continue to be loyal to the Apple brand as long as they live. To bad they only replace their computers every 5 years or so.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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