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Apple Businesses

Apple's Focus is Still Software 146

Posted by Zonk
from the coulda-fooled-me dept.
bonch writes "Via a Forbes interview, Steve Jobs reassures Apple faithful that despite the runaway success of products like the iPod they are still a committed software company. He also talks about the real motivations behind negotiating Microsoft's 1997 $150 million investment in Apple, the development that went into the original iTunes (only four months!), their future expected revenues, and much more. MacObserver provides an overview, and Fortune has excerpts here."
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Apple's Focus is Still Software

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  • Gee (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wizbit (122290)
    the development that went into the original iTunes (only four months!)

    That couldn't be because they cannibalized another product and its development staff, and pretty much produced a half-baked "brushed steel" version of the same, now could it?

    I remember the original iTunes, and I far preferred the product they'd based it on, Casady & Greene's SoundJam MP.
    • Re:Gee (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizbit (122290) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:14PM (#11611850)
      Wow, record time. Mods got an itchy trigger finger today?

      Listen, the original iTunes was crap - I'm sorry. I'm a long-time Mac user and today's iTunes is worlds ahead of the original incarnation they put out.

      Here's an old review [macworld.com]. They didn't even add an equalizer (standard on MP) until the second release! Everything that makes the program useful today was lacking when they first released it. The only thing this had going for it was the fact that it was free - and, thankfully, that it got a lot better.
      • Re:Gee (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Gob Blesh It (847837) <gobblesh1t@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:33PM (#11612056)

        I remember C&G's SoundJam too, and the article actually mentions it and Apple's "cannibalization," as you put it, of its development staff. The details don't really seem to jibe with what I remember, though--did Fortune magazine get it wrong?

        One was a company called SoundStep, founded by a then 28-year-old software engineer with an MBA named Jeff Robbin, who had left Apple literally the month Jobs returned. His program, SoundJam, wasn't ready for market, but Jobs bought the company anyway, primarily because Robbin had impressed people while at Apple before.

        The alacrity and breadth of what transpired over the next 13 months are hard to believe in hindsight. Robbin and a couple of other programmers started over from scratch and pounded out the first version of iTunes in less than four months. That was just in time for Steve to show it off at the annual Macworld trade show.

        • Re:Gee (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dephex Twin (416238) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:43PM (#11612173) Homepage
          Hmm, the way I remember it was different too. I had registered my copy of SoundJam on OS 9 and absolutely loved it. Then when OS X first came out, a carbon beta of SoundJam quickly came out for it. Then it mysteriously disappeared from downloading, with some vague explanation from C&G. When iTunes was released, it was very obvious that it was made from SoundJam, but with a number of features stripped out. Also, I remember that you didn't have the same player that you could skin, and that really annoyed me.

          I don't know what SoundStep is, and certainly SoundJam was ready for market long ago... it was reviewed in MacWorld, it was a popular product.

          Who knows.
          • Re:Gee (Score:3, Informative)

            by mmkkbb (816035)
            soundstep is the company that made soundjam. c&g was just the publisher.
        • Re:Gee (Score:3, Informative)

          by thejoelpatrol (764408)
          Yep, they got that one wrong. I don't know how--any idiot can tell you that SoundJam went through several full versions before being bought by Apple. For a truly facinating read on the history of SoundJam, Audion (its competitor) and iTunes, read this history of Audion [panic.com]
        • Re:Gee (Score:2, Informative)

          by geggo98 (835161)
          You can read the complete story of iTunes, SoundJam and Audion here. [panic.com]
      • I hopped on iTunes the second it was available. It was free, the library management was great, and it was the first STABLE mp3 player I'd ever used on the Mac. For a 1.0 release it was extremely capable- and more stable than iTunes 2.0, no less. :P

        Since then, iTunes has gotten a hell of a lot better.

        And I've never bothered with the equalizer or the music store. Funny how the feature you HAVE TO HAVE influences your judgment of the product in its early life...

        (of course, for some people, holding out on
    • by Anonymous Coward
      as and when it became the basis of iTunes, SoundJam has bcome a thing of the past, and so has C & G.

      on the other hand, SoundJam's competitor, Audion, is still around, available for Mac OS Classic as well as Mac OS X for free:

      http://www.panic.com/audion/ [panic.com]

      Here's a comparison chart (slightly biased, perhaps) of Audion vs. the early version of iTunes:

      http://www.panic.com/audion/chart.html/ [panic.com]

      Regards,

      Walter.
    • Why not RTFA? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rjung2k (576317) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @07:15PM (#11612532) Homepage
      That couldn't be because they cannibalized another product and its development staff, and pretty much produced a half-baked "brushed steel" version of the same, now could it?

      Actually, according to the article, Jeff Robbin (SoundJam's developer) and his team started over from scratch and "pounded out the first version of iTunes in less than four months."

      Not sure why they didn't just take SoundJam and re-skinned it, but if it needed to be rewritten from the ground up, there may have been a need for future expandability somewhere...
    • Yes, SoundJam was better than iTunes. And iTunes 1 was based on SoundJam.

      However, the rest of your post is sketchy at best. C&G never owned SoundJam. SoundJam was owned by the developers who wrote it, including Jeff Robbins. Jeff Robbins also worked at Apple at the time.

      Apple purchased the publishing rights to SoundJam, purchased the source code from Jeff & co, and transferred the developers (who they already employed) to the new iTunes division.

      By iTunes 2, Apple had reached feature parity wi

      • by wizbit (122290)
        However, the rest of your post is sketchy at best

        The rest of my post? Dude, you summed it up in the first line: "Yes, SoundJam was better than iTunes. And iTunes 1 was based on SoundJam."

        I took issue with the Fortune interviewer apparently being fuckin' amazed that they could turn out something like iTunes 1 in four months. And my reply is, well, it wasn't very good. Later I clarified and said, "okay, it got better" - and being a Mac-head, I use it every day, even on my Windows PC at work. But that doesn
  • by Knights who say 'INT (708612) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:04PM (#11611700) Journal
    I watched Steve's kenyote speech, and he spent fiteen times as much time demo'ing software than talking about the Mac mini -- which I thought was the big event of the night. Some totally noncharismatic VP demo'ed Pages for ages, a band was called to demo GarageBand, and Steve generally spent a lot of time clicking around.

    I ended up thinking "wow, Apple is really a software company that happens to make hardware".
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:27PM (#11611995) Homepage
      I watched Steve's kenyote speech, and he spent fiteen times as much time demo'ing software than talking about the Mac mini -- which I thought was the big event of the night....I ended up thinking "wow, Apple is really a software company that happens to make hardware".

      The Mac mini is kinda neat, in that it's so small and all, but it's not really selling as well as it is just because of its small size. In general, Apple hardware is impressively engineered, but people often aren't buying Apple hardware for the Apple hardware. They buy Apple hardware for the Apple software. The real reason the mini was the "big event of the night" is that it was a sub-$500 way to get OSX.

      • Exactly!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kajoob (62237) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @08:12PM (#11613182)
        I think you hit the nail on the head. I am seeing a lot of slashdot articles and discussion about "Oh my god, look how small it is! People will line up to buy this!", but for a windows user my entire life like myself my thought was "I've heard so much about OSX I'd like to give it a whirl, now I can finally afford a machine to run it." OSX is by no means perfect, there are some annoyances, but I am so much happier with my new mac mini than my windows box. So much so that I haven't booted my windows box since the day I got my mini.

        And to anyone else in my same position who hasn't even tried OSX, the learning curve is surprisingly small. I recommend David Pogue's OSX: The Missing Manual Book which helped translate windows fuctionality to the mac equivalants. Also check out The Top 100 OSX Applications [creationrobot.com], it has helped me determine what the mac equivalant of my favorite windows software is.

    • Well, how much is there to say about the Mini? It's a Mac, at an unprecedented price-point. That's great, but it's not an hour's worth of material for a Keynote speech.

      -jcr
      • exactly, while I too wish apple would push the mini there is simply not much to say about it. You put up it's hardware specs, show off the price say it runs OS X (and can talk about all the software for it) and lastly show off the physical unit. People will look at it and all but we absorb information rapidly no need to dwell upon it.
  • I buy a good deal of macs for my school district (we're about 1/5 Mac) and I've noticed Apple seems to go in a cycle with HW/SW quality. Namely, when their hardware is on, their software is full of bugs, and when their software is on, the hardware comes with 5-10% DOA? I've been a big Apple fan for 10+ years, but haven't seen a time they have everything together at once. Maybe it's just because I tend to buy their cheapest pricepoint hardware most of the time (school budget...), but it's been very consis
    • I buy a good deal of macs for my school district

      what's your secret. i've been trying to get my district to go with some macs for a while, especially for my AP comp sci class. they're still stuck in the OS9 mentality. they say it's cost, but when you figure in anti-virus, security software, lockremote control, etc., it adds hundreds plus when you talk about maintanence and upkeep...

      apple has traditionally been a hardware company. that is their forte. when they do software, they have the advantage
      • I'd consider it a disservice to students to not make them use at least Linux/BSD/Unix, Ms Windows and OSX. You need to prepare studnets for the real world, and in the real world there is more than Windows. Particularly in computer science where embedded systems that don't run Ms Windows are big. Not to mention artists who generally don't run MS Windows.

        I don't know how you can apply this, but it should be a part of your argument somehow. Good luck.

        • You need to prepare studnets for the real world, and in the real world there is more than Windows. Particularly in computer science where embedded systems that don't run Ms Windows are big. Not to mention artists who generally don't run MS Windows.

          This is a valid argument. But be prepared for some potentially strong disagreement. Remember, the for most people the "real world" is Compaq and Dell running Windows XP. There are people out there who don't know that Apple is still in business (though as of la

  • Full article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gob Blesh It (847837) <gobblesh1t@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:07PM (#11611746)
    If you want to read the full article [fortune.com], you need a subscription to FORTUNE magazine. Specifically, you need to enter the mailing address where your subscription is delivered.

    By the way, I have it on good authority that NYU's Bobst Library [nyu.edu], at 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, subscribes to a whole bunch of periodicals.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:33PM (#11612048)
      "My God, there really has been a genie locked in that bottle! Apple's innovation and creativity have been unleashed in a way that they haven't been in 20 years. Look at the results. This isn't a company about 5% market share; this is a company that is capable of competing with world-class competitors and achieving market shares of 65%, 70%, and even 90%."

      Steve Jobs, the silver-tongued king of Apple Computer, is explaining how the world's opinion of his company has risen with the triumph of the iPod. We're in our third phone conversation, following up on a 2 1/2-hour interview in the Apple boardroom a few days before. Jobs is obviously feeling good, and with good reason. Overnight, it seems, Apple has broken out of its box as a boutique computer maker and emerged as a force to be reckoned with in consumer electronics, music, and who knows what else. "The great thing is that Apple's DNA hasn't changed," he says. "The place where Apple has been standing for the last two decades is exactly where computer technology and the consumer electronics markets are converging. So it's not like we're having to cross the river to go somewhere else; the other side of the river is coming to us."

      Apple's recent achievements, in fact, make it look as if it is walking on water. Its stock price, which languished during and after the dot-com crash, suddenly more than tripled last year. (It recently hit an all-time high of nearly $80 a share.) In January, Jobs crowed that Apple had posted the highest revenues and profits in its 28-year history for its fiscal first quarter ending Christmas Day. Propelled by sales of 4.6 million iPod portable digital music players, revenues zoomed by 74%, to $3.5 billion for the quarter, putting the company on track, by analysts' estimates, for a $13 billion 2005. Meanwhile profits more than tripled.

      The DNA may not have changed, but the external transformation is dramatic. No longer is Apple's business limited to computers--though it did sell more than a million Macs last quarter for the first time in four years. Today the company's ever-expanding products encompass multimedia applications for creative professionals and consumers, the thriving .Mac (pronounced dot-mac) Internet subscription service, and a popular line of easy-to-use wireless networking gizmos to link computers and stereos and other devices in the home and office. And, of course, the iPod. The company has even become a player in retail with its 100 Apple Stores: chic glass and anodized aluminum temples that fuse fashion, technology, and reverence for personal creativity into something Jobs likes to call the "Apple user experience."

      In his first extended interview since undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer last summer, Jobs eagerly explains how Apple has pulled all this off and drops hints about where the company is going and how big he expects it to get. (For excerpts from the interview, see 'Our DNA Hasn't Changed'.) But as the conversation unfolds, Steve doesn't talk about the next gotta-have-it gizmo or ultracool ad campaign or trendsetting industrial design. None of those, he says, is Apple's core strength or primary competitive advantage. Instead he's going to talk about software--the central strand that runs through all of Apple's success.

      Steve being Steve, he's doing this partly because he's selling something. This spring, Apple will unveil Tiger, an update of its OS X operating system that, at $129 a pop, will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of high-profit sales. (More about Tiger later.) Even so, for Steve to credit software for Apple's success sounds so hopelessly dweeby, so Bill Gates, that it seems hardly worth muting your iPod for--until you consider the new business model it has helped Apple spawn. Indeed, the whole iPod phenomenon is, underneath it all, one big interwoven software creation. The iTunes jukebox that coordinates the mind-meld between your iPod and your Mac or PC is just the most obvious chunk of code. The iTunes Music Store, which accounts for 62
      • ... shrewd business strategist ... Job's is positioning Apple as an entire Industry (ie. airlines) where a hub & spoke architecture enables Apple to gateway user services, products and partnership opportunities...
      • I remember sitting with Steve and some other people night after night from nine until one, working out the user interface for the first iPod. It evolved by trial and error into something a little simpler every day. We knew we had reached the end when we looked at each other and said, "Well, of course. Why would we want to do it any other way?"

        -- Jeff Robbin, lead software designer for iTunes and the iPod


        What a great quote. If I were an interface designer, that would go in a frame on my desk.
    • Bugmenot.com worked for me!
    • Um... I can understand doing this for *free* registration pages, but it shouldn't be done for premium content. Even BugMeNot doesn't accept this, why should Slashdot? Someone mod parent down.
  • OS X on Intel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:08PM (#11611767)

    The most interesting part of the Fortune article is where they reveal that three leading PC manufacturers have been attempting to license OS X for the Intel platform. I'm of two minds about it personally. Choice is good for the consumers, but, Apple being undercut badly in the commodity PC market could kill the goose who lays the golden OS eggs. They don't have the volume to compete with Dell, nor the willingness to use really cheap components from whoever is the low-bidder this week.

    • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Interesting)

      by I_Love_Pocky! (751171)
      Apple being undercut badly in the commodity PC market could kill the goose who lays the golden OS eggs.

      Jobs keeps claiming Apple is a software company. I think this would be the perfect thing to do to prove that. Microsoft seems to be doing just fine living off of the OS market, why couldn't Apple?
      • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:5, Interesting)

        by piecewise (169377) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:45PM (#11612200) Journal
        Because Apple has nothing to prove to you.

        Jobs is right when he says Apple is a software company, you just don't understand what he means by that. A Mac is nothing without OS X. An iPod is nothing without iTunes. Cameras are nothing without iLife. Software is the center, the key to the success of everything else.

        But quite smartly, Apple makes money off both. Now why would Apple give up billions of dollars just so they can win a bet you seem to have with them?
        • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:4, Insightful)

          by artifex2004 (766107) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @07:51PM (#11612916) Journal
          Cameras are nothing without iLife.


          I was with you until this point. I've never seen an Apple-branded camera, and I've certainly never used my digital still or digital video cameras with iLife or any other Apple product. I might in the future, if Apple supports them (they're getting old), but they're certainly quite capable without Apple's software.

          • "I've never seen an Apple-branded camera

            quicktake 100 - not bad for its day

            • Ugggh! My dorm had that beast when I was in college. It took crappy pictures, was heavy, and ran out of batteries quickly. Of course it was the first digital camera that I ever used, so maybe I am judging it too harshly. Even so, at the time I thought that it just wasn't quite ready for prime-time.
              • If I remember correctly, it only had enough memory to take either 8 640x480 pictures or 32 320x200 pictures. It required a Macintosh and the data was dumped via the serial port.

                Not even sure what megapixel it was, but all I know is that the pictures I took with it back in 1994/1995 look horrendous compared to what you could get for free* three years ago.

                * specifically, if you bought a refurbished Dell in early 2002, you could get a Logitech camera that was roughly 1MP.

                • I don't remember details such as number of pictures but it was very limited. I remember taking pictures of dorm residents and then running to my room, hooking it up to the Mac, and then heading back to the party while I waited for it to download. I would then retrieve the camera later and take more photos. Not only was the resolution crappy, but the light sensitivity was terrible.

          • I've never seen an Apple-branded camera

            Well, now you have. [epi-centre.com] That was 1994, btw.
          • A lot of cameras use QuickTime and Apple once had a camera called a QuickTake.
          • I have a Quicktake 150. It's an Apple branded CCD. It's frigging OLD- old as in the drivers don't like being installed on 8.5 or higher. We're talking "optimized for 68k" here.

            Apple had digital cameras years before they were useable, PDAs years before they hit the right price point, PVRs (in prototype) years before hard drives got big enough and hardware got fast enough for realtime encoding, a video game console years before MS entered the market... they made their own printers, their own scanners, etc
          • One of the first digital cameras out there was the Quicktake, but its fate was similar to the Newton (Apple's out there early but didn't stick with it)

            Apple no longer has much of an interest in hardware. At one point they made (rebranded) dot matrix/inkjet/laser printers, scanners, a complete line of monitors (everything from a consumer 14" to a massive ColorSync 21"). Look hard enough and you'll still see toner for LaserWriters. Around the time Steve returned, they decided to just let others take on that
            • From memory, the rebranded hardware was as follows:

              • Inkjet printers - Cannon then HP
              • Laser printers - Cannon then HP
              • Digital Cameras - Kodak
              • Monitors - Sony then LG
        • *Now why would Apple give up billions of dollars just so they can win a bet you seem to have with them?*

          well, they would "give up" the business for a risk leap at getting hold of tens of billions of dollars.

          but apple isn't a software company, nor a hardware. they're turning into lifestyle / digital experience company - they make desirable stuff(desktops, laptops, some gadgets) for a niche of people who are paying a premium to get it and think it's worth it(who because of functionality, who because of it's
        • Jobs is right when he says Apple is a software company, you just don't understand what he means by that.

          Neither do you, that is spin from a marketting/sales person, Jobs' specialty. Apple is a hardware company. Software, including Mac OS X, merely exists to get people to buy Apple hardware. That Mac hardware is pointless without Mac OS X is irrelevant. Follow the money, where does it come from. More importantly look at history, the Mac clones. If Apple were a software company Mac clones would have benef
      • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:51PM (#11612270)

        Jobs keeps claiming Apple is a software company.

        He does?

        Microsoft seems to be doing just fine living off of the OS market, why couldn't Apple?

        Apple currently makes 95% of its money on hardware. They use that money to fund software development, including OS X. If Apple made a version for Intel, they would be competing head to head with MS's monopoly. MS has partnerships with all the hardware vendors, software developers, and peripheral manufacturer's. All of those companies and the PC manufacturers are completely dependent upon MS's goodwill to survive. How many do you think will agree to ship OS X by default when it means they are suddenly paying double or triple the software cost to their competitors not only on those boxes, but also on the rest of their boxes? Do you know how small the margins are right now?

        They could sell independent of the PC manufacturers, but really how many boxed OS's are sold? Almost all OS sales are pre-installs. Basically, you can't fight an established monopoly with more money than god. Especially while destroying what is currently your main revenue stream.

        • but really how many boxed OS's are sold?

          In the current Windows pre-install dominated market there is no need for boxed OS sales. I think the primary market for a boxed OSX is to current users of Windows who want a better OS for the computer they already own.

          Almost all OS sales are pre-installs.

          Granted that is the current state of affairs. However, don't underestimate the "coolness" factor Apple has going for them right now thanks to the iPod. I think you would have a lot of people who would swit
          • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:4, Interesting)

            by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:02PM (#11618534)

            In the current Windows pre-install dominated market there is no need for boxed OS sales. I think the primary market for a boxed OSX is to current users of Windows who want a better OS for the computer they already own.

            Upgrades to OS X are not very different from a customer's perspective as upgrades to a better version of Windows, one that can't run any of their existing software and has only a handful of applications available. Most people buy a new machine when they want an upgrade, and they don't even know what an OS is.

            I think you would have a lot of people who would switch to OSX, if only for aesthetic reasons.

            A lot of people are switching to OS X, and not just for aesthetics. What advantage does OS X on x86 have over OS X on PPC? Do you think it is the cost that is the stumbling block? It would probably be cheaper to give away hardware to thousands of users than it would to convince developers to port their applications to x86.

            You assume the Windows monopoly will never be broken

            No, I'm assuming that it currently exists and that MS can buy their way out of legal difficulties. If Apple makes OS X for x86, they are killing their hardware business, and betting the farm that they can break MS's monopoly. How many investors do you think would back such a risky move? If you really think a superior OS can win, why is no one running BeOS?

            It is far more likely that Windows will move to PPC (again) than that Apple will move to x86. I'd love for Apple to have hardware competition for OS X, but it is a house of cards. If Apple goes head to head on hardware and loses, then what happens? OS X development grinds to a halt and it all falls apart. I seriously doubt Apple can pay for their development with the cash they make selling software, even were they to grab a large chunk of the market. I seriously doubt developers would port all their applications to two different hardware platforms for OS X. All of this talk of Apple on OS X is interesting, and it is interesting that PC manufacturers would like to make a go of it, but in reality most of the people who think this going to happen, are just saying what they want to happen, not what is in Apple's best interests as a business.

        • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Interesting)

          by John Newman (444192)

          Apple currently makes 95% of its money on hardware. They use that money to fund software development, including OS X.

          This is true. The dogma is that Apple makes money selling computers, and the OS is just a way to push the hardware. That's why cloning was such a brickbrained idea, and why it almost killed Apple.

          But, as another poster pointed out, Apple may still make 95% of its revenue from hardware, but only 60% from computer hardware. The iPod may be changing the equation a bit. For the first time, Apple

          • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Interesting)

            That said, I don't see any motivation to actually do this. The downsides are plenty (commoditization, random hardware support, variable hardware quality, loss of computer revenue, incompatibility between PPC and x86), and could seriously dent Apple's reputation.

            The only possible motivation would be to exploit untapped markets, and the biggest untapped market segment for Apple is what is called "The Enterprise". Apple could partner with IBM, HP, or even Dell to open up this market for OS X Server.

            Another
          • And one more thing . . .

            I think that if any of these licensing partnerships ever come to pass, it will be on Cell hardware, not Intel. Especially if the partners are IBM or Sony.

        • If Apple made a version for Intel, they would be competing head to head with MS's monopoly.

          Don't forget the atrocious range of hardware variations that Apple would have to write for in order to support "PC" hardware. The commodity hardware market is the reason that MacOS7 was never released for "PC" hardware, even though Apple had ported it to Intel in a test project. (Yes, I worked at Apple at that time, when it was creating the first QuickTime too. Really cutting edge media software. The old bumper stic
      • Microsoft seems to be doing just fine living off of the OS market, why couldn't Apple?
        Because they've tried it twice and it never works. Apple licensed Mac OS to clone manufacturers. Next licensed NextStep (what came to be OS X) to IBM (IBM never used it) and to other manufacturers and end users.

        Face it, Microsoft got very lucky with their business model.
    • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Informative)

      I doubt they'd agree to do this. They have resisted it since the late 90s. Oddly enough the threat then that made them stop licensing the OS to other hardware manufacturers was not that there would be Macs made from cheap components but that there would be Macs made that were better than what Apple was producing. I should know; I still have my Power Computing Power Tower Pro. Apple stopped licensing just in time to block sales of the G3 version of this computer, which would have been faster than anythin
    • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gob Blesh It (847837)
      I used to think it would be a bad idea too. But software seems to be a pretty reliable "golden egg" for Microsoft, and I don't see why it wouldn't work just as well for Apple?

      I mean, Apple could continue, as always, to manufacture and sell hardware for people who care about both functionality and style, usability and good taste. They could keep using the PowerPC and supporting its development. I mean, there's nothing that says an OS can't run and be sold on two architectures--it's just never been tried in
    • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuggetman (242645)
      So then we have an operating system which has zero programs, save misc Linux apps that run under OS X. But even those would have to be recompiled for x86(-64) OS X vs PPC OS X.
    • by aclarke (307017) <spamNO@SPAMclarke.ca> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:17PM (#11618710) Homepage
      I know I'm not the first by any means to mention this here, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me for Apple to license OS X to IBM. With IBM attempting to get out of the home/business PC market with its sale of that division to Lenovo, they have a wide opening in their product offerings. Or at least will have over the next few years as that plan gets executed.

      IBM has the advantage of fabricating its own chips, and Apple could keep a portion of its hardware sales by co-designing the IBM hardware and making something off each sale. They would also of course make a software license fee. IBM would make a killing, and given the fact that they have been looking for UNIX-like alternatives to Windows on the desktop for years anyway (witness their Linux R&D) this would really jump-start that effort. IBM would of course continue to sell its Lenovo co-marketed Windows products, thereby making money off both OS choices as it weans people off Windows and onto OS X.

      With IBM selling "Apple co-designed" IBM PPC business notebooks and workstations running OS X, it seems to me that this would be a great boost for both companies. It would also probably help spur further R&D on IBM's PPC line which would get us faster computers sooner.

      • IBM got out of the home business years ago. They dropped the Aptiva product line almost two years ago from direct sales, and pulled it from Best Buy and the like about four years ago, if not longer ago.
      • IBM is escaping the consumer and business PC market because they were losing money on it, just like everyone else except Dell. If Apple is to partner with IBM, I foresee it as being a supplier for workstations. IBM may very well start putting macs in all sorts of businesses. They work well with IBMs push towards Linux for their server offerings and will save IBM a bundle in costs, since the support for macs is notoriously cheap.

        Will we ever see OS X on any of IBMs offerings? It is possible, maybe as

    • The most interesting part of the Fortune article is where they reveal that three leading PC manufacturers have been attempting to license OS X for the Intel platform.

      That doesn't surprise me at all. It's got to be hard for anyone in the x86 business to have their quality limited by Microsoft. Sony tries really hard to make a good laptop, but however clever their hardware guys are, it's still susceptible to all the limitations of the OS they ship it with.

      -jcr

  • vanilla (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:09PM (#11611785)
    whole thing seemed pretty bubble-gum to me... unless someone noticed something revolutionary i didnt.

    Tho I did like the part where he said that the audio market today was people getting ipods and the bose ipod speakers instead of a real shelf system... Dont know about the rest of you, but i like my ipod hooked up to my Technics receiver/floor speakers just fine. Though it is just crushing to know that I dont have an apple-styled bose gizmo the size of a shoebox in which to stick my ipod...
    • Re:vanilla (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      unless someone noticed something revolutionary

      You must have missed when Steve pulled off his shoe and started banging the podium shouting "We will bury you!" It was about that moment that the Woz burst in the room and threw a hammer at the screen....

    • Re:vanilla (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You probably already had the stereo when you bought the iPod. I think SJ was talking about teenagers who don't own stereo equipment yet. Instead of buying a CD player, and an amp, and a set of speakers, they just get an iPod and the speakers.

      It does work the other way, too. When my CD player died, I never bothered to buy a new one. Now I just have a Mac Mini that has access to all of my music through iTunes. It's also become my DVD player because it has a DVI output for the video and 5.1 audio (via t
  • by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland @ g m a il.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:24PM (#11611965)
    I remember Jobs saying that we would never see an OS X port to x86 because Apple was a hardware company first, and then software...

    if he's changing his tune, maybe that's a sign that OS X could make an x86 debut?? (doubtful, but hopeful)
    • if he's changing his tune, maybe that's a sign that OS X could make an x86 debut?

      This is very, very doubtful. I think their current strategy is to clone the strengths of the Intel platform with their own product line. Intel has really cheap systems, very fast systems, and an enormous number of different offerings. The mini-mac is an attempt to cater to the really cheap crowd. The G5 is the current best shot at speed (and it is pretty damn fast). Apple will never be able to offer as wide a range of pr


    • maybe that's a sign that OS X could make an x86 debut?? (doubtful, but hopeful)

      And what apps would you run on it? Think there's a lot of "OS X on Intel" developers just waiting for their chance? If there's any at all, there'd be fewer than OS X-developers-on-PPC, which are already pretty scarce.
  • OS X (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elecngnr (843285) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:37PM (#11612097)

    Jobs was "buying time" with the Microsoft deal and the original iMac to maintain interest in Apple and its perceived viability while software engineers furiously worked to bring Mac OS X to market, which Jobs saw as Apple's biggest bet on the future.

    I am personally glad they made the bet. OS X is what brought me back to Mac after over 10 years. I know some older Mac enthusiasts who swear by the older OS's, but those OS's were losing ground. I had to use PC's for the lack of software. They were great if you did graphical layout or things like that. The problem for me was the unavailability of Matlab. I simply had to be able to use Matlab. I needed the fastest way to do that and throughout the 90's that meant using a PC. Once OS X came in, Apple courted The Mathworks to port it to OS X. From my memory, The Mathworks said no, so Apple did the port themselves using X11. Once I saw that Matlab worked on Macs with OS X via X11--and it was both stable and fast, I immediately began shopping for a Mac....and have never regretted that decision.

    • by gidds (56397)
      Me too. I moved from an Atari to a Mac several months before Mac OS X became available. I tried to like OS 9, I really did, but it just annoyed me in so many ways: not just the instability, but the way that I never knew where a folder window would open, or the way that umpteen windows would all come to the front when I clicked on just one. But most of all, the way that all the important tools were missing: I couldn't get around the Finder by using a command shell, I couldn't kill a misbehaving process, I
  • Propagating the myth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Erik K. Veland (574016) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @08:48PM (#11613579) Homepage
    The two struck a deal under which Microsoft bought $150 million of Apple stock and promised to keep supplying Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer for the Mac, programs that made Apple's computers at least somewhat compatible with the PC world. (Microsoft's stake in Apple is now worth well over $1 billion.)

    Yes, their non-voting stock would be worth well over $1 billion if they hadn't sold it years ago (for a decent profit even then). Without mentioning this people might still believe that "Microsoft owns (a part of) Apple". Duh.

    Nice article other than that though.

    • The Frotune article makes it sound like MS still owns the stock, but I keep hearing from various people (inclusing yourself, obviously) that MS sold the stock years ago. Who's right? Do you have a reference besides another Slashdot comment?

  • (Microsoft's stake in Apple is now worth well over $1 billion.)

    I was pretty sure that Microsoft had since converted this stake back to cash. If it really is worth $1B, that's a sizable portion of the company. Can anyone confirm? If I'm correct, it throws a lot of the rest of the article into factual doubt.
    • Part of the deal was that MS' shares were non-voting stock, so basically all they were able to do was make some money off their investment and renew their commitment to Office for the Mac.
  • SoundJam (Score:3, Informative)

    by NEOtaku17 (679902) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:50PM (#11615123) Homepage

    I heard once that iTunes is actually built on top of SoundJam MP [mp3machine.com] code.

    SoundJam MP converts music quickly into high quality MP3s from CD, AIFF, QuickTime(TM), and WAV formats, and allows you to play MP3 streams over the internet. SoundJam MP takes full advantage of the 10:1 compression of the MP3 format allowing you to compress your music collection to a fraction of its size, while maintaining near CD quality. You can quickly and easily create customizable play-lists, and organize your music by artist, track, song, and music style. It also includes a 10 band graphic equalizer that allows you to control the quality and tone of your music manually or by using preset music styles: Jazz, Rock, Classical and more. Includes a selection skins to change the look and plug-ins for cool visual effects.

    # Play music streams over the Internet

    # Play MP2, MP3, AIFF, Q-Design AIFF, QuickTime, WAV, Sound Designer, MOD and 'snd' music files.

    # Manage your playlists

    # Use CDDB lookup

    # Use CDDB submission

    # ID3 Tag support

    # Apple Script support

    • It is. Apple has never denied this, they just never made a big deal out of it.

      They also went on to add a huge number of features (smart playlists, the music store, AAC support, streaming to computers and remote speakers, the live search interface, Sound Check, etc) that by now it's very loosely based on SJ.
  • by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:04AM (#11615526) Journal
    ...PC user's will have *choice*... they could even have Windows+OS X on the same desktop. And it is *choice* where Apple will dismantle the Microsoft monopoly.

    OS X is _NOT_ a monolithic OS, like Windows. Once Apple have OS X prepped and prepared on its modular foundations (no its not all there yet), Jobs will be able to rev OSX thrice for each new release of Windows. In a sideXside environment, OS X is going to look more modern, capable and powerful than Microsoft's aging sibling in the adjoining *window*... developer's will have a choice, user's will have a choice and Microsoft will have no choice... does anybody get it?

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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