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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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  • 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 TrippTDF (513419) <hiland.gmail@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)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:27PM (#11611999)
    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.
  • 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
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:33PM (#11612059)
    Why? Because you want to use OS X?

    You're trolling, but it's worth pointing out that Apple would die a death if they ported OS X to x86.

    Several things would happen:

    * People would either pirate it or buy it for their PCs
    * It wouldn't work as well on the non-vertically-controlled hardware, so people would believe it was crap.
    * Microsoft would work it's typical magic with PC vendors and make it financially painful for them to buy Windows licences for their PCs if they also sold PCs with OS X on them, or with no OS. Microsoft do this already, which is why PC vendors only ship Windows-pre-installed machines.
    * The market share for Apple computers would decrease.
  • Re:OS X on Intel (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:40PM (#11612126)
    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 anything Apple was offering (with much better hardware in terms of sheer expandability). And don't forget the 4-processor Daystar Millennium. Even MacTell was making cases that whipped Apple's butt. Remember this is before blue computers, before the cube, etc., this was a time when Apple's brilliance in designing boxes was by and large a thing of the past. Bland beige boxes with little creativity and no room for expansion. It's no wonder hardware manufacturers moved in to fill the gap with bland beige boxes with lots of room for expansion (and, in some cases, faster or more processors).
  • 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) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:58PM (#11612358) Homepage Journal
    soundstep is the company that made soundjam. c&g was just the publisher.
  • Re:Gee (Score:3, Informative)

    by thejoelpatrol (764408) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @07:53PM (#11612944)
    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]
  • by I_Love_Pocky! (751171) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @08:40PM (#11613494)
    Intel reverse engineered it.

    I believe Intel engineered it.
  • 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.

  • 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

  • Re:Gee (Score:2, Informative)

    by geggo98 (835161) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @05:05PM (#11622438) Homepage
    You can read the complete story of iTunes, SoundJam and Audion here. [panic.com]

Good salesmen and good repairmen will never go hungry. -- R.E. Schenk

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