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Is Apple Doing All It Can to Beat Vista? 773

Posted by Zonk
from the both-barrels-double-shotgun-explosive-bullets dept.
aalobode writes "The New York Times is running an article on the narrowing window that Apple has for beating Microsoft's Vista. According the Times, not enough has been done to capitalize on the Mac user experience versus the 'world of hurt that is Vista'. It also points out that that restructuring of Apple leaves ambiguities about Apple's exact commitment to the computer end of its business. The article calls MS Vista's certified vendors, developers and driver writers a flywheel that takes a while coming up to speed - and then becomes unstoppable."
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Is Apple Doing All It Can to Beat Vista?

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  • service pack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carbon016 (1129067) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:16AM (#20624227)
    Once SP1 hits, the flywheel's going to spin a LOT faster.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Even now Vista is a remarkably usable desktop. Aero Glass is also a lovely theme, and far nicer than Aqua IMO.

      OS X looked so much cleaner than XP, but I really don't see that there is much about OS X that rates it over Vista.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by budgenator (254554)
        My wife nags me enough about what I do and use on the computer without my computer joining her; DRM is what makes the Vista user feel like the goatse.cx guy.
        I can see the new Mac vs. PC commercials Mac is a hip Metrosexulal type and PC is bratty kid sister type who's constantly saying things like "should you be doing that", "I'm telling MOM what your doing, I don't thnk you asked permission" or "Suzy said you'll get cooties if you open attachments"
    • I think it will see resistance even after SP1, even from customers who've paid for it twice over under Software Assurance.

      When you can't get the people who've already paid for it to install it, what does that say about it?

  • world of hurt? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smash (1351) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:21AM (#20624241) Homepage Journal
    Yes, vista has a few issues. Note: Few. I've been running it since March, and there's no way XP is going back on my box, at least not exclusively.


    I've been tempted to buy a Mac, but I game - and for the cost of a 17" Imac with pretty crappy video, I recently built a Core2 Quad 2.4ghz, 2gb ram, 500gb disk, Geforce 8800GTS, etc.


    If apple were to release a PowerMac chassis at a slightly less inflated price, i'd be pretty keen... but double the cost of what I built? No thanks...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sweetshark (696449)

      I've been tempted to buy a Mac, but I game - and for the cost of a 17" Imac with pretty crappy video, I recently built a Core2 Quad 2.4ghz, 2gb ram, 500gb disk, Geforce 8800GTS, etc.

      How about buying a mac mini for work and multimedia and the game system of your choice for gaming? Wouldnt be more expensive and is way more fun.

      Yours,

      Somebody happy with a mac mini and a wii
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, vista has a few issues.

      And the Understatement of the Year Award goes to ... [drumroll] ... smash!

      Wow, watch me get modded down for contradicting a low-ID! For great justice just install Ubuntu.

      • For great justice just install Ubuntu.

        I have both on my laptop. Vista is nice, but there's no question about which OS runs faster, is more stable, and doesn't hog as much resources. I've got 1 GB of RAM, and that's not enough for Vista + OpenOffice, antivirus, browser, etc. However, it IS plenty enough for Ubuntu 7 with the aforementioned apps + Compiz... and I don't get unsolicited updates, virus, etc on Ubuntu. If I had my embedded dev-apps on Linux, I wouldn't keep Vista on my disk.

        YMMV.
    • Re:world of hurt? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pokerdad (1124121) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:53AM (#20624409)

      Yes, vista has a few issues. Note: Few.

      Its not a question of how many issues there are, its a question of perception. Neither 98 nor XP were significantly different at 1 year old compared to 3 years old, but the perception of them changed massively in that time.

      In all likelyhood that pattern will repeat with Vista.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xxboxers (1157485)
        Sometimes perception has a basis in reality- not just in marketing campaigns.

        By its third year 98 had evolved into 98SE (where usb support was introduced), the peripherals that people had been using before 98 now largely were supported in 98 so it wasn't to shell out gobs of money to replace all of your hardware, and Office 97 and Works were both on the market and being viewed as usable AND useful by the marketplace.

        Arguably the most significant changes by year 3 of 98/98SE were not with the OS but with soc
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)

        Neither 98 nor XP were significantly different at 1 year old compared to 3 years old, but the perception of them changed massively in that time.

        It's not the OS that changed, it's the ecosystem.

        Common complaints with Vista:

        • Hardware requirements too high (particularly memory)
        • UAC dialogs ("cancel/allow") pop up too often
        • Crappy performance for games (primarily with NVIDIA's cards because they have crappy drivers)
        • Hardware incompatibilities

        Name one of those things that won't be fixed as the ecosystem develops. NV

    • You can always go buy a copy of OSX and find the patches for it so that it'll work on your hardware then go from there. I did it and made a hackintosh once, worked pretty well too.
  • by DuncanE (35734) * on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:22AM (#20624247) Homepage
    Steve Jobs has picked the iPhone as Apple's next platform. Maybe he should of focused on getting Leopard out this year to steal Vistas thunder. Only time will tell if he has made the right choice.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @08:26AM (#20624557) Journal
      I think he made the right call there. Microsoft won the desktop war. Get over it, move on. The desktop era is ending; there's maybe a decade left in it. The ubicomp era is just starting, and Microsoft has enough money to buy a decent amount of market share. Currently, they're sitting at around 7%, and it's going to take a lot of effort to keep them as a minority player. Diverting any energy to re-fighting the desktop war is a waste of effort.
      • by Crayon Kid (700279) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:46AM (#20625431)

        The desktop era is ending[..]


        How is that? Agreed, when I'm on the move I will naturally turn to handheld devices that can offer basic services (multimedia playing, communication, web browsing). But there's no way I'm going to resort to them when I need actual work done, or for serious entertainment purposes. They're good to keep you going from one place to another, but for productivity's sake I will need to sit at a desk, use a full size keyboard, a normal mouse, and enjoy a large screen and sensible performance. And if I want to watch movies or play games I will also require the kind of hardware that doesn't travel easily.

        Furthermore, that desktop computer paradigm itself is very hard to surpass. There are specialized devices that offer niche services (multimedia players, game consoles, handhelds, laptops), and there are desktop computers, which can be used for anything. That versatility is very hard to throw aside. Niche devices come and go, but a universal purpose device like the desktop computer will be around for a lot of time.

        The only possible change I foresee is extreme miniaturization, which would at some point reduce the desktop computer to something like a pen that you take out of your pocket, place on the desk and it expands to a full size interface (keyboard, mouse, display, or all in one). Perhaps using holography and motion sensors. But for all practical reasons that kind of thing is a long way from the mainstream.
  • Portable stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RogerWilco (99615) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:24AM (#20624253) Homepage Journal
    I think that the place where Apple design realy shines is in portable stuff. Both their iPod and laptop lines seem to be good examples. I have seen a lot of people switch to Apple laptops the last two years.

    I was never too thrilled about their iMac, it seems that in the desktop arena, Apple design does not give so much of an edge, and their only advantage (and disadvantage) is their OS.
  • of course it's not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unfunk (804468)
    It would help a lot if people who want to run OSX aren't artificially tied to the Mac platform.
    I know, I know - the hardware is where Apple makes most of its money, but I think they could also make a fair bit from a licensing scheme similar to that of Windows - "OSX Certified" stickers could place a premium on parts like motherboards, network cards, sound cards, and the like.
    Apple can't really say that their OS only works on their hardware any more, because it's quite easily hacked to run on anything, so
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      It would help a lot if people who want to run OSX aren't artificially tied to the Mac platform.

      Bingo, unfunk.

      I would buy OSX in a second if I could run it on my hardware. That's why this article is sort of wide of the mark. Apple will never be able to really compete with Vista (or Microsoft) as long as they insist on being a hardware company before all. The fact that OSX seems to have taken a back seat in Cupertino to all the little consumer electronics does not bode well for the future of the mac platfo

      • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @08:20AM (#20624533)
        apple tried that it nearly bankrupted the company. Selling an OS without a monopoly is unprofitable. why else do you think that only free software OS's have been able to make in roads while every single other for profit OS company is just about gone?

        Without a monopoly no matter how gained selling just an OS will fail. Apple is worth more than Dell because they keep things locked down, and stay out of the cut throat market of cheap hardware.
      • by peacefinder (469349) <alan.dewitt@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @12:35PM (#20626243) Journal
        "Apple will never be able to really compete with Vista (or Microsoft) as long as they insist on being a hardware company before all. "

        And from this, we can draw the inference that Apple just doesn't want to tackle Vista head-on. They've got a model that works; it's given them (mostly) happy customers, a fabulous brand image, happy shareholders, and several hojillion dollars in the bank. Why would they want to risk their brand image and their long-term profitability by diverting the resources to run on a zillion different hardware platforms?

        Someday OS X (or its successor) will come out for all PCs. But that's (probably) not going to happen while PC hardware still a big profit center for Apple.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:30AM (#20624283) Journal
    Not even 5% of the availability or support for Linux distros, in any case.

    In the US, in any market; the marketshare is something like this:

    Top 3 or 4 vendors: 80%
    All the rest share the balance 20%

    In Europe, I believe in all sectors except the IT sector, the top vendors collectively share less than 50% market share - thanks to strict measures to combat monopoly and anti-trust issues.

    In India (where I live) the only desktop s/w that as any sizable usage is Tally (a financial accounting s/w). All other appln. s/w have a very fragmented marketplace; and it's nearly a 50-50 split between desktop, .Net and ASP apps on the one hand; and Web-based apps on the other, mainly on Linux servers. Apple Macs have less than 1% presence in the h/w space; so there's no incentive for s/w development on the Mac platform.

    Last week, I was evaluating a PACS solution for the hospital I consult with - and a s/w vendor suggested Osirix - an open source app. that works only on Mac hardware. We will be implementing this shortly. A few years back, SGI had products in this niche, but they have disappeared now (I used to work for an SGI dealer).

    Apple did try to set up shop in India, but strangely packed up and dismissed the thought a few months later. Unless Apple build up their presence in the hardware segment; they will not be a meaningful alternative to the Windows world - Vista or otherwise. Except in miniscule niche segments perhaps.
  • by mmarlett (520340) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:32AM (#20624291)
    With the New York Times putting fawning articles like this in front of millions of readers every day, why would Apple want to spend money to do the same?

    As a lifelong Apple fanboy (all Apple since 1982, thanks), I can say without a doubt that there's not been a better time to be an Apple fanboy in 20 years. We actually have some street cred now. IT departments no longer laugh dismissively at the idea of perhaps a Mac in the office, maybe. (Though corporate America is a long way from embracing Macs. And Apple originally lost the PC war because most consumers bought what they had at work for home (and, hey, it was a little cheaper).) People are actually buying Macs. Sales are up; growth is up. The article makes a big deal of Apple not starting its relationship with Best Buy soon enough to gain a retail presence. Hello? NYT, two years ago Apple barely had the cred and was still working on retail presence for the iPod. I bought my iPod at Target; I've vowed never to buy so much as a blank CD at Best Buy after some of its shady business practices, and if Apple wanted to just make the Mac available to more people, it'd sell them everywhere the iPods are sold. How far away is that? Well, they'd have to be able to make enough Macs to put them there, but I bet we'll see it someday.
  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:36AM (#20624317)
    and hasn't since Jobs took over. There was a period when Apple's main goal was to increase market share. When they licensed the mac os to run on third party hardware (I have a mac clone from back in the day). It almost killed apple.

    Ultimately, to take any significant chunk of the PC space, apple would need to start releasing hardware on a much smaller profit margin in order to compete with Dell, Gateway, Acer, and Lenovo. This would destroy Apple's profits and company, as the Apple clones fiasco empirically demonstrated.

    On the other hand, Apple's current strategy of releasing high profile hardware to a niche market has done phenominally well for them. They've stayed profitable, and have boosted their marketshare to an incredible high compared to historical values.

    If you'd bought apple stock and google stock at the time google went IPO, your apple stock would have outperformed your google stock by 3 or 4 times. Apple is doing *very* well and has no incentive to move away from their current low volume, high profit margin strategy. They are essentially skimming the creme of the consumer crop with their products.
    • First bubble to break, Apple and Microsoft are not competitors. Unless Vista fails to do what people buy it to do, and that something is something Apple can do, but GNU/Linux can't do, then and only then would Apple see another sale.

      All of the GNU/Linux distributions may be confusing, but they honestly offer different strengths and weaknesses, so don't expect there to be a single Unified_Linux_Sans_RMS any time soon. People and bussinesses pay money for goods & services that they value, but Apple an
  • I bought a Mac Book Pro more than a year ago. Still love it. At work, I support PC's with only a sprinkling of Macs. We have Exchange for E-mail. Entourage still doesn't play nice with our server (not sure why, I only manage two small AD domains).

    Just wondering out loud - do Blackberries work with OS X? Hmmm.... looks like you can synch with and Exchange server and OS X.

    http://www.pocketmac.net/products/pmblackberry/ [pocketmac.net]

    We currently have a consulting group that manages our Exchange server - they only suppo
    • Maybe the new release of an Office suite for OS X might help, but the only way I can see Apple gaining on HP, Dell, etc, is by ramping up production and selling Macs in all the major outlets - Circuit City, Walmart, etc, instead of the cool but boutique-type Apple stores.

      I was surprised the other week to see an Apple section in my local Best Buy, out in the open and obvious and stuff. Which was nice, because I wanted to buy a mini-DVI adapter. There was even a big sign by the door advertising this new ad
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by antifoidulus (807088)
      Apple's secrecy doesn't jive very well with a lot of corporate environments either. IT departments like to plan well ahead, and Apple (almost) unpredictably changing hardware etc. doesn't give them a very good feeling.

      Another thing(coming from a 100+ user all Apple/Linux shop) that Apple does that doesn't work well with corporate environments is that they make it impossible to go back to previous OS X versions once a new one has been released. If history has anything to say, any new macs that come out a
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mikael_j (106439)

        ...there are no commercial Tiger discs for Intel machines anyway, only restore disks that are bound to the mac they came with

        What are you talking about, you can buy yourself a copy of Tiger through The Apple Store [apple.com].

        /Mikael

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by robbieduncan (87240)
          Yes, for PPC machines. That will not run on an Intel Mac. Check the hardware requirements on the page you linked to "PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor"
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Psx29 (538840)
        Now on the flip side of the coin, you can still install windows 2k or xp or almost any old version of linux, provided you are willing to risk not having 100% hardware support.

        Correction, you can install Windows XP as long as Microsoft's WGA server is around.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:39AM (#20624331) Homepage Journal

    Silly people. Jobs was talking about this numerous times.

    Apple never targeted broad audience. True, it can sell to very broad audience, but still Apple prefer to have few but loyal customers.

    What also crossed my mind, is difference between Windows/Vista and Mac OS X. How does MacOS becomes platform of choice? Because you have to choose MacOS (as well as Apple hardware) by yourself. This establishes kind of barrier. But people who would cross the barrier are people who made their choice. The barrier works both ways: it takes some money investment to cross it (acquire hardware/software) and it takes some paining experience to come back to Wintel (which lacks all the polish, integrity and utility of Apple offering). But still, you are to make the choice by yourself.

    And now ask yourself, who of us had chosen Windows?? Right, nobody. It's the thing which came preinstalled.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by unfunk (804468)

      And now ask yourself, who of us had chosen Windows?? Right, nobody. It's the thing which came preinstalled.

      I chose Windows. Yes, it came preinstalled on my Compaq Presario back in 1995, but I got rid of it as soon as I found out about Linux.
      That lasted about six weeks before I got fed up with the lack of application support for it back then, and ever since, I've been hopping between a lot of different 'alternative' operating systems and Windows. Currently I'm multibooting between Windows XP, Ubuntu 7.01 and OSX.

      Windows gets about 90% of the useage.

    • As a SMB manager who manages mostly a WinXP network, I believe it will be when management of a entire network of Apple's from a single group policy (accounts,fileshare profiles, network profiles, mail accounts all from a single utility).
      I manage a few Suse and Ubuntu servers, so this would go for them as well.
    • by W2k (540424)
      I chose Windows. Despite all the talk about "the world of hurt that is Vista", the supposedly poor security of Windows in general, etc, I've had no problems with either of my boxes, which run Vista Biz and XP Pro, respectively. I try to give Linux a chance every time I have a PC to spare, but always end up switching back after a week or so of getting annoyed at how poorly everything works. Despite being a software developer, I don't want to tinker; I want everything working out of the box. I've tried Mac as
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stewbacca (1033764)

        I don't want a computer that thinks I'm an idiot,
        So you chose an OS that TREATS you like an idiot?
    • by Jugalator (259273)

      Apple never targeted broad audience. True, it can sell to very broad audience, but still Apple prefer to have few but loyal customers.

      Is that his actual opinion though, or an excuse for a poor market share to calm their users? Are we to assume Steve Jobs never try to spin obvious disadvantages in market share to his adv advantage, but for example Microsoft often do?

      I understand that making OS X generally available would reduce their profit margin, but what you're saying isn't about that, but that they don't want to make a big profit from their products from a larger audience? What advantage lies in that? If the audience is no longer very

  • by pmontra (738736) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @07:51AM (#20624395) Homepage
    OSX won't replace Windows anytime soon because it's tied with the Mac and only Apple can make and sell a Mac. There is no way Apple can manufacture as many Macs as the Windows-PCs made by Dell, HP & Co. Ff everybody stop buying Windows-PC and go buying Macs, there simply won't be enough offer to meet the demand. Prices will skyrocket or delivery times will get impossibly long and most people will have to buy PCs no matter what.

    OSX can replace Windows only if Apple sells it as Microsoft does, but that means becoming a software company and compete with other manufacturers for the hardware, and likely lose the HW market. Remember what happened when Mac clones started to be successful in the past? Apple shut them down.

    Probably Apple is still not interested to change its business model and is happy with OSX being a niche OS, maybe a large niche, but still a niche compared with Windows market share. After all the revenues aren't that bad and MS has no particular reason to look at them as particularly dangerous. I suppose they're thinking, we're making a lot of easy money now, so why take risks and change?
    • by stewbacca (1033764) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @08:17AM (#20624527)
      I think you are correct thinking Apple is happy being where they are. I've been a Mac user for 20 years, and this niche is plenty big enough to handle 100% of my home computing needs and about 99% of my business needs. I for one am happy that Apple's first company goal is to produce the best product possible. Anything else would be selling out (which I believe they've saved for the iPod divisions..not that those are bad, but they seem to apply a more aggressive business model there).

      The problem with EVERY market-share study is they are diluting the Mac presence by including their count in areas they have no interest in being. Whereas a PC is a cheap whore that will do anything for money, Macs tend to be made for personal/home use. If Apple wanted to get into the big businesses, I doubt they'd ship things not needed in big business, such as iTunes and GarageBand. To fix this misrepresenatation of Mac market share, why don't these consulting firms just look at a category called "personal computing" or "home computing". I'm sure Apple would be closer to the 20% range in the States, and closer to 50% in metropolitan areas.

      I CAN use a Mac at work, but trying to get all the tightly controlled computer things to work on my Mac (even in Windows mode) isn't worth it. Not because the computer doesn't play along well, but because the tech idiots at work freak out and act like I'm some sort of anti-christ hooking up a MacBook Pro to a windows network. If they'd let me, I'd just do it myself, but these control freaks have to write a work order up for something as simple as hooking my laptop up to the LAN-drop if I move cubicles for the day.

      In short, Apple doesn't want to dominate the corporate because it would diminish the quality of their home-user products, and the IT world doesn't like the threat of losing their power.

  • by Cafe Alpha (891670) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @08:03AM (#20624457) Journal
    Ha! That reminds me of one of my vary favorite jokes.

    An old Penny Arcade shows Tycho in a wrestling ring being beat to a pulp by a guy labeled "Windows XP upgrade" (ok the picture is allegorical) and he's calling out to Gabe, "Why? You told me this would be easy, an hour at most! My world is pain!"

    And Gabe replied, "Sometimes when you want to hurt someone very badly you have to tell them terrible lies."
  • One of two things would have to happen for me to consider apple to be an actual option to MS. Apple would have to lower its hardware cost to match that of a system I could get from Dell/Acer/HP with similar specs, or they'd have to allow me to buy just the OS and install it on any machine I build myself. There's practically no chance of this ever happening. Well, their loss if they don't want my business. XP and Linux work just fine. I even like Vista more than XP on the one machine I installed it on, it's
  • Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JamesRose (1062530) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @08:27AM (#20624561)
    I find it surprising to come from the NYT, but this is such a troll of an article. starting "if you want a new PC you're screwed because everyone knows Windows is shit" going on to say "Apple has a much superior operating system" and ending with "Apple only has a 3% market share because it doesn't want a bigger market share, if they wanted a 90% market share they could have it any time they wanted" And all this suported by the most selective of fact picking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032)
      I find it surprising to come from the NYT, but this is such a troll of an article.

      Surprising that the NYT would run it, but not surprising coming from this author. Randall Stross is still in a snit over the fact that Steve Jobs declined to give him an interview when he was writing his hatchet-job book, Steve Jobs and the NeXT Big Thing.

      -jcr

  • by tsa (15680) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @08:37AM (#20624599) Homepage
    The article doesn't do Apple credit I think. Apple may not be doing well in the desktop world, but they are right there with the big boys when it comes to notebooks. Here [macworld.com] is an article that tells us that Apple's notebook market share was 17.6 percent in June 2007. But having said that, I also must say that I think Apple's policy to only sell their hardware in their own stores and in 'Apple certified retailers' is a way to make certain that they won't get a large marketshare on the desktop. Apple's policy ensures that people can not really compare Apples and other computers side by side, and people who own Apple computers will continue to be considered hip, or weird, or stupid, depending on who you ask. O, and one more thing! Here in the Netherlands Apple certified the Media Markt to sell their computers. In Enschede a few iMacs and notebooks are cramped on some shelves that are just behind the computer the employees always use to check availability and prices of the things they sell. That means there is no space for customers to have a good look at the beautiful iMacs et al. that are displayed there. I asked a Media Markt employee a few questions about the new iMac, and he turned out to know next to nothing about it. He even admitted that. If I were Apple I would make damn certain that the people who sell my hardware in 'certified' shops know their stuff, and put my precious hardware on display in an easy to reach place. My experience at the Media Markt made me decide not to buy the iMac there but online. I'd rather wait a few weeks than have to do with clueless salesmen.
  • by hotfireball (948064) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:07AM (#20624749)

    IMHO Vista is a sh!t. But, IMHO, you are doomed to use it anyway.

    Below is all my IMHO, folks. Be friendly, don't take me as troll. But you still doomed to see Vista, no matter how shitty Vista is. Because:
    • Microsoft Office on MS Windows is still a winner for daily business. It is tragic, it is incompatible between its versions, it is unstylish, it is horribly looking. But winner. Why? Because people is using it for so long time and Excel there is fastest among competitors and has lots of features. And Excel is stupid fucking format, which all users in business companies usually stupidly fucking using it. Either you shall do something better or give up. Look at the newest Apple thingy: Numbers from iWork '08. It just does not works like Excel does. It is different thing. People, who already working -- they won't change in their mind. They want simply continue their work and go beer at the evening.
    • Linux Desktop is just plain sucks and disappointing thing. :-( Yes, it works. Yes, it DOES works. Yes, it has that stunning XGL things (despite of it is completely useless CPU waste, yet I still love it). Yes, you can install Enlightenment and feel like inside Unreal Tournament. Yes, KMail is brilliant, Evolution is really nice, with OpenOffice.org you can do very complex usefull business ugly documents, yes you can listen the music, radio, watch the video and even eventually semi-sync your iPod (still no iTunes Store available). But all this is not a Desktop yet. The *integration of the software* is just plain sucks simply everywhere -- no matter Gnome or KDE or in between. Well, there are NO integration at all. You have dozen different pop-up dialogs for "Open file", you have extrenely stupid Nautilus with total absense of user-friendly (e.g: take pencil and paper and enumerate steps required to enable Trash Bin on desktop?) and so on... X11 desktop which is available today is that *wacky* and painfull.
    • "Grey mass" syndrome of simply users. They think in chain way, like: John use Windows, Steve use Windows, therefore I have to use Windows.

    You would say what is the proposal? Let's try to think. ;-) In my opinion:

    • Desktop integration. Take a look at OSX and simply copy the principle. The first step would be making the fucking holy standard for developing the applications, no matter this is GTK or QT or whatever you want.
    • Killer application. I have to admit that Firefox and OpenOffice are much better their predecessors (Mozilla and StarOffice). But we need something killing for DAILY boring office worker desktop usage. It should be fast, nifty, compatible and easy (to learn and to launch too).
    • Do something with those glibc/libc incompatibilities between distros. I am sure vendor wants to release a software, the binary of which could work on any Ubuntu, any RHEL, any Fedora, any SuSE, any Gentoo and any other things you can imagine. Just take it, drop it to the installer thingy and zip-zop! -- it is installed, no matter distro you have. This perfectly works for OSX and works for Windows. Well, almost perfectly. ;-) I am not talking about apt-get or yum things (infrastructure). I am talking about compatibility of them.
    • Stop ridicule and underestimate Microsoft but start respect them as a competitor and usually BETTER software writer. They generate brilliant ideas -- that's their strong side. But they implement them usually shitty and never think more practically about their ideas -- that's weakness we can exploit.

    P.S. I am MacOSX, Solaris, Linux and BSD advanced power user and developer of software for more than 10 years. Don't tell me soap stories about "nice Linux Desktop", please. Just fucking please.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:51AM (#20625047) Homepage
    If I'm Steve Jobs, why should I care whether Apple is "beating" Vista? Investors sure don't, if their stock price [yahoo.com] is any indication.

    What matters to Apple is whether Apple is doing well as a company. They don't really have to care what's happening to MSFT. In fact, I'd expect that AAPL tends to go up at about when MSFT goes up because a large percentage of the stock price is based on the industry rather than the company.
  • huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:05AM (#20625159)
    shouldn't apple try to beat XP instead?
  • wishful thinking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:12AM (#20625219)
    The first question to ask is: could Apple even handle having a larger share of the market? They'd need to expand their range of hardware, they'd need to expand support staff, they'd need add a boatload of new APIs and functionality to their OS, and on and on. Outside of Apple, there would need to be a huge infrastructure of consultants, supports staff, technical authors, and other people supporting Apple hardware and software.

    And that isn't even taking into account technical issues and missing functionality in their software platform. Having a nice looking desktop user interface and being able to talk a good talk on UNIX compatibility isn't the same as having a software platform that people can use in a corporate environment.

    Overall, despite all the bluster, I don't think Apple is even aiming for Microsoft's market. Apple is happy to skim off the high margin, low volume market. Right now, they can afford to say "your wallet is too small", or "we don't do that" and send customers away. If they want to compete with Microsoft, they need to meet the needs of the vast majority of users--corporate, home, and engineering--and they need to do so on price, performance, functionality, features, and compatibility, and they don't. They aren't even trying or even making the investment (Apple's R&D investment is comparatively small).

    Hoping that Apple can take over the market quickly because Microsoft stumbled with Vista is wishful thinking--taking market share away from Microsoft is a slow, steady process. Apple makes it particularly hard on themselves because they have created a bottleneck by being the single hardware vendor that runs their software, and by not giving an inch on compatibility with Windows.
  • by plsuh (129598) <plsuh@goodeast.DEGAScom minus painter> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @10:49AM (#20625443) Homepage
    I am a former Apple employee who still maintains close ties to the company. I am also a former professional economist; I went to grad school for my Ph.D., but didn't finish my dissertation. I can state affirmatively without breaking any NDAs that The Fine Article is full of bullsh*t.

    Let's start with his sales figures. "The Mac's *worldwide* market share was 3 percent as of June 2007, according to Roger L. Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, a consulting firm in Wayland, Mass." (Emphasis mine) Worldwide market share is a poor indicator of Apple's markets. It is mostly a US-focused company and will stay that way in the near future. In the US, Apple's market share is around 5-6%, according to the most recent figures I could find. More importantly, the growth rate is more than four times higher than the industry growth rate, 32% vs. 7.2% (IDC estimates via Apple's latest quarterly report). It doesn't take long for that kind of second order effect to dominate. Comparing the market share now (after the events of the 1990's) to Apple's market share when its mainstay was the Apple II is really bad analysis. I would expect better from the author, a professor of business who presumably knows basic microeconomics.

    His figures for the share of computers in use are suspect as well. "Funny thing, though: based on the ratio of Windows and Macs actually in use, no gains can be seen for Apple. The Mac's share of personal computers has actually edged a bit lower since Vista's release in January, and the various flavors of Windows a bit higher, according to Net Applications, a firm in Aliso Viejo, Calif., that monitors the operating systems among visitors to 40,000 customer Web sites." Measuring OS usage share by measuring browser hits is a seriously flawed methodology. There are know sources of bias that lead to higher than actual market share figures for Internet Explorer on Windows, including sites that require users of other browsers to spoof the user agent header, measuring usage on sites that have ActiveX elements that drive away non-Windows users, and extra files being sent to Internet Explorer in order to work around problems in the IE rendering engine. Furthermore, the author is looking at the wrong figures and the drop that he's looking at is statistically insignificant anyway. The figures that he refers to are 4.68% (2007Q1) vs. 4.63% (2007Q2). Windows Vista was released to the general public on January 30, 2007. Thus, the base figure he should be using is 4.06% (2006Q4), which predates the release of Vista. A simple statistical test based on the Net Applications market share figures for 2004Q4 through 2007Q2 shows that a 0.05% difference is not statistically significant. Heck, any reasonably trained economist should be able to eyeball this and say that given that trend, a 0.05% difference is not statistically significant.

    As far as the whole Best Buy thing goes, the author completely misses the point behind Apple opening its own retail stores. Apple tried for years to work with CompUSA, Sears, Best Buy, and other consumer electronics retailers to sell Apple computers to the masses. Each attempt was a dismal failure, as the personnel at the retailers could not sell something as complex as Apple's equipment. They were barely able to sell TVs. The only sort-of, kind-of successful experiment in there was the store-within-a-store at CompUSA, which was done by putting Apple employees into CompUSA stores. Even that didn't work too well, as the Apple section got lost in the middle of all of the other stuff. Apple is trying again to expand it's retail reach, but I would put the odds against it. Big box retailers' emphasis on low price and minimal service is completely at odds with how to sell Apple computers.

    "Apple has not even begun to try to re-enter another domain from which it had withdrawn its Mac sales teams: large corporations." That would be news to Apple's entire Enterprise Sales team -- several hundred people. I work with them on a daily basis, even now. They've been there all alon
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:17AM (#20625631)
    Apple NEEDS a mid-range head less system and more hardware choice.

    The mini is overpriced priced and the laptop hardware in it drives costs up and still has the real old gma 950 in it and all systems should have a super dr.

    The imacs are not that much better while they do use a desktop HD, the laptop ram, cpu, slot loading DVD RW, and video push the price up. Also the smaller size of the new imacs mean that high-mid and high end video cards are out as well as more then one hd and you are stuck if it's build in screen.

    The Macpro is over 1 and half years old and is still at the same price and same setup base system 7300 gt and only 1gb of ram and $300 to go to 2gb apples prices, OWC has it for $100. But still $100 a gig? Also the raid card for it is rip $1000 for a 4 port sata only raid card?

    The mid-range system can replace the high end mini with on board video or a low end video card g33 / g35 chipset and pci-x 16 slot for video with x4 slot for other cards and desktop parts.

    maybe have high end system for gameing with dual video cards x38 or NV chipset.

    Or you can have a dual dual macpro with the low end xeon cpus and the new chip set with ecc ddr2 2/3 ram.

    The mini can be dropped in price making it a very low end system.
  • well.. duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremy_Bee (1064620) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:34AM (#20625765)
    I find this an interesting article for the most part, but it's really kind of "preaching to the choir" isn't it?

    The author talks about not taking advantage of this small window of opportunity to attack Vista. He also goes into great lengths about all the fabulous things Apple has already done to position itself as an alternative to Vista including the transition to intel processors, the fantastic ad campaigns, and the refinement of OS-X. Although he only says that "the official Mac line is that it has gone swimmingly" which seems imply falsehoods, he does manage to mention that sales are up over 30% across the board!

    To me this sounds like unprecedented growth and execution, not a failure.
    He then answers his own unproven assumption (that Apple isn't doing enough) by expressing "what could be done" as:

    - ramping up their retail presence
    - offering more for corporations.

    But these two things are exactly what Apple *has* been doing for the last couple of years. In fact, Apple's focus has been so intent in these areas that it's on the verge of dropping the ball this year on a number of other issues as a result. How could Apple could ramp up the retail expansion any faster than they already have lately without stumbling? How could they focus any more on their high end and back-end server stuff for corporate environments with Leopard? Being certified as UNIX this year doesn't give them enough cred? Coming out with a fully exchange compliant server and simultaneously offering it's own end to end solution to compete with exchange server based on open formats and open source code is not enough? Coming out with a brand new corporate smart phone to challenge RiM is not enough?

    Apple is already going through intense, rapid expansion on all fronts probably more than at any time in it's history and the very issues he mentions are already already major focii of their expansion plan.

    I'm not saying it's a stupid article, but it's kind of pointless in that all it really does is restate some recent history, (MS took five years off and OS-X has come in from the cold), add some overly obvious business advice, (expand retail, expand markets, consolidate marginal markets), and then it just kind of wrings it's hands and worries about how far Apple can get before the "giant flywheel" of Vista gets it.

    I'm worried about the flywheel too, but I fail to see what more Apple can do on any of these fronts that it isn't already doing. In particular, expanding retail locations any faster than it already is, would be a dangerous course for Apple and in the end probably bad business advice.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:43PM (#20627395)
    This has been said many times before, but obviously not often enough: Market share is only one way to play the game. Other goals are things like "profit" and "shareholder value."

    There is a little German car maker you might have heard of named Prosche. They make sehr viel money. Their stock is doing sehr gut. They don't really care about market share. Now, nobody bothers them about this or writes little essays about how Porsche will never catch up with Toyota or GM, because everybody understands they are playing for profit, not market share. For some reason, many people don't understand this with Apple. They keep talking about market share.

    Apple has no debt. They are making lots of money -- okay, so is Microsoft. Their stock is up, what, 70 per cent this year -- Microsoft's has been dead in the water for years. Apple has two different product lines that are doing fine: Computers and iPods. They are working on a third, the iPhone. Microsoft has two products of the same type, Windows and Office, that make money. Everything else they have touched, like the Zune and the Xbox, has been a financial disaster.

    Let Microsoft keep its market share. Apple is making money and making its shareholders happy. Like Porsche.

  • by Budenny (888916) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @03:20PM (#20627679)
    The elephant in the room of course is:

    You are not doing all you can to defeat Vista as long as you will not sell it in direct competition with Vista. That means, on OEM hardware.

    Now, that may or may not be the right thing for Apple to do. But until they do that, they are not even trying to compete with Vista.

    Why is this so hard to see?

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