Mac Scope

Berst Misses the Boat Again

Stephen Van Esch - August 2, 2000

If the PC press can't see it then it doesn't exist

In the wake of the success of Macworld, Jesse Berst felt that he had to get his digs in somehow. I quote: "Apple is painting itself into a corner and the latest releases prove it."

According to Jesse, Apple is sticking with the status quo desktop while the whole world moves over to the PDA/phone market. This focus on the desktop will spell Apple's demise.

To round out the first quote we have this one: "If Apple wants to break out, it must make a play for the next generation of computing hardware and services. So far, I've seen no evidence that Apple understands that."

OK, so Jesse doesn't see any evidence of Apple making a move into the PDA/phone market in either their hardware or their software offerings. This, of course, means that Apple has no strategy for the PDA/phone market.

Brilliant deduction I must admit.

If we use this reasoning, then it would be fair to surmise that Apple has nothing prepared for the desktop market. I don't see any evidence that Apple understands the way the desktop market is moving. Really, no sarcasm intended here. I see no evidence of future products and hear hardly anything about future products.

The main difference between Jesse Berst and me, however, seems to be that I don't expect Apple to release its product plans for the next 2 or 3 years to the general public. I don't even expect Apple to get me to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that I can take a look at their product plans for the next 2 or 3 years.

If you pay some attention to Apple (or at least Steve Jobs) you'll notice that surprises are the order of the day. Foisting new products on an unsuspecting public is a regular occurrence. I'm sure that all that free advertising from the Mac and regular press is just an added bonus.

I personally think that Apple's approach to new products is much better than the typical computer company approach. Normally, products are announced a year or two in advance of shipping. This, of course, lets the press sit on the sidelines slamming the company for missing deadlines. If there's anything Apple doesn't need, it's bad press for missing deadlines. Just the fact that the dual-processor G4 is seen as a stopgap measure to chip problems (which it is) means the press would be all over the delay of an Apple PDA.

I'm convinced that Apple does have several strategies to meet whatever demand they feel they can fill. Whether that's shoehorning OS X into a PDA or simply creating the backend software to allow people to deliver information to PDAs and handhelds is anybody's guess. I'm sure, however, that Jobs is most likely just playing his "spring the surprise when they least expect it" game.

So to the PC press wailing that Apple's strategy is way off base, quit whining. Just because you don't have a clue what's up doesn't mean there isn't something going on.

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