My Turn

Will Apple Follow Polaroid Into Bankruptcy?

Gregg Eshelman - 2002.04.24

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Here's to hoping that Apple won't follow Polaroid.

As we know, Apple is fiercely protective of it's operating system and the hardware it runs on. They won't even license out production of their own hardware designs as they once did.

At times that has cost the company dearly, in particular handing Brazil to the PC clones on a silver platter when they became obsessed with crushing Unitron instead Unitronof using them as a "back door" behind the country's protectionist import ban on computers (which ended in 1992).

As for Polaroid, they've filed for bankruptcy (or, as their website says, "financial restructuring"). Polaroid was always fiercely protective of their innovation of instant photography - so protective that they never allowed anyone else to produce cameras compatible with their film or film compatible with their cameras. They also sued anyone (Kodak especially) whenever they produced instant cameras. For some insane reason, they always won even though the basic patents on instant photography processes had long expired.

Now Polaroid's protectionist tactics have come home to roost. With their focus on a "Mine! All mine!" strategy, they artificially limited their user base and were late to the digital photography revolution.

My prediction is that except for a small number of professionals, hobbyists, and cheap single use cameras, film photography will be dead within five years.

Of course, a computer and operating system are more versatile than a camera and film, but Polaroid has been around far longer than Apple Computer. There's still plenty of time for a revolution not created by Apple to sneak up on them while they are tightly focused on keeping all their horses in the Apple Corral.

The preceding has been a plea for porting OS X to the PC platform.

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