Things Macintosh

Does Motorola Even Give a Damn?

Rodney O. Lain - 2001.01.30

I didn't want to hurt the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I though so right up to the moment I cut his throat.
  - Murderer Perry Smith, quoted by Truman Capote in In Cold Blood

I overheard an interesting conversation this weekend.

While browsing a Minneapolis computer store, I passed two young men carrying on a mildly heated exchange about Apple Computer. The first guy was one of the store's salespeople; the other was a dyed-in-the-wool Mac user. You can guess which side of the discussion was laden with more emotion.

Salesperson: "Apple does have the best computer designs on the market."

Mac user: "Are you crazy? Apple is doing great! They aren't caught up in that Megahertz mentality that has gripped the rest of the PC market. Apple is all about making great computers. Great looking computers."

As they talked over these points, I eased towards them. After talking for a while, the salesperson noticed me listening to them and asked me to thrown in my two cents. So I did.

"Don't get me wrong; I'm a big Mac user, too," I said, "but I think that Apple should give more concern to that 'Megahertz mentality' to which you alluded. After all, Apple has cared about Megahertz in the past - when it benefited them. Remember the 'Snails' commercial?"

After saying my piece, I left the Mac user standing there, wondering about what I'd just said.

You see, Apple does a marvelous job of creating lust-inducing computers, but it is falling short in the area where the company has very little control - PowerPC production.

That is Motorola's territory. You know, the guys who are probably solely responsible for Apple's repeated failure to deliver computers to market within promised time frames. By now, we've all gotten used to the fact that Apple delivers the goods; it's just that Apple is always tardy making deliveries - like the U.S. Post Office.

That is the supreme insult.

Conventional wisdom says that Motorola can't produce G4 processors in high enough quantities to meet demand (or Motorola still hasn't gotten over getting "Steved" during the short-lived Mac-clone period). Meanwhile, Intel and AMD are cranking out their respective computer chips like the proverbial pancakes.

There is a simple solution to Apple's dilemma: advertise.

Apple needs to market and advertise its line of computers as never before. The "Think Different" campaign is a good rallying cry, but the next phase (which I argue hasn't even begun yet) should have commenced long ago. To date, there have been little or no advertisements spelling out why and how a Macintosh is better than PC alternatives. Everything has been subjective at best. (Steve's kids are cute, but not that cute.)

I say this, "knowing" that Apple has a good reason for not producing more "hard-hitting" ads and marketing campaigns: OS X hasn't shipped yet. Apple has slowly metamorphosed its whole product line. Shipping computers with OS X preinstalled is the last piece in the company's comeback puzzle.

Mark my words. When Apple computers are shipping with OS X preinstalled, expect an advertising blitz like none the company has done before.

It makes all the sense in the world. The Macintosh line still has a "legacy" operating system that isn't attractive to the enterprise sector. More specifically, the Macintosh still doesn't have a OS around which to market the hardware.

Mark my words. That is why Apple hasn't proactively sought to grow market share. Mark my words. OS X is the fulcrum, the lynchpin, the final piece of the puzzle.

This summer is when Apple begins advertising in earnest. Subsequently, market share will grow. Only then will Motorola have stronger dollar-and-sense incentive to put more manpower behind PowerPC production and development.

Lord knows Apple needs it.

Until Apple has OS X equipped computers to market with smart-and-edgy advertising (sorry, Jeff Goldblum, but you don't move me), Motorola will continue to give less than a damn about the Mac market and whether or not the PowerPC fares well against the Intels and AMDs of the world.

Rodney O. Lain (1968-2002) called himself a fashion victim: He liked wearing socks with his sandals. When he wasn't dispensing fashion advice, Rodney wrote for Low End Mac, The Mac Observer, Applelinks, and many other websites. Rodney lived in Minnesota. His own website was, and we have collected as much of his writing that has since disappeared from the Web as possible in The Rodney O. Lain Archive.

The most widely read Things Macintosh columns:

  1. Apple is a company, 10/4/1999
  2. The main difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, 1/17/2000
  3. The $600 iMac, 12/24/1999
  4. Apple will rule the computer world, 11/17/1999
  5. I'm not paying $20 for my OS X upgrade, 2001.07.25.
  6. A Mac is like Prozac, 10/13/1999
  7. I'm a drop the funk bomb on ya: Milking the Macintosh for all it's worth, 2001.03.20.
  8. More links and links to memorial articles in the Things Macintosh index.

Recent Content on Low End Mac

Latest Deals on Low End Mac

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link