Is Apple All Alone?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by BWhaler, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. BWhaler macrumors 68020

    BWhaler

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    #1
    I was reading an article on Intel's plan to release 8-10 Ghz chips in 2005, and I began thinking about Apple and all of the momentum of late with the company. It seems like things are getting much better, with more and more switchers, better products at better prices, and a continued investment in the future.

    But then something dawned on me: 99% of the excitement in the Mac space is from Apple alone. Companies need support from third parties to be vibrant, and I think Apple is too dependent on Apple.

    I racked my brain for innovative third party work of late, and all I can come up with is:

    1. Salling Clicker.

    Seriously, that's it. That's the only wiz-bang, blow you back 3rd party product I can think of.

    But the list on the other side is long and damning:

    1. QuickBooks sucks on the Mac
    2. Quicken sucks on the Mac.
    3. HP Canon, et al. drivers are limited.
    4. The new Adobe suit is a very limited upgrade.
    5. Office, while better than the Win version in many ways, is obviously limited by MS to be a nuisance. (e.g 32 char file names, responsiveness.)
    6. The new Quark doesn't look like they even tried.

    Are we, and wall street, blinded to the real threat facing Apple: that Apple is being forced to fight this battle for survival alone? I'm not saying the Windows world is super innovative, but there is definitely more effort and support there.

    What do you think?

    (P.S. Because this post has some edge and negativity to it, I feel compelled to say that I submit this only for healthy discussion, not because I am some lousy PC troll. I am a proud Mac owner.)
     
  2. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #2
    apple is certainly at a crossroads, with the iApps and safari, apple finally stepped into a category where there was no decent Mac product (well, not by their standards) to create something to keep Mac people and switchers happy... i mean, who's going to buy a computer that doesn't have a good web browser? or mail program? it was too scattered and raw. but, it doesn't seem like apple is doing much to court these other companies. aside from the recent apple/adobe stuff, they've kind of ignored 3rd party, but i get the feeling that they're prepared to step forward and give us a few new apps soon... which leads me to wonder, is apple really outdoing themselves with their "we make everything" approach? Is their goal to have dominance in every program area? because, despite the greatness of Apple's software and it's legendary compatability, it's not a good way to woo people. they want, as you said, big titles that they are used to, to make the gap more invisible.

    pnw
     
  3. jaykk macrumors 6502a

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    CA
    #3
    apple needs more developers

    Apple should focus more on developers ( remember the famous "developers, developers, developers"), because those are the people who make a product hit or miss. Mac OS X is the best thing happend to Apple in many years ( apart from iPod/ITunes). Apple is really doing something for Open Source as well ( eg: Safari ). And I was surprise to see so many produces now support OS X - like Oracle, Sybase, IBM with their Lotus Notes/Via Voice.. Apple's new partner IBM can help a lot - if IBM brings their DB2, Websphere etc to Mac OS X, mac will get acceptance in corporate world. And I read some where that most of the sun employees use Mac OS X for java development. Its just a start for Apple.
     
  4. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #4
    -jaykk

    If Steve came out on the stage at the next WWDC and in a tip of the hat to Ballmer started doing the "Developers! Developers! Developers!" thing, I just might die laughing.
     
  5. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

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    Nov 18, 2002
    #5
    come to think of it they are really taking over...

    all they really need is an office suite with some good accounting software...

    they already have the video market...and with logic they have the audio market...

    however i really hope they don't go the route of taking over...that would be really bad, and if that did happen i would buy a mac, it would essentially be worse than microsoft, have complete dominance of the product

    it seems like its getting very hard for developers to get caught up... i still don't think all the audio apps even work under os x!! and it seems like only yesterday that quark was released...and now they have to start reprogramming again for 64 bit processing! it really is a lot to do on the developers side
     
  6. jaykk macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Patrick,
    thats one hilarious piece of work from Balmer.. Do u have a link to that video?
     
  7. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 27, 2003
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    PRK
    #7
    Apple has been trying to lure developers to the Mac for ages now. And I think that Steve Jobs just got tired of waiting for them to come. So, he made Apple start doing apps as well.

    Its not like Apple didn't want developers to make software stuff for the Mac. Thats what WWDC is all about, but not too many Tier 1 companies are willing to do so.

    Final Cut, iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, iChat, Safari, etc. These are apps that you need, and good apps are needed in order for people to buy a Mac. What good is a computer when it lacks software.

    Now, it would be cool if Apple made a Games Division. Microsoft has one.
     
  8. simX macrumors 6502a

    simX

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    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #8
    Um, I dunno about any of you, but I think the third-party Mac software market is much better than it's ever been.

    I can think of a NUMBER of great third-party Mac applications. Watson, Proteus, Transmit, NetNewsWire, iBlog, VLC, mPlayer, Acquisition, WireTap, SubEthaEdit, BootCD, Pacifist, RadioFree, SETIMenu, not to mention my own apps that I've made, Memory Usage Getter and Safari Bookmark Exporter. :)

    On the game side of things, I can also mention a number of great games. EV Nova, Oni, StarCraft, Uplink, Marble Blast (a personal fav), Enigmo, pop-pop, X-Ball, and Myst III: Exile. I know a number of people out there would probably list a number of other games, especially first-person shooters, but I'm not too fond of those.

    The fact that Apple is offering free developer tools to anyone who wants them and is BUNDLING THEM with every copy of Mac OS X and every new Mac says a LOT about how far the company has gone to wooing new Mac OS X developers. Apple has created AppleScript Studio, which is also another great development environment for those familiar to AppleScript, and it is poised to release xCode, which looks like an even better development program -- Project Builder and Interface Builder were already awesome contenders.

    I myself was able to pick up AppleScript Studio very easily, and that was a springboard for me to learn Objective-C. I have a number of programs in progress (who knows when I will ever get around to finishing them), and this is just a hobby for me -- I only took one programming class, and that was AFTER I learned Objective-C on my own, with the help from Aaron Hilleglass and his "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" book.

    While I agree that Apple didn't used to be as welcoming to new developers a few years ago -- that's all changed. And Apple's own programs just augment this blooming third party market. There was no one out there who had the time and resources needed to create Final Cut Pro or iMovie or iPhoto, so Apple decided to do it themselves. Note that there was really no great competing applications for these on the Windows platform either. So even though Apple decided to make them, they really didn't eat out of the third-party software market, with the exception of maybe Safari and Sherlock (oh, fine, Final Cut Pro too -- but I've read everywhere that both Avid and Adobe's competing products totally sucked, and FCP is just so much better).

    So I'd have to respectfully disagree -- Apple's definitely not going it alone. The major difference between now and before is that some of the greatest applications aren't coming from big software development houses; they're coming from small, independent developers who saw the need for a product and filled it without too much effort.
     
  9. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #9
    There are so many incredibly cool third party applications for Mac OS X! You've got to be joking about this...? Just look at http://www.versiontracker.com/

    Mac OS X and its programming language is so modular that designing applications is easy, and loads of the most helpful applications are graphical interfaces for the super powerful UNIX functions that are built right in but never get used explicitly (maintenance scripts easily being the most commonly used over here). Still other developers are designing original Macintosh content like Ambrosia Software and bunches of individuals that design applications like Audio Hijack, iBeeZz, just to name the ones I use habitually. There are so many options, and almost all of them make you fall just that little bit deeper in love with the Macintosh. I love how there is a way for me to do just about anything I can think of on Mac OS X, now. There's bound to be a host of people who want it too, and some programmer whips up an aqua interface to wrap it and tada you have a functional and usually very stable little app.

    I love it!
     
  10. BWhaler thread starter macrumors 68020

    BWhaler

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    #10
    Some interesting replies, and I must agree with the sentiment about smaller developers doing amazing things...it's probably why I thought of Salling.

    I guess upon reflection I should of pointed out the lack of "wow" innovation from the larger players.
     
  11. fraeone macrumors regular

    fraeone

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    Sep 26, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #11
    Yeah I must agree. I think that OS X is going to continue to woo techies and developers. Thank god Apple is giving away the dev tools, like any good Unix flavor should.

    However, calling AdobeCS a lackluster upgrade is silly. Anyone who works in digital photography will tell you they have added a host of useful features (see dpreview.com for more on that) Whether it theoretically should be 7.5 or 8 is irrelevant--need I remind anyone that they dropped the numbering altogether? If you don't work w/ digital photography, and you feel that the upgrade isn't worth the expense, that's OK too, but why complain about it? Just skip this round and wait for the next one.

    fraeone
     
  12. uptick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #12
    Think about why Microsoft's Office for Mac exists. Microsoft had to write some software (ported as it may be) for the Mac, or in essence, "support" a non-Windows OS. Otherwise they would run amuck with antitrust. We all agree that MS has quite the monopoly, but their token support for Apple is purely a tactic.

    If Microsoft wanted to squash Apple, it could easily do so: Microsoft Corp. has enough cash in its coffers to buy Apple Computer Inc. 6 times over at today's market price! Bury Apple and then we can force Windows down everyone's throat and life will be great for Bill Gates & Co.! Nope - can't do that because US antitrust laws will tear apart Microsoft (just as the laws did to one Standard Oil company and one American Telegraph & Telephone company years ago). More likely, a merger or takeover would never be allowed in the first place. Bill knew that.

    Bill Gates would prefer to preserve as much of a medusian company as he can, since its OS business feeds off of its Apps business which feeds Internet, Gaming, Consumer, etc. - the Microsoft bundling way. So spending $100 million or so to keep Apple happy with an Office application is just a drop in the bucket for MS. It's a symbiotic relationship. Thus Microsoft flirts with antitrust but continues to muscle the marketplace! (Of course the final verdict has yet to come back...)

    Apple, on the otherhand, has become much like the boutique firm. It's quality stuff, it's desirable stuff, it's premium stuff, and it's more expensive stuff. Apple knows it can't be the best at everything, so it focuses on what it does best. But too bad what it does best now is not what everyone in the world needs or accepts. So its marketshare remains just a small fraction of the dominant Wintel world (bless those Linux, Unix, Java people!)

    But that small fraction of a marketshare keeps Apple going. Apple highly relies upon this customer base, just as these customers depend on or prefer Apple for their computing needs. Yet Apple wants more customers, call them switchers (Mac), call them consumers (iPod, iTunes Store). Will Apple ever make the computer "for the rest of them?" At what point does Apple shed its boutique?

    As mentioned by others, developers are awfully important to Apple's continued success, not to mention survival. But looking through the developer's eyes, how often do you justify creating or spending resources on something that will be purchased by less than 1 in 10 potential customers? Unless you get in bed with Apple, you're most likely going to develop first for the mass (Wintel) market.

    And thus is the quandary of Apple. Apple will probably have to continue to do certain things 'alone' simply because there's no one else that does them or does them as well. The success of Apple will have to start with Apple itself. First and foremost it must not abandon its loyal customers. Second it should continue to innovate - to cause reason for switchers to switch and developers to develop. We know Apple has won, when everyone wants something that's developed just only for the Mac.
    :)
     
  13. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #13
    eh heh heh heh heh heh.....
     
  14. crap freakboy macrumors 6502a

    crap freakboy

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    #14
    outstanding!!!

    though I'm worried it made me laugh...perhaps am I a geek :(
     
  15. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #16
  16. fraeone macrumors regular

    fraeone

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    #17
    Uptick-

    Great commentary, but you left out MS' acquisition of Connectix and their VirtualPC software. Now they bundle the VPC with MS Office, which most people buy anyway, and they have a pretty good chance of you dropping another $200 bucks on a copy of Windows XP so you can still run their stuff.

    I guess the big variable is how long it takes MS to port VPC to the G5.
     
  17. jywv8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #18
    Re: Is Apple All Alone?

    Why do you think Quicken sucks on the Mac? I use it for my personal finances, and I think it's great. Then again, I've never used the Windows version, so maybe I'm missing something...?
     
  18. the future macrumors 6502a

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    #19

    OMG... Ballmer must officially be The Most Embarassing Person In This Or Any Other Universe™. The difference between THIS and a Stevenote reveals the difference between Microsoft and Apple better than anything else I could think of. They may have the marketshare, but they have neither style nor class.

    By the way, I recently saw a documentation about Microsoft, and in one scene not only Ballmer, but also Gates and a bunch of other suits are celebrating something on a stage and they, well, dance - or that's what they *think* they do. It's just awful, and very very funny. If someone could provide a link to a clip of this, I would be a very happy bunny!
     
  19. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    #20
    OMG that Balmer clip is the funniest thing I have seen possibly ever. I just woke up my roommate (I very heavy sleeper) I was laughing so hard! I love the fat Sweaty-Betty look he's got going, and coupled witht the cracking voice... Sounds like a cry of desperation if you ask me.


    As for Apple creating all their own software... for those of use long time Apple disciples we remember the days when Apple had their own office, web browser, and accounting apps. Apple couldn't handle the production burden and from being on top of the world in the middle-late 80's with people clutching Mac OS 6 with open arms, Apple entered the Dark Ages where they were stagnantly un-productive until Steve came back and introduced the iMac breathing new life into the nearly dead company.
     
  20. VIREBEL661 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    #21
    I gotta agree with you simX.. I think, especially because of the adaptation of Unix, that the future looks very bright for Apple indeed. Panther will include X11 - I mean, a TON of possibilities right there. Also, a lot of folks in the Linux community are catching on to Powerbooks in a BIG way... Apple's laptops are portable Unix workstations! Yes, we need more games, but I have platforms! I guess I'm not big into games on my Mac... In regards to audio, don't forget about ProTools! I mean, Mac is the defacto standard for that, seriously! No G5 support, but it's coming, soon - and it'll absolutely rock! ProTools on X is totally awesome, nothing comes close in terms of stability.. We're going to finally see Mac's where they deserve to be, in movie animation departments, etc. (if they're not around already). I think Apple has the most exciting future in the comp industry, but that's just me...
     
  21. VIREBEL661 macrumors regular

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    #22
    OMG - hilarious, but this guy scares the crap outta me! I thought he was like gonna have a heart attack right freakin' there!
     
  22. 5300cs macrumors 68000

    5300cs

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  23. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #24
    Re: Is Apple All Alone?

    hey it doesn't sound like a pc troll thread at all...you make a lot of very good points

    i think happy and unhappy mac users help the company...when a mac user is happy, that is a good pat on the back for apple

    but when mac users are unhappy, apple inc is relatively good at responding to their demands...but not good enough when it comes to price though...since apple such a small part of the overall consumer and pro market share, it really is hard to find enthusiastic third party support
     

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