WSJ writer says Apple should kill off the Mac

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
20,655
22,339
Behind a paywall but if you do a Google search on URL you should be able to get around it. The gist of the article is companies can only be really good at a few things and Apple is spread to thin. Even though last quarter the Mac had its highest revenues ever they actually declined as a percentage of overall revenue. So the argument is the Mac is basically a rounding error on Apple's financials so they should kill it and put all their design and engineering efforts into iOS devices, Watch, cloud services and "the future".

http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-apple-should-kill-off-the-mac-1434321848

Personally I think the article is being intentionally provocative. But if we agree with the premise that Apple is stretched too thin then perhaps things like 24/7 live radio stations should be on the chopping block, not Macs.

Oh and how exactly does this WSJ writer propose Apple and its developers create the future if Macs no longer exist? On a Windows or Linux machine?
 

lowendlinux

Contributor
Sep 24, 2014
5,155
6,309
North Country (way upstate NY)
Behind a paywall but if you do a Google search on URL you should be able to get around it. The gist of the article is companies can only be really good at a few things and Apple is spread to thin. Even though last quarter the Mac had its highest revenues ever they actually declined as a percentage of overall revenue. So the argument is the Mac is basically a rounding error on Apple's financials so they should kill it and put all their design and engineering efforts into iOS devices, Watch, cloud services and "the future".

http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-apple-should-kill-off-the-mac-1434321848

Personally I think the article is being intentionally provocative. But if we agree with the premise that Apple is stretched too thin then perhaps things like 24/7 live radio stations should be on the chopping block, not Macs.

Oh and how exactly does this WSJ writer propose Apple and its developers create the future if Macs no longer exist? On a Windows or Linux machine?
Probably that or license OSX to OEM's the last time that was tried it didn't work out well. Realistically they could port or open source xcode and that would solve the problem.
 

roadbloc

macrumors G3
Aug 24, 2009
8,779
211
UK
Interesting read. I don't really agree but I don't really like any of the new Macs so I wouldn't be too bothered. Apple do seem to be spreading themselves thin though. And it is showing.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
20,655
22,339
Interesting read. I don't really agree but I don't really like any of the new Macs so I wouldn't be too bothered. Apple do seem to be spreading themselves thin though. And it is showing.
If they're spreading themselves to them and perhaps they need to be increasing their workforce (one reason they're building the new campus). Apple is spread too thin mostly because of the organizational structure Steve Jobs put in place (i.e. trying to run Apple as a startup and very lean) not because they're working on products they shouldn't be.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TechnProg

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,804
Between the coasts
One way to look at Apple is that it has one product - the ecosystem; a world where computing is integrated seamlessly into everything a person does. All computing devices speaking to all others, doing whatever you require of them with a minimum of incompatibility, tailored to your known needs and preferences, to the point where Apple (and Siri) is ubiquitous in your life. The notion of cutting the PC out of this equation at this stage is beyond ridiculous; it's still an essential part of many people's computing lives.

One of my favorite statistical tidbits is that Apple sells four times as many Macs (on a unit basis) today as they did when the iPhone was introduced. This is a "virtuous cycle" - iPhone sells Macs (and likely, Macs sell iPhones). The tight integration of the two helps ensure that the next smart phone or PC will also be an Apple. A key piece of Apple's push to get iOS into the enterprise is that the enterprise has always lagged home use for Mac. More iOS devices in business = more Macs in business. Presuming the success of the Apple/IBM alliance, the best for Mac has yet to come.

If the author had presented a shred of evidence to suggest that Mac has a negative impact on Apple's business performance, there would be something to discuss. But tossing out a list of big tech companies that have unsuccessful products is not an argument. Nobody hits a home run every turn at bat, and one must step up to the plate and swing in order to get a hit. None of the examples given would have seemed a distraction or inappropriate to the company's mission, had they succeeded.

The economic justification is interesting; the notion that 9-10% of your business - any business - is not worth the bother. "Let's ditch it, and hope that the company's performance improves." Now, if a product that takes 50% of management's attention generates 10% of the business... yeah, that's a problem. But there's no evidence offered to show that Mac consumes management attention or corporate resources in disproportion to its contribution to the bottom line, or that the attention would be more profitable if spent elsewhere. If Mac contributes its fair share, then that share has to be replaced with growth elsewhere. Not the growth that Apple is already generating with its other products, but growth beyond that.

This echoes the kind of comments analysts have been making about the watch - even if it succeeds, it can't make a big percentage difference in the company's results. Well, it's not always about percentages. There's a saying in the business world, "Everything is incremental." A little bit here, a little bit there, and soon you're talking about real money. Returning to baseball terminology, not every hit has to be a home run.
 

placidity44

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2015
367
166
I agree with the intentionally provocative statement. If the writer is serious than they've gone absolutely crazy. The Mac in my opinion is apple's best product and it's one thing I for sure wouldn't want to live without. I'd give up my iPhone and iPad before i'd give up my mac. My mac is my favorite thing I own. In my opinion modern macs are the best technological products you can buy.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
When i see articles like these, I'm always reminded of other companies that tend to operate as conglomerates and have divisions that are see as drags -- tend to over time stabilize the company, in bad times.

Sort of like when AT&T split themselves up into several companies in the mid 90's to break out a shining division so its investors could ride the tech bubble strait into a market crash not too many years later. Bet they were happy to trade a stock with slow growth into 3 types of toilet paper.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,366
Boston
Apple is spread too thin mostly because of the organizational structure Steve Jobs put in place (i.e. trying to run Apple as a startup and very lean) not because they're working on products they shouldn't be.
Agreed and I don't see the logic in killing of such a profitable segment of their business. Wall Street is worried about apple because they've not developed other products and rely too heavily on the iPhone. How more would they be relying on the profits of the iPhone if they kill the Mac off.

I think overall the article (which I didn't read because of the paywall) is click bait. Provocative, yes, grounded in logic and common sense, probably not.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mollyc

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,199
722
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
:rolleyes: :eek: :confused:

  1. Just because Apple is now Apple Inc. And not Apple Computer Inc. doesn't mean that they can't focus on a combination of computers, tablets, phones, music services, etc.
  2. Assuming that everyone who uses a Mac all do the same things is a mistake. Some of us type, some of us work with graphics, whatever.
  3. The iPad Pro will eat into the Windows consumer laptop market, it most likely won't eat into MacBook sales. Because the majority of people who are buying into these $1,000 machines are wanting it for more than just web browsing and checking email. In high school, I was using InDesign and Photoshop, in college various other things.
  4. These tablet Windows machines are not "new" form factors. They are rehashes of the Tablet PC brand that has been around for more than a decade now. And they don't work because we are still too heavily depended on the trackpad and keyboard. I have a DELL one, and while it works perfectly fine, I prefer my Intuos because I have 7 custom buttons on it, and it's more fluid to work like that then having to draw and do gestures on the screen and screw up your work in the progress.
  5. I have never been to a school or business that didn't have internet connection problems. Heck, I've been to fancy hotels that suffered from them. Local is better. I don't have a problem with syncing in general, but I don't care for my document to be communicating to a server every 30 seconds. There's no need for it, it just creates problems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OLDCODGER

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,804
Between the coasts
I'm a WSJ subscriber and skimmed through the article. Thought it was ridiculous. And the same author is back today with a follow up: http://www.wsj.com/articles/if-apple-drops-the-mac-whats-next-1434507849

You should be able to read it if you paste the line below into a google search

If Apple Drops the Mac, What’s Next?

The author seems to think iPads and the cloud are all that anyone needs.

Of course
Apple may not have to continue Mac if iOS provides a full and satisfying replacement to a large number of Mac users. At that point, continuing Mac could very well become a business distraction and drain, rather than a profit center. Why didn't he say as much in the initial article? Why did he use the present-tense, rather than future? I wouldn't say he was misunderstood the first go-round (as he claims) as much as he provided an alternate set of reasons in the second.

We've had plenty of debates over the "merge iOS and OS X" topic, and don't feel like adding to them for the moment.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,366
Boston
The author seems to think iPads and the cloud are all that anyone needs.
That line of thinking was prevalent when the iPads were first released but as time went on, I think people started to realize that the laptop days are not as numbered as some had postulated.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,360
2,826
One way to look at Apple is that it has one product - the ecosystem; a world where computing is integrated seamlessly into everything a person does. All computing devices speaking to all others, doing whatever you require of them with a minimum of incompatibility, tailored to your known needs and preferences, to the point where Apple (and Siri) is ubiquitous in your life. The notion of cutting the PC out of this equation at this stage is beyond ridiculous; it's still an essential part of many people's computing lives.

One of my favorite statistical tidbits is that Apple sells four times as many Macs (on a unit basis) today as they did when the iPhone was introduced. This is a "virtuous cycle" - iPhone sells Macs (and likely, Macs sell iPhones). The tight integration of the two helps ensure that the next smart phone or PC will also be an Apple. A key piece of Apple's push to get iOS into the enterprise is that the enterprise has always lagged home use for Mac. More iOS devices in business = more Macs in business. Presuming the success of the Apple/IBM alliance, the best for Mac has yet to come.

If the author had presented a shred of evidence to suggest that Mac has a negative impact on Apple's business performance, there would be something to discuss. But tossing out a list of big tech companies that have unsuccessful products is not an argument. Nobody hits a home run every turn at bat, and one must step up to the plate and swing in order to get a hit. None of the examples given would have seemed a distraction or inappropriate to the company's mission, had they succeeded.

The economic justification is interesting; the notion that 9-10% of your business - any business - is not worth the bother. "Let's ditch it, and hope that the company's performance improves." Now, if a product that takes 50% of management's attention generates 10% of the business... yeah, that's a problem. But there's no evidence offered to show that Mac consumes management attention or corporate resources in disproportion to its contribution to the bottom line, or that the attention would be more profitable if spent elsewhere. If Mac contributes its fair share, then that share has to be replaced with growth elsewhere. Not the growth that Apple is already generating with its other products, but growth beyond that.

This echoes the kind of comments analysts have been making about the watch - even if it succeeds, it can't make a big percentage difference in the company's results. Well, it's not always about percentages. There's a saying in the business world, "Everything is incremental." A little bit here, a little bit there, and soon you're talking about real money. Returning to baseball terminology, not every hit has to be a home run.
This, exactly. Apple's future growth lies in two tiers; growth in emerging markets, and in the pc tier as the adoption of Mac computers grows in the enterprise the way iOS devices have proliferated. That enterprise growth will be driven as the barrier to using a Mac in a traditionally Windows environment continues to fall, and as employees become more confident in their willingness to insist on better devices than what PC's offer, whether that is in hardware, or in software integration. Microsoft already understands this, and it's exactly why they are pushing to be ubiquitous on whatever computing platform people choose. Our engineering company is as traditionally Windows as they come, but we have a base of users mostly with iPhones, and we recently purchased our first MacBook for a user, and I suspect we will purchase more in the future. This is a remarkably short-sighted piece of 'journalism'.
 

Zirel

Suspended
Jul 24, 2015
2,201
2,985
Behind a paywall but if you do a Google search on URL you should be able to get around it. The gist of the article is companies can only be really good at a few things and Apple is spread to thin. Even though last quarter the Mac had its highest revenues ever they actually declined as a percentage of overall revenue. So the argument is the Mac is basically a rounding error on Apple's financials so they should kill it and put all their design and engineering efforts into iOS devices, Watch, cloud services and "the future".

http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-apple-should-kill-off-the-mac-1434321848

Personally I think the article is being intentionally provocative. But if we agree with the premise that Apple is stretched too thin then perhaps things like 24/7 live radio stations should be on the chopping block, not Macs.

Oh and how exactly does this WSJ writer propose Apple and its developers create the future if Macs no longer exist? On a Windows or Linux machine?
Such a brilliant mind. Why is he wasting his time writing clickbait for the WSJ and not being the CEO of a Fortune 500?
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,820
831
Destin, FL
Behind a paywall but if you do a Google search on URL you should be able to get around it. The gist of the article is companies can only be really good at a few things and Apple is spread to thin. Even though last quarter the Mac had its highest revenues ever they actually declined as a percentage of overall revenue. So the argument is the Mac is basically a rounding error on Apple's financials so they should kill it and put all their design and engineering efforts into iOS devices, Watch, cloud services and "the future".

http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-apple-should-kill-off-the-mac-1434321848

Personally I think the article is being intentionally provocative. But if we agree with the premise that Apple is stretched too thin then perhaps things like 24/7 live radio stations should be on the chopping block, not Macs.

Oh and how exactly does this WSJ writer propose Apple and its developers create the future if Macs no longer exist? On a Windows or Linux machine?
WSJ is barely relevant these days. Clickbait is all they have left.