Apple irrational? Maybe lack of perspective
themacguy at mac.com
Wed Jun 5 02:50:00 CDT 2002
Until this past December, I worked for Apple as their K12 Account Exec
for El Paso and "Texas west of the Pecos". During the time I represented
Apple, I saw dozens of cases where decisions were made by Steve (yeah,
that Steve) that set us back (sales-wise) during critical paradigm
shifts. The most ludicrous was when the B&W G3's were introduced in
For a number of months prior to that, we (and every rumor site) knew
that the unit would have FireWire ports. Camcorders had already been
introduced that would connect to the FireWire port. However, there was
no software owned or licensed to Apple that would "see" the FireWire
ports. Now, it is important to remember that I worked for the Education
division. Schools don't have unlimited funds for equipment. So the VHS
camcorders (analog only, of course) the schools already owned and
purchased, in large part, because of Apple's "Multimedia Bundle" (the
Avid Cinema card and software installed in a 5260, 5400, 5500, or G3
All-in-One constituted the bundle).
So we're all waiting from October 1st (the start of Apple's fiscal year)
all the way to MacWorld SF where Steve shocks the crowd with that
drop-down door (still an elegant design, eh?) and, a week later, when
all of our "regional" staff meets in Kansas City for a close-up look at
the B&W -AND-, presumably, what will be the replacement for our beloved
MM Bundle. So what do they show us for the MM Bundle? Nothing. The
decision is that we're going FireWire, folks, and y'all better get on
the train. Is Apple going to include a heavily-discounted FireWire
camcorder with the bundle? No? Then the true cost of the bundle is about
$1200 more due to the necessity of purchasing a FireWire camcorder
which, of course, the schools will not purchase.
So, without any warning, the MM Bundle (which I've been selling like
snow cones on the 4th of July) is gone. The message we've been
delivering to our customers - that multimedia is the cornerstone of the
creative learning process, the easiest way to promote higher-order
thinking skills - is skewered in a heartbeat. Why? What K12 site is
going to buy a computer that won't play nice with their existing
camcorders? Remember, this is a time when DV Camcorders sold for over
Our response to Mitch Mandich (Apple's Education VP at that time) was
that he should prepare to meet his maker if we left that regional
meeting (two days hence) without a MM bundle to sell. Mitch left the
meeting to make some phone calls. When he returned about an hour later,
we were told that ATI would write a driver for their XclaimVR card that
would play well with a modified version of Avid Cinema. The XclaimVR
card would be used in place of the ATI Rage128 that would otherwise be
the standard. The cost delta was about $200 (quite reasonable). That was
the good news.
The bad news was that the MM Bundle would not be available until the end
of March. So the excitement generated by this incredible new computer
was gone by the time the first MM Bundle shipped. Guess how many "non-MM
Bundle" B&W's I sold during January-March? About a dozen. When they knew
that a MM Bundle would be available "soon", why buy something less? It
was the worst sales quarter I ever had during my tenure at Apple. Mitch
Mandich was fired a year later.
Apple's history is filled with missed opportunities. We introduce
wireless networking and, a few months later, Dell has a TV ad that shows
people actually using it. What is Apple's ad for wireless? That stupid
"flying saucer" base station with the bad sci-fi music. Talk about
preaching to the choir!
I've always said (even before I worked for Apple) that Apple survived in
spite of its management, not because of it.
However, I would still rather have Steve in that corner office than
anyone else. In spite of that legendary "reality distortion field", he
has many more "hits" than "misses" (misses like that Cube boat-anchor,
but don't get me started!).
Would I ever switch to a Windoze machine? When you pry my cold, dead
fingers from my Mac, buster!
Barry Jay Levine
"The Mac Guy"
Macintosh Troubleshooting, System Engineering, Training,
AppleShare/OSX Server Setup, System Upgrades and Enhancements
On-Site service for K20, Business, Consumer
eMail: themacguy at mac.com
MacOS X: It does. You can. It will.
WindowsXP: Insert wallet into Drive A: Press any key to empty
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