Where did Apple go Wrong?

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Date: Thursday, August 4th, 2005, 00:38
Category: Opinion

With the success of the iPod and iTunes, and the growing support for Mac OS X in the software industry – one still has the proverbial question. Where did Apple go wrong?

Maybe it’s just me, but when given the choice to replace one of our aging computers, I chose to purchase a PC. Apple seems to be having many issues that other PC manufacturers solved ages ago. I’ll explain…
I’ve written here before about the issues with my iBook and it’s extreme lack of build quality. I’ve owned an iBook G3 (which was in for service three times), a Pismo (which was in for service twice), and an old Mac Classic. All I can say is thank god for AppleCare. What other computer company manufactures a product that you are 100% sure that you will need an extended warranty? I’ve got PCs made of hardware that’s almost eight years old! I remember the days when Apples were completely backwards compatible, and now I’ve had to replace my iBook G3 (of less than three years) because it can’t keep up with OS X. Apple needs to re-evaluate their manufacturing and quality practices, because it seems that each new product line (excluding the iPod) has more problems than the previous.
Another issue is Apple and Intel. Now I’m not saying that this was a bad move, but I don’t think there was any good way to go about it. No matter what anybody says, they’ve alienated a large percentage of their user base because of concerns over future compatibility. I know everyone says “everything with be compatible for a decade!”, but we all know that’s not going to happen. I fear for the xServe line, because as a network administrator, I would not purchase a product that I would be concerned about replacement parts or support several years from now.
In my humble opinion, I think Apple needs to become a software and peripherals company. That’s what they’re good at. If they are going to move to Intel, they might as well break up the Microsoft monopoly and release OS X with an enhanced version of WINE. Everybody says becoming a software company would kill Apple – I argue differently. You don’t see Microsoft closing its doors anytime soon, and they did quite well as just a software company. Examine the success of the iPod, the iTunes music store, and various other advances made by Apple in recent years, and look at their effects on the computer line. The numbers just don’t add up.
Apple needs to eliminate the burden of their lacking hardware business and focus on innovation – that’s what they’re good at. Build OS X to be the best it can be – and release it for generic hardware. Show Microsoft that they’re not the only player in town. Make the iPod bigger and better. Enhance the iTunes music store. Break into the cellular market. Do VOD. Just do what you’re good at – thinking different.

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