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Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How Apple Failed the Macintosh

Yea, I know may get slammed with hate mail for this one but I am open to alternate opinions. The market has been ripe for Apple to pick up a sizable portion of the computer share but it has failed. According to market researchers IDC and Gartner, Macintosh sales are up but their share is still way below 10%. That compares to PC sales by Acer and Toshiba. Why doesn’t the Mac have a larger market share?

Apple Inc has a polished image, high customer satisfaction and its brand identity couldn't be much better. People who chose Macs have been very happy with their purchase. The only portable music play anyone wants is an iPod. The iPhone has set the bar so high for cell phones that companies are struggling to keep up. The stock value of AAPL is double what it was a year ago and is still climbing.

So, why are people still forking over their hard earned money for Windows 7 machines and not Macs? It doesn't make sense. Did Apple drop the ball while Steve Jobs was on sick leave? In their efforts to target the cool people did they missed an opportunity to attract the main stream market disappointed with Windows Vista?

In the early days, Apple ruled the education market. When families were deciding on a home computer purchase it was easy. If the kids are learning on an Apple, then we should have an Apple at home. Now, the education market doesn't hold the same impact. The business community now has computers on every desk and the same logic holds true. If I'm using a Windows PC at work, I'm probably going to want a Windows laptop or PC at home.

Lately, the advertisements for Mac have been spending a lot of time telling you what's wrong with Windows. This appeals to current Mac fans but doesn’t give us a reason to switch. They need to spend more time telling people what is right with the Mac.


Current Mac vs Windows 7 Ad

When Apple does talk about how much fun you'll have on a Mac they forget something important. Sure we all want to create musical slideshows and videos but many of still have to do word processing and spreadsheets. Maybe you can't make my database more fun but I'd listen if Apple told me how I could be more productive on their Mac. Doesn’t Apple want to see a Mac in the office environment? Check out this ad from 1990 when they did it right.


This ad from 1990 is timeless

While most of my cool friends are using a Mac nothing has compelled me to switch. I’m not suggesting the Mac is a bad machine and I’m not trying to compare Snow Leopard to Windows 7. I just think Apple failed the Macintosh and lost a chance to establish a 15-20% of the market share. I am a fan of Apple Computer Inc. and I use my iTouch daily. In the late 80's they published their "Human Interface Guidelines" which opened my mind to better understanding the computer user experience. If you'd like to open my mind to other ideas just click on the Comments link and share your thoughts. Are Mac users happy to be a elite group or would they benefit from more attention from software and hardware developers?

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23 Comments:

Blogger Don said...

Choosing your computer is like choosing your religion. Facts are irrelevant.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Apple turned me off with their pushy Quicktime. Always making it difficult to download and use Quicktime without having a musical affair with iTunes. Quicktime is a pain in the butt. I have been using Quicktime Alternate for about a year with no hassle.

I will not purchase anything Apple.

9:01 PM  
Blogger David Thomas said...

I buy the machine to run the software...Why buy a machine that is only going to give me limited software options? AND the software options it does give are more expensive.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Article here highlights a study showing iphone users as materialistic fickle egotists: http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2009/11/04/04readwriteweb-new-study-paints-iphone-owners-as-materiali-78279.html

Having worked at Apple for 6 years during the desktop publishing revolution, I might be biased. I think Apple had a clear lead in operating systems in the 80s and failed to capitalize on it. Opting instead for higher margins on their hardware and a smaller user base. They could have ruled the world by licensing their o/s which they had ported to the Intel platform BTW in 1992. Instead they've maintained their elite approach which nearly killed them until they scored a hit with the iPod, iTunes music downloads, and subsequently the iPhone. These cool gadgets have revitalized Mac sales.

1:41 PM  
Blogger writeman47 said...

My sister has both a Mac and a PC. She calls them Evil Mac and Fuzzy PC. 'Nough said.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Mr.Roboto said...

Why did they fail you ask?
MacBook 1000$
a better performance notebook form, lets say Asus or HP
250$

5:58 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Well, I might not be into Macs for one specific huge reason. Gaming!
When was the last time you ever heard of a vendor that made a video card for a Mac or a soundcard, or even the ability to upgrade your hardware in general??
You can't! You are hogtied by what they give you as a complete system for which as any techie by nature knows...just gotta fiddle with it, see what makes it tick, how to improve and learn about the innards of the system. Steve Jobs and the ENTIRE corporate company never figured out that we techies love to do and its just that kind of stuff. It gives us bragging rights...like putting a brand new rebuilt 426 hemi into a Mopar muscle car, same thing, different aspect. Who wants to buy a computer that you can't soup up? Only a person who only has use for just what it does...compute. Wheres the fun in that? Work?..Blech!

8:25 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I don't think the corporate types at Apple and Mac will ever figure out that there are those of us who like to do one thing with the computer. GAMING! I know there are the Xboxs and the WIIs and Playstations and the like but they can never hold a candle to the fun and intensity of a computer that has much more capability than just a plain old, get what you pay for console gaming system. There are so many people out here that just absolutely LOVE to get into the inner workings of their computers and soup them up.(so to speak)With a PC I can buy a motherboard, a CPU, video cards, memory, soundcard, a tower case, among a hundred different zillion things I can do with a PC, and "I" built it. It is something "I" made and I can boast and brag about how fast this thing is or the newest updated soundcard. You might think that gamers are a niche group and maybe we are but look at all the websites there are about computer gaming, not to mention how many third party hardware vendors there are! Macs are missing the boat and I don't believe the corporate numbskulls will ever figure it out for all their combined intelligence. When I build my own PC, I can say" I built it; and I can say with this CPU, this memory, this type harddrive, etc, etc. It's sort of the same thing as when a guy builds a high performance muscle car, puts a rebuilt 426 hemi into a Dodge Challenger, bragging rights and a fast machine, thats what a lot of techies want to do, to explore, tear apart, see how it works and how to improve it. What can you do to a Mac???? I rest my case.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

My first computer was going to be a Mac. Boxes ready to go out to the car and then the denial, not enough credit. I was caught in the PC swirl for 18 years till now, my first Mac. Four months later I am still in awe on how fast, easy and no headaches these computers are. Though all the comments are true about being a gear head for PC's (I did too), it is so nice to start up and run, no push throttle twice, choke or wait for warm up. We still have 2 PC's and the ones I use at work so I am not deprived of my wrenching skills from time to time! I guess comfort and ease comes with maturity (and/or bigger pay checks).

2:02 AM  
Blogger Denis D said...

I'm going to take you way back when Apple was king...and when they lost the lead. The Apple IIe was an open-concept machine where anyone could open the box, make circuit boards and write programs to control just about anything.
So people jumped on-board and the creative power of the masses kicked-in, and the IIe became a big success.Then came the Macintosh with all the bells and whistles that people wanted...and a "closed-concept" where you would lose your warranty if you even loosened a screw on this box...and this was done at a time when a new open-concept machine was coming out, the IBM PC (which, by the way, was a really inferior concept). And technical people all migrated to the IBM PC and made it what it is today.
Of course this made it easier for Apple to control the environment but it also kept out the creativity of the masses...
I'm sure Microsoft is well aware of all the headaches that come with trying to keep-up with third-party hardware and drivers (something Apple does not have to put-up with).
So here is my take on this: If Microsoft made a PC (or specifications to a machine) that only use certain hardware and/or programs and made an operating system that runs only on these machines, they would have a great computer without the headaches of trying to support everything else.
And if Apple made their great operating system run on PCs they would have a winner but would inherit the headaches...

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see, MSFT has gone up maybe $5 since its low last March while AAPL has risen from about $80 to over $200. I'm glad I sold my MSFT years ago and kept my AAPL.

AAPL's CEO was just named CEO of the decade by Forbes and the company is the master of its destiny. MSFT will have a little flurry as home users who stayed with XP or got sucked into Vista correct those mistakes. And they continue to hope that businesses upgrade from their still productive XP boxes to new ones that require far more capacity just to run an OS that offers little productivity improvement, but will necessitate massive and costly retraining.

MSFT doesn't have an iPhone or iPod or OSX. All it has is a 25 year old commodity of an OS that is still bloated, buggy, slow and insecure - and a productivity suite whose newest iteration is no better than the Office 2000 I've had on about four PCs.

More important, Bill Pytlovany must either avoid or sleep through AAPL's quarterly conference calls. They have no interest in volume for its own sake. Rather they thrive on innovation, ease of use and profitability.

I'm a Vista user who will, when my current PC croaks, replace it with a MacBook at twice the price of a serviceable Win7 system. No more broken promises.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank
You have no access to CMOS. Limited software. Expensive and no clones. I can run Their software on a PC if I chose. I have never had any issues using any version of Windows. I support MACs where I work. If they had almost 90% of the Market share they would be the ones being hacked and trashed. Everyone tries to bring down the one on top.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Bill Pytlovany said...

Anonymous says "They have no interest in volume for its own sake. Rather they thrive on innovation, ease of use and profitability."

Yea, that sounds like the kind of crap that is said on a quarter phone call to stock holders. :)

Of course they want a higher volume and profitability. My point being, innovation and ease of use should have gotten Apple a much larger stake. Someone failed.

But this also brings up my question to Mac users. Are you happen being in an elite innovative group or do you want to spread into a larger mass market and enjoy the benefits that go with it?

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Niklas said...

I have always heard that Mac's are more stable and secure than PC's and that's one of the reasons they have been dominating the media production industry. As I am now changing career and moving into that industry, I have considered switching to Mac for my video productions. However, I am currently taking a two year media course where Mac's are the dominating training tools for our productivity, and I am surprised how often these machines crash and needs rebooting. I suspected and heard that the reasons could be multiple users and abuse from students, but when I recently attended an Adobe seminar where the CS4 suite and Snowleopard were presented, they crashed twice on stage to Apple's and Adobe's great embaresment. Soooo... I think there's a chance I might stick to Windows still for a while since Apple's strength might be somewhat diluted. The only frustration is that Final Cut is not available for PC.

3:14 AM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

I'm on the same page as Niklas. When I [was forced] to use a Mac lab in my IT courses, I also noticed that the Macs constantly crashed, were very slow, and didn't handle multi-tasking very well. Another annoyance: No freaking buttons! When the computer crashed, my media (CD for example) was stuck and couldn't be removed without restarting (hoping that the reboot fixed the problem). Macs are too expensive, can't be upgraded, and are pretty much obsolete when it comes to gaming.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Greg Moffatt said...

When the Apple IIe, as has been said the first open concept machine, was upstaged by the Lisa (forerunner to the Mac) apple tried to get away from the problem of all those other manufacturers (remember Apricot and Tulip) copying their open system machines. Yes they lost some of the market, they also lost the competition (however you care to interpret that!).

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first, I thought Apple's ads were funny. Now, I'm really getting tired of them. Can't Apple be more innovative and think of something else?

Macs might be good computers, but... if I switch from PCs/Windows to Apple/Macs, I guess I'd have to buy some new programs that work with OSx too, which ups the cost considerably.

I really like the fact that, when a part in my PC gets too old or outdated, I can switch it out, myself, to a newer component/peripheral.

AND I hate Quicktime too!

What do you want, a work horse or a status symbol?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apple's problem is the same now as it was 20 years ago; elitist, ego-centric, and expensive. I couldn't afford Apple then & still can't. Plus, I've used some of the Mac's & didn't notice that they perform any better than the IBM clones. BTW...Mac's are PC's, too!

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apple's story is not the first in the electronics industy and not the last, lol. Leadership arrogance and stupidity is as endless as it was always when early little success and lots of greed obscure their vision. To be and remain a standard one has to open up and reduce prices. IBM was not exeption and failed miserably.

Additionally Apple made a poltitical decision to be a communist magnet with its elitist strategy targeting the leftist school system alone. Right, the school system as a whole has been grabbed by the Left but industry is real world, not imitation. In the real economy Apple failed in computer field miserably with its arrogance. M$ will follow them if continue disappointing people.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Duane Rubink said...

I agree, people are very resistant to change. Telling them what's right and why they should change would help. For me, the issue is cost. I've wanted to try an Apple for some time, but every time I go looking, I find it hard to shell out $1200+ for an Apple when I can get a PC for $400. I'm still going to look hard at the Apple, when my current PC is due.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty much everything has been said in the other posts as to why the Mac has a less than 10% market share. I spent two and a half years as a lab tech at a school running (ha!) a Mac lab. The first thing I had to do was downgrade the server OS to make it work at all. Mac didn't have a fix, and probably still doesn't. Businesses don't use Macs because of networking problems. Macs crash just as often as PCs do, although as one poster pointed out, they're PCs too. All PC means is Personal Computer.
I cut my teeth on the 8088 processor and DOS, and remember Windows 3.0, and how amazing Windows 3.1 was. I am a dedicated, hardcore PC fan. Macs are for latte sucking, clean handed, BMW driving, suit wearing, left wing elitists. PCs are for men and women that want to build their own machines, make their own choices, drive vehicles for their reliability and not the name, drink coffee, and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty when the job calls for it. You won't see a Marine on the battlefield mincing around with a poofster Mac. That Marine will have a hard built PC that she can beat you over the head with if necessary. To me, that says it all.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought a Macbook Pro, and I regret it. I've discovered that my 10 year old Dell can do everything a Mac can do except, better, cheaper, and easier. It's only popular because of marketing. For example, the mediocre Safari is labeled as the most advanced browser on earth. Finder is basically a half-assed version of explorer, and the stupid trackpad hurts my hand.

6:57 AM  
Blogger saint satin stain said...

I still use XP Pro SP3 for my main computing. I have a copy of Win 7 but refuse to install until support for XP stops. I'd be willing to pay Microsoft up to fifty bucks a year for continued support for security updates after the support ends.

I maintain some Vista and 7 machines for folk. My experience is that with proper tweaking, hardening of the OS, and selection of security, XP is as secure as 7 without the aggravation. My real time security is minimal, a cloud anti virus and a software firewall, plus a sandbox program. The NirLauncher gives me access to all the NirSoft and Sysinternals tools and some GRC tools written in Assembly are really helpful.

I like 7 almost as much as I like XP Pro SP 3.

1:15 PM  

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