This page is where we give one of our readers a voice to express his or her thoughts and views regarding the Macintosh experience. Whether you’re upset with Apple, have a shareware review you want to share, or just want to inform everyone about your current AOL problems, the choice is yours. Please send all submissions for this page to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, we turn this page over to Daniel Corkery, who originally wrote this piece to shut everyone up on the whole Apple/Power Computing deal. He was gracious enough to send it over My Mac’s way, and we are happy to present it here for your reading pleasure! Be sure to send him some e-mail after you read it.
By Daniel Corkery
Whilst everyone is flinging around their conspiracy theories on the whole Apple/Power deal, I’d like to add my own, which explains a lot of their recent moves.
Okay, consider these facts:
1. Rhapsody is going to be good. Anyone who has seen the documentation, or have seen OPENSTEP (i.e., a NeXT system in full flight) knows that this is going to be a killer. Even if half of the features actually get implemented, it will sell.
2. Rhapsody is going to be cross-platform. There’s Rhapsody for Intel, PPC and God knows how many other platforms.
3. Rhapsody for Intel will take a performance hit because of the lack of power in Pentium/Pentium II/K6 systems as compared to PPC. Also, nothing is ever faster than the original when it is ported to a new platform.
4. Power Computing’s systems have typically been high end, (e.g., PowerTower Pro), with the main clientele being propeller heads, graphic artists and the like.
5. Apple will want to be shipping the fastest systems when Rhapsody comes out. If Apple isn’t shipping the fastest systems when Rhapsody is released, the press will eat them alive, and it will result in serious loss of face. Wired will probably run with “Apple’s New OS is fast – as long as you don’t run it on a Mac”, or “Buy the OS, not the Computer”.
6. Cloners have the ability to be much more innovative with the little details. They do not have 20-odd years of baggage, whether it be corporate hierarchy, tradition, etc. Look at the weird and wonderful systems that cloners have brought the market place from 200MHz 604e laptops (if you can call them that) to rack-mountable Macs.
7. Apple has corporate baggage like no other company on earth. Apple has some of the most loyal customers on earth. They can’t change much, unless it is terrifically obvious that it will be an advantage. For instance, why does Apple so doggedly stick to pure ADB? Why aren’t PS/2 ports, and for that matter, parallel ports, available on Apple’s low-end systems? My guess is that they will lose face if they do ship systems equipped like that.
8. Apple has been strangely quiet about Rhapsody.
So, we have this killer OS, cross-platform, with very great performance. Apple will want to have the biggest, baddest platform out there. Why have Power Computing in direct competition when Rhapsody comes out? Power’s high-end systems WERE faster, and had better price/performance. So once this OS comes out, there is nothing stopping Power from producing VERY cheap, VERY high-end systems, cutting severely into Apple’s market share.
By the time Apple realizes this, they will become a software company- but not voluntarily, and most likely will be bleeding red ink everywhere- maybe enough to kill the company.
If they try and kill licensing, right in the middle of the OS release, Apple will seem evil incarnate.
Apple kills any rivalry it can at the moment, whilst suspiciously being quiet about the whole Rhapsody thing? Could this be related to Rhapsody, people will say? No, Apple didn’t mention it at all, they will say- so it isn’t a factor. No nasty antitrust suits and no manipulated feeling for the Apple faithful.
So it seems, given the situation, Apple made the right decision, but they are taking a huge gamble- that Rhapsody will be the killer app of the 90′s. But that’s what using a Mac was all about, taking a risk and doing things differently, remember? Think back to 87/88, your Mac II, or SE.
What will happen if Rhapsody fails? Well, not much. Apple will probably grab a significant niche market with the OS, even if it doesn’t hit mainstream.
It doesn’t seem such a bad situation after all? Apple gets the high end market, where the big bucks are. Cloners of PPC hardware flood the low- end market with good, cheap systems, which perform better than Intel hardware. Apple also gets the cloners to cut into untapped markets, such as Far East Asia, poor students and such.
Next come the PC-cloners, such as Power Computing, Dell and Compaq. They will be shipping systems for those who want to use Rhapsody on a casual basis. Apple, however, gets $100 to $200 for each OS licence.
Anyway, that’s my $0.02…
Daniel Corkery (email@example.com)