Macintosh Babble
My Mac Magazine #32, Dec. ’97

On December 1, 1997, in Macintosh Babble, by Shay Fulton

Whether or not you agree with everything that Steve Jobs has done since his return to Apple, you have to admit one thing: Steve is the man for the job. There’s no one I respect more than Jobs because he has shown us that you can start turning an entire company around in a matter of months. He created Apple, and even though much had changed since he left, he still knows what’s best for the company. And with a phenomenal board of directors backing him up, we’re seeing results. Great results.

When Jobs first came back to Apple, I was overjoyed. I knew then that something good would happen soon. Times were dark, and most everything that Apple did was upsetting. It was a broken record. Little was being done and nothing was changed. Then, within a matter of moments, things started changing. And then, in the blink of an eye, everything was becoming clearer. This was an Apple we had not seen in years, and we had no idea what to think. Apple was pushing forward, looking optimistic, and shining bright. The future actually looked sunny, and for the first time in months, maybe years, Apple was thriving.

But it didn’t start out pretty. Steve’s rise to power was quickly praised by almost every Mac user. Soon, however, those smiles turned to frowns and the cheers to harsh words. Yes, I’m talking about the entire cloning fiasco. While it wasn’t pretty, it was indeed necessary. It was at this point that we needlessly jumped to conclusions, painting Apple as the “Clone Killer” and claiming that Jobs was out to do nothing but wreck the competition that he so hated. It’s no secret, Jobs never liked the cloning, but for most of the right reasons. I’ve been over this many times before, and it all comes down to the conclusion that the entire cloning saga was needed, and that the Macintosh would benefit because of it.

Then came the product cut-backs. We heard the rumors that Apple was soon to leave the printer business, and that other hardware lines were going to be cut or canceled. While this initially seemed very disappointing, we have to face the fact that it too may have been necessary. If crossing out a few lines of hardware will benefit the Macintosh, which is the primary element of Apple, then we should all be for it. I’ve felt like Apple should dump the printer and scanner lines for a long time. They’ve burdened the company too long, and were far from being profitable enough to hold on to.

But now, after all the initial ‘restructuring’ (there’s that word again), we have a company that’s actually looking up. Slowly, we’re putting an end to all that bad press that plagued us for so long. And best of all, we’re seeing the Apple that we knew so long ago. An Apple that’s full of up-beat news, great advertising, and solid leaders. In just the past three months, we’ve actually had more good news than bad. And somehow, even the bad news didn’t seem too dark, even with the press. Apple seems to have learned something from NASA. They’re singing the “Better, Faster, Cheaper” tune, and so far, it’s working. The Apple Store has already been declared a success, and the new build-to-order campaign is working beautifully. The first built-to-order Macintosh recently rolled off the assembly line. Apple threw a party, sending the customer a free t-shirt, a letter from the staff, and a QuickTake camera. Press conferences have also done a 180š turnaround, changing from monotonous, repetitive gatherings to energetic, inspiring occasions. It’s almost like there has been a revolution within Apple, effecting everything from employees to executives to users.

Several rumors have been circling saying Jobs will not take the CEO position. With Apple improving its condition now, I have to say that disturbs me a bit. I realize that there are other people that have the ability to run the company, but I still cannot see anyone better suited for the job than him. The board of directors is fabulous, and they all know how to work together with Jobs as CEO. Jobs should keep the CEO position long term. Let’s face it, he’s good for Apple; he’s good for the Mac.

Remember that light at the end of the tunnel I’ve mentioned before? Well, it’s now within reach. The dark days for Apple are over. The days of constant bad press are over. The days of exceedingly overpriced Macs are over. With strong leadership, great advertising, competitive pricing, and downright amazing Mac systems, Apple’s definitely going to continue to shape the future. Ain’t it great?


Shay Fulton (classmac@aol.com)

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