Change. Tim spoke about change and its impact. Boy, have we had some changes thrown at us lately! The Evil Empire is now our ally in the fight for truth, justice and the Macintosh Way… isn’t it?

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Words adapted from The Bible, book of Ecclesiastes
Music by Pete Seeger

Change is good, change is nice, change is necessary… but to change from having the “enemy” that Steve Jobs led the good fight against for so many years suddenly become one of the “meaningful partnerships” in the life of Apple is just too much for many people to suddenly deal with. Ok, Microsoft purchased $150 million dollars of non-voting stock and is committed to upgrading Microsoft Office for the Mac at the same rate that the software gets upgraded for Windows. Microsoft Internet Explorer will now become the default browser of the Mac OS although Netscape will still continue to be shipped with the system as part of the package, and all present and future patent disputes between Apple and Microsoft will be settled via a new patent cross-licensing setup. Microsoft has agreed to pay Apple an undisclosed amount to finally settle the issue of infringement claims that have been an ongoing litigation exercise for years. Mr. Jobs stated that he intends to have Apple focus on its two dominant markets: “creative content and education.”

Ok, in English, what does that all mean? I really don’t know because every day there seems to be a new version of what stock options were purchased, are they voting or non-voting, and just who is selling their stock now. Like Mr. Jobs selling his stock before the Expo… or some recently deposed/fired Apple leadership preparing to sell theirs. Mr. Gates investing $150 million dollars in Apple… chump change for a real life billionaire. Does it really matter which browser is the default browser as long as we still continue to have choices of which browser to use? The two dominant markets; where does that leave the normal everyday Mac users who wind up buying millions of Macs and billions worth of software for the Mac? Exactly what did Apple give to Microsoft to end the battles and seek a peace treaty, and vice versa? We will probably never know, and does it really matter as long as Apple has the chance to survive? Change. What does it all mean?

Think Different
Mr. Jobs wants everyone to think differently about Apple and the way things should be done. Apple was always “the computer for the rest of us!” Well, after listening to Mac users from all over, it’s evident that they too want change. Change is necessary.

Mr. Jobs, Mac users do think differently. Maybe that’s the problem with Apple, they don’t understand any more that Mac users do THINK. And since things have changed since the first appearance of the Apple and the Mac, Mac users think DIFFERENTLY.

Changes have occurred since the advent of the Mac, and the users nowadays are different from the first group of people who dared to be different. Users nowadays are hard working housewives, students, parents, the mechanic at the corner garage, senior citizens, small business owners, teachers; normal everyday people who use their Macs for ordinary things like letter writing, balancing the check book, researching something on the Internet or working on the latest issue of the high school newspaper. Not everyone is a high end user, buying Macs that cost in the five figure range, to design breathtaking graphic art or produce special effects for the latest Hollywood movie coming out. Times have changed… change is good.

And with the changes of time, so have the attitudes of the users changed. They have opinions, they want and need to be heard, they want changes to be made.The changes are simple…

  • No return to the old days of Apple, where Apple held the only keys to the magic kingdom of Macs. Mac users want clones, clone makers and the ability to purchase from other vendors, not just from Apple. The days of sole source producers of computers are over. Just as in life, there must be “procreation”, the bringing forth of life to continue the species. But, there has to be diversity in the blood line or problems arise. Without diversity, stagnation sets in. With stagnation, there is lack of movement and life follows a dead end trail. Soon, all understanding of what “life” is about ends, and death soon follows. That’s what Apple is facing, death from within.No one is telling Apple not to receive fair market value for what they have to offer. Reality dictates that Apple should be justly compensated for allowing the clone makers to use the Mac OS and for the technology involved. What frightens people is the idea of Apple returning to the early years of existence and not permitting licensing, or so severely restricting licensing that what is produced is a pale shadow of what an Apple/Macintosh clone computer should be. The new blood and vitality that clone makers bring to the market is something that needs to be embraced, not exterminated. Mac users do not want the clone issue to become the new “enemy of Apple”, replacing the war against Microsoft with a new “Vietnam” that will surely bring about its collapse.
  • Marketing for Apple products has to change and change quickly! Time after time, Apple will announce a new product, issue a date of product availability and then not meet the date or even more importantly, not be able to meet the demand. This continually happens and Apple still doesn’t learn from its mistakes. Maybe it’s time for Apple to consider “on demand” or “custom built” ordering, as several of the large PC companies do. No matter what they switch to, it has to be soon because a change is definitely needed. Along with the change in marketing, Apple MUST change its approach to advertising. They have the worst advertising program ever seen (or not seen) and this from the company that stunned everyone with the 1984 Superbowl ad. The advertising needs to be fresh, witty, funny and memorable. Maybe some of the Apple ad contest winners should be added to the staff at Apple because even their first time attempts were better then what has been produced. Change must happen.
  • Change is a two-way street, a double-edged sword. Apple can’t expect the users to listen; to understand that Microsoft is a friend, that new things are coming, without Apple being willing to change and listen to the voices of the users. Without the dedicated Mac user, Apple is nothing.Mr. Jobs, members of the board, listen to the voices of the people. They understand the Mac, they use it, they experiment, they believe. They, the millions of users, are closer to the Mac then the company. Yes, you may build it, but they USE it. If you have thousands of users advising that there is a problem, as with the 603 chip and the 52xx/62xx series of Performas, listen to them. Work with them, not against them. You take the best of what the users have to offer, as with the shareware/freeware developers and you add it to your system. Do the same thing with the rest of the users, listen to what they have to say and use it. You would be amazed at how much the users have to offer. Set up an advisory committee of normal, everyday Mac users to report to the board on problems or issues that are occurring and then act upon the information. You will go a long way in repairing the image that users have of Apple if you would just listen to what they have to say because they’re usually right.

    And for all the Mac users out there reading this, understand that change has to come. We can’t stay in the past, reliving the glory days of yesteryear. We have to blaze new trails, travel new roads, meet new friends and let go of others. Seasons change, fashions change and so must we. We must be willing to adapt, explore and learn. If we all work together as one we sure can make things a lot more interesting and a lot more fun then they would be otherwise. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it. Change is nice.

    And for all of the press, pundits and nay sayers that have sat above the tea cup looking at the leaves, read the Tarot cards or rolled the bones to read Apple’s future, I’ve saved some lyrics from a favorite old song that I’ve enjoyed for years just for you:

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’.
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    (Words and Music by Bob Dylan)
    1963, 1968 Warner Bros. Inc
    Renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

    Russ Walkowich (

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