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Feedback: Letters To and From the Editor
with Charlie White
Dear Readers, As it is each time we write anything negative about the Mac or Steve Jobs, we've been reeling from the onslaught of email concerning my recent "Apple Sinks to Bottom of the Barrel" editorial. But this time, there were more positive than negative responses. Here's a sampling of the ones that were printable:
I'm Sure You Get Flamed A Lot!
I imagine your writings concerning Apple over the years have garnered you much attention by the Mac faithful. And one thing is certain, you've not miss communicated your feelings about Apple and its products. And, well... you're consistent.
While I tend to disagree with you in your reasoning in your recent article over Apple's stock, I can understand your points. In fact, Charlie, what tech company isn't a bit over-valued? But have you conducted the same analysis on Microsoft or Intel? it's not like they have not had their own slip-ups.
A quick glance at a stock chart reveals that Microsoft has not enjoyed that great of a ride recently either, and it is no where near its once dominant levels. And as for OS's... Windows 2000, while an improvement over NT 4, it is not all that it was advertised to be, and it presents its own issues. But then, Charlie, what Microsoft product is what it is advertised to be or without issues? The only exception to that might be the new Office 2001, which interestingly is for Mac, and the sub-component product known as Entourage, which has received glowing reviews.
I commend you on your belief in the PC side of the market, but tend to disagree with you on its greatness. I use both a Mac and a PC, and think that each has strengths and weaknesses. I am personally looking forward to seeing OS X, and I don't think the beta cost is that big of an issue. Plenty of other companies, as you noted -- Microsoft, have also charged people to get pre-releases. In fact, I bought into the pre-release of Office 2000. Perhaps I will be swayed to do more Mac work if OS X makes as big of a splash as we are being led to believe, and perhaps not. We'll see. But I won't be swayed by numbers. I'd rather use the best product for the task.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to your writings in the future, and what I hope will be a more balanced analysis concerning Apple. Bash them if you like, it is your prerogative, but journalistically, I hope you will evaluate it with more integrity. Oh, as for the Steve trance that people fall into -- I couldn't agree with you more. Talk about mindless minions.
Take care, and best wishes,
Jonathan Franklin Chairman & CEO Elah Productions, Inc.
Excellent Article on Apple
Thanks for your clearly written article on Apple. My company develops a number of MPEG video tools and technologies and we have been watching the Apple platform for years. I use PCs at work and Apples at home. I have a UNIX background and prefer development on UNIX over both Windows and Mac OS. As a business we must be pragmatic and your balanced statements on market forces, CEO charisma and unkept promise reflect what has kept us hesitant with Apple. When I see the amazing technology in our small lab I am tempted to announce it, but the road from seeing it in the lab and seeing it usefully deployed in a product is not an easy one. It's difficult to balance trying to maintain recognition for innovation and exciting new tools and toys with conservative announcements, particularly when you are up against much bigger players. Microsoft has made a number of bad predictions on technology releases in the past and has kept both users and developers on a difficult road. They are positioned to weather the cost up to a point. Sun has been fairly stable and is an excellent platform for development, but targets a much more conservative audience on the average, hence their stability and strength. Apple is in a precarious position and must take the higher risk approach for survival. I imagine marrying the stability of UNIX with the innovativeness of Apple could be a good one, although, as you point out, high risk.
I hope Apple pulls off the OS-X path and we can sell product on three platforms. That would make me feel better about using UNIX for development, Windows for product delivery and MacOS (OS-X) at home!
Kind regards and thanks for the good article,
David Keightley Mediaware Solutions
What About Processor Speed?
I think you missed the biggest strike Apple has against it: Processor speed. As you know, we faithful MacUsers (and believe me, we are not going anywhere for a while to come) have been stuck at 500mhz for about two or three years while we watch the speed of Windows machines doubling. Many people who depend on computers for their living will buy a new box the minute they have a reason to. Unfortunately, Apple has not given us a very clear reason to for quite a while. MP machines look sexy, but in my work (music) the second processor only gives us about a 25% gain in speed. Motorola needs to gets its butt in gear and figure out how make a speedy processor. Meanwhile Apple had better start making the prices of their nice boxes reflect the relative pokyness of their CPUs, IMHO.
Good points all! But processor speed doesn't really tell the whole story. However, I see what you mean -- why buy another Mac if it's not going to be any faster or better than the one you have now? Even if Mac can compete with the Wintel world, the big question I have is, can (or will) Motorola? Seems like the answer is no.
Regards, Charlie White
The Best I've Seen
That was one of the best, if not the best, editorial I have seen written on the Apple situation. I wonder how many little people got hurt by the stock selling in after hours trading, where most of us are not allowed to play. It's time for Steve Jobs to come up with something new besides colors.
Macs Are Hard to Get
After reading your article on Apple stock and the reasons for its fall, I would like to add that there is another factor that affects Mac sales/stock prices: Macs are hard to get. You can't get a dealership in areas that won't sell a guaranteed minimum number of units. Further, schools are not allowed to purchase from local dealers. Too much sales bureaucracy. If marginal markets could get Mac product, they would sell it.
I live in the middle of the country, 120 miles from any major metro (Omaha) and you can't get Mac products or make a reasonable dealership offer. Several reputable computer stores have tried and given up. Mac only courts the big sales areas and ignores the markets that could change their momentum and direction.
This is only my opinion but it is based in 15 years of observation in an area that wants Macs but can't get them.
Timothy Miller Norfolk, NE
Why is it when a Windows company has a problem you folks don't say a thing? Or you give it only a minor statement. As soon as Apple has a problem you all (chicken little) "the sky is falling." Give me and my small 10% a break. I'll buy Macintosh for as long as they make them. I have to work on the other, but I choose to work on Macintosh.
If Microsoft stock fell 50% in a few minutes, we would most assuredly mention that, too.
Tell me this: If you have a Mac with a 500 MHz processor, would you buy another with a 500 MHz processor to replace it? That's part of the problem Apple's having. No matter how you dress it up, the machines are the same they were a year ago. That equals slooooow sales. And that, my friend, spells failure for any company, Mac or PC.
And, doubling the processors doesn't count in this case, because until OS X and its native applications arrive (who knows when?), almost all the applications currently available can't even see that second proc. This is a problem that can be glossed over for a while by Jobs and discounted by his loyal disciples, but not forever.
Regards, Charlie White
Charlie White has been writing about digital video editing since it was the laughingstock of the post-production industry. He's an Emmy award-winning producer and director for PBS, and producer of this Web site.
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