How Apple can be fixed

By Wes Simonds

By Letters to the Editor

Published December 20, 2000 8:55AM (EST)

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An interesting and compelling case was made for Apple to switch to an Intel-based x86 architecture, but it neglected what I think is the most significant problem, from Apple's perspective: loss of hardware sales.

As I understand it, Apple makes a great deal of its total revenue from the hardware. It can't afford to lose that to competitors, as shown when it killed the popular (with consumers) "clone" makers a few years back. And if Apple couldn't cope with those competitors, it would be eaten alive by the big boys in the PC world: Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.

Ultimately, if the financial wizards at Apple thought that they would make more money selling the OS to a broader market than they would lose from losing a huge part of their hardware sales, they would go with it, Steve Jobs or not. But this recurring idea has consistently been rejected (or ignored) by Apple. And it's no more interested today.

-- David Fischer

Another periodic downturn in the tech sector, another round of "Apple is Doomed" articles. Yawn.

Why is no one running articles about Gateway's arrogant mistreatment of its customers, or the impending collapse of Dell, or how Compaq's only hope is to switch to a different processor, when all these companies are suffering from the current downturn as much or more than Apple? Here's the answer: Because in the final analysis, no one but the stockholders gives a damn about these companies. They're nothing more than marketing divisions of Wintel, Inc. Apple is still the only personal computer maker that matters, that makes a difference in the world, that would be significantly mourned if it passed away.

Apple does have real problems, and some of them should be fixed. But turning itself into just another PC clone maker isn't the answer. If not Motorola, then at least IBM will continue to turn out PowerPC chips that outperform anything from Intel and Athlon. Dual-processor systems based on Motorola chips will come into their own with OS X. And Mac users will continue to run Mac-native software for the simple reason that it's better than anything on the Windows side.

-- Daniel Dvorkin

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