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Friday, June 10, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing

Apples from IBM to Intel, Oh My! Please give me a break ... in actuality Steve Jobs choice says far less about the future of the Mac than the bigger question of Apple still deluding itself that a closed architecture will ever become the mainstream consumer choice. Regardless of chips IBM, Intel, AMD or any other ... the mantra to remain in the closed systems business will prove far more consequential.

More than modest success with personal electronics (read iPOD) has once again blinded Apple to the technocultural rule that humbled even mighty Sony with Betamax. (For those of you under 30, Sony Betamax was a 1/2" videotape format superior to JVC's VHS ... but lost everything because Sony kept the hardware proprietary. JVC made development open and licensing cheap and the rest is history ... and if you don't recall what videotape is, well there's always Google!)

Apples poor peripheral vision is a direct consequence of Steve, who caboshed the only open architecture experiment Apple ever dared in 1996 after resuming the helm. The (less than stellar) rise of Apple products since is more due to the Macoholic cult spirit than good tech strategy.

Having both PC & Mac platforms on my desk ... and appreciating each for what it does well ... it simply strikes as more posturing than revelation. The hardware business will get increasingly feature, software and price competitive ... all of which will continue to put Apple at an unnecessary disadvantage. It may take a bolder breed of management to unshackle Apple from the bondage of old thinking ... and by then the opportunity for them to manifest the truly innovative user architecture that has made Macs special all along may be gone.

Here's hoping not.

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