Steve Jobs Plays a Most Dangerous Game
The Switch From IBM to Intel Processors
Why do so many computer ads have the Intel logo? No doubt because it is the best processor and this information helps move hardware off shelves.
According to projections, Apple will start introducing Intel-powered machines in June 2006 and in 2008 will complete the changeover.
Now that Apple has fired IBM and hired Intel to run its machinery, do we have a bonanza or a catastrophe?
This could be a marketing catastrophe.
When I got out of the Army in 1960, my first two jobs entailed doing publicity for book publishers. Lesson No. 1 is still etched in memory:
It's okay to spend money to create awareness about a new title in the book trade that will be selling it--bookstores, wholesalers, paperback printers, film and television producers, and the international market. But never spend a nickel to promote a title to the public until finished copies are on store shelves.
For example, a publisher would be a fool to send an author on tour with no books to sign.
With careful planning and coordination--plus a "publication date" that reviewers and bookstores for the most part adhere to--virtually no lag time exists between the press releases, publicity, reviews, ads, the author tour and the availability for purchase of a new title.
It is true that Steve Jobs' appearance in San Francisco was a "trade" affair, where 3,000 software developers had to be alerted that they had some serious work ahead of them to create new programs and modify others to be compatible with the Intel processors.
But it made nationwide news.
My bet is it filled the heads and hearts of Apple users with dread.
It certainly did me.
Steve Jobs Did not Think Like an Apple Customer
In the five months I spent preparing for this twice-a-week e-letter, it was obvious that I had to absorb vast amounts of news and information on a huge range of subjects. I went from a modem to broadband for Internet access, and upgraded the memory and speed of my Mac G4 so I could suck up to 12 to 15 newspapers and magazines a day online and create a massive file to draw on.
But my laptop is a disaster--a once state-of-the-art G3 with a modem--which I used last month during a quick week in a Florida timeshare. Surfing the Internet on the phone line literally took me four hours on the laptop, when at home on the desktop it takes me 30 minutes.
For travel, I need a small Apple laptop with fast Internet access and possibly hi-fi. I very much was looking forward to a new 14˝ PowerBook with a lot of memory.
Now I am stuck spending $2,000 to $3,000 on a lame duck that will be dead in two years. I look forward to this purchase with zero pleasure.
If I did not need a laptop with all the bells and whistles, I would stick with what I have and make do with periodic upgrades until the new Intel product comes on the market.
My bet: A lot of Apple owners feel the same way. They will put off buying new hardware and may well jump ship for another laptop brand. And if they have hung on for two or three years, only to have the Intel model production delayed, frustration will give way to anger and the harm to Apple could be incalculable.
Worse, anyone shopping for a first computer will most certainly skip Apple, knowing that any new Mac rig will be totally obsolete in two to three years.
If only Steve Jobs had spoken to the owners and prospects first …
Am I sorry to be an Apple owner? No, just disappointed. I love the software, which I find infinitely superior to Microsoft for my specific needs.
But I am delighted not to be an Apple stockholder.
Letters From Readers
[Regarding The Dissing of Deep Throat: The Appalling Management Style of Presidents, Denny Hatch's Business Common Sense, June 7, 2005]
"Your reflections on [Bernstein's] remark to Matt [Lauer] on the Today show are somewhat misleading. First of all, Mark Felt's contributions to the Post's stories was 90% confirmation and 10% contribution (later to be confirmed by other sources). As such, Bradlee didn't really care about this guy's motivation (although, take your pick: felony violations, conspiracy, obstruction, etc.); what Bradlee cared about was that the guy got it right! And he did on almost 400 stories.
Also, it was Woodward, not Bernstein, who met with Felt. In 'All the President's Men,' Woodward shows a man disgusted with the people in his office and their incredible disregard for the law and due process--no other insight was given by Felt at the time which would shed light on his motives."
"Very interesting publication. Can't help feeling that Mark Felt's devotion to J. Edgar Hoover was misplaced. Whatever loyalty Hoover had toward the United States, it wasn't toward liberty and justice.
Nixon, however, according to President Eisenhower, was a suspect politician. We don't quite know why.
But it would seem that Nixon was more loyal to the people of America than was Hoover. No doubt his mandate vs. McGovern, his dialog with China, and his distaste for the Vietnam War didn't sit well with Hoover's FBI and Mark Felt.
Thus, the reasons for Felt's disloyalty was not just because of Nixon's intelligent choice for FBI director. Too bad 'Tricky Dicky' didn't have the mental capacity to cope with The Washington Post. We might have avoided a severe setback in U.S. influence in the world."
--J.D. Kinney, CEO, Dev. Kinney/MediaGraphics Inc.
"Your Deep Throat piece is fine. Once the fire gets into your belly, you can write with gusto about anything that catches your eye. Keep it up."