It is a rare occasion indeed when NEWS.COM readers agree on any issue. And it is even rarer when that issue involves Apple Computer. But on this occasion, agree they did.
Seventy-one percent percent of readers do not believe that the purchase of clone maker Power Computing will solve Apple's problems, according to the latest NEWS.COM Poll. They expressed their opinions when asked the question: "Is the purchase of Power Computing the key to Apple's success?"
That is not to say that all agreed to exactly why the deal was a bad one.
Some complained that, in one fell swoop, Apple effectively destroyed consumer confidence in the company's long-term prospects by buying out a major producer of Macintosh clones. Others pointed to an egocentric leader--namely Steve Jobs--making unwise decisions.
"It is ironic that Steve Jobs chose to spend about the amount of money given him by Bill Gates to eliminate a competitor, thereby seriously weakening the Macintosh platform's chances of remaining afloat as a viable alternative to Windows," reader Pierre Billon wrote.
That was not the only shot Jobs absorbed from poll respondents. "Apparently the return of Mr. Jobs to the company has revived the inward-looking, iconoclastic, legends-in-our-own-minds corporate philosophy that ensured Apple's failure to ever become ubiquitous in the computing world," Michael Ferry wrote.
As for the 29 percent who believe that this deal is a step in the right direction, the majority pointed to Power Computing's failure to expand the Mac OS market.
"The clones so far have been a bad deal for Apple and the Mac OS. Yes, clone customers have been getting great deals, but they got them at the expense of Apple customers," according to Gerald Ostheimer.
And then there were those who were torn in both directions. "A proprietary system where both OS and software are available from only a single source can't survive, " Tony Johnston wrote.
However, he added: "If, on the other hand, Apple spins off the Power assets as a hardware-only subsidiary, continues to license and compete on a level playing field, and follows through with its plans for Rhapsody, allowing immediate and full licensing deals a la MS and Windows, I will eat my words and continue to buy Apple products."
Noncommital responses are understandable: When it comes to the future of Apple, it does seem wise to hedge one's bets.
Readers explain their votes on the following page.
Following is a sample of reader responses to the NEWS.COM Poll.
Power Computing didn't do their share to expand the Mac market
I don't think that the Mac cloners held up their end of the bargain, and that is to grow the Mac OS market share. Why were they not advertising their Mac OS clones in the Wintel marketplace? It seems to me that they went exclusively after the existing Apple market base where they knew the customers were. Apple made the only business decision it could at this time.
The original purpose for the clone business was to increase the market
share of the Macintosh platform. Not only have they not done that (the
Mac's market share is lower now than ever), but
they've cannibalized the key areas where Apple draws most of its
It was time for Apple to take a stand
Personally, I am glad to see Apple acting like its got a pair of brass apples for a change, and I look forward to further examples of this type of strong behavior.
Apple pushed the Mac faithful too far
It has become more and more difficult to remain faithful to the Macintosh. How much longer, I wondered recently, can I keep justifying having to pay more for my computer and having much less choice in what software I can purchase? Yes, I like the Macintosh, and I am appalled by the Windows interface. But there comes a point where you just give up. I was hopeful that competition within the Mac marketplace would give me exciting computers to choose from--and it has. Or had. With the departure of Power Computing, all I can foresee is a weakened Apple closing in on itself, trying vainly to retain its shrinking user base, watching its developers jump ship, until it simply fades away.
The move, in my opinion, betrays Apple's key asset: brand loyalty..By
limiting the clone business (which customers have so far widely embraced),
Apple has jeopardized their existing customer base.
I have always recommended friends to buy Apple. However, after this news I
can longer be this loyal. I do not like to see others lose their
investment. Apple is no longer a viable option for any user. Current users
will be stuck with obsolete technology. I will now recommend others to buy
Wintel based systems. This is a very sad day for all Mac owners.
--Steven, an angry Mac user
Steve Jobs must be stopped
If Apple (or rather, Steve Jobs) believes that they have the power to open the cage door, allowing us to get a taste for the free and open market, then call us all back so they can close it again. They are about to get a harsh dose of reality.
Even Apple's whining executives cannot say that Power, Umax, and others
caused, in any way, the decline [of the Mac market share]; it was Apple's
inept management all the way. Second, considering the state of Apple's
market blunders, many analysts have said that if it were not for the
availability of clone models, the Mac sales would almost certainly have
declined even more. Personally, I think that if it were not for the
clones, Microsoft could have probably bought Apple outright for $150
million a few weeks ago! A few weeks ago, Steve Jobs declared that
Microsoft is not Apple's enemy.
But according to his view of the world, the clones apparently are.
Unfortunately, the real enemy of Apple is its management, including Jobs.
A great shame! I now migrate to the Intel camp, with much-less-than-ideal
Windows OS. At least I know that I can get a great, well-equipped machine
that will be supported across the board. I will be able to interface better
with the majority of computer users I know. Mr. Jobs, you have done it
Lack of expansion Apple's own fault
There's been no killer apps or MacOS features worth buying into, and that is squarely Apple's fault, not the cloners.