Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Apple Corp. and the PC World

I have been a long time PC user. I started using them in 1985, started building them in 1986, and built for profit in 1987. For years I would not touch a mac but when the mac mini was introduced I finally made the leap. I have to admit that I am impressed with the video editing software and ease of use. I then pulled the trigger and got a Powermac and now I am getting ready to buy an iMac. I still use a PC as my primary computer but I have to say that I am hooked on iLife.

Now that being said, note that I stated Apple Corp., not Apple Computers. Apple has become quite a machine in the computer world, but how long can they build computers for when they are really building PC's with their own OS? This has got me wondering, and it appears to me that the next logical choice for Apple is to port everything to a PC. The universal binaries have already solved most of this problem. Now they just need to be able to run on Vista and away you go.

I know many have said that without the hardware, Apple could not make it. But look at Microsoft, Adobe, etc. The iPod alone has kept the company alive, but long term they could really explode into the PC world with products like iLife. And as far as video editing, you can't beat Final Cut Studio. Final Cut Studio is what made me buy a mac in the first place. Now you can say that this is EXACTLY why Apple should not port their software to a PC. Unfortunately I think that the capitalistic marketplace will win hear though, and if they don't port to PC then someone else will have a product that can do the same thing but be available to 90% of the market share, not 10%.

Apple will always be successful with the "I don't care how much it cost" crowd, along with the zealots. They have proven time and time again that they are more art than computer with their design. I guess for some this is worth the premium but the computer market is moving into the appliance stage. I know that I paid a premium for a toaster that looked good with the granite on my counter, but their are many appliances that sit in the cabinets and I don't care how they look. I think the same is becoming true about the PC. Do I really care what it looks like when it is shoved in a desk and it works like any other system? It appears that Dell is trying to deal with this right now with the acquisition of Alienware. Even though the gamer systems get the bigger profits, as we move to an appliance mentality it will be the original Dell concept that will win.

A lot of people have said that Apple's big mistake in the 80's was not opening up their system to third party development. They have embraced some of that now (with open source and their developer network) but will they be able to beat out Microsoft and dominate the desktop market. I would venture to guess no and this is why I think they will port their software to the PC world. Just my $0.02...


Mike said...

they already have. it's called OSx86.

Anonymous said...

they wont port their software or their OS. they will lose a lot of money by porting because no one will buy the "expensive" mac.

Tommo_UK said...

You're sadly misinformed.

1) the iPod may have made Apple a huge success, but its Mac division was still very profitable. It didn't save the company, it did provide a great new profit stream and engine for growth though.

2) Macs are not, feature-for-feature, more expensive than PCs any more. In fact many studies show they are often cheaper. Why would you by a PC to run some new-fangled movie editing software when you can buy a Mac for the same money that already runs Final Cut Pro, and can also run Windows because all new Macs are now Intel-based?

Your arguments make no sense. Back to school for you :)

Babble said...

Apple is a hardware company.
Apple is a hardware company.
Apple is a hardware company.

iLife is great - I love every bit of it - but Apple spend time and money developing iLife to help sell hardware.

Touting the success of the iPod only reinforces the basic facts of Apple's business model: Apple sells HARDWARE. They may sell software in some cases, but that's usually at a loss (iTMS is breakeven, and the $79 you pay at retail for a new version of iLife doesn't come anywhere close to covering Apple's development costs).

They sell software essentially at a loss because the software drives sales of the hardware.

Porting iLife to PC doesn't drive Macintosh sales. It ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

$1299 for FCS probably makes them money. Plus you need to think in terms of the WalMart approach. Yes, $79 for iLife might not make much money for them now, but if they open their market up to millions of users and they have a marketable product, then it can be quite successful. I would also question if iTMS is a breakeven. As most business models show, you do not make money by selling a one time piece of hardware, you usually make it up and service and long term sales (e.g. iTMS). Not to say that manufacturing is not a way to make money, but when something like a computer becomes an appliance, there needs to be more to keep up on profitiability.

Babble said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Babble said...

That iTMS is breakeven, or slightly profitable (for Apple) is a matter of public record. They break out sales figures four times a year for quarterly reports. The vast majority of iTunes revenue is returned to the labels.

This is why it's foolish to cite iTMS as an example of a massive new revenue source for Apple - it isn't. It's a new revenue source for the recording industry. Apple is willing to operate iTMS at a near-breakeven position because it ... helps to SELL IPODS.

Because Apple is a hardware company.

That model won't change just because j random blogger would like to run Apple apps on whitebox PC hardware; unless Apple were to make up the loss in hardware sales at a staggering volume (which won't happen), Apple will remain a hardware company. I'd love to think that zillions of generic PC users will flock to iLife, should Apple offer it for Windows (or Linux, or whatever), but it's wishful thinking at best.