“The firm has not been able to grasp the importance of owning standards or licensing its PC products and, as a result, its PC platform currently represents a nearly insignificant portion of the market. Apple’s machines are long on usability but short on interoperability, which is almost the mirror opposite of Microsoft products…”
I have a few issues with your summary of Apple’s “problem”:
1)To suggest that Apple hasn’t learned the importance of owning its own standards is to be blind to the importance of the open source movement and Apple’s, as well as Linux, commitment to that movement which allows for an environment of greater interoperability between all OS’s.
2)If you believe that Apple’s machines are short on interoperability, you probably haven’t used an Apple since OS9. A computer running Mac OSX is consistently easier to add to a Windows network, print to any printer, connect to a VPN network and do just about any other task that requires interoperability than its Windows based counterparts. Furthermore, there isn’t a filetype around for which the Mac cannot open- a great deal of which can be opened with no extra software installed, something not possible in Windows. In fact, with the availability of X11 allowing for Linux apps to run in OSX, just about the only thing that isn’t compatible with OSX is a Windows compiled application.
3)Making a case for proprietary standards and interoperability in the same paragraph makes absolutely no sense. The only way the two can co-exist is when all competition is gone- which is perhaps what you are suggesting. You, like Dvorak before you, seem to want Apple to abandon its OS and run Windows for the sake of their hardware. The thing both you and Dvorak are getting wrong about Apple is that its not the Apple hardware that is so innovative. Its the software. Its the OS. You argue that with the eventuality of Leopard’s release, Apple might be able to win some of MS’s marketshare, but you completely ignore the fact that Apple has released a new OS upgrade every year for the last 5 years of which the most recent, Tiger, is lightyears ahead of WinXP and still a few years ahead of Vista in the features and UI department.
4)Finally, the biggest problem with your assessment of Apple’s problem is this: Does Apple really have a problem? Apple is a company that is self sufficient. They have billions of dollars in the bank. Everytime they release an update to their machines, it takes weeks or even months to be able to get your hands on it. These things are in high demand for the volume with which they are produced. Their marketshare may be low, but it is growing. It may never surpass Windows’ marketshare, but why does it need to? So long as they continue to build computers with innovative features and make a profit in selling those computers, they really don’t have a problem. This has been their business model for 30 years now and today they are more profitable than ever. Really, whats the problem?