The worst public presentation ever given by a sentient being…
The No Steve era ended on January 7, 1997. That morning, in his keynote address at the then-biannual gathering of the Mac faithful, Macworld Expo, Amelio delivered what could generously and compassionately be described as the worst public presentation ever given by a sentient being. For two hours, Amelio's breathtaking imitation of a random phrase generator elicited only the sound of 2,000 attendees' jaws dropping onto the carpeted convention-ballroom floor.
Then Steve Jobs took the stage. Apple had recently acquired Steve's NeXT Software, and he was there to explain how it was going to save Apple. He did, and the crowd went wild. It had been eleven years since Jobs had been tossed onto the streets of Cupertino by Apple's board of directors, but he remained a hero to Mac enthusiasts, developers, and vendors. Amelio may not have known it that morning, but he had just made himself redundant.
Months of feints, fits, financial failures, and fractious fratricide followed, until in early July of 1997, Apple's board of directors suggested that Amelio might do well to fall on his sword. On July 9, Gil submitted his resignation. After two months of a little song, a little dance, and a little seltzer down the power-positioning pants, Steve Jobs became Interim CEO of Apple on September 16.
In short order, the OS-licensing program was strangled in its crib and the Newton MessagePad was assassinated. Apple also opened its own online store - a daring move in the 90s - based on the WebObjects software that it had acquired from NeXT Software along with the company's operating system and development environment, NEXTSTEP (aka NextStep, NeXTstep, and NeXTSTEP).
Steve then began the slow, painful, but ultimately wildly successful process of bringing Apple back from the brink of insolvency and transformed it into the consumer electronics juggernaut that it has since become - not a perfect juggernaut, mind you, but a resoundingly healthy one.
Steve I Era: B+
No Steve Era: D-
The 'Very Painful and Expensive Mistake'
So how well has Apple done since the second coming of His Steveness? Quite well indeed, quite well indeed. One simple and direct way of analyzing a company's health is simply by counting heads. As the daily media has drummed into our brains since the onset of the great worldwide financial meltdown of 2008: When a company is in trouble, heads roll.
So, check out Apple's employment numbers since 1998. Not only are they steadily rising, but these jobs are real, full-time positions, and not the part-time McJobs and temp support so popular among many non-union corporations.
These new workers aren't all engineers, coders, corporate sales-folks, and support staff. On May 19, 2001, Apple opened its first bricks-and-mortar retail stores in McLean, Virginia and Glendale, California - a risk, by the way, that prompted BusinessWeek to give David Goldstein, president of Channel Marketing, a platform to predict "I give them two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake."
Six years later, Fortune declared Apple "America's best retailer" and on November 14th of this year, Apple opened its 250th retail store in Modesto, California. Swami Goldstein, by the way, is nowhere to be found.
Jobsian Head Growth: A
Next page: The Apple Matterhorn
"Apple isn't doing as well as their marketing would have you believe"
Well, far from me defending a company, any company, let alone Apple. All I have ever bought from them is my first gen 4GB iPod nano (I like it), which I plan to retire when (if) I get a Touch. But I dislike Apples dictatorial style and all that.
That said, the article did not present marketing. Or at least not just. As far as I could see, the article presented some charts with not too shabby numbers on them. I wish I had a company doing that badly. Or are you implying those numbers are fake (marketing)? Call the SEC or whatever, then?
@AC "That old trope again.."
Well, but they do not listen with their senses+reasoning, they listen with their emotions... There's serious research about this, "the taste of brand", you know. And they have no clue what you are talking about anyway. Your reasoning is thus wasted on those you're trying to reach, really.
"Software for windows platforms tend to be developed with easy ram upgrades considered more favourable than efficient code. Maybe with Macs there's more of an attitude to make it work on the kit that came out of the box"
I don't think it's a case of Apple trying harder to make software work on old hardware. They are primarily a hardware company. If anything making people upgrade more often would be good for their business.
Like OS X, Linux runs on old hardware. I think that's because it's well programmed.
Microsoft has always written bloated software. For example, compare the number of system calls made to serve up one static html on IIS:
and the same thing done by Apache:
Also consider that many applications run faster under Wine than they do in Windows, and that Samba has historically given better performance serving files than native Windows.
Åpple uses Carbon and Cocoa to build OS X . How many platforms and languages does Microsoft use? The more complicated you make things the more likely there are to be failures, and the more "workarounds" that have to be added to address faults.
One other big factor, I think, is Microsoft's staff retention. MS keeps their staff employed even when they are rubbish programmers or have barely any work to do. I've heard first hand from developers sent to coding conferences who log in at the conference, go shopping all day, then log out at the end.
This is an enlightening read:
Apple properly sliced & diced!
I have used Macs professionally since, well, 1984, and I have survived years of both Apple/Mac zealotry and repeated premature announcements of Apple's imminent demise. Very few biz-tech writers have correctly dissected Apple Computer's inner chronology (and reasons for its recent market success) as well as does this author. The article even has lovely Excel charts! :-)
Surely your post must qualify for flame of the week. It's really well constructed and based on astute observation and reasoned argument.
FYI. Top Gear isn't on 'till Sunday. I'm going to watch QI now - it's all about being mendacious.
Yep, smug, mendacious know-nothing kneejerk crApple fanboi. People like you make it hard to tell when the Jobs Mob release anything good or anyone else anything bad, as your witless, smug polarised and simplistic view of the world simply precludes informed debate. Now go iron your cardigan, I think Top Gear's on soon.