> At 10:09 AM 9/4/97 -0700, Ronald C.F. Antony wrote:
> >> Maybe he believes that the operating system and hardware platform
> >> wars are over. He wants to fight the object wars now.
> >It's all just words. Hardware is a commodity, but objects depend on
> >a software infrastructure. You can't fight the object war, without being
> >a serious contender in the OS and desktop war.
> Isn't this a little antithetical to the promise of Java and Yellow Box?
> I'm more than willing to use Mail.app, OmniWeb, or NewsFlash on a Win
> NT machine. [In fact that might be the best way since I like to play
> games, plus the pesky problem of my employer being Wintel.]
Java, YellowBox and Clones are about the same: openness, competition,
multiple sources, vendor independence. The pact with MS that subverts
the 100% pure Java initiaive and the nuking of the clone market shows
that Apple is no longer interested in such a strategy and tries to
be profitable in a niche (as long as MS doesn't attack that niche),
and to suck off the captive customers by charging premium prices on
proprietary products. That's why at this point I don't believe in
free YellowBox runtimes anymore.
> They (JavaSoft, Apple) are trying to win over developers to their
> development environment. And the last time I checked, these
> environments can deploy on large portions of the desktop, portable,
> and server market, irregardless of hardware or operating system.
JavaSoft and Apple have at this point about as cozy a relationship
as MS and JavaSoft. SUN pissed off NeXT and Apple by dropping support
for OpenStep, and Apple struck back by supporting MS' effort to let
Java degrade into yet-another-programming language, (which may not
even be such a bad thing). The point is, if you tally up the score,
as usual, Bill is the winner.
> >The reason why MS Office owns the productivity software market is not
> >because its better, it's not because it was there first. It is plain
> >because of two things:
> >a) MS has the money to market products
> >b) MS has an advantage of codeveloping and integrating their apps along
> > with the OS.
> MS Office is considered the best suite of office software. I wouldn't
> discount that advantage. Much like IE is better than NS.
Many, many test I read wrote about how bloated, bug ridden and overly
feature ladden MS Office is, while competing suites offered better
interfaces, better scripting environments, better groupware features,
etc. etc. Nonetheless MS won out. So quality and superiority is hardly
the real issue.
> But that isn't necessarily why they are so dominant. Brand name
> recognition and loyalty to the brand is another major factor. Item b
> is important. How would you propose to break this monopoly?
> Faster hardware? Intel is keeping pace.
Well, the point of PPC was that it would be cheaper and faster. If they
can't do that, drop PPC and cash in on the advantage of being able to
sell hardware as cheaply as the rest of the PC clone vendors. PPC is
not a goal in itself. If it cannot deliver on the promise, dump it,
switch to something that is really faster (Alpha) or join the crowd
> Better apps? MS has the best office suite, browser, perhaps programming
Rhapsody and YellowBox are key here: It is the cheapest environment to
develop once and to deploy on all desktop systems. That, if used correctly,
will move the application base over time such that pretty much all important
apps will be available under Rhaposdy, even first under Rhapsody.
The programming tools that Apple now has are way superior to what MS has
to offer. OmniWeb, (with Java missing) beats otherwise any other browser
commonly used. By the time Rhapsody ships Java will be part of it, thus
Browsers will be better on Rhapsody. Of course, Apple is stupid enough
and will probably bundle the MS IE on Rhapsody as well...
The thing is Apple cannot gain back the desktop in a few months, but they need
the goal, and then take a big strategy and execute it in many small steps.
Saying that the war is over will not do that.
> and pretty much will lock all the games to Windows with DirectX.
Rhapsody will offer similar features, and the QTML will have offerings that
will game software companies use it as a target. With YellowBox and QTML
portable to Win*, Apple has a chance in this market, too.
> Plus the most important factor, they've got the legacy software.
As I said, dilligent hard work. Sent out hordes of people to try to convince
the software companies to build new versions of the software based on
YellowBox API. Give away development seats. Sacrifice some revenue for
future applicationi availability, etc. But again, that will only work if
they want to fight the war.
> >Apple looses the war because it lacks competitive spirit, not because the
> >war really needs to be over. Apple should read Sun Tsu and von Clausewitz,
> >they should get an idea of what "total war" means.
> Apple isn't fighting a "war" in this sense. While the principles of
> war from Sun Tsu or others are very useful in running a business, the
> concepts of *war* and *business* aren't exactly the same. The goal of
> a war is to conquer resources, exert ones' philosophy, or to remain
> alive. The goal of a business is to be profitable. The difference is
> relatively subtle. You can in business, be very profitable with 5 or
> 10 percent marketshare. A war is typically a binary proposition.
The goal in business is to dominate ones market and thus to be able to
dictate the direction in which the business is going and thus to be
able to leverage on the strengths on has, rather than having to follow
the competition on their terms. The mere fact that MS does not have to
waste time and resource on being MS compatible, because they set the
standard, exemplifies this. Apple has to get to a place where it sets
the standard, and MS and the others have to follow at high cost.
A 5% market share will not get them there. Being simply profitable is
an ok attitude for a small business like a flower shop. Big companies
are always either growing, fending off shrinkage, or receeding.
While the war never ends, unless a company goes out of business, there
is only one winning strategy, and that is expansion and the will to
dominate ones market. MS understands that, and that's why they spend
huge amounts of money to expand, fortify their positions, create
brand name recognition, etc. and sacrifice profit, all in exchange
for future returns. MS is one of the few high-tech companies who
while tactically agile, never looses sight of it's long term goal:
market dominance at all cost, because that's where the money is.
Apple has/tries to satisfy Wall Street on a quarter to quarter basis
and thus isn't willing to make the decisions that it takes to buy
market share and future big returns.
The resources you conquer in business are customers, i.e. income streams,
the philosophy one exerts in business is to set the standards, and to
stay alive in business is being profitable.
Apple is digging a trench, in an area where active fighting is currently
somewhat limited. As if MS' smart bombs couldn't reach them there.
> Apple will be fine as long as they are profitable, and that's all that
> needs to be done.
Same as the soldiers in the trench will be fine until the artilery starts
hitting. Survival is not good enough. Lack of shooting does not indicate
peace. Apple can live, rather than survive, once Rhapsody on all platforms
combined has a marketshare of about 50%, and Apple hardware, if they are
still in that business, has a solid 15-20% of the market. That should
be Apples goal. The way to get there should be YellowBox, cheap servers,
cross-platform solutions, Java, the Web, media/publishing and custom