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Steve Bogart

News, Pointers & Commentary: July 1997

25 July 1997  
I hope to be visiting this site a lot in the coming months: Macintosh Developer Resources. I'd like to start developing some Mac or Rhapsody shareware once I get some spare time (You there! I heard that! You think that's funny? All right, it is pretty unlikely...just let me pretend I'll have spare time someday, okay?).

Microsoft reminds me of the government in the way it says questionably-true things very loudly for months at a time, then quietly admits the truth years later. For example: in the InfoWorld story Microsoft downplays Java's cross-platform features, there's the following telling quote from Microsoft's group vice president of platforms and applications Paul Maritz:

"We have no intention of shipping another bloated OS and shoving it down the throats of our users," Maritz said regarding the concept of delivering [Java Foundation Classes] on top of the Windows operating system.
Gee, is that what Windows 95 really was? I'm shocked! Shocked, I say!
22 July 1997  
Mac OS 8 comes out today. I just ordered mine from Apple Club ($10 off!). There's plenty of media coverage on it; my favorite article is: Apple's labour bears timely fruit from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Press reports are largely favorable. Even the traditionally distorted news site ZDNN has the headline "Mac OS 8 gets many thumbs up". Woo!

21 July 1997  
Sorry about the lack of updates, folks; things have been getting busier at work and at home, leaving me not as much time as I'd like to sit and ruminate here about the computing world.

Here are a couple of quick pointers:

On the up side: Stock, Morale take upswing at Apple (USA Today)

On the down side: Apple Drags its Feet on New Mac OS 8 License For Clones (Computer Reseller News). Hey Apple, I thought this was on its way to being settled! Ticking off the clone vendors is a luxury you can't afford! Microsoft has the market power to dictate terms to its licensees, but you aren't Microsoft.

16 July 1997  
Here speaks a wise man: Jean-Louis Gassée, former Apple honcho and now CEO of Be, has a nice succinct summary of what is quickly becoming a consensus viewpoint: Separate the hardware and software sides of Apple. I agree with him. Some people have been saying this for years, and I've only recently accepted the wisdom of this, but I do think this would be the right way to go.

The article's on Dave Winer's Scripting News site and is called I Like Apple So Much I Want Two of Them. Check it out.

11 July 1997  
Boy, everybody has something to say about Apple this week. Wading through all the crap opinions out there masquerading as reporting is really tiresome and I haven't had the energy to pick out which stories I think are most worth pointing to. So far there's only one real must-read: a transcript of the San Jose Mercury News' interview with Dr. Amelio himself. The main thing I took away from it is this one statement:
"...I think the board acknowledged the fact that I had done an an enormous number of things to improve the company's fortune, but that probably I had reached that point where 80 or 90 percent of what I was able to achieve was basically put in place."
That's the best summary I've seen of the whole situation by anyone. (And those who have so quickly revised their Apple history and now consider Amelio a failure should read his listing of his accomplishments. They aren't trivial.)

In another arena: Here's a well-articulated analysis of some of AOL's problems (as well as many, many other institutions you probably deal with all the time): What do America Online and Dennis Rodman have in common? It makes a number of excellent points about some basic principles of customer service.

Finally, I think I will adopt the idea of wise-man-whom-I've-never-met Jim Bryson and begin referring to 'analysts' as 'chimpanzees'. (See the whole story from MacUser's Rik Myslewski: Chimpanzees "&" DVDs.) Many analysts whose droppings I encounter certainly deserve a different title, and I think 'chimpanzee' will do quite nicely.

"Wall Street chimps read two sentences of Power's 200+-page IPO and hammer Apple stock"

"ZDNet Chimpanzee (insert any name here) says Apple is in death spiral"

I could definitely get used to this...

9 July 1997  
Wow, big news day: Apple CEO Gil Amelio has resigned. See the story on the San Jose Mercury News and follow the commentary on Dave Winer's

Not sure yet what I think about it, except that Yet Another Reorganization will just mess Apple up more and cause more delays in their turnaround.

My favorite rumor (mentioned by Dave W.) is that Mac cloner Power Computing could buy Apple. I like that idea; Power actually knows how to make handsome profits in the Mac market.

8 July 1997  
Apple's stock hit a 12-year low last week largely based on the market's interpretations of Power Computing's SEC filing for an IPO. Here's a report from someone who actually read the whole document, not just the mention of making Wintel machines: Power Computing's profits provide a lesson to the Mac industry, especially to Apple by MacWeek's Rick LePage. Good reading.
7 July 1997  
This is why columnists have jobs: to show us connections we don't make for ourselves. Here are a couple of thought-provoking ones on the Tyson ear-biting incident: and a different attitude from smoker Jay Ambrose: If smoking kills you, it's your fault.
4 July 1997  
semi-new Scribble: Dancing in the Streets, on the arrival of my Newton MessagePad 2000. I wrote it back in May but never got around to posting it until now, so here it is.

Charles Kuralt is gone now too.

3 July 1997  
I just moved last weekend, taking most of the week off from work to stay home, clean and pack. I forgot one very important thing: I didn't leave myself any time to unpack! So everything's still in boxes and a mess. I feel very unsettled without all my stuff in easily-accessible locations. Brrr.

It's been a bad week; Tuesday we lost Robert Mitchum and Wednesday Jimmy Stewart died. I hesitate to point out that these things often happen in threes...

If you haven't heard, Apple's stock is trading at a 12-year low this week. A key element that some 'journalists' are pointing to is the announcement that Power Computing has stated that it will sell Intel-based machines in addition to Mac-compatibles. My favorite headline (in a bizarre sense) has to be Apple Reels as Clone-maker Plans 'Wintel' Machine by (wait, let me make sure I credit this guy properly...) Tom Bemis of Bloomberg News with the priceless quote "Even the clone makers are turning their back on Apple".

Well, sorry, but Power Computing has been talking about doing this for some time, and is planning to use their status as a seller of both platforms to grow the Mac side. Right now nobody sells both kinds of computers, so whenever there's a cross-platform problem fingers just get pointed at the other platform. What if there were a copmany which sold and supported both? What if there were a one-stop shop for entire departments regardless of platform preferences? It would make it easier to integrate Macs into corporate environments, and thus more likely that more Macs would be sold. See Power's CEO's responses to customers on this very issue at MacInTouch and MRP. Hmm, really sounds like they're abandoning the platform to me...

I put 'journalists' in questioning quote marks because I don't think they're writing fair stories, and I don't think they're even bothering to try. A consequence of this is that people who aren't really paying attention to the ins and outs of the Mac world read the stories, panic, and drive the stock price down. Do stock traders really have any clue about what's really going on? I don't think so. Whose fault is it? Apple's. Really. I swear, I don't understand how they can put up with all the bad press and not let out a peep. It's a frustrating company.

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