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Steve's Scribbles...

Eve of Destruction

Thoughts on the Death of Apple

Fri, Mar 14, 1997, 2:00pm Central

Well, it's 'the day'. The day when Apple will cut itself in half. Or maybe only reduce its size by a third, or a fourth; no one knows yet.

A great deal of speculation is going on about what's being cut (OpenDoc, scanners, monitors, printers, Newton, AppleScript). Some things are certain to stay (the Mac OS itself, Rhapsody, WebObjects, Java Java Java). The Mac news sites have been quieter this week, as though everyone's holding their breath.

It's a strange moment for Mac lovers, suspended in anticipation like this.

Should it stay or should it go?

In a couple of hours we'll know. Which of our favorite technologies will vanish? What products will no longer be in stores with six-color logos?

Nothing much to do except are a couple of my thoughts on what they could/should consider:

So is Apple about to die?

Who's to say? I certainly don't think it is -- my title was intentionally over-dramatic. But more important than the fate of Apple the corporate entity (as many others have stated before me) is the fate of the MacOS platform, and signs there are rather encouraging. If Apple declares bankruptcy today, people will still run systems using MacOS 7, and will be willing to pay someone for upgrades to their system software. Plenty of people make a very nice living off of the Mac OS market, and plenty would be willing to take over development of the OS, possibly jointly if need be.

But it won't be coming to that, at least not for a long while. System 7.6 sales are healthier than Apple initially projected; Mac OS market share actually rose by some measures in the last year (imagine!). What if Apple made itself small enough to just worry about making the OS the best in the world and live off the licensing fees? Exit the hardware business altogether? Microsoft doesn't sell its own PCs...

Well, it's getting close to time to find out.

It'll be a different Mac world after today.

Maybe it'll be one where Apple can make a profit.

Look for updates to Apple's situation on

As always, for more news, pointers & commentary, see Steve Bogart's home page.

Handy Official Disclaimer: Steve's Scribbles are my own personal work and not meant to be taken as official Olin School of Business pronouncements. They are, however, © Steve Bogart (original publication date is at the top of each Scribble).
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