Thanksgiving for 10 blunders Apple didn’t commit
Thu, Nov 27, 08
It’s Thanksgiving again. Time to reflect and count our blessings. For those touched by Apple’s products and weltanschauung, an opportunity to give thanks to Steve Jobs & Co for not doing what was so vociferously advocated by the usual suspects: analysts, pundits, naysayers and the anti-Apple corner over the last few years.
In no particular order, we give our thanks because Apple did not:
- become a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) to sell the iPhone. A few years ago everyone was convinced that any sufficiently recognizable company could peddle mobile phone services by slapping its brand on a MVNO to leverage a carrier’s network. Remember Amp’d, Helio, Disney, ESPN…? ‘Nuff said.
- start selling a TabletPC before its time. There’s been a highly vocal contingency who’d pay a premium to get Apple’s take on TabletPC, which has been an unmitigated revenue disaster on the PC side. While various iPhone and notebook technologies may converge into a TabletPC-like form factor in Apple’s product line someday, such a device, even running OS X, would have been a dud in 2006.
- open up iTunes. Apple has been under tremendous competitor pressure to license its FairPlay DRM and also allow competitors’ formats like Windows Media and Rhapsody to run on its iPod/iTunes/iPhone ecosystem. The iPod saved Apple and this free-for-all would have killed it.
- drop the iPhone name for its upcoming phone when everyone thought the company was crazy and foolish to challenge Cisco’s trademark. Can you think of the iPhone as anything but the iPhone today?
- panic when iPod/iTunes integration via FairPlay DRM was challenged in Europe, most notably in France, Germany, Denmark and Norway. These attempts have been misguided and unfair to say the least.
- license OS X to cloners. For the we-don’t-grok-hardware+software+service-integration crowd this hope will never die, business models be damned.
- bend on iTunes policies when major music labels were pushing Apple to rely more on full-album (and less on singles) sales, raise individual song prices, institute price hikes under the guise of “variable pricing,” track users via DRM to stem file sharing and various other initiatives designed to recapture their lost dominance of the digital music industry. To its credit, Apple has been mostly able to withstand its ground even when the labels withheld content and NBC altogether walked away from iTunes.
- lose perspective on Apple TV by heavily promoting it even as the environment for efficient delivery of high-resolution video and broadcast content in the U.S. is simply not there yet. Steve Jobs labeled it as a “hobby” which pretty much describes the current state of affairs.
- parter with AMD instead of Intel for the transition from PowerPCs. Many analysts and pundits couldn’t understand why Apple bypassed what appeared to be a line of faster and more efficient chips. Jobs’ appreciation of Intel’s volume manufacturing, pricing and product roadmap, especially for Apple’s bread-and-butter non-desktops, proved to be on the spot.
- select a lesser OS for the iPhone. The mobile device is destined to become Apple’s primary revenue generator going into the next decade and Apple avoided a land-mine by not adopting a garden variety embedded OS grafted on top of a glorified iPod. This may yet prove to be one of the most important decisions ever in Apple’s history.
What are you thankful for things Apple did not do?