I’m not much on crystal ball predictions other than blondes always have more fun.
Oh, and Mac users have a better computing experience. And Windows users, well…
In fact, if you look at the past five years of Apple’s development of Mac OS X, the transition from classic Mac OS, the quality and proliferation of Mac applications, I’m willing to say the future looks good.
That doesn’t mean Apple has a bushel of apples with no bruises.
There’s that stock option mess, but don’t look for it to be a lasting problem. Al Gore and Steve Jobs are not going to prison.
Apple won’t have to restate billions of dollars in revenue or profits. The only profits will be made by the lawyers (I know, that’s an easy prediciton).
What of iPod and the iPod killers? Can you believe what Steve Jobs did to Creative? It was, well, just creative.
Move along. There’s nothing to see here.
Just in case you missed it, Creative was awarded a patent on what looks exactly like the iPod’s interface—filed even before the iPod shipped five years ago.
Creative, of course, is the maker of the iPod killer Zen MP3 player. I’m not great with numbers but I’m sure they sold dozens and dozens of the critters.
Creative’s CEO even declared war on Apple, and called the iPod shuffle worse than the worst from China. Then they sued Apple.
Apple doesn’t like to be sued and sued back. Pantent infringement arguments were flying across the Pacific.
In the end, Apple settled, forked over $100-million to Creative for a paid up license on the patent. Better yet, Creative will now sell iPod accessories (and probably dozens more MP3 players).
Here’s the really cool part and another reason why I think Apple’s past five year record is indicative of what we’ll see in the next five years:
Apple gets to expense the $100-million as what amounts to an “asset.” I know that sounds contrary to accounting principles and doesn’t carry much weight from a blonde with an unblemished record of never balancing a checkbook, but…
The license is an asset. Even better, Apple gets to reduce the $100-million expense when Creative gets more makers of MP3 players to cough up more money.
So, the iPod will continue to improve, Apple won’t be losing any more money to Creative, and what of the rest of the world?
Who’s about to launch a much publicized iPod killer called Zune? What MP3 player called Zune has an interface that looks like Creative’s Zen and the newly licensed iPod?
Who has even deeper pockets than Apple? Microsoft.
Will Microsoft cave in to Creative’s new found leash on life (nothing wrong with my multi-metaphor talents, huh?)
What about the gazillions of new cell phones which also act as MP3 players? There’s probably a few hundred million of those floating around and I’ll be their little navigation menus look just like an iPod, which looks like a Creative Zen whatever wannabe.
See where this is going? Apple’s on a roll.
They get Creative to make iPod accessories, for which Apple may get a cool 10-percent royalty, and cough up a chunk of cash for a paid up license for the iPod interface, and…
And? And they get to watch Microsoft and all the cell phone makers cough up plenty of their own cash to keep from getting sued by Creative.
Meanwhile, Apple’s license fee gets to go down as Creative’s royalties pile up.
Is this a great country, or what?
The news headlines may be scarry, but have no fear folks, Apple’s doing fine. How do I know?
Best Buy has sold out of their supply of Intel-based iMac and Mac mini’s. When was the last time they sold out of anything that said Mac?
Microsoft Vista’s press is all about the inherent bugs and problems and potential ship date delays.
Apple even managed to deflect blame for a recall of a million or so laptop batteries. Toward whom? Sony.
Even stock pickers from Piper Jaffray say that Apple’s stock is selling at a discount. There’s nothing like a growing stock price to quell the thirst of class action lawsuite artists, huh?
Apple’s track record and performance of the past five years has been nothing short of remarkable, and that’s why the future looks good. In fact, the only serious problem I see on the horizon is having enough product to sell.
Apple’s got chic, charisma, customers, cash, cache, cool commercials, and chutzpuh. Who could ask for anything more?