Way back when, back to the days when Apple was a mess and struggling for survival, Wired Magazine’s James Daly came up with ‘101 Ways To Save Apple.’ (with a long list of contributors).
Based upon how well Apple has done in the 21st century, and how critics still howl and moan about Apple’s chances for survival (not prosperity; survival), it’s worth it to point out a few items from Wired’s list to see what should be obvious lessons and examples of the dangers of armchair quarterbacking.
Do. Not. Listen.
Right up front let me point out something which is obvious and mostly public record, yet seemingly ignored by the technorati elite and market prognosticators. Apple owns the market. That’s right.
Apple owns the PC industry’s profits. Apple owns the tablet industry’s profits. Apple owns the smartphone industry’s profits. Apple owns online music sales profits. And now, Apple owns the smartwatch industry’s profits.
It’s not easy to disrupt an industry profit leader. Microsoft and Google remain immensely profitable but have yet to manufacture success beyond their respective core business. Apple has.
Now, back to ‘101 Ways To Save Apple.’
First on Daly’s list was this.
- 1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game.
It’s not hard to argue that Apple is better off for not listening to those nattering nabobs of negativity. Apple IS a hardware company.
At #12 is a favorite.
- Build a fire under your ad agency.
Steve Jobs did just that, and Apple has treated the world to a series of memorable ads; Think Different, Get a Mac, to mention a couple.
Some on Daly’s list were obvious, like #19, Go wireless (the age of Wi-Fi was just beginning), #16, Take better care of your customers, but others, like #27, Relocate the company to Bangalore, were just looney personified. Like #42, Organize a telethon. Really?
How much different would the world be if Apple had adopted #60.
- Abandon the Mach operating system you just acquired and run Windows NT kernel instead. This would let Mac run existing PC programs. (Microsoft actually has Windows NT working on Mac hardware. It also has emulation of Mac programs with NT running on both Power PC and x86.)
See a problem when tech journalists attempt to tell business how and what to do? #83 was also a favorite and beget a long list of Apple table stakes apps.
- Develop proprietary programs that run only on Macs. Crow about them.
That advice matched well with iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, et al, plus mainstays Safari, Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. Also a favorite is #94.
- Maintain differentiation between Wintel and Apple. Cross-platform means Apple OS on Intel boxes, not just add-ins to Windows. Making the Mac more like Windows, or making all technologies “cross-platform,” is a going-out-of business strategy. Extend and improve the Mac’s capabilities to handle Wintel data and emulate Wintel for those applications that require it.
The full list of 101 is available from the Wired Magazine Archives. Some are silly, some are prescient, some have been implemented already, some never will be.
But that was then and this is now, and Apple has become the richest, most valued company on planet earth, a company with hundreds of millions of satisfied customers, and a long line of state-of-the-art technology products which interoperate well; arguably better than any competitor.
So, why all the negativity toward Apple’s condition and future? As a company, Apple tends to be a big target for the technorati elite and market prognosticators who, either do not understand the company, its products, and the reference customers have for Apple, or, they publicly criticize the company because it makes good business sense. After all, when a dog bites a man, that’s neither news nor interesting, but when a man bites a dog, that’s a headline.
The internet in the 21st century is all about sensationalism, not facts, reason, logic, or history. This is an old story that will go on ad nauseam. Watch is a perfect example. Like the Apple Stores, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, before it, Watch was derided without end. Yet, just months into existence, Watch has already disrupted the entire watch industry, and already owns both revenue and profits of the nascent smartphone segment.
Who could have seen that coming?