Now there’s a call to break up Apple. Well, sort of. First, the call to spin off the Mac (which, in effect, would break up Apple) came from the notorious John Dvorak, one of the industry’s most gifted word charlatans who found something suspicious in the macOS name change and decided that means Apple is ready to spin off the Mac and let it run free. Uh huh. Sure.
Raison D’être, Dvorak?
Methinks that Alzheimer’s research needs more money. Old technology rag writers never die, they just come up with crazier ideas as they age. Though I’m certain that spinning off the Mac into its own company was an exercise in punditry comedy, let me do a little slice and dice on the Dvorak premise that Apple would do such a thing.
I get suspicious over seemingly minor little changes. A recent “little change” got me thinking that Apple might spin it off its computer division into something I’m calling the Macintosh Computer Company: the renaming of OS X back to MacOS. Because what’s the point…unless something is up?
Hmmm. First, it’s macOS Sierra, not MacOS. Second, the name change does fit within Apple’s current product naming scheme quite well, yet does not diminish the Mac’s role (iOS, watchOS, tvOS, macOS). It’s just the name of the operating system, John. Not the product’s name.
In 2007, Apple Computer became Apple, Inc. so it is not as though the de-emphasis on computing has not had a long ramp. Nor does it mean that the company is losing interest in the Mac. But Apple has failed to make any major upgrades to its MacBook lineup in over a year, prompting complaints from pundits and the public.
Yeah, because Apple always upgrades the Mac like clockwork, always on a schedule like Halley’s Comet, always expected to do what is expected like presidential candidates from New York. Uh huh. Sure. Oh, one more thing. How is the Mac a computer and the iPhone or iPad is not? Just saying.
If you were going to spin off the computer division of your company, you would do it with fanfare and a whole new line of machines to get a massive buzz going. Headlines such as “Terrific New Mac Machines Jumpstart New Offshoot” and “The time is right for this!” would abound.
Because Apple is letting their Mac’s get stale so they can introduce new Macs and then launch the Mac Computer Company with an all new product line with A10 CPU’s instead of Intel Inside. That makes as much sense as a spinoff.
The reasons to do this are obvious and simple. PC sales are flagging. While the market for desktop computers and laptops is still enormous, it’s seen as dead. You can see it in all the worldwide tech reporting. It’s become a boring replacement market as people keep their systems longer and longer.
Is there any chance that flagging PC and Mac sales have anything to do with the advent of mobile devices like iPhone and iPad, the adoption of Android OS for everything else?
This means the computer division of Apple will eventually become a genuine albatross around the company’s neck. So it’s better off as a standalone company focused on computers, pretty much like it was pre-2001 when the iPod showed up.
That was all Apple had when the iPad showed up. Apple and Mac were synonymous. That’s not the case today. So, spin off the Mac, right? It makes perfect sense.
And, while we’re at it, let’s spin off the iPod division because it too is an albatross around Apple’s neck. Then, spin off the iPhone because that’s where the money is. Spin off the iPad because that’s just another albatross around the neck of the iPhone Company (let’s change Apple’s name while we’re at it). Because spinning off a division (please note that Apple does not organize as divisions of products; a fact Mr. Dvorak ignored) has become so easy, Apple might as well spin off Apple TV and Watch. In fact, any connection of an Apple product of the past to the iPhone should require Apple’s board of directors to spin it off.
The new Mac company would be assured success by contracting with Apple for access to the Apple stores for its primary sales channel. It could also contract with Apple for the use of its industrial design team. If Apple maintained the majority of the shares of the new company, it could roll out an IPO and add the value of its shares as an asset while writing off the loss of the division.
But are not PCs passé? Who would want to invest in a PC company? PCs are so 1999, amirite?
Here’s the second real reason Apple should dump the Mac onto the streets to fend for itself. Shareholders (the first real reason being that Dvorak needed to trump up a grabby headline that we dear readers couldn’t get our heads around).
Apple, Inc. benefits in all ways, but mostly it gets out of the moribund computer business insofar as its shareholders are concerned. Mac end-users and its community would not know the difference for years to come. It also allows the Mac to break free from the Apple walled garden, which seems to be centered on the phone, giving the computing platform more versatility outside of the Apple enclave.
Good grief. What nonsense. Apple is not organized the same way as other technology companies that churn out products because it’s Tuesday or because moss is growing on the north side of the tree next to the executive parking lot. Apple’s entire product line works well together because Apple works that way and using an integrated discipline approach vs. the common silos of product management.
This is the kind of thing that mature companies do, and I’m guessing that it’s something Apple may be planning…because it’s a good idea.
But just not on this planet.