His ‘assessment of what can be done to fix a once-great company‘ was entitled 101 Ways To Save Apple. Whether Steve Jobs used items from the list or not, Apple was saved and prospered far beyond what anyone back then would have believed and in ways that made items on Daly’s list both prescient and pitiful.
No. More. Hardware.
What struck me about Daly’s list– revisited more than two decades after publication– is how some items were spot on accurate and others turned out to be as wrong as wrong can ever be. Here’s an example.
First on the list of 101 is this one:
1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game. Outsource your hardware production, or scrap it entirely, to compete more directly with Microsoft without the liability of manufacturing boxes.
Apple finally cured the company’s split personality problem. Apple is a hardware company and once it embraced that notion Apple prospered as no other company on planet earth.
Also prescient was this one just down the list:
10. Get a great image campaign. Let’s get some branding (or rebranding) going on. Reproduce the “1984” spot with a 1997 accent.
Steve Jobs’ first Apple ad campaign after he took over for ousted CEO Gil Amelio was the richly rewarded and rewarding Think Different™ campaign. That campaign was the essence of Apple back before the turn of the century.
16. Take better care of your customers. You need every one. Make customer service a point of pride. Many Mac users feel alienated and have jumped ship.
Along came the much criticized Apple Stores. Today, who takes better care of their customers than Apple?
19. Get rid of the cables. Go wireless.
Somebody at Apple read Daly’s piece, right?
23. Create a new logo. The corporate graphic of the multicolored apple was tired in the 1980s, now it’s positively obsolete.
Even Steve Jobs heard that one loud and clear.
31. Build a PDA for less than $250 that actually does something: a) cellular email b) 56-channel TV c) Internet phone.
Whoa. Creepy, right? $250 in 2018 is about $380– the price of an iPhone SE or an iPad.
34. Port the OS to the Intel platform, with its huge amount of investment in hardware, software, training, and experience.
That is the epitome of prescient, no?
Daly’s list was compiled while Gil Amelio was still CEO, while Jobs was an unpaid advisor, and before he became interim CEO.
50. Give Steve Jobs as much authority as he wants in new product development… There’s no excitement at the top, and Apple’s customers want to feel like
they’ve joined a computer revolution… and we’ll be spared this slow water torture that Amelio has subjected us to.
Goose bumps, right?
Some of the 101 were as crazy wrong as they could possibly be. Including this one:
60. Abandon the Mach operating system you just acquired and run Windows NT kernel instead. This would let Mac run existing PC programs.
The Mach OS became Mac OS X, and once Intel came Inside the Mac, record sales began for the product that was once synonymous with Apple.
Some items on the list were not deserving of a response. Unless appropriately snarky.
69. Change your name to Snapple and see if you can dupe Quaker Oats into buying you.
Sadly, that had already happened. Here’s a favorite. Yes, I’m sure Jobs read Daly’s list.
83. Develop proprietary programs that run only on Macs. Crow about them.
It took a few years but Apple responded with Safari, iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie, iCal and Contacts, Final Cut Pro, then iWork with Numbers, Pages, and Keynote.
101. Don’t worry. You’ll survive. It’s Netscape we should really worry about.
Microsoft crushed Netscape out of existence and devoted a decade to sleeping along the road as Apple gained strength, then prospered with iPod and iTunes, and set the post-PC era’s mobile era on fire with iPhone.
The rest, as they say, is history. Daly’s list is a wonderful walk through the past and the present; prescient and pitiable, past and prologue combined. Today’s Apple has a billion paying customers who love what they buy. The company flirts with a $1-trillion market capitalization and has more cash on hand than many developed nations.
Apple didn’t just survive. Apple prospered beyond any expectations. Including those of Steve Jobs.