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ATPM 6.11
November 2000



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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

Response to “A Worm in the Apple”

The following are two responses to David Hewson’s A Worm in the Apple, published by the London Sunday Times on October 22, 2000.

• • •

Dear Mr. Hewson:

It amazes me that people of your calibre go out of their way to fault Apple. Granted they have mucked about with their customers, but no more than anyone else has in business. I know that there is no real interest from the public in reading about Compaq or Dell, so it is not as if I don’t entirely understand your motivation. Apple has millions of adherents, so I can see how easy it would be to get them riled by taking a poke at their favorite computer company. Well, you succeeded—and that is why I am responding to you.

I, like you, have used Apple for almost 13 years and sincerely believed at the time there was no better personal computer on the planet with which to do what I wanted to do. I fixed computer mainframes for 10 years prior to my purchase. But please understand me, I would move to any platform, if financially feasible, if there were one really superior to Macintosh’s. Maybe in the near future I will make a move, but not until the basic Windows OS gets rid of DOS. I agree with many things you have aired, and I believe Apple needs its butt kicked along with every other computer monger that takes advantage of the consumer. But why single out Apple for abuse? I did not see you write about Microsoft’s thievery of technology from Apple and others. I not did hear any tirade concerning their blackmail of Apple to keep them alive, nor did I see you write about the multitude of thieves or the general thuggery of others in the industry. There was not one word of how that “evil empire” destroyed, bought, or stole from others to make the world go their direction. Oh, that is business!?

You state correctly in your story that since Apple’s high in April shareholders have lost close to $9 billion in value. But Apple is not alone. Since Dell’s calendar 2000 high their shareholders have lost close to $100 billion, and Microsoft shareholders have lost around $300 billion. Is the game up for them? So Apple is not immune to the ups and downs of the market. Is that new news?

Likewise, is Apple the only computer company that puts out PR to cover themselves? How many times was Windows 98 announced, and how many beta versions were released to the unsuspecting to perfect this hybrid OS? Why don’t you beat the drum and demand that Microsoft produce a clean OS for the masses? They have in NT? Windows 2000? Hardly. You would have the people who don’t know any better (and there are plenty of them around) think that they chose Microsoft of their own volition. The masses use Windows because they have been coerced to do so—and you very well know this. But expend your ink toward writing about this?

I don’t care who makes what, but I do care that one company dictates to the rest of the world what they can and cannot do. Microsoft, rather than being an industry innovator, has stifled innovation from others. You say that somewhere along the way Apple forgot how to innovate—but when has Microsoft ever done so? Everyone knows that Mr. Gates and others have considered Apple as their R & D department. Now, you complain that they aren’t innovating. I am not as riled that you are down on Apple as I am that nothing so berating is said about the rest of the industry (beyond generalities). You mentioned Apple’s “point and click,” laser-printing, digital cameras, and pocket communications, not to mention GUI innovations and other technologies that PC users use every day. These same users light candles at the altar of Bill Gates and Microsoft for giving these things to them, when the evil empire didn’t have a clue where the cheese was for the mouse.

You say that Apple needs a miracle to survive, but weren’t you one of those who had Apple written off a few years ago? Yet it seems you were strangely quiet about Apple’s subsequent recovery! For the last four years Apple has been one of the most profitable personal computer makers. That’s more than can be said for IBM or Compaq.

Mr. Hewson, you said you once thought that nothing would part you from your Mac; well, I don’t think it would take a miracle to get you to switch to anything—just money. Millions have been duped for decades into believing Microsoft’s propaganda. The masses were given little or no other choice in the PC world because Microsoft would not let them have anything else. The world of business would not switch because of money, not because Microsoft had better software than anyone else—you know that, and so does anyone with a pea-brain. Microsoft had better marketing of inferior technology, while Apple had superior technology with inferior marketing. It is no hidden truth that the arrogance of Apple showed like a neon sign compared to their marketing skills.

Do you think the computer world would be where it is today without Apple’s innovations? I don’t know how long they have, and I hope that you are wrong again—but it appears it would delight you to no end if they were to go down in flames tomorrow. Well, when they go we can always kick around Be or some other company that dares to be different.

I am not your enemy, but I had to sound off. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Zemeski

• • •

There’s an old Christian saying about miracles “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.”

We can debate megahertz, software availability, and product price. We can discuss platform differences, operating system functionality, and market share. But in the end, every computer buyer makes a decision on the product they will purchase based on their personal needs, desires, taste, and budget.

Apple products are not everyone’s choice. But they are the choice of millions of computer users around the world. Personally, I don’t buy Apple products because I want to “think different” or even “be different.” I buy Apple products because the combination of the Mac’s unique design and functionality are well suited to the way in which I prefer to go about my day and the manner in which I choose to organize and complete my work.

I prefer to use a Mac. I also like to start my day at church and listen to music on my way to a client’s office. I only wear argyle socks when they are the last clean pair in my closet. I don’t like Velveeta, but I’d like to try a Vegemite sandwich.

The author of this story states correctly that since Apple’s high in April of $75 per share, shareholders have lost close to $19 billion in value. But Apple is not alone. Since Dell’s calendar 2000 high their shareholders have lost close to $100 billion and Microsoft shareholders have lost around $300 billion. But who’s counting? The last few weeks only prove that Apple is not immune to the vagaries of the market. Steve Jobs has been proven to be mortal (again). Is that new news?

The author believes Apple needs a miracle. So what? Some people need a miracle for the next breath they take or the next step they walk. I prefer to live life not taking anything for granted. It’s when I stop believing in miracles that I know I have real problems.

Some people bolster their faith by lighting candles or conversing with statues. Some politicians in the US claim to find inspiration by touring the Lincoln Memorial. Some English barristers find comfort rereading the Magna Carta. Each to his or her own.

For me, I like candles. I also like to hear the chime whenever I start up my Mac. Miracles? Maybe. But for the last four years Apple has been one of the most profitable personal computer makers. That’s more than can be said for IBM or Compaq. Rather than mention the need for miracles perhaps the author should review the facts.

Robert Paul Leitao

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (1)

Jim Hathorn · November 6, 2000 - 01:01 EST #1
Well, it time for another episode of "Watch Apple Die" from worm attacks from PC slanted commentators. It is unnerving to hear this. I am certain of one thing: I want to buy the latest Mac before Apple's demise so I can end my days working with a computer instead of working on a computer! The day I must use this computer sitting on my desk (PC) to do common tasks, I shall give up computing....I spend more time reloading Windows, looking for buried folders, watching "you are commiting an illegal act" and will be closed..than working on materials. If this is what the PC world is waiting for, then they world no longers sees computers as a tool to get work done;but, as a "toy": to work on and play with.

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