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By milleniumfalcon
August 21, 2002

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David -

Granted, Apple does take advantage of its hardcore user base. Ya know what? They always have, knowing that we know that they know that we know that the Mac is the best computer experience money can buy. Honestly, remember the days back when Gil and Spindler were in command of the sinking ship. Things sucked then.

The Quadra 800 sold for $5,100, the Performa 474 sold for $1,600 and the Centris 660 went for $2,900. Don't forget to add the price of the monitor. Yeah it was way back in 1993. Apple gave up market share for high profit margins...and the consumer reacted by "switching" to the DOS-based Windows. The bottom dropped out.

That was real abuse and neglect of the Mac customer base. Mental abuse, emotional abuse and above all, financial abuse. Apple was a mess - a financial planner's and auditor's and shareholders' nightmare come alive. When the media came after Apple in those days, "Gil and the Boiz" circled the wagons, hunkered down and attempted to dodge with a combination of "NIH" (not invented here) arrogance and absolutely no concern for customers.

Today, we are in a totally different situation. First, our company is profitable, with a nice cash stash. Second, a lot of the "NIH" seems to have disappeared. They seem less concerned about trying to be the "be all end all."

Apple customers wanted cheap easy to use apps for editing video and burning music. Apple now looks around the computer industry and says 'We like this program very much, and with a few tweaks, this will make a great _______.'(Fill in your favorite iApp - or even Powerschool.) Apple delivered.

Quite the same with the iPod. Sure, it is Ives & Jobs design, but the idea for a kick-@ss mp3 player didn't start in Cupertino. However, Apple answered the call and the iPod has garnered so much praise that they even made a Windows version. Two years ago nobody in his right mind would have even dreamed about that.

Apple customers have been screaming for a new stable OS for a long time. Remember all the failed attempts? (Repeat after me: Rhapsody.) Much as I like the classic OS, we built one: OS X. I love OS X. Finally a computer that has protected memory and real multi-threading so I do not have to reboot every time Word craps out on me (or GOD - I hated waiting for something to spool to the printer!!). We asked and they delivered.

Apple saw that people wanted superdrives in the e-Mac. Much to the chagrin of some of the retailers, they built one. We wanted lightweight powerful lappers. Apple built them - and even the PC media says the iBook and TIPB rock. Let us not forget the XServe - a real rack mounted OS X server - not that stupid tower enclosure.

Sure, I don't wanna pay all that cash for 10.2. I am not really thrilled by the fact that iTools is going .Mac with a fee. However, I also know that with hardware demand down, Apple must come up with new revenue streams. Don't forget that Apple is new to this kind of pricing schemata as well. (Not that that is an excuse.)

However, a few posts ago Consumer Reports ranked Apple with the best customer service in the industry. We were the only company to actually rank higher this year than last. We also [were] about 10 points higher than our nearest Wintel competitor. This says a lot to me. Why? Because with a new OS, a bunch of new software and probably some users who have never used a Mac before - all those factors could have spelled utter disaster. Apple is obviously doing a tremendous job.

I believe that Apple's relationship the press has changed dramatically and I sure don't hold it against them. Remember, the media is crazy - like a manic - high on you one day, loathing you the next. Except for some of the remaining FUD-mongers though, the media is really getting to know Apple again. Look at Pogue and Mossberg as two examples. The people in the press who write about technology are actually using Macs again. This is a good thing.

The problem used to be we were really getting screwed because we had an old OS, limited applications, prices that only Worldcom's Ebbers could afford and a CEO and board that couldn't give a rat's rectum about anything but survival.

Now...from what I have seen, they are paying more attention, not only to the rat's back end, but in many, many ways to the rest of customer base too.

Of course this is just my opinion and opinions are like....


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