Dueling Fools: Mac Rebuttal

"Before the iPod, the stock was trading for little more than the greenery on its balance sheet."
-- Rick Munarriz, five minutes ago

True enough. That's one of the reasons I thought of buying shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) back in 2004. (I still regret not pulling the trigger.)

Think differently about revisionist history
Still, it's not the iPod that saved Apple. Nope, that honor goes to Mac OS X, the Internet, and retail stores. Remove even one of those elements, and the iPod doesn't exist.

Think about it. Why were consumers eschewing the Mac back in the mid-to-late 90s? Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) had cornered the market on all the great software by making it both convenient and profitable to write games and tools for Windows. And Apple? It was still struggling to figure out how to upgrade the Mac OS, which was ailing well before Steve Jobs returned in 1996.

Meanwhile, the Internet was still in its infancy as a consumer medium. (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) were new ideas that early adopters craved, and that everyone else ignored.

All that began to change in March of 2001 with the introduction of the Internet-savvy Mac OS X. The original iTunes software would also be released at roughly the same time, sowing the seeds that would allow the iPod to blossom. But the iconic player really wouldn't take off for another two years, when the music store opened for business on Windows.

But again, all the catalysts came to the fore in 2001, while the iPod was still on the drawing board. In May of that year, for example, Apple opened its first retail stores in California and Virginia. They were an immediate success in selling Macs. Today, Apple counts more than 150 retail outlets worldwide. The iPod would still be a hit without the Apple stores, but the comfortably hip way you can try it out with a Mac at a retail location probably adds quite a few extra sales.

Consider also that exactly none of Apple's iPod rivals -- SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK  ) , Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) , Creative (Nasdaq: CREAF  ) , and, soon, Microsoft -- can offer the same experience.

Apple isn't about entertainment, Rick. Jobs and his company are aiming to make the digital life accessible for everyone. And they do that job better than anyone else, thanks to the impressive ecosystem built around the Mac. It's the Sun to the iPod's Earth, the pole to the iPod's flag, and the tracks to the iPod's increasingly rich gravy train. Ride on, Fool.

Think you're done with the Duel? You're not! Go back and read the other three arguments, and thenvote for a winner.

Have an opinion on whether the Mac or the iPod drive Apple's performance? Don't stop here! Share your views with our Foolish community in our new beta service, Motley Fool CAPS.

Microsoft is aMotley Fool Inside Valuepick, while Amazon and eBay areMotley Fool Stock Advisorselections. Whatever your investing style, the Fool has a newsletter for you.

Fool contributorTim Beyerssays you can have his MacBook Pro when you pry it out of his cold, dead hands. Tim also owns LEAP options in Apple. Get the skinny on all the stocks in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile.The Motley Fool'sdisclosure policyis like that smiling face that used to greet Tim each day from the screen of his old Mac LC.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 508516, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/22/2016 11:22:59 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $116.60 Down -0.46 -0.39%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
AMZN $818.99 Up +8.67 +1.07% CAPS Rating: ****
EBAY $29.06 Up +0.04 +0.14%
eBay CAPS Rating: ****
MSFT $59.66 Up +2.41 +4.21%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
SNDK.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
SanDisk CAPS Rating: ***
SNE $32.11 Down -0.61 -1.86%
Sony CAPS Rating: ***