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January 6, 2000
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The total package
Some thoughts after the MWSF keynote.
I think AAPL's "internet strategy" is not really an internet strategy at all. Right now, for all its hype as connectivity wunderkind, the COMPUTER and the INTERNET are really two separate beasts. One uses a computer to get on the web. Once there, the web is pretty much like reading a magazine, with some built in interaction. Its a medium through which different computers exchange information, but its a relatively static one.
Consider how the web works. One logs on to a portal, which is really just a convenient collection of links to other pages. Those pages are, in large part, just big collections of data. The easiest way (so far) to make money on the web was to offer advertising space on these pages, and to try and promote your site as the definitive place for whatever kind of data you happen to be peddling. Once again, this model is very similar to print and print advertising. Traffic = subscriptions.
The new Apple site is a different beast altogether. It is not a portal sight (although it does share some of a portal's features). It is an extension of your computer. In essence, it utilizes the power of the network to expand your computer's functionality (see iAAPLguy's post on this topic a while back).
A couple of months ago, I specifically predicted that for the iComputer to realize its potential as a truly ubiquitous consumer product, it needed to create applicable functionality for the average consumer. In particular, I said the ability to quickly easily create a web page was a feature sorely missing.
Now, with Firewire, iMovie and AAPL's site, our company has embraced this idea more fully than I imagined. Think about it: now anyone can film, edit and post content to the web on his own site. Its the merging of hardware (Firewire, camera), software (iMovie) and the internet/network to create one, complete, consumer SOLUTION. The ISP alliance is an addittional piece of the puzzle.
Do you make the distinction between your television's hardware, software and content? Or is it one device inclusive of all three elements?
|"Do you make the distinction between your television's hardware, software and content? Or is it one device inclusive of all three elements?"|
AAPL is blurring the lines to create a more useable end product. Its a strategy so simple only a visionary could have seen it.
It also offers up a number of interesting prospects such as built in video conferencing, and interactive streaming content.
Of coarse the question now becomes,"How can AAPL best turn this insanely great idea into insanely great piles of cash?" The inevitable question will be posed- how will AAPL make its site Windows friendly? If you view their strategy in the same light as I do, you'll see that this isn't necessary or even desirable (at least for now). Quite frankly, the average consumer PC isn't really built to exploit the utility of what AAPL is offering right now, with the exception of Quicktime.
What is more important is for AAPL to continually develop and use the web to create what AAPL has always sought- the most friendly, elegant, cutting edge, useful piece of consumer technology in the new digital age. In theory, their web strategy should continue to attract new buyers as the Macintosh is more capable than ever before. They were successful in selling iMovie. That kind of focus should continue to propel AAPL sales forward.
AAPL seems to be taking an incremental approach to this aspect of their business. So we should continue to see new innovations as AAPL attracts more loyal users.
And, ultimately, these users will provide advertisers a lucrative audience for their propaganda. How long do you think it will be before streaming Quicktime commercials are part of the AAPL experience? And how long will Quicktime content providers continue to get a free ride? Unfortunately for those of us who aren't fond of advertising it may be all to soon. We should probably enjoy the relative lack of commercialization.
All in all I am very excited about the new direction AAPL is taking. There is a great deal of potential here, and we may one day wake to realize that a truly remarkable strategy was born quietly before our eyes.
My Mac is a better machine today than it was yesterday. How many products can you say that about?
All of that and OSX too! (I like it because it looks like "Oh eSEX";-)
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