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ATPM 3.09
September 1997




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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

Well, some of you missed the subtlety of last month's column, wherein I blatantly asked for money (yet again). I'd like to put the whole movie budget thing in perspective. For the $150 million that Mr. Bill gave Apple, I could make my film 250 times. ATPM has approximately 10,000 active subscribers; so if you each send 60 dollars....

Thanks. Not too much Hollywood stuff last month, I hope to remedy that here. First, a quick look at the major happenings in a small Silicon Valley town.

Don't Panic!
I don't have to tell you times are bad. Wait, I used that opening for my April Fool's column, and I don't like to repeat a gag. To review:

Apple drastically changed its cloning strategy.

Steve Jobs is named Interim CEO.

MacWorld and MacUser merged.

Apple announced NC's for '98.

DataQuest has again predicted Apple's downfall.

Apple hired a new PR Firm.

I was trained in Windoze '95[TM].

Oh, there was this little thing called MacWorld Expo, but we covered that last month. Other stuff happened, but these are the highlights. In no particular order, let me offer my view of what these events mean to you, the home Mac owner. If you're using a Mac at your place o' business, I've got some interesting links for you, too.

The even that affected me the most is, believe it or not, the magazine merger. IDG bought Ziff/Davis. One result of this purchase was that now they believe they don't need to publish two Mac magazines, so, the MacWorld and MacUser were literally merged. At the time of this writing, I haven't received my November MacWorld. However, I am perusing a copy here at work, and it's told me all I need to know. Andy Ihnatko's column is still there, so, the world at large is safe. I haven't checked out the Help Folder column yet, but I suspect it will have changed. It is, after all, where I go as MacMan to steal the answers to the questions you send in. Have I said too much? Maybe I shouldn't have revealed that.

Anyway, Wired magazine would have you believe that the magazine merger means that the Mac community can't support two different views of their favorite computer. I believe that duplication of effort is a waste. Wired has other problems, but I won't dicuss those here.
I've reached a point in my career where occasionally, all the good columns get written, and I have nothing to add. So, for those three or four of you who are still with me, I'll go on.

Admittedly, say what you want about Steve Jobs, but he is the showman that Apple needs. Gil served a valuable function, but it was not enough. He will be missed. Steve said he didn't want the job, yet they gave it to him anyway. I received this announcement on my pager, and the editorial comments from the Wall Street Journal (apparently, the only publisher who would be happy if the Mac simply went away) posited that Steve had already been acting in this capacity since Gil left. Instead of reporting the facts, they chose to give their usual biased slant. I guess people still read it for its timely stock quotes and analysis.

Which brings me to my next point. Apple's share price is still hovering around $22, where it's been since the announcement about Mr. Bill's lunch money. For our newer readers, I'll reiterate my claim that it'll be up to $30 by the end of the year. After Dataquest's big announcement, Apple stock actually went up.

The entire WSJ article is based on a false assumption: Apple will continue to grow, in spite of its recent decision to change its licensing strategy (i.e., no strategy). Say what you want about the current clones out there, Apple did nothing to increase the Mac OS user base. The result? Go out and buy a clone before the end of the year. You'll get a really good deal. After that, I'm sure you can still find a way to pay for either an Apple Mac, or a UMAX Mac, as they will still be making them.

What's important here, is the bottom line. I know you've heard it before (probably from me), but it's true. Apple did nothing to increase sales with its clones; that decision ultimately takes business away from itself. If Apple goes down, the Mac OS goes with it. This would be bad. I know. I've seen Windoze '95[TM].

You Will Be Assimilated
I was afforded the opportunity to go to Windoze '95[TM] training last week. The instructor went around the room, asked everyone to give their name and to rank their '95 experience from 0 to 10. When she got to me, I said, "I already know the Mac, how much more do I need to know?" The fact that they aren't giving the PC guys here Mac training is an indication of the blind corporate thinking that's going on around the country right now. Download the following documents: <> and <>. I found these at the Mac Jedi <> site (another gem). The gist of the argument goes something like this: The PC initially costs less. However, after you buy all the additional cards, etc., the cost is about the same. Furthermore, not every user can best be served by going to a single platform (unless it's the Mac platform <G>). Couple this with the recent study showing that it's more expensive on a per year basis to own a PC than a Mac, and you get the concept of company short-sightedness. "What have you done for me lately?" "What are our profits this quarter?" Long term strategies don't seem to be in vogue. All I can hold onto is that Gareth Chang is still on the Apple board. For those who tuned in late, he's a senior VP here at Huge.

What Can We Do?
Well, first, send me $60. That way, I can make my entire film on a Mac. Check out <> (these people have already done this) and come back. I may say something profound yet. Seriously, take pride in your computer o' choice. Until the new marketing strategy kicks in at Apple, we're kinda on our own just like we've been for the thirteen years since the legendary '1984' commercial. If you maintain a website, get the "Made with MacIntosh" logo up there.
Make ATPM your home page. Or MacIntouch. Or MacCentral. Even MacAddict. Subscribe to Guy Kawasaki's MacEvangeList. If a friend of yours is thinking of buying his first, second, or even third computer, say the following three words, "Get a Mac." Ask yourself the question, "Would you really buy an NC, if given the opportunity?" Many may answer yes. After all, WebTV is going great guns, and you can't even download things with it. Tell others why you are using the best computer. Explain to them they're living the PC lie.

The end result of all the doomsaying is, would Mr. Bill really be hiring MacIntosh programmers, if he didn't believe in the viability of the platform? After all, before the merger, I renewed my MacUser subscription for three years.

72 and sunny in El Segundo.

e Ya next month.

Blue AppleDisclaimer: Mike gets lonely, so if you hear something radically different pertaining to either the Mac or the Entertainment Industry, or both, he can be reached at <> (and he still needs lots o' money to make his film).

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