Monday, July 27, 2009

Week of 07/27/2009

What is Apple’s Problem?
– by David Matthews 2

For years Apple has been barraging people with their pompous ads, arrogantly proclaiming how their products are splashier, brighter, safer, faster, and basically SUPERIOR to anything that comes out by any other manufacturer. And by “any other manufacturer” they usually mean Microsoft… even though Microsoft doesn’t make whole computers.

For years we have had to watch those moronic ads on television by two actors hired to portray Apple as hip, cool, and trendy, and personal computers (running on Microsoft) being dorky, clumsy, nerdish, unresponsive, bloated, deathly sick, paranoid, and otherwise lame. Insult after insult after insult being perpetrated by a bunch of paid comedians with a shrug and a smile and an Apple logo.

Of course, despite their mocking of Microsoft under the banner of “PC”, sales of Macintosh computers haven’t exactly taken over the computer market. Sure Apple can crank out a hip all-in-one-phone, as well as a portable multimedia player, but Macintosh computers are still stuck on the Island of Misfit Tech, making only modest gains in sales.

Still, Apple is keeping itself in the black, which is more than can be said for the House that Bill Gates Built.

So… what could get the First Church of Steve Jobs so upset they would unleash their legal Kraken?

Microsoft decided to fight back.

Microsoft has been running commercials exploiting the Mac’s biggest weakness: price. Sure Macs may seem slick and hip, but when every penny counts and the economy is in the toilet, price is more important than being hip. And Apple’s computers have always been far more expensive than the various personal computers on the market.

But apparently it’s an unforgivable sin to point that little flaw out. A big enough of a sin for Apple to send their legal iGoons to Redmond and DEMAND that Microsoft change their ads. Microsoft officials did admit they changed a part of their original ad, but only because Apple had dropped their Mac prices to under $2000, not because of the iGoons.

Still the followers of the iCult have been busy screaming bloody murder at Microsoft’s counterattack. They take a perverse pleasure in viciously attacking the people seen in the Microsoft ads, point out that the ads talk about hardware and not software, and hype among themselves the fallacy that Apple computers are safe and free from the threat of viruses and malware. Oh, wait, you mean they aren’t? Well don’t tell the iCultists that! They might accuse you of working for Microsoft!

Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but it is high time that this poison fruit gets plucked and tossed.

First of all, the iCult followers should be thankful that it is just Microsoft that is counter-attacking them. If the REAL PC makers wanted to jump in, then the iStuckups might feel just a little ganged-up on when companies like HP, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Dell, Sony, Acer, IBM, LG, Micro-Star, NEC, Panasonic, Sharp, and Samsung (to list just a few) joined the fray.

Remember that Microsoft doesn’t make personal computers! They only make the software and a few peripherals that unite the various brands together. When you’re attacking personal computers, you’re attacking a whole LEGION of companies and corporations that make computers.

And that, of course, is the dirty little secret behind Apple’s so-called “success”. They OWN pretty much EVERYTHING in that computer. From the case to the chips, it all has to have Apple’s approval. They own the hardware and the software and they have had a rigid control over which companies get to work with them and why.

They are, by their own business practices, elitists.

And that’s good for them in terms of quality control. You really can’t find fault with wanting to make sure that everything that goes into your brand product meets your standards.

But at the same time, look at what it has cost them. Sure they may make a computer that does great videos and pictures, but you also don’t have the variety of software distributors. Games are few and far between. Sure you can play Worlds of Warcraft and City of Heroes and even the Sims, but the cheaper games are hard to find without hitting the Internet. Sun may make a halfway-decent Office substitute, but it still doesn’t compare to the Office programs that Microsoft designed FOR Macintosh users.

And then there is the price. Sure the iCultists will tell you that you get what you pay for, but has it ever occurred to them that maybe the masses aren’t looking to buy the tech version of a Rolls Royce? Remember, money is tight, and if you need a computer and a store like Wal-Mart is willing to sell you a simple computer for under $300 and it does EVERYTHING you want it to, are you really going to pass it up?

Let’s get brutally honest here… the Apple iSheep need to get their iSticks out of their iButts. Do they really think that they can pompously trash all other computer manufacturers over and over and over again and NOT have someone speak up in response? Do they REALLY think that they have the monopoly on pretending to be hip and trendy and cool?

And that perhaps separates the two ads between Apple and Microsoft. Apple has to rely on sketch comedy between two actors with a little music box ditty running in the background. Microsoft, on the other hand, shows real people in real stores going over the various computers. They didn’t pretend to be hip or cool. They just showed people.

When all is said and done, a computer is just a TOOL. It doesn’t make you hip or trendy or cool. A bikini model holding a laptop under her arm will still look just as hot if she is holding a Fujitsu Lifebook as she would an Apple MacBook. It doesn’t really matter what BRAND you have as long as it does what you want it to do. That is the REAL secret to the success of the PC manufacturers.

Apple has some really great products. But if all they’re doing is sell a brand, then they really have no idea why they’re not the top computer manufacturer. Maybe instead of marketing an iLife, they should focus at looking at the real thing.

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