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Where was Apple in 1999?

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TImothy Auld
Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:18:59 pm

What drove the sales of Mac Pro's?


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John Pale
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:21:52 pm

There were no Mac Pros in 1999.

Next question.


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TImothy Auld
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:31:01 pm

OK, semantics. What drove the sale of G3s and G4's? The point is where was Apple as a company in 1999,
and how much does Apple owe to FCP to it's current market position? They paid a lot of money to have a huge Apple logo at the end of LOTR. Who was buying Apple computers in 1999?

bigpine


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TImothy Auld
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:38:43 pm

By the way, Apple's stock price in late 1999 was in between $65-70. By the beginning of 2000 it was
close to $100.

bigpine


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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:35:24 pm

Avid was a prime mover of high end Mac desktops at the time.

Some people in Avid had lead people to believe they were going to drop Mac support during NAB 1999.
One example article.
http://www.independent-magazine.org/node/416

I think this motivated Apple's development of FCP to sell their desktops. Apple no longer wanted to risk hardware sales primarily dependent on third party software and I think this has been on of the guiding philosophies in the development of Apple's ecosystem business model.



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Steven Gonzales
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:24:56 pm

I believe the big "Avid will go to PC" scare was earlier; see this excerpt from Avid's history:

http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Avid-Technology-Inc-Compan...

Strengthening Ties with Microsoft and Intel: 1997-98

In March 1997 it was announced that Intel Corporation would invest $14.75 million in Avid by purchasing a 6.75 percent interest in the company's common stock. Although Avid's customers tended to be loyal Macintosh users, an Intel spokesperson noted that Intel's next-generation Pentium processors would be well suited for high-end video editing work. It was expected that future and current Avid products would be tailored for use on both Intel-based PCs and Macintoshes.

Avid enjoyed a financial comeback in 1997, showing strong first-half revenue and overall revenue of $471.3 million for fiscal 1997, an increase of 9.9 percent. After trimming operating costs, the company returned to profitability with net income of $26.4 million.

In mid-1998 Avid acquired Softimage Inc. from Microsoft Corporation for $285 million in stock and cash to strengthen its television finishing and 3-D product lines. Based in Montreal, Softimage developed high-end software for all areas of professional visual content production, including tools for 3-D and 2-D animation and for creating, editing, and finishing graphics and effects-centric video programs. Softimage had an installed base of more than 21,000 products used by more than 6,000 customers. As a result of the acquisition, Microsoft owned about 9.1 percent of Avid's shares of common stock then outstanding and received warrants to purchase up to 12 percent of Avid's stock over the next three years.



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TImothy Auld
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:35:21 pm

Wasn't really talking about that. How close was Apple to being the most wealthy company in the world
in 1999? How much do they owe to what they are now to Final Cut Pro?

bigpine


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Christian Kinnard
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:48:11 pm

Yeah, I know people make a lot out of straight numbers. They are making their money with the smaller devices etc, and right fully so. But there is that element in which Apple had a major cool factor because of it's tie to the industry.

Again, not saying as a company they aren't doing the right thing. I just feel that FCP really helped add to their "creative types" aura. It's interesting to think about what the perception would have been without FCPs foot in the industry and how much validity it added.

Christian



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Steven Gonzales
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:08:06 pm

Remember the "Think Different" ad campaign? I think you're on to something.

Film and video is considered a glamour profession (by those that never had a high pressure deadline!), and I think Apple may have shifted from glorifying the iconclast as a way to grow markets.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:27:20 pm

While the "Pros" may be a small market they certainly have been a big part of the marketing. In fact it was the Pros that helped sell it to the consumers. Students who were aspiring filmmakers bought Macs and FCP because the tools the "Pros" used were within reach. They learned skills so they could get freelance or staff positions in post production all while learning on their own projects with their own gear.



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Steven Gonzales
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:17:03 pm

I learned the Avid inside and out and had a job maintaining them. Then my friends were making a feature on film, and had a budge of about $4000 for edit equipment, which was what Avid cost for 1 week rental.

I used FCP because I had no choice, and never really thought it would work, but knew I could push the lists over the AVID for the crucial cutlist if Film Logic didn't prove accurate.

I wanted the tools of the pros, but didn't have the budget. I definitely fall in the aspiring group that used FCP.



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Jamie Franklin
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:24:29 pm

[Craig Seeman] "While the "Pros" may be a small market they certainly have been a big part of the marketing. In fact it was the Pros that helped sell it to the consumers. Students who were aspiring filmmakers bought Macs and FCP because the tools the "Pros" used were within reach. They learned skills so they could get freelance or staff positions in post production all while learning on their own projects with their own gear."

Actually it was the other way around. While I was in Uni and involved with the school board it was Apple who was aggressively pushing to get Final Cut into our classrooms so students would be graduating with a Final Cut skill-set helping to push the platform into the professional market.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:55:49 pm

[Jamie Franklin] "Actually it was the other way around. While I was in Uni and involved with the school board it was Apple who was aggressively pushing to get Final Cut into our classrooms so students would be graduating with a Final Cut skill-set helping to push the platform into the professional market."

If that's the case they may be looking for a repeat if they can get FCPX into the schools now while they work on adding the pro features over the next year or so.



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Jamie Franklin
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 12, 2011 at 12:10:36 am

[Craig Seeman] "If that's the case they may be looking for a repeat if they can get FCPX into the schools now while they work on adding the pro features over the next year or so."

Let's hope the schools are smarter than that, will work towards educational pricing with avid or Adobe and skip this - disastrously lackluster with no future - program....but we all know how much brands love to warp young minds...and schools are more often than not, susceptible to $


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Bill Dawson
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 12, 2011 at 1:15:50 am

>If that's the case they may be looking for a repeat if they can get FCPX into the schools now while they >work on adding the pro features over the next year or so.

I am with a school and we have talked to Apple several times. They are not making it easy. As I write this, there is no educational pricing. We would have to pay retail for each copy and download it multiple times, once per computer. No thanks.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:10:22 pm

[TImothy Auld] "How close was Apple to being the most wealthy company in the world
in 1999?"


Oh, you mean when Avid and Media 100 ran on Macs? When After Effects ran exclusively on Macs?





[TImothy Auld] "How much do they owe to what they are now to Final Cut Pro?"

Does this implied calculation include iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macbooks or exclude them?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tim Wilson
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 13, 2011 at 6:27:59 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "[TImothy Auld] "How much do they owe to what they are now to Final Cut Pro?"

Does this implied calculation include iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macbooks or exclude them?"


Bingo.

[Chris Kenny] "Which is worth commenting on, in the context of the "Apple is abandoning pros" meme...."

The first time we heard the "abandoning pros" meme here at the COW was around 2002, when we heard "Apple cares more about iPods than Mac Pros," because it was already becoming clear that this was going to make Apple more money than computers possibly could. In these days of iDevices out the wazoo, the fear struck in the hearts of creative pros by iPods seems almost quaint.

The meme resurfaced again when Apple dropped Computer from their name, which by that time, was both redundant and irrelevant anyway.

But it certainly speaks to what I think is partly implied in the thread title...or at least in some of the replies...which is, hey, we had something to do with Apple's growth since then, so why abandon us after all these years?

I don't see it that way at all. Apple has made products and technologies that pros like enough to build our businesses on -- I owned a Mac-only video production company for a dozen years -- but we should consider those "collateral benefits." Satisfying our needs was never exactly the point.

That is, I doubt that Apple has made choices based on market needs, as much as the opportunities a market represents for Apple.

Market needs might provide some guidance, but by and large, Apple doesn't respond to markets. Apple moves as it will, and expects markets to respond favorably.

Good for Apple. I don't mean this to sound cynical on my part or Apple's part in any way. We should all be so successful with our goals.

So no, I see no evidence that we've played a meaningful role in Apple's growth since 1999, except to the extent that we have paid Apple to do things Apple's way.


Standard disclaimers and disclosures: Every company in this market whose name starts with the letter A, including Anthro, ARRI and ASSIMILIATE, has spent a lot of money advertising with Creative COW. I speak for myself and the voices in my head only.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:46:50 pm

The NAB comments happened in 1999-2000. I was video engineer at a facility doing broadcast post so I was right in the middle of that company's decision making meetings as a result.



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Steven Gonzales
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:02:09 pm

That sounds exactly right as a time frame when the concern was growing and decisions were crucial.

I didn't mean to question your accuracy. I just remembered that buzz when the Microsoft ownership of Avid stock first hit.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:08:08 pm

See this for more related history.
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/10205



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Steven Gonzales
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:16:36 pm

Very interesting. Thanks for the link.



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Steven Gonzales
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:25:28 pm

There was no Mac Pro in 1999. There was Blue and White G3, cpu PowerPc family.

Mac Pro debut was 2006.



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Tim Kolb
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:34:35 pm

Now that we know what products they were selling in the hardware line...

Mac workstation sales were driven by the printing/graphics industry (largely Adobe software), the video industry (Avid, Media 100, Adobe After Effects/Photoshop...etc), and the audio production industry (ProTools now part of Avid, Sample cel, Midi instrument software, etc.).

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:37:28 pm

This recounting of history at the time is worth reading.
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/8AA115DC-2398-456E-9319-FE5...



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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:41:40 pm

That's what I recall too. There were maybe 80,000 Avids in the world in 1999.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

Current DVD:
http://store.creativecow.net/p/81/jerry_hofmanns_final_cut_system_setup

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX - Cinema Displays I have a 22" that I paid 4k for still working. G4 with Kona SD card, and SCSI card.


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Matt Callac
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:55:19 pm

[Tim Kolb] "Mac workstation sales were driven by the printing/graphics industry (largely Adobe software), the video industry (Avid, Media 100, Adobe After Effects/Photoshop...etc), and the audio production industry (ProTools now part of Avid, Sample cel, Midi instrument software, etc.)."

Yep, it wasn't just video pros, it was design/print/publishing/audio/etc. It was the creative professional market, of which video professionals are just a fraction.

-mattyc


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Craig Seeman
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:50:03 pm

And all those print pros are probably on iMacs now.

It may be where the MacPros are headed as well as Thunderbolt replaces most of the PCIe slots. There may still be a MacPro with replaceable GPU (16 lane PCIe) and the ability to add internal hard drives but it will be trimmed down a bit. We may know this week.



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Chris Kenny
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 12, 2011 at 4:05:41 pm

[Steven Gonzales] "There was no Mac Pro in 1999. There was Blue and White G3, cpu PowerPc family."

Which is worth commenting on, in the context of the "Apple is abandoning pros" meme. Apple's towers today are far more high-end, as compared with mainstream computers, than Apple's towers were in 1999. In fact, Apple's towers were mainstream computers in 1999 (B&W G3 towers started at $1599, which was an entirely mainstream price point in those days), whereas now the iMac is Apple's mainstream desktop, and Apple has an entire hardware line above it pretty much exclusively for professional content creators.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Greg Burke
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:27:22 pm

[TImothy Auld] "What drove the sales of Mac Pro's?"


The "6%" Randy thought wasnt important enough to aim at

I wear many hats.
http://www.gregburkepost.com


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Pierre Jasmin
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:31:05 pm

A company has larger margins on workstations then cheap computers...

Anyway, while we are having fun, to add to the FCP X-Files:

"
From Apple's 2003 SEC filing:

In August 1997, the Company and Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) entered into patent cross license and technology agreements. In addition, Microsoft purchased 150,000 shares of Apple Series A nonvoting convertible preferred stock ("preferred stock") for $150 million. These shares were convertible by Microsoft after August 5, 2000, into shares of the Company's common stock at a conversion price of $8.25 per share. During 2000, 74,250 shares of preferred stock were converted to 9 million shares of the Company's common stock. During 2001, the remaining 75,750 preferred shares were converted into 9.2 million shares of the Company's common stock.
"


It should also be renoted that Avid sold a short while ago SI (XSI, the 3D app) to ADSK as part of financial restructuring (being short on cash say). And I bet Intel and Microsoft don't have shares in Autodesk from that transaction. In the process Avid maintained DS who was in development when Microsoft acquired SI in mid-90s.

OK, did we made it incestual enough yet... all we are missing is some mouseless two-headed monsters ... :)



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Rocco Forte
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:19:53 pm

You've been dumped. Accept it and move on. Hit the gym.


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Greg Burke
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:36:22 pm

[Rocco Forte] "You've been dumped. Accept it and move on. Hit the gym."

indeed I will...to Windows 7 & Android

I wear many hats.
http://www.gregburkepost.com


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Jeff Bernstein
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:28:40 am

OK, I am having Deja Vu. Here was what I wrote on Macintouch in 1999. Sorry it takes up so much room, but notice how today's arguments are eerily familiar...

Subject: End of Mac Media Composer
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 01:11:23 -0700
From: jhb
To: Ric Ford, Avid, et al
On behalf of all Media Composer editors I know (about 200)...

What the f*(@! I am one of the first Avid editors on the planet. I worked at Rebo Studios in Manhatten in July 1989 when we took delivery of the very first Media Composer v1.0. It ran on either a Mac II or Mac IIx, I can't quite remember. It was incredible! While you could barely make out the digitized video images on screen, we didn't care. Why? No more 409, no more Trace, and you could simply hit this magical button that would let you insert a clip right in the middle of a sequence without worrying if Trace would screw up. Today, most editors give me a wierd look when I mention 409 and Trace. They have no idea what they are.

Flash forward to today. Avid announces the end of the line for the Mac and Media Composer with 8.0 being the last of a breed. As an editor and support engineer of both Media Composer and Symphony, I beg the powers that be at Avid to continue development of Media Composer on the Mac.

First, let me layout my credentials. I have been an editor and Chief Engineer of ABC News, where I purchased ABC's very first Avid in 1990. I then went on to become the senior editor of MTV. In 1991, I moved to LA where I was an editor and compositor for ABC Entertainment On-Air Promo, and in 1992 became the senior editor of General Hospital. In addition, I have consulted Sony, Panasonic, Grass Valley, and Apple on product development. Alright, enough about me.

Back to the issue at hand... Why continue Media Composer development? For starters, Avid has done a fantastic job at recreating the Media Composer on the NT platform, now called Symphony. When you are in the Symphony application, you would swear that you are using the Mac. The problem is that as soon as you are outside of the application, you are squarely in the middle of an NT environment. Not fun. Suddenly, Media Composer editors long for their Macs. Simple things like importing a song directly from a CD in the CD-ROM player becomes a major hassle. Organizing and backing up your files becomes a weed-like process as you sift through the odd commands and menus. Popping on a Zip drive onto a system brings you the joys of plug and pray. But the clincher, if your system goes down, it's an all or none proposition - blue screen of death.

With a Mac we take these things for granted. You want a song off a CD, drag and drop. You want to add a Zip drive, pop it on the built-in SCSI port. If your system is having problems, it usually starts out as wierd ailments. Perhaps boot up is taking longer than usual, or maybe you are getting a -43 SCSI error. But you are not down. If you do a little maintenance consisting of about an hour, at most, you are back up and running. With Symphony, it's time to book an edit session out of house because you will be taking at least 4 hours pieceing your NT system back together. DO OVER.

One of the reasons Avid's biggest competitor, Lightworks, got out of the market was because editors had a hard time navigating through it because it was based on a PC. At the sametime, it is true that Avid's feature set was simply more robust.

Why is Avid dumping the Mac? Oh, there are plenty of reasons. For starters, Apple's success in the multimedia markets, especially the broadcast market, is not because of Apple. History will show that it is despite Apple. But that is another topic for another time. Let's jump forward to recent history. For starters, PCI slots. Apple has wavered on the number or expansion slots (NuBus and PCI) since the first PowerPC CPUs. The latest fiasco is the B&W G3. With the lack of built-in SCSI, lack of serial ports, lack of stable third-party converters for USB and Firewire, Apple has a royal mess on their hands. The Mac is the only platform with only three expansion slots. Even the really cheap Celeron systems have 5 expansion slots. I could go on, but the bottom line is that professionals need more slots. Apple executives will go on and on about how their "research" tells them that users don't need the slots. As my dad once said, "Figures don't lie. Liars figure."

The most glaring reason may be that both Intel and Microsoft have been bending over backwards to work with Avid. Did I mention they been practically backing up Armored trucks filled with cash in the executive suites at Avid's Tewkbury headquarters?

For those wondering why Media Composer 8.0 will only do a single stream uncompressed, while Symphony already does dual-streams uncompressed, has to do with the PCI bus. Apple has to decided to play it safe by continuing to only partially supporting the PCI 2.1 spec. The full spec calls for 64 bits running at 66 MHz. Apple has decided to run the B&Ws at 64bits running at 33MHz. To get to the point, there simply is not enough bandwidth to move two uncompressed D1 video streams in the box. Some of you may point out that the ATI video board resides in a 66MHz slot. Unfortunately, this slot is very proprietary in that it runs at 66MHz, but at 32 bits. Apple had to whip this port together because they couldn't make AGP ready in time. Thus, it kind of ticks me off that they list 4 PCI slots as a feature. If you look at the beige G3 through the System Profiler, you will see the "built-in" ATI video is also on the PCI bus. Some of you may point out that Apple had to stick with 33 MHz for compatibility with existing PCI cards. HMMM, compatability didn't seem to be a problem when Apple took away Floppy disk drives and shoved USB and Firewire down our throuts.

When you ask an Apple Executive, and they know who they are, why they don't build a box for us professionals, they claim they can't be everything to everyone. When Apple killed cloning, in my opinion, they lost the right to use that excuse. Besides, isn't content creation one of their core markets?

Also, Apple still suffers from Ivory Tower Syndrome. When Amelio and Hancock were in power, the best thing they ever did was to get Apple to listen to their customers. Now that Steve is back, listening is not at the top of Apple's priority list. Well listen up Steve. Firewire and Final Cut Pro are great, but they are only a sliver of the market. If Apple is going to expand in the content creation market, it must have solutions for the entire vertical. If it doesn't WinTel will. In fact, the Wintel market does. Major heavy duty applications such as SoftImage, Discreet Logic, Maya, have all been ported or are being ported to NT, not Mac.

The real shame of it all is that Apple is on the verge of offering a real heavy-duty operating system, OS X, that will be more scalable than NT. It will be easier than NT and, if things continue they way they are going, it will be more stable than NT. Add to the mix G4 and Symetrical Multiprocessing in the near future, and you are onto something really BIG. But we still need more PCI slots, we still need faster PCI slots, and we need Apple to wake up to the market realities of the video vertical market. The same box you build for this market would be perfectly suited for those who need a heavy duty server, both of which are missing in Apple's product line.

Unfortunately, Apple's upper management is set in their ways and can not admit they have made a mistake. Call it pride, they call it research.

Jeff Bernstein
Digital Desktop Consulting


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Paul Dickin
Re: Where was Apple in 1999?
on Jul 12, 2011 at 9:44:05 am

[Jeff Bernstein] "Apple's success in the multimedia markets, especially the broadcast market, is not because of Apple. History will show that it is despite Apple. But that is another topic for another time."
Hi
Nice article, very timely. That's more or less how I remember it.

[Jeff Bernstein] "The latest fiasco is the B&W G3..."
Where I lived in the UK there was just one Apple retailer, with a sales force of 4 or 5 selling into the pre-press or educational market. I was on the periphery doing video editing training for their clients. At the end of the session where this sales team was introduced to the new B&W G3 they all looked at each other and said with horror "how the hell are we going to sell a Bondi blue computer into a professional environment - we'll be laughed out of the door!"

Luckily the graphite G4 soon followed, interestingly with 4 PCI slots later reinstated - which was crucial for professional media production. I think the clamour does help getting Apple to reconsider ill-judged decisions.



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