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Is Apple the new “Evil Empire?”

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Aharon Rothschild
Is Apple the new “Evil Empire?”
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:00:56 am

Is Apple the new “Evil Empire?”

Up until the recent release of Final Cut Pro X the sentiment among professional editors and media creators has been that Apple “Was on our side” i.e. that they where engaged in a long term win-win relationship with Apple. What that essentially meant was that Apple would invest in its pro products over a long period of time even if that didn’t result in a rapid increase in profits for a particular product over the short term. This would be the professional’s side of the win; Apple would be on their side as a long-term partner and would give them the creative tools they needed and evolve those tools over the years. Apples win would come from the commitment of professional during periods of downturn. For example, during the last half year or so, as many restated their commitment to Final Cut even as it was surpassed by Adobe Premiere in terms of flexibility in native editing and in core speed.
This relationship is very similar to the IBM model,
http://www.economist.com/node/18803123
where feedback from customers is the basis for business decisions as they relate to platform changes and shifts in the company’s focus. To sum up the Economist’s excellent article: IBM is there for the long haul which is why it is not a company with a exploding share price but is a company with steady increase in value over the last hundred years.
The “Evil Empire” tag can be given to a company that is disconnected from it’s customer base to the extent that it clearly promotes its short term interests to the detriment of it’s customer’s needs. There are hundreds of examples to choose from and it would be unnecessary to point to any one company to illustrate. However a clear indicator is when customers feel their loss equals the company’s gain. At this point of disconnect with its customer base, if the said company does not course-correct and re-invest in it’s core relationships it will move farther and farther away from those interests, eventfully creating something that is clearly self serving, and in the eyes of it’s customer’s “Evil.”
Apple’s final cut pro x is an example of such a product. A cursory review of customer reactions breaks down along the following lines:
Production houses: Complete rejection. See the podcast by Walter Biscardi and Richard Harrington
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/3700
Independent Filmmakers: Switching to competitors product.
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?253485-Anyone-switching-from-FCP
SLR Filmmakers: Mixed bag, most users hate it with more casual users liking shallow learning curve.
http://www.cinema5d.com/news/?p=6895
Casual Users: Love it.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20073159-248/first-look-at-apples-final-c...
It’s clear that when seen as a program taken at face value, at its release, this product reflects a clear change in direction. While previously aimed at the professional market this product is now targeted at the casual user. Apple may attempt to retain it’s existing pro customer base by modifying Final Cut Pro X to better reflect their needs but that would come as an after the fact modification. The changes already implemented are skewed heavily in favor of the casual user. Professional users are right to feel abandoned after years of commitment and partnership with Final Cut Pro.
Speculation as to Apples intent in the macro sense and whether the company overall is shifting away from pro users is outside of the purview of this short article. It can however, be concluded that Apple now values short-term profit from Final Cut Pro above the continued loyalty of its longstanding professional user base. Whether this proves a wise choice in the long run will remain to be seen. For now however, there is a definite market opening for a young startup to step into the void with a customer driven product to challenge the new Evil Empire.


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Andrew Corneles
Re: Is Apple the new “Evil Empire?”
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:50:12 am

I've been thinking about apple being the EE for a while, not so much in terms of Pro Apps, but just in general - I've witnessed the company transition from making tools for creatives to use,
to making tools to sell micro transactions (and make huge profits).

I'm not going to pass judgment on them morally, but I do think
that alienating their true "pro" base (which has been slowly
jumping ship, even before this XFCP debacle) will eventually
destroy the relationship that originally made mac cool and different,
and put them on a different level socially and politically
in the eyes of their customers.

I in the past few years, seeing all of Apple's interesting
choices when it comes to openness and business dealings - and
being around people that idolize their products - I have wondered
what everyone would think if Microsoft's made the same moves
Apple has made....

Most people would be calling for anti-trust hearings,
class action lawsuits, etc - but Apple's ingrained "coolness"
gave them a lot of leeway to operate.

I personally kindof felt it was over when one day on my home PC,
i went to download quicktime player, and Apple mandated that
I install iTunes.... I don't know the date, but some may remember
that.

I hold out no hope that apple is going to revamp XFCP to be anything
more than what it is today.

I've been giving AAPL the benefit of the doubt when it comes
to their PRO suite for MANY years, hoping that they would do the right
thing, and make FCP 8 64bit (as we've bought their macpro's to
slide our AJA and BM solutions into, even as the FCS was 32 bit).

All of the apologists tout how long they've worked on it,
that we should give them time to give us back the things we need.

Make no mistake, AAPL is very deliberate in their direction.
This program is not FCP, it is iMovie Pro. It is in its DNA.

We have essentially been using the same program since 2004.
They've had enough time to make FCP 64 bit. (I think most of us
would have settled for FCP 7 64bit, in fact I think they owe us that
still)

I just can't believe people will argue that rebadging and updating
iMovie is anything more than the end game of creating a huge
professional market, bringing in the top people to push it
in the industry, and then using the nameplate to sell millions of
copies at $300 a pop to every apple zealot that has a dslr or what have you.


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Is Apple the new “Evil Empire?”
on Jun 23, 2011 at 12:03:23 pm

[Andrew Corneles] "I just can't believe people will argue that rebadging and updating
iMovie is anything more than the end game of creating a huge
professional market, bringing in the top people to push it
in the industry, and then using the nameplate to sell millions of
copies at $300 a pop to every apple zealot that has a dslr or what have you.
"


thats the nutshell of the year.

http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Is Apple the new �Evil Empire?�
on Jun 23, 2011 at 5:00:28 pm

Jobs has definitely taken on the role of a Bond villain...and relished in it


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