This is just another example of Apple alienating developers by signing unfair "exclusive" deals with one manufacturer and not the others. The same "exclusive" arrangement was made with Apple's ProIO (AKA AJA Io) with it's uncompressed-over-firewire protocol that we had asked for on mulitiple occassions just hoping to be able to compete in that Firewire market. You can see why Aurora no longer develops hardware for Apple.
Are you not happy with the announcement?
Oh, don't get me wrong. I think the product is totally cool. I just think that Apple should stop acting like Microsoft.
[Mike Stroven] "I just think that Apple should stop acting like Microsoft.
What do you mean?
The list of 3rd party hardware developers that Apple has screwed is long. When they pick a partner to "get in bed with", they end up kicking them to the curb within a year or two.
Start with Matrox and FCP 1.0 in OS9. Matrox was chosen to help Apple achieve RT processing. Once Apple had a good handle on the process, they sucked in into FCP 2.0, obsoleting the "RTMac" product overnight.
Pinnacle was next with their "Cinewave". Apple implemented countless Pinnacle-specific functions and enabler tags into FCP, and didn't document them. When other manufacturers had trouble with implementation, they received cryptic references to tags with no descriptions.
Then there was the "Apple Pro Io"... Since Apple developed the Io and its driver (the driver is part of FCP), you'd think that all of the competing 3rd party hardware suppliers would have variants. Instead, Apple picked AJA to partner with, and gave them exclusive rights to the uncompressed-over-firewire protocol, as well as millions of dollars of free advertising. When other 3rd party manufacturers attempted to reverse-engineer the protocol they were met with threats from Apple. Anyone here remember the one day that ProMax was showing their Io-type product. It was pulled from their site the next day. I wonder why? Couldn't be because they are one of the largest independent Apple dealers, and Apple has some influence on whether they keep that status....
When the movie, "Cold Mountain" was released, the various video and storage companies involved went to Apple for help with a joint marketing campaign, but instead were met with another slap in the face. Apple was running a two-page ad with Cold Mountain featured on the screen of a system including an AJA Io, and an Apple RAID. Apple representatives told these companies to "just drop it."
Even though starting strong that year, Aurora Video Systems had their lowest sales year in their 7 year history. The decision was made to never again have a majority of their business tied to the whim of Apple Computer. Sadly, being the only exclusively-Macintosh provider in the market, hurt Aurora the worst. Their loyalty to Apple products and Apple customers left them destitute from trying to compete with Apple directly. When the layoffs were over, and the owner's investment completely dried up, they left to pursue other interests, and to try to again build up a cash base for retirement.
Today, with yet another example of Apple favoring one hardware maker over the others, you have the IoHD. Great box. However, if Apple truly wanted a broad range of competitive suppliers (the lip-service they always had for Aurora), they wouldn't do these "exclusive" partnerships. It's unfair, it's anti-competitive, and it sucks. I'm sooo glad I'm no longer in that business. The sad thing is that Aurora led that market in features and technology for years, and Apple was always clueless about it. They still don't have a clue what a film workflow looks like. Last time I checked, FCP still couldn't handle a QT timecode input correctly.. The ability to output a video stream with an alpha channel was a request that Aurora made to Apple engineers. Funny how a year later AJA was shipping such a feature...
Everyone loves being an Apple user, but being an Apple developer is a totally different gig. Even AJA hedged their bets by developing Windoze drivers for their stuff, and by supporting open-source stuff like the RaveHD.
Apple is just small enough that these practices go unnoticed, but these are the types of behavior that Microsoft has been slapped down for on numerous occassions... That's what I meant.
Are you the Mike from Aurora, I have baught three Aurora product and they were great product. I have gotten technical support from you several time and it was a pleasure to have working with you. You allways solve the problems and I hope I meet you at a trade show or some thing like that some day and all the best in whatever you continue to do one love.
As to the Apple issue we are living in a era of roothless Capitalism where smaller company are crush by the larger company. If you notice there is a all out war from Apple to crush Adobe and Avid and they are suceding to and extend. And even though I have benefit at times from these rapacious behavour things like these put company in trouble and cause the working class much ecconomics chaos, the big power such as wallmart and other distributor have export over 20 million job that have payed American working class from $15.00 to $30.00 per hour and replace them with jobs at $8.00 to $10 per hour.
I am very proud of a brother like you who have come foreward to educate us about the true story about Aurora because they were a good company that I was loyal to just like how I am loyal to Apple. My two daughter are in high school and although window pc are less expensive I spend the extra funds and buy them Apple products.
Apple need to know that they are on top and the same people they pass going up to the top will be the same people they pass on the way back down. The folks that help build Apple in the video and broadcast world such as Aurora and onthers, Apple should know they have to help them survive and help them to weather the bad times because these guys bring great skills to the table and loyal followering.
Out of interest: Mike, why do you think BlackMagic could survive in this environment having the same battle on their hand?
Don't get me wrong. I'm/was a loyal Aurora man and still can't understand after even Apple admitted that the Pipe + drivers was the most stable FCP they have ever seen that they didn't hire you guys on the spot?
This year I finally have to move to HD and the ioHD looks like the answer (still have to see one in action first :-) but truly I rather would buy an Aurora product if still possible.
But then again these days I'd rather buy Aja then I would buy BM even if Aja is a bit more expensive for same hardware functionality and that probably for the fact that Apple and Aja work closely together and because Aja actually makes very good products :-).
Shame though for Apple's behind door politics, because I always thought that one of the strength of FCP was the open system so other smart people can develope one part of the chain and really concentrate on making it perfect. But maybe costumers actualy don't want this as Avid was always very sucessful to sell turnkey products totally overpriced!
The Cold Mountain story is really the most amazing bit in this saga. The first big Hollywood type feature cut on FCP and only possible thanks to Aurora hardware and this very fact completly ignored by Apple. Would be really interesting to one day find out why Apple made this descision. Will we ever know...
Last question: Why doesn't Apple buy AJA? They bought everything else they rolled into FCP.
Hmm, sorry for your troubles, Mike. Apple is a growing company, that is for sure, but they are know where near the size of Microsoft. The bigger they get, the more 'muscle' (read, cash) they have. It sucks, but that's our society. Communism is an alternative, but man is that boring.
Honestly, AJA seems like a great company and they have diversified their entire product lineup to other NLEs so they aren't working exclusively with Apple and don't forget their converters which started their whole business, they've been around a long time. AJA makes great products, and just happened to be there with the right products at the right time. I remember back when I was choosing my first capture card for FCP, I was looking at Aurora and waiting for an HD card that I read about on the AUrora site. It never came, so I never bought one. I ended up going blackmagic HD and then the KOna 2 came out after that and I knew what had to be done. American business politics aside, AJA makes great products that work for me and the ioHD looks pretty cool.
AJA and Aurora started their businesses at about the same time. AJA started as a converter maker with a couple of generic OEM cards with no software support. They weren't at the right place with the right product at the right time. They had their designs and their roadmap handed to them by Apple Computer.
Aurora started as the only exclusively Macintosh manufacturer of capture and edit hardware. As I stated in my previous post, Apple designed the Io. It still appears in their documentation as the "Apple ProIo" AJA had a card, but had never written a QuickTime-compatible driver for it. They were the last to the party, and (as I stated before) had Apple to do their marketing for them. So, no, I don't subscribe to the theory that AJA got where they are by doing a great job building great products. They got where they are today because Apple put them there. Kind of a "blind leading the blind" arangement, considering Apple's distinct lack of experience in high-end post workflows.
[Mike Stroven] "Apple designed the Io. It still appears in their documentation as the "Apple ProIo" AJA had a card, but had never written a QuickTime-compatible driver for it. ."
Not true, Aja designed the Io, Apple had no clue how to design something with video capture and E-E function, but yes the first software was written by Apple.
you forget however that Aja was the very first card delivered for OSX, and the first HD card on OSX also.
"They were the last to the party, and (as I stated before) had Apple to do their marketing for them."
Really? Aurora just did not kept up, they forgot their user base pretty much since OSX came out. Didn't it take 12-18 months to get the first OSX driver for FCP from aurora? Long delays on driver releases when the software changed pretty much killed a great product, but they had the same sort of tech support, good when you got it, but spotty the rest of the time.
Like Radius and Digital Voodoo (which had PSD support 9 years ago), Cinewave, all of which have passed on the mac platform, all while FCP has grown into a professional product. All the while AJA grew into an industry player.
If AJA's product are so bad, why do you need to keep beating on this (its been over a month since your last post here, and you only have 11 total posts to your name)
Why do you think companies like Apple, Avid and Discreet (Autodesk) all use AJA hardware for their varied NLE systems?
Why wouldn't EVERY FCP user want to use hardware from the same people that manufacture the video cards for Avid's 4:4:4 workstation or the video cards used in Autodesk products like Flame, Inferno and Lustre.
Yeah it's all about Apple, and the people that work at AJA don't know anything about producing professional output devices, just ask anyone in the industry, even their competitors.
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Hmmm... What do you make of this:
Link to PDF (You'll notice that Aurora wasn't mentioned in that PDF either, even though Aurora was doing full uncompressed before the Cinewave was announced.)
For the record, AJA partnered with Blackmagic Design to ship their first OS X drivers. (That was a mistake they won't make again..) Not a terrible task for BMD, considering they didn't have almost 10,000 users already on older hardware in OS 9 to support, and features like Cold Mountain to support. Aurora and Cinewave had RT effects in hardware. The API for writing software to support RT in QuickTime sucked, and even though Pinnacle had deep pockets and local access to Apple, Aurora delivered their RT driver for OS X before the Cinewave driver arrived.
I am sorry that you felt Aurora support was not adequate, since I was the one who started and headed the support department, but I believe that your experience was not the norm and we received very positive response to all of our support surveys.
I am not saying that AJA doesn't build great hardware. I'm saying that it's not rocket science to slap some video chips on a board. The difficulty is (and always has been) getting the info necessary to build a solid software driver for the hardware. My bottom line is that AJA wouldn't be where they are today if not for the special treatment they received (and continue to get) from Apple. I am glad that they are doing well, and (as I've said before), the IoHD is a great piece of hardware!
[Mike Stroven] "Link to PDF (You'll notice that Aurora wasn't mentioned in that PDF either, even though Aurora was doing full uncompressed before the Cinewave was announced.)"
partnerships come out of hard work, and it was something that Aurora did not get, maybe still does not, the PDF is dated Nov 2003, what has Aurora done with / for apple since then?
In all honesty not a lot of companies that work with Apple do, I do not have answers on why Aurora never caught on. I know why I went in a different direction, I needed tools that I could work with, and being able to contact them with issues and ideas.
"I am sorry that you felt Aurora support was not adequate, since I was the one who started and headed the support department, but I believe that your experience was not the norm "
Mike, like I said what killed me was the inability to deliver timely driver builds, my business stays on the front of the curve and not being able to handle the latest and greatest kept me from doing my best. Support's hands are tied when you have no drivers to support your hardware in the ever changing builds of the OS back then.
"The difficulty is (and always has been) getting the info necessary to build a solid software driver for the hardware. My bottom line is that AJA wouldn't be where they are today if not for the special treatment they received (and continue to get) from Apple."
Aja is a company with some of the most innovative leaders and engineers I have met in this industry. IMHO they lead in this industry because they listen and adapt. However one of the best things about AJA, diversity, it is not just about FCP. Its all of the OEM connections and making sure the products can fit into every single niche, be it mac , windows or linux.
I have not even started talking about the entire converter line, were they have created an industry standard for portable video conversion devices.
Does AJa have an edge, yes, most innovators do. But don"t think it is all about Apple, its' about all of the companies they have worked with over the years too.
AJA started as one really really smart guy with a vision, but it does not end there. AJA has over 100 people now, and I bet the one guy that started it still knows everyone by name.
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
You believe what you want, but I was there. I know what Aurora did to innovate in the Mac video market.
Where Aurora fell short was in giving away too much, in not parking a dedicated guy in front of Apple Marketing 24/7. It's the political crap that we all despised which led people to startup and to join Aurora.
I'm done here. Call it what you want, I don't see the "innovation" that you speak of.
if you dont see innovation in AJA, that is likely the starting point of deciphering the problem. the outlook is probably not what their OEM business partners see. obviously apple saw it.
sounds like there is a country song just dying to be written on this topic, but i dont think many people on this forum would buy the record.
I like you John. You write the music. I'll write the lyrics.
Rest assured, my ability to recognize innovation is fully intact.