Apple Death Knell #30: "Apple Is In Decline"

by , 11:00 AM EDT, October 7th, 2003

DING! DING! DING! That sound was the Apple Death Knell Counter going off again. The Apple Death Knell Counter (ADKC) is a collection of death pronouncements for Apple throughout the years. Issued by journalists, analysts, pundits, business executives, and the like, there have been innumerable "Apple is dead," "Apple will soon be dead," and "Apple is dead if they don't do this or that" statements issued by all sorts of people who have been proven time and again to be wrong. The purpose of the Death Knell Counter is to collect these statements for posterity's sake, so that as Apple continues to thrive and prosper, we can remember them.

Today we have Death Knell #30, and it marks the second entry into our list by Rob Enderle of the Giga Information Group. In October of 2002, Mr. Enderle issued comments about Apple saying the company was being "driven into obsolescence" (see our full commentary for more information). Yesterday he had an editorial published by that offers up a new Death Knell.

That piece, titled "Apple, Linux and BSD: The 'Other' Platforms," offers advice to people who have grown tired of Microsoft's perpetual security problems, and are curious about other platforms such as Apple, Linux, and BSD. While Mr. Enderle is somewhat complimentary to the Mac platform, calling it the strongest alternative on the desktop, he also specifically says Apple is in decline, and also declares that there are more Linux applications than Mac apps. From his editorial:

The disadvantages associated with moving to the Mac platform include the cost. This platform doesn't use industry-standard AMD- or Intel-based hardware. While the hardware is generally better looking, you'll pay a premium to get high-performance machines. On the other hand, there are few viruses that attack Mac OS X , and the platform generally is as reliable as the other Unix variants.

While there are compelling arguments for moving to Apple on the desktop, the Apple server is very interesting technically but not very practical. The things that make an Apple PC compelling -- user interface and industrial design -- don't play well on servers, adding up as simply unneeded cost.

Migration costs are lower once you are on the server platform, but for enterprise-class tasks, you are generally limited to Unix management tools, which tend to be expensive. The biggest long-term problem with moving to an Apple platform is that the company is in decline, which means you might have to migrate again at some point to another platform. Despite this, the Mac is a solid platform and looks damn good on a desktop.

You can read the full article at TechNewsWorld. Check out our Apple Death Knell Counter for a list of folks who have been wrong so far.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Not as many Mac apps as Linux apps? We much have missed the Linux row at CompUSA. It is vaguely possible that there are more utilities and other handy apps for the Linux platform than total Mac apps, but there are 17,000 native Mac apps. Plus, many Unix apps are available for the Mac as well, and that's not even counting the entire X11 catalog, so what list of apps is Mr. Enderle looking at?

Again, maybe he's right on this one, but if you want to talk commercial apps, he's wrong, and if you want to limit it to the desktop, which he did, he's still wrong, but more so. If he had been talking strictly about server and networking apps, we wouldn't quibble, but the way he puts it, he's still left with little more than being wrong. Since he has made somewhat of a career of not understanding Apple, we should probably just let that one slide.

Now, on to that "in decline" statement. Again, what company is he looking at? Apple is one of two profitable PC companies (the other being Dell), and the company is showing growth in education for the first time in years, and everyone and their brother knows the G5 and the iPod are both selling like downloads at the iTunes Music Store. Apple is also gaining market share in the growing portable business, and the company is firing on all cylinders. So what's Mr. Enderle talking about?

Ah, that's right, he seldom knows what he is talking about when it comes to Apple. Congratulations, Mr. Enderle, you can now claim Apple Death Knell #30, your second entry into that list of "special" people.