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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger

Counter The G4 Trouble, Slash iMac Prices!
September 28th, 1999

Last week, Apple announced that its G4 processor production would not meet the demand and that its financial results for the last quarter of 1999 would be lower than expected. Fine, this is bad news. It is the first time that Apple has stumbled since Steve Jobs got back in 1997.

However, it is the first test to see if Apple has what it needs to succeed! In the past, this company has always failed to overcome barriers to its success and seemed perpetually unable to get out of the swamp. It is time for Mr. Jobs and the people surrounding him to face this new challenge and show that the last two years were not an accident. It is time to show that Apple is a winner, not just a company that goes up only to go back down.

Some analysts predict that Apple can only face more difficulties now in the road ahead, and it has become more tempting to believe their points. Now that Apple has invaded the consumer market with the iMac and the iBook, and reinvented its pro lines with the PowerBook G3 and the Power Mac G4, how can Apple continue to grow?

Is it possible to go further? Now that the Mac OS is staying up to date and the four corners of Apple's product line are filled, how can Apple gain more market share? Does it seem logical that Steve Jobs may have less breathing space because he has filled all the gaps? And now that Apple is in trouble with its G4 production, its stock goes down. Is this the Apple death spiral coming back?

Well, for this hardware company, it is a crucial moment. Apple needs another media coup like the one when it announced its partnership with Microsoft. Not that a similar announcement should be made, but something to flash in everybody's eyes is necessary now. Something to gain market share to ensure the company's position.

Such a move is essential to counter the bad effect of the G4 shortage. Remember that when such events have happened in the past Apple has taken blows from both its customers and the media.

How about slashing the iMac's price? The profit margins are good enough for Apple to be able to sacrifice a few dollars on each unit in exchange for more sales. If the iMac - the coolest desktop computer on the market for more than a year - fell under the 1000$ price tag, more and more people would buy it.

It would at least make up (in part) for the loss of G4 sales and would keep Apple's positive wave in the media alive until Motorola figures out how to produce enough PowerPC processors.

So many people - even Mac fans - predicted that the stubborn Steve Jobs would break his nose despite all his intelligent moves in the last two years. Many people out there are still just wondering when he and his gang will bite the dust.

Introducing insanely great products will never be enough to keep Apple successful. It is time for Cupertino to flex its muscles and fight. Otherwise, the market and Wall Street will knock Apple to the ground again. Frankly, none of us wants to witness this another time.

Apple, get up and fight back!

Your comments are welcomed.

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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