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September 5th, 1997

Rotten To The Core
September 5th, 1997

by: Bryan Chaffin ([email protected])

When Steve Jobs told Time magazine that he would be happy to go back to Pixar if Apple employees were upset about him having sold his Apple stock, I was filled with fear that he would abandon us. That was before I realized that he was clueless and that he was willing to not tell us the entire truth. Now I wish he had or would go back to Pixar. Mr. Jobs is a great man, but he is not great enough to lead the company that my business needs to succeed.

Let's start with Mr. Jobs' statement that all of the technology the cloners are using came from Apple. Do I really need to point out the absurdity of this? Was it Apple that came up with UMAX' CacheDoubler, was it Apple that designed the 60 MHz system bus speed for the the PowerCenter Pro? It was not. This kind of preposterous statement coming from Mr. Jobs makes me doubt his sanity. The 60 MHz bus speed that Power squeezed out of Apple's outdated system designs are a full 50% faster than Apple's fastest offerings only one year ago.

Next, let's move on to his assertion that cloners did not expand the market. In an interview with The Austin American-Statesman, Joel Kocher (former President of Power Computing) said this in response to Apple's accusations: "[They said] You're not expanding the market, you're not expanding the market.' I said you show me your list of customers you took away from the Windows platform and I'll show you mine. Well, they never asked that question again." I am not privy to the customer lists of either company, but I think it is a fair thing to say that Apple has not done much to gain Windows customers. Apple has said that only 99% of Power's customers were already Apple customers. That is 1% higher than Apple's percentage and I think that at least some of the other 99% were actually "former" Apple customers that had left or were contemplating leaving the platform. But then again, these numbers came from the same person who explained that Apple was only receiving $50 per box for licensing while conveniently forgetting to mention the other money received from cloners for hardware licensing.

This entire ordeal has been an effort at spin control usually reserved for politics. Apple Computer wanted Power Computing out of business because they made better boxes. Apple lost market share because they made inferior boxes that were prone to problems and were almost always late to market. On top of that, Apple marketing has been inept for years. Assuredly, Power's job was made easier by the fact that they were dealing with lower production numbers. Apple has to be able to produce enough parts to make enough computers. Hey, guess what? If they can't do that, they should not be in the hardware business! That is their job, after all, to make enough parts to produce enough machines. I find it somewhat laughable that Apple is effectively complaining that they are too big to compete. Make way for the little guys then Mr. Jobs.

As an example of this kind of Newtonian spin control, Apple has tried to paint the cloners as unwilling to pay their fare share of the costs to produce the Mac OS. Said Mr. Jobs in an internal memo: "Apple was willing to expand the licenses to include these rights, but only in exchange for raising the license fee to a level which, we believe, reflects a fair share of the expenses to engineer and market the Mac OS platform" He went on to say "We were flatly rejected." This is patently untrue. Not only did the cloners and Apple come to agreements in June before Mr. Amelio was ousted, but a Power executive told me point blank that Power was willing to do whatever it took to secure a license. Certainly this was not the attitude being displayed by Mr. Kocher, but it was the underlying reality that led to his departure. In my opinion, this kind of outrageous statement is simply unbelievable.

Now I come to my favorite item from this week's activities. Mr. Jobs said in a press release that "We look forward to learning from their experience, and welcoming their customers back into the Apple family." Hey, guess what Mr. Jobs? I never left the Apple family! Why? Because I was a buyer of the Mac OS (not to mention other Apple branded Mac OS products like, maybe that's a bad example)! That, Mr. Jobs, makes me an Apple customer! That he doesn't understand this should be an indication of how far out of touch with reality that he is. His statement to that effect was even more insulting than the statement made in changing the Mac OS Up-To-Date program to retroactively exclude clone customers. How insulting can one billionaire a-hole be?

I am interested in starting a shareholder drive to give Joel Kocher the position of President/CEO of Apple. That might be a stretch, but wouldn't it be fun? With Apple's right to hire Power employees, I could swiftly envision an Apple that is better than either Power or Apple were in the past!! Mr. Kocher, are you interested?

In the meanwhile, Power Computing will be selling Mac OS systems for another three months. I am intending to buy enough systems from Power to last my company until Rhapsody is released. At least then I can buy an Intel system that will run a good OS. I love the Mac, I look forward to Rhapdosy, I despise Apple. Mr. Jobs, go back to Pixar and make movies, I think you have done enough to "save" Apple.

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