Cox News Service, a part of one of the USis largest networks of newspapers, offers a close-up, or perhaps spotlight is the better term, on Apple. The article comes to us through the Rocky Mountain News, which is owned by the Cox empire. The article looks at the ins and outs of Appleis current business model, and how it may be changing and growing with the addition of the iTunes Music Store (iMS).
The author quotes competitors and long-time critics of Apple, such as Rob Enderle, an analyst who made TMOis Apple Death Knell Counter from comments made last October. This time, however, Mr. Enderleis comments could be construed as positive in nature. From the article:
Appleis business today is becoming less about making computers and more about making big bets on innovative - but risky - projects.
Before the music service, there was Jobsi similarly flashy launch of the iPod digital music player. Before that came the colorful clamshell-shaped iBook laptops. Before that were the all-in-one iMacs. Along the way were flops like the G4 Cube and the Newton handheld computer.
Appleis game plan, said Giga Information Group analyst Rob Enderle, is to always hedge its bets with innovations.
"If somethingis not working, they have something else in the wings," he said. "That way, the business never goes away. It might transition, but it wonit go away." Traditionally, Appleis transitions have been within the confines of the computer industry. Whenever it needed a shot in the arm, it introduced a revolutionary new computer that created buzz and juiced sales.
But with the iPod, its iTunes jukebox software and now the online music store, Apple is taking its ability to innovate - and its company identity - into new realms. Along the way, it is finding success like it hasnit seen in a long, long time in the PC business.
While overall computer sales grew slightly in the first quarter - industry leader Dell Computer Corp. saw a nearly 25 percent spike in business - sales of Appleis consumer-oriented iMac computer were down more than 30 percent from a year ago. Sales of its business computer, the PowerMac G4, were off more than 25 percent, though portable PowerBook sales were up sharply.
Moreover, Appleis minuscule share of the overall PC market - by some estimates, a mere 3 percent or so of a business dominated by Microsoft Corp.is Windows software - is shrinking, not growing.
"Apple is clearly a competitor, but itis not nearly our biggest competitor by any stretch of the imagination," said Jim McDonnell, an executive vice president in charge of Hewlett Packard Co.is PC business.
We also noticed that the Rocky Mountain News has published a history of Apple from the Cox News Service. The timeline starts with the 1976 founding of Apple by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ron Wayne, and goes up through the introduction of new iPods and the iMS in Aprill of 2003.