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The Forgotten Failure of Apple's PowerTalk 138

Posted by timothy
from the technology-oxbow dept.
DECS writes "The series of articles Why Apple Will Change TV compared how Apple is poised for success in areas where Microsoft is currently failing. But circumstances are subject to change! Just over a decade ago, Apple began facing serious legacy problems with its platform, with many parallels to today's Microsoft. Examining Apple's dramatic fall provides a series of notable platform lessons that no company should ignore. A look back at the forgotten failure of Apple's PowerTalk: Apple vs. Microsoft in the Enterprise"
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The Forgotten Failure of Apple's PowerTalk

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  • by pimpimpim (811140) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:42AM (#16407387)
    The article mentions 3 valuable lessons:

    1. Don't try to sell a futuristic product that doesn't quite work yet; instead, talk about it while selling as existing product that can compete in the current market.

    2. Don't attempt to fire conceptual ideas at an imagined market; instead, craft finished products that solve real problems and can support a sustainable market.

    3. Ship a functional product and then constantly refine it; Real world use and years of ongoing refinement create enormous value for a product.

    Now, according to their lessons, google with all their betas must be a rightout disaster, shouldn't it?

    • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:00AM (#16407647) Homepage Journal
      Actually, I'd say Google models this pretty well. Products with a real current functionality, like GMail and Google Maps, succeed despite pushing the technological envelope. Products which push the envelope too hard, like their office suite, fail to catch fire. They keep looking for the boundary between "functional" and "futuristic", but there's almost always a market for the things (especially at the $0 price they charge for it) they make when they work.

      Either way, Google is all about pushing the "constantly refine it" part. Web apps make for instantaneous, compatible upgrades.
      • by shaneh0 (624603) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:33AM (#16408143)
        Seriously, their office suite launched, what, a week ago? Even if you look at the seperate components, the spreadsheets have been live for only a few months.

      • by bigpat (158134)
        like their office suite, fail to catch fire.

        Unless its a Weber Grill, products that "fail to catch fire" are generally considered to be a good thing.
        • My Weber grill has yet to catch fire.

          The charcoal I put inside it does catch fire, though. Quite easily (and, unfortunately, the occasional steak, too).

      • Products with a real current functionality, like GMail and Google Maps, succeed despite pushing the technological envelope.

        "Pushing the technological envelope"? Wake up and stop drinking the kool-aide.

        Google search? Search results 90% of the time are astroturf sites and spam blogs. I've completely given up trying to find product reviews via google, for example.

        Froogle? Search for some computer component part number. Let's say the same # is used by sewing machines. Click on "Computers" without cl

        • Gmail can't let you do more than ONE thing at a time. Want to have a draft of an email open while reading a second for reference? Tough.
          Click the little icon in the top right of the compose mail window.
        • by pboulang (16954)

          GMail can't filter by custom headers- which makes it absolutely useless for subscribing to mailing lists.

          The correct way to do this kind of thing would be to use automatic custom addresses.. i.e. username+uniqueID@gmail.com, then create a filter.

          Your points, though valid for the most part, really don't indicate anything about pushing the envelope or not. For instance, your rant on MS live mapping.. I have never seen it, and if it is better, why do you think that it *is* better? Precisely because they se

    • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:02AM (#16407661)

      Now, according to their lessons, google with all their betas must be a rightout disaster, shouldn't it?

      Significantly different market. Google has the cash, time, patience, and talent to instead throw 100 products at the wall and see what sticks. Because we're talking web services and not hardware, they can accept a 20% success rate, or lower, and that would be fantastic.

      That said, Google would do well to invest more energy in promoting the products that look on the verge of success, like mail. Already Yahoo has come out with a product that many think is now better than gmail (though I don't), in part because google's been dragging its feet with gmail, *and* it has stagnated for over a year.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      All products ever made by all companies fall into one of those three catagories. Meaning, all products ever produced and sold are either catagory 1, 2, or 3.
      Those are not 3 lessons. It is the same lesson and I do not agree with the conclusion. If companies never tried something on the edge or what I consider catagory 1 or 2, we would have far less technology in the world right now. Catagory 1 and 2 can and do lead to number 3. Companies that only want to release number 3 are waiting for the trend to be
    • Google's not exactly staking the company's future on all its JavaScript toys. They still make something like 98% of their revenue on text, banner, Flash, and video ads. Their beta JavaScript apps just get Google lots of fluffy praise and attention from sites like Slashdot and Kuro5hin. [digg.com] It's fantastic marketing, but it's not like Google expects people to actually confide in Gmail and Docs for any productive purpose.
    • Name the Google products which:

      1. don't work yet
      2. don't have a market
      3. aren't being refined

      I'm having trouble finding examples. I'll admit, sometimes I have trouble figuring out where Google is making their money. Google Talk, for example-- there aren't ads in their chat client. Are they just making money from collecting info from my chats somehow? I'm not sure. But it works. I'm in the market for that service. It continues to be refined.

      • Froogle. Okay it's "being refined" as in being taken out behind the barn, shot, and replaced with Google Base.
      • by swv3752 (187722)
        SMS and VOIP is where they are looking to make money, plus text adds in Gmail which lets one use as a chat client.
    • 1. Don't try to sell a futuristic product that doesn't quite work yet; instead, talk about it while selling as existing product that can compete in the current market.

      This one didn't work out so well when Osborne Computer Corp tried it.
    • by hhr (909621)
      No!

      > 1. Don't try to sell a futuristic product that doesn't quite work yet; instead, talk about it while selling as existing product that can compete in the current market

      What google product is futuristic and doesn't quiet work yet? Every google product works, right here, right now. Even if they are in beta, the Google product works.

      > 2. Don't attempt to fire conceptual ideas at an imagined market; instead, craft finished products that solve real problems and can support a sustainable market

    • And Microsoft domintated the software industry by violating the "that doesn't quite work yet" part of rule 1. Windows 1 and 2 clearly were products that didn't quite work yet. Windows NT 3.0 and 3.1 didn't quite work yet.

      Rule #2 could also be stated "follow the trail that someone else blazes". Microsoft is very good at that. Microsoft had plenty of mail servers to copy when it was creating Exchange. They started by implementing other people's computer languages. They purchased a clone of CP/M to sell
    • by soft_guy (534437)
      Now, according to their lessons, google with all their betas must be a rightout disaster, shouldn't it?

      I have yet to find a Google beta product that didn't work or that was difficult to understand exactly what it did. PowerTalk is another story. I never totally understood what it did (what it was supposed to do) and it didn't work. And I was a Mac power user (i.e. religious fanatic fanboy) at the time who would have bought almost anything Apple was selling within reason. And I didn't understand PowerTalk.
  • I'm all for learning from past mistakes, and granted, there are similarities between the ongoing PC-in-the-living-room war and past wars; enterprise market notably - but the factors of the two markets are vastly different. Both Microsoft and Apple has come a long way in the past ten years, both regarding compability, marketing and usability - so declaring a (potential) winner based on decade-old experience is as useful as putting the proverbial finger in the air.

  • ..when every Mac had AppleTalk and most PC's didn't come with a network card as standard.
    • And now apple wants to take over the living room by shipping macs without a TV tuner standard.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:06AM (#16407733) Homepage Journal
        What kind of TV tuner would you have them install?

        Analog NTSC? Great, except that it'll stop working in a few years, and the quality is abysmal by modern standards.

        ATSC? You get high-def, but you need an antenna, and even then you only get the big networks, which is a big step down to people used to 100+ channels of cable.

        Clear QAM? It lets you use cable, so no antenna, but chances are you'll still only get the major networks, and it's arguably a greater pain in the ass than ATSC: many cable companies (Comcast, I'm looking at you) strip the metadata from their clear-QAM channels, making things like program guides really painful to use. And at the end of the day, you'll still be stuck with only the major broadcast networks, because those are the only ones that the cablecos are required to broadcast unencrypted. Everything else requires a proprietary converter box.

        The solution would be CableCard, but there are still a lot of areas where you either can't get one, or are treated like shit and get a degraded level of service if you do. (And you pay several extra bucks for the privilege of renting the card.)

        Given the state of the market right now, I wouldn't ship a computer with a TV tuner in it, either. If the FCC were to get its act together and really make CableCard the standard, and eliminate proprietary converter boxes, then I think you'd see an explosion in the types of set-top boxes and DVRs. I have no doubt Apple would be at the top of the list.
        • by generic-man (33649) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:36AM (#16408179) Homepage Journal
          The answer is CableCARD. I want a media box that can replace the piece-of-shit Comcast DVR that reboots several times a week, littering my screen with dozens of "recorded for 0 hours 0 minutes" listings. HDTV compatibility is a must and I don't have the wherwithal to put up a giant antenna. So far the only box that comes close is the TiVo Series3, but that makes even the PlayStation 3 look cheap. ($800, plus rentals for two CableCARDs, plus $17 a month for TiVo service, adds up to over $1,000 in the first year alone.)

          One alternative is just downloading all my TV shows from the iTunes Store (or BitTorrent, if I only want to watch popular stuff the day it comes out). To do that quickly you'll need a cable modem, and to get a cable modem for a decent price you might as well subscribe to some sort of cable, and that brings us around to square one again.
        • by Stavr0 (35032)

          What kind of TV tuner would you have them install?
          Analog NTSC? [...] ATSC? [...] Clear QAM?

          Um, all of them?

          And why the heck aren't ATSC-available channels not part of BASIC cable?
          • by Kadin2048 (468275)
            Well, the local broadcast digital channels are supposed to be transmitted as part of the lowest-cost cable package, but sometimes you don't get them unless you pay for "digital cable" service (because they'll randomly put a broadcast channel up on the higher portion of the band, which is blocked unless you pay for digital service or HSI). This is in violation of the FCC rules, but really, when has that stopped the cable companies?

            And unlike good 'ol analog NTSC, where the transmissions down the cable line w
          • Indeed. Remember, we're talking about Apple here. Apple customers expect things to "just work", and they aren't afraid to pay for it. That means whatever kind of TV they have, they should be able to plug it in and have it work, just like the Series3 TiVo - except Apple customers won't balk at paying an extra $600 for the feature the way many TiVo users do.
        • by illumin8 (148082)

          Given the state of the market right now, I wouldn't ship a computer with a TV tuner in it, either. If the FCC were to get its act together and really make CableCard the standard, and eliminate proprietary converter boxes, then I think you'd see an explosion in the types of set-top boxes and DVRs. I have no doubt Apple would be at the top of the list.

          I think you're missing the point here. Apple doesn't want to play in the existing cable/satellite/OTA arenas. They are already heavily dominated by entrenched

      • And now apple wants to take over the living room by shipping macs without a TV tuner standard.

        Digital cable tuners are supposed to include a FireWire output. All Macintosh computers have FireWire inputs. So if you're a subscriber, you should already have an appropriate tuner. Or are you talking about over-the-air?

        • My satellite box has a firewire out but it's conveniently disabled.
          • by tepples (727027)
            My satellite box has a firewire out but it's conveniently disabled.

            Have you asked your satellite provider what you can do to get it enabled and working with your computer? Or has the satellite provider already refused and are you locked into long-term commitment so that you can't use the stick [wikipedia.org] of switching to the competitor?

            • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
              Maybe there *are* no competitors. In the UK for example Sky have an absolute monopoly - you have to use their proprietary hardware (and closed encryption) to access their service and there are no other satellite services (unless you're into big dishes and foreign languages).

              It'd be interesting to see if the Apple TV thing works over here.. they'd have to provide content (something they failed to do with the ipod video - you still can't get videos on itunes outside the US), and hardware to interface with th
              • by TobascoKid (82629)
                they'd have to provide content

                I think that's going to be a bit of a challenge for Apple outside of the US, at least for English language programming being sold to English speaking countries. For US programmes they'd either have to make a deal with the studios to get the international rights (which might get expensive, as selling the rights to Apple will dilute the value of the programmes in foreign markets) or they'll have to deal with each rights holder in each individual market they want to enter (which
            • by jandrese (485)
              What makes you think the competitors are going to enable the Firewire port?
            • by yabos (719499)
              There's only one competitor which is StarChoice and I don't believe their hardware is any better. I have ExpressVu in Ontario and the Canadian govt. doesn't allow American satellite companies to sell service here.
          • Mine, a Dish Network 625, doesn't even have a firewire out.

            I don't think Firewire is actually that common, and I'm not sure where Tepples gets the "supposed to have" requirement from.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by djrogers (153854)
              I don't think Firewire is actually that common, and I'm not sure where Tepples gets the "supposed to have" requirement from.
              He waas talking about CABLE boxes, not sat boxes. Cable cos are actually regulated into providing a working FW port in the US at the moment, but sat companies have no such requirements.
              • Well, yeah, I'm aware of that. I was responding to the parent who was talking about Sat boxes.

                But I'd still like to know where the Firewire requirement for any type of box has been mandated. You say cable companies are regulated, but (and maybe I'm wrong in thinking this) I was under the impression that there's very little regulation in terms of cable equipment and requirements, to the point that even CableCARD is more or less optional.

                I have had digital cable in the past, from Adelphia, and there was

                • I have had digital cable in the past, from Adelphia, and there was no firewire port. Was this illegal

                  It's illegal if 1. you asked for a cable box with FireWire and 2. Adelphia denied it.

                  or was the regulation relatively recent, or is it not really a regulation?

                  The FCC's requirement went into effect in April 2004 [macosxhints.com].

                • by ncc74656 (45571) *

                  But I'd still like to know where the Firewire requirement for any type of box has been mandated.

                  http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/octqtr/pdf/ 47cfr76.640.pdf [gpo.gov]

                  It only applies to HD cable boxes (if your previous cable boxes were non-HD, that would be why they didn't include FireWire), but it's been in effect for ~2.5 years now. On mine, local HD channels and most non-HD digital-cable channels are available over FireWire as MPEG-2 transport streams with AC3 audio.

                  (On a related note, the recently-r

            • by Hes Nikke (237581)
              call dish and ask for one. afaik the FCC says that they need to carry at least one firewire equipped decoder box.
        • by Angostura (703910)
          Do all Macs have Firewire? I thought the newer ones had gone USB 2
          • by rahrens (939941)
            They did, but kept the Firewire. Firewire is essential if you want to connect a video camera to your Mac to download the home movie you just made, so Apple isn't going to dump it for a while - not until something better comes along.

            USB uses an error correcting protocol, and Firewire doesn't - firewire guarantees a steady transfer rate; USB, because of the error correction, does not. Thus, Firewire, or IEEE-1394, as it is otherwise known, is better for video transfer.

            Plus, Firewire is standard output on a
            • by Angostura (703910)
              My mistake. Ihad just had a back and forth with Elegato about why none of their Mac DTT products (apart from a really expensive obsolescent one) supported firewire, but only USB 2. Their answer, and I quote:

              "All DTT products that support EyeTV use USB 2.0 only. That means your Mac has to have built-in USB 2.0 ports...
              USB 2.0 products are what manufacturers currenly make, so that's what we support."

              Ah well, one lost sale for them.
              • by rahrens (939941)
                Actually, you can add USB 2 if you have a tower Mac, I had to do that to my G4 Dp 2 GB MDD last year, so I could connect a new printer at higher speed. Yeah "currently make", but they don't care about the legacy Macs that a lot of us use!
          • by Lars T. (470328)
            Do all Macs have Firewire? I thought the newer ones had gone USB 2
            Nope, Firewire is still there.
          • by dthree (458263)
            You're thinking iPods. They are all USB2 now.
        • Verizon FiOS cable comes with Firewire AND USB (and serial, but I doubt you could get video over that). Of course they're all disabled. I've never heard of any cable company ever leaving the firewire port enabled. You can call and ask to have it enabled, but the first level techs will just tell you to reboot your box and mess with your TV settings, the second level techs will sound confused and not find it in their manual, and the third level tech will finally tell you "we don't do that, what were you th
        • "Digital cable tuners are supposed to include a FireWire output."

          Who says?

          "All Macintosh computers have FireWire inputs."

          Yeah. Do they support the video formats over firewire that these tuners are supposed to provide? Where is iPVR? I guess the mac doesn't have support for this after all.
      • by vmardian (321592)
        Most broadcasts are encrypted and require proprietary cable/satellite boxes. OTA is only available in major city centers. And what the non-North American market? The future is digital distribution and Apple is right to focus on that.
  • I don't see how this will fit in to my system. I am happily running a DishNet DVR and am not going to buy a HD TV until the tech levels out, that and I bought a very nice JVC CRT set a few years back that will serve me for many years to come. So what will this do for me? Also, what about infringement on the UK's commercial station ITV?
    • by waif69 (322360)
      I found a link on wikipedia that explains the system better than the article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_iTV [wikipedia.org]
    • I don't see how this will fit in to my system. I am happily running a DishNet DVR and am not going to buy a HD TV until the tech levels out, that and I bought a very nice JVC CRT set a few years back that will serve me for many years to come. So what will this do for me? Also, what about infringement on the UK's commercial station ITV?

      First of all, Apple has said ITV is just a workingname and the final name needs to change.

      Secondly, what appeals to me about this device is that it's pay-as-you consume, inste
  • by Daetrin (576516)
    "The series of articles Why Apple Will Change TV compared how Apple is poised for success in areas where Microsoft is currently failing. But circumstances are subject to change!"

    What's with the excited exclamation mark? In something purporting to be a news story/blurb i usually expect a recitation of facts combined with a calm statement of opinion. Shouting makes it sound like either a rant or something intended as a dire warning. Are you a fan of microsoft who is vehemently denying that apple will actual

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "The series of articles Why Apple Will Change TV compared how Apple is poised for success in areas where Microsoft is currently failing. But circumstances are subject to change!"
      What's with the excited exclamation mark? In something purporting to be a news story/blurb i usually expect a recitation of facts combined with a calm statement of opinion. Shouting makes it sound like either a rant or something intended as a dire warning. Are you a fan of microsoft who is vehemently denying that apple will actually

  • It seems to me that iTV is an extension of the iPod and iTunes. It solves one problem. How do you play any media that you on your computer in the study on your TV in your living room? Well if you have a laptop, you can just hook it up to the tv. But if you have a desktop, that's more of a problem. I think the vision of iTV is that either through wired or wireless LAN, it will receive the media from iTunes on your desktop or laptop. The success of this will really depend on pricing.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      You're correct; or at least, that's how the Wikipedia article describes it -- you'll be able to put the iTV in your living room, and then stream content to it from iTunes on your Mac or PC.

      Sounds a little to me like the Airport Express was with audio (it was a box that you could attach to your stereo and then stream music to it, wirelessly) except that where the APE was purely "push" because it didn't have any interface on the recieving end, iTV will be able to "pull," browsing the libraries of the computer
      • by shmlco (594907)
        "...limit the number of computers you can have stream media to it."

        I have three Airport Expresses with the audio ports enabled, and I can chose to stream music to any of them.

        I can't see why they'd place a limit on the number of iTV devices you can have, although it may be that you'd need to pair a computer with a device, as there might not be enough bandwidth for a single computer to stream multiple movies to multiple devices simultaneously.
  • About the only useful thing to come from PowerTalk was the system-wide keychain. For some reason, it took until Mac OS 9 for Apple to introduce this feature to the Mac community at large.
  • by VDM (231643) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:32AM (#16408127) Homepage
    Another Apple project quickly forgotten was OpenDoc, which was something like OLE for Microsoft. With OpenDoc, at least the Cyberdog browser was developed (1996-97), together with object embedding capabilities on other software. It lasted just a bit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kancept (737976)
      OpenDoc was actually a group venture with IBM and a few others IIRC. In OS/2 and eComstation we still use it. Also, if you go to IBM's website (and Lenovo as well since they just imaged support section), look in the URL and you will see it's grabbing OpenDoc documents to display. It was a cool tech, just too bad it never took off. There were other parts of the "Open"XXXX standard they put together. OpenDoc just being the most widely used.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:33AM (#16408147)
    As an email gateway developer, I worked with Exchange since it's inception and I attempted to use AOCE. When I compare that experience with what's going on now, I reach a very different conclusion.

    Exchange started out life in the X.400 world. (If memory serves, Microsoft bought an X.400 product from someone else and GUIfied it.) This meant that even before the advent of the Internet Connector you could connect to Exchange using "standard" X.400 protocols. (I say "standard" because X.400 is so large and messy that pretty much everyone who implemented it was forced to deviate from the specifications in one way or another.) Not easy, but doable, and more to the point, doable from any platform able to deploy an OSI network stack. As Exchange shifted towards SMTP things improved to the point where Exchange was able to connect to existing facilities with little effort. (The article is wrong, BTW, in claiming that modem SMTP was around when Exchange first shipped. It was around but Microsoft chose to ignore it.)

    AOCE, OTOH, only provided vast, arcane, incomplete and poorly documented Mac-specific API. The underlying protocols weren't documented at all. We tried hard to figure how to interface with this mess, even sitting down to discuss our issues with Apple folks at one point, but eventually gave up. And I'm talking a group of people who developed successful gateways to X.400-1984, X.400-1988, cc:Mail, Microsoft Mail, Novell MHS, and GroupWise among others. Either we are fools who got incredibly lucky several times over, or AOCE was an unmitigated disaster. And I don't think we were lucky fools.

    But Apple learned their lesson. As the article points out, they now leverage open standards whenever possible. You can talk to a lot of Apple's new stuff over protocol. Sure, the APis are still there, and some of them are pretty nasty, but in a lot of cases you don't have to use them. Apple is also very active in various standards organizations (I wish they had had more success with Bonjour in the IETF, but that's a different matter).

    Microsoft, OTOH, has utterly failed to learn anything from their experience with Exchange. They still roll their own whenever possible. They don't document the protocols they use, only the APIs, and of course those are only available on Windoze. I used to see lots of Microsoft people at standards meetings but not so many any more.

    Of course things can change, but once things are headed in a particular direction they tend to stay on that course, even if it is a bad one. Everything I see about Microsoft says to me that they are on the wrong course and aren't doing anywhere near enough reinvention to correct it. The exact opposite appears to be the case with Apple.
    • by lahi (316099) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @02:06PM (#16411287)
      Interesting. If I recall correctly, AOCE/PowerTalk was presented at the 94 WWDC. A friend of mine attended, and shared what he had brought home with me. I saw the Demo video, and the docs. The API docs were huge - about two Inside Mac VI, I think. Incredible. The idea to empower _every_ application with e-mail capability was great in a way. As was many other ideas in AOCE/PowerTalk. But it was too complex and too inefficient.

      However, what really killed it, IMO, was that one of the premises it was built upon, was soon to be shown as false. Few people seem to remember it, but at that time, it was not at all clear that the Internet would take over the world completely. Networking yes, but it was widely believed that the Internet would be an interim solution, soon to be replaced by ISO OSI protocols like TP4. And of course X.400/X.500 etc etc. In addition, Apple still had a dedication to AppleTalk. And there were existing proprietary mailsystems like QuickMail.

      The idea was that PowerTalk users would have adapters that would enable a workstation to use legacy mail systems. In hindsight, this of course is a totally stupid idea, today we would put such gateway functionality at the mailserver. But with the following prevalence of plain SMTP/POP/IMAP mail, this capability would just constitute deadweight in the PowerTalk software.

      The idea of an in-basket on the desktop, and send-mail capabilities in all applications is in a way something that we still miss today. And if you think about it, it is in a way just a GUI rendition of old Unix ideas, with the ~7mbox (= in-basket), and :w !mail user from vi.

      In my opinion the user interface principles as they were strictly defined even up to AOCE are still unsurpassed, no interface has ever had the same completely natural feel. Windows, OS X, KDE, GNOME - nothing comes close to the interface as it was back in good old System 7.

      I sure wish there was an open source project to take the lessons learned back then, and make a new X11 based GUI that puts them to effective use, while trying to retain some fundamental simplicity.

      -Lasse
    • by illumin8 (148082)
      (The article is wrong, BTW, in claiming that modem SMTP was around when Exchange first shipped. It was around but Microsoft chose to ignore it.)
      Wow, what a logical fallacy. Just because Microsoft chose to ignore SMTP doesn't mean it didn't exist.
  • tip-toeing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:35AM (#16408165)
    I have to say I have been very impressed by Apple's strategic manovering over the last five years or so. Whilst Sony and Microsoft has been clashing heads trying to use gaming machines as a trojan horse to become the digital hub of people's living rooms, Apple has quietly been putting together all the pieces it needs to do so in a much more sophisticated manner.

    Personally, I don't think Steve Jobs is very interested in conquering the enterprise desktop these days, he's got his eyes fixed on potentially a much bigger pie - becoming the digital media hub of people's homes.
     
    • by Black Perl (12686)
      Yeah, and here's the real genius: it's completely stealth! There are no outward signs whatsoever that Apple is doing anything in the digital media space other than iPods. That's brilliant!
    • Personally, I don't think Steve Jobs is very interested in conquering the enterprise desktop these days, he's got his eyes fixed on potentially a much bigger pie - becoming the digital media hub of people's homes.

      For years, Steve Jobs has mentioned this "digital media hub" and how it would be the next market place. In this interview [alwayson-network.com] he discusses it. With Apple, it appears they have bet their long term strategy around it.

      Like the development of OS X, Apple is taking small steps towards that goal. For argume

  • I think the real problem is that PowerTalk was a bit ahead of its time and wasn't really implimented that well either.

    Something like this today might actually work if done properly and without having to buy special hardware.
  • by RunzWithScissors (567704) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:54AM (#16408479)
    Seriously, companies don't really learn from another company's trials and tribulations. At some point they all suffer from the same thing, which will cause them to experience "a downfall". This malady is:

    "But we're [insert company name here]!"

    I know it looks innocuous, but let's see that in action!

    1988, IBM was having big problems with management bloat, a stagnant product line, and a poor customer experience. But if you asked someone there 'Why would I buy from you when I could buy from Compaq or some other less expensive, more innovative competitor?' the response was invariably, "But we're IBM!"

    In 1998, SGI started shipping their coolest, most important product ever. The $15,000 Windows NT workstation. If you asked an executive at SGI 'Why would I pay $15000 for a Windows NT machine with a nice graphics card when I can build a whitebox with an Nvidia Riva TNT card for far less money?', the response was "But we're SGI!"

    Today, ask a SUN exec 'Why should I pay $X for a solaris workstation when I can buy assemble a box for $500 running Linux that will do the same thing?' What do they say? "But we're SUN!"

    It's been my experience that this becomes a problem at most sucessful companies, and if you pay attention, you'll see it's cyclical. The company adopts this mentality, loses customers, re-vamp's their product line, customer service, etc. Gains customers, becomes successful again, and ultimately repeats their mistakes and do the whole thing over again.

    Sad.

    -Runz
    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      IBM doesn't have these problems now? SUN didn't have these problems in the nineties? As I see it, they had the same approach for all these times, some have the right marketing strategy to pull it through, and some apparently don't (SGI).
      • SUN didn't have these problems in the nineties?

        Kinda, but not as bad as IBM's PC division. In the mid-90s I was using a SPARCstation ELC -- one of the early SPARC machines, and it could run rings around a '286. Problem was, the '486s were just coming out, and could wipe the floor with an ELC (especially the dic^Hskless ones we had). Sun still had the edge in graphics, as long as you could get by with four-bit greyscale. The ELC had a 17" monitor with 1152x900 resolution, back when cutting-edge PCs were

  • Site is Slashdotted, use the Coral cache [nyud.net] of it.

    Even that is rather slow .. perhaps story submitters could be asked to select which of their links are dynamically-driven, and the rest should be automatically Coralized?
  • Daniel Eran writes a lot of pro-mac articles which leads one to believe that you can't really take any of his opinions on Apple with much weight. The articles are really great to read if you are an Apple fan but, otherwise I can see how they might come off a little bit overly infatuated with Apple. If he could use more facts and cite support then I'd find them a little more insightful, as it is, they remind me of those persuasive writing assignments from English class, except all with an pro-Apple slant. Se
  • by hhawk (26580) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:11PM (#16409653) Homepage Journal
    The article states that Apple Enginners and Microsoft Markets.

    The authors understanding of what marketing is, is wrong. I think it would have been more correct to say that Microsoft Sells.

    The classical defination of marketing is to find out what a customer needs and then produce that for them.
    • by DECS (891519)
      Actually the classical definition of marketing is "the action or business of promoting and selling products or services"

      Microsoft is a great promoter and seller, but rarely do they offer the best product in a class. When they do, it's usually because they've repressed any competition and there are no alternatives left. In other cases, they spend a lot of money building a solution for a market that doesn't matter: WinCE and WMA are two good examples. Lots of development and refinements in order to deliver PD
  • Apple vs. Microsoft in the Enterprise

    So, who gets to be Spock?
  • by BAM0027 (82813) <blo@27.org> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @02:25PM (#16411549) Homepage
    I don't think this article or /. entry adds value in any significant sense. Sure, it's great to consider in hindsight theis experience, but the criticism is unnecessary if not unfounded.

    Apple addressed PowerTalk and OpenDoc (and various other initiatives) by moving to a completely different operating system. They saw the fundamental shortcomings of their ideas and their approaches and addressed them. Now, they are leveraging all the potential of OS X's *nix core in a myriad of ways.

    They didn't forget the failure. They addressed it.
  • iTV - $299, Mac Mini $599. A total of $900 minimum to stream upscaled movies to my TV from a device sitting in the next room. The next question is why on Earth would I want to do that? And how is it even the slightest bit different from what you can do today with an Xbox 360 + Windows Media Center.

    Besides, it seems pretty dumb to have to have two machines turned on just to play movies. Something like a Viiv designed to sit under the TV makes more sense. Or a PS3. The movie should be stored on the device c

    • It makes sense for us whom already have half the hardware. I already have an Imac, and Itv looks interesting to me, especialy since Itunes already sells tv shows and is starting to sell movies.

      I think the reason apple is going the route of having the Itv be a seperate machine is two fold: 1. It keeps the cost of Itv down, and 2. It may help sell a few more macs.
      --C. Alan
    • Do you have to buy a mac mini? Supposedly, the iTV will work with any mac or windows PC running iTunes 7 or above. It is different from an Xbox360 and Windows media center in that you have to run "windows".

      The mac or PC does not have to be in the same room as the iTV and your TV since it can stream via WiFi. What am I missing here?

      • by C. Alan (623148)
        What am I missing here?

        What you are missing is a Wireless 802.11n device. Apple is waiting for the new standard before releasing Itv. It will be the only way they will be able to have enough bandwidth between the Itv and the base computer to push across a broadcast quality picture.
    • Something like a Viiv designed to sit under the TV makes more sense. Or a PS3. The movie should be stored on the device connected to the TV, not beamed in from somewhere else. That doesn't make much sense at all.

      Yeah, if only Apple could come up with a small, pocket-sized device [apple.com] that included a hard disk to store movies. You could plug it into your Mac, download a movie of of some online video store [apple.com], and then carry this tiny device into your living room, and drop it into a dock connected to your television [apple.com]
      • by DrXym (126579)
        That doesn't make any sense either. Why does a user have to own a traditional PC of any kind in order download or play movies? It's utterly pointless and pushes the cost of this solution close to $1000 whether you use an iTV or your iPod with some kind of dock.

        Any device capable of playing movies should be capable of downloading and storing them too. Apple's solution is just half-assed. They'd be better off modding the Mac Mini with a TV out and a FrontRow interface so that the thing functions under the T

        • by Foerstner (931398)
          They'd be better off modding the Mac Mini with a TV out and a FrontRow interface so that the thing functions under the TV. It comes with a DVI interface (for HDTVs) and there's a $20 S-video cable for regular TVs. And it does happen to have "a FrontRow interface" (called...FrontRow...how did you guess?) with a remote control.

          Why does a user have to own a traditional PC of any kind in order download or play movies?How many people are there that want to download video off of the internet, but don't already ow

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