The dramatic rise of Apple during the reign of Steve Jobs, which unfortunately ended recently, is truly commendable. I remember seeing a Mac for the first time when I was in graduate school. At that stage, the Mac was used mostly by the Administrative staff at the University. Later, when I joined the workforce, I realized that Macs were used by the Administrative staff, the Technical Publications groups, and the Marketing and Sales teams within most organizations, while everyone else used PCs or Unix machines.
At this point, Steve Jobs was CEO of two private companies, NeXT Computer and Pixar, while Apple was struggling under various CEOs. While Apple experimented with management changes at the top, it lost its edge in the marketplace as PCs dropped in price and gained traction. Slowly, many corporations stopped buying Macs altogether. IT departments preferred to stick with one platform as far as possible, and that was Microsoft Windows on PCs.
Steve Jobs returned to Apple after it acquired NeXT Computer. Much of the NeXT computer’s software soon became the basis of the Mac’s future OS. Slowly Macs were becoming ‘cool’ again, and the company began to regain some momentum in the marketplace. Then Apple announced the iPod, which turned out to be a phenomenal success. A consumer product that appealed to music lovers of all ages had arrived. Young kids started to adopt the product in droves. So slowly, almost unknowingly, I became an Apple customer, thanks to the iPod craze that my daughter had succumbed to. With an iPod at home, an iHome became a natural next ‘must have’ product. With CDs now rarely used and the CD players and boom boxes seeming like relatively ugly monsters, an iPod with an iHome seemed perfect and more in tune with the times.
Then came along the iPhone and the iPod Touch. I didn’t care for the iPhone because AT&T was notorious for dropped calls, and I thought it was too risky no matter how fancy the features on the phone might be. On the other hand, the idea of a small handy device that could connect to the Internet using Wi-fi (which was fast becoming ubiquitous) made a lot of sense. So soon I had my next Apple product, the iPod Touch.
I had purchased several PCs over the years, both at work and for personal use, but I had never thought that a day would come when I would actually purchase a Mac. Then I found more and more of my customers using Macs. The odd support issues related to the Mac platform started to surface. Testing on Safari browsers on Windows wasn’t exactly the same as testing on an actual Mac platform. So I started to consider purchasing a Mac for the very first time. I rationalized that with inexpensive software, I could also run Microsoft Windows on the Mac. I haven’t done that yet, but I have now started using a Mac on a daily basis. In short, I became an Apple customer once again.
Then, the iPad came long. Overnight, the iPad was a mega-hit. Microsoft had a tablet PC project underway since the 90s, but Apple clearly stole the show with the iPad. Soon we started to get queries from customers about plans for the iPad. My kids started to mention ‘apps’ on the iPad. Having religiously used an iPod to get my daily fill of news each morning, the idea of a larger form-factor was definitely appealing. So once again, I was an Apple customer, this time with the iPad. In short, I had over time purchased a handful of Apple products (and accessories!) thanks to kids, customers, and to a certain extent, my personal ‘geekiness.’ Yet, I am no die-hard Apple fanatic like many. Talking to friends, I realized that I wasn’t alone in having Apple products creep up on me. No wonder Apple is the most valuable company in the world based on its market cap! For a company which appeared doomed in the 1990s, this has been a truly incredible resurrection.
When Apple lost the original Mac vs. PC battle, it was believed that companies must choose between hardware and software in order to grow. You either made hardware to run software made by others, or you wrote software to run on various hardware platforms. The impressive comeback of Apple and its products has started to question this basic theory. Today, Apple has the distinct advantage of having complete control over the hardware and the software. What was once deemed as a weakness is today Apple’s greatest strength. Thanks to this, Apple has built a very effective ecosystem of inter-related products and services that drives its customers to repeatedly purchase its products.
Perhaps the greatest testimony to Steve Jobs’ genius is Google’s recent move to acquire Motorola. While this move is often positioned as an attempt by Google to fortify itself against lawsuits (with Motorola’s wealth of patents), it seems to be now seeking to control both hardware and software, despite all the talk of openness surrounding the Android platform. This could also be a sign that even the relatively younger geniuses at Google have decided to follow the footsteps of ‘The Master,’ after all.
Jobs, Tussi sach much great ho!
courtesy : techgig