« Apple's New Blog Doesn't Impress Me Much | Main | Not so fast Apple, iCloud is part of the problem »

August 19, 2014

Comments

Robert Pritchett

Wow, and I thought it rather disingenuous when, as an Apple Product Professional, I was not allowed to sell to schools or government from our website or in person...because that was being handled, thank you very much.

However, no government or School District has been touched in my part of the country for years. There is no assigned Apple Rep here (Columbia Basin Region, Pacific Northwest).

And no Apple store or ministore will be opened here, as far as I've been personally told, by Apple Reps in Seattle and Portland.

So we sell via website only.

ex2bot

Interesting account, and it sounds like you had a frustrating experience with some brain-dead practices of corporate Apple.

As far as the reliability of Macs, any large-scale survey I've seen indicates that Mac desktops AND laptops are among THE most reliable.

I know it's frustrating to have to get something repaired, but do you look at your own experience and some other experiences on the web and make a determination that Apple is less reliable than Dell? I would want to look at studies instead of anecdotal evidence.

The studies and surveys indicate Macs are very reliable.

Bot

John M

What you're saying really strikes a chord with Apple's sadly lame attempts to establish a worldwide market for Macs out here in the 96% of humanity that doesn't live in the US.

No Mac v PC ads in Britain, despite the Apple Stores, and a crawlingly slow rollout for bricks and mortar in mainland Europe yet alone the gems in the developing world like Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore.

It seems that two things keep the Mac down. First is the network effect of so many people using Windows out there: which makes it the default OS everywhere in the world, even in Apple's backyard. Then second is the company's own lacklustre will to actually do something about it instead of forever carry on as the boutique brand. Come on, the Mac Mini wasn't engineered by people who wanted to keep the platform inaccessible to switchers, was it? So where's the follow through? It *almost* exists in America but really doesn't at all in the world at large.

I'm not one who thinks Apple will die if Mac market share languishes at 2-4% worldwide as I know the platform has its fans, including myself, who'll keep it up for many a long year to come. But the move to Intel and of course the success of the iPod indicate so strongly that a larger market exists out there for Apple to really capitalise on. That way our software library would expand and the platform's long term survival be guaranteed.

It's not as if Dell and MS and all the others are ignoring the markets Apple chooses to do. Things may be rosy now, but without serious moves soon Apple may be sewing the seeds of its own return to obscurity.

ocracokewaves

First to answer Robert, I'm not sure I would depend on the generalized Apple is more reliable than other brands surveys. What I would love to see is consumer reports type information on specific computer products. Apple might be one of the few manufactures which has models long enough to get data.

The Titanium Powerbook that I had when I worked at Apple was one of the most reliable products I have ever used. My Aluminum PB that I bought broke in less than two years. My MacBook was hardly out of the box before I started having problems. I'll be curious to see how Apple's quality holds up in the next set of surveys.

As to John M's comment, I couldn't agree more. But it is more than just the rest of the world. There is plenty of "white space" as we used to call the part of the US without good Apple representation.

Unfortunately Apple doesn't make it easy for small independent resellers to survive.

If Apple isn't going to give those small independent resellers a good business proposition and I don't know if they can as long as they continue to have a huge catalogue business, then Apple needs a much better online service and support attitude.

WH

To me, it seems like the problem might stem from what I have begun to see as a tendency to "worship" the great leader within American corporative culture. This spreads on and we see it in Norway as well, where some CEOs have been given grotesquely sized share options - while for instance technical support is dwindling away.
Steve Jobs might deserve the credits for having turned Apple around, but if his ego is allowed to interfere too much with what of course is mostly a team's work, I am afraid the company will make a full 360 degrees circle.
Yes, there might be white spots on the US-map, but outside "there be no Tygers" one could almost say. Have a look at the situation in Brazil, for instance, the world's fifth largest country, where Macs cost up to the double of what they sell for in the US! I wonder what the strategy is there? After all, one can get a Dell for more or less the same as in Europe, at least...

Mike

That's an interesting linked piece with some good points. However, many people tend to be suspicious of Rob Enderle, and with good reason.

I agree he's a smart writer and knowledgeable about the industry. There's an old Daring Fireball article where that Apple fan _par excellence_ John Gruber attacks his supposedly poor predictive record - in rather scatological terms.

http://daringfireball.net/2003/12/enderle

However, the last laugh is on Gruber here, since every single prediction Enderle made that Gruber crows at there has since come to pass, if not quite as quickly as he'd thought.

However, he can be way off base. Take the section in the linked article "Topic 3: Should 'Open' Apply to Open Source Folks?" really won't wash. I don't say that because I'm an open-source zealot. In fact, most of the software I run is proprietary, and I find some of the FOSS people a bit overheated. But the point is that his argument is intellectually misconceived.

The "open" in "open source" isn't some vague term ripe for elastic interpretation by Mr. Enderle but refers to a very particular feature of code - namely, code exists as both object code and source code. Source code is humanly readable but requires to be compiled (into object code) for it to run; object code can be distributed compiled and ready-to-run (as binaries) but, isn't humanly readable.

This raises very particular problems. There are many, but here are two of the most important: (1) it's not so easy to modify software to suit a particular purpose if you only have object code and can't see how it does what it does; and (2) the quality of the code can't be subject to peer-review, if it can't be read.

That people may choose to use nicknames and handles may be an issue, but it is an entirely different issue and has no bearing on the desirability or otherwise of source code (as well as object code) being available for software.

Put it this way: it really didn't matter _whose_ name was on the General Theory of Relativity. What mattered was that anyone with the requisite background in physics could read what was being said and evaluate the arguments.

That kind of peer review is not possible with computer code unless it comes in the form of source code as well as object code.

Besides, even if this were not true Mr. Enderle's assertion is false. In most cases with open source software we do know darn well exactly who is responsible for exactly what. There is a listing inside the documentation on Mac OS X that gives credit by name to all the many programmers who have worked on the open-source BSD code in the OS X kernel. (I might add, Is that true for everything coming out of Redmond?)

But I find it difficult to believe that an intelligent and knowledgeable man like Mr. Enderle, who has worked in the industry for a long time, is not aware of every point that I have (somewhat laboriously) made above. This is precisely why I am rather wary of his opinions even while I agree that he has some interesting things to say.

Bryan

I was linked to this article from dtgeeks.com re: 10 Things Apple Could Be Doing Better. I believe what was described in this post is close to what happened and that isn't the only time a missed opportunity for increasing market share has occurred. Of course it's up to the owners of Apple to decide whether they want to sacrifice quantity for quality even if it means lost sales. They certainly have high standards at Apple and at the same time they don't fully take advantage of independents/local wisdom from those with experience in the field outside the headquarters. I understand the passion the FOSS visitors had for the previous Apple booths and I'm not sure the government market is supposed to be about aesthetics so much as the consumer market (but usability is always important) so more time should've been spent on keeping existing interest levels rather than the particular chairs used or the fancy sign. I agree for the most part with this post as far as government trade shows and to a lesser degree in other cases though I'd still like to see Apple have a much larger market share. Thanks for the post.

Stephen

If you haven't figured out already, I was one of the Regional Managers in Apple Federal working for David in 2004. The FOSE Booth where he mentions SAP has particular significance.

NASA was one of Apple's largest Federal customers, doing somewhere close to 10M in annual revenue. NASA was one of the more Mac friendly of agencies, particularly in the Research Centers (as opposed to the Mission Centers).

As the FCW article below highlights, NASA was well into a massive SAP migration. Apple, having gone through their own SAP migration (twice, actually, the first time they blew 100m on a failed installation), had set conditions for success that is the Apple Retail stores you see today, in addition to their logistical management of http://store.apple.com

Other government agencies, such as the Army, were headed towards much larger SAP installations. For Apple Federal, it was key to show this sort of enterprise interoperability, particularly with its Java client. I won't mention CAC /Exchange/PKI interoperability, for that is another story for another time.

The iLife wasteland that David mentions was really a sucker punch to the gut, as we had worked so hard to get the message out to Federal customers (face to face, one at a time) that OS X was ready for the enterprise.

http://www.fcw.com/article97230-01-03-07-Web&RSS=yes

Now, if I were a betting man, I suspect David Sobotta has another Applepeels story in the wings about how Michael Hardy of FCW approached Apple Federal about doing a story on how Apple was doing in the Federal government, and what our strategy was for taking market share and increasing revenues.

We had a great story to tell, but the Apple PR machine wouldn't allow it to be told. Eventually, Apple got the interview with FCW and Michael Hardy, but there was nothing about strategy or interoperability. Instead, it was all about product, product, product. Nothing you couldn't already read about on Apple's product website or PDF fact sheet. I was allowed to be in the room during the interview, but was given VERY strict instructions from Apple PR that I was not allowed to speak under any circumstances.

Durng the first half of the '90s I worked for an Apple Authorized Reseller in Pennsylvania. My first job was as a higher education rep covering South Central PA, Maryland and West Virginia. (You might remember Rick Rautzhan, our Apple rep.

When Apple took Higher Ed in house, I was reassigned to government sales, primarily to the federal goverment. I'm remembering a FOSE or two where, as a reseller, I could scarcely get a nod from the Apple marketing crowd.

I'm retired now, but your recollections are triggering all sorts of memories for me.

I remain a loyal Apple user (iBook G4 now). My first computer was an Apple IIc in 1984 which I took on the road with us during a three month RV tour of the United States.

I look forward to more of your memoirs.

Bob Kelly
Key West, FL

El in AZ

I've experienced Apple's less-than-stellar customer service firsthand. I was charged with finding displays to replace our large computer-assisted dispatch monitors in a police telecommunications center. It took some doing to get our comm manager to even consider the 30" Cinema Display. Once accomplished, I went to a brick & mortar Apple store, spoke to the supposed Government Sales liason... And then nothing. It took weeks to get a quote... And e-mails went unanswered.

Eventually, we went with Westinghouse 32" monitors and I looked like a chump for trying to get Apple involved. Shame, too. Those Cinema Displays would look sweet in here.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Profiles


  • View David Sobotta's profile on LinkedIn

FeedBlitz



  • Powered by FeedBlitz

Tweets

Blog powered by Typepad