On Apple's Bruising
Regarding your article "The fall of an American icon" (Cover Story, Feb. 5), the Macintosh is the closest thing to an appliance that the computer industry has ever created. But that doesn't excuse Apple's years of arrogant disregard for market realities: Stubborn refusal to license its operating system (history demonstrates the folly in trying to use proprietary technology to capture a market); misguided advertising (Apple "preaches to the choir" by placing its most creative, informative ads in Macintosh-oriented trade publications); and an inability to take advantage of windows of opportunities. Apple has a track record for leading-edge technology. But its technical prowess is overshadowed by its business knack for repeatedly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Martin H. Tesler
Your cover caption ranks with the O.J. trial for incredibly irresponsible reporting. May I point out that Apple has experienced only one bad quarter and actually was profitable for the fiscal year. And that many other major companies such as AT&T, AST, Daimler Benz, and Xerox have reported losses that are 10, 20, 30 times larger without their immediate demise being proclaimed.
And may I point out that it is Apple's leading technology and superior engineering that leads the desktop computer revolution. Everything that Microsoft produces today was first developed by Apple engineers. Sadly, Microsoft then releases Apple's ideas in an inferior form and gets rave reviews for them. And further, Macintosh users are far more loyal than those of practically any other company. The reason is simple: We know we reap the benefits of the most advanced, easy-to-use technology that exists in the market today. Customer satisfaction surveys prove it.
Newport Beach, Calif.
You paint a picture of a company bent on self-destruction: an industry leader led down the garden path by an anarchic throng of selfish managers. Yet Apple's stock price was still 1.5 times book value when your article appeared, whereas when IBM and Digital Equipment were in their troubles, they were at about 0.5. Does this say something about what the market thinks? Despite all Apple's crises, the company still has key strengths in multimedia, desktop publishing, education, Internet servers, and, yes, with software developers.
As a platform buyer of Apple computers, I am telling you that no amount of media propaganda is swaying any buying decision I make. Macintoshes work gracefully on all tasks including data management. They integrate effectively and reliably on the network and have outstanding performance and RISC platform scalability. With the current platform of PCI-based Power Macintosh computers, I have never been more confident in our platform decision.
Director of Systems
How can you, with clear conscience, tout Apple as a fallen company, while using their product to lay out your own magazine? Do your writers speak to your art directors? Apple Computer has something that none of its competitors have. In fact, I can only think of a handful of companies globally that share it. They have a following! Mark my words: Your readers will stop reading BUSINESS WEEK long before we stop buying Macintoshes!
How about a story of how the media has been consistently predicting the demise of Apple Computer since its inception, and how they have been consistently wrong?
Ian D. Brazier
Graduate School of Management
University of Queensland
BUSINESS WEEK readers deserve clarification regarding last week's Cover Story about Apple Computer and its advertising. I was managing the Apple account when the now-famous "1984" television commercial was produced. The notion that the "1984" commercial "was shown only once" is a myth. It actually ran a week prior to the Super Bowl in 13 spot markets. One of these, by design, was Boca Raton, where the IBM PC division was situated.
Goldberg Moser O'Neill