What was said
In 1997 Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers had said that
“Apple should close its shop and return the money to its shareholders”!
What was done
In 1997 Apple got 150 million dollar investment from Microsoft to bail it out of its then financial crisis.
13 years later today, Dell is just one tenth of the size of Apple AND the BREAKING NEWS is
“Market value of Apple has crossed the Market value of Microsoft!!”
What this means is that as a company Apple is more valuable than Microsoft in the market today, and the amount is 3 billion USD more than Microsoft!
Well, if any industry expert had speculated this a decade ago, he would have been laughed at. An analogy those days of comparing Apples to Oranges was that 9 out of every 10 computers in the world run on Microsoft Windows and so how on earth can Apple beat Microsoft?
The truth is that even today it is a fact that 9 out of 10 computers run Microsoft Windows and yet inspite of this Apple has been able to cross Microsoft’s market value. The reason?
Well, its not the lack of vision of one Steve (Steve Balmer, the CEO of Microsoft), but the passion for perfection, elegance, value for money of its products and the market understanding of the other Steve (Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple) that has made the difference for Apple.
Apple has become number one today NOT by eating back into Microsoft’s dominant zone of operating system and office applications, but has become numero uno by creating its own market with the series of products like iPods, iPads, iTunes, iPhones, iMacs – all – the brain children of Steve Jobs who is solely responsible for the turnaround of the company he co-founded in 1976 – Apple.
Steve Jobs (and so Apple) missed the boat of the personal computing when in spite of Macintosh entering first into the market as a graphical operating system, they allowed Windows (and so Bill Gates and Microsoft) to take over the market of Personal Computers. This resulted in today’s 9 out of 10 computers running on Windows.
But Job’s passion for aesthetic designs has got Apple and its Macs its own group of fan followings and yes a computer looks beautiful when it is from Apple. Macs took away the notion that computers are ugly heavy chunks of hardware.
Apple’s systems are aimed at usability and that is what has made it popular among artists and designers. You can experience the difference by trying to run Adobe Photoshop on a Mac and a Windows system with similar hardware configurations. Microsoft concentrated more on interoperability for its software and that helped it take a giant leap in the field of personal computers where you need to get everything connected and working on your desktop. For Apple software you HAVE to use only Apple hardware, not so about Microsoft, their software runs on almost all hardware which allows it to :)
Steve Jobs finally decided to take an about turn when in 2006 Apple announced that it would be running all its future Mac computers on Intel. Today all Macs run on Intel processors, and so finally it is possible to dual boot both Mac and Windows operating systems on the same computer.
Now compare this with Apple not liking Intel Processors earlier and challenging Intel’s Pentium processors against its IBM based PowerPC processors that were running Macs then. Apple had always been saying that their PowerPC processors are great at running heavy applications like Photoshop when compared to Intel Pentium Processors.
So then what caused the switch to Intel Processors? If at all Apple wanted to changed their processors, AMD would have been a better choice because their processors are cheaper and faster than Intel chips!
Well, it was more of a business move than a technological move on Apple’s part. With Intel processors Apple would be able to take Microsoft applications to its Mac systems, while Intel would be able to find a need for making its processors more faster for Macs. Microsoft was failing Intel by not being able to use the faster Intel chips effectively in creating better operating systems which required faster processors, and the delay of windows Vista made Intel to look elsewhere to convince end users for the need of faster processors. So Mactel was a natural alliance.
Remember that the art of graphical user interface called WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer) was invented at Xerox PARC, was perfected by the human interface group at Apple and released in their Macintosh operating systems, but the fruits of it went to Microsoft who successfully marketed it by not tying it to any hardware, and by providing great tools and ease of use for developers to build loads of applications on their operating systems. Yes, if Apple had only been a software provider like Microsoft allowing its operating system to run on any hardware instead of restricting it to their own hardware probably Microsoft would never have reached its heights.
Coming back to Apple, the turn around started with the great entertainment product iPod. iPod was definitely not the first digital music player that entered the market, but neither was Windows the first graphical operating system! Marketing matters a lot after all :)
Along with the success of iPods came the success of iTunes, followed by iPhones, now iPads all beautifully designed and packaged which took entertainment, mobile phones, notebook computing all to a new level. Apple started making more and more money selling music on iTunes, applications on iPhones via its Apple Store, selling millions of iPods and so on. Infact iPods and iPhones have added more brand value to Apple. Intelligently enough Apple made iPods work with windows instead of restricting them to Macs.
No matter who says what iPhones have definitely revolutionized the mobile phone industry. In spite of not having support for blue tooth (other than for bluetooth headsets and hands free mode) nor running flash applications and being a new entry in the mobile market, iPhone sales have still has been able to reach those big numbers. Isn’t it only because of that elegant design, usability and aesthetic nature of those phones which Steve Jobs is so passionate about?
Having said all this, very few are aware that Steve Jobs is a Buddhist! Before starting Apple, Jobs had visited India in search of spiritual enlightenment. He came back as a Buddhist with his head shaved wearing traditional Indian clothing. He has said that people around him who did not share his counter cultural (ie Indian) roots could not fully relate to his thinking. (Ref: WikiPedia)
Having sold over two million iPads in just two months now – Steve Jobs is the only reason for what Apple is today. Steve Jobs is the real Apple.