TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 95 Crabbs Apple
Volume Number:11
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:Crabb’s Apple

An Open Letter to Guy Kawasaki

I’m not doing Windows Manager for PCWeek!

By Don Crabb

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

Dear Guy,

I’m glad you’re on board as the Apple Fellow in charge of developer evangelism, and I suspect that other developers are, too. Even those who gripe privately that “Guy’s too full of himself to help us.” Frankly, they don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

If the majority of Mac developers were half as smart and half as clever as you, I wouldn’t be writing this open letter today. I’d be sitting back and watching all those insanely great Mac apps rolling out of the disk duplicators and filling the Best Buys, the Circuit Citys, and the CompUSAs of the world. And Apple would be on top of the world, smirking down on Bill Gates and his Windows 95 three-ring circus.

Insanely Great or Just Insane?

But, of course, that ain’t happenin’. Instead, we get a few very good products developed for the Mac, using the Mac’s technologies, driven by a Mac mindset, and pushing the state-of-the-art of personal computing. Products like Live Picture, NisusWriter, FaceSpan, Rae Assist, CodeWarrior, and Scripter.

And we could expand this circle to include a couple of dozen other good programs that come from the Mac, live on the Mac, and won’t exist on Windows 95. Unfortunately, that circle is getting smaller. 4D will soon be a Windows product. FileMaker Pro already is. So are ClarisWorks, PageMaker, Illustrator, and a pile of others that only a few years ago were Mac-only.

For a variety of reasons, Mac developers just aren’t writing those blow-your-socks-off apps anymore just for the Mac. Many developers see writing for only the Mac as insane, not insanely great. If killer Mac apps get created at all, they’re being created in a multi-platform world. The interfaces are designed to be malleable. A couple of tweaks here, a couple of widgets there and BINGO! you have the Windows version of your Mac app. Or the Motif version. Or the OS/2 version.

Which may help make a few more short-term bucks for those developers than they’d get developing only for the Mac world, but it’s death to Apple and eventually will be death to the Macintosh.

Defining Superiority

In the Windows world of today, the Macintosh still holds on because it does offer a difference to its customers. Even with Windows 95, the Mac still offers a superior interface and OS technologies that Microsoft may never choose to rename or copy.

But if the Mac can’t claim superior applications because of these tightly-coupled OS services, what will the Mac advantage be? Why will customers buy Macs? Why will developers write any software for them? If you’re an independent developer, why not just bag it now, and get on the Windows gravy train?

Apple 101

Of course, Apple’s answer to developers has gone something like this:

• Because so many applications live on Windows, the competition there is tougher. Even though Windows’ market share is roughly five times the Mac’s, the application competition is even keener.

• Apple is now pushing solutions to its customers, which gives developers new opportunities to target these same customers.

• The PowerPC, CHRP, and cloning will increase the Mac OS market share.

All of these answers make sense at some surface level, but they don’t stand up well to closer scrutiny.

Let’s consider them, one by one. First, the Windows competition argument. It might be true if Mac developers were contemplating only switching to Windows and not developing a generic application that can be fit to both OS’s. In the “let’s develop for both” world of developers, the competition argument is moot.

The solutions argument is a no-brainer, but it’s also an argument that Microsoft has made to its developers for years. Come to us, Microsoft says, and we’ll help package your products with our solutions and get them to customers. And if you’re really lucky, we’ll eventually buy your small company for big bucks and make you part of us. The entire Microsoft Home series has been architected just this way. If you’re a small developer on the Mac side, you aren’t likely to see Apple publish your product - although Claris Clear Choice has started this.

The expanding market share argument holds lots of promise for widening the Mac sales base, but it also holds the greatest pitfalls for what constitutes a Mac. When you have CHRP clones, will they all take advantage of all the Mac OS services? Will they all run Copland? OpenDoc? Will some also run Windows 95, NT, OS/2, and UNIX? What will this mean to the Macintosh user experience? And where will the Mac OS be once it is decoupled from the hardware, as CHRP promises to do?

While expanding market share is good, under this scenario, Guy, Apple starts to look a lot like Microsoft, except without Microsoft’s head start and without Microsoft’s huge lead in the applications market. How will you paint the expanding marketplace picture in such a way as to keep developers focused on the Mac, when it will become difficult to say just what a Mac is?

Expectations of a Special Place

Of course, I don’t expect you to fix all the stuff Apple has screwed up for the past eight years. Neither do other developers who have a clue. But customers are not going to be so forgiving; and it’s ultimately the customers whom you have to convince, through your efforts to get developers to make the Mac a special place again.

Let me share with you a part of a letter I recently received from a long-time Mac customer to give you the gist of what I’m talking about here:

“My first computer was a Mac Plus, purchased in 1989 in the days when you could count the number of Mac models on one hand - and even understand the differences! I subscribed to both MacWorld and MacUser and really enjoyed following the technology. Two years ago I ‘upgraded’ to a Performa 400 (Mac LC II) which I’ve maxed out at 10 Mb RAM and an upgrade card with an 030 chip and co-processor. This fall I’ll be upgrading to a new machine. Except this time it will be a Pentium with Windows 95 pre-installed, probably from Gateway 2000.

“So it’s not a Mac. Who cares? To stay with a Mac I’d need to get completely new hardware and software anyway. Think they’re going to support the 680x0 world more than a few years more? Besides, there are about seven times as many new CD-ROMs out for Windows as for Mac, and gobs more software. Even Windows 3.1 is close enough to a Mac for most of the things I actually need, and Win95 will be that much better. Furthermore, many of the Web browser companies are not going to be coming out with Mac versions. For home use, it makes lots of sense.

“I’ve used both Macs and Intel machines for several years now. While I’d hate to set up an Intel machine on a network, I don’t have to. My company does. We have a help desk that figures out all the weird stuff. Furthermore it’s not that hard to set one up for standalone home use. Plus I’ll finally be able to dial into my company’s Banyan network when I telecommute from home. The interface software for that only comes in an Intel version, too.

“I don’t feel badly about Apple. There are a lot of suits running around there who have made a bunch of money the last several years at the Mac users expense. The suits have treated the engineers who actually made the cool stuff like hired hands. I hope the engineers all find jobs working for someone else doing more cool stuff, and I’m sure the good ones will.

“Once Win95.2 is out, I’m gone, Don. And I bet I’m not going to be the only one. I wouldn’t be surprised to find you writing the Windows Manager column one day for PCWEEK.”

Guy, you can argue with the specifics in this letter, but you cannot argue with personal conclusions. Your job, more than anything else, is going to be to help Apple’s developers and Apple’s own engineers make the cool stuff again. And make it pretty damn soon, before we, like the writer of this letter, are all gone.

And before I have to write a goddamn Windows Manager column each week! Gimme a break!

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

GarageSale 6.9.2 - Create outstanding eB...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
calibre 2.17 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.2 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.2 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
RoboForm 2.0.2 - Password manager; syncs...
RoboForm is a password manager that offers one-click login, mobile syncing, easy form filling, and reliable security. Password Manager. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don't have to! Just... Read more
Apple MainStage 3.1 - Live performance t...
Love the sound you got on your recording? MainStage 3 makes it easy to bring all the same instruments and effects to the stage. Everything from the Sound Library and Smart Controls you're familiar... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.2 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.44 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
Stacks 2.6.9 - New way to create pages i...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Ea...
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is a new science-fiction-themed entry into the award-winning Civilization series. Set in the future, global events have destabilized the world leading to a... Read more

Mediocre, the Team Behind Smash Hit, is...
Mediocre, the Team Behind Smash Hit, is Teasing Their Latest Unnamed Project Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Heroes of Gaia Review
Heroes of Gaia Review By Campbell Bird on January 26th, 2015 Our Rating: :: TIMERS OF MIGHT AND MAGICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This free-to-play rpg looks a lot like Heroes of Might and Magic, but it’s poor... | Read more »
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destr...
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destructamundo on iOS This Month Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Choice Provisions – home stable to | Read more »
King of Thieves – An Interview With Zept...
Ahead of the release of ZeptoLab’s King of Thieves, we were able to ask ZeptoLab’s co-founder, Semyon Voinov, a few questions about the inspiration behind the game and what that means for the Cut the Rope franchise. | Read more »
Handle Review
Handle Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: SPEEDY ORGANIZINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Handle is a very convenient way of juggling your emails, To Do list, and Calendar all through one... | Read more »
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a...
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a Place for Fans to Take Disney Quizzes Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Hands-On With Cut the Rope Developer Zep...
Marking quite a departure from ZeptoLab’s past successes, namely the Cut The Rope series, King of Thieves is shaping up to be quite promising. Due for release in February, we were lucky enough to have some time with a preview build to see exactly... | Read more »
Fast Fishing Review
Fast Fishing Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: LIVES UP TO ITS NAMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fishing is far from relaxing in Fast Fishing, but it is fun.   | Read more »
Head Back to Dark World of Arnashia in B...
Head Back to Dark World of Arnashia in Blood Brothers 2 Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Saved Review
Saved Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE BUDGETINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Saved is a convenient and speedy way of adding expenses and keeping track of your... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Stir Kinetic Desk M1 Standing Or Sitting Desk...
The age of the standing desk is upon us, and according to medical research, it’s arriving none too soon. The World Health Organization (WHO), reports that 60 to 85 percent of people worldwide lead... Read more
Bosch Opens North American eBike Conversion H...
Following its entry into the U.S. eBike market in early 2014, Bosch has established a new headquarters office for Bosch eBike Systems (http://www.bosch-ebike.us) in Southern California, expanding the... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro (Apple refu...
The Apple Store has previous-generation Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.4GHz/... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Adorama has the 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1189.99, $110 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges NY & NJ sales tax only. Read more
College Student Deals are back, additional $5...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through April 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus GIve Apple Half Of US Mob...
Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) have released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone manufacturers for the calendar quarter that ended December 31,... Read more
Save $100 on MacBook Airs with 256GB of stora...
B&H Photo has 256GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more
iPhone Usage Rates by State Correlate With Ed...
Chitika Insights notes that despite iPhones being the largest source of smartphone Internet traffic in North America, their latest study finds a relatively high degree of variation of iPhone usage... Read more
ProGearX Extendable Pole “Pov/Selfie Stick” M...
There’s something inescapably narcissistic about the concept of selfies as they’ve developed as a smartphone-driven social (particularly social media) phenomenon that rubs me the wrong way. However,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Acura/Subaru Service Technicians - A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced business development manager to support the identification, recruitment, negotiation and ongoing management of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Lead Operator, GSOC - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Apple is seeking an exceptional, customer service oriented and experienced persons to fulfill the role of Apple Lead Operator (ALO) as part of the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.