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

PDFKey Pro 4.3 - Edit and print password...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Kodi 15.0.beta1 - Powerful media center...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.4.12 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.3.0.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
Lyn 1.5.11 - Lightweight image browser a...
Lyn is a lightweight and fast image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.11 - Mac-tailored, OpenOf...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
LaunchBar 6.4 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Remotix 3.1.4 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more
DesktopLyrics 2.6.6 - Displays current i...
DesktopLyrics is an application that displays the lyrics of the song currently playing in "iTunes" right on your desktop. The lyrics for the song have to be set in iTunes; DesktopLyrics does nothing... Read more
VOX 2.5.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX is a beautiful music player that supports many filetypes. The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all... Read more

This Week at 148Apps: May 18-22, 2015
May Days at 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the... | Read more »
Biz Builder Delux (Games)
Biz Builder Delux 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Ah, there's nothing like the rhythmic bustle of a burgeoning business burg... especially when you're the one building it... | Read more »
Auroch Digital is Bringing Back Games Wo...
| Read more »
Blades of Brim is a New Endless Runner f...
SYBO Games, the minds behind the ever-popular Subway Surfers, have announced their latest project: Blades of Brim. [Read more] | Read more »
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age...
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Draggy Dead (Games)
Draggy Dead 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Ditch your dead end job and take up a rewarding career in Grave Robbing today!Guide the recently deceased to a fun filled life of... | Read more »
Bad Dinos (Games)
Bad Dinos 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
The Apple Watch isn't Great as a Fi...
| Read more »
Show the World What You See With Stre.am...
Live broadcasting is getting popular on mobile devices, which is why you can now get Stre.am, by Infinite Takes. [Read more] | Read more »
PhotoTime's 2.1 Update Adds Apple W...
The latest PhotoTime update is adding even more functionality to the handy photo organizing app. Yep, including Apple Watch support. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch MacBook stock status for Monday, May...
The new 12″ Retina MacBooks are still on backorder at The Apple Store with a 3-5 week waiting period. However, a few models are in stock today at Apple resellers. Stock is limited, so act now if you’... Read more
New 27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac in stock with free...
Adorama has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac in stock today for $1999 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Adorama will include a free copy of Apple’s 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: New 27-inch 3.3GHz...
Best Buy has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary... Read more
OtterBox Maximizes Portability, Productivity...
From the kitchen recipe book to the boarsroom presentation, the OtterBox Agility Tablet System turns tablets into one of the most versatile pieces of handheld technology available. Available now, the... Read more
Launch of New Car App Gallery and Open Develo...
Automatic, a company on a mission to bring the power of the Internet into every car, has announced the launch of the Automatic App Gallery, an app store for nearly every car or truck on the road... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 13-inch 1.6GHz Mac...
Best Buy has the new 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 27-inch 3.5GHz 5K...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2099.99 this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary.... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPad mini 3 for $349, save $50
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Price drop on 2014 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $200. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 save $200 - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
With a Mission to Make Mobile Free, Scratch W...
Scratch Wireless, claiming to be the world’s first truly free mobile service, has announced the availability of a new Scratch-enabled Android smartphone, the Coolpad Arise. The smartphone is equipped... Read more

Jobs Board

Payments Counsel, *Apple* Pay (mobile payme...
**Job Summary** Apple is looking for an atto ey to join Apple 's Legal Department to support Apple Pay. **Key Qualifications** 7+ years of relevant experience Read more
Touch Hardware Design and Integration Enginee...
…Summary** Design, develop, and launch next-generation Touch solutions in the new Apple Watch product category. The Touch team develops cutting-edge Touch solutions and 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* TV Live Streaming Frameworks Test En...
**Job Summary** Work and contribute towards the engineering of Apple 's state-of-the-art products involving video, audio, and graphics in Interactive Media Group (IMG) at Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.