Welcome to the July issue of ATPM! We’re getting ready for the huge Mac summer block party about to take place in New York. We’ve left town and we’re heading for the Big Apple! Holding down the fort is Ellyn Ritterskamp, our new copy editor. Ellyn hails from the Tar Heel state and volunteered to stay behind! Well, we promised her a really cool T-shirt and first option on a trip to the Seybold conference in August. We welcome Ellyn, a Mac devotee since the LC III, to our staff. We’ll be back after the show!
Old Man Mini-Tower
One of the many benefits Apple has over its PC competitors is that no other vendor now makes a Mac OS-based PC. During the years that Mac OS clones were available, Apple struggled to keep pace with its competitors in terms of product features and prices. The length of time Apple was able to keep a computer in the marketplace before it was upstaged by a new offering from a clone company became unprofitably short.
Recently Apple has chosen to extend the shelf life of its hardware offerings to the point that consumers and professionals have begun to lose interest. The current iMac, iBook, and G4 mini-towers have been in the market for several months without a serious upgrade. While this means higher profits per unit for Apple, it does little to benefit market share. We had hoped that Apple’s return to consistent profitability would have encouraged management to bring faster and better featured products to market more quickly. We hope the current pause in the product refresh cycle is little more than a breather, as the company digests several quarters of torrid growth and prepares for the release of Mac OS X, which may require faster and better equipped hardware in order to use its more modern features.
MS and the Supremes
No, it’s not a new Motown recording group, just the next step in the long-awaited showdown between Microsoft and the law. Using a seldom mentioned provision in the nation’s antitrust laws, Judge Jackson certified the MS case for direct appeal to the Supreme Court. At the same time that he certified the case, Jackson also suspended the tough interim remedies he ordered until such time as the Supreme Court renders a decision in the case or the remedies are reinstated by an appeals court. If five members of the Supreme Court vote against accepting the case directly from Judge Jackson, the case will be referred to an appeals court as an intermediate step.
We believe Judge Jackson’s decision to certify the case for direct appeal to the Supreme Court is a good one. Further, his decision to suspend the interim remedies will allow both sides in this action to prepare their cases in a calmer setting. We look forward to a final resolution of the government’s antitrust action in the coming months.
Bye, Bye Bungie
In other news concerning the world’s largest Windows based software maker (and one of Apple’s largest shareholders), Microsoft has chosen to acquire Bungie, maker of popular computer games. We believe Microsoft’s interest in Bungie relates directly to the company’s plans to release a consumer entertainment console called the X-Box.
Characters such as Mario and Sonic have helped Nintendo and Sega to build successful game console businesses, and in order to compete with well financed and established competitors, Microsoft may look to Bungie’s popular game titles to help it launch its new venture. We’re hopeful the recent antitrust action by the government will change the way Microsoft chooses to build new businesses. Consumers (and especially Mac users) will be disappointed if the next versions of Microsoft’s newly acquired game titles were restricted to Windows and MS console releases only.
Rumors and Reality
Recently Adobe Systems filed suit against MacNN for detailing the features of the forthcoming Photoshop 6.0 on its Apple Insider Web site. The information posted on the site was apparently sourced from classified Adobe documents not intended for public release. At this time the manner in which the offending party obtained Adobe’s internal documents has not been made public. Adobe is suing MacNN for the tens of millions of dollars the software company claims will be lost due to a slow down in sales of Photoshop 5.5, while customers wait for the release of Photoshop 6.
Many experts believe that the First Amendment protection of free speech may shield MacNN from Adobe’s wrath. However, Adobe’s right to publicly express its outrage is protected by the same constitutional law. Further, Adobe does have a right to seek redress in the courts for damages inflicted by MacNN’s apparent irresponsible behavior.
Adobe Systems was originally funded in part by an investment from Apple Computer. In turn, Adobe’s PostScript technology helped Apple gain its leadership in the desktop publishing market. Further, Adobe Systems stood by Mac users during a very difficult time in Apple’s history. Mac users and Adobe Systems deserve better from the Apple Insider Web site and MacNN.
Many of us are entertained from time to time by the colorful rumors that abound on Mac affinity Web sites. But when a rumor site inappropriately posts classified corporate documents in order to build site traffic, it’s time for a reality check. Is the battle for Web traffic so important that ethical behavior should become the first casualty? We don’t think so.
Claris Organizer 3.0?
No. The popular Mac organizer has not received a recent update from Apple. As it turns out, Palm bought Claris Organizer from Apple. Offering a few bug fixes and Palm PDA compatibility, the Palm Desktop organizer is virtually identical to the old Claris product many Mac users have learned to depend on to keep themselves on track and on time. Don’t believe us? Download a copy of Palm Desktop for the Mac and see for yourself. Best of all, it’s free!
An Unreal Deal?
Mid-June marked an important moment in QuickTime history. Apple and Real Networks inked a deal that included Real Networks licensing QuickTime for use on its servers. The deal means that QuickTime-formatted content can be downloaded from Real Networks’s servers, allowing Web site owners to offer QuickTime content without the need for a separate server. In the past, a separate QuickTime server would be needed to distribute QuickTime streaming content. Under the terms of the deal, Apple’s QuickTime software will no longer automatically change the default media player on a PC after playing a QuickTime-formatted video.
The deal between Apple and Real Networks is seen as a collaborative effort to compete with Microsoft’s (you guessed it!) exclusionary Windows Media format. Politics and technology can make for strange bedfellows.
Sprechen Sie Français?
Each issue of ATPM is read by tens of thousands of people in different parts of the world. Although English is the predominant language for Web-based communication, many of our readers are trained in English only as a second language. For the benefit of our international readers we’d like to expand our Web resource pages to include foreign language sites. If you know of a foreign language Mac site that would be of interest to our readers, please e-mail the URL to email@example.com.
The Big Show!
Please enjoy our latest issue! We’ll report on all the sights and sounds of Macworld Expo New York in our August issue.