Apple Marks Mac's 30th Anniversary as Observers Look to the Future
"But sure. Any company that has been alive for 30 years should certainly celebrate. But they also have to keep looking over their shoulder. That whole fool me twice adage," Kay says, referring to the roughly one decade that Microsoft dominated ("we're talking like 95 percent market share, to Apple's 4 or 5 percent market share") after Microsoft introduced personal computers with a mouse and GUI. Apple came back, after nearly losing everything, recalled Kay, who used to advise Apple to offer something to enable it to compete at the lower end of the market. "It's been a tremendously vindicating story for them. … The only caveat is, don't let it happen again." Baker says the high end is where Apple wants to play, and that's fine, as the company is content not to dominate the PC market.Plus, any talk of a post-PC era "couldn't be farther from the truth," said Baker, pointing to the synergies Apple has created between its PCs and its tablets, and the environment of making whatever content a user loves available from whichever Apple device is handy at whatever time of day. "And there are still lots of opportunities to innovate in the PC space, [such as] gestural controls, voice controls," said Baker. "And Apple can afford to do some things that the mainstream PC guys can't afford to do." The people who complain about Apple's closed system tend to be technologists, adds Baker. "The average person likes Apple products because they're simple to use, elegant in their design and they just do what they're supposed to." Dave Winer, who falls into the technologist camp, developed the software that ran on the first Macintosh. In a blog post written as part of Cnet's coverage of Apple's anniversary, Winer wrote that Apple's closed system proved a hindrance to all the Mac could have been, and still holds back Apple and innovation. "The web should have happened on the Mac. We had the best software, the best developers, the best platform, no 640k limit. … We had it all, but the Apple culture wouldn't let us use it," wrote Winer. "I love the Mac," he continued. "I love what it did for me, it gave me a lot of freedom I wouldn't have gotten any other way. However, it stopped short of where it could have gone, and in doing so, I hope serves as a lesson for future generations of technologists."
"You have to pick and choose your battles," said Baker. "They only play on the high end because the market expects Apple to make 35 points a margin, and you can't do that in the mainstream PC space."