Apple Marketing Letters, Page

By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2002-06-17 Print this article Print

4"> Apple Marketing Letters, Page 4

As a scientist (not an engineer) I can tell you that OS X has huge appeal in this small but possibly influential community.
The common expression "Its a Windows world" is amusing to me. My little world is a Unix world. When the organizers of a physics conference recently sent the program around as a Word document, the reaction was outrage. Unix geeks are often snobs regarding all non-Unix systems, including pre-OS X Mac and all Windows, as "toys." In my opinion theres a lot of truth in that. Also, we tend to buy our own hardware with grant funds and are independent of bureaucratic IT manager decisions.
Since science is a Unix world, and Mac OS X is a Unix system, it is now squarely in the mainstream. The combination of Unix plus the Apple GUI is much stronger than anything Microsoft can offer. I have already had one theoretical chemist colleague switch laptops from Linux to OS X and one theoretical physicist switch from Windows to OS X. I switched my lab from all SGI to a combination of Mac and SGI. Its nonsystematic, but I think Im seeing more and more TiBooks at scientific meetings. Again, with the Unix orientation the competition to OS X is linux, not Windows. Since Windows is NOT entrenched in the scientific world, I think this is an area where OS X can really take off. Tom Keyes
Professor of chemistry
Chemistry Department
Boston University

I am a longtime Mac user with a good, small local outlet from which Ive been buying computers since CP/M days. They used to do good business with local public and private schools here in the Philadelphia suburbs. When Apple consolidated educational sales some years back, my dealer was no longer allowed to make educational sales. Only one dealer in the area, according to my sources, was allowed to make those sales. That meant that all smaller schools—even good-sized public systems—had to compete for attention with the Philadelphia public school system. I am told that sales started down then and have never fully recovered. If that timing is accurate—sales starting down when educational markets sales could only be made by specified outlets—then changing that part of the system seems an obvious starting place to change those sales numbers. Within 10 to 15 miles of my office, there are more than 50 schools and colleges. For all practical purposes, most of them have nowhere to go for educational sales of Apple products. They wont get the time of day from a dealer that sells to the Philadelphia public schools. If I have been correctly informed, Apple really shot itself in the foot back in the pre-second-coming days, and nobody has recognized it yet. The products are now far better than ever, and prices are more competitive, but the supply channel for education has to be as well prepared as the products. I would be interested to know if my information was correct and if educational sales are still restricted. If so, Apples educational sales are not going to improve much. Someone has to have a vested interest in selling to the schools, but just making a product that suits them. Nick Eiteljorg
Center for the Study of Architecture (CSA)

A few observations:
  • I think Apple is increasingly more solid in the consumer space and will continue to make inroads there. The new marketing campaign will help this, as will the fact that they have Unix underpinnings and cool (if expensive) hardware.
  • Despite Apples recent moves in education, I fear for the company in that space. Dartmouth Colleges recent apparent full-scale defection is a microcosm of Apples problem in education. However, there is some hope there. Microsofts licensing push with XP could possibly alienate schools, and Apples introduction of the eMac and Xserve, its PowerSchool [Web-based school-record tracking]—as well as the Mac OS—Unix core, could help turn the tide. Well see.
  • I await Apples inspired next marketing push: into the enterprise. But, again, I dont hold out a lot of hope in this space. I have been a longtime Mac and Windows user, and have watched over the years as companies have slowly but surely locked Macs out of the mix, even to some extent in the art departments. Unless Apple can shape a compelling message that would enable companies to slowly transition superior Apple products into the infrastructure, while slowly transitioning out Windows, or maintaining the two platforms indefinitely and relatively painlessly, they will have a hard road back to the enterprise. In any event, it will be fun to watch. Jim Cahill
    Principal technical writer
    RSA Security Inc.

    Online News Editor
    Matthew has been associated with Ziff Davis' news efforts for more than a decade, including an eight-year run with the print and online versions of MacWEEK. He also helped run the news and opinion operations at ZDNet and CNet. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.


    Submit a Comment

    Loading Comments...
    Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

    Rocket Fuel