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A Net Full of Apples

by Glen Emerson Morris

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Recent articles in Business Week and the Wall Street Journal have suggested Apple may not have much of a future on the Internet, or for that matter anywhere else. A closer look at Apple's financial position indicates a much stronger company.

The Macintosh is currently the number one platform for developing Web pages, and the number two platform for Web servers. No one considering buying a Macintosh for either application, should be concerned about Apple's state of health. The facts are, Apple grossed over 11 billion dollars in 1995, and still posted over 400 million dollar profits, despite the 69 million dollar loss in the fourth quarter.

Apple's future looks even better. International sales now account for over half of Apple's revenue. The Macintosh is selling very well overseas, and also getting very good press there, unlike in the United States. Apple is currently one of the best selling brands in Japan, and is likely to be an even bigger player in China. Apple recently premiered software which allows Chinese to be dictated to the Macintosh for word processing applications. This is the first affordably priced Chinese dictation available for a personal computer, and it could give Apple a virtual monopoly on the growing Chinese computer market.

Apple's success outside of the United States is rarely covered in the American press. Still, Apple remains one of America's most successful exports. In a recent world opinion survey, it was found that more people recognized the Apple logo than any other product except Coca Cola.

Apple is in a better position to capitalize on the Internet than Bill Gates and Microsoft. Networking capability has been built into every Macintosh that ever shipped. Today, as many homes are now having multiple computers, one computer for the parents and another for the children, home networking is becoming more of an issue. With Internet use at home growing, a third computer may be required. All it takes to connect a pair of Macintosh together, is about $30 worth of parts that plug in very simply to the back of the computer. It is a much more difficult problem to link Windows based computers.

Apple's networking capability also makes it easy to use the Mac as a Web server. It's more difficult to set up a Web server on a Unix system than the Macintosh. Though the Unix system could ultimately handle a far higher traffic load, it would be at a far higher price. Small to medium size businesses will find the Mac able to handle most of their Internet server needs.

The Macintosh is also a much better platform to develop Web pages on than the Windows platform, in part because of the larger software selection the Mac offers. Web site development products are becoming available for the Macintosh first, and then the Windows platform. Adobe's new products, PageMill and SiteMill, are good examples. Both make constructing Web pages considerably easier. PageMill is designed for a beginner constructing simple Web pages. It essentially has drag and drop interface, and can save a lot of time for a person not familiar with the HTML format. SiteMill is designed for more sophisticated Web sites with multiple epages, like a business would need.

The Macintosh is also in a better position to use the Internet for audio and video. Apple recently announced two new, and really hot, technologies. One of these products is a 3D accelerated graphics extension, which allows Macs to display 3 dimensional animation's in real time. A systems extension will allow the computer to handle the new 3D meta-files that contain the 3Dimages. Full screen 3D animation's currently require an additional card in the Macintosh, but it is only a matter of time before this capability is built-in to every Mac.

The other new technology from Apple is a simulated virtual reality format based on QuickTime, called QuickTime VR. This kind of technology would be ideal for allowing prospective home buyers to virtually walk through a photographic image of houses offered for sale. As compression standards increase with the new Mpeg format, it will be feasible to use both these new technologies from Apple over the Internet. MicroSoft has not announced products of similar innovation.

Apple and the Macintosh are in an excellent position to capitalize on the Internet, in ways Bill Gates can only dream of. Business Week's evaluation of Apple is so flawed you have to wonder if they used a Pentium to do the math.

The Macintosh is well on the way to replaying it's success with desktop publishing. This time it isn't production that is being computerized, it is distribution. Magazine's like Business Week will inevitably lose market share to online competition made possible by the Mac. Many business magazine's and newspapers have every reason to be disturbed by Apple, but not for the reasons they're stating.

All things considered, the predictions of Apple's demise are merely the wishful thinking of a justly endangered species.

Copyright 1994 - 2010 by Glen Emerson Morris All Rights Reserved

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