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Pogue looks at "When Apple Hit Bottom"

updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu September 21, 2006

"When Apple Hit Bottom"

In his latest column, technology columnist David Pogue looks at where Apple has come in the past 10 years, digging up 10-year old predictions from major publications and industry analysts about Apple's pending demise: "Nowadays, Apple is a media darling. The critics like the company's direction, and so does Wall Street. But it wasn't always so. This summer marked the tenth anniversary of Apple's lowest point-a time in 1996 when the company's profits and products were hitting bottom. (Steve Jobs's return to the company he founded was still a year away.) Not only was Apple NOT a media darling, it was the dog the media loved to kick. The analysts and columnists were amazingly confident that Apple would not live out the year, let alone the decade." Pogues includes quotes from TIME, Wired, BusinessWeek, Fortune, The Economist, and other industry leading publications.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. doemel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    media whores

    Told 'em so! Told 'em so!

    I - and I'm sure many other Apple faithfuls - knew better even at a time even when some of the worst Macs ever were built and an idiot of a CEO was running business at Apple. The OS was (and continues to be) superb, especially considering the most widespread alternatives at the time (remember Win 95, probably the worst POS I have ever seen running on a computer? Win 3.x was also still ubiqutous and only just marginally better if somewhat more stable than Win 95). Parts of the hardware was also getting better (at least on the processor front (PPC)).

    If I had received a penny for every time I was told/heard/read that Apple would be dead soon I would be stinking rich today!

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    why would anyone...

    ...have believed in Apple back then, as the article points out, a full year before Jobs returned?

    congrats on your blind faith, doemel, it's easy to gloat now but what happened 10 years ago was not a case of Chicken Little. There really was no reason to believe Apple would survive for long. Where are DEC, SGI, Cray, and Amiga now?

    It was only with Jobs' return that there was any cause for a rational, reality-based person to think that Apple might make it back from its near-death experience.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    doemel

    Oh you've got to be kidding me? You can't be serious by this statement:

    remember Win 95, probably the worst POS I have ever seen running on a computer?

    You must have NEVER seen Windows ME running on a computer. I've yet to find anyone who actually liked that OS.

  1. himself

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    hyperbole...

    Yeah, in the 90'2, things didn't seem great from the outside, but Apple was never in any real distress. Apple always had at least a couple of billion in cash reserves in the bank throughout the 90's, and they were making a profit (though not always huge and consistent).

    The OS may have been somewhat buggy, but in my opinion (and the opinions of the many creatives who continued to support Apple) it was the best option to get our work done, and we got work done. It was still much simpler to use and troubleshoot than any version of Windows you can name.

    The hardware was consistently superior as well, up until the stagnation of the G4 -- and it was at that point that the discontent with Apple began to really swell. Throughout that entire period, I haven't heard of anyone who seriously considered switching to Windows. The gloom and doom talk was pure hyperbole.

  1. bigpoppa206

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Still...

    I wished I had picked up a few thousand shares at that time...sigh.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Me too.

    I remember 1992, when my one teacher was a mac fan, and got the school to give our classroom a mac classic 2. I was hooked from then on! I also got an apple 2 c for personal use that same year. I've never liked pc's, they always seemed cold, clunky, and not based on actual real world use. Only problem we ever had with that mac was someone lost the power cable. 5 years later i went to buy a mac at sears, salesperson said apple was going out of business. Stupidly we believed him. We ended up with a POS packard bell. My next computer after that was a mac. Many people i know did the whole "switching back" to macs after fearing the hype was true about apple going under. I never believe rumors, even if i really want them to be true.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    hyperbole himself?

    no the company went through a period of not being profitable...one things Job had to do was cut darling programs...he needed to display consistent profitability as part of the plan to silence the doomsayers...and think about it, its a big investment for a consumer to buy a computer, they don't want to invest in a platform that may not be around....bad sales lead to worse sales.

    They did... however always have considerable assets to draw from. It wasn't an Amiga like plunge from grace, but by golly, the mismanagement lasted for a while, and it hurt.

  1. ophiochos

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    what mismanagement?

    everyone is so convinced everything was mismanaged until Stevie came back. But I'm sure I remember reading about how the plans for the iMac were already there when he arrived. Fact is, it was a grim time for computers. Rarely did they deliver on the promises. In addition, we moved to the real 'mass consumption' so of COURSE most people bought the cheapest - swamping the world with PCs. That was always going to happen. I had no doubt Apple would survive and start to claw back market share once that first wave of mass popularity passed and people started saying 'hey this cheap one is a POS. This computer gig is just like cars.' Then some (10%?) would start paying more for a better experience. What I did not expect was that the usability gap would open up so much. I thought Apple would mostly keep a bit ahead of Windows, though you did wonder what would happen when MSoft started getting SO big. But I could never have predicted a 5 year wait for a new Windows...!

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