MDJ Reprint On Analysts

The Weekly Attitudinal: Anal Lists

The above two-word title is the way that Jean-Louis Gassee deliberately,
using his suave French accent, mispronounces the word "analysts,"
managing (at least the first few thousand times he did it) to winkingly
pass judgement on the gaggle of gossiping geese that flock around Apple
Computer news like white on rice, while superficially pretending to be
ignorant of the ways of English. Trust the _Attitudinal_, there's not
much of which Jean- Louis is ignorant, which makes him a formidable
adversary and an even more dangerous ally.

This is, however, not today's topic. Apparently, in the aftermath of the
resignation of Gil Amelio and Ellen Hancock, you need only a few things
to get your name in the newspapers or on the wire services pontificating
about what Apple absolutely, positively, no-two-ways-about-it _must_ do
simply to survive beyond the close of business tomorrow:

* An opinion, and the more outlandish, the better - after all, the
newspapers rarely mention celebrities like Kevin Kline who go home at
night and eat dinner, but non-events like Dennis Rodman's professional
wrestling debut are on more cable channels than the US$49.95 Amazing
Plastic Puke Pot.

* A keyboard, although this seems to be optional, as some reporters are
apparently trying to read smoke signals to fill copy.

* As little direct knowledge about Apple's current business as is
possible.

As backshadowed (foreshadowed yesterday), the _Attitudinal_ has great
respect this day for _MacUser_ contributor Ric Myslewski, whose latest
online column [19] dares to look at some of the boneheaded opinions being
offered on Apple's current Amelio Shortage. Myslewski shakes his head at
most of them, wondering exactly what these people are smoking, which is
one of those questions you probably don't really want answered.

[19] <http://www4.zdnet.com/macuser/onlinecol/myslewski19.html>

But the magazine's space limitations restricted Myslewski to just a few
examples. The _Attitudinal_, barely so encumbered, now presents for your
amusement:

**Extended Examples of Nincompoopery**

* The _San_Jose_Mercury_News_ had done so well with their clear opinion
columns, the exclusive transcript of the Gil Amelio interview (which, to
their great credit, they placed on the Internet in unedited form so that
people could decide for themselves what the man meant to say), and their
extensive coverage, with only a few factual bobbles here and there (MDJ_
1997.07.11). Then on Sunday, while they added some good new coverage,
they blew it big time. A "news" article on "Why Amelio Was A Poor Fit,"
by writers Michelle Quinn and Mark Leibovich, bends history to fit
analyst contentions that Amelio should never have been hired.

The _Merc_ says that Apple's market share in February 1996 was in "free
fall," even though the company had just posted a quarter where they sold
more computers than ever before (although they're right in that Apple
still had a mound of unsold boxes due to bad forecasting). They say
"losses were mounting" even though they company had just posted its first
loss in several years at that time. They quote analyst Kimball Brown of
Dataquest in a paragraph talking about Amelio being a "clear mismatch" in
"hindsight" - but a year ago, _MacWEEK_ asked Brown about Amelio's plans
for resurrecting the company, and Brown said [20], "I have no doubt that
in three or four quarters he's going to turn it around."

Amelio critics were interviewed but supporters were totally
unrepresented; his accomplishments at the company were barely mentioned
while still-existing problems were repeated like sayings from Chairman
Mao's book. In short, this was a first-class hatchet job, and while the
_Mercury_News_ certainly has the right to print it, it was _not_
"business news" of any magnitude. No rational person can expect a
meaningful debate on the nature of Apple Computer's problems when those
trying to frame said debate present only one side of the issue. It's
almost as if the paper needed a few days to get its venom together.

[20] <http://www8.zdnet.com/macweek/mw_1016/news_loss.html>

* In _The_New_York_Times_, Denise Caruso is expounding on how shameful it
is that Amelio and other Apple executives get such huge severance
packages on leaving - Amelio's alone, as reported accurately in these
pages first (MDJ_ 1997.07.10), will be over US$7 million. Caruso, a
long-time analyst and writer, doesn't bother to point out that the entire
weekend was full of anal list quotes about how Apple will _never_ find a
good CEO to take the job, since the board of directors keeps firing them
after a few years.

Notorious Apple-basher and fact-free cheesehead Stewart Alsop "chuckles"
when asked if Amelio failed, because he got US$7 million, so "what is
failure?" Let's see - anyone would be dumb to take the job because
there's no job security, but any incentives to an experienced, qualified
executive that offer assurance of financial reward even with a mercurial
board are also evil. How con-_ve_-nient. Caruso embraces and quotes Dave
Winer, who thinks Rhapsody, Java, paper and sliced bread are bad ideas.
She repeats Winer's assertion that the "US$400 million" spent on Next
(US$375 million, actually, MDJ_ 1997.04.17) should have been used to fund
a hundred start-up software companies (like UserLand Software, maybe),
but Apple's management was "unwilling to open their eyes and look outside
for new direction."

Caruso's so busy being irritated at Apple she doesn't notice that Winer
argues against his own point - how is spending US$375 million for an
outside company _not_ "looking outside for new direction?" Just because
it's not the company he wanted doesn't mean it didn't happen.

This same opinion - the one, by the way, that Winer released just hours
before Amelio resigned, even when he believed the event was coming in the
near future but didn't bother to tell his readers so, is supported [21]
by ZDNet Anchor Desk editorial director Jesse Berst, who was described in
several different news stories today as a "long-time Microsoft analyst."
Bet on small start-up companies to come up with something new, and pay
for it with Mac OS revenues siphoned from customers who won't see their
funds reinvested in the platform they're supporting with their cash. So
much for customer focus, but then again, analysts have been pretty clear
that they consider customers far less important than other groups like,
for example, analysts.

[21] <http://www.anchordesk.com/story/story_1068.html>

Do you see why the _Attitudinal_ sometimes wonders if these people can
see past the ends of their own noses? But wait, there's more!

* Winer wants Apple to give up on Rhapsody and use Windows NT, with Apple
providing the user interface to make the designed-by- martians NT look
nice even if it is industrial-strength API madness under the hood. Heidi
Roizen, whom many have touted as a CEO candidate for Apple, told [22]
Winer why this _didn't_ happen, as if it was at one point a plan: "Gil
didn't want to work with [Microsoft] because he thought that doing
anything with NT was like declaring 'game over.' Steve didn't want to
work with [Microsoft] on NT because he was selling us Next, which we
wouldn't need if we would have gone in that direction. It was so sad!
Another case where religion got in the way of doing the right thing for
the customers and developers."

Note that "right thing" comment - Roizen is saying she believes using
Windows NT is the "right thing" for Apple to do. Smart man, that Amelio -
he was right. It _would_ be the end of the game. MIS types around the
world, joining together to battle creativity and individuality, are
already trying to kick the Mac OS out of group situations as fast as they
can manage. Can you imagine the leverage they'd have if Apple started
using Windows NT? "See, Apple is even moving to Windows! Mac OS is dead;
we need more Pentium systems." Why rational people think this would be
any other way, despite history's lessons, truly confounds the
_Attitudinal_.

[22] <http://www.scripting.com/mail/mail970713.html>

* The _Boston_Globe_'s Hiawatha Bray betrays his Windows-oriented
background in a review of Mac OS 8 [23] (you see, once the feeding frenzy
starts, it's not restricted to things like executive resignations)
entitled "Too little, too late." Bray says Apple is copying Windows by
adding "sticky menus" (pull-down menus that stay pulled down even when
you release the mouse button, provided you release the button quickly
after pressing it), but he doesn't seem to know that Apple had support
for "sticky menus" in the ROM of the Apple IIGS computer in 1986, years
before Windows 3.0 became the analyst's fave (and sticky menus have
always been an easy add-on to the Mac OS through extensions or control
panels).

The new contextual menus are a "compensation" for the one-button mouse,
telling readers that more buttons are obviously superior (neglecting to
inform them that Apple deliberately chose the one-button mouse so people
couldn't press the wrong button), and generally wanting Mac OS 8 to be
more like Windows. He implies, as do many writers, that Mac OS can't run
more than one program at the same time and says that he has no confidence
in Apple's future. Let's see - if Mac OS users write about Windows,
they're fanatical, but if Windows users write about Mac OS, they're
dispassionate and impartial. Who decided _this_?

[23]
<http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe/globehtml/191/Too_little__too_late.htm>

It's doubly annoying because the same paper includes a Simson Garfinkel
article [24] claiming that Windows NT is "crash-free," if you can believe
Garfinkel as opposed to thousands of frustrated users. Garfinkel doesn't
even point out that the three-times-more- expensive Windows NT Server
version he's so fond of (US$700 per computer) is really _identical_ to
the Workstation version, but with different bundled programs and a few
internal switches flipped to unrestrict network access.

Changing about four bytes in one Windows NT Workstation file can turn it
into Windows NT Server, but Garfinkel is too busy fawning to wonder why
these four bytes are worth an extra US$425. (It's not a matter of extra
user licenses - Microsoft claims Windows NT Server is "tuned" for faster
network performance, but that's hard to believe when the two versions
have identical kernel code [25]. How come it's kosher to reprint
Microsoft's corporate position uncritically, but anything Apple says must
be some kind of deception?

[24]
<http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe/globehtml/191/NT_is__sigh__crash_free.htm
> [25] <ftp://ftp.ora.com/pub/examples/windows/win95.update/ntnodiff.html>

**Back to the Anal Lists**

However, these are mostly examples of nincompoopery in reporting. The
real problem is with the analysts that these reporters are covering, or
from whom they're taking their cues.

The _Attitudinal_ has expounded on analysts before - basically, these
folks are hired to predict what's going to happen in various industries,
but in a bizarre reality distortion, the market actually winds up
punishing companies that don't meet analyst predictions, instead of
punishing analysts that don't accurately forecast company trends (witness
Kimball Brown's turn-around on Gil Amelio, at least as portrayed in
quotes over the past several days). Companies that outperform analyst
expectations are rewarded with better stock prices, but those that don't
match the guesses of people who do not work for the company get whacked,
even if the results are in line with the company's own projections.

Just for a random example, take, oh, Apple Computer. The company's last
quarterly loss was US$708 million (MDJ_ 1997.04.17), but the
_operational_ loss (the stuff excluding the layoff and Next acquisition
charges) was "only" US$186 million. If Amelio's projections for
profitability by the end of September have a chance in hell of coming
true, then this quarter's loss would ideally be less than half the US$186
million figure, or US$93 million. Since the quarter we're in is typically
a bigger purchasing quarter than the one we just finished, it's
reasonable to expect that this quarter's sales will be higher - excluding
disasters like the current lack of confidence in Apple's future prospects
- so even slightly higher than a US$93 million loss might indicate things
were on track.

Yet the consensus analyst estimate for losses is US$77 million, raised
from US$70 million after Amelio and Hancock resigned (MDJ_ 1997.07.11).
For some reason, analysts and the press are portraying these numbers as
"bigger than expected," "huge," "crippling," and so forth. An article on
Power Computing said the loss would be "at least" US$77 million, even
though that figure is a consensus estimate that includes both higher and
lower estimates, not a minimum or maximum. The _Attitudinal_ is here to
say that a US$70 million loss is hard to consider as anything but
_exactly_ the expectation that Apple has set for the quarter. Analysts
are talking about it being "bigger than expected," but the consensus
estimate of the quarterly loss rose only 10% when they were specifically
polled.

Do you detect a trend here? Analysts can say outlandish things to
reporters, but when they put the pens to paper, they try to keep
themselves in line because it's those numbers that will measure their
efficacy, if anyone bothers to look. Remember, they're supposed to be
predicting how well Apple _will_ do, not how well Apple _could_ do - if
they're way off base on their guesses, theoretically, someone will hire a
new analyst who can do the job better - but without the hand-wringing and
golden parachutes.

Analysts are supposed to spot trends and direct investors to companies
poised to exploit them, but analysts in general tend to be a conservative
lot. They stick with the major players, and only change their tunes when
it becomes impossible to do otherwise. Analysts in general thought the
Macintosh would never catch on - who needs to waste all that expensive
processing power drawing a bunch of icons and menus and such? What people
wanted were faster DOS machines, they said, and the companies that built
them, like Leading Edge, would be the victors. Uh-huh.

Analysts predicted that OS/2 would trounce Microsoft Windows because of
IBM's superior size, their tremendous sales force and installed base, and
their marketing savvy. Uh-huh. The analysts, as you've seen with Kimball
Brown, didn't express concern about Gil Amelio's lack of PC industry
experience (something the _Attitudinal_ still finds overblown) until
there were signs of continued trouble, and then the supporters turned
into detractors.

**Commonly Inconsistent Themes** -- If you ask two analysts what Apple
should do, you'll be lucky to get less than five contradictory opinions,
because covering all the bases is the safest course of action for people
allegedly judged on their forecasting skill. Not every analyst has a
newsletter, like Stewart Alsop did, to repeat predictions over and over
again in the hopes of making them come true by sheer force of
stubbornness. Instead, most articles and analysts count on your lack of
short- term memory to forget the inaccuracies or inconsistencies.

Note, for the record, that the _Attitudinal_ has few if any specific
examples of a _single_ analyst changing his or her tune on a given issue,
but analysts in general tend to agree on broad themes and change their
minds at the drop of a steel-brimmed derby. Remember these blasts from
the past?

* For most of the past year, if not the past several years, analysts have
been telling Apple to focus on core markets, core businesses and core
competencies. Forget about trying to do all things, worry about the
Macintosh, they said. Kill the Pippin, kill the Newton, dump the advanced
research on things that aren't ever going to be vital to the Macintosh
business if you want to survive. Today, Apple focuses almost entirely on
the Mac OS (and Rhapsody, which is aimed at the same customers) - the
Pippin is in a coma, the Newton is a separate company, and the advanced
research labs are whittled to a fraction of their former size focusing
only on core Mac OS areas of need.

Guess what? This past weekend, the news was filled with analysts saying
that Apple needs to get _out_ of the Macintosh business to survive. They
need to build the Next Big Thing, the new device that will revolutionize
the way people use technology the same way the Mac inverted how people
think of computers. Other companies are being advised to investigate
set-top and hand-held devices by such analysts, but they shy away from
using those words with Apple - mostly because within the past year, they
advised Apple to get _rid_ of set-top and hand-held device development
projects that were further along than those of nearly any competitor. The
analysts that would likely praise the MessagePad 2000 if it came from any
other company ignore it as an Apple product because, of course, Apple
can't do it right.

* Analysts have said Apple needs to focus on the needs of existing
customers, but the past week has seen several saying the company must
attract new customers first and foremost. A change of direction would be
disastrous, they say, and then they advocate changing directions into
non-computer devices.

* Dozens of people are suggesting that Gil Amelio wasn't the right man
for the job, and the reasoning seems to be that Amelio fixed some
internal problems but left the marketing and strategy problems nearly
untouched (Rhapsody apparently notwithstanding). However, 20/20 hindsight
is no great accomplishment, and the _Attitudinal_ has yet to see a
_single_ suggestion from analysts about who they think should have been
brought in 17 months ago that could have fixed both the internal and
external problems. Analysts in general don't have the best track record
with high- technology company CEO predictions - very few of them had
anything bad to say about Amelio in February 1996, but today they're busy
rewriting that history. Analysts weren't fond of the choice of former RJR
Nabisco leader Lou Gerstner to lead IBM, saying he had no technology
experience (sound familiar?), but four years later, savvy marketer
Gerstner, disparaged for not being more financially focused, has turned
IBM back into a force of reckoning in the industry. So guess what? Some
analysts are telling newspapers that Apple needs a Lou Gerstner.

* Lots of analysts are opining of late that Apple can't survive as an
independent company - they must be purchased by someone else, like Larry
Ellison, to survive. This in spite of the fact that if Apple's sales fell
by 50% over 1995 levels they'd still be a US$6 billion per year company,
not exactly a trifling force in American business - and 50% drops are
simply not here as of yet, not that the doom-and-gloom stories aren't
doing their best to make it happen. These are some of the same analysts
who pointed out just a few months ago that Ellison had no credible plan
for Apple and would likely alienate existing customers, which would be a
bad thing - even though some of them now want Apple to do exactly that.

* And it never fails to get print space when a few former Apple
executives come crawling out of the woodwork with their hare- brained
schemes for rescuing the company - generally the company that got rid of
them because they weren't getting the job done at the time. John Sculley
has popped up again and, not surprisingly, he's espousing the same
Newtonesque "make digital devices with Apple's logo" theme he discussed
for _Red_Herring_ back in March (MDJ_ 1997.03.03). Former chief financial
officer Joseph Graziano is espousing that Amelio was wrong for the job,
when systemic financial problems created on Graziano's watch occupied the
majority of Amelio's first year at the helm. Neil Selvin of Global
Village told MacWEEK [26] that Apple needs to be "guerrilla marketers,"
which is true, but Selvin's own company has lost money hand over fist in
the past year as they continue to make premium- priced modems in a
commodity market, and they haven't been able to turn that around with
marketing, something _MacWEEK_ didn't point out.

[26] <http://www8.zdnet.com/macweek/mw_1127/nw_reax.html>

Even worse are the analysts who chase the ambulance just to make
themselves look important. Just on Monday, at least two financial or
analysis newsletters actually released press releases on the PR NewsWire
(not a cheap thing to do) to promote their own internal discussions about
what Apple should do. DEMOWeekly announced reader suggestions for CEO
ranging from John Sculley to Mike Tyson and Dr. Jack Kevorkian; the
Motley Fool newsletter announced that their readers (at least the ones on
America Online) had benevolently decided that Apple should abandon the
hardware business (which brings in all the money) and instead develop
cutting-edge new Web technologies of an unspecified nature using
unspecified revenue to pay for the development. Uh-huh.

Analysts are the spokespeople for conventional wisdom, and conventional
wisdom rarely chooses the David in a fight, despite the fact that
Goliaths often collapse under their own weight. Conventional wisdom
misses the big trends - the Internet was around for twenty years before
Wall Street noticed it. Personal computers were unnecessary luxuries that
would never catch on. Lotus couldn't be beat in the spreadsheet market.
Pick your subject, pick your topic, analysts in general have sided with
the big firms in every battle, even the ones they were obviously doomed
to lose, and every time they did the big companies were blamed for not
winning, even the battles in which they never had a chance.

So this is an oversimplification and merging of disparate opinions. Big
deal. Opinions are generally attributed to individuals but conclusions
are presented under lines like "analysts say" or "experts predict," so
they can be blasted as a group. They're evil and should be sentenced to a
lifetime of observing the kinds of things they've forced upon us, like
_Speed_2_ and Larry Ellison.

**Good Stuff, Believe It Or Not** -- The brightest ray of hope cutting
through these clouds of mediocrity is the written opinion of Tim Bajarin
of Creative Strategies, a long-time Apple analyst who actually
understands the company, knows the executives, understands _why_ people
buy Mac OS machines (some analysts wish Apple would make Wintel PCs so it
could be lumped with all the other clone makers), and can put two and two
together to get four.

Bajarin's article [27] in Sunday's _Mercury_News_ "Perspective" section
is the only analyst piece worth reading for anything more than disgust or
comic value. He insightfully points out that all of Apple's best days
came when the CEO was focused on the customers and not on the technology
- on solving problems and not in creating technology for its own sake.
When Jean-Louis Gassee left the company, though, and Sculley became
"Chief Technology Officer," he started focusing on Newton and other
projects that weren't in demand, losing his customer focus. The next two
CEOs, Michael Spindler and Dr. Gilbert F. Amelio, have also similarly
been technologists, leaving Apple without a real clue as to what
customers want. This is a thoughtful piece that's definitely worth your
time, which may be why there are no links to it anywhere on the
_San_Jose_Mercury_News_'s extensive Web site except hidden in the "Seven
Days' Archive" of the subscriber-only section (although the URL given
does work and is free).

[27] <http://www.sjmercury.com/opinion/docs/071969.htm>

In the _Attitudinal_'s mind, however, Bajarin goes too far by
recommending, as do some others, that Apple focus on completely new
products and technologies to win new marketing battles not yet begun.
It's an internally inconsistent opinion with his statement that Apple
doesn't need "another Newton" - in other words, a product created before
people demanded it. Yet Bajarin goes on to state that Apple must make
products for "new consumers who do not want technology or even care about
standards. What they want will be digital devices that link them
transparently to interactive digital information, education and
entertainment."

In other words, brand new technologies invented before people ask for
them. You can't have it both ways, Tim, but the point about a
customer-focused CEO is extremely well-thought and alone is worth the
price of admission. That's why it's so encouraging that very announcement
of Amelio's resignation featured now-famous director Edgar Woolard saying
Apple would be seeking a customer-oriented leader to build sales and
re-establish credibility.

And although you can't build a strategy on it, everyone would be wise to
remember that QuickTime, the LaserWriter, and even the Apple II and
Macintosh computers themselves all have two things in common - they were
runaway successes imitated by competitors and changing the world, and
they were products no one was asking for before they were released.

**An Attitudinal Lesson on Compromise**

Having conclusively and irrefutably shown the futility of projecting the
future or trusting financial workers who manage to further their career
by appearing on TV or in print to disparage Apple because it lends them
"street crud" (cred, whatever), the _Attitudinal_ will now completely
ignore its own judgement and offer Apple's management an incredibly
serious suggestion about the nature of rebuilding your consumer and
developer relationships, one that has not been offered this week and
which has profound implications for the company's future.

**Don't cave in.**

Seriously. Apple has a long history of "compromising" on critical issues
with large and influential developers to avoid losing their favor, and in
every instance, the compromise has resulted in losses for the Macintosh
platform with no appreciable gains. Those aren't compromises, those are
cave-ins, and Apple can't afford to repeat them with Rhapsody. The litany
is long:

* Apple spent tens of thousands, if not millions, of dollars courting and
cajoling developers like Lotus, Software Publishing (anyone remember
PFS:File?), WordStar and others to make Macintosh software, all with
little results because those companies wanted ports of text-based
programs, not fundamentally-redesigned from- the-ground-up Macintosh
programs. In nearly every case you'd bother to think about, the little
companies that embraced the Macintosh concept and made good Macintosh
software (Adobe, Quark, the various companies whose products today make
Claris) became successful, and the established 1980s companies that let
Apple lavish money and time on them produced either lukewarm or no
Macintosh products.

* Apple owned the rights to the database that became 4th Dimension, but
declined to publish it as an Apple product under pressure from
Ashton-Tate, which said it wouldn't produce it's best-selling PC
database, dBase (who it debased was never quite specified), if Apple sold
the product code-named "Silver Surfer." Evangelist Guy Kawasaki was so
incensed over the decision that he resigned to head the US division of
ACI, Silver Surfer's developers, creating ACI US, which he headed until
the company was well-established. Today, Ashton-Tate is a division of
Borland, not having survived the 1980s alone. dBase Mac was released, but
it was an unenviable product that few people used and fewer people miss.
4th Dimension, of course, is still going strong.

* The Macintosh was never as easy for hobbyists to control as the Apple
II was, partially because the Apple II came with the simple, built-in
AppleSoft BASIC programming language, written by a then- unknown company
called Microsoft, which was making a living by selling more or less the
same BASIC interpreter to all kinds of computer manufacturers. In 1985,
Apple had Macintosh BASIC, a new programming language, ready to go with
new Macintosh computers to make programming and understanding of the
thing even better, but Microsoft had its inferior "Microsoft BASIC"
product ready as well, and Microsoft threatened to charge Apple a royalty
fee on every copy of AppleSoft BASIC if they released Macintosh BASIC.
Apple caved in and buried the superior Mac BASIC; Microsoft BASIC went
nowhere and was rarely revised and rarely used. Ironically, Apple was
supposed to get all rights to AppleSoft BASIC as part of the deal, but
Microsoft retained them and started licensing it as "Microsoft BASIC" to
Apple II clone makers just a year later, costing Apple even more money.

The closest thing the Macintosh ever had to a universal BASIC was
HyperCard, and since version 2.0 and later are for-sale products not
bundled with every Macintosh as the initial versions were, that's no
longer anything close to the case. HyperCard 3.0 isn't going to be that
big of a money-maker; Apple should bite the bullet and distribute it for
free and bundle it with the Mac OS (even on clone machines). Getting
people involved and developing Mac-based solutions is more important than
getting an US$89 purchasing fee out of 0.000032% of them. Duh.

* To avoid angering Microsoft, Apple also agreed to license some of its
user interface elements to the company for Windows 1.0, in exchange for
continued development of Microsoft's Macintosh applications. You should
know how that worked out - when Microsoft started copying the Mac's
appearance and Apple sued, the existence of the licensing agreement was a
key factor in the court's decisions against Apple on all counts.

Today, the larger companies are some of those same ones that were small
when the Macintosh was new, and they're starting to demand concessions
from Apple. Whispers in the _Attitudinal_'s ear are that the owner of a
certain graphics display language system is pressuring Apple to pay
either unreasonable fees or to give it unbearably sweet bundling and
marketing deals in exchange for rights to distribute said graphics
display language with Rhapsody. If this is the case, Apple should learn
the lesson of history and not budge. They already have a superior,
royalty-free graphics display system, and if necessary, they should
incorporate it into Rhapsody and announce why they're doing so to the
press. This would inconvenience about 700 OpenStep developers, a loss
roughly equivalent to that of backing over and killing some grass in your
lawn while driving to the bank to collect lottery winnings.

Any time a developer threatens to withhold a product they've been
developing for several months just to extract a concession from Apple,
the _Attitudinal_ says let them withhold it. If they're willing to leave
profits on the table, another developer will step in and fill the gap. If
they're willing to stop development on a word processor to get Apple to
stop a programming language, you've gotta know that programming language
is hot stuff. If they can't compete, they can kiss their pasty white butt
cheeks goodbye (although the exact color of said butt cheeks is purely
conjectural). Use it as a marketing weapon and absolutely, positively,
_never_ be intimidated into withholding something that users would find
valuable just so an inferior developer product can take its place. This
would give Dave Winer apoplexy, but can you really imagine a scripting
world that had no AppleScript because it competed with Frontier? If
Frontier had been a Microsoft product, that's probably what would have
happened, and no one with a lick of sense would argue that would have
been a good thing, despite the elegance, power and flexibility of the
hard-to-decipher Frontier.

Never, ever, ever stop a product or change a strategy because of a
developer threat. If other companies threaten you, it ought to be a
signal that you're on the right track. This would be a great task for
Steve Jobs to monitor; if the man's going to be a jackass, you should at
least take advantage of the innate stubbornness.

The second piece of free advice is a closer, and it ought to be designed
into an attractive poster and placed in every single Apple office,
cubicle, break room, cafeteria and toilet stall around the world: **Make
the customer happy, and everyone else will follow.** If you focus on
analysts, developers, MIS managers or any other segment of people
interested in personal computing, you will fail. If you make products
that customers can't resist, you will be phenomenally successful and the
analysts will follow along like puppy dogs saying "See, we told you
they'd make it!" Without the customers, you've got zilch; with them, you
have everything. Stop treating them like an asset to be managed and start
treating them as more important than the shareholders. If you do that and
you still fail, then you are far too stupid to be running a major
corporation and should be hospitalized for your own protection. Just make
sure they write in your file to use the term "therapist" and not
"analyst."

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