One of the things I hint at in my ebook is that Apple nearly went out of business in the mid 90s. A combination of bad management, no vision and severly underpowered yet overpriced computers almost killed Apple under the Windows 95-is-good-enough juggernaut.
Flash forward a dozen years and Apple is no longer a bit player with 4% marketshare and no voice. Suddenly they are the leader in digital music, movies and mobile devices. In short, Apple didn’t just drop the name computer from their title, they ceased being a computer company focused an a tiny user base. And with that change they may have lost the secret advantage that kept them alive during the lean years: user loyalty.
You see, when you are a small player you need the power of millions of voices singing your song to allow your chorus to rise above the noise. Apple users have always gladly added their voice. We sometimes called them zealots.
But when you are a market leader you start to attend to other things first, like protecting your platform from "hackers" to keep it safe for the masses. But these same loyal users use their same techniques to advance the product so it will appeal to more people. And while Apple has gladly accepted this help in the past (the laserprinter, PageMaker, CodeWarrier, Kerberos, and VisiCalc to name a few have all helped Apple in their various dark days) with the iPhone they currently are saying "no thanks."
We’ve used these pages to discuss this before but the question remains…is Apple the same company many of us helped rescue?