Mister Softy still dominates the Desktop but not much else
A lot has changed since Windows 95 made its debut in August of 1995. The product was launched to the hit song ‘Start Me Up’ by The Rolling Stones. It was a quantum improvement over the Windows 3.1 shell that sat on top of MS-DOS. It would be years before I could endure listening to that song on the radio.
Much has happened in the nearly twenty years since Microsoft fired that broadside and nearly blew Apple out of the water. But as much water as the Apple ship took on, the Mac maker stayed afloat. Apple would be referred to as the “beleaguered” computer maker for nearly ten years.
Daniel Eran Dilger published another of his fine editorials on the comings and goings of these two giants in the technology industry. He specifically looks at how Apple has been successful at sucking all the oxygen out of PC centric trade shows these past fifteen years. In a way, it reads like a kind of “Back to the Future” tale. Only in this story, Doc Brown, aka Steve Jobs, says “To hell with the space time continuum.”
Dilger focuses on how Microsoft, and especially Bill Gates, spent years hyping vaporware. During the same time, Steve Jobs had his team at Apple, refocused by the brain trust brought in with the NeXT acquisition, building stuff that actually could be sold. Jobs even took it one step further. He proceeded to build a retailing environment in which Apple could sell its products without competing for the customers’ attention.
History shows Jobs’ bet paid off handsomely. The Apple Retail Stores are the most productive in the world. Sales revenue by square foot exceeded $6,000 in 2012 when Apple operated approximately 330 stores globally. Apple has added more than one hundred stores in the past two years. Retail sales in Fiscal 2014 exceeded $21.5 Billion Dollars. The average sales revenue was nearly $5 Million per store.
Dilger’s editorial looks at the marketing power of exclusive access to all those daily visitors compared to attending trade exhibitions. The last MacWorld Expo Apple officially participated in was the 2007 Show in San Francisco. Steve Jobs’ Keynote introduced the original iPhone. What a way to go out in style.
These days, Apple relies on its own product announcements. The World Wide Developers Conference showcases the software roadmap. In the late summer, Apple unveils its new iPhone lineup. Generally in October, the former music themed showcase has been taken over by the iPad family of products.
And what about Mister Softy? Dilger fills in the details fully. It is truly a reversal of fortunes. Sure, Microsoft still makes a ton of loot. But it sure seems like the thrill is gone from Redmond.
Microsoft no longer has much of a presence at the CES. Bill Gates stepped down in 2008 and hasn’t done a major keynote anywhere. Steve Balmer has taken his billions to San Diego where he’s become chief cheerleader for his basketball team. Hey, he can still make us laugh though.
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