Steve Jobs a year before he returned to Apple: “If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.” If Microsoft won and Apple lost then what changed?
The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.
A quick look at the 21st century will tell us a different tale than the PC wars which Jobs mentioned. Yes, Apple and the Mac lost the desktop and notebook PC wars to Microsoft and Windows. That was then and this is now. Microsoft rested on its Windows laurels this century, stumbled badly as Apple’s iPod ruled the music world, and fared even worse in the mobile revolution.
Apple went on to become the richest company on planet earth. iPhone crushed Microsoft’s anemic smartphone platform. Apple won, right?
Not so fast.
If I knew in 1986 how much it was going to cost to keep Pixar going, I doubt if I would have bought the company.
Today, Microsoft is on the rebound, worth over $700-billion and still makes money hand over fist. Apple might be worth $125-billion more, but even in value, Apple has other competitors. Amazon is worth more than Microsoft. Google is worth almost as much as Microsoft.
Apple may be sitting on more more than the U.S. Treasury Department, but competitors– at least, financially, are licking the iPhone maker’s heels.
Yes, Microsoft defeated Apple in the desktop wars of Windows vs. Mac, but Apple returned the favor with iPhone vs. Windows phone.
What goes around, comes around.
That tells me Apple may need to pay more attention to some of Steve Jobs’ wisdom from yesteryear.
I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success — I have no problem with their success. They’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.
One could argue that today’s line of Macs have become second rate as Windows PC hardware has improved dramatically in recent years.
Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.
Under CEO Tim Cook R&D spending has gone up ten-fold, but the only new products are iterations of old products or accessories.
Microsoft may have defeated Apple back in the day, and Apple defeated Microsoft in the early part of the 21st century, but I suspect the battles will rage because the war is not over.