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What Comdex is to all true-blue pc fans -- the annual pilgrimage that the faithful must make -- Macworld Expo is to Macintosh users. They come from all corners of the world to see the latest neat computers from Apple and the innovative software and add-on hardware from all the third parties.
And make no mistake about this: while pc fans go to Comdex to find the best bargains in commodity computers, Mac fans go to see what new heights of technology their favorite computer has scaled. In one case, the driving force is price; in the other, value. Only in the long run are these the same thing.
We don't want to imply that Mac fans can ignore a sale. Macworld is one of the few computer-industry shows where selling products off the show floor isn't prohibited. To the contrary, every booth posts its "show special" prices prominently, and there are huge islands of commerce set up by the major distributors. Bay-area Mac owners come thronging in to join the shopping spree.
The supermarket atmosphere makes Macworld a less-than-ideal venue for corporate planners and for companies that want honest market feedback on their innovations. It's hard to hold a focused conversation or a lengthy demo amidst the hordes of tire-kickers. But in mid-winter, it's the place to be for folks who are keeping their eye on publishing technology and applications.
Surviving in a Windows World: Apple's Strategy for the '90s
Apple Computer used the occasion of Macworld to lay out its strategy for survival in the 1990s, which ultimately means surviving the Windows onslaught. Apple's strategy, and ultimately how it plays out, says reams about the state of the microcomputing marketplace. And since Macintosh technology is now so tightly interwoven into the publishing and graphic arts worlds, Apple's strategy will have a significant impact on both our existing systems and the future directions that we embark on.
In late 1991, we declared in this publication that "Windows had won." This created no small amount of consternation among our readers. Yet the application developers and the distribution channels were clearly lined up behind Windows and an undeniable shift in the marketplace had begun.
The price of r&d. Since that time, Apple has grown to be the single largest supplier of microcomputer hardware in the world, with sales of around $7 billion. These two trends -- Windows' emergence as the leading operating system and Apple as leading hardware supplier -- while seemingly contradictory, illustrate in graphic fashion that the Windows hardware market is becoming increasingly commoditized, while the Mac market continues to prosper at 15% market share. These two facts may play a large role in the type of hardware evolution we will be seeing over the next few years.
Apple is convinced that price competition drives out money for r&d and therefore drives out innovation. The Apple argument, as articulated by Ian Diery, executive vice president of international sales and marketing, goes like this: * In a market where there is little product differentiation, such as the pc-clone market, …