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Archive for the tag “apple”

Apple – a risky business in the 1970s

Everyone remembers that the company originally known as Apple Computer began in a garage. But it took some efforts to get the company out of the garage – efforts that were primarily undertaken by Mike Markkula. Markkula donated a document to the Computer History Museum – a previously confidential document (PDF)” that was used to solicit additional investors into the company.

By the time the document was issued, Apple had achieved revenues of nearly a million dollars, and projected revenues of $13 million in the coming year. These would be achieved by targeting a market known as the “Personal Computer Market,” a market that Apple Computer anticipated would grow rapidly.

However, although the Steves might not have realized this, Markkula was well aware that any investment solicitation had to state the risks to the potential investors. If an investor were misled, the company could face significant legal issues.

Therefore, the document listed the following risks:

Operating History: Apple Computer Inc. is a new company which has not established a long history of operation upon which to base opinions of accuracy of forecasts, financial projections or operations efficiency.

Manufacturing: Apple has experienced extreme difficulty in obtaining its custom injection molded cases. There is no assurance that this problem will be solved through establishing additional sources of supply.

Cash Flow vs Rapid Growth: Apple management expects that rapid growth and potential market fluctuations may present severe cash flow management difficulties.

Management: Apple Computers’ Management team is young and relatively in-experienced in the high volume consumer electronics business.

Now in hindsight one can say that this was just an example of business people (and perhaps lawyers) being overly cautious. After all, Apple was making insanely great products, and would continue to do so. And who in 1978 could have anticipated that electronics companies would be able to take advantage of the labor force and technical skills available in Communist China?

But before you dismiss the risk factors, think of all the computer companies from the 1970s who are not around today. With the exception of Microsoft, pretty much all of those companies are gone, since they succumbed to their own risk factors. If you look through the computer history of the late 1970s, you see names such as MITS, Tandem, Commodore, and Digital Equipment Corporation – long since gone via merger, sale, or dissolution.

Why did Apple and Microsoft succeed when MITS and Commodore didn’t?

iSlate – never born, died 2011

The difference between a history book and a current account – whether that current account is a newspaper article, a blog post, or whatever – is that the historian has the advantage of time, and the ability to process what has been learned. The current writer is dealing with the moment, and things that might be proven inaccurate.

I recently referred to a blog post that I wrote on January 26, 2010. The post, entitled “Has the i- prefix jumped the shark?” I spent most of the post talking about the i-Dog, the iDrug, and the iGasm. But I started by discussing a product that was about to be released – a revolutionary product from Apple that would change the way that we live, just like every other Apple product has been revolutionary and has changed the way that we live.

The product that Apple was about to release? According to my post, it was…the iSlate.

If you’re looking at this post with a quizzical look, don’t worry. Apple never did release an iSlate; they ended up calling their new product the iPad. (See this post for a listing of the many rumors floating around before the January 27 announcement.)

But at that time, a lot of people thought that the new product would be called the iSlate. A month before I wrote my shark-jumping post, MacRumors posted this:

With rumors of the Apple tablet reaching new highs, MacRumors has found evidence that Apple acquired the domain name iSlate.com presumably in preparation for the new device.

The iSlate.com domain was originally registered in October 2004 by a company called Eurobox Ltd. It later changed hands to Data Docket, Inc. in 2006. In 2007, however, the domain was transferred to registrar MarkMonitor.com. MarkMonitor handles domain name registrations and trademark protections for many companies, including Apple. As is typical, however, the name of the actual registrant was initially hidden to obscure the identify of the actual owner.

Well, except for a few weeks in which Apple’s ownership of the domain was temporarily exposed. And once something becomes public on the Internet, it’s public forever. See the MacRumors post.

At the end of the day, Apple decided upon a different name for its new product. And as of March 2012, records show that the domain is registered to…MarkMonitor.

Domain Name: ISLATE.COM
Whois Server: whois.markmonitor.com
Referral URL: http://www.markmonitor.com
Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 28-sep-2011
Creation Date: 30-oct-2004
Expiration Date: 30-oct-2013

And now no one talks about iSlate any more. Including Apple – as Mike Cane notes, Apple abandoned the iSlate trademark on October 3, 2011.

Another description of change taking place – rematerialization

Remember Jim Ulvog’s blog Outrun Change (that I previously mentioned)? Well, Ulvog has written a post entitled Another description of change taking place – dematerialization. After quoting from a recently Matt Ridley item in the Wall Street Journal, The Future Is So Bright, it’s Dematerializing, Ulvog goes on to observe:

Music, books, photographs. All have dematerialized. The last half-dozen books I bought were in Kindle format.

Add to his list: x-rays, both at the hospital and dentist’s office. Over the next few years, medical records will dematerialize.

Ulvog then observes how his own field, accounting, has changed because of this dematerialization.

And he’s right – to a point.

You see, from his perspective (and yours and mine), it appears that things have dematerialized. After all, I’m writing this post without having to use any paper.

But when we buy music or e-books, where do they come from? And when we store photograph and blog posts, where do they go? Well, in certain cases, they will come from and go to Prineville, Oregon:

Apple Inc. confirmed today that it bought 160 acres near Prineville in central Oregon for a new data center, making it the latest tech giant to locate a server farm in the state….

The Oregonian reported in December that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple was eyeing the land, about a quarter mile south of a data center operated by Facebook….

Amazon and Google already own data centers in Oregon, too.

And everywhere else, also. These “server farms” take up a lot of space, and while it might be less than the physical equivalents, we have to remember that all of our so-called “virtual” items actually have to be stored SOMEWHERE.

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