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October 13, 2003

Good idea? Big mistake?

On Thursday, Apple is expected to announce and/or launch the Windows version of their ground-breaking Apple Music Store service. This will include a Windows version of iTunes.

I have concerns about this.

I am a devoted Macintosh fan. I've never thought it was a "religious thing" between Mac and Windows, it's not just a personal preference. It's simply that Mac is better. It's easier to use, more attentive to the users' needs, and genuinely original.

Windows is often brutally difficult to operate, cares more for market share and control than the users' needs, and trumpets innovation when what they've always done is to copy, buy, or trample the inventive work of others.

Sorry I didn't mean to get onto a rant there.

The thing is, that I've always felt strongly that the "Macintosh way" was important, and it should be defended and advanced.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s I worked for Apple, in Cupertino, for the Developer Tools Group. Toward the end of that time I became discouraged because I felt that the leaders of the company had given up on beating Windows and instead they were pursueing a course of compromise and appeasement.

The Apple Developer Support group was (and is again!) an excellent source for supporting programmers in creating great software for the Mac. Having great software, exclusively available on the Mac, was one of the best lures we had to help showcase the qualities of a system that was often hard to quantify in ads, or show in glossy screenshots.

But in the early 90s Apple seemed to have given up on beating Windows and had begun to help programmers to develop software simultaneously for BOTH Mac and Windows. I felt this was a terrible mistake.

I fought this attitude from within the company. But this meant that in public I promoted a company policy that I opposed in private. Finally in 1992 I couldn't continue so I left my job at Apple.

Now, Apple is about to release a Windows version of iTunes.

I am a great fan of the steps that Steve Jobs has taken over the past few years to bring Apple back from the brink. My sense is that Jobs is even more anti-Windows than I am, so I really don't understand why Apple would abdicate the competitive advantage of a Mac-only iTunes.

I have big reservation about a Windows version of iTunes. But I'm going to withhold judgment on this for a while. Maybe Steve has something up his sleeve. I hope so.

Posted by jghiii at October 13, 2003 09:23 AM
Posted by: Steve Garfield on October 14, 2003 08:26 AM

Did you see the recent sales numbers for iPods?

They went from like 60k to 350k units between the last two quarters.

I think part of that was the ability to hook up an iPod to a Windows PC.

I'm not sure what the release of iTunes 5 will mean to PC users.

Maybe it'll just open up a huge new market for the Apple Music Store.

That wouldn't be a bad thing.

Remember how many sales Apple made when the store came out?

Now you are going to have the whole rest of the market getting easy access to buying music online.

Now that I'm thinking about it, this could be huge for Apple.

I bet there are a lot of PC users who necer downloaded a song and will now have an easy way to do it with iTunes 5.

Maybe after enjoying the ease of use of some Apple software, they'll consider a Mac for hteir next purchase?

iTunes5 - The Trojan Horse!

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