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25 times as many Mac users?

"Well duh. Your product would have to appeal to 25 times as many Mac users than Windows users just to break even."

Uhm, it might be the fact that it's shortly after 08:00 over here, but could someone (preferably Joel himself) clarify HOW a single sold copy of a Wintel program can be just as profitable as 25 sold copies of a Mac program? Have I missed something here that's clear to everybody else?

The way my, oh so simple, mind tries to make sense of this is:

Say we got company X making product Y which it has to sell 100 (just an example, not necessarily a realistic one) to break even. Now, why would X need to sell 2500 copies to break even if Y had been made for Mac instead of Windows?

I simply don't get it so if someone could enlighten me, I'd be much obliged.

/Lennart

Lennart Fridén
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Lennart,

At first glance I thought Joel was off his rocker as well.

Then I realised, he wasn't saying you would need to have 25 times more PURCHASERS. He was simply saying that you would need to have the same number of purchasers from 25 times less POTENTIAL PURCHASERS (assuming market share of Windows is 25 times market share of Mac).

Thus, penetration would need to be 25 times higher on a Mac (as a proportion of the user base). As an example, if 1% penetration for your new app on Windows would be profitable, it would probably need to be about 25% penetration on the Mac (since the market for the Mac is so much smaller). This is assuming the cost of development on the Mac is the same as the PC (roughly).

I am sure lots of people will now respond nitpicking about Joel's exact wording, but given the context, it seems clear what he MEANT even if it wasn't exactly what he SAID.

Seeya

Matthew Wills
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Thanks Matthew, that does seem to be what he meant. Like I said, it must have been the fact that it was shortly after 08:00 over here...:-)

Lennart Fridén
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

The answer though (as far as I can see) is that there is much less competition on the mac. Also, the mac is very popular some areas (like DTP, image processing and sound processing/music recording).

So in a given market, the changes may be ok.

(ps. I'm not a mac user)

Adriaan van den Brand
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

An interesting thing just recently happened with the Mac: Apple bought Emagic, the maker of Logic Audio.

http://www.emagic.de/

This also meant that Logic Audio for PC/Windows will not be developed any more. Maybe a couple of updates, but then Logic for PC is over.

Now, Logic/PC users have three options:
- dump Logic and move over to Steinberg's new Cubase SX, which has an attractive cross-grade offer
- stick with the current Logic/PC version forever (not a real option for most people)
- dump the PC and buy a Mac

Many people will be buying Macs, but as a Logic user, you can't use your favourite sequencer/audio workstation software on both Mac and PC any more.

We'll see what happens!

YF
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

"Many people will be buying Macs, but as a Logic user, you can't use your favourite sequencer/audio workstation software on both Mac and PC any more."

That depends:

Who purchased a computer just to run logic.
Who purchased logic cos it happened to run on their computer.

I think that'll be the split.

Robert Moir
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

The Mac market share does not compare to Netscape's. Users can easily install both IE and Netscape on their PC, without spending a nickel. Mac OS and Windows can't run on the same machine (forgetting about slow and clunky emulators), so few users have both Mac and Windows available.

3.5% market share seems very low, but that number is higher than almost any other PC manufacturer's market share. 3.5% is equivalent to the combined market share of BMW and Mercedes, and those brands each support a large and profitable parts and service business. Wouldn't we all like to have just .0001% of the global software market!

Microsoft, the most successful supplier of Macintosh software, seems to find the platform profitable enough to fund a Mac development group to write Mac software from scratch (they don't just port Windows programs). Adobe and Macromedia ported their applications to Windows after succeeding on the Mac.

Look at it another way: in the world of Mac software you can become a big fish a lot easier than you can in the Windows world. And you won't have as many opportunities effectively closed by the OS vendor.

Greg Jorgensen
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

So, what if Mac's and Apple fail and go away?

Will all the Windows users be overwhelmed with glee?
"Nyah, nyah, we were right after all you silly, stupid
mac users!" Will all Mac users have to give up and
become turnip farmers? Sheesh.

It's just such a non-issue.

Analogy: Just because Walmart exists, does that mean
that all Mom&Pop hardware stores must cease to exist?

Sheesh.

WinMac user
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

"Just because Walmart exists, does that mean
that all Mom&Pop hardware stores must cease to exist?"

Not all.  Just about 98%.

semi
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I heard that at Microsoft there were 2 development team offices on the same corridor.

Above one door was 'Word for Mac', and on the other 'Word for money'.

Was this just an urban myth?

Lawrence Attrill
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

"And you won't have as many opportunities effectively closed by the OS vendor. "

I wouldn't say that in front of the folks that wrote Watson or XPlay, if I were you. They might disagree.

Bob
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I don't think Apple are going to go away any time soon, but I don't think they're going to vanquish Microsoft any time soon. Even though I use Windows, I certainly wouldn't like there to not be an Apple.

Oddly enough I think Microsoft also want there to be an Apple, because it does help to keep the DOJ off their backs just a little.

Apple embody everything that's cute and fluffy about computers. Despite their best efforts Windows has never managed to do cute and fluffy. The best they've managed has been a sort-of industrialised cute-and-fluffy.

I'll always have a Windows machine (actually I have several, and a Linux box) in the office, but if I ever put a computer in the living room it will be the new iMac. Currently I just have a network port for a laptop.

James

James Shields
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Greg Jorgensen wrote: "3.5% market share seems very low, but that number is higher than almost any other PC manufacturer's market share."

Not really. From a story that's about a year old (see http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/14240.html ): "IDC estimates Dell's share of the market at 14.5 percent, followed by Compaq at 11 percent, IBM (NYSE: IBM)  (NYSE: IBM) at 6.9 percent and Hewlett-Packard at 6.7 percent. "

But the problem Joel is pointing out isn't the Mac's market share per se -- Apple might do fine with a 3.5% share because its margins are undoubtedly higher than those on the cutthroat Wintel side of the business. The problem is for the aftermarket, i.e. software developers. Microsoft can afford to make Office for Mac because it's a product that many Mac users do consider essential, and because they frankly don't have  to worry that much about whether it's profitable or not since they've got so many other hugely profitable businesses and $30 billion or whatever in free cash sitting around. For your average small- to mid-sized developer, it's going to be a much tougher decision.

John C.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

John C. wrote:
"Not really. From a story that's about a year old (see http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/14240.html ): 'IDC estimates Dell's share of the market at 14.5 percent, followed by Compaq at 11 percent, IBM (NYSE: IBM) (NYSE: IBM) at 6.9 percent and Hewlett-Packard at 6.7 percent. '"

That story refers to new PC shipments, not installed base. And it only includes PCs (i.e. x86), not Macs. I'm not disputing that Dell and HP/Compaq sell more units, or that Dell has more installed machines; I'm pointing out that 3.5% of the worldwide installed base of personal computers is a big number and an enviable position.


Lawrence Attrill asked:
"I heard that at Microsoft there were 2 development team offices on the same corridor.

Above one door was 'Word for Mac', and on the other 'Word for money'.

Was this just an urban myth? "

Myth. Microsoft's Mac development team is more or less autonomous. They are based in Silicon Valley. The Windows application groups are based in Redmond. Many of Microsoft's Mac developers are former Apple and Claris employees. Microsoft's Mac offerings are ground-up programming projects, not klunky ports from Windows (they tried that years ago, it was a mess).


James Shields wrote:
"I don't think Apple are going to go away any time soon, but I don't think they're going to vanquish Microsoft any time soon."

That statement is a common fallacy, whether it's MS vs. Apple, Windows vs. Linux, C++ vs. Java, or Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings. This isn't Highlander--there CAN be more than one. Apple is not on a crusade to "vanquish" Microsoft. When you see every competition in the market as an either/or proposition you oversimplify and close off the more interesting interactions. The world has room for Mac OS and Windows, C++ and Java, etc.


Bob wrote:
"I wouldn't say that in front of the folks that wrote Watson or XPlay, if I were you. They might disagree. " (In reference to my assertion that Mac developers don't have to worry about competing with the OS vendor as much as Windows developers do.)

Certainly Apple has stepped on some developers, especially those who write OS utilities and add-ons. Back in the late 1980s Apple was stepping on them so much that they spun off Claris to avoid directly competing with their developers. Microsoft maintains a solid hold on both the OS and application sides of their business with significant cross-pollination. I'm not saying Microsoft is bad or evil in this regard, just that they leave fewer niches for developers. For example the Mac market has room for innovative word processors, mail clients, web browsers, spreadsheets, financial management, development tools, games, etc., whereas Microsoft dominates most of the profitable application areas in the Windows world.


Bob continues:
"The problem is for the aftermarket, i.e. software developers. Microsoft can afford to make Office for Mac because it's a product that many Mac users do consider essential, and because they frankly don't have to worry that much about whether it's profitable or not..."

I don't think Microsoft is so devious and nefarious. MS Office for Mac OS is profitable and popular. Office dominates the Mac platform just as it dominates the Windows platform. Microsoft wouldn't put significant money and energy behind development efforts that wouldn't pay off. MS was developing for the Mac long before the antitrust litigation; they don't need Apple to prove they are honest. Neither Apple nor the DOJ and Federal judges are that stupid--give MS a little credit for simply finding a need and filling it to make money.

What MS does on the Mac is irrelevant when it comes to their  illegal practices; you are confusing the alleged illegal acts (forcing PC vendors to accept exclusionary Windows licenses) with their near-monopoly in the market (the overwhelming preponderance of Windows vs. Mac systems). Microsoft screwed Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM, etc., not Apple. Those PC vendors wouldn't and couldn't sell Mac hardware or software anyway. And Apple is not a small player because of Microsoft; they are a small player because they didn't follow the IBM PC/x86 path a long time ago, before MS controlled the desktop OS and application markets.


Do any of you drive a BMW or Mercedes, or maybe a brand with even less market share like Volvo? Do you think BMW is in danger of collapsing in the face of GM? Do you dismiss BMWs as "fluffy" cars because they aren't as clunky as a Ford? I don't think my mechanic worries a lot about BMW's market share: his clients spend more money on their cars and aftermarket parts, are more likely to buy another BMW in the future, and don't care if the Ford drivers think they are snobs.

In the Mac world there are a lot fewer big fish (and usually Apple isn't one of them). As the old saying goes, it's better to be a big fish in a little pond...

Gregory Jorgensen
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Furthermore, people may talk about MacOS vs. Windows as an OS preference, but really Apple and MS don't compete (mostly). Apple sells hardware. MS sells software. When you buy a Mac, you get MacOS for free.

MS Office is not only profitable for MS (I'm guessing), but extremely good for Apple. In fact, a few years ago Apple invested millions of $ with MS ostensibly to ensure MS continued to develop the Office Suite for MacOS X.

ps. I used to be a Mac developer, now Windows only.

pUnk
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

pUnk,

Not that I wish to continue this fruitless discussion further, but referring to:

<quote>
In fact, a few years ago Apple invested millions of $ with MS ostensibly to ensure MS continued to develop the Office Suite for MacOS X.
</quote>

I was almost certain the actual circumstances were the other way around - MS gave money to Apple.

http://www.fool.com/EveningNews/1997/EveningNews970806.htm#M

Of course, you may be referring to another event - maybe you could provide a link to some details about it?

Seeya

Matthew Wills
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

The real point is that it is much more expensive to market to Mac users and penetrate that market than it is to market to the much bigger and more diverse MS market.

The channels to Mac users are fewer, major applications have secured very large and firm user bases, its going to take a lot to convince sufficient Mac users to change applications.

That isn't how it need have been however.  Apple created this themselves by making it harder to develop for Macintosh than it ever need be.  Apple is just as monopolistic within their own marketplace as MS is within theirs.

OSX may change that but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Simon Lucy wrote:
"The channels to Mac users are fewer, major applications have secured very large and firm user bases, its going to take a lot to convince sufficient Mac users to change applications."

Some choice retail channels seem closed to Apple: Costco doesn't sell Macs or Mac software, nor does Target, Circuit City, Best Buy, etc. CompUSA does, and Apple has their own stores, but Apple's retail presence doesn't come close to that for Windows products. That's partly because of Apple's hard line with retailers, but mostly because of the low Mac market share.

Developers on any platform face the large established user base issue; that's not specific to Mac developers. I think the relative drought of Mac applications, and some niches with no offerings at all, makes Mac users more likely to buy new products.

Simon Lucy continues:
"That isn't how it need have been however. Apple created this themselves by making it harder to develop for Macintosh than it ever need be. Apple is just as monopolistic within their own marketplace as MS is within theirs."

Even if your premise is true, what does that have to do with marketing a product? I've developed for both Mac OS and Windows and I don't agree that Mac development is harder than it needs to be. I will say that Microsoft supports their developers better, but not so much better that Mac OS development is significantly harder.

The range of developer tools in the Windows world is much broader, and MS themselves sell the premier developer tools; I guess one could argue that Apple blew it when they left such an important component to Metrowerks. OS X comes with excellent, free development tools, and a huge base of Unix code to start from, so I think Apple has got it right this time.

Gregory Jorgensen
Thursday, September 12, 2002

"maybe you're in a niche like graphics where it seems like Macs dominate (they don't, it just seems that way because the elite graphics people in big American cities use Macs)"

This SOUNDS reasonable, but I work with graphics in a major american city, and the only people I know who use macs all work in cupertino.

I have a friend who uses Logic Audio on his PC - he was always telling everyone it was great, buy it, etc. Now he's really angry that he got left, "high and dry" and swears he will never buy any of their stuff, let alone a whole macintosh.

I think the same thing will happen with this deal that happened with SGI buying Alias | Lightwave. Eventually even apple will realize they'll make more money selling PC software!

b
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Joel's writing was pretty easy to understand but what he mistakenly avoids to consider is that for a given category, there are generally far more options available on Windows then there are on Mac. So for example if there 100 text editors on Windows and 4 on Mac (probably not far off), then the playing field levels out significantly.

pb
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Oh, I see, he does briefly note that category alternatives is relevant.

pb
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Apples market share probably starts to look more favourable to developers when you filter out the high percentage of PC's in corporates which have nothing more than Windows/Office on them and aren't likely to be in the market for additional software.

I bet if you looked at the figures for potential content management customers for instance Apple would look a lot more interesting.

Tony E
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Joel's message ignores that in many important market segments - video production, graphics design and music, just to name a few - the Mac's market share is much higher than 3.5%.  Like maybe 40-50%, or higher.  If you're writing software for those markets, ignoring the Mac is going to shut you out of half your potential sales, not just 3.5%.

If you're a small software developer, the Mac market can also be attractive from a fish-pond ratio - it's much easier to get noticed and compete in the smaller Mac market than to tackle the much larger competitors you might find in the Windows marketplace.

J. Peterson
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Matthew: yep, I got it backwards.

pUnk
Thursday, September 12, 2002

The biggest reason to go with Mac development, is that is what you are good at as an individual or a company. The market share thing is a bit silly imo, and I'm a very windows centric person.

If I'm making a graphics app (because I'm good at it, or my company is good at it) should I jump into office applications instead, because they are a larger percentage of the software market? And that is a good way to make a business decision? Err, seems like flawed logic somewhere to me.

Robin Debreuil
Friday, September 13, 2002

just write everything in java hehhehheh

anonymous but frequent poster
Friday, September 13, 2002

Yeah. Write Once. Run Nowhere.

Evan
Friday, September 13, 2002

"Yeah. Write Once. Run Nowhere."

Interestingly enough, there's a recent Oreillynet article in their Java for Mac section titled "Write Twice, Run Anywhere." Kinda does lessen the appeal of Java doesn't it?

Oliver
Sunday, September 15, 2002

A non-portable interpreted language?

I'd say that completely eliminates the appeal of Java.

Dunno Wair
Monday, September 16, 2002

Java is fairly portable for GUI stuff, and very portable for other things.  You can have your code run unmodified on the Mac, and it will look very good, but 10 min of work is needed to make it absolutely feel "right" to Mac users.  That's what the O'Reilly aritcle is about.
http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002/09/06/osx_java.html

Is 10 min of work really bad?  Does that automatically make it completely nonportable?  You don't need to do any modifications, it's just adding a little more polish.

gringo
Monday, September 16, 2002

Sorry to disagree, but the normal Java GUI (Swing based) does not operate acceptable on ANY platform. The only reasonable Java interfaces I have ever encoutered (for small apps) were handcrafted directly in AWT (for those that do not know Java, think of this as the assembly level for GUI on Java). Not exactly something one wants to endure for every project.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

You are aware that Apple has worked closely with Sun to provide native widgets for the Mac Look & Feel?  If you have a page that shows that Swing support for the Mac is "terrible," please show it to me.

Anyway, if you don't believe in crossplatform GUIs, there's always Eclipse.  I don't know if it supports Mac yet, but that's always just a contribution away...

gringo
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Gringo,

while I'm not close to the Mac scene (I guess I mis a gene for cult worship), doesn't  Apple advocate the use of Cocoa forJava if you want to have a chance in hell for decent GUI? (Gee? I wonder why they are not being sued for "trying to destroy the portability of Java"?)

As for the GUI performance, if you need URL's I guess a quote from http://linux.sarang.net/ftp/mirror/development/widget/qt/pdf/qt-vs-java-whitepaper.pdf is as good as any.

"When it comes to the GUI libraries, Swing and Qt, the poor runtime-efficiency of Java programs is clearly evident, making the Java/Swing platform unsuitable for many GUI development efforts, even though the programming experience is comparable."

Seriously though, if you have ever tried  some Java programs with a GUI, the experience should have spoken for itself.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

> while I'm not close to the Mac scene (I guess I mis a gene
> for cult worship)

Maybe I have this gene, and the Mac is a terrible machine.  But unfortunately we both have this gene, since we're hanging out on some guy's blog.  And you emulate his distrust of Mac and Sun.

You gave me a link that had nothing to do with the Mac.  I don't mind you being abrasive, but you must also be honest.

The Mac uses /native widgets/ for Swing.  There is little to no emulation.  If Microsoft were not such a monopoly, extending & embracing Java, Windows would have this too.

Please arm yourself with actual knowledge.  The snickering on this thread gets on my nerves; I think this is low quality for such a good discussion board.  You might have responded that places in Swing for OS X are emulated and feel bad.  But you don't know a thing about what you laugh at.

gringo
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

If you can't see something fundamentally wrong with a platform-independent language that only runs really well on a single platform, then all the links in the world aren't going to save you.

Dunno Wair
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

I see something fundamentally wrong with your argument that Java can only run well on a single environment.

But I can't save you.  You don't have any knowledge either.  Please replace yourselves with someone who does.

gringo
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Then why are you defending Java on the Mac and not Java in general?

Please take a break and decide where you stand on the issue before you engage in debate.  Despite my complete lack of knowledge, even I know that this makes for a more efficient dialogue.

Dunno Wair
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

I took a break to get over the annoyance of being called a worshipper, of a product that I don't even prefer over the PC. 

Anyway, I wrote:
"Java is fairly portable for GUI stuff, and very portable for other things. You can have your code run unmodified on the Mac, and it will look very good, but 10 min of work is needed to make it absolutely feel "right" to Mac users."

Then Just me (Sir to you) wrote:
"Sorry to disagree, but the normal Java GUI (Swing based) does not operate acceptable on ANY platform."

That was what I was arguing against.  You think I am confused about two issues, when the confusion is really between "Just me (Sir to you)" and you.

gringo
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

People don't emulate, PowerPC's do. ;-)

I hope he will not be offended, but if I ever felt the need to emulate someone, Joel would not be my first choice.
As I stated before, I am not close to the Mac scene. I used to be a fervent Mac advocate (they say the ones that have quit are the worst onces, don't they), but that was a long time ago (pre- Windows 95). I have never run OS X, but wish Apple all the best with it. I am even happy that they finally seem to be coming out of their OS dark ages.

As such my comments where targetted at the Java GUI in general, and not specifically towards the OS X platform. I should have stated this more clearly. While inexcusable, my animosity on this subject stems from having seen good Java code go to waste because it had to hide behind a clunky GUI more than once.

If the deities at Sun have ruled that extentions to Java on OS X are allowable for the Apple code slaves, and on this platform non-portability will not invoke the wrath of the celestial lawyers, so be it, and all the power to you.
Apple is not competing with Sun in any way (it could be fun if the XServe line would become a success, but I sort of doubt this), so the both of them make good bedfellows.

But why your strange defense? Apple themselves say that Swing sucks (in the least covert fashion they can get away with without invoking the wrath of ...):

"If your design point is to write the world's best Aqua Mac OS X application, then Cocoa is the way Apple wants you to do that and Java is a great language for accessing it. If, however, your high order bit is to have a cross-platform application ... then Swing is what you might write to."

http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-01-2001/jw-0119-macworld.html

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Yeah, Swing can suck in general, if you want something where non-OSX users are happy to use your app.  That's why I hope Eclipse wins the GUI stakes, from what I hear of it.  Even though Swing is nice to develop in.

The Mac's success shows that a sophisticated OS can run Swing beautifully.  But of course Microsoft does not want this.  And even Sun has backstabbed its client-side developers by not doing simple things to make Swing apps bearable on Windows.  Soon Sun will have Java wrested from them, if recent news is to be believed.  And Swing itself is not absolutely crossplatform; some companies have gotten hurt when they assumed that fonts would be rendered the same on different platforms.  Sun just gives excuses ("just use layouts!"), but there really isn't any excuse.

It's pretty ugly.  I wasn't absolutely happy defending Sun or Apple, but I think the worst thing PC people can do is just to laugh and make errors.  Joel does that often, and while I think it's all in good fun, it makes it hard for him to improve on his Microsoft training.

gringo
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Oh, about the Javaworld article, I really was asking for evidence like that. ;)  I didn't have time to fully check out Swing's usability on the Mac when I ported to it, so I'm sure there are dialogs that feel funny, or maybe advanced features that programmers miss out on.

The problem with Java and Mac zealots is that it's so hard to find good information.  I would have liked screenshots, hard proof.  Maybe I will do this myself, if I have time.

gringo
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

The reason Sun won't sue Apple for "trying to corrupt the portability of Java" or some garbage is that Apple is staying within their contract with Sun.  The contract says the can't add anything to the java.* package.

What Microsoft got in trouble for was adding Windows-specific classes, fields, and methods to the java.* package, which was explicitly forbidden by the contract.  Microsoft also added opcodes to their JVM, added constructs to the language itself, and had a compiler that would emit those opcodes when given those constructs by default.  They did this for COM integration, but again it was against the contract.

All of Apple's enhancements are in com.apple.*, where they belong.  If Microsoft hadn't tried to add features to the language itself, hadn't added opcodes to their JVM, and confined their extensions to the com.microsoft.* package I doubt Sun would have sued them.

(I am not a lawyer.  But this is my understanding of the issues.)

Chris Hanson
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

I believe Joel about the credibility problem taking a large application proposal for MacOS/X development to a VC.

Seven years ago, education products had to be developed for Mac as well as Windows, to be credible in the US (our OOFILE dev tools range came out of an edu project). I'm not sure if that is still the case but I know that the company concerned still had to ship new versions with 68K support as recently as 1999.

Based on my experience with them and articles I've read, support costs for Windows products can be between 15 to 100 times as high as for Mac. This is especially the case when selling products which involve printing and to markets where there will be a mixture of new and legacy machines.

Joel has published links to http://www.SoftwareMarketSolution.com which have some truly terrifying stories about the cost of marketing through the channels.

I'd like to see some comments about how the Mac marketplace compares to the PC for small developers trying to direct-market via the net.

Andy Dent
Thursday, September 19, 2002

I can completely understand how Joel and others can turn sour on the Mac as a platform. I'm not a programmer but I've worked with a lot of them and I think I understand their concerns. Often the programmer/developer's interests and concerns don't align exactly with the user/consumer, and finding the closest match is what determines success. 

When people mention cross-platform development, they usually speak (often desparagingly) of Java.

Lately, however, I've seen some interesting demonstrations of GUIs done with Mozilla or Flash as the underlying platform. Flash, especially, can support a really slick GUI.

Will this change the equation somewhat? Many articles lately (such as http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2000/08/18/magazine/moz_aint_netscape.html ) have gushed about the potential of a Mozilla platform as a reasonable alternative to Windows.

I would love to have the next killer app (an alternative to Quicken, for example) appear with a Flash or Mozilla platform so I can move between OS X or Windows (and possibly linux) without fear of conversion issues.

Is this just pie-in-the-sky dreaming?

Tommy Trussell
Friday, September 20, 2002


This is how FUD works.  Someone does a survey and decides to announce that apple only has %5 of the market.  Then the next year, they have to do it again, only they can't say its going UP so they have to say its going DOWN.

So, now we have people saying Apple has %3.5 of the market.  Of course, anyone who repeats this COMPLETELY FABRICATED NUMBER including Joel, is a Bleeping idiot.

Not even the people who are posting these numbers say that this is apples MARKET SHARE.  They say its the share NEW COMPUTERS SOLD. 

When talking about selling software into a market-- market share is the total number of machines installed out there.  Since Macs last, on average, more than twice as long as PCS, the real number is at least %10.

Furthermore, these numbers are fabricated to begin with.  Nobody knows how many Windows boxes are out there and nobody knows how many macs are out there.  Nobody knows the exact retention rate, replacement rates.  Nobody knows how many windows boxes were immediately reformatted and had linux installed on them.

Furthermore, these companies that "count" this stuff count every new sale.  In other words, IF you bought a computer with windows 98, then they counted that as a windows install.  If you upgrade to x9, then they count that as a second windows install.  Where as on the other side, someone who just bought a mac and hadn't upgraded is only counted once.

In this hypothetical situation where the totality of computer in the world is two, they would be claiming that Windows has %66 marketshare. 

Since MS comes up with more releases of software more frequently, they end up inflating their numbers in this counting mechanism.

IDC and Gartner do not count Macs sold thru the apple Store.  they do not count macs sold thru independent retailers (local apple sellers).  They do not count sales thru the Apple retail locations. 

They only count Macs sold at CompUSA, and thru the PC sales channel.

When they say Apple has %3.5 of the computer market, they are saying Apple has %3.5 of the  new x86 channel sales!  Apple has that percentage of the PC channel.... they ignore and don't count any macs sold directly by Apple, or outside of the PC channel, which is essentially all of them.

Anyone who makes business decisions based on this kind of misrepresentation and FUD is a bleeping idiot and deserves what they get.  Of course, its well known to anyone in the software industry that VC types and Marketing types are bleeping idiots-- at least most of them.  I've seen 22 year old MBAs cancel a profitable mac product because they decided that the Windows product would be the source of all their revenues-- so they made it so... and then went under when MS made a feint in their direction-- not even releasing a competitive product, mind you, just a press release.

Mac software is 2-5 times more profitable than PC software.  The cost basis is lower because its easier to develop for the Mac platform. The ASP is higher because there is less competition, and the sales are higher because there is less competition.

Joel says you have to be 25 times better but thats bullshit-- there are already 50 times as many companies in the market segment you want to be in on the Windows side so you on;y have to be half as good.

For instance, the product I'm working on has 8 competitors on the windows side.  One the mac side there is 1.  They are taking a very different route so it will be easy to differentiate.  On the windows side, we would be lost in the noise of the 8-soon-to-be-a-dozen competitors and our marketing budget would have to be 8 times what it is for the Mac side.

Disney discovered with the Lion King the difficulties- they lost money with their PC product of the CD ROM, and made significant money with the mac version, despite the PC version outselling the mac 10 to 1.  The support costs were 100 to 1, development costs 5 to 1, etc.

But hey, I only post this because I'm confident that idiots will never learn.  The PC market is better thinking idiots will always be idiots.  I post this so that those who have chosen the MAc market will see why it may have been an excellent choice.

I'm happy for pc idiots to continue to believe their MADE UP NUMBERS as if they were reality and continue to limit themselves to the relative desert of windows software.

Leave the good territory to the intelligent and the thinkers.

Bit Geek
Monday, September 23, 2002

And which one of those are we supposed to think you are, you self-congratulatory Mac pimp?

Dunno Wair
Monday, September 23, 2002

I don't mind the Mac guy; he waited until this thread was near the bottom, until he just had to let loose.

The mind of the Mac zealot... they can never discuss properly.  And the Mac is not a bad platform, which is a pity.  I thought Joel was wrong for the most part (didn't he just diss VC thinking at every opportunity earlier?) but Mac zealots just make me not care.

anon
Monday, September 23, 2002

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