BusinessWeek: Apple's new products could be 'distracting'

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Despite all the cool stuff unveiled at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco last week, all the hardware, software, and new Apple retail stores could be "distracting," columnist Alex Salkever opines in the latest Byte of the Apple column for Business Week Online .

He thinks that Apple may be burdening itself with "too much stuff" as they did in the John Scully days. Salkever says that the company may be overloading itself with an ever-diversifying line of hardware, growing software lineup, retail stores, and the .Mac online service. Though Apple CEO Steve Jobs says Apple runs a "tight ship," Salkever wonders if the "tightness" is loosening.

What's more, he thinks the company is neglecting some important areas, such as the pro line of desktops and the education market. Megahertz myth or not, Apple needs to address the needs of its high-end users, Salkever writes.

"My inner Apple compass tells me the balance has swung too far toward cool, and sales may suffer," he said. "Another crisis area for Apple is the education sector. Its share of the segment has slipped to 21 percent, according to filings for the fourth fiscal quarter, ended September, 2002. And Apple laid off 180 employees in the quarter, most likely from its troubled educational operations. Yet none of its honchos announced any big plans or product initiatives to goose sales to schools at Macworld.

"Jobs might want to counter shareholder fears that Apple is frittering away the once-lucrative educational market."

Update: This article has been changed giving the byline credit for the BusinessWeek article to Alex Salkever. Regular columnist Charles Haddad is apparently on leave.

This story, "BusinessWeek: Apple's new products could be 'distracting'" was originally published by PCWorld.

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