developers deserve an answer from Apple’s senior management as to why QuickTime is “faltering” and losing market share, according to Randall McCallum, former chairman, CEO, and president of Totally Hip Software, and self-professed “former outspoken QuickTime developer who still believes in QuickTime.”
His solution? QuickTime Inc., a separate subsidiary of Apple.
“QuickTime will only enjoy superior customer satisfaction ratings across popular operating systems and take its rightful place as the streaming media technology of choice when and if QuickTime ever satisfies the most major concern for enterprises large and small,” McCallum said. “And that most vital concern is the total cost of ownership and the tremendous value that a technology such as QuickTime can add to IT assets in those enterprises. But how is this possible if QuickTime is an Apple owned technology? It is not, especially in a Windows dominated world.”
Most QuickTime developers and even senior management people within Apple have always known the truth, but they are afraid to admit that QuickTime’s perceived dependence on Apple is the real problem, he added. QuickTime lags in third place behind RealNetworks and Microsoft’s Windows Media Player solutions solely because it’s widely viewed by IT professionals, developers, and analysts as an Apple centric technology, McCallum said.
“It has nothing to do with QuickTime being the most comprehensive and robust streaming media technology solution,” He added. “Developers need to face reality and welcome the realization that QuickTime will never gain the mind share necessary to become a technology leader as long as it continues to be under Apple’s parenthood and perceptive dominance in the minds of consumers and enterprises large and small.”
Most Windows IT managers won’t use Apple centric technology — even a “best solution” like QuickTime — because they worry what would happen if Apple went out of business, McCalllum said. That’s why Macromedia and Adobe create their own technologies instead of relying on Apple for everything, he added.
McCallum opined that RealNetworks is the front-runner because it’s independent of Microsoft and Apple, makes it own rules and creates its own technology. It’s free to plot its own strategies unencumbered by a platform and this gives RealNetworks the most flexibility.
“This flexibility and independence appeals to IT managers, enterprises and developers,” McCallum said. “The majority of consumers adopt the leader because it represents the least perceived risk and it is for this reason that RealNetworks leads the pack. Their sole focus is RealPlayer. They don’t worry about hardware sales and focus on the customer. They dominate by progressing forward unencumbered.”
How can a QT developer help to make QuickTime independent of Apple? By demanding the independence of QuickTime from under Apple’s shadows, McCallum said, pointing to the success of FileMaker Inc., an Apple subsidiary.
“Apple’s senior management has to make a major business decision and bite the QuickTime bullet,” McCallum said. “The baby has grown up and needs to fend for itself. It is time that Apple spins the QuickTime Group out into a separate, completely autonomous business unit before it is too late. This will allow QuickTime Inc. to compete with RealNetworks and Microsoft on a level playing field.”
Apple is too focused on Mac OS X to give QuickTime the marketing strategy, he added. A separate QuickTime Inc. would be able to operate much like FileMaker Inc. and RealNetworks, where it can continue to add value by preserving its characteristic superior technology and ease-of-use, even as it integrates new technologies, supports emerging industry standards and addresses the changing needs of the markets, he added.
“There would be nothing to stop Apple from gaining access to the best technology solution, and Apple senior management would once again find itself with another profitable independent business unit,” McCallum said. “What could be so wrong with that?”
To increase QuickTime’s market appeal, the hypothetical QuickTime Inc. would have the independent authority and ability to prioritize future development plans in terms of the market segments where QuickTime Pro for Macintosh and Windows makes the greatest impact, McCallum theorized. This would allow for far more technology partnerships than could ever be attained being under the guise of Apple, he added.
“By removing the final barrier, QuickTime Inc. would be able to attract more businesses and institutions that turn to software professionals for solutions to their pressing computing problems,” McCallum said. “No longer would QuickTime be perceived as an Apple only technology. It would be seen as the best technology for delivering value added rich streaming media solutions to millions of customers worldwide.”
QuickTime developers need to join en mass and demand that Apple makes this most necessary change “before QuickTime fades into oblivion,” McCallum said.
Freelance developer Luke Sheridan of
thinks the idea of QuickTime Inc., is a good one. He feels that Apple should either spin off QuickTime or aggressively market it.
“I am finding it increasingly difficult to get clients who want QuickTime,” he said. “Apple is placing the burden of marketing QuickTime on us, and frankly, that is unfair. QuickTime is losing in a big way and I and my fellow developers simply cannot change that ourselves.”
Apple, by not marketing this technology is in effect making the decision for the developer about what format they will follow in the future, Sheridan said. We can’t remain loyal to something that won’t pay the bills and if that means developing for Real and Windows presentations, that’s the course we’ll follow, he added.
“The fact that the MPEG4 standard is based on QuickTime does not mean that QuickTime will prevail,” Sheridan said. “Real has already stated that they do not intend on joining in and Microsoft is already distributing non-ISO MPEG4 codecs. That means that their format will be the standard, regardless of what Apple does with MPEG4. Who’s better? That doesn’t matter. It’s who gets there first.”
The lead Internet video editor for one of the world’s largest news organizations, who requested anonymity, told MacCentral that news clients aren’t asking for QuickTime.
“They don’t want it and the numbers we are seeing confirm this,” he said. “We distribute to every major media portal and every major news site. The perception of QuickTime among IT and management in my industry is that it is an inferior technology. I have to fight tooth and nail to continue providing QuickTime presentations and distribution of QuickTime videos. If news clients do not want to buy it, we will have to stop distributing it.”
To make matters worse, ill-informed members of management are making technical decisions about the type of equipment staffers are outfitted with and what is used in their control centers, the video editor said. Where do they get this information?
“Marketing execs from non Apple hardware companies,” he said. “The last time I saw an Apple exec in our offices was nearly four years ago.”