The Macalope: Myopia is a one-way street


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What would we do without our stolid class of technology pundits on hand to give Apple such great advice?

Probably get better use out of our brain’s potential, for one.

Greg Satell is schooling Apple on “The Secret of Microsoft’s Success (And Some Lessons For Apple)” (no link, but tip o’ the antlers to Rajesh).

When last we heard from Satell, he was arguing Apple should buy Dell.

So … there’s that.

If you asked people to rate the world’s most successful technology company is, most would say Apple.

“Some would say.” Forget that, in a capitalist society, there are ways to quantifiably measure success and that Apple has surpassed every other tech company, let’s take it to the court of public opinion!

For me, it would be Microsoft …

Of course it would.

… while at any given time the fortunes of an enterprise can wax and wane, Microsoft has maintained a superior business for over three decades. No tech company can match its track record.

HP: founded 1939.

IBM: founded 1911.

Over that time, new competitors have arisen, pundits have predicted Microsoft’s demise …

Ah, the Macalope believes it was William Blake who wrote “Strawman, strawman, burning bright, in the forest of facile punditry.”

No? Oh. Well, it was something like that.

Who has predicted Microsoft’s “demise?” The Macalope is about as big a critic of Microsoft as there is and he would never predict that. Certainly, the company’s failed to create any relevance for itself in mobile.

So what’s their secret?

Jazzercising! Lots of jazzercising!

(Oh, like you thought the Macalope would get through this without linking to those videos.)

As Merrill Chapman argued in his book, In Search of Stupidity, the answer is that Microsoft has never made any major blunders.

Not a one! Not a single solitary one!

What are the lessons Microsoft has to teach Apple?

Build Multiple Platforms

Focusing is for chumps!

The other two are “Avoid Vendettas” and “Partner Effectively,” both of which Apple apparently failed to do under Steve Jobs according to Satell. Which just happened to be during the company’s era of unprecedented growth and success.

So …

Anyway …

Having never been a company with an impressive R&D program, Apple will need strong technology partners to compete for the future.

What Apple does not have is an impressive R&D expense line item on its financial statement. That does not mean it doesn’t have an impressive R&D program.

As the pressure mounts, the lure of a swing-for-the-fences, bet-the-company blunder may prove irresistible.

This, the Macalope will remind you, is the guy who advised Apple to buy Dell.

We’re clear on that, right?

So I would advise Apple CEO Tim Cook to take a hard look at Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer.

[blood-curdling scream]

Microsoft does some things well, but most of them are in businesses Apple doesn’t want to be in. While it would be going too far to say that there’s nothing Apple could learn from some reflection, it seems that given their current relative statuses, there might be more that Microsoft could learn.

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