Did Steve Jobs Pull An Osborne?

from the marketing-gaffe? dept

Perhaps the most famous marketing gaffe in the history of Silicon Valley was the decision by Osborne Computing to pre-announce the Osborne 2 computer well before it was ready to ship, killing off all sales of the Osborne 1, and making it impossible for the company to fund the eventual launch of the new machine. With Steve Jobs’ announcement today about moving to Intel by this time next year, the folks at Silicon Beat are asking the very reasonable question about whether or not Apple is about to face the Osborne Effect with computers over the next year. It certainly is likely to make some people pause and wonder why they should buy a machine when the company is moving to another platform — but it might not be that bad. If the existing machine does what people need, and will continue to do so (as it will) for a few years, many people will still be able to justify it. Still, there are definitely going to be some people who pull up and wait. Of course, the other big difference is that Apple should be able to hold out for some time should that happen — especially knowing the additional boost they’ll get after they introduce the new machines.

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Comments on “Did Steve Jobs Pull An Osborne?”

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ken murray says:

Osborne effect

Better to let us know before hand. In 1984 they did the same thing (product change) going from the Mac1 to the mac2. There wasn’t any support for the mac1 after that. The computer was basically use less.

I have never had a mac again.

The apple computer was so much more, but I had such a sour taste in my mouth because of this, I’d probably never own another Apple though I’ve bought several since then (Wintel)…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Osborne effect

What the heck are you talking about? 1984 and Mac1 to Mac2?

In 1984, they released the original Macintosh. Before that, there was not a Macintosh.

They did have three other lines of computers: the Apple II, the Apple III, and the Lisa. There was also the Apple I, but that was only a few units in the very early days (i.e. garage days).

I do know a few people who swear they won’t deal with Apple because Apple “orphaned” them when they switched from the Apple II to the Mac. I think such people, while entitled to spend their money however they want, are nuts.

alaric says:

Sales will Increase

The next 12 months will be difficult but apple will do quite well when it starts shipping intel-based apples.

I think the potentially lower prices will do a lot to heal the mac faithful.

Apple users have a right to be angry but its pretty obvious that jobs had no choice. Apple’s laptop offerings were suffering from slow G4s and non existent mobile G5s and ibm was moving slowly on G5s in general, possibly to protect its own server business.

admin (user link) says:

Re: Um... not really.

And isn’t that a big FU to the shareholders who
actually *own* that big hoard of cash? So in
effect Apple will be pissing away 12-18
months of sales to some unknown degree on the very
suspicious *hope* they will sell PCs at rate in
excess of the current product line and at a *net*
margin equal or better.
Not a company to own now. They will survive
but the execution of it all is already a poor

Paul TS Lee says:

Re: Re: Um... not really.

And isn’t that a big FU to the shareholders who
actually *own* that big hoard of cash?

I’m a shareholder, and I would hold Jobs and the board responsible of they had not done something like this. What has IBM done for Apple lately? I am actually very happy that this little project has been going on for five years, in case people hadn’t noticed that part of Jobs’ presentation. This means that he (or someone with pull inside Infinite Loop) was keeping Apple’s options open.

If there was a G5 TiBook, 3 GHz desktop, or even an announcement for the G6 back in January, then maybe sticking with Big Blue makes sense. As it is, I’m perfectly happy for Apple to get off of the “not invented here” mindset with respect to CPUs. (Possibly a NeXT meme, but I’ll take it where I can get it.)

As for this “pre-announcement”, so what? Am I annoyed that there is something better coming down the pipe in 12-18 months? Sure. Just like every other person who’s owned more than one computer (or even gadget) in his/her life. But speaking as someone who bought a TiBook in November 2002, six weeks before the aluminum, improved wi-fi, backlit keyboard, USB2, Bluetooth, available in mini-/midi-/maxi- sizes, increased maximum RAM TiBooks were announced, I’d been much happier if Apple had done more pre-announcing, so I could at least planned my purchase, not just hope that I don’t get obsoleted before the packaging makes it to the recycling bin.

Jacques (profile) says:

No comparison with Osbourne

Today, everybody knows and expects that the computers sold today will be replaced by something better, faster, and cheaper very soon. If Apple had announced a G6 processor that will be available in a year, and be faster and cooler, but require some tweaking of the OS and the applications to take advantage of new features (like hyperthreading), today’s G4s and G5s would be just as obsolete just as fast.
But somehow, that would be OK, because that’s what everybody expected?

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