Apple's Next Move!

by Rubywand

Johnny Lau (<>, writes:

>Maybe it's about time someone buy the rights and licences off Apple Computers
and build and market a brand new Apple II clone?

RUBYWAND ( replied:

Maybe so. However, if Apple sells the rights to the II series they can pretty
well pack it in as far as any hope for a rebound is concerned.

Dave Althoff ( suggests:

>The smarter move would be to license (not sell) the hardware and source >code to
someone interested in continuing the product line...I think a >laptop GS would be
just GREAT...naturally feeding a license fee back to >Apple for any unit sold.
Not necessarily the best scenario for us-folks, >but it would enable Apple to
reap some benefit from the product (which >Big Beige would like) with a minimal
amount of effort (which is probably why >Big Beige gave up on us in the first

RUBYWAND replied:

This is probably the kind of situation Apple was aiming for with the Sun deal.
Basically, it sells-off its manufacturing component, parcels out licenses (for
laptops, OS implementations, etc.) and clips coupons. The main problem is getting
someone to 'buy the farm'.

Supposedly, Apple's new Consumate Enlightened One is good at knocking troubled
companies into shape. This takes time -- like a couple of years.

IF Apple plans to remain in the computer-making business, its options are fairly
easy to identify. We can pretty well eliminate competing as a PC clone maker. No
one is going to undersell the gruds. PC clone shops and medium-size resellers
operate too close to bare bone profit margins. They also define, via sheer
volume, the 'standard machine'. There is not really much room for the add-ons and
extra features which might temp buyers to pay premium Apple PC prices.

Apple's best shot is to target the home market with a new 65xxx-based II.
Assuming the II-GSX ("II-Omega", "Hydra", "II-Altair", etc.) represents a
significant performance boost over the current (accelerated, 4MB) IIgs and is
65xxx-based, Apple could expect good support from II users. While being, perhaps,
"troublesome", the II user base is also "activist" and very good at recruiting.

Today's home user would welcome a machine that (1) does not become obsolete
every two years (2) does not require re-configuration for each new
entertainment software release (3) is _not_ PC compatible (4) offers built-in
user-friendly programmability (5) is supported by a big-name manufacturer (6)
has the support of an active, computer-wise user base.

One might expect that the above considerations are obvious, even to Apple, Inc.;
but, Apple could blow it:

A. II users are not likely to welcome a mixed Mac/II machine because anything of
the sort must represent less than optimal II performance. Most Apple II users
simply do not like Mac. We do not want Mac stuff polluting our machine. If Apple
feels compelled to toss a bone to Mac users, let it be via an optional Mac
plug-in card.

B. II users want Apple to commit to the 65Cxxx and back development of bigger,
faster uP's in the series. Some kind of RISC-based kluge that can execute 68xxx
or x86xxx series code is certain to evoke mistrust.

C. II users want an 'open', expandable machine (i.e. lots of Slots). A closed
machine would be a major turn-off.

D. Price for a satisfactory machine must be low enough so that there is good
reason to expect that non-II home users will be attracted. Taking "satisfactory"
to mean, roughly, a 16MHz, 8MB (expandable), 65C816-based box with 8 Slots,
mouse, 512MB IDE hard disk, 8x IDE CD-ROM, 1MB ensoniq Sound, SVGA monitor,
SVGA-class plug-in Video card with at least 640 x 480 4096 color capability, ...,
then, price should not be much above $1200.

Putting the above in clear, non-ambiguous terms: Apple absolutely must attract
enthusiastic II user base support. If it succeeds in this, all the rest-- support
from major software developers & vendors, net navigation wares, winning over Mac
users, sales to new home computer buyers, education sales, and a jump in stock
prices-- will follow.

The following information was an original A2 Usenet post - dated 3/26/96 and
converted to html and article form (at C.W. - 72) by Dr. Tom.

RUBYWAND can be reached via email:

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