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TV-PGJuly 10, 2000: It's baaa-aack-- that wonderful Disney-Apple buyout rumor you all know and love. Meanwhile, Dell "retires" the WebPC citing slow sales, and a pulled report on Apple's new G4 illustrates the fundamental importance of timely surfing when trolling for inside info...
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"This Time, For Sure!" (7/10/00)

Woo-hoo!! Nothing, and we mean nothing, gets our blood pumping like when somebody grabs a tired old rumor off the shelf, dusts it off, and parades it around like the Next Big Thing™-- especially when the rumor in question involves Steve Jobs in a pair of big round mouse ears. Yes, folks, in case you haven't heard yet, the Rumor That Wouldn't Die is back with a vengeance; once again, wide-eyed sources speculate in hushed tones about that holiest of holy grails, the sacred Disney-Apple buyout. Faithful viewer Stew was the first of many, many people who excitedly pointed out Sunday's Drudge Report, which claims in a "**World Exclusive**" (Mmmmphhbwahhhhahaha!) that our own Uncle Steve may be wiggling both Apple and Pixar as the bait to land himself the chairman spot at Disney. We're sure that the cryogenically frozen head of Walt himself would approve.

This may, in fact, sound slightly familiar to you-- and not just the part about Disney buying Apple, but the whole "Steve on King Walt's throne" plot twist. Want to know why? Because an almost identical permutation of this recurring rumor surfaced way back in February of last year. Back then it had sprung forth from that wellspring of industry gossip we all know and love as AppleInsider, who reported (under an increasingly lengthening disclaimer about the fickle nature of rumors) that Apple and Pixar would become "independent divisions within Disney" and "Jobs would become CEO of Disney, effective June 7th, 1999." (Note to the less well-informed viewers out there: this never actually came to pass.) Now, the only real difference we see between Drudge's scenario and AppleInsider's prior rumor is what office Steve would hold at Disney post-buyout: last time it was CEO, this time it's chairman of the board. But variety's the spice of life and all that, right?

We know what you're all thinking-- this Disney thing is older than dirt. In fact, it's even older than the "current" Mac version of WordPerfect, and like that venerable product that finally had its plug pulled a couple of months ago, everyone should just let it die already. But the very fact that it keeps popping up is a testament to its adaptability, ratings potential, and sheer stamina. And no matter how unlikely an Apple-Pixar-Disney merger may actually be, the fact remains that rumors usually only stick around this long when there's at least a modicum of practical plausibility fueling the whispers. Don't forget, Disney's got a market cap of almost $80 billion; that's over four times what Apple's is right now. (Pixar's is a mere billion and a half-- nary a drop in the bucket.) So Disney probably could buy Apple and Pixar, at least financially speaking.

So rather than try to quiet this one down, let's celebrate the Disney rumor's rising from its ashes and fan the flames a little. Faithful viewer Chris Browder sent in a little follow-up to that most tenuous of Disney-Apple links: the extensive use of Newton MessagePads throughout Disney's theme parks. We brought that to your attention last month, when rumors surfaced that Apple was having new Newton boxes printed up; now Chris tells us that when his friend asked the Disney folks about those outdated but lovable luggables, "they said that the computers for their surveys are supposed to be replaced with newer models later this year." Folks, we propose that Disney is buying Apple just to get its Newtons replaced. Stranger things have happened, right? Still not enough to convince you? Fine. Then consider this: you know all this recent talk about a new Apple mouse? Think about that for a second. Apple. Mouse. Do the math.

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The End Of An Error (7/10/00)

Poor Mike Dell... the man tries so hard, you know? Every morning he awakes from his happy Steve dreams, gets up and kneels in his Steve shrine, prays to the Steves That Be to grant him the Steveness to get through the day, eats a hearty breakfast of toast and Steve-ios ("The Breakfast of Steves!"), and sets out to the office where he'll spend the day trying like mad to make Dell as cool as Apple is. Unfortunately, his single biggest initiative towards that end has just wound to a whimpering close: the WebPC has just been put out of its misery.

That's right; the WebPC, Dell's vainglorious attempt to tap into the iMac's smash-hit paradigm of "make it cool, make it sleek, give 'em a choice of colors, and get 'em on the 'net" has officially been axed. Faithful viewers Jay Forde and Joshua Weiland both broke the news by pointing out a CNET article on Dell's failure. If, for some odd reason, that's not enough evidence for you (or if you just want to do a little tap-dancing on graves), just try to load the WebPC site-- and find yourself staring at a giant "WE'RE SORRY" instead.

See, this is what happens when "beige" thinkers try to get stylish. CNET enumerates various attempts by other manufacturers to ride Apple's technicolor coattails to success, and it reads like a laundry list of mediocrity. Gateway's butt-ugly Astro? "Not promoted nearly as heavily as Gateway's standard PCs." Packard Bell's attempts at an all-in-one? "The company has since gone under." Hilariously (if not more than a little predictably), CNET takes these failures as "a strong indication that the coming revolution in style and color... may have been a bit exaggerated." Pssst... Hey, guys... that particular revolution happened almost two years ago and it's still going strong. It's called Apple's product line, post-August 15th, 1998. It's also called originality instead of jumping on the bandwagon. Look into it. As for Mike Dell, cheer up, Buckaroo! Those iBook-wannabe Inspirons are still selling, right?

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You Snooze, You Lose (7/10/00)

Ooooh, we just love a mystery. Given that Mac OS Rumors has lately taken to updating its content on a... somewhat infrequent basis, we admit we're not as rabid about checking that site as we once were. After all, the July 6th update was the first since June 29th. Even accounting for the long weekend, we figured, we're busy people with tons to do: why check every day when a site only updates once a week? And especially why check on weekends, when the site in question generally only publishes during the work week?

Well, we've got our answer: because if we don't, we'll wind up seeing tantalizing headlines like "Apple's 'Cube' Desktop Mac Confirmed" and "PowerMac 'Cube' Update"-- followed only by the most deflating phrase in the English language, "Pulled at Apple's request." D'oh!! For those of you just tuning in, last month we discussed one of the more intriguing stories we'd seen at that site in a while-- that Apple's new enclosure for the upcoming version of the Power Mac G4 was "nearly cube-shaped," thus bringing to mind those cool black NeXT cubes from Steve's last computer company. And now it seems that our weekend web-surfing sloth has deprived us of an update on an upcoming Apple design that was apparently accurate enough to prompt Apple to demand it be pulled down. (We note that no such demand appears to have been made to AppleInsider, whose sketches of the G4's new enclosure are still available.)

The moral of the story? Surf early, surf often. There's no telling what you might miss. Especially in this fast-paced world of Apple rumors and speculation; with a Macworld Expo just around the corner, if inside info's going to leak out, this is the time for it to happen. For instance, while AtAT isn't a rumors outlet per se (we generally only mention stuff that's already available elsewhere), wouldn't you just be devastated if we finally decided to incorporate some seriously juicy material and you just didn't tune in quickly enough to beat the network censors? For example, let's say that, after much soul searching we determined that the Mac community really deserves to know the truth about how the upcoming iMac will revolutionize the industry by its unprecedented use of secret [Pulled at Apple's request]

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Previously, on As the Apple Turns...

TV-PGJuly 7, 2000: Still more info on Apple's new mouse seeps to the surface-- looks like that whole wireless thing wasn't meant to be. Meanwhile, supposed sketches of the new multiprocessor G4 Macs surface on the 'net, and news of the tussle over the Mac graphics market hits the mainstream...

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